Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Magic WAND

One of my posts, Perfect Dhimmitude was commented on by someone called mere muslim, aka Abdurrahman R. Squires, an ex-US marine and a convert to Islam. Firstly, thanks for a restrained comment, which read:

Mere Muslim said...

Below are links to four new articles, from a traditional Muslim perspective, which address various issues which are being raised by the on-going Danish cartoon crisis. I hope that at least some of the self-righteous Islamophobes out there will have the courage to read these articles in detail--but especially the first one which is an exposé of the sloppy antics of Daniel Pipes:

Danish Cartoons, Double-Standards and Daniel Pipes

Hate-Mongers Beware...

Why Muslims Are Angry...

An Idiot's Guide to Offensive Cartoons

The actual articles can be found via the post linked to above, or by visiting his website.

I say it was a restrained comment, despite a phrase like "self-righteous Islamophobes", because that's just par for this particular course. If anyone talks about Islam, they quickly become deaf to the incessant repetition of the lazy word "islamophobia", which is just shorthand for "any remark that is not flattering".

I've read the above articles. The most substantial one is indeed the Daniel Pipes piece, and I'll come to that last. In fact, taking them in reverse order makes some sense.

An Idiot's Guide to Offensive Cartoons isn't. After the first sentence, it doesn't mention the cartoons at all, let alone provide a guide to them but, for all that, it starts well:
Well I couldn't resist weighing in on the ongoing cartoon saga. The first thing I want to say is: the violent, idiotic and un-Islamic behavior has got to stop.
Why? Because this was foreseen in the Qu'ran:
"You will certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your souls;
and you will certainly hear much that will grieve you,
from those who received the Book before you (i.e. Jews and Christians)
and from the pagan idolaters.
But if you persevere patiently, and guard against evil,
then that will be a determining factor in all affairs."
- Qur'an 3:186

Maintaining self-restraint in the face of the disgusting bigotry, hatred and blasphemy that we're facing today is what it means to "perservere patiently", which is what the Prophet-salla Allahu 'alayhi wa salam-did when he was mocked, ridiculed and spat upon by the pagan opposition.

Thus the question arises of how he would react to being satired and lampooned in cartoons or having his teachings besmirched by the foolhardy example of some of his latter-day followers?

and so on. That's it. Really. Just the assumption that some terrible wrong has been done, a call to refrain from violence, and examples of Mohammed's forbearance.

Note the two phrases in bold above. They provide us with a simple formula:

being satired and lampooned in cartoons = disgusting bigotry, hatred and blasphemy

No, they don't constitute hatred or bigotry. They are part of the rough and tumble of Western life. The only people for whom they constitute blasphemy are Muslims. And we are not Muslims. But there is a word for non-Muslims who live in a Muslim society and have to conform with Muslim laws and "feel themselves subdued" (Sura 9:29): Dhimmi. I'm going to need this next phrase again, so I'll make it an acronym for convenience. We do not live in a Muslim society and We Are Not Dhimmis. WAND.

Please understand this, Abdurrahman: we are not Dhimmis and you are not going to make us into Dhimmis.

Next, we have Why Muslims are angry.
Personally, I think the primary reasons, aside from the general post-colonial trauma that much of the Muslim World still suffers from due to their exploitation by European powers for so many years, are quite obvious: double-standards and hypocrisy. Thus in reality it’s not about the cartoons per se, but about all the hypocrisy and double-standards surrounding the debate about them.
While I go and talk to some North African Berbers and Sudanese Christians and Animists about post-colonial trauma - having their entire culture destroyed by Islamic invaders - anyone interested can check out the Guardian article which shows the first double standard.

I'm back and, hey, that was fast. Two million of the Sudanese were dead, so it took less time than I expected. The Guardian article shows that the Danish newspaper that published the "offensive" cartoons refused to publish some unsolicited cartoons with a Christian theme. The editor said
"The illustrator thought his cartoons were funny. I did not think so. It would offend some readers, not much but some."

Newspaper refuses to publish unsolicited material. Hold the front page. Newspapers almost never publish unsolicited material. By way of a contrast, the Mohammed cartoons were commissioned because a book author had found it difficult to find an illustrator who would work on his book about Mohammed's life. After the trail of murder left by extremist Islamists across Europe, that's no surprise, so the Jyllands-Posten commissioned some cartoons to show that free speech and free expression still exist in Europe.

Do you really not understand that, Abdurrahman? The newspaper was trying to show that magic WAND. As the editor recently remarked, "we failed". What has instead become clear is the degree of fear, repression and outright dhimmitude that Islamist extremism has planted in Europe and other western countries. That's what this blog, and others, is trying to roll back.

The reason why Muslims feel angry is encapsulated in this next passage, a quote from someone called Rachard Itani:
You can curse the Prophet of the Muslims at will and with total impunity. However, approach the holocaust at your own risks and perils…There is a word for this in the English language: hypocrisy…This whole affair is nothing but an over-reaction to a simple cartoon, you say? Not if you remember a certain other cartoon that appeared in the British newspaper, The Independent, on 27 January 2003. It depicted Prime Minister Sharon of Israel eating the head of a Palestinian child while saying: "What's wrong? You've never seen a politician kissing babies before?" Jews in Britain and around the world erupted with indignation…Muslims deserve nothing more nor less than for Christians in the U.S. and Europe, and Zionist Jews in Israel, to simply abide by the golden rule: treat others as you would have others treat you. So far, Christians and Zionist Jews have proven that they only abide by the alternative definition of this rule: ‘They who have the gold, make the rule.’
Yes, there was anger at that Independent cartoon. But there were no Jews burning embassies, holding up placards demanding that the editor if the paper be beheaded or demanding changes in the law and in society. That's the difference. I think the Independent was and is contemptible, but I uphold their right to free speech. No Israelis claimed immunity from criticism after the cartoon was published. No Jews declared that non-Jews should be subject to Jewish religious law.

The holocaust is the main theme, though, and is dwelt on at length in the next two pieces. Hate-Mongers Beware starts more ominously:
All hate-mongers out there need to realize that one of their kindred spirits, Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, was found guilty at the Nuremberg Trials and sentenced to death even though he never directly participated in the Holocaust.
I wonder if any of the hate-mongering Neanderthal hypocrites out there, like the ones who seemingly think freedom of speech should be absolute, want to defend Julius Streicher's right to free speech?
It's always interesting for a modernist, empirical, scientific, rationalist child of the enlightenment to be called "Neanderthal" by an uncritical believer in bronze-age superstition. But moving on:
Personally, I feel that idea that Muslims are the "New Jews"--since it's okay to hate them, stereotype them, claim they have a propensity towards violence, have no moral values and pose a threat to society at large--is very substantiated, thus I don't think that internment camps (or worse) are out of the question if another large scale terrorist attack takes place on U.S. soil or elsewhere.
And indeed some commentators have mentioned internment, including the very beautiful Michelle Malkin.

Just as an aside, P.J. O'Rorke, remembering all the ethereal babes who walked in counter-culture demos in the 1960s, theorised that the cutting edge is where the most beautiful women gravitate. Just compare some of the right-wing bloggers with, say, Code Pink and you'll get the idea.

To continue from the article:
It's at times like these that I really feel thankful to Almighty God for guiding me to Islam. Sure, most of us get frustrated by the often misguided antics of Muslims these days, but just look at the hate-mongers out there whose daily work consists of making the world a more hateful and less tolerant place
You mean, a place where free expression isn't tolerated? The sort of place where followers of one religion demand that others obey their 1400 year old laws? That's not going to happen, because of that magic WAND.

And so to
Daniel Pipes, the world's most prominent anti-Muslim hate-monger
Based on the fact that he's the respected spokesman for so many Islamophobes around the world, you'd think he'd be able to articulate a decent defense for his paranoid positions. Please try to keep this in mind when you see how easy it is to un-spin his half-baked assertions—and it is always easy when the facts are on your side. So without further adieu, here's what Daniel Pipes, glaring hypocrite and Islamophobe extraordinaire, had to say:

"Will the West stand up for its customs and mores,
including freedom of speech, or will Muslims
impose their way of life on the West? Ultimately,
there is no compromise: Westerners will either
retain their civilization, including the right to
insult and blaspheme, or not."

It’s quite ironic that he finds it so easy to ignore the fact that eleven European countries (including ones that he lists as standing with Denmark in his article), as well as his own State of Israel, have laws which make public denial of the Holocaust a crime.
This seems to be a "they are doing it, so we'll do it too" defense, but that can't be right because
what Daniel Pipes is actually arguing for in this case is a juvenile "We're doing it because they do it too!" justification.
Pipes had mentioned anti-Semitic cartoons in the Middle East. But this is hypocrisy, because burning a flag or a cross are also illegal in the USA, we are told. Then there are links to photographs of racial lynching is the USA.
On that note, please realize that the existence of anti-Semitic Muslim cartoonists and the actions of violent angry Muslim mobs in various locales doesn't nullify the fact that many of those who are defending free speech and the so-called Western way of life are having hypocritical double-standards—so please stop using the recent violence as a way to divert attention from the real issue.
You mean, like showing 70 year old atrocity images to divert us from atrocities being committed today?
Various pundits are claiming that European Muslims want special treatment under the law, although at least one specific religion is already getting preferential treatment. They claim Muslims only want their religion to be protected from insult, but true and decent Muslims want all religions protected from insult (which is a Qur'anic concept by the way).
And, for his twisting of the truth,
the Daniel Pipes' of the world truly have a lot in common with the likes of Julius Streicher.
Muslims do want special treatment before the law. The atrocity pictures, of KKK lynchings, far from being a sign of hypocrisy, are the exact reason why cross burning is illegal in the US. We all have our particular histories and this is part of that of the USA. The Holocaust is part of Europe's and, while I don't personally agree with it, this is why Germany led the way in passing Holocaust Denial laws. European anti-semitism is not extinguished and revisionism is a route used by neo-fascists to gain ground.

But Islam is NOT a part of our history. We are not Muslims and, you guessed it: WAND. But Christianity is a part of our past. There were terrible passages in European history. Heresy and blasphemy were punished by death. There are still atavistic remains of blasphemy laws in many European countries and you'd be right to say that they don't include Islam (or Hinduism, or Buddhism...). But they are the problem, not the solution. Our ancestors fought for the right for free expression, against a (Christian) theocracy - paying with their lives in many cases. The freedoms we enjoy were hard won and are fragile and precious. And we are not going to let them slip away.

We are not Muslims. We are not Dhimmis. And we don't want your religious laws.


Mere Muslim said...

Well I found your rather selective rebuttal to be about as weak as water and poorly reasoned as well. It's interesting how you avoided trying to refute my points about placing limits on freedom of speech, since that's a key topic in this saga that's getting a lot of attention. Your silence in this regard is golden.

In regards to my article An Idiot's Guide to Offensive Cartoons, of which you said " doesn't mention the cartoons at all, let alone provide a guide to them but..."--well sorry for not spoon feeding it to you, but it's a guide for idiot Muslims on how to react to the cartoons.

Also, you completely missed the point when you wrote: "The atrocity pictures, of KKK lynchings, far from being a sign of hypocrisy, are the exact reason why cross burning is illegal in the US. We all have our particular histories and this is part of that of the USA". Well, duh, anti-Muslim discrimination is part of some countries in Europe's history as well, although you might not even know that nor want to admit it. Your take seems to be that if it hasn't happened to you, it must not have taken place; and if it doesn't insult something that I hold sacred, then it's not offensive. I'm glad you're a Christian, since I'd hate to know how sensitive you'd be without putting Christian compassion into practice!

Your failure to admit that the cartoons were (and are) offensive just shows your desperation and your intellectual dishonesty. Do you tell Jews they shouldn't be offended by someone mocking the Holocaust or African-Americans by the "N" word? Can you see that these cartoons represent the same type of things to Muslims? If you can't maybe these excerpts from a great commentary entitled "It's no joke if you're on the receiving end" which appeared today in The Independent (UK) will help:

"But a debate about free speech is meaningless unless it relates to the society in which things are being spoken. When Goebbels commissioned cartoons of grotesque paedophile Jews, he was exercising free speech. So if you approach the matter as an abstract debating point, we should defend his right to do so. But that's obviously mad. Similarly, it wouldn't have helped much to advise Jews to draw their own cartoons of grotesque paedophile Nazis, saying 'Then we'll all be laughing at each other, so isn't that lovely.'"

"But you get the impression that if the academics discussing the matter now had been around back then, there'd have been an edition of The Moral Maze which began 'Our first witness is a Miss Ann Frank. Now you've been complaining about some of the images that have appeared recently, but surely if you're not prepared to accept other people's viewpoints you've no right to be in the country.'"

"Because speech leads to actions. The reason we no longer accept golliwogs and black and white minstrels and the joke of throwing bananas at black footballers is because their existence effects the status of black people in society. If it's legitimate to portray an entire race as sub-human idiots, they're more likely to be attacked, abused and made to feel utterly dreadful. And yet the debates about the reaction to this Danish cartoon have almost all ignored the position of those who feel most threatened by it."

All this just shows that YOU were the one making an assumption when you stated "...Just the assumption that some terrible wrong has been done..." That's because, as explained above, to a certain degree hate speech is in the ear of the beholder. Would you have said the same to Anne Frank when she was offended by Nazi cartoons demonizing Jews? I doubt it (and I hope not).

So in regards to your facile remark that "being satired and lampooned in cartoons = disgusting bigotry, hatred and blasphemy", well finally you got something right! YES! If you understood the history behind it and that it intentionally chose a target that would provoke Muslims (and too bad some idiot Muslims out there let it work so well), you'd recognize that it is "bigotry, hatred and blasphemy"--if you were fair. And I guess I need to keep repeating this until I'm blue in the face: why not apply your same rule to the Holocaust and to racist stereotypes?

Moving on, you say that my "showing 70 year old atrocity images" was to "divert us from atrocities being committed today", which is just an easy out...since what else could you say? So how did the humble pie taste? I'm not surprised that it caused knee-jerk reactions!

Ironically, you then bring up the Islamic conquest of North Africa which took place about 1,300 years ago, ha! What hypocrisy! To top it off, my wife is a "North African Berber", and she doesn't hold anything against the invaders bring Islam to her land...and neither does any Berber that I know. I wonder if the American Indians feel the same about the Christians who invaded their lands! If you're ignorant enough to want to compare the spread of Islam in Africa with the spread of Christianity in the Americas, let's do it!

Also, the hostility between Berbers and Arabs in Algeria and Tunisia is something that the French colonialists got started as part of their "Divide and Conquer" nice try, but no cigar. YOU then try to change the subject from Bosnia, Rwanda, the Holocaust (committed by Europeans) by bringing up the Sudan. So who's trying to divert attention, ha! John, you're just making this too easy!

Your statement that "But Islam is NOT a part of our history" is rather interesting. From what I gather, you're somewhere in the UK, where Islam certainly is part of the past, but you're just not aware of it. To learn more, please read the articles found at British Muslim Heritage. I find all of these articles to be quite encouraging since I'm of mostly of English and Scottish heritage (with a little Irish, Welsh and French as well).

By the way, the site which hosts British Muslim Heritage, which is MASUD.CO.UK, is one of the foremost traditional Muslim sites which opposes, exposes and refutes the militant "Wahhabi" and "Salafi" Islam that the world has such a problem with today. If you have a problem with them, which includes the likes of Abu Hamza al-Masri, I certainly don't have a problem with that.

Actually, I spend quite a bit of my time opposing their half-baked rubbish. However, your error is over generalizing and painting Muslims with too broad a brush. What these militant and self-righteous extremists espouse is a heretical form of Islam, so don't confuse it with mainstream, moderate and traditional Islam. Do we blame all Christians for what the Serbs did, for the actions of abortion clinic bombers or because the British firebombed Dresden just to kill German civilians although the war was already won?

The proof that Saudi-funded "Wahhabis" and "Salafis" are out of the fold of mainstream Sunni Islam, which is why they oppose our rich intellectual and spiritual heritage, is that many of the opinions that they put forward, in spite of their twisted Qur'anic and hadith references, contradict what the overwhelming majority of Muslims scholars have said for the majority of Islamic history. Ah, the sweet truth! If more people out there tried reading an authoritative book once in awhile, especially ones by even-handed non-Muslim academics, they might actually be able to see this. You don't get educated from watching sensationalized TV and bigoted talk radio shows, but only indoctrinated.

Anyway...I've posted a detailed a comment which addresses, albeit indirectly, some more of the weak assertions you've made in the above post.


Mere Muslim said...

In order to temper this little dialogue a bit, I want to tell you that reading your comments made me want to go tone down my language. Thus I've removed all of the references to "Neanderthals", except the one that is used as a rhetorical question (and directed towards Muslims), since they were somewhat un-Islamic and set a bad tone for a serious topic. Actually, an incident came to mind in which a Muslim scholar reprimanded someone for calling terrorists "animals", since--as the scholar put it--this is slanderous to animals, since they don't wantonly kill one another. Yes, we do need to be careful about what we say...

Anyway, I want to post a link to an excellent new article entitled Clash of the Uncivilized: A Response to the Cartoon Controversy, by Imam Zaid Shakir. He's got some wise words for Muslims and an excellent analysis of the current situation, so if you want to know what a real Muslim scholar has to say, please read it. It's wise, intelligent and God-fearing men like him that will hopefully win the hearts and minds of the Muslim World and pull them out of the tendency towards extremism that they're currently going through.

I heard that Timothy Winter (a.k.a. Abdal-Hakim Murad), who's an Oxford-educated English Muslim, is working on an article that will hopefully be published soon. I only wish more people in the West, other than Muslims, were more aware of the views of these scholars. If that were the case, I think we could overcome a lot of the misunderstandings that we face...

In regards to misunderstandings, you might enjoy this little piece of humour by a Muslim comedian.


Peter Risdon said...

The removal of references to Neaderthals is welcome. I hope at some stage you can also come to reflect on the use of the term "Islamophobia". This is just a shield against valid, as well as invalid, criticism. It would be helpful were you to think about the concerns of non-Muslims without this defensive reflex.

Mere Muslim said...

Would you consider the term "Islamophobia" to be in the same class as "anti-Semitism"? The latter is somewhat of an oxymoron anyway, since ethnic Arabs (which is not synonymous with Muslim) are Semites as well.

But the main point is that the "anti-Semitism" is often employed, at least by some people, in invalid ways as well (i.e. any criticism of the policies of the State of Israel are given the label). However, this shouldn't cause us to be dismissive of the fact there is such a thing as anti-Semitism in the world today. Let's apply the same logic to the use of "Islamophobia" as well.

What if the "Islamophobia" label was limited to only invalid criticism of Islam? Just because a term is employed in a sloppy manner by some people doesn't mean we should disgard it all together.

I agree that there are some Muslims who "cry wolf" with this label far too often, by which they're only hurting themselves. If you see such things, then present facts to refute them.

I'd say the same about some of the "Islamophobes" out there (sorry, but it certainly is a useful label!), who often have some legimate gripes with what some Muslims are doing, or even with Islam itself. However, they make the mistake up mixing truth with falsehood and painting with much too broad a brush. The worst part about this is that it alienates mainstream and moderate Muslims who are against the radical elements within the Muslim World as well.

What's going on is an ideological war for the heart and soul of Islam, not a clash of civilizations. However, the mainstream traditional Muslim moderates that are engaged in this jihad of ideas often feel frustrated since there's just so much misunderstanding and misportrayal in the West--for the most part, since there are certainly non-Muslim scholars, diplomats and activists in Europe, American and Asia that have a profound understanding of Islam, but they don't get much of a voice.

So instead of spending our time refuting the half-baked ideas of Wahhabi militants, we're out defending Islam against unwarranted attacks. If the media points out the bad acts of SOME Muslims, well that's fine--and believe me, I'm ashamed of all this. However, don't say that it's due to Islam if such acts are expressly forbidden in Islam. I mean do we scream for Christianity to be reformed when an abortion clinic is bombed by a fundamentalist Christian? No, because everyone in the West knows that the teachings of Christianity don't call for such actions. All we want is the same logic applied to Islam--and we can do without unqualified people presenting their unnuanced understandings of the Qur'an as well.

So do Muslims have lots of problems today? We don't just have problems , we have BIG problems. However, spewing out misinformation about them and simplistic solutions doesn' help anyone. There's so much that needs to be done and we get side-tracked into meaningless squabbles...

That's all for now...sorry that it's a bit rough and unedited.

Peter Risdon said...

Wow... what a lot of comment. Glad to see it.

If you visit Morocco, as I have repeatedly, most recently five months ago, and visit the Berber areas you'll be amazed at the depth and strength of resentment at the Arab invasion all that time ago and the continuing repression. It was much better in the Middle Ages to have been a Christian living in a Moslem part of the world, but the reverse is true today.

Islam is not a part of European history, sorry. There have of course been Muslims here but then there have been representatives of pretty much every religion and race. To say they are all a part of our history leaves us grasping for a term to use for those cultural forces that have been significant. Large numbers of Muslim inhabitants have only been here for a few decades.

The cartoons in question were not offensive, in terms of Western satire. The Independent, which you quote approvingly when it castigates those who give offense, printed, as you know, a cartoon of Sharon eating a baby. The Guardian prints cartoons of George W Bush as a chimp, sodomising a camel. None of the Danish catoons were remotely as offensive as these, but none should be banned.

But the three cartoons that were inserted into the dodgy dossier by the Danish imams were in this league, they showed Mohammed with the face of a pig (they said, this has since been exposed as a lie, within a lie), a dog sodomising a praying Muslim (rather in the spirit of the Guardian) and Mohammed as a paedophile which, in modern terms, he was. This does bear scrutiny, incidentally, because one of the first things laws passed in post-revolutionary Iran lowered the age of consent for girls to 9.

The Danish cartoons were either anodyne (Mohammed as a pastoralist, which he was intitially), a criticism of the newspaper itself for being reactionary, a valid and funny joke about the grotesque aspiration of suicide bombers to enjoy 72 virgins in heaven, and the bomb turban, which is a very good example of a Western satirical cartoon.

Let's face it, with people in Europe and the USA in hiding or under armed guard for writing books, drawing pictures, expressing political opinions, while in countries from Indonesia to America Muslim extremists threaten and take life, this is a valid comment.

The present furore is financed and organised by the Saudis and the Syrians. The Danish Imams have been exposed as having whipped up a storm from an incident that passed off unremarked, or almost so, at the time. One Egyptian newspaper did reprint the cartoons, but Egypt doesn't seem to be under a boycott right now.

Why? Because this is an attempt, a quite deliberate and conscious attempt, to pick on a weak, small member of the EU and force it to its knees, in the hope that this will be the crack in the dam of freedom and democracy.

You say you are also set against the salafists and extremists? Then shame on you for taking the line you do over these cartoons. A young Muslim girl said on the BBCs website recently, This is a free and democratic country and if the extremists don't like it they should go elsewhere. She was better placed than I to make the second part of that remark. I do not call for deportations and I detest the nationalist and white nationalist right. But This IS a free country and you should be helping to keep it that way.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading that only boys and men, between the ages of 17 and 39 (inclusive) can be targets of jihad. That is, if and only if they are armed and clearly fighters. Females of any age and males outside this age range are imune to jihad. So, how can Muslims condone the killing of other Muslims and Jews and Christians who are not in the defined group of "proper jihad targets"?

Peter Risdon said...

Well, let's ask the Ayatollah Khomenei:

"We need a Khalifa who would chop hands, cut throat, stone people
In the same way that the messenger of God used to chop hands, cut throats, and stone people.
In the same way that he massacred the Jews of Bani Qurayza (men, women and children) because they were a bunch of discontent people."

"If the Prophet used to order to burn a house or exterminate a tribe (men, women and children) that was justice.
The lives of people must be secured through punishment.
Because, the protection of the masses lies beneath these very punitive executions.
With just a few years of imprisonment things don’t get fixed.
You must put aside these childish sentimentalism.
We believe that the accused essentially does not have to be tried. He or she must just be killed.
Only their identity is to be established and then they should be killed."

When I say men, women and children, of course I am excluding those that are enslaved.

Mere Muslim said...

Well I don't have much time to dedicate to this rather one-sided debate in which you're long on claims but short on facts. Indeed, this time you've really been caught in a LIE. Your little insertion of "(men, women and children)" into the above quotations seems to indicate that you've been reading the hatemongers again...or you just conveniently fabricated it your own.

If you took the time to do a little research, you might actually learn something about the execution of the Jews of Bani Qurayza—and Wikipedia has an article with a lot of details. First of all, the only ones who considered killing the women and children were the Bani Qurayza themselves—seemingly because they recalled what other Jews had done such a thing at Masada roughly six centuries earlier. Also, the Muslims did not—I repeat DID NOT—kill any women and children of the Bani Qurayza, the Wikipedia article makes this clear (i.e. "The bulk of the tribe's men were killed...").

If you look into this incident further, the Bani Qurayza had agreed to let Sa'ad ibn Mua'dh decide on their fate, since they thought he would be fair and lenient. The Wikipedia article on him even mentions an often overlooked detail of this event, and that's that fact that he "is recorded as saying that he was invoking the laws of the Torah with his judgment which was to execute all adult male members of the tribe."

Indeed, the punishment that the Bani Qurayza received that day was one straight out of their own Torah, not from the Qur'an. Actually, had the Torah been followed, the women and children would have been killed—but Islamic law prohibits the killing of non-combatant women and children (and being that you're from the country that firebombed Dresden and other German cities, that's something you ought to take to heart).

As painful as this realization might be to some, the Bible instructs that if you lay siege to a city and capture it, if it's a city that is "far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations" then, after killing all of the adult males, you shall "take the women, children, animals, and whatever else is in the city-all its spoil-as plunder" (Deuteronomy 20:12-15). However, if it's a nearby city, as was the case with the fortress of Bani Qurayza, then "save alive nothing that breatheth" (Deuteronomy 20:16). So upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that the execution of Bani Qurayza wasn't based on Islamic Law, but rather on one of the foundational texts of Western Civilization.

Also, in regards to the "women and children" being "enslaved"—since I want to be sure that none of your quips slip by unanswered—well this one is Biblical as well. Not only is this obvious from the references to Deuteronmy 20 just mentioned, but if we take a look at Numbers 31:17-18, then this realization might be even a little more painful. These verses contain "the Lord's command" on how the Israelites should deal with the booty (no pun intended) once they conquer the Midianites. After being instructed to kill all of the males (including the children), they are told to "...kill every woman who has known man by lying with him, but all the female children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves" the Israeli soldiers got to keep the young virgins "alive for themselves"—and I hope I don't need to explain what that means.

In regards to your statement "Mohammed as a paedophile which, in modern terms, he was", well you're wrong again. If you bothered to do some research, instead of coming up with your own rather convenient definitions, you'd find that the definition of a paedophile is someone who is "sexually attracted primarily or exclusively to prepubescent children", thus Prophet Muhammad—peace be upon him—certainly wasn't one.

Again, my guess is that you've been reading things written by Islamophobes again. While I don't deny that the Prophet—peace be upon him—married his wife Aishah when she was nine years old (and I've written a detailed article on this topic), she was not "prepubescent" at the time, but had already reached puberty.

Also, of the many women that the Prophet Muhammad-peace be upon him-married, much like the prophets of the Old Testament, Aishah was the only young bride and the only virgin. All of his other wives were older and/or previously married women, including his first wife Khadija who was forty years old when he married her and fifteen years his senior. It's also worth noting that in his younger years, the Prophet—peace be upon him—was married to one and only one woman for over twenty years—and this was in an age of unlimited polygamy.

So based on all of that, the "paedophile" label doesn't stick since not only was Aishah not "prepubescent", but there is no evidence that the Prophet—peace be upon him—was "primarily" or "exclusively" interested in children...but quite a lot of evidence to the contrary. Overall, I find it rather ironic that a member of Western Civilization would try to lecture Muslims about mass murder and sexuality morality, but such is the age in which we live.

By the way, if you insist on maintaining, in spite of the evidence, that Prophet Muhammad—God bless him and grant him peace—was a paedophile, then sound logic dictates that Jesus Christ—peace be upon him—gave tacit approval to paedophilia. I know that this might be a bitter pill to swallow, but if you'd do some research (and don't worry, I'm not holding my breath), you'd find that marrying girls at the outset of puberty was the norm in first century Palestine (i.e. the time in which Jesus lived)—puberty being taken as a biological sign that a woman was ready to bear children.

Now if marrying young women at such an early age, as all societies throughout human history have done until the modern era—and even some still do, was some sort of perverted crime, then Jesus Christ—peace be upon him—would have been obliged to speak out against it. Indeed, any religious leader who is trying to call people to God-fearingness and righteousness has a moral duty to speak out against any crimes, gross injustices or social ills that he's been made aware of.

However, there's nothing in the gospels which indicates that Jesus—peace be upon him—ever spoke out about people in his society marrying girls at puberty. On the contrary, the Hebrew world "almah", which occurs in Isaiah 7:14 and is considered by Christians to be a prophecy of Mary's virgin birth, means a young woman, of marriageable age, who has passed the age of puberty.

It's based on this that many scholars think that Mary was around twelve years old when she gave birth to Jesus—peace be upon him, although some feel that she might have been as old as fifteen. However, "in modern terms", regardless of which age you take, Joseph would have still be committing a criminal act (at least in the US and UK). To be fair, however, we should mention that even this would not technically be considered paedophilia, since there's no proof he was "primarily" or "exclusively" attracted to young girls. And if you want to get technical, Mary was no longer a girl, based on the standards of the society in which she lived, since she was past the age of puberty.

Anyway, getting back to the subject of Jesus' tacit approval of marrying girls just after they'd reached puberty, it seems that Christians have one of two choices: 1) admit that Jesus Christ—peace be upon him—failed in his mission as a moral leader (and even Muslims won't admit to this); or 2) recognize that based on the values of the society of his time, which saw nothing wrong with marrying young girls just after they reached puberty, nothing immoral was going on in this regard, thus Jesus was not obligated to speak out against any of it. So just like the Bani Qurayza issue, this is another one where Christians would be well advised to do some research and then engage their brains before opening their mouths.

The Guardian had a nice piece yesterday which rebutted "those who claim that fear is stalking the offices of western newspapers, where cowardly executives allegedly shrink from publishing anything that might upset Muslims", and it's easy to see why. That's because Islamophobia is the only acceptable form of racism left. However, with the thick coloured lenses that you're obviously wearing, I doubt you can see that.

If you want to go on believing that the cartoons were "not offensive", well that's up to you. However, I think you should re-read some of the points I made since you're side-stepping the lot of them.

Sorry, but that's all I have time for tonight...

Peter Risdon said...

Oh, for heaven's sake. The question was: how do Muslims justify...? and the answer was: this is how one Muslim did, in his own words...

And it's completely plain that these and other calls to violence are interpreted as justifying attacks on women and children by Al Quaeda, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and others.

Of course there are violent bits in the Bible and other scriptures. But until you can bring yourself to stop trying the "it's unfair to charge me with robbery, because other people commit robberies" defense, there's not much hope for progress.

And when Christian Voice start getting state support in their attempt to theocratise Britain, I'll start blogging against them.

Right now, the problem is mainly an Islamic one.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

You keep saying, that the cartoons in JyllandsPosten were not offensive, but as a Dane I can tell you that the objective of paper exactly was to offend Muslims. Along with the cartoons the paper wrote that Muslims needed to get used to scorn, taunt and ridicule. It's idiotic to think that it's a good thing to taunt and ridicule a religious minority. But apparently thats exactly the opinion of the right-wing pundits i Denmark and elsewere