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September 13th 2014 print

Geoffrey Luck

Muslims Are What Muslims Believe

This is what makes it so difficult for the West to understand and combat Islamic terror: the cleverness with which religion has been intertwined with politics to justify and legitimise brutality. In the name of Allah, killing becomes holy killing and evil is His holy tool

beheadedWhy is everyone so surprised that young Muslims are rushing off from every civilised country to sacrifice themselves as jihadists on the barren plains of Iraq? The day after the World Trade Centre was reduced to piles of rubble, Americans were told they had had it coming to them. The cheers rang around the Islamic world. New York was soon confronted with a demand to set up a mosque a couple of blocks away — the classic victory salute from Arab history to mark the site of a battle won.

But nobody listened, or heard. Least of all the leader of the shattered country, George W. Bush.  Incredibly, he chose Washington’s Islamic Centre as the site from which to explain the event to his nation. Standing beside leaders of the Muslim community, he exonerated Islam: “That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.”

In one of the most stupid acts of an American presidency, in which political expediency triumphed over historical knowledge and common sense, Bush quoted a passage from the Qur’an:

“In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. For  that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule.”

Where, that day, were the scholars who should have been able to explain to the president what those words meant to Islam? Precisely the opposite of what he thought. It had been evil America which had held the signs of Allah up to ridicule. In his misbegotten quote, President Bush sent out a coded message to the Arab world, signalling that the leader of the Free World didn’t understand what he was talking about, what he was up against.

It doesn’t require the code-breakers of  Bletchley Park to decipher the messages of the Qur’an; it simply needs a reading of history and a study of how Muhammad designed his political religion and applied it in his own time. The atrocities we are seeing at the hands of ISIS, the self-promulgated Islamic State, are straight out of the script of Muhammad’s terrorism. What is happening today is an imitation of what Mohammed did 1400 years ago.

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Massacre, rape, beheadings, crucifixions were the tools used to extend Islam in the seventh century; armed raids, seizures, and slavery financed the campaign. As leader, and the messenger of Allah, Muhammad was not merely charismatic, he could not be questioned. He was accepted as “the perfect human” (al ensan-e-kamel) and the ‘Mercy of God among all the worlds’ (rahmatan lil alamin). The laws he claimed to be passing on as the word of God conveniently legitimised his every action and were so crafted as to bind his followers, for all time.

That is what makes it so difficult for us in the West to understand and combat this terror: the cleverness with which religion has been intertwined with politics to justify and legitimise brutality. In the name of Allah, killing becomes holy killing; looting, genocide and rape are thus associated with God, sanctifying evil.

The Qur’an has a verse, 8:74 which can be used to authorise the radicalised volunteers now flocking to fight with ISIS:

“Those who believe, and adopt exile, and fight for the Faith, in the cause of Allah as well as those who give (them) asylum and aid – these are (all) in very truth the Believers: for them is the forgiveness of sins and a provision most generous.”

There is left no doubt this is a just, holy war: “Fight until there is no fitnah (dissension) and religion is wholly to Allah. (Q. 8:39.)

It would be comforting if all this could be dismissed as irrelevant historical myth. But the Qur’an binds all Muslims as the unalterable word of God. It is taught in mosques and madrassas around the world and awaits only the interpretation of an imam to bring it to life as today’s duty. Those moderates who might call for tolerance of unbelievers and accommodation with other faiths can be silenced with verses such as Q. 4:84:

“Fight then in Allah’s way; this is not imposed on you except in relation to yourself, and rouse the believers to ardour; maybe Allah will restrain the fighting of those who disbelieve and Allah is strongest in prowess and strongest to give an exemplary punishment.”

Tony Abbott is correct to describe ISIS as a death cult, and right to commit forces to protect Iraq’s northern minority groups from the threat to convert or die. The rationale is to stop the cancer of that terrorism returning to infect Australia. But the political correctness of multiculturalism – as well as electoral opportunism – prevents Abbott confronting the domestic threat of Islam. The presence of Salman Rushdie in Australia recently, for the Melbourne Writers’ Festival and Sydney’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas, coincidentally offered a timely reminder of the intolerance of Islam and the long reach of the fatwa.

Government must find a way to disentangle the religion of Muslims from the political teachings of Islam. So long as  Islamic schools teach the Qur’an as the absolute word of God, there is nothing to stop its belligerent verses being invoked as a call to violent action against tolerant societies. Government must insist on civic duty to Australia being placed above political responsibility to Allah. The prohibition of Jihad by residents of this country is important; the absolute repudiation of every tenet of Sharia law is just as vital, because the universal Islamic state already exists in virtual form in every society.

Here is a list of the most important of those laws, from Sharia for Dummies:

  •  Jihad defined as “ to war against non-Muslims to establish the religion” is the duty of every Muslim.
  • A Caliph can hold office through seizure of power, meaning through force.
  • A Caliph is exempt from being charged with serious crimes such as murder, adultery, robbery, theft, drinking, and in some cases of rape.
  • A percentage of Zakat (alms) must go towards jihad.
  • It is obligatory to obey the commands of the Caliph, even if he is unjust.
  • A Muslim who leaves Islam must be killed immediately.
  • A Muslim will be forgiven for murder of (1) an apostate;  (2) an adulterer;  (3) a highway robber.
  • A Muslim will not get the death penalty if he kills a non-Muslim.
  • Sharia dictates death by stoning, beheading, amputation of limbs, flogging and other forms of cruel and unusual punishments even for crimes of sin such as adultery.
  • Non-Muslims are not equal to Muslims and must comply to Sharia if they are to remain safe. They are forbidden to marry Muslim women, publicly display wine or pork, recite their scriptures or openly celebrate their religious holidays or funerals. They are forbidden from building new churches or building them higher than mosques. They may not enter a mosque without permission.
  • It is a crime for a non-Muslim to sell weapons to someone who will use them against Muslims. Non-Muslims cannot curse a Muslim, say anything derogatory about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam, or expose the weak points of Muslims.
  • A non-Muslim cannot inherit from a Muslim.
  • Banks must be Sharia-compliant, with interest not allowed.
  • No testimony in court is acceptable from people of low-level jobs. Women in such low-level jobs cannot keep custody of their children in case of divorce.
  • A non-Muslim cannot rule over a non-Muslim minority.
  • Homosexuality is punishable by death.
  • There is no age limit for marriage of girls under Sharia. The marriage contract can take place anytime after birth and consummated at age 8 or 9.
  • Rebelliousness on the part of the wife nullifies the husband’s obligation to support her.
  • Divorce is only in the hands of the husband, and is easy as saying “I divorce you.”
  • There is no common property between husband and wife, and the husband’s property does not automatically go to the wife after his death.
  • A woman inherits half of what a man inherits.
  • A man has the right to have up to four wives,  a wife has no right to divorce him even if he is polygamous.
  • The dowry is given in exchange for the woman’s sexual organs.
  • The testimony of a woman in court is half the value of a man.
  • A woman loses custody if she remarries.
  • To prove rape, a woman must have four male witnesses.
  • A Muslim woman must cover every inch of her body, which is considered Awrah — a sexual organ. Some schools of Sharia allow the face to be exposed, others don’t.
  • A Muslim man is forgiven if he kills his wife caught in the act of adultery.

(Sharia for Dummies is extracted from Cruel and Usual Punishment: The terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law by Nonie Darwish, Egyptian/American human rights activist and critic of Islam. She converted to Christianity and lives in the United States.)

Politicians continue to mouth their appeasing blandishments. The day after journalist Steven Sotloff was beheaded, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry insulted both his parents and the intelligence of every thinking American:

“The face of Islam is not the butchers who killed Steven Sotloff. That’s ISIL. The real face of Islam is one where Muslim communities are advocating for universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the most basic freedom to practise one’s faith openly and freely.”

This is clearly nonsense. Where in the Muslim world is faith practised openly and freely by non-Muslims?

The West continues to ignore the most knowledgeable people about the threat of Islam – the apostates. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali woman whose book Infidel catalogues her flight from arranged marriage and her campaign against female genital mutilation, has described Islam as a “destructive nihilistic cult of death.” Yet this year, the exclusive Brandeis University yielded to protests by the Council of American-Islamic Relations and reversed its decision to award her an honorary degree.

IbnWarraq (Son of a papermaker) is the pseudonym of an author of several books which critically dissect Islam and Muhammadanism. These include:  Why I am not a Muslim (his best known); The Quest for the Historical Muhammad  and What the Koran Really Says. He was one of fourteen dissidents who drew up the 2007 St Petersburg Declaration, calling on Muslims to rally to “a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine.” It also urged the governments of the world to reject Sharia law, and foster open discussion without coercion or intimidation.

Two years ago, an Iranian refugee, now living in Canada under the assumed name of Ali Sina, sounded a dramatic warning  about Islam in his book, Understanding Muhammad and Muslims. The explanations for the religion’s violence, intolerance  and fanaticism were all in the Qur’an and basic Islamic texts, he contended. From his detailed study of the sacred documents, he concluded that Islam and the Qur’an could be explained by Muhammad’s narcissistic personality disorder, his obsessive-compulsive disorder and probably, temporal lobe epilepsy. In what would undoubtedly be regarded as heresy in Islam, Sina described Allah as Muhammad’s alter ego, whose allegedly Divine instructions were invented for his own aggrandisement.

Improbably, Ali Sina believes that any Muslim who reads and accepts his book will abandon Islam, but he nevertheless ends on a pessimistic note. Truth, he says, “has become a hostage to political correctness and is condemned as hate speech. Islam thrives thanks to ignorance.” However, he also believes that the indivisibility of politics and religion in Islam is its Achilles heel. (Muhammad said: “Al Islamo deenun wa dawlah” – Islam is religion and government). Western governments should insist that their Muslim citizens declare their loyalty to the state, repudiating Sharia law.

The militaristic terrorism of Islamic State is now to be countered, it seems, by the application of Western airpower combined with local ground forces. For the Americans, cajoled by a vacillating president, it represents Vice-President Jo Biden’s call to hound ISIS “to the gates of hell.”

What the Americans don’t understand is that militant Islam, with its idea of a caliphate enforced by bloodthirsty penalties, is an ideology which cannot be defeated in warfare. The greater battle, in which the real issues of dangerous Qur’anic teaching must not be discussed for fear of offence, has yet to be started. As long as Australians remain ignorant of the revolutionary seeds lying dormant in Islamic holy works; as long as questions and criticisms are dismissed as racist and Islamophobic, the longer it will be before the real risks are faced.

It is worth recalling the important point that the culture editor of Jyllands-Posten made when he published the twelve cartoons that brought a furious Islamic (and in the West, craven) response:

“Modern secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where one must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price. but that is of minor importance. That is why Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him.”

Hard decisions lie ahead. As Salman Rushie explained in an interview two years ago:

“I suppose the simple lesson that I learned (although it was a hard won lesson) is to not compromise, to hold the line. I think we’re fortunate in these countries in which we live to have the freedom of expression to be able to speak our mind and say what we think. To tell jokes and be satirical and irreverent and all those things that come with life in a free society.

And we have these privileges not by accident, we have these privileges because our forefathers fought for them and I think we have to stand by that and fight for that even though fanatics are trying to push in that direction.”

Geoffrey Luck was an ABC Journalist from 1950 until 1976