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David––a heinous criminal?

Reader comment on item: America's Hidden Jihad
in response to reader comment: America's hidden jihad - ritual beheading no Islamic monopoly

Submitted by Paul Freeman (United Kingdom), Dec 29, 2015 at 06:54

Vishu Menon

I think if you wish to argue that beheading is a universal problem with religions historically, and not one specific to Islam, then you need to look elsewhere than the story of David to make your case.

The Bible is generally clear about the course of events. Israel was at war with the Philistines. Goliath challenged the men of Israel to decide the outcome by single combat. David, a youth and not a warrior, offered to fight with his slingshot. Going out without armour or a sword, David knocked Goliath down with a stone. Then he cut off Goliath's head with Goliath's own sword.

Where I Samuel ch. 17 is a little hazy is whether it was the slingshot or the sword which delivered the final blow. Most people will choose the latter view, i.e. that beheading was required to finish Goliath off. If the latter, it can hardly be described as a "heinous crime". Either way, there is no suggestion the beheading itself was a religious act, and never have Jews––whose God gave the world the Sixth Commandment––either at the time nor to this day, celebrated it as such. What is being celebrated in the Bible is David's victory itself, achieved against all the odds over a far more powerful opponent.

The situation with Islam, however, is different. In the Qur'an, Allah specifically commands his followers to strike at the necks of the unbelievers until they have been subdued. Canonical passages like 8:12 have made beheading into a religious act for some Muslims. They are the cause of the beheadings in the name of Islam we see around the world today.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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