Fitna

by Luke Muehlhauser on August 1, 2010 in Islam,Video

In case you forgot what the Qur’an actually says

Details and history.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle August 1, 2010 at 6:18 pm

This is purely propaganda. Seeing a dead man dragged through the streets is a horrible thing. But you know what? He’s no less dead that if he were hit from a predator drone. Our killing is less personal and more distant and certainly MORE EFFICIENT but it’s still killing others for what we believe is right. How are we any different? Does someone have a good explanation of how a war is different than terrorism? War is just terrorism with a bigger budget and more public buy in. Remember “Shock and awe?” it was so cool and great on TV but those families in Iraq were no less terrified than those in New York on 9/11. Screw you guys for taking part in the “demonizing of the other people.” Please consider that “The best propaganda makes me feel sorry that I have to kill you to keep me safe.” Islam is brutal and horrid and false but it wasn’t born in a vacuum. Neither was Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot. There were reasons why they came to power. We would all do ourselves a big favor to understand the “group think” that brought them to power.

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lukeprog August 1, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle,

Is this directed at me? If so, it’s misdirected. I’ve said many time that the USA is the worst terrorist organization in the world.

You seem to be putting some meaning in to this posting that is not there.

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lukeprog August 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

For those blind to what I’m talking about, see, for example, United States and state terrorism and also Chomsky on U.S. state terror.

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G'DIsraeli August 2, 2010 at 2:21 am

@Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle
-”How are we any different?”
This is the most repugnant line of thought by the post-modern radical left.
If it was in WWII, this would push us to just let the Nazis take over Europe. After all, what’s the difference? take a look at the bombing of Dresden!

False analogies (transfer in psychology, widely used in propaganda) in quality, quantity and intentions and Utopian/idealist criticism ridden with guilt (see Albert Ellis on guilt & the history of the radical left from Marx to post-modern thinkers) are false & pathetic.
America is imperfect, but still a democracy and still holds values that are closer to our secular ethics.
Not only that, but the whole system allows inner criticism and there is a huge difference.

If the radical Muslims had the force (military & economic) they would act infinitely in more terror, violence and outright god-like insanity.
Get your-self together and stop bitching about how someone else is also bad (“but mom, he started it!”) so it makes everyone EQUAL – it does not (Why they push this agenda? see multiculturalism).
And most of all, it does NOT make radical Islam right and immune to criticism.

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G'DIsraeli August 2, 2010 at 2:23 am

I was planing to buy a Qur’an in english, tho they all seem flawed according to Muslims.
I suggest you watch “Islam – The Religion Of Peace? ” by FFreeThinker2 on youtube to see more about false analogies and hasty generalizations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb7lhUNqHsg

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Michael August 2, 2010 at 2:29 am

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Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle August 2, 2010 at 2:36 am

It’s always fun to whack the hornet’s nest and run occasionally. Thanks for pointing me to some of your other posts lukeprog, those do help provide balance. The other posters lack critical thought. The US Army is no longer protecting anybody except our own financial interests. You can lie to me and yourself by telling me all about the Muslim hordes taking over the world, I’ll believe you when they have aircraft carriers. You’ll have credibility when they a fraction of the WMD that we have.

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Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle August 2, 2010 at 2:44 am

Pardon the omission, “You’ll have credibility when they have a fraction of the WMD that we have.” Do I WANT them to have any WMD? OF COURSE NOT! But take a look at the lopsided balance of power sometime. Are there any other countries close to occupying the US? Imagine for an instant how you would feel if you had to go through military checkpoints of an occupying Army to get to work every day. Regardless of who is controlling them, it would be awful. Don’t you think those families living in Iraq live in TERROR as the US bombs begin to fall on their houses?

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Michael August 2, 2010 at 2:55 am

And for those who think Fitna quotes verses out of context, read:
Fitna’s Qur’an verses — in context

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Bogee August 2, 2010 at 5:41 am

@Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle
are you speaking to your imaginary friends again?
You are talknig to straw-men sadly.
Apealing to emotions, your pathetic. Checkpoints are needed for security just like in the air ports.

“Don’t you think those families living in Iraq live in TERROR as the US bombs begin to fall on their houses?”
And your point is what?…
Is luke responsible for this? Is any other commentor?

How the does this have to do with the film ‘fitna’?
You simply try to manipulate people with guilt, and irelevent arguments. If you have something that isn’t fallcious and is relevent, your welcome

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Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle August 2, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Wow…Bogee, you would benefit from a trip to http://dictionary.reference.com/ My points are the ones that I made and you obviously didn’t understand.

Another point I’d like to make is I’m sick and tired of this “war on terror” aren’t you? You should be…it’s just another way our wonderful government, media and other financial interests keep you distracted and unaware of how badly they are screwing you.

Fitna was just propaganda to keep a wedge between people and I think we’d all agree the same movie could be made about some American Christian fundies. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, our war and occupations are terrorism but with a bigger budget and better technology.

If you are going to consider yourself a rationalist, you’re going to have to question this bullshit nationalism you’ve been indoctrinated into since the day you were born.

The Muslim fanatics in that video are very real but they have no tanks, no large standing armies, no air force and no WMD, (except for the ones they can steal from us) while we have invaded and are militarily occupying two of their countries. Even Pakistan, perhaps the biggest threat to world peace at the moment has a tiny fraction of the nuclear weapons we have.

You are a simpleton if you think a military checkpoint in Iraq is the same as airport security.

Most people in Muslim countries are the same as you and I, they’d like to care for their families, go to work each day and lead a decent life. Their politicians and religious figures are lying to them the same way ours are. One of the reasons their insane religion is taking such a firm hold on their psyche is because they are being screwed most of the time. Ever wonder why Iran has such an attitude? I’d wager you don’t even know which two countries border Iran on the East and West. Answer, Iraq and Afghanistan. If there were a powerful, aggressive, occupying army on the North and South of the U.S. our government leaders and religious figures would be ramping exactly the same rhetoric.

If the US were invaded and occupied by Muslims, I’d be burying guns in my backyard, planting land mines on the roadside and all the fundies would be calling for a holy war against the “great satan.” I’d welcome some of the more brainwashed Christian idiots to blow themselves up for the cause.

If you feel guilt when you contemplate the actions of the U.S., that’s GOOD, you SHOULD.

And before you go calling me some pacifist pollyanna you should probably know I’m retired from the US military, 6 years active Army and 14 in the Army National Guard. The day I realized how badly I’d been brainwashed was a real eye opener.

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Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle August 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm

@G’DIsraeli
“If it was in WWII, this would push us to just let the Nazis take over Europe. After all, what’s the difference? take a look at the bombing of Dresden!”

What are you talking about? Dresden was bombed at the end of WWII.

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Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle August 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Oh, and lukeprog, of course my ranting hasn’t been directed at you. Just those people ignorant enough to think we have “smart bombs that only fall on the bad guys.” They could benefit from renting or downloading the movie “Why We Fight.” http://www.sonyclassics.com/whywefight/

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Michael August 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm

HFL, Geert Wilders (the man who made Fitna) has called for Dutch troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. He might even agree that “Most people in Muslim countries are the same as you and I”. Yet he still made Fitna because he believes Islam is a fascist ideology intent on conquering the world, and he dislikes the alien Islamification of increasing parts of the Netherlands – along with its crime, welfare abuse, etc. So, yes, his intent is to demonise Islam – for the purpose of stopping Muslim immigration. But he is careful not to demonise Muslims in the process, so that an orderly resolution is pursued. If you call this “bullshit nationalism” then I’ll stand beside Wilders as a Grade A Bullshit Nationalist. (swearing degrades your argument, by the way).

As for “the same movie could be made about some American Christian fundies”, that is nonsense. Yes, all religions and ideologies (being unhinged from humanist grounding in emotion and its servant reason) are prone to float off in random directions depending on how the elites of the day define the theology/ideology. But Islam, unlike Christianity, is founded on terrorism, and jihad was insitutionalised in their religion early on. Christianity and Judaism, though with plenty of blood on their hands, have no such equivalent violence mandated into their religion. Equivalence might be simple and comforting, but it’s irrational. Islam has jihad commandments that transcend time and place. The violence in Christianity and Judaism was either limited to a particular time and place, or done with weak inspiration from scripture.

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Mazen Abdallah August 3, 2010 at 1:24 am

Muslims are very hooked on the whole ‘If you knew more about us you’d think more of us’ trip but they really fail to realize that’s not going to help. Fun fact, Muslim apologists have recently taken to dumping on the Old Testament to show that they’re happiness and light compared to that crap.

In any other era where it wasn’t still used as a book of morality, the Old Testament and Qur’an wouldn’t bother me. I would consider them rich historical texts. The funniest thing ever is to see Muslims and/or Christians argue that their book is taken out of historical context. Well if it only makes sense in the 600′s, why are you still applying it today?

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Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle August 3, 2010 at 2:27 am

@Michael – “swearing degrades your argument, by the way”

Bullshit. It’s an excellent shorthand word that is easily understood and appropriate in context.

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Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle August 3, 2010 at 2:51 am

@Michael – “The violence in Christianity and Judaism was either limited to a particular time and place, or done with weak inspiration from scripture.”

More bullshit, how does one be “weakly inspired” from Deuteronomy 13:6-9 regarding the treatment of non-believers? “But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.”

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G'DIsraeli August 3, 2010 at 7:09 am

@Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle
“nationalism”? Another straw man. Since no one seems to be too nationalistic on this thread.

It seems also you don’t get the point concerning WWII and use an ad-hoc replying to it.

“The Muslim fanatics in that video are very real but they have no tanks, no large standing armies, no air force and no WMD” – You my friend, are the biggest racist.
Do you think you need hitech machinary to win a awr or cause damage?

Would you call them “great satan”? I think then, you are as dumb as they are.
“I’d been brainwashed”, it seems all your doing all the time is transferring your personal experience onto everyone & everything! Your thinking in a relative instead of absolute manner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUd8XA-5HEk

You stupidly assume that everyone are like everyone, based on your personal biases. A radical Muslims isn’t a radical Christian, like it or not.

According to your logic, Atheists are Christians.
Atheism killed millions, Christianity killed too.
Therefor, no one is better.
Get a grip over your-self.

Feeling guilt, and using it in politics is never good.
It’s actually stupid. This emotionalism is what led to the third Reich and other stupid human actions.

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G'DIsraeli August 3, 2010 at 7:11 am

And by the way, you are not the only one the served in the military here (In a combat unit). Don’t use it as an Irreverent jack for your opinions.

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Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle August 3, 2010 at 2:36 pm

G’DIsraeli -

“Therefore, no one is better.”

Bingo! Why would you think you are better?

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G'DIsraeli August 3, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Yes, I’m better so far. I’m an individual and I act as one, and that includes not feeling guilt (even tho you shouldn’t in any case, again see Albert Ellis on guilt) for someone’s else wrongs.
I don’t take responsibility for something I had never done (see Christianity for that and the old testament regarding sons which pay for the father’s sin) or could have prevented (which I’m active politically).

The only thing I think is your motivated by some kind of guilt and the last thing you look at is a better future for human beings. Instead you indulge to self beating, which is irreverent to the point and is harmful.

I’ve just read an article about how sophisticated the IED war is on, in WIERD magazine a day ago, and America is on the losing side of this tech war. check it out.

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Michael August 4, 2010 at 12:49 am

HFL, a verse doesn’t make an argument. What is the context of Deuteronomy 13? Does it apply to Jews and Christians for all time? Does it only apply to those Jews to whom it was addressed? When was this verse incorporated into an established doctrine by a mainstream Christian sect? When was this verse subsequently cited by Christians as justification for violence? I suspect you’re too lazy to care about these questions, so I’ll let Robert Spencer answer:

Bible and Qur’an: equally violent?

Besides passages apparently celebrating warfare and ethnic cleansing as sanctioned by almighty God, the books of Moses also contain other passages jarring to modern sensibilities. God commands, for example, that Sabbath-breakers be put to death … So are idolaters … The Book of Exodus contains some brief guidelines for occasions in which “a man sells his daughter as a slave” … And there is more, here and there, that has raised eyebrows not only in modern times but throughout history.

But is the Bible really enjoining violence, both against nonbelievers and believers who commit sins deemed worthy of capital punishment? This question cannot be answered by an evaluation of the text alone, for that text does now and has never in history stood apart from the way believers have understood it and acted upon it. From that perspective, the arguments … founder primarily upon one central fact: there are no armed Jewish or Christian groups anywhere in the world today who are committing acts of violence and justifying them by referring to these texts. Indeed, throughout history, these texts have never been taken as divine commands that either must be or may be put into practice by believers in a new age. All these passages, after all, are descriptive, not prescriptive. They nowhere command believers to imitate this behavior, or to believe under any circumstances that God wishes them to act as his instruments of judgment in any situation today.

… throughout history, rather than celebrating such biblical passages, Jews and Christians have regarded them as a problem to be solved. While interpretations of these passages differ widely among Jews and Christians, from the beginnings of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity one understanding has remained dominant among virtually all believers: these passages are not commands for all generations to follow, and if they have any applicability at all, it is only in a spiritualized, parabolic sense…

In short, the consensus view among Jews and Christians for many centuries is that unless you happen to be a Hittite, Girgashite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, or Jebusite, these Biblical passages simply do not apply to you. The Scriptures records God’s commands to the Israelites to make war against particular people only. However this may be understood, and however jarring it may be to modern sensibilities, it does not amount to any kind of marching orders for believers. That’s one principal reason why Jews and Christians haven’t formed terror groups around the world that quote these Scriptures to justify killing civilian non-combatants…

But the Bible has made people commit violent acts – hasn’t it?

… certainly Christians have committed violent acts in the name of Christianity. But have they done so in obedience to Christian Scripture and the teachings of the various Christian sects, or in defiance of those Scriptures and teachings? During the Crusades, it became customary for those who joined the effort to be referred to as “taking up their cross,” echoing Jesus’ statement: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

But on its face, of course, this says nothing about war or violence of any kind, and has been understood throughout history as referring primarily to the Christian’s struggle to conform his life to the demands of the Gospel. And so it is with all Biblical passages that the Crusaders and Crusader theologians invoked: they often performed a reverse of the spiritualization we saw in connection with the Book of Joshua, taking what are clearly spiritual passages as if they were referring to physical warfare…

St. Bernard goes on in language reminiscent of that used in his day and today to exhort jihad warriors to fight on all the more valiantly, for their rewards will be great on earth if they are victorious and in heaven if they aren’t…

However, while Bernard is able to marshal Scriptural passages for the idea that God rewards martyrs, and that God is the Lord of both the living and the dead, he does not and cannot adduce any Scripture in support of his central assumption: that warfare in the name of Christ is justified. The fact that he must instead resort to the physicalization of passages about spiritual warfare only makes more obvious the fact that can have no recourse to any Christian martial tradition, or doctrine of warfare against and conquest of unbelievers.

In Islam, however, the situation is quite different.

From Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam, by Rudolph Peters, 1995:

During the second half of the eighth century the first comprehensive treatises on the law of jihad were written by al-Awza’i (d. 774) and Muhammad al-Shaybani (d. 804). The legal doctrine of jihad was the result of debates and discussions that had been going on since the Prophet’s death and through which the doctrine had been developed. The period in which the doctrine of jihad was gradually formulated coincided with the period of the great conquests…

The doctrine of the jihad, as laid down in the works on Islamic law, developed out of the Koranic prescriptions and the example of the Prophet and the first caliphs, which is recorded in the hadith. The crux of the doctrine is the existence of one single Islamic state, ruling the entire umma. It is the duty of the umma to expand the territory of this state in order to bring as many people under its rule as possible. The ultimate aim is to bring the whole earth under the sway of Islam and to extirpate unbelief …

(sourced from Andrew Bostom’s Legacy of Jihad)

And now back to Robert Spencer:

Violence in the Qur’an?

… in contrast to the Bible, the Qur’an exhorts believers to fight unbelievers without specifying anywhere in the text that only certain unbelievers are to be fought, or only for a certain period of time, or some other distinction. Taking the texts at face value, the command to make war against unbelievers is open-ended and universal.

But aren’t you just cherry-picking violent passages?

… when I list Qur’anic passages that counsel violence, I am often accused of “cherry-picking” the worst of such passages in order to try to portray Islam in the worst possible light, and ignoring similar material in the Bible. In both cases, however, the question of whether or not one is “cherry-picking” can only adequately be solved by recourse to the mainstream interpretative traditions that have guided believers’ understanding of their respective holy books. And as we have seen, mainstream Bible commentators on both sides of the Reformation divide do not consider the Bible’s most violent passages to contain anything like marching orders for believers to make war against unbelievers.

In regard to the Qur’an, on the other hand, the situation is very different. It is not Gary Frazier – or Robert Spencer – who is “cherry-picking” violent passages from the Qur’an. Muslims themselves are doing so, or rather, have recourse to a venerable and mainstream mode of Qur’anic interpretation that exalts the violent verses at the expense of the peaceful ones — and this is one reason why the jihadist movement is growing all over the Islamic world today…

All this means that warfare against unbelievers until they either become Muslim or “pay the jizya” — the special tax on non-Muslims in Islamic law — “with willing submission” (Qur’an 9:29) is the Qur’an’s last word on jihad. Mainstream Islamic tradition has interpreted this as Allah’s enduring marching orders to the human race: the Islamic umma (community) must exist in a state of perpetual war, punctuated only by temporary truces, with the non-Muslim world.

All four principal Sunni schools agree on the importance of jihad. Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 996), a Maliki jurist, declared:

Jihad is a precept of Divine institution. Its performance by certain individuals may dispense others from it. We Malikis maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against them.

Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328), a Hanbali jurist who is a favorite of Osama bin Laden and other modern-day jihadists:

Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought. As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed unless they actually fight with words (e.g. by propaganda) and acts (e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare).

The Hanafi school sounds the same notes:

It is not lawful to make war upon any people who have never before been called to the faith, without previously requiring them to embrace it, because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith, and also because the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call, in order to save themselves from the troubles of war… If the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax, it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do.

And so does the Shafi’i scholar Abu’l Hasan al-Mawardi (d. 1058), who echoes Muhammad’s instructions to invite the unbelievers to accept Islam or fight them if they refuse:

The mushrikun [infidels] of Dar al-Harb (the arena of battle) are of two types: First, those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and have taken up arms. The amir of the army has the option of fighting them…in accordance with what he judges to be in the best interest of the Muslims and most harmful to the mushrikun… Second, those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached, although such persons are few nowadays since Allah has made manifest the call of his Messenger…it is forbidden to…begin an attack before explaining the invitation to Islam to them, informing them of the miracles of the Prophet and making plain the proofs so as to encourage acceptance on their part; if they still refuse to accept after this, war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached…

These are all extremely old authorities – such that one might reasonably assume that whatever they say couldn’t possibly still be the consensus of the Islamic mainstream. The laws of the United States have evolved considerably since the adoption of the Constitution, which itself has been amended. So why shouldn’t this be true of Islamic law as well? Many observers assume that it must be, and that Al-Qaeda’s departure from mainstream Islam must be located in its preference for the writings of ancient jurists rather than modern ones. But in this, unfortunately, they fail to reckon with the implications of the closing of the gates of ijtihad.

Ijtihad is the process of arriving at a decision on a point of Islamic law through study of the Qur’an and Sunnah. From the beginning of Islam, the authoritative study of such sources was reserved to a select number of scholars who fulfilled certain qualifications, including a comprehensive knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah, as well as knowledge of the principle of analogical reasoning (qiyas) by which legal decisions are made; knowledge of the consensus (ijma) on any given question of Muhammad, his closest companions, and the scholars of the past; and more, including living a blameless life. The founders of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence are among the small number of scholars — mujtahedin — thus qualified to perform ijithad. But they all lived very long ago; for many centuries, independent study of the Qur’an and Sunnah has been discouraged among Muslims, who are instead expected to adhere to the rulings of one of those established schools. Since the death of Ahmed ibn Hanbal, from whom the Hanbali school takes its name, in 855 A.D., no one has been recognized by the Sunni Muslim community as a mujtahid of the first class – that is, someone who is qualified to originate legislation of his own, based on the Qur’an and Sunnah but not upon the findings of earlier mujtahedin. Islamic scholar Cyril Glasse notes that “‘the door of ijtihad is closed’ as of some nine hundred years, and since then the tendency of jurisprudence (fiqh) has been to produce only commentaries upon commentaries and marginalia.” …

Closing the doors of ijtihad has had extremely detrimental ramifications for the Muslim world. According to Qazwini, this decision has resulted in chronic intellectual stagnation, as thousands of potential mujtahids and scholars have been prohibited from offering workable solutions to newly emerging problems. Muslim thinkers have become captive to rules that were made long ago, leaving little scope for liberal or innovative thought…

The problem is that however much of a dead letter it became in practice during times of weakness in the Islamic world, this doctrine of Islamic supremacism was never reformed or rejected. No one seems to have told the warriors of jihad who besieged Europe through the seventeenth century that the Islamic empire had already reached the limits of its expansion centuries before. No one seems to have told the modern-day warriors of Islam from Bosnia to the Philippines that jihad is a dead letter, and that Islam isn’t doing any more expanding…

Underscoring the fact that none of this is merely of historical interest is another Shafi’i manual of Islamic law that in 1991 was certified by the highest authority in Sunni Islam, Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, as conforming “to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community.” This manual, ‘Umdat al-Salik (available in English as Reliance of the Traveller), spends a considerable amount of time explaining jihad as “war against non-Muslims.” It spells out the nature of this warfare in quite specific terms: “the caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians . . . until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax.” It adds a comment by a Jordanian jurist that corresponds to Muhammad’s instructions to call the unbelievers to Islam before fighting them: the caliph wages this war only “provided that he has first invited [Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians] to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya) . . . while remaining in their ancestral religions.” …

For this to end, peaceful Muslims around the world would have to confront the fact that bin Laden and other jihad terrorists are regularly justifying their violence by reference to passages of the Qur’an and the words and deeds of Muhammad. If they don’t acknowledge this and formulate new and non-literalist ways of understanding this material, it will continue to be used to incite violence. In other words, the use that jihadists make of elements of the Qur’an and Muhammad’s teaching makes it incumbent upon peaceful Muslims to perform a searching reevaluation of how they understand those elements, so as to neutralize their capacity to set Muslims against non-Muslims.

People will do evil in all kinds of circumstances, and use all manner of justification for it; but the violent passages in the Bible are not equivalent to those in the Qur’an in content, in mainstream interpretation, or in the effect they have had on believers through the ages. The fact that in Islam violence against unbelievers has divine sanction in a way that it does not in Christianity makes religious violence more prevalent and harder to eradicate in Islam than it has ever been in Christianity. To equate it to a jumble of passages from the Bible to which no one would otherwise be paying any attention at all, at least as direct marching orders for twenty-first century warriors, is specious and dangerously misleading.

This distinction between Christianity and Islam has been known for a long time. Andrew Bostom:

The consensus on the nature of jihad from major schools of Islamic jurisprudence is clear. Summarizing this consensus of centuries of Islamic thought, the seminal Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun, who died in 1406, wrote:

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty because of the universalism of the mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense.

Only Islam, Ibn Khaldun added, ‘is under obligation to gain power over other nations.’

The crucial distinction between Christianity and Islam was twice mentioned above by Robert Spencer:

the question of whether or not one is “cherry-picking” can only adequately be solved by recourse to the mainstream interpretative traditions that have guided believers’ understanding of their respective holy books“; and

This question cannot be answered by an evaluation of the text alone, for that text does now and has never in history stood apart from the way believers have understood it and acted upon it“.

So, whilst I’m not a Christian and I’m not advocating Christianity, it’s plain nonsense to equate Christianity and Islam as equally violent. And I support Geert Wilders in making the film Fitna as “propaganda” to oppose Islamic immigration into Western countries.

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Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle August 4, 2010 at 1:47 am

G’DIsraeli -

Thanks for telling me how you think you are “better.” Now remember everything you’ve ever heard about religion and how it promotes an “in-group” and “out-group” mentality and a sense of superiority. People are people, I have considered the real world and factor it into my world view. You live with your head in the sand. Next thing you’ll be telling me is “We are fighting them over there so they won’t come over here.”

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G'DIsraeli August 4, 2010 at 7:07 am

If everyone are the same why do you even comment? Yet irrelevant again, only now you put words in my mouth.This ends now. Have a nice day, mister

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Zeb August 4, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Michael, that was really interesting, thanks.

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