Contrary to the efforts by several of our politicians and numerous self-appointed Islamic experts to paint Islam as an enlightened belief system based on pure, genteel precepts, the religion founded by Mohammed during the first three decades of the 7th century AD is not about peace and not about tolerance. This assertion isnít rooted in unfounded rhetoric espoused by the opponents of Islam. Actually, the proof lies in the Moslem holy book, the Qurían (Koran). Persons professing to know the true edicts of Islam and claim to know with certainty that Islam doesnít authorize or condone slaughter of non-Muslims has simply not read his or her Koran thoroughly enough. It seems they only repeat what Muslim clerics would have them believe without any sort of investigatory perusal of their own.
The American public has been reassured daily that the terrorists who planned and carried out these September 11th acts of war were operating on the fringes of Mohammadís religion. The Muslim apologetic contends these extremists were peddling a counterfeit Islam, one that takes the Prophetís words out of context, and certainly one that the vast majority of Muslims donít embrace, or so we are told.
Well what about those passages in the Koran that purport to command the wanton slaughter of the "infidels" or unbelievers? Those sorts of messages are included in the Muslim holy text, as Mohammad was prone to writing about what should be done to those that rejected his claims. Itís interesting to note, at this point, that his new faith encountered much opposition in Mohammadís hometown of Mecca. And because of his rejection in Mecca, he and his followers withdrew to the city of Medina or "City of the Prophet," renamed from its original Yathrib. It was in Medina that Mohammad faced even more resistance, this time from inhabiting Christians and Jews. It was also from Medina that Mohammad conveyed many of his views on violence and recruitment of pagans, inspiring many of the more emphatic calls for slaughter contained in the Koran. Indeed, the "Hijira" (flight), as Mohammadís fleeing to Medina and the accompanying time period therein is called, marked the turning point in the history of Islam. During this time, Mohammad rejected Jerusalem, as the center of worship, choosing instead to install Mecca as the place to worship what he contended was the one true God, Allah. Of course, this meant that the Prophet had to conquer the city. And conquer he did, putting to the sword anyone that rejected his claims. As John Noss writes, "by his death in 632 he knew he was well on the way to unifying the Arab tribes under a theocracy governed by the will of God. Between his return to Mecca and his death, Mohammad zealously and militantly propagated Islam."
And as was alluded to before, the Medina exile inspired Mohammad to pen many of his most explicit calls for the killing of infidels, several of which are in the Koran. Although many Muslim clerics point to these verses as allegoric or analogous to some other purpose, a reading of the text doesnít suggest anything but a literal interpretation. As an editorial in the September 26th Dallas Observer Online Magazine correctly posited, "these excerpts do not clash in any obvious way with the broader message of the book, and even if one were not a literalist, he might be forgiven for thinking that the Prophet meant them to be taken literally."
So what exactly do these verses recommend for Mohammadís followers? Consider for yourself: Sura II, verse 191 tells the reader that death in battle is the "reward" of those who suppress the faith. Ostensibly, infidels are better off dying in unbelief at the hands of jihadic Muslims then to live on in the religiosity of their choosing; the former will land a pagan in heaven without trying to convert the person here on earth, while dying in unbelief from other causes apart from a good hacking by sword-wielding Muslims ensures eternal condemnation. This should strike us all as highly intolerant, even xenophobic. Sura II, verse 216 says that fighting is good for Muslims. Sura II, verse 217 says that war is to be preferred to oppression, a theme echoed in Sura XXII, verses 39 and 40. Sura IV, verse 74 promises a great reward to one who dies in battle fighting on God's side. Sura VIII, verse 38 admonishes faithful Muslims to kill unbelievers until there are no more of them (see, too, verses 65 and 66 of the same Sura). Sura IX, verse 5 encourages the faithful to use every stratagem of war to slay pagans wherever they are found (one assumes terror is included as a stratagem of war). Sura IX, verse 29 says that even People of the Book -- that is, Jews and Christians -- can be subdued by war. Sura XLVII, verse 4 assures the faithful again that when they kill unbelievers in war they are doing God's will. Mohammad demands that husbands beat their disobedient wives in Sura IV, verse 31.
A general sentiment of violence serving both a retributive and compassionate purpose is clearly evident after reading through these verses. As the Dallas Observer editorial points out, these teachings are "retributive because they express God's judgment, and compassionate because they warn infidels from worse disasters to follow." And it isnít as if only the most militant Muslims use these words to justify jihad; Arab states like Syria, Jordan and Egypt have waged war against Israel and the West via the instructions spelled out in the Koran. Yassir Arafat, long fancied a moderate Arab by American liberals, has said as much on a number of occasions. His views once won him a place among the most hated Muslim extremists in the Middle East, but now he enjoys amended status in liberal circles as the voice of peace in contrast to militant Israelis who (unthinkably to liberals) want to retaliate when Palestinians litter the streets of Tel Aviv with the limbs of innocent Israelis.
As a missionary acquaintance of mine told me, moderate Arab states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia will imprison and even execute those that profess Christ (or any other figure besides Mohammad), proselytize on Jesusí behalf or blaspheme the name of Allah. Lest I remind you, that these are supposedly moderate nation states that enforce these strict, intolerant statutes and not the rogues in Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan. Moreover, the continent of Africa is rife with Muslim regimes slaughtering Christians and other sects for the simple purpose that they refuse to call Allah "God". Yet, we havenít heard even one leading Muslim cleric here in the United States or elsewhere express outrage at this murder-with-impunity that ravages the Dark Continent. So I ask, where are the supposed legions of Muslims that seek peace and tranquility, who condemn these terrorist acts both here and in places like Sudan, Sierra Leone and Nigeria? (Cricket chirping)
The only answer youíll hear are the dubious, equivocal condemnations from Muslims who couch their misgivings in anti-American nonsense, claiming ultimate blame lies at the feet of American foreign policy.
Make no mistake about it: The Majority of the Muslim world hates the United States and they hate Christ and His followers and Jews. Read the Koran and youíll understand this.
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