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The reinventing of Islam

Reader comment on item: Combating the Ideology of Radical Islam

Submitted by Daniel Kayes Thomson (United States), Apr 16, 2003 at 11:42

Greetings, Mr. Pipes and Mr. Fuller

Very well thought out and expressed article. I'd like to add some thoughts, if I may:

It seems that these days, we Americans feel a need to put a nifty handle on ideas and positions, and like to invent new terminology to best express our feelings on issues which affect us. This is how I view the use of the term "Islamism".

"Islamism" had to be described by Mr. Pipes and Mr. Fuller, because it isn't a part of mainstream thinking... yet. It certainly isn't a name I ever heard before 9/11, and I am a middle east scholar. I wonder if "Islamism" is how those who embrace radical, terrorist Islam would identify themselves? More likely, this name has been coined to define an outsider's critical point of view.

To me, the argument is much simpler. When it comes to combating the ideology of radical islam, it is important to ask the question, "What is the source of this ideology?" After all, isn't going after the source of terrorism what our government is supposed to be doing? Explaining the origins of terrorist ideology using simple platitudes describing learned and inherited behavior, western oppression and dominance do not cut it. The ideas have originated somewhere else.

Although we want desperately to redefine what "good" Islam and "bad" Islam is, the fact of the matter is that the source is still, as Mr. Fuller pointed out, the Qur'an and Hadiths. As long as these writings are accepted as legitimate expressions of Islam, then they will always attract some followers who believe what they say and will carry out the atrocities which they instruct.

Ali Sina, a former muslim, summarizes (with references) what the Qur'an alone teaches:

"The Qur'an tells Muslims that if unbelievers are Christians or Jews, to humiliate them and impose on them a penalty tax (Qur'an 9:29), to fight with them, (Qur'an 8:65), to kill the disbelievers wherever they find them (Qur'an 2:191), to slay them (Qur'an 9:5), to murder them or to treat them harshly (Qur'an 9:123). Qur'an disallows the freedom of opposing beliefs from all humanity and tells clearly that no other religion except Islam is acceptable or tolerated (Qur'an 3:85). It relegates those who disbelieve in Qur'an to hell (Qur'an 5:10), calls them najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (Qur'an 9:28). It orders its followers to fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left (Qur'an 2:193). It says that the non-believers will go to hell and will drink boiling, putrid water (Qur'an 14:15-17). It instructs Muslims to slay by crucifixion or cut the hands and feet off of the unbelievers (Qur'an 5:33), so that they will be expelled from the land with disgrace and that 'they shall have a great punishment in world hereafter' (Qur'an 5:34). 'As for the disbelievers', it says that 'for them garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods' (Qur'an 22:8,9). Qur'an prohibits a Muslim to befriend a non-believer even if that non-believer is the father or the brother of that Muslim (Qur'an 9:23), (Qur'an 3:28). Qur'an instructs the Muslims to 'strive against the unbelievers with great endeavor' (Qur'an 25:52), 'be stern with them because they belong to hell' (Qur'an 66:9). The holy Prophet demanded his follower to 'strike off the heads of the disbelievers' (Qur'an 8:12); then after making a 'wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives' (Qur'an 47:4). As for women the book of Allah says that they are inferior to men and their husbands have the right to scourge (beat) them if they are found disobedient (Qur'an 4:34). It teaches that women will go to hell if they are disobedient to their husbands (Qur'an 66:10). It maintains that men have an advantage over the women and must dominate them (Qur'an 2:228). It not only denies the women's equal right to their inheritance (Qur'an 4:11), it also regards them as imbeciles (detailing their inabilty to think correctly) and decrees that it takes two women witnesses to equal one man's witness in court (Qur'an 2:282). Since charges cannot be brought against a man unless two men bring the charge, this means that a woman who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce either: two male witnesses, or a male witness and two women. Muhammad allowed the Muslims to marry up to four wives and gave them license to sleep with their slave maids and as many 'captive' women as they may have (Qur'an 4:3), even if those 'captive women' are already married (Qur'an 4:24). He himself did just that."

As long as the Qur'an and the Hadiths are the basis of this religion, then I have to say that it is not muslims who are the enemy, but the writings themselves. If one was to take away the writings of Islam, and you have no Islam... in any form.

I believe that G-d (not the allah described in the Qur'an) is both an elitist and an egalitarianist. The Jewish Bible says that some ideas are clearly right... and some ideas are clearly wrong. Some ideologies should be accepted and others rejected. That's elitism regarding truth. It also says that all men are created in the image of their Creator and can all equally love and serve Him, coming to him the same way, whether you are a king or a peasant. That's egalitarianism regarding people.

On the other hand, the world's view of elitism and egalitarianism is 180 degrees opposite. "Modern" thought wants us to believe that all ideas have equal value and should be accepted by all tolerant people. This is egalitarianism regarding ideas. If, however, you should disagree with this all accepting ideological view, you are deemed by the cultural elite to be intolerant, a bigot, a backward thinking and dangerous person. This relegates anyone who has a dissenting viewpoint to being the lowest kind of individual that there is... in other words, this is snobbish elitism regarding people.

I for one, want to go on record stating that Judaism does claim to be exclusively true, just like Islam does. However, the difference, and it is enormous, is that Judaism allows people to differ in their opinions without going after them with the sword to demand that they change or die. Islam as defined in the Qur'an does not allow people to dissent and live, and the stated aim of Islam, as stated in the Qur'an, is the world wide takeover of all non-islamic territories, using deception, harshness, and relentless pursuit - Qur'an, Sura 4, verse 78 "WHEREVER YOU ARE, DEATH WILL FIND YOU OUT, EVEN IF YOU ARE IN TOWERS BUILT UP STRONG AND HIGH!"

If we ignore this now, then Islam will be beating down our door for the rest of time.

Food for thought.

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