Humanist Perspectives: issue 184: Islam: A Totalitarian Marriage of Religion and Politics

Islam: A Totalitarian Marriage of Religion and Politics
by Madeline Weld

Swat, once a vacation resort where the wealthy escaped the summer heat, has fallen under the thumb of the Taliban, who saw fit to shoot a teenage schoolgirl in the head for daring to promote education for women.
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have read Tim Murray’s “Islamic Tipping Point” in the last issue of Humanist Perspectives and the letters by Yves Saint-Pierre, James Lougherty, Gary Geddes, and Rae Aston, taking him to task. It is true that Murray does not make all his points in the measured tones that his detractors clearly would have preferred, but his real offense, in my opinion, is that he pushed people out of their comfort zone. I am inclined to think that if Murray had written an article slamming “Harper dupes” and “right-wing consensus media” a lot less fur would be flying in the pages of Humanist Perspectives. Regardless of whether Murray overdid it with the emotive language, I think a discussion on Islam is an important one for Humanists to have. I believe that we must confront the reality of Islam in Western societies with honesty and courage. My perception is that many Humanists think that fundamentalist Muslims are of no more concern than fundamentalists or orthodox believers of other stripes. But that point of view does not recognize an important difference between Islam and other religions: it is not just a religion, but also a totalitarian political system mandated by its sacred texts.

Minaret of Qayt Bey, The Great Umayyed Mosque of Damascus, Syria - 1

I have been concerned with Islam for some time. My first encounter with it was in the 1960s when I spent two years in Pakistan where my father served as a Canadian diplomat. The oppression of women was evident and I wondered what it would be like to have to wear a burka in the tropical heat. Even then, the hostility to foreigners was palpable. In the sixties, however, the expectation was that things would get better with development. Upper class educated Pakistani women didn’t wear a veil, they wore shalwar kemises or saris. Sadly, however, things have only become worse. Pakistan did not become more like liberal Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, where headscarves were rare and burkas virtually non-existent. On the contrary, the liberal countries have embraced the headscarf and ever more of their politicians are promoting sharia law in which Pakistan has become mired, witnessing the assassination in recent years of two politicians who wanted to abolish its draconian blasphemy laws. Swat, once a vacation resort where the wealthy escaped the summer heat, has fallen under the thumb of the Taliban, who saw fit to shoot a teenage schoolgirl in the head for daring to promote education for women.

In the 1990s, my emotional perception of Islam received some theological backing as I began to read about the subject and especially after I made the acquaintance (at a humanist meeting) of Dr. Marvin Zayed, a philosopher and expert on Islam. Marvin engaged in what he called “rational criticism of Islam” and I edited some articles for him. In 2004, he launched a journal called Brave Minds, which I helped edit and to which I provided some material. Brave Minds ceased publication in 2009. However, during my work with Marvin, I believe that I grasped some important concepts of Islamic theology. I continue to read books and articles by knowledgeable critics of Islam. I am no expert on Islam, but I do believe that I know more about the subject than a lot of people who summarily dismiss as “Islamophobes” anyone who doesn’t share the happy multicultural view of it.

The Arab Human Development Report, put together not by so-called Islamophobes but by Arab intellectuals, documents the backwardness of Muslim societies in every iteration.

Does Islam, more than other religions, block the way to critical thinking? Yes, it does. After the 9/11 attacks of 2001, then president Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan remarked that Muslim countries are among the poorest, most ignorant, and most backward in the world. The Arab Human Development Report, put together not by so-called Islamophobes but by Arab intellectuals, documents the backwardness of Muslim societies in every iteration. Even the Muslim countries rolling in oil money contribute little to advance science and technology. Greece annually translates five times more books from English than does the entire Arab world. Sir Winston Churchill engaged in some plain talk over one hundred years before 9/11:

“Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome” (The River War, first edition, Vol. II, 1899).

Fearless warriors indeed. Islam is a religion born of and based on fighting. The highest rewards of paradise are for those who die in battle. The Koran exhorts its followers to “Make war on them (the unbelievers) until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme” (8: 40). Over two-thirds of the text in the “sira” or biographies of Mohammad are devoted to jihad, most – about three-quarters of the jihad text – to jihad of the sword and only one-quarter to jihad of the pen and mouth. The sira do not mention the inner spiritual struggle that has somehow acquired the name of greater jihad. In the collection of Bukhari (the most important of the various collections of hadiths), 98% of the hadiths devoted to jihad claim that jihad of the sword is the supreme act, while only 2% refer to some religious acts as being equal to jihad of the sword. The analysis of Dr. Bill Warner, “Statistical Islam,” from which those numbers were obtained, provides an excellent weight-of-evidence approach to what Islam is really all about (http://cspipublishing.com/statistical/index.html).

[T]he penalty for apostates who don’t recant is death. These days one can view beheadings of apostates on the internet if one so chooses.

The battles of Mohammad are not just-so stories for Muslims. Mohammad, as Muslims are frequently reminded in the Koran, is the perfect model for mankind. This perfect model was not very successful as a religious preacher early in his prophetic career and made only a few hundred converts. The verses of the Koran that were written during this period are referred to as the Meccan Koran and many are peaceful and conciliatory. But when Mohammad became a politician and warrior, raiding caravans and engaging in forced conversions, fighting those who wouldn’t convert and killing whole tribes in the process, Islam took off, and there were 100,000 Muslims at the time of Mohammad’s death in 632. The verses that came to Mohammad during this period are called the Medina verses and a great many of them are violent and bloodthirsty. Those who would counter the violent verses of the Koran with more moderate ones should remember (or learn if they do not know) the concept of abrogation. The peaceful verses of the Koran from the earlier Mecca period are abrogated (superseded) by the later verses from the Medina period. In accordance with Mohammad’s deathbed wishes, his followers cleansed the Arabian peninsula of infidels. Many Muslims still do not like to see the presence of infidels on the sacred launching pad of Islam.

Becoming a Muslim is a one-way street. Neither those born into it nor those who convert to Islam can renounce it. As decreed and enforced by the warrior prophet Mohammad, the penalty for apostates who don’t recant is death. These days one can view beheadings of apostates on the internet if one so chooses. Islam as a system of life for human beings is a disaster but as a self-perpetuating meme, to use Richard Dawkins’ term, it is very successful.

Why do Muslims as a group, more than any other immigrants to Western countries, have so much trouble integrating? It is because the Koran tells them not to: “Let not believers make friends with Infidels in preference to the faithful – he that does this has nothing to hope for from God – except in self-defence” (Koran 3: 26), and “Believers, do not make friends with any but your own people. They (the unbelievers) will spare no pains to corrupt you. They desire nothing but your ruin. Their hatred is evident from what they utter with their mouths, but greater is the hatred which their breasts conceal” (Koran 3: 117).

Many Westerners ridicule the idea that Islam wants to take over the world although Islamists routinely tell us it is their intention. Sadly, these Islamists are only following Islamic doctrine. Under Islam, the world is divided into dar-al-Islam (the world of Islam) and dar al-harb (the world of war). The world of war will only be at peace when it is under Islam. A 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document, an “Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” actually lays out the plan for the takeover of this continent. It was discovered by the FBI during a search of a suspected terrorist’s home. The Memorandum lays out a step by step process of establishing a stable and effective Islamic movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood, advancing Muslim causes, expanding the Muslim bases, presenting Islam as a civilization alternative, and supporting the establishment of a global Islamic state. In a section with the title “Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America,” it says, “The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” It also says, “It is a Muslim’s duty to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who choose to slack.” Organizations such as the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, in which the alleged charitable organization HLF was convicted of supporting terrorist groups), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim Students Association (MSA), and many other are front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood. If anyone doubts this, I recommend that they read The Muslim Mafia by Paul David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry.

In Europe, where Muslims as a percentage of the population are higher than in Canada and the USA, Muslims are much more aggressive in their demands for special treatment. Sharia zones where sometimes even the police fear to go, can be found in Paris (zones urbaines sensibles), London, Malmö (Sweden), and other cities. Organizations such as sharia4uk and sharia4belgium are making clear their intention to take over the country. A slightly less aggressive attempt to introduce sharia for civil matters failed in Ontario in 2004.

Those who attribute all Muslim discontent to colonialism and bad Western behaviour in general should ask themselves why other colonized people seem to have moved on (Europe has no problems with its Vietnamese immigrants) and why Muslims are also extremely hostile to other non-Western cultures. Why, for example, did the Taliban blow up the Buddhas of Bamiyan in March of 2001? Why are Islamists in Mali destroying the Sufi tombs and ancient manuscripts? Why do some Islamists in Egypt want to destroy the pyramids? The reason has nothing to do with what anyone has done to Muslims. It has to do with the concept of jahiliyya (or “age of ignorance”) in which everything that is pre-Islamic or non-Islamic must be destroyed. (And since the Sufis are considered heretical in all mainstream branches of Islam, their works qualify for destruction.) Mohammad himself set the example when he destroyed all 360 of the idols of the Kaaba, which had been a pagan temple before it became Islam’s most sacred site.

A vexing problem with Islam is its pathological hatred of Jews. In an interview with Frontpage about her new book, The Devil We Don’t Know, author Nonie Darwish explains why Jews and Israel present an existential problem for Islam. She says that Mohammad’s rejection by the Jews, which became an intolerable obsession with him, in addition to their prosperity as successful businessmen, agriculturalists, traders, and tool makers, made him envious. He accused them of having broken a treaty, and Allah himself agreed with Mohammad in the Koran. (The Koran is the exact word of Allah that was transmitted to Mohammad.) Mohammad’s solution was to slaughter the recalcitrant Jews (at least the men – the women and children were enslaved). To reduce the torment he felt for these massacres, Mohammad needed everyone around him to participate in the genocide against the Jews and many verses in the Koran encourage fighting as an act of obedience to and worship of Allah. Darwish argues that Muslims today must continue fighting the unfinished business of Mohammad and the cover-up of Islam’s bloody shame. Nothing shakes Islam’s confidence in itself like Judaism and the idea of making peace with the Jewish people. Making peace with the Jews is equivalent to treason to Mohammad and to Islam itself, she says. Indeed, if one reads the charter of Hamas, it is clear that peace with Israel is the last thing that this organization is looking for.

While Muslim organizations such as CAIR whinge about Islamophobia (a term cleverly thought up by CAIR), minorities in Muslim countries are viciously discriminated against. Only the grossest outrages against Coptic Christians in Egypt are reported in the Western mainstream media. Religious minorities in Muslim countries are often prevented from building – or even doing repairs on existing – places of worship, and these are subject to attack. In Saudi Arabia, any religious structure other than a mosque is forbidden, and non-Muslim foreign workers caught worshipping together are imprisoned. Non-Muslims living in Muslim lands are known as dhimmi. Dhimmis are second-class (or worse) citizens without the same rights as Muslims, whose word counts for less in a court of law, and who must pay a special tax, the jizya. The Koran (9:29) is quite clear about their inferior status: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” The Islamists in Egypt are right now making sure that Christians know their proper place in dhimmitude.

Meanwhile, in Western countries, Saudi-funded mosques, often mega-mosques, are springing up like mushrooms. It would be naive to think that these mosques are just places of worship and serve no political purpose. Youssef Qaradawi, who has been unconditionally endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood operating in Canada, describes the role of the mosque: “To guide public policy of a Nation, raise awareness of critical issues and reveal its enemies. From ancient times the Mosque has had a role in urging Jihad for the sake of Allah.” The Nation he refers to is the umma, or global Muslim community. A distressing 80% of US mosques are radical, according to Stephen Schwartz, Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism. At the United Nations too, Islam flexes its muscle, in the form of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (formerly Conference) or OIC. The promotion of anti-blasphemy laws is an ongoing objective of the OIC.

To critically analyze Islam is essential to protecting the rights and freedoms we take for granted. It is not to be against Muslims as human beings, any more than criticizing Christianity is to be against Christians as human beings. But it is a fact that many Muslims who have come to Western countries as immigrants have a great deal of difficulty with our values, such as free speech and the equality and self-determination of women. We have witnessed some horrific honour killings of women deemed too Western and disobedient. If we do not confront and defang radical Islam in our societies, we betray not only our values but those Muslims who would also like to integrate and enjoy the same freedoms that we do. In Europe, the failure of mainstream politicians to address the reasonable concerns of ordinary people about Islam has led to the rise of moderate (such as the Dutch Freedom Party) and more extreme (such as the Greek Golden Dawn) right-wing parties.

On the subject of religion, Thomas Jefferson said, “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” Unfortunately, the god of Islam seeks to pick our pockets and break our legs. Committed Jihadi Muslims make that clear to us every day. We should give them the courtesy of paying attention.

Madeline Weld is a toxicologist evaluator at Health Canada (Food Directorate). She is President of Population Institute Canada, an organization that seeks to raise awareness of the impact of human population growth on Earth and promotes the development of ethical policies for population stabilization and reduction.

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