Dear Neville, There are two rules you must follow. First rule: don’t be taken in by sweet talkers, foreign or not, moustachioed or not. They are sometimes ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing, if you will pardon me quoting scripture. Second rule: remember the first rule.” [Purportedly, this comes from the UK Daily Mirror files of Marjorie Proops, that doyen of agony aunt columnists]
Even Putin the Powerful recently called Islam “a great world religion.” Now, at the time, he was getting stuck into Erdogan for Islamizing Turkey and aiding terrorists so he isn’t totally off beam. Nonetheless, he is eligible to apply for honorary listing alongside most political leaders in the West who have said that Islam is both a great and a peaceful religion. With so much political clout vouchsafing its exalted status in the spiritual life of mankind, Islam must surely be the very model of a modern major theology. If not, then indeed extremely persuasive agitprop is at work in the theatre of politics and the media. And indeed it is.
As one of many similar examples, take the pleasant-faced Tasneem Chopra from the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights. There is no end, of course, to Muslim organisations working feverishly to ensure human rights within Islamic countries (just joshing). Tony Jones recently asked her on Q&A (23/11) whether those coming from Islamic countries had different values.
Ms Chopra replied as follows: “No, I think that’s a time old argument that we’ve been hearing for the last 20 years and it’s the convenient political point scorer, but I think, in reality, it amounts to very little because the values are inherently the same. If you’re talking about Judeo-Christian values and Abrahamic faith traditions, it is, you know, it’s very, very similar.”
No, it isn’t; not remotely. But what is familar is the line of patter. For example, here is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative in the US: “It is important we understand what is meant by Sharia law. Islamic law is about God’s law, and it is not far from what we read in the Declaration of Independence … The principles behind American secular law are similar to Sharia law: that we protect life, liberty and property, that we provide for the common welfare, that we maintain an amount of modesty.”
Ms Chopra and the Imam might be taken aback by the underwhelming support among Australians and Americans – under their respective laws and values — for the administration of the death penalty for apostasy, blasphemy, or for caricaturing Muhammad or the Virgin Mary for that matter. Nor do we approve of the primacy of religious law, of gender inequality, of wife-beating, of marrying off under-aged girls, of polygamy, of chucking homosexuals off tall buildings, of stonings, of punitive amputations, or of intolerance for those peacefully practicing different religions.
Muslim apologists for the Religion of Peace™ would lead us astray if we paid them heed. They cloud the threat with platitudes at best and sophistry at worst. At least those who advocate Sharia4Belgium, Sharia4Holland, Sharia4Britain and the rest of the like-minded Islamic nut jobs are brutally honest about their aims.
But you have to give them credit. Neither the in-your-face radical imams nor the gun-toting terrorists have prevented the apologists from sweet talking their way into 10 Downing Street and the White House and into other centres of Western political power. Political leaders have fallen for their patter, hook line and sinker, and regularly proclaim Islam’s peaceful purpose. No sooner did the Twin Towers fall than George Bush was extolling the Religion of Peace™. He led the way and myriads of Muslim organisations, which have grown like Topsy in the West, reinforce the narrative.
Apparently it is a twisted and perverted form of Islam causing all the trouble. But that is not true. Black is not white. Parts of the immutable and timeless words of Allah in the Koran provide a hateful script for ISIS and other terrorists to follow, as additionally does the Hadith. Now it is all very well to say that most Muslims living outside of Muslim-majority countries do not aspire to lord it over unbelievers, never mind to kill them. But, as two examples among many demonstrate, neighbourliness does not square with Koranic injunctions to slay the idolaters wherever they are found (9:5) and to fight the Christians and Jews until they pay the Jizya and submit (9:29).
There is no way out. To live in harmony with unbelievers, Muslims must explicitly or implicitly disavow their faith and, by doing so, refuse to bow to Islam proper. It is an insult to our intelligence to argue that any of the very words of Allah and the words and actions of Muhammad represent a perversion of Islam. They are Islam. If they are not Islam what then is Islam? I will repeat the question for the benefit of those easily duped. What is Islam if it is not all of the sanctified words of Allah and the sanctified words and actions of Muhammad?
We are witness to the most successful propaganda campaign ever waged. Imagine; each barbarity inflicted in the name of Islam provokes the political leaders of those killed and maimed to proclaim Islam as a religion of peace.
The Quakers better watch out. Their position in the peace stakes is at risk. Many more barbarities committed in the name of Islam will surely elevate Islam to the very pinnacle of peacefulness. Only people consumed with Islamophobia could possibly demur.