The Mirage Of Moderate Islam


The following was written by Eric Raymond and is reprinted with his permission. While the Qur'an may encourage violence against non-believers, there are a lot of Muslims who do no such thing. Most of them, in fact. They read and follow the compassionate parts of the Qur'an and try to ignore the violent parts.

Just as any modern Christian will be quick to tell you, there are some violent parts to the Bible. What is missing in the Islamic world is the great majority of moderate Muslims who are willing to say the same thing. Part of the reason they don't is that they are afraid, because some of the violent parts of the Qur'an are directed at people who think the Qur'an is not perfect the way it is. With all that in mind, here is Raymond's article:

DIPLOMATIC LIES notwithstanding, Islam is anything but a `religion of peace'. Any honest scholar will tell you that Islam is a religion of violence, martyrdom, and conversion by the sword. The duty to wage war for the propagation of the faith is plainly written in the Koran; Osama bin Laden's suicide bombers are part of a tradition that springs from Islam's warlike origins and has been re-affirmed in every generations by ghazis, hashishim, and numerous other varieties of holy warrior.

It is the interiorization of `jihad' as a struggle for self-mastery that is revisionist and exceptional, one proposed by only a few Westernized and progressive Muslims and (one senses) not wholeheartedly believed even by them. A truer window on the nature of Islam is the way that it divides the Earth into the Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam) and the Dar al-Harb — the House of War, the theater of battle to be waged with zeal until the infidel is crushed and submits to the Will of God. The very word, islam, means `submission'.

Conspicuous by their absence are any clear denunciations of bin-Ladenite terror from the members of the ulama, the loose collective of elders and theologicians that articulates the Islamic faith. Such internal criticism as we do hear is muted, equivocal, often excusing the terrorists immediately after half-heartedly condemning them. Far more common, though seldom reported in Western media, are pro-jihadi sermons that denounce America as a land of devils and praise Al-Qaeda's mass murderers in one breath with Palestinian suicide bombers as martyrs assured of a place in heaven.

There has been some play given in the media lately to the notion that the ideological force behind Islamic terrorism is not Islam per se but specifically the puritanical Wahhabi sect associated with the House of Saud. Some accounts trace the rise in terrorism to Wahhabi prosyletization in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. Most versions of this theory have it that Wahhabism is an unattractive doctrine (by contrast with, say, the Sufi tradition of the Caucasus or the relaxed syncretic Buddhist-influenced Islam of Indonesia) but that it wins converts because, with billions in Saudi oil money behind it, the Wahhabites can afford to field missionaries and build schools that promulgate the puritan party line.

The trouble with this theory is that it ignores the history of Islam and the internal logic of Islamic doctrine. The history of Islam is a collection of cycles of doctrinal decay followed by fundamentalist renewal. Believers tend to drift away from strict Islam, but every century or two some mad-eyed wanderer will come screaming out of the desert and haul the faithful back on to the Narrow Way with a blend of personal charisma, argument and force (the latter generally administered by some allied warlord who sees political gain in it).

This drama keeps getting re-enacted because, in general, these charismatic fundamentalist looney-toons are correct in their criticism of `soft' Islam. The Koran, the actions and statements of the prophet Mohammed, and the witness of the lives of his immediate followers are pretty clear on what the religious duties of a Muslim are. Long before the 9/11 attacks, I read large portions of the Koran (in translation) and more than one history of Islam, because I collect religions. I learned about the Five Pillars and the hadith (the traditional sayings of Mohammed) and the ulama. The picture is not a pretty or reassuring one.

Moderate Muslims trying to argue against the latest version of Islamic fundamentalism are in a difficult situation. All the fundamentalists have to do to support their position is to point at the Koran, which is much more authoritative in an Islamic context than the Bible is in most Christian ones. Moderates are reduced to arguing that the Koran doesn't really mean what it says, or arguing from hadith that qualify or contradict the Koranic text. Since the Koran trumps the hadith, this is generally a losing position.

The grim truth is that Osama bin Laden's fanatic interpretation of Islam is Koranically correct. The God of the Koran and Mohammed truly does demand that idolatry be purged with fire and sword, and that infidels must be forced either to convert to Islam or (as a limited exception for Christians and Jews, the "Peoples of the Book") live as second-class citizens subject to special taxes and legal restrictions. The Koran really does endorse suicidal martyrdom and the indiscriminate killing of infidels for the faith.

(The Koran does not, however, require purdah and the veil; these are practices the Arab world picked up from Persia after the tenth century CE. Nor does it require female genital mutilation, which seems to have been acquired from sub-Saharan Africa.)

For both shallow diplomatic/political reasons and deeper psychological ones, Westerners have trouble grasping just how bloody-minded, intolerant, and prone to periodic murderous outbreaks of fundamentalist zeal Islam actually is. But we must come to grips with this. If we treat the terror war as a merely geopolitical conflict, we will be fighting the wrong battle with the wrong weapons.

It is not merely Al-Qaeda or the Taliban or even Wahhabism we are fighting, it is a fanatic tendency wired deep into the origins and doctrine of Islam itself, a tendency of which these movements are just surface signs. That tendency must be cured or cauterized out. No lesser victory will do for a world in which means and weapons of mass destruction grow ever easier for terrorists to acquire.

What al-Qaeda Wants

I have described the Koranic roots of Islamic fanaticism, and observed that Osama bin Laden's terror war on the West is part of a recurring pattern of fundamentalist revival associated with jihad in Islamic history.

In this essay, I'll get more specific about what Osama bin Laden is really after. In the process, it will become clear why Arab-world governments are so frightened of him.

The first thing to understand is that Osama bin Laden is neither crazy nor stupid. He is a very intelligent, educated, visionary man who is operating from deep within the Islamic worldview. He's trying to do on a global scale what the Ayatollah Khomeini did in Iran in 1979; he's bucking for the job of Caliph of Islam ("Khalifa" in Arabic).

The position of Khalifa has been vacant since the last Padishah Emperor of the Ottoman Empire was deposed in 1924, when the British and French broke up the Empire after it picked the wrong side in World War One. Before that, the Caliph was in theory both the supreme temporal and spiritual ruler of the Islamic world.

I say "in theory" because the Caliph's actual authority varied considerably. In the early centuries of Islam, during the initial expansionary phase of the Empire, it was absolute -- in European terms, as though Charlemagne or Napoleon were also the Pope. It tended to decrease over time as the increasing size of the Islamic empire led to political fragmentation. Independent emirs swore nominal fealty to the Caliph and accepted his symbolic authority in religious matters, while otherwise behaving as sovereigns. An able Caliph backed by strong armies could buck this disintegrative trend and make the allegiance of the emirs more than nominal. Eventually emperors of the Ottoman Turks collected this title, and gathered most of the Islamic world under their sway. But the Ottoman Empire had been in decline for four centuries by 1924, and the title of Caliph had become almost meaningless.

One of the signature traits of Islamic revivalism is nostalgia for the halcyon days of Islamic expansion, when the Caliph was the undisputed Arm of Allah and there was plenty of plunder and rapine to go around as the armies of God smote the infidel and claimed new lands for the Dar-al-Islam.

Here's where we cue the ominous theme music. It is part of Islamic tradition that the title of Khalifa may be attained by conquest if the incumbent is not fulfilling his duties -- or if there is no incumbent. Under shari'a law and hadith, the umma (the consultative assembly of the elders of Islam) is required to recognize as Khalifa anyone who is able to fulfill the duties of the position and demonstrates the sanction of Allah by mobilizing the Dar-al-Islam in successful jihad. Jihad, here, is interpreted broadly; a war of consolidation that united a substantial portion of the Dar-al-Islam under a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy would do it.

In other words, since 1924 the position of Caliph has been waiting for a Man on Horseback. Or, for you science-fiction fans out there, a Muad'Dib. The Ayatollah Khomeini could never quite make this nut; first, because he was not a plausible warlord, and second because he's part of the 10% Shi'a minority branch that disputes the Khalifal succession. The next Caliph, if there is one, will have to belong to the 90% Sunni majority.

Osama bin Laden has behaved precisely as though he intends to fill that role. And in doing so, he has frightened the crap out of the rulers of the Arab world. Because he's played his religious and propaganda cards very well in Islamic terms, barring the detail that he may well be dead and buried under rubble in an Afghan cave.

On 9/11, bin Laden took jihad to the symbolic heart of the West more effectively than any Islamic ruler has managed since the Siege of Vienna was broken in 1683. By doing so he caught Arab rulers (especially the Saudis) in a neat theo-political trap. They have been encouraging hatred of Israel and the West, and hyping the jihadist mythology of fundamentalist Islam, as a way of diverting popular anger that might otherwise focus on their own corrupt and repressive regimes. But Bin Laden has trumped and beaten them at this game. He has acted out the Koranic duty of jihad in a way they never dared -- and in doing so, seized the religious high ground.

The sheikhs and ayatollahs now have a dilemma. If they support jihadism, they must either start a war against the West they know they cannot win or cede their own legitimacy to the Caliph-claimant who is leading the jihad. But if they come out against jihad, bin Laden or his successor can de-legitimitize them simply by pointing to the Koran. The possibility that the semi-mythical "Arab street" would revolt behind local Khomeini-equivalents hot to join al-Qaeda's jihad is quite real.

Let the last word go to the mentor of Osama bin Laden, Sheik Abdullah Azzam: "Jihad must not be abandoned until Allah alone is worshiped by mankind...Jihad and the rifle negotiations, no conferences and no dialogue." The Palestinians are, as usual, disposable pawns in a larger game. The objective of al-Qaeda's game is to follow the Koranic blueprint to its logical conclusion; global jihad, a second age of conversion by the sword, the destruction of the West, and the establishment of a global Islamic theocracy.

Osama bin Laden himself may be dead now. Unfortunately, this doesn't necessarily stop the game, because his body hasn't been found. The Twelfth Imam of Shi'a disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 941CE; persons claiming to be him and calling the faithful to jihad emerged at intervals for a thousand years afterwards, the most recent one being the Mahdi who led an anti-British revolt in Egypt in 1881. If the jihadist tendency in Islam is not confronted and destroyed, Osama bin Laden could haunt the West for a thousand years.


How To Make Terrorism a More Appealing Subject to Talk About


MANY PEOPLE don't want to talk about terrorism because it is a divisive topic, prone to overheat people. There is always the chance of it becoming an upsetting conversation as people entrench themselves into their opinion and start arguing.

Plus it's an ugly topic. You're talking about people wanting to kill other people in horrible ways. It's about as negative as topics get.

But you can make it easier in several ways, and even interesting. First of all, approach it that way. Not as a way to have an argument or put people in their place or prove you know more than they do, but as a fascinating subject.

How jihad works and how non-Muslims have dealt with it in history is fascinating. What jihadis are doing now in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world is fascinating. The public statements by world leaders about Islam is (morbidly) fascinating. And the content of the Qur'an is really surprising to most people in Europe and America. So capitalize on all these points of interest. Make the conversation interesting. The facts themselves are persuasive. You don't have to try to persuade.

Find the most interesting, surprising facts, and use those to open the conversation.

Another way to approach the topic is to come at it obliquely by sharing something you've learned that citizens can do about terrorism. Part of what makes the topic upsetting is that people don't see the point in talking about it because they feel helpless about it.

However you approach it, allow people their point of view. It's okay. Most of us started with that point of view. It's understandable. After talking with you for awhile, they'll think differently, so you can relax. No need to get upset by it. And if you're not upset, it will help prevent them from being upset too.

We need these conversations to happen in free countries so they can remain free. It is a good thing to take seriously. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it.


How Many of the World's Conflicts Involve Muslims?


The following is quoted from an article called The Age of Muslim Wars:

"In the 1990s violence occurred between Muslims and non-Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Chechnya, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kashmir, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Middle East, Sudan and Nigeria.

"Mujahedin fighters from the Afghanistan war were central participants in many of these conflicts as well as in Muslim terrorist organizations in countries throughout the world. In the mid-1990s, roughly half the ethnic conflicts in the world involved Muslims fighting each other or non-Muslims.

"In one inventory by
The Economist, Muslims were responsible for 11 and possibly 12 of 16 major acts of international terrorism between 1983 and 2000. Five of the seven states listed by the U.S. State Department as supporting terrorism are Muslim, as are a majority of foreign organizations listed as engaged in terrorism.

"In counter-actions between 1980 and 1995, the U.S. armed forces engaged in 17 military operations against Muslims. According to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, 32 armed conflicts were underway in 2000; more than two thirds involved Muslims. Yet Muslims are only about one fifth of the world’s population."

And yet, far and wide we hear "Islam is a religion of peace." There are three main reasons that phrase is repeated so often. One is because of the religious duty of Islamists to deceive unbelievers. And the other is that Islamists have an entirely different interpretation of the the phrase "religion of peace" than the one that naturally occurs to people in free countries.

And the third is that ignorant westerners, trying to be sensitive and multicultural, say Islam is a religion of peace because it is the politically correct thing to say. They are unwittingly helping the Islamists keep westerners in the dark while the Islamists advance their purposes (the overthrow of western governments in Europe and the USA).


Eleven Reasons to Reject Sharia Law in Any Form


THE FOLLOWING list was posted at the Infidel Blogger's Alliance and has been attributed to Larry Houle. It is a countdown of the top eleven reasons to reject Shari'a. Shari'a is Islamic law, based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah. It is considered my Muslims to be Allah's law, and the only rightful set of laws on earth.

Several countries apply Shari'a today, and millions of militant Muslims around the world are uniting and recruiting and willing to die to get Shari'a applied in more countries. Here is why their efforts must be stopped:

11. Shari'a condones slavery.
Islam's Black Slaves: The Other Black Diaspora notes: "the Quran stipulated that female slaves might lawfully be enjoyed by their masters." Mohammad himself owned many slaves, some of whom he captured in wars of conquest and some he purchased. The names of forty slaves owned by Mohammad are recorded by Muslim chroniclers.

Islamic law (Sharia) contains elaborate regulations for slavery. A slave had no right to be heard in court (testimony was forbidden by slaves), slaves had no right to property, could marry only with the permission of the owner, and were considered to be chattel, that is the movable property, of the slave owner.

Muslim slave owners were specifically entitled by Sharia law to sexually exploit their slaves, including hiring them out as prostitutes. One reason why very little has been written about the Arab involvement in slavery is that traditional Islamic culture still condones slavery. The Sharia, the codified Islamic law which is based upon the teachings and example of Mohammad, contains explicit regulations for slavery. One of the primary principles of Islam is following the example of Mohammad.

Whatever Mohammad did, we must do, what he forbade, we must forbid, what he did not forbid, we may not forbid.
As Mohammad himself traded in slaves and owned slaves, accumulating multiple wives, even marrying a six year-old, and having concubines slavery and the sexual exploitation of women is deeply ingrained in Islamic tradition.

Muslim nations had engaged in the slave trade for over 600 years before Europe became involved in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.


According to the Hughes Dictionary of Islam, slaves had few civil or legal rights. For example:
a) Muslim men were allowed to have sex anytime with females slaves - Sura 4:3, 4:29, 33:49.

b) Slaves are as helpless before their masters as idols are before God - Sura 16:77

c) According to Islamic tradition, people at the time of their capture were either to be killed, or enslaved. Shows you that they were at the bottom of the barrel to start with.

d) According to Islamic jurisprudence, slaves were merchandise. The sales of slaves was in accordance with the sale of animals.

e) Muhammad ordered that some slaves who were freed by their master be RE-ENSLAVED!

f) It is permissible under Islamic law to whip slaves.

g) According to Islam, a Muslim could not be put to death for murdering a slave. Ref. 2:178 and the Jalalayn confirm this.

h) According to Islam, the testimony of slaves is not admissible in court. Ibn Timiyya and Bukhari state this.

i) According to Islamic jurisprudence, slaves cannot choose their own marriage mate. - Ibn Hazm, vol. 6, part 9.

j) According to Islamic jurisprudence, slaves can be forced to marry who their masters want. - Malik ibn Anas, vol. 2, page 155.

Slavery continued in Islamic lands from about the beginning to this very day (read one man's recent experience escaping slavery in Sudan). Muslim rulers always found support in the Quran to call 'jihad', partly for booty, partly for the purpose of taking slaves.

As the Islamic empire disintegrated into smaller kingdoms, and each ruler was able to decide what Islam's theology really meant. Usually, he always found it in support of what he wanted to do. Their calls of jihad against their neighbors facilitated the taking of slaves for Islam. The Quran and Islamic jurisprudence support the taking of slaves, so, those petty Muslim rulers were following the Quran when they needed slaves.

a) Islam allows Muslims to make slaves out of anyone who is captured during war.

b) Islam allows for the children of slaves to be raised as slaves.

c) Like (a), Islam allows for Christians and Jews to be made into slaves if they are captured in war. After Muslim armies attacked and conquered Spain, they took thousands of slaves back to Damascus. The key prize was 1000 virgins as slaves.

d) Christians and Jews, who had made a treaty with the ruling Muslims could be made into slaves if they did not pay the "protection" tax. This paying for 'protection' was just like paying a Mafia racketeer! This allowed Muslim rulers to extort money from non-Muslim people.

Shari'a commands that drinkers and gamblers should be whipped.
In 2001, Iranian officials sentenced three men to flogging not only for illicit sex (see reason number 9 below), but also for drinking alcohol. In 2005, in Nigeria a Shari'a court ordered that a drinker should be caned eighty strokes. In 2005, in the Indonesian province of Aceh, fifteen men were caned in front of a mosque for gambling. This was done publicly so all could see and fear. Eleven others are scheduled to undergo the same penalty for gambling.

After going through two previous confusing stages before coming down hard on drinkers and gamblers, the Quran finally prohibits alcohol and gambling in Sura 5:90-91; they do not prescribe the punishment of flogging, but the hadith does.

A poor 'criminal' was brought to Muhammad who became angry: The Prophet felt it hard (was angry) and ordered all those who were present in the house, to beat him [the drinker dragged into Muhammad's presence].
(Bukhari, Punishments, nos. 6774-6775)
Thus, we see no offer of help for the alcoholic when he is dragged before Muhammad and his followers. Why does Muhammad not offer rehabilitation? Why does he immediately go to corporal punishment? The later classical legal rulings follow the Quran and the hadith, so we do not need to examine them here.

9. Shari'a allows husbands to hit their wives even if the husbands merely fear highhandedness in their wives.

In 2004, Rania al-Baz, who had been beaten by her husband, made her ordeal public to raise awareness about violence suffered by women in the home in Saudi Arabia. Saudi television aired a talk show that discussed this issue. One of the guests was an Islamic scholar holding up sample rods that husbands may use to hit their wives.

The Quran says:

4:34 . . . If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of Allah], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. Allah is most high and great. (MAS Abdel Haleem, the Qur'an, Oxford UP, 2004)

The hadith says that Muslim women in the time of Muhammad were suffering from domestic violence in the context of confusing marriage laws:

Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'Abdur Rahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, 'Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!" (Bukhari)

This hadith shows Muhammad hitting his girl-bride, Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr:

Muslim no. 2127: 'He [Muhammad] struck me [Aisha] on the chest which caused me pain.'

It is claimed that Islamic societies have fewer incidents of fornication and adultery because of strict laws or customs, for example, women wearing veils over their faces or keeping separate from men in social settings. But these results of fewer incidents of sexual 'crimes' may have unanticipated negative effects in other areas, such as the oppression of women.

Generally, Shari'a restricts women's social mobility and rights, the more closely Shari'a is followed. For example, in conservative Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive cars.

In Iran, the law oppresses women. For example, women's testimony counts half that of men, and far more women than men are stoned to death for adultery.

Shari'a allows an injured plaintiff to exact legal revenge physical eye for physical eye.

In 2003, in Saudi Arabia a man had two teeth extracted under the law of retaliation.In 2003, a court in Pakistan sentenced a man to be blinded by acid after he carried out a similar attack on his fiancé. In 2005, an Iranian court orders a man's eye to be removed for throwing acid on another man and blinding him in both eyes.The Quran says:

5:45 And We ordained therein for them: Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth and wounds equal for equal. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation. And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers . . .). (Hilali and Khan, The Noble Qur'an, Riyadh: Darussalam, 1996)

This passage allows for an indemnity or compensation instead of imposing the literal punishment of eye for an eye. No one should have a quarrel with this option. According to the hadith, the plaintiff also has the option to forgive, and this is legitimate, provided a judge oversees the process. The problem is the literal law of retaliation.

The hadith and later legal rulings demonstrate that this excessive option was actually carried out, as do the three modern examples linked above.

Islamic law calls all of humanity to march backwards 1,400 years BC (the law is based on the Torah) and to re-impose the old law of retaliation
literally, and the evidence suggest that the Torah never intended the law to be carried out literally.

Shari'a commands that a male and female thief must have a hand cut off.

This punishment is prescribed in the Quran, the eternal word of Allah. It does not exist only in the fevered imagination of a violent and sick radical regime like the Taliban, which once ruled in Afghanistan. The Quran says:

5:38 Cut off the hands of thieves, whether they are male or female, as punishment for what they have done —
a deterrent from Allah: Allah is almighty and wise.

39 But if anyone repents after his wrongdoing and makes amends, God will accept his repentance: God is most forgiving and merciful. (Haleem)

At first glance, verse 39 seems to accept repentance before the thief's hand is cut off. But the hadith states emphatically that repentance is acceptable only after mutilation. Muhammad himself says that even if his own daughter, Fatima, were to steal and then intercede that her hand should not be cut off, he would still have to cut it off (Bukhari, Punishments, no. 6788)

Shari'a commands that highway robbers should be crucified or mutilated.

In September 2003, Scotsman Sandy Mitchell faced crucifixion in Saudi Arabia. He was beaten and tortured until he confessed to a crime he did not commit: a bomb plot masterminded by the British embassy. An article about it said of this punishment that it was the worst kind of execution and that two have been carried out in the last twenty years.

In 2002 Amnesty International reports that even though Saudi Arabia ratified the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in October 1997, amputation is prescribed under both Hudud (punishments) and Qisas (law of retaliation).

AI has recorded thirty-three amputations and nine cross-amputations where the alternate hand or foot is mutilated. The Quran says:

5:33-34 Those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to spread corruption in the land should be punished by death, crucifixion, the amputation of an alternate hand and foot or banishment from the land: a disgrace for them in this world, and then a terrible punishment in the Hereafter...unless they repent before you overpower them: in that case bear in mind that Allah is forgiving and merciful. (Haleem)

It may be difficult to accept, but the hadith says that Muhammad tortured these next people before he executed them. This scenario provides the historical context of Sura 5:33-34. The explanations in parentheses have been added by the translator:

Narrated Anas: Some people . . . came to the Prophet and embraced Islam . . . [T]hey turned renegades (reverted from Islam) and killed the shepherd of the camels and took the camels away...The Prophet ordered that their hands and legs should be cut off and their eyes should be branded with heated pieces of iron, and that their cut hands and legs should not be cauterized, till they died. (Bukhari, Punishments, no. 6802)

The next hadith reports that the renegades died from bleeding to death because Muhammad refused to cauterize their amputated limbs. Then the hadith after that one reports that the renegades were not given water, so they died of thirst. They probably died of both causes: thirst and loss of blood.

Islamic law says that these punishments are imposed for highway robbery, and in some cases crucifixion does not need a murder before it is imposed.

Shari'a commands that homosexuals must be executed.
In February 1998, the Taliban, who once ruled in Afghanistan, ordered a stone wall to be pushed over on top of three men convicted of sodomy. Their lives were to be spared if they survived for 30 minutes and were still alive when the stones were removed.
In its 1991 Constitution, in Articles 108-113, Iran adopted the punishment of execution for sodomy.

In April 2005, a Kuwaiti cleric says homosexuals should be thrown off a mountain or stoned to death.

On April 7, 2005, it was reported that Saudi Arabia sentenced more than 100 men to prison or flogging for 'gay conduct.' These homosexuals were lucky. Early Islam would have executed them, as these hadith demonstrate.

Ibn Abbas, Muhammad's cousin and highly reliable transmitter of hadith, reports the following about early Islam and Muhammad's punishment of homosexuals: ...'If you find anyone doing as Lot's people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.' (Abu Dawud no. 4447)

This hadith passage says that homosexuals should be burned alive or have a wall pushed on them:

Ibn Abbas and Abu Huraira reported God's messenger as saying, 'Accursed is he who does what Lot's people did.' In a version...on the authority of Ibn Abbas it says that Ali [Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law] had two people burned and that Abu Bakr [Muhammad's chief companion] had a wall thrown down on them. (Mishkat, vol. 1, p. 765, Prescribed Punishments)

Though this punishment of a wall being toppled on them is extreme, the Taliban were merely following the origins of their religion.

4. Shari'a
orders unmarried fornicators to be whipped and adulterers to be stoned to death.

In 2001, Iranian officials sentenced three men to flogging for illicit sex. The Quran says:

24:2 The fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. [This punishment is for unmarried persons guilty of the above crime (illegal sex), but if married persons commit it (illegal sex), the punishment is to stone them to death, according to Allah's law]. (Hilali and Khan)

The additions in the brackets, though not original to the Arabic, have the support of the hadith. These command flogging only of unmarried fornicators: Bukhari, Punishments, nos. 6831 and 6833. The classical legal rulings follow the Quran and the hadith closely, so we do not need to analyze them here.

In Iran, a teenage boy broke his Ramadan fast, so a judge sentenced him to be lashed with eighty-five stripes. He died from the punishment. Though his sad case does not deal with fornication, it is cited here because it shows that lashing can be fatal.

In December 2004, Amnesty International reports: An Iranian woman charged with adultery faces death by stoning in the next five days after her death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court last month. Her unnamed co-defendant is at risk of imminent execution by hanging.

Amnesty International members are now writing urgent appeals to the Iranian authorities, calling for the execution to be stopped. She is to be buried up to her chest and stoned to death.

This gruesome hadith passage reports that a woman was buried up to her chest and stoned to death:

And when he had given command over her and she was put in a hole up to her breast, he ordered the people to stone her. Khalid b. al-Walid came forward with a stone which he threw at her head, and when the blood spurted on his face he cursed her... (Muslim no. 4206) The Prophet prayed over her dead body and then buried her.

Truthfully, though, how effective was the prayer when Muhammad and his community murdered her in cold blood? The rest of the hadith says that Muhammad told Khalid not to be too harsh, but the Prophet's words drip with irony. Perhaps Muhammad meant that Khalid should not have cursed her. However, if they really did not want to be harsh, they should have forgiven her and let her go to raise her child.

Later Islamic legal rulings follow the Quran and the hadith closely, so we do not need to analyze them here.

Shari'a orders death for Muslim and possible death for non-Muslim critics of Muhammad and the Quran and even Shari'a itself.

In 1989, Iran's Supreme Leader issued a fatwa (legal decree) to assassinate Salman Rushdie, a novelist, who wrote The Satanic Verses: A Novel (Bestselling Backlist), which includes questions about the angel Gabriel's role in inspiring the Quran.

Now the extremists in the highest levels in Iran have recently renewed the fatwa. In 2005, The Muslim Council of Victoria, Australia, brought a lawsuit against two pastors for holding a conference and posting articles critiquing Islam. Three Muslims attended the conference and felt offended. The two pastors have been convicted based on Australia's vilification law. While on trial, one of them wanted to read from the Quran on domestic violence (see 9, above), but the lawyer representing the Council would not allow it. The pastors are appealing their conviction.

In 2005, British Muslims have been campaigning to pass a religious hate speech law in England's parliament. They have succeeded. The Muslims' ability to propagandize has not been curtailed. Opponents of the law say that it stifles free speech that may criticize Muhammad, the Quran, and Islam. Here are the classical legal rulings:
First, the Muslim deserves death for doing any of the following (Reliance of the Traveler pp. 597-98, o8.7):

(1) Reviling Allah or his Messenger;

(2) being sarcastic about 'Allah's name, His command, His interdiction, His promise, or His threat';

(3) denying any verse of the Quran or 'anything which by scholarly consensus belongs to it, or to add a verse that does not belong to it';

(4) holding that 'any of Allah's messengers or prophets are liars, or to deny their being sent';

(5) reviling the religion of Islam;

(6) being sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred Law;

(7) denying that Allah intended 'the Prophet's be the religion followed by the entire world.

'It is no wonder that critical investigation of the truth claims of Islam can never prevail in Islamic lands when the sword of Muhammad hangs over the scholars' head.

The non-Muslims living under Islamic rule are not allowed to do the following (p. 609, o11.10(1)-(5)):

(1) Commit adultery with a Muslim woman or marry her;

(2) conceal spies of hostile forces;

(3) lead a Muslim away from Islam;

(4) mention something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet...or Islam.

According to the discretion of the caliph or his representative, the punishments for violating these rules are as follows:

(1) death,

(2) enslavement,

(3) release without paying anything, or

(4) ransoming in exchange for money

These punishments also execute free speech
even repulsive speech and freedom of religion or conscience. Ultimately, censorship testifies to a lack of confidence in one's position and message. If the message of Islam were truly superior, one could trust in the power of truth.

As it stands, Shari'a
with its prescribed punishments for questioning Muhammad, the Quran, and the Shari'a itself testifies to their weakness since Shari'a threatens those who dare to differ. How confident was Muhammad (and today's Muslims) in his message that he had to rely on violence and force to protect his message, besides reason and persuasive argumentation?

Shari'a orders apostates to be killed (an apostate is someone who leaves Islam).
In Iran, an academic was condemned to death for criticizing clerical rule in Iran. The rulers assert that he was insulting Muhammad and Shi'ite laws. He was charged with apostasy.

Apostates are those who leave Islam, like Salman Rushdie, whether they become atheists or convert to another religion. They are supposed to be killed according to the Quran, the hadith, and later legal rulings. See the previous point number 3 for acts that entail leaving Islam according to Islamic law.
Citing Quranic verses and hadith passages, Sayyid Maududi, a respected Islamic scholar, argues that Sura 9:11-12 refers to apostates and that they should be put to death. Apostates should be given time to repent, but if they refuse, they must be killed.

And the number one reason why Shari'a is bad for all societies...

Shari'a commands offensive and aggressive and unjust jihad.

Muhammad is foundational to Islam, and he set the memetic code for Islam
waging war. In the ten years he lived in Medina from AD 622 to his death of a fever in AD 632, he either sent out or went out on seventy-four raids, expeditions, or full-scale wars. They range from small assassination hit squads to kill anyone who insulted him, to the Tabuk Crusades in late AD 630 against the Byzantine Christians. Muhammad had heard a rumor that an army was mobilizing to invade Arabia, but the rumor was false, so his 30,000 jihadists returned home, but not before imposing a jizya tax ("protection" tax) on northern Christians and Jews.

Money flowed into the Islamic treasury.

What are some of the legalized rules of jihad found in the Quran, hadith, and classical legal opinions?

(1) Women and children are enslaved. They can either be sold, or the Muslims may 'marry' the women, since any previous marriages of slaves are automatically annulled upon their capture, according to Shari'a.

(2) Jihadists may have sex with slave women. Ali, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, did this.

(3) Women and children must not be killed during war, unless this happens in a nighttime raid when visibility was low.

(4) Old men and monks could be killed.

(5) A captured enemy of war could be killed, enslaved, ransomed for money or an exchange, freely released, or beaten. One time Muhammad even tortured a citizen of the city of Khaybar in order to extract information about where the wealth of the city was hidden.

(6) Enemy men who converted could keep their property and small children. This law is so excessive that it amounts to forced conversion. Only the strongest of the strong could resist this coercion and remain a non-Muslim.

(7) Civilian property may be confiscated.

(8) Civilian homes may be destroyed.

(9) Civilian fruit trees may be destroyed.

(10) Pagan Arabs had to convert or die. This does not allow for the freedom of religion or conscience.

(11) People of the Book (Jews and Christians) had three options (Sura 9:29): fight and die; convert and pay a forced 'charity' or zakat tax; or keep their Biblical faith and pay a jizya or poll tax. The last two options mean that money flows into the Islamic treasury.

Thus, jihad is aggressive, coercive, and excessive, and Allah never revealed to Muhammad a revelation to stop these practices. Therefore, Islam is violent
unjustly and aggressively.



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