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Tuesday January 22 2008

A central argument in the West about Islamic terrorism is: is it a betrayal of Islam, or is it Islam?  I say: the latter.  This quote, featured at greater length today by David Thompson (originally in its entire length here), illustrates very well why I think this:

I remember one particularly defining moment in an Arabic language class when I was sitting beside a Christian friend named Nagi Anton. I was reading a book entitled Alshaykhan by Taha Hussein that cited the Prophet Muhammad’s words: “I have been ordered by Allah to fight and kill all people [non-Muslims] until they say, ‘No God except Allah.’ “ Following the reading of this Hadith, I decisively turned toward Nagi and said to him, “If we are to apply Islam correctly, we should apply this Hadith to you.” At that moment I suddenly started to view Nagi as an enemy rather than as a long-time friend …

These doctrines [of jihad] are not taken out of context, as many apologists for Islamism argue. They are central to the faith and ethics of millions of Muslims, and are currently being taught as part of the standard curriculum in many Islamic educational systems in the Middle East as well in the West. Moreover, there is no single approved Islamic textbook that contradicts or provides an alternative to the passages I have cited.

Quite so.  As soon as I read the Koran at all thoroughly, in the weeks and months after those two towers fell down, I just knew that episodes like that had to have been happening all through the history of Islam and definitely to be going on now.  Now more than ever, because now more than ever, the average Muslim kid can read.  It wouldn’t make any sense for that kind of thinking not to be happening.

When younger, and when it was relevant (i.e. during the 1980s), I ran a thing called the Anti-Soviet Society.  It probably shortened the Cold War by several seconds and maybe even a few minutes.  One day, before I die, and perhaps as part of the process of me dying, I might start the Anti-Islamic Society.

I like your way of thinking about the cold war.
Those would have been unpleasant seconds had they happened.

Posted by fjfjfj on 23 January 2008

The trouble is, Brian, the Moslem kids whom I teach are actually just like us, when you scratch them a bit. Perhaps I have just got nicely westernised ones, I do not know. For example Iqbal (known to his mates here as “Icky” - don’t tell him I know that, please) wants to go into the Police, and downloads “tracks” off Limewire etc, and has a PSP3 and an X-box, and works in his parents’ paki-takeaway restaurant.

I can’t see Icky being very interested in theological jihad agaist you or me.

Posted by David Davis on 23 January 2008


A few responses.

First, it is perfectly possible to combine Western consumer tastes with the taste for anti-Western terrorism.

Second, for things to get very nasty indeed, it is not necessary for a very high percentage of Muslim kids to grow up taking Islam very seriously.  If only a few do, percentage-wise, that would still be very bad.

Third, I hear all kinds of anecdotage to the effect that many Muslims are impeccably “moderate” in their dealings with their Western friends, but that in a different compartment of their minds, so to speak, they harbour, in particular, a lot of anti-Semitic thoughts, and in general favour the advance of Islam, by no matter what means.

I also teach Muslim kids, and very nice and normal they all seem.  But I bet that at least some have beliefs that they keep to themselves in my company.  But I freely admit that I don’t know.

Maybe I am (mis)judging them by my own standards.  Because, I hold beliefs about them and in particular about their beliefs which I keep quiet about in their company, which might distress and anger them greatly if they learned them.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 23 January 2008

I wish I’d known about the Anti-Soviet Society at the time. Starting up an Anti-Islamic Society these days would probably risk gaol time though.

Posted by Scott Wickstein on 24 January 2008

All right. I do accept that “some”, maybe even “many” Moslems in Britain see our society through a different prism from that which we use. They can’t help it. “Icky” for example, can’t see me at weekends at a convenient time for me now because he “has to go to Mosque” for some hours on a Saturday, to do....what? I can’t think, and I’m too scared to ask him, or I might get arrested - I doubt it as his family are quite secular but I don’t want to try. It’s probably his dad, who wears a curious contraption like a skirt which resembles a tent to hid an erect penis, and a sort of hat ( er, on his head.)

You ought also to just see his 20-ish-sister’s improbably chav-like “sleb” underwear, drying always on the thingy in the room where I teach, so you just know they are secular British people! Stuff like that can’t belong either to his mum, or to his 8-year-old sister. I can’t envisage nice fundamentalist Moslem late-teen/20-ish-girls wearing that stuff, even at home, and not being stoned to death, but someone must. She is a “student” and greets me with “Hi, Dave!!! ‘you all right?” when I enter the house. I am scared of her, really, although she is clearly just a friendly Lancashire soul.

I can’t get to him outside those hours for I have other students and I can’t just move them...he understands that. So we’ve agreed I’ll try to do him, and get his Julius Caesar essay right for him, at 8pm on Thursdays when I can maybe get there.

Posted by David Davis on 24 January 2008

I have been ordered by Allah to fight and kill all people [non-Muslims] until they say, ‘No God except Allah.

But if we’re all dead, how can we say “No God except Allah”?

Posted by Julian Taylor on 31 January 2008

An anti-Islamic society is very much needed.  One of the reasons that imams and fundamentalists get indulged so much is that no one ever challenges them properly.  Really they need the kind of tough polemical treatment that Christopher Hitchens can meet out. 

In any event, I am sure that the police collate lists of Islamophobes.  (One can be sure that they don’t make lists of, for exampe: tory-haters or Christo-phobes.)

This is a subject that I could write about at length and in a higher register than is possible at midnight in a comment box.

If you ever get round to starting an anti-Islamic society you can count me in as a founder member. All the more so if some of us have to do prison time for starting it.

Posted by Aetius on 02 February 2008

A fresh exhibit for your future Society’s studies:

I live in a [very] close proximity to the place of action, and used to pass it every day for 6 years.

Here‘s how it looks from the street - the decrepit facade next to American Legion building.

What fun.

Posted by Tatyana on 03 February 2008

I don’t understand why you are propagating the very thing you fear.  Don’t call me an apologist because to be quite frank I don’t really care if you like Islam or not.  I hate lies and half-truths and its the ONLY reason I chose to post.

Firstly, the hadith you quoted is misquoted and taken out of context.  You can go to Sahih Bukhari or Sahih Muslim and verify this.  The quote is:

Abdullah bin Omar narrated that the messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“I have been ordered to fight against people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah and until they perform the prayers and pay the zakat, and if they do so they will have gained protection from me for their lives and property, unless [they do acts that are punishable] in accordance with Islam, and their reckoning will be with Allah the Almighty.”

This hadith is referring SPECIFICALLY to the arab tribe known as the Quaraish.  Why?  Because prior to this, the Muslims were being persecuted by the Quaraish for years simply because they believed there is only One God and He does NOT have sons, daughters or any co-equals.  True monotheism.

The Quraish were pagans and believed that our Creator had daughters, not unlike the pagans of today who believe our Creator has a son or that we are all children of God.  This is called polytheism and its a great sin according to scripture. 

The Quraish would kill Muslims in the most gruesome ways such as taking a spear and jamming it into the vagina of a Muslim woman and killing her in front of her husband and children.  Or taking a hot iron rod and combing the skin of the body of a Muslim man or taking a saw and cutting a Muslim man into halves all because they would not accept the pagan practices of the Quaraish.  (note: in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other areas of the world where Islam is the dominate religion you find Muslims being persecuted again in very similar fashion.  Men and women were tortured, raped and killed in Abu Gharib or many stories like Steven D. Green, the soldier who raped a 15 year old Iraqi girl and then killed her and her family.  These are just two out of thousands of examples.)

Allah says in Qur’an, “Permission to fight is given to those (believers against disbelievers), who are fighting them because they (believers) have been wronged and surely Allah is Able to give them victory.” (22:39)

The proceeding fight was the battle of Badr in which the Muslim only numbered 300 and the Quaraish were 950.  The Quaraish got WHIPPED and lost that battle just as Allah had promised them victory.

You will find the same examples of believers being ordered to fight non-believers in the old testament of the bible, beginning with Moses in Exodus 17:10 when he gave the order to fight the Amalekites.  Also you find similar commands to fight the non-believers in Deuteronomy, Joshua & Judges, etc.

Who are the non-believers?  That’s the topic you really should be asking and discussing.

How does this all translate to our society today?  There are Muslims who are JUSTIFIED in their fighting.  For example, George Bush declared war on Iraq.  Was that justified?  We know today that it was all a lie and fabrication.  Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of Muslims have lost their lives and property over this atrocity.  Yet the billions of Muslims in the world to day have NOT spilled out into the streets killing non-Muslims. 

Yes you will find a situation or two where someone takes drastic matters into their hands and murders innocent people.  This is not acceptable for Muslim or Non-Muslims.

Why does this happen?  Quite simply out of ignorance.  The same ignorant propaganda you are posting to incite Non-Muslims is the same ignorant propaganda being used to incite ignorant Muslims.

The enemy is ignorance!!!  What will you do about that?

Posted by Malik on 03 February 2008

what ever happened to a simple link to my picture?

Sorry, Brian, didn’t mean to screw up your settings.

Everywhere I post it, it was fine.

Posted by Tatyana on 03 February 2008


No worries.  I think I’ve sorted it out.  Thanks for alerting me to the problem.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 03 February 2008
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