Apologetics, the oxygen of Muslim terrorism

For a few months, especially around the time when a Muslim terrorist attacked and murdered almost 50 people in an Orlando nightclub, the protocol was still to deny that the terrorist had anything to do with Islam. But it was a protocol that became simply too preposterous, especially in cases where the terrorist had publicly declared allegiance to ISIS, cried “Allahu-Akbar!” while murdering, or had a name commonly associated with Muslims. Western leaders who’ve tried to make a virtue out of absolving Islam of its terrorism have lost or are rapidly losing all credibility for such blatant and disgraceful apologia and trivialisation of mass murder. Everyone (except Muslim apologists) could see through this and even the most powerful Western leaders started looking like fools.

So how to keep the ‘Islam is innocent’ ruse going? Yes, it’s all ISIS, from now on. Since it can’t be denied when the terrorists have already declared it themselves, the big take-control-of-the-narrative question became whether or not the terrorist was a member of ISIS, coupled with denying that ISIS has anything to do with Islam. The red herring was back in the water.

ISIS enjoys organisational affiliation in at least ten discrete geographical regions with around fifteen organisations. ISIS draws organisational affiliation because it is perceived to be authentic. It fully complies with the Qur’an; something every Muslim is supposed to do. The point is that the Qur’an inspires them all, as well as the more than 100 Muslim terrorist organisations and terrorist-supporting organisations not affiliated to ISIS. What matter’s is not that they are affiliated to ISIS, but that they are inspired by the Qur’an, the book that ISIS impliments to the letter, as every Muslim should. Islamopologia makes us lose sight of all of this. We don’t hear of terrorism carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood, for example, yet that organisation is probably far more dangerous than ISIS, because its operatives seep into societies bearing Qur’ans and quaintness, rather than loaded Kalashnikovs and blood-soaked Allahu-Akbars.

The Qur’an, the sacred text of Islam, is behind all of these organisations and all their campaigns of mass murder. Yet its role in preparing the minds of young children for terrorism continues unchallenged. We call it freedom of religion, a freedom, it seems, more precious than all other freedoms, for the freedom to follow the Qur’an is nothing less than the freedom to undo all freedoms.

Wilfully denying the link between Islam and terrorism amounts to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Doing so as a matter of state policy has to be a crime against humanity, especially when it involves prosecuting those who do make this link.

There are no middlemen in Islam. Yeah, right!

One of Islam’s many, seemingly unkillable, myths is that there are no middlemen in Islam. Your relationship is directly with God. Just try buying a bottle of wine while wearing a hijab and you’ll see just how many “no” middlemen there are. If there were no middlemen, there’d be no-one to enforce Shari’a—duh! There’d be no stonings, no beheadings, not amputations, etc., etc., etc. Your religion is every other Muslim’s business. Every other Muslim is your middleman. Why does this ridiculous myth persist?

Or, have you noticed the burgeoning industry of moderate Muslims running courses to “educate” non-Muslims about Islam? Do they direct you to the Qur’an where you can read it all for yourself directly from Allah? No, they’ll explain it to you. How nice. Ironically, they don’t seem to realise that, unlike them, non-Muslims are not averse to reading the Qur’an for themselves. One of the more positive developments of late is the growing number of non-Muslims who are reading the Qur’an for themselves and very quickly becoming far more knowledgeable about Islam than moderate Muslims can ever allow themselves to become. YouTube videos abound in which Muslims talk down at non-Muslims only to find the non-Muslim, equipped with surah and ayah, bringing them down a peg or two. The best part is when the Muslim is so convinced of their correctness and superiority that they don’t even realise that they’d just been trashed. I find it all rather entertaining.

Silly word games with Islam

David Solway’s proposition that “[Islam] should be construed constitutionally inadmissible,” is easy to agree with. To make this proposition stand, it is enough simply to point towards the innumerable Qur’anic principles and commandments that violate the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.

Solway, unfortunately, attaches himself to Rebecca Bynum’s “masterful study” that, “Islam is not entitled to the protectionist provisions of the First Amendment [of the US Constitution].” In doing so, he draws his own integrity into question because he now, quite unnecessarily, has to construct a baseless edifice with which to prove that Islam is not a religion, thereby seeking to disqualify it from First Amendment protection. The attempt is an amateurish rehash of the same kind of “reasoning” that organised homophobic interests (mainly Christian) employed in attempts to block same-sex couples from Constitutional access to marriage.

In the same way that the homophobic bigots sought to redefine marriage in such a way that a same-sex couple’s marriage wouldn’t be a marriage, Solway seeks to redefine religion in such a way that Islam wouldn’t be a religion. The homophobic bigots found that as soon as they added one qualification, say, procreation, they discovered that they had excluded one or more groups of heterosexual couples who always did qualify to marry. They ended up piling qualification upon qualification to try to keep up with those not blind to the obvious flaws in their arguments. Solway attempts the same with religion, but every one of his qualifications designed to exclude Islam, also excludes Christianity prior to its subjugation to secular law. In other words, Christianity only became a religion after the right to practice religion became enshrined in secular laws. This is obviously not true, so he has to immediately qualify the qualification with “today”.

Eventually, he doesn’t even bother with the redefinition of religion any longer. From that point on Islam fails to be a religion because it fails to demonstrate the attributes of post-Reformation Christianity. He sinks further by telling us that, “Islam reverses the Golden Rule, which is central to Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.” Here he is citing Howard Kainz, but without telling us what that Golden Rule is and how Islam reveres it. Kainz is referring to Matthew 7:12 “whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” This is what Solway claims Islam reverses, citing several suwar and ayat. But Islam does nothing of the kind. Instead, exactly as Solway does with “religion,” so Islam does with “men.” It narrows the definition of men to exclude all men who are not Muslim, so that by “men,” the Qur’an means “Muslim men.” So it doesn’t reverse the Golden Rule at all, but restricts who qualifies for inclusion under it, just as Solway tries to restrict which practices qualify for inclusion under religion.

Of course, there is no way that marriage for same-sex couples could be shown to violate the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. This is what the bigots will have had to prove to get marriage equality banned. But there are innumerable ways that Islam can be shown to violate the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. This is what Solway will have to prove to get Islam banned. To achieve this, he can do a lot better than relying on the hopeless preachy assertions of Rebecca Bynum.

From my own perspective, I hold the banning of religions to be counter-productive. However, through the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, Islam can be neutered. It is only a question of the political will to recognise Islam for what it is: a religion whose practises seriously violate the US Constitution. Mormonism was neutered this way without getting banned, as Solway helpfully explains, but fails to appreciate the significance of.

Hypocrisy as a way of life

Supposing we all had total freedom to choose with no negative consequences attendant to our choices, and supposing we had all the information necessary to make fully-informed choices, would Islam exist? This is just another way of making the same point as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood, made when he said, “If they [Muslims] had gotten rid of the punishment for apostasy, Islam would not exist today.” The point being a simple one: one only becomes a Muslim by indoctrination, duress or delusion. No fully-informed person would embrace Islam of their own free will.

One often comes across a question or assertion concerning the compatibility of Islam with the West, Western values, freedom, democracy or human rights. The underlying assumption in all of these questions is that Islam is compatible with those parts of the world that are not Western. The implication of Al-Qaradawi’s claim is that Islam would not need to kill apostates if that religion were compatible with those parts of the world where it holds sway, and, indeed, originated. My point is that Islam is not compatible with any society anywhere. The fundamental contradiction is between Islam and human beings, period.

This was not always so. Readers of this blog will by now realise that I generally avoid quoting ahadith (no time to go into that here). But the one where Muhammad is said to have advised Muslims that, after his death, they follow the Qur’an and the example of his life, the sunnah, is apt. In fact, they had nothing but the (still uncollated) Qur’an and the example of Muhammad’s life to go by. For that advice, whether actually given or later made up, to be feasibly followed would have required Muhammad’s society of warring, pillaging, raping, and utter savagery towards outsiders and non-conformers — in a word: warlordism — to persist unchanged forever. The only place it stood any chance of survival was in its place of origin: the desert tribes of Arabia, who would, conceivably, have been able to continue that way of life for millennia.

But then they got taken by the notion of conquering the world. And for the world, ethically, it has been an unmitigated disaster. Wherever they conquered, they imposed Islam. Wherever they imposed Islam, one of two things happened: society’s ethics was taken backwards to the ethics of warlordism now ossified in Islam, e.g., India, Persia, Egypt, and most of the Byzantine Empire, or its ethical development beyond the ethics of warlordism was arrested, e.g., north Africa, central and south-east Asia[1]. Outside of time-locked Arabia, there was no way society could be organised, or people could live their lives, according to the Qur’an and the sunnah. Ironically, Muslims support this point by referring to the first, Medina-based four caliphs as the “rightly-guided” caliphs for following the Qur’an and the sunnah. As soon as the centre of the caliphate moved to Damascus (and afterwards to Baghdad), the caliphs were no longer deemed “rightly-guided,” neither could they be. They were now the heads of complex, settled governments ruling over peoples way more cultured and sophisticated than the Muslim invaders (the latter, being followers of the Qur’an, of course believed otherwise).

For Islam to be practical, the first that had to go was the sunnah. No one with any more humanity than a base savage could adopt the ethical values of Muhammad and live the way he did. Furthermore, such conquered societies had already developed laws, standards and mores that rejected much of what the imposed Qur’an permitted or commanded. The Umayyads (the dynasty that ruled the second caliphate and after whom it is named) based in Damascus made no pretence about their attitude towards the Qur’an and the sunnah. The Abbasids (the dynasty that ruled the third caliphate) based temporarily in Kufa, then permanently in Baghdad, wishing to distance themselves from the Umayyads, claimed moral lineage directly from the “rightly-guided” caliphs, effectively casting the Umayyads as godless usurpers. However, they could no more turn civilised Persia into primitive Arabia than they wished to do so. The great scientific and technical advances of the Abbasid period were made possible because the Qur’an and the sunnah were being ignored. Thus began the Great Hypocrisy of ignoring the Qur’an while pretending to follow it.

Every Muslim society today has to practise hypocrisy for the simple reason that it is made up of human beings who are ethically more developed than Muhammad and his tribal Arabs were, and have since, additionally, accumulated an array of needs and desires that go hand-in-hand with being civilised human beings. In short, they are simply too human for Islam. Hypocrisy as a social order stabilises Muslim societies. It settles in a local equilibrium in which there’s something for the rulers, something for the clergy and something for the general populace, provided each knows and maintains their place in that order. Everyone knows that everyone’s ignoring the Qur’an and the sunnah, but no one asks and no one tells, that is, until someone comes along who just can’t leave things be. Already in the early ninth century, Ibn Hanbal had something to take Islam back to. Frustration with deviation from the Qur’an and the sunnah has, since Ibn Hanbal, thrown up Ibn Tumart, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, and numerous others all the way to the twentieth century’s Sayyid Qutb, and our very own beloved Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and his contemporary equivalents, all determined to return Islam to the “rightly-guided” path. To live according to the Qur’an and the sunnah means nothing more and nothing less than to live the way ISIS lives.

The restorers’ basic issue is with Muslims’ deviation from the Qur’an and the sunnah, rather than the infidel per se. In their eyes, the greatest sinners are those whom Allah has granted the gift of Islam, but who have turned against Allah and his messenger by failing to live according to that gift. This basic project of restoring society to the Qur’an and the sunnah, today presents as a confused mix of angers and frustrations against a range of perceived social, political, economic and historical injustices, these themselves the consequences of deviating from the Qur’an and the sunnah.

Everything that is wrong with the world, in the eyes of these restorers, crystalises into the hypocrisy that characterises Muslim societies, a hypocrisy necessary, till now, for the existence of peaceful, moderate Muslims. The latter are ISIS’s real target. The great tragedy is that while moderate and peaceful Muslims continue to pretend that they follow the Qur’an, rather than squarely face up to the fact that they do not, they ensure that ISIS has something to strive for. Stopping ISIS from committing terrorism internationally will not stop it from slaughtering peaceful and moderate Muslims. The hypocrisy, it seems, has finally outlived its usefulness. It is time for moderate Muslims to come off the fence and declare. You are either for the Qur’an, or you are against it.

[1] Ibn Warraq, in Why I am not a Muslim, makes an interesting point that even pagan Arabia was, in some respects, ethically more advanced than the Muslim society that came after.

Slowly, the wilderness grows less lonely.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal published an interview with France’s director of domestic intelligence, Patrick Calvar. “The confrontation is inevitable,” Mr. Calvar said. There are an estimated 15,000 Salafists among France’s seven million Muslims, “whose radical-fundamentalist creed dominates many of the predominantly Muslim housing projects at the edges of cities such as Paris, Nice or Lyon. Their preachers call for a civil war, with all Muslims tasked to wipe out the miscreants down the street.”

Read the rest here.

“Their preachers call for a civil war.” Yes, they do. So do their madrassa teachers. So do their itinerant holy men. So do their “scholars”. But the screaming conclusion that all are deaf to, is So. Does. Their. God. His infallible word, the Qur’an, is nothing less than that “radical-fundamentalist creed”, nothing less than a civil war manual. The piece correctly identifies moderate Muslims as part of the problem, but does not see that the moderate Muslim problem is the problem of the Qur’an. They are the fog on the lens that obscures the Qur’an’s role in Islamic terrorism. When Achmat Deedat stood up in a mosque in Cape Town and boasted of how he had colluded with the Apartheid regime to have the Satanic Verses banned and have Salman Rushdie denied entry to the country, his moderate congregation sat impassioned. When he went on to inform them — indeed, challenge them as to whether they knew — that the Qur’an allows them to crucify Rushdie (meant in the most literal sense), he read out 5:33 several times over, picking out it’s most gruesome details for closer discussion and particular emphasis, and rebuking his congregation for not knowing that Islam allows them to do that, his moderate congregation sat impassioned.

Of course they don’t want to know that their Glorious Qur’an tells them to crucify people and cut off hands and feet. They’ve become more human since all that shit was written. But what can they do? They are Muslim. Being Muslim means following the Qur’an. If you only pretend to follow the Qur’an, as all moderate Muslims necessarily must, then that pretence consist in showing respect for the Qur’an. You cannot pretend to follow the Qur’an and at the same time denounce it as a murder and terrorism manual. This is the central conundrum of the moderate Muslim: how to be a Muslim without being a Muslim.

Yes, some Muslims seem to be finding a way around this: they embrace humanity, plain and simple, without reference to anything — edging away from the Qur’an without seeming to do so. The wilderness grows less lonely. It is a less lonely wilderness.


Allah is OK with it

“Obviously Muslims know that ISIS sucks, so the main audience is people who are not Muslims,” Suleiman added. “People who need to hear that Muslims are not OK with what ISIS is doing.”

I’ve got news for you, baby. Allah is OK with it. If you didn’t know that, then you obviously haven’t read his word as well as ISIS has. So, are you going to change the billboard to “Allah sucks”? Or, if you can’t quite manage that, how about “The Qur’an sucks”?

Do you think you’re special for not being OK with what ISIS is doing? Do you think anyone in the world is OK with what ISIS is doing (apart from ISIS and Allah, of course)? Yet you’d take out a whole billboard to tell the rest of us you are not OK with it? Not OK? Are you serious? You are “not OK” with mass murder, rape, slavery, mindfucking young children into pathological killers—you’re “not OK” with any of that?

You’re right to put it up there on a billboard. Tell us all us how warped your values are. Tell us all how utterly irrelevant you are. You can’t even take the trouble to compose appropriate language. The hundreds of thousands of victims of this murderous gang of Muslims (news: people who abide by the wishes of Allah as laid out in the Qur’an are Muslims, whether you’re OK with that or not) will take great comfort from knowing that you’re not OK with what’s happened to them.

I’d suggest you revisit your presumption that “people who are not Muslim” need to hear your pathos and irrelevance. How dare you!

A positive step not to be belittled

It is heartening to read of how many Muslims in France and Italy have turned out at churches in these two countries to honour the latest victims of Islamic terrorism. This is a very positive development and we must hope for more concerted and diverse responses from peaceful Muslims to the horrors their religion inspires other Muslims to. I well-appreciate what it takes for someone of Muslim upbringing to take a step such as this.

And so I must object to those commentators who would reduce such a public expression of revulsion against inhumanity as mere “interfaith solidarity”. To call it that is, indeed, insulting. It says that the people going against all they’ve been taught since early childhood to be seen in a place of Christian worship (where they may even be figures and depictions of Prophet Jesus nailed to a cross) and identifying with the victims of terrorism are incapable of relating to these horrors as human beings. They can only do so as Muslims, and by implication, if these acts didn’t sully their good name as Muslims, it wouldn’t interest them and they’d feel nothing towards the terrorist victims and their loved ones. It also says that that they are only capable of seeing the victims as Christians, not as human beings.

Readers of this blog will know that there is no love lost between me and religion, and that I am as scathing of Islam as anyone. I also maintain that peaceful Muslims can do a great deal more to undermine the ideological hegemony of those who do exactly as Islam commands them to do (commit terrorism). I will not beat about the bush on these matters and it is well past time that peaceful Muslims acknowledge that it is their religion, unaltered from the one they purport to practise, that commands the terrorism they seek to have nothing to do with. But peaceful Muslims, especially including clergy, turning out in large numbers to publicly take sides against fellow Muslims and their inhumanity is much, much more than the silly notion of interfaith solidarity.

Of course, one should hope that an occasion to do so again does not arise, but should it do so, then let us acknowledge that these Muslims are reaching across a great deal more than just a religious line. Masha-Allah!