All posts by Infidels

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Why I Refuse to Lie About Islam

“Who cares whether it’s a perversion of Islam or not?” The subject was terrorism, specifically the attack at London Bridge, and after the politicians had made their usual statements to the effect that this atrocity had nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, or was (at most) a terrible betrayal or perversion or hijacking thereof, several of us expressed the usual outrage over this barefaced lie. But one friend of mine, quoted above, wasn’t having it. “Who,” he asked, “cares?”

It’s a common question, posed routinely by millions of people who sincerely think that focusing on Islam in the wake of terrorist acts only makes things worse. Yes, the politicians may be lying through their teeth when they accuse terrorists of hijacking Islam, but these lies, we’re told, are benign lies, which help to avoid giving unnecessary insult, to prevent increased radicalization, and to preserve social cohesion. Why, then, not just go along with the pretense that the terrorists’ ideology is a perversion of Islam?

Quick answer: It’s a matter of living with the truth. For some of us, that’s important. People who have lived under totalitarian regimes but who now enjoy freedom understand this in a way that suburban American twenty-somethings may not. No, none of us can ever know the whole truth about any subject. But if we live in a free country, we are free to inquire, to study, to struggle for knowledge of the truth, and that is a freedom to be cherished.

Equally precious is our right to articulate the truth and act responsibly upon it. There are whole lives based on lies, whole marriages based on lies, and whole societies based on lies. To study Communist history is to see what kind of society takes shape when people feel compelled to assent to the truth of a proposition that they know to be false. I’ve just begun reading Orlando Figes’s 2007 book The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia, described on its back cover as “the story of ordinary people in Stalin’s Russia, a world where everyone was afraid to talk and a society spoke in whispers.” A society, in short, of necessary lies and forbidden truths.

I know that that is not the kind of society my friend and most of those who share his views would like to live in. Presumably they believe that universal voluntary assent to a single lie about the subject of Islam would be, on balance, a positive pragmatic act, not a major sacrifice. I could not disagree more. Even if universal assent to a lie begins as voluntary, the assent soon ends up being mandatory and speaking the truth becomes a crime. And freedom, just like that, is lost.

We’ve already seen this grim reality start to take hold in the West, with people like Lars Hedegaard in Denmark, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and Ezra Levant in Canada being prosecuted merely for speaking the truth about Islam. I wrote a whole book, Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom (2009), about self-censorship and state censorship in the West on the subject of Islam. This brand of censorship is a phenomenon that emerged, and has spread, with unsettling rapidity.

My friend, after expressing his indifference to the question of whether the terrorists’ ideology is a perversion of Islam or not, proceeded to ask: “What difference does it make to the security situation? What good does escalating the rhetoric do, what use does it do to try and increase our number of enemies by declaring the religion rather than its militants as our enemy? It is so pointless and counterproductive.”

This, too, is a common view. Two points: First, when you’re capable of viewing the telling of simple truths as “escalating the rhetoric,” and calling terrorists “militants,” you’ve already headed some distance down a dangerous path. Second, it’s not just about “militants.” While only a small minority of Muslims are violent jihadists, polls show that large percentages of Muslims in the West actually support violent jihad. They may feel moral qualms about killing, or may just not be gutsy enough to kill, but they recognize that violent jihadists are following the Koran and they respect them for it. As good Muslims, they can’t do otherwise.

Similarly, large percentages of western Muslims accept women’s subordinate status under sharia law, agree that apostates and gays and rape victims should be executed, and consider wife-beating and honor killing to not just be permissible but (under certain circumstances) obligatory. In the long term, they look forward to the replacement of Western democracy with sharia law, and seek a West in which infidels are either killed, converted, or subordinated to Muslim authority.

Yes, many self-identified Muslims – there is no way of knowing just how many – are good people who reject the whole kit and caboodle. They even have Christian, Jewish, and/or atheist friends. All of which disqualifies them from being considered legitimate Muslims. If they nonetheless claim to be Muslims, it’s presumably because they know that apostasy is a death sentence. They’re good people – but by being good people they are, by the religion’s own definition, being bad Muslims.

They may parrot the line that the terrorists have hijacked the faith. But in doing so, they’re telling the same lie that my friend wants all of us infidels to tell. Let’s face it: why should any of us want to live with such a lie? Wouldn’t it be better for all of us infidels – both those of us in the West who have worn the label since birth and those of us from Muslim backgrounds who feign piety to dodge trouble – to live openly with the truth about ourselves and about the “religion of peace”?

There are, of course, already some brave ex-Muslims in the West – I am proud to know a few of them personally – who are open about their apostasy, as well as about the Islamic roots of violent jihad. If there’s anyone these ex-Muslims despise more than the theological bullies they came West to escape, it’s the Western leaders who turn a deaf ear to them, the apostates, even as those same leaders welcome true believers to the West and appease them – by, among other things, meekly parroting the lie that violent jihad has nothing to do with Islam.

Those of us Westerners who join in echoing that lie are not only betraying the truth and selling out our posterity; we are spitting in the faces of the freedom-loving ex-Muslims with whom we should stand shoulder to shoulder, and from whose courage we would do well to learn.

Islamic Carnage and 12 Kinds of Liberal Complicity

The liberal position on Islamic terrorism, unchallenged by the media, and shared not only by most on the political left but also by some on the right (including Republican “moderates”), relies on the following arguments:

1. Islam (as practiced by the vast majority of Muslims) is a peaceful religion.

This is a logical fallacy, known as missing the point.  Basically, even if correct, this conclusion is completely irrelevant because it fails to address the actual issues.  Moreover, for the sake of argument, even if 99 percent of the world’s (estimated) 1.8 billion Muslims opposed acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam, there still would be (approximately) 18 million Muslims who supported terrorism.  And in reality, the number is much higher; reputable polls have repeatedly shown that 10 percent to 40 percent of Muslims from various nations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa support terrorism.  In the United States, nearly 10 percent of Muslims have consistently said that suicide bombings against civilians are justified “often” or “sometimes.”

2. Islamic terrorists are reinterpreting the Koran.

This is demonstrably incorrect.  The Koran not only instructs Muslims to engage in Jihad and fight nonbelievers until Islam is supreme, but also promises eternal paradise to Muslims for killing, and being killed, in this fight.  Therefore, after the Koran was revealed in the 7th century, Muslims waged “holy war” against nonbelievers, spreading Islam — with violence — across the Middle East, northern Africa, and southern Europe.  In short, the Muslims (and particularly the Islamic terrorists) who are waging holy war against the United States and other nations today are following the Koran according to both its literal interpretation and its original interpretation by Muslims in the 7th century.  (For fighting nonbelievers, see Koran 2:216; 4:76; 9:5.  For Islamic supremacy, see Koran 8:39; 9:29; 61:9.  For eternal paradise, see Koran 9:111.  For holy war, see Sahih Muslim 19:4294; Sahih al-Bukhari 53:392.)

3. Like the Koran, the Bible also contains violent passages.

This is a false analogy.  To repeat, the Koran (specifically, Allah, the god of Islam) instructs Muslims to fight nonbelievers until Islam is supreme; the instructions apply to past, present, and future Muslims.  The Bible simply does not contain any comparable instructions to present or future Christians; the Koran’s timeless instructions to Muslims are fundamentally different from the Bible’s description of events where people (Israelites) of a past era, under the command of God, engaged in violence, or where God (in judgment of people) inflicts or threatens violence.

4. Like Muslims, Christians also have engaged in violence.

This is another false analogy.  Again, the Muslims who are committing acts of violence in the name of Islam are interpreting passages of the Koran (instructions from Allah) according to both their literal and original meanings.  In contrast, Christians who committed acts of violence in the name of Christianity disregarded the words of Christ; both their literal and original meanings.  The early Muslims engaged in violence, spreading Islam by attacking non-Muslims, whereas the early Christians endured violence, including being thrown to the beasts (wild animals) by non-Christians (Romans).

5. Like the Islamic world, the West also has produced terrorists, including the United States, which has produced domestic terrorists (both left wing and right wing).

This is a “red herring,” a separate argument that liberals introduce to divert attention from the actual issues.  Among other things, domestic terrorists from any one nation, by definition, are only a threat to the people in that nation, whereas Islamic terrorists are posing a threat to the people in many nations.  Therefore, domestic terrorism in one nation does not require a response by any other nation, whereas Islamic terrorism requires a response by many nations.  Additionally, as a result of the decades-long influx of Muslim immigrants and refugees to non-Muslim nations, Islamic terrorists are increasingly also domestic terrorists in non-Muslim nations.  Yet liberals support policies (such as continuing to accept immigrants and refugees from Muslim nations) that prevent the United States, and Western nations in general, from effectively dealing with the Islamic threat.

6. An underlying cause of terrorism is the failure of Muslim nations to provide Muslim youth with alternatives to Islamic groups like al Qaeda and ISIS.

This is an unfounded assertion.  The premise is that certain factors in Muslim nations (such as poverty, injustice, and instability) are root causes of Islamic terrorism.  However, in other regions of the world, non-Muslims also live under these kinds of severe conditions, and they have not responded with this kind of terrorism.  Ultimately, the Koran, the collections of hadith (the reported words and conduct of Muhammad, the last prophet of Islam), and Islamic history are the root causes of Muslims waging holy war against nonbelievers today in what is a timeless struggle to make Islam supreme.

7. Another underlying cause of terrorism is the use of military force by Western nations in the Middle East and northern Africa.

This is a classic example of a “half-truth.”  Indisputably, there have been, and still are, Muslims motivated by the actions of the West, but this is a secondary, not underlying, cause of Islamic terrorism, which is a crucial difference.  With regard to policy, the West cannot successfully use military force to change people who have resisted change for over a thousand years, but the West can successfully use military force, in targeted operations, when necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks.  Nevertheless, there is a lack of consensus among both the political left and right on when military force is necessary; most recently, some opposed, while others supported, the use of military force by the West in Syria.  Furthermore, even the use of military force, limited to targeted operations, only when necessary, will still provoke Muslims.  Every possible course of action or nonaction by the West will have consequences, and liberals offer criticisms, not solutions.

8. Yet another underlying cause of terrorism is the failure of Western nations in Europe to provide social and economic opportunities to Muslim immigrants, refugees, and their descendants.

This is pure speculation.  The facts tell a different story.  In Europe, large blocs of Muslims, concentrated in cities, have chosen to isolate themselves, by refusing to adopt their European nation’s culture, and instead adhering to Islamic culture.  In the end, the main problem is that many practices and principles of Islam are incompatible with Western civilization.

9. The threat of terrorism increases when Western nations implement policies that are directed at Muslims.

This is a revealing assertion.  The premise is that certain policies (such as the surveillance of activities at mosques, the enhanced screening of Muslims at airports, or a travel ban on foreigners arriving from Muslim nations) incite, or will incite, so-called “moderate” Muslims to join Islamic groups like al Qaeda and ISIS.  But what type of person (moderate person, no less) can be incited by such policies to savagely attack other human beings?  The answer, following liberal reasoning, is a person already predisposed to violence; namely, a moderate Muslim.

10. Opposition to Islam is based on fear and hate; the individuals who oppose immigration from Muslim nations or who oppose accepting refugees are Islamophobic.

This is a blatant lie that also employs a personal attack.  Like opposition to communism and fascism, opposition to Islam is based on knowledge, not fear or hate; like communism and fascism, Islam is a belief system with principles that violate the rights of individuals.  Opposition to the beliefs and actions of an individual or group is not a phobia; such opposition is legitimate.

11. We cannot allow the terrorists to divide us.

This is a raw appeal to emotion.  If worded honestly, this statement would assert, “We cannot allow the terrorists to wake the public up to either the dangers or injustices of multiculturalism.”  Essentially, what liberals want is for people from all cultures and regions of world, no matter how incompatible their belief systems, to live together, in the same nation, right now.  And if the result is carnage, so be it.  The slaughter of civilians, including children, by Muslim immigrants, refugees, or their descendants is a price that liberals are willing to pay: a sacrifice at the altar of multiculturalism, faithfully suffered in the name of such ideological concepts as diversity, openness, and tolerance.

12. The terrorists will never win; our values and our way of life will prevail.

This is rhetoric.  Often, when used by politicians, “our values” means, first and foremost, the liberal value of multiculturalism, and “our way of life” means aliberal way of life in a multicultural society.  Indeed, the way of life enjoyed in the West since the close of World War II has already deteriorated in sections (controversially described as “no-go zones“) of numerous cities in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, and other European nations, while politicians have been working to lull the public into a passive acceptance of this (entirely avoidable) decline, by saying things like terrorism will be “part of our daily lives” and “we should learn to live with terrorism.” And in the United States, the federal government’s policies of the last several decades, especially on immigration and refugees, have the American way of life set on this same downward course.

Paul Pauker is the author of Morality and Law in America. He also runs asite dedicated to advancing the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property.

End Propaganda Myth That Jerusalem Is Holy to Muslims

by Morton A. Klein and Daniel Mandel

It’s time to end the propaganda myth that Jerusalem is a holy city to Muslims.

The Muslim fixation and clamor on Jerusalem is actually a very recent historical development, a product of political conflict, not historical truth.

Jerusalem rates not a single mention in the Quran and Muslims face Mecca in prayer.

JUNE 8, 2017 4:48 PM
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In the seventh century, the Damascus-based Umayyad rulers built up Jerusalem as a counter-weight to Mecca. This is when the important Muslim shrines, the Dome of the Rock (691 CE) and, later, the Al-Aqsa mosque (705 CE), were intentionally built on the site of the destroyed biblical Jewish temples — a time-honored practice to physically signal the predominance of Islam.

However, references in the Quran and hadith to Muhammad’s night journey to heaven on his steed Buraq from the “farthest mosque” couldn’t mean Jerusalem because the Quran refers to Palestine as the “nearest” place. And it couldn’t have been a reference to the Al-Aqsa (“Furtherest”) mosque, for the simple reason that the Al-Aqsa mosque didn’t exist in Muhammad’s day.

With the demise of the Umayyad dynasty and the shift of the caliphate to Baghdad, Jerusalem fell into a long decline, scarcely interrupted by occasional bursts of Muslim interest in the city during the Crusader period and the Ottoman conquest. Mark Twain, visiting in 1867, described it as a “pauper village.”

It did, however, become a majority Jewish city during the nineteenth century. The 1907 Baedeker’s Travel Guide lists Jerusalem with a population of 40,000 Jews, 13,000 Muslims and 7,000 Christians.

So little did Jerusalem mean to the Ottomans that, during the First World War, they abandoned it to the British without a fight and even contemplated entirely destroying the city before pulling out.

Only upon the Arab confrontation with Zionism in the twentieth century did Jerusalem become a passionate Islamic issue.

It was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem, a vociferous antisemite and later Nazi collaborator, who expended enormous energy to focus Islamic attention on Jerusalem. Seeking to foment a Muslim war on Palestine’s Jews, he fabricated a tradition that the wall to which Muhammad was held to have tethered his steed Buraq was not the southern or eastern walls, as Muslims had asserted for centuries, but the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site but for the Temple Mount itself, turning the site into a flashpoint.

The massive Arab assault on Jews across British Palestine in 1929, in which 133 Jews were murdered and hundreds more maimed, was triggered by orchestrated, false rumors that Jews had attacked, or were intending to attack, the mosques atop the Temple Mount.

Strangely, even under the mufti, the Temple Mount was still recognized by Muslims as the site of the biblical Jewish temples. Thus, the Jerusalem Muslim Supreme Council’s publication, A Brief Guide to the Haram Al-Sharif, states, on page 4, regarding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” (After 1954, all such references to the biblical temples were excised from this publication).

During Jordan’s illegal occupation and annexation of the eastern half of Jerusalem (1948-67) Amman remained Jordan’s country’s capital, not Jerusalem, which became a backwater. Infrastructure, like water, electricity and sewerage, were scanty or non-existent. No Arab ruler, other than Jordan’s kings, ever visited. As Israeli elder statesman Abba Eban quipped, “the secular delights of Beirut held more attraction.”

Significantly, neither the PLO’s National Charter nor the Fatah Constitution, the latter drafted during Jordanian rule, even mention Jerusalem, let alone call for its establishment as a Palestinian capital.

Today, however, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials issue flat-earth denials that Jerusalem was the site of the Jewish temples, or indeed that there is any Jewish connection to the city. Muhammad Hussein, the PA mufti, sneers at the Jews’ “alleged Temple” and insists that “Palestinians have an exclusive right…which they share with no one” to the Temple Mount. Sheikh Tayseer Al-Tamimi, the former chief justice of the PA’s Religious Court, insists, “I don’t know of any Jewish holy sites in [Jerusalem]” and dismisses Jewish claims as “fictitious Jewish history.”

Today, the PA uses Jerusalem as a propaganda instrument, at once inciting violence and orchestrating anti-Israel campaigns. In 1996, Yasser Arafat used Israel’s opening of an archeological tunnel near the Mount to incite riots on the basis of the lie that the tunnel threatened the stability of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Twenty-five Israelis soldiers and a hundred Palestinian rioters were killed in the ensuing violence.

In 2015, Mahmoud Abbas urged violence over Jews visiting Temple Mount, borrowing from Haj Amin’s playbook fabricated claims of Jewish assaults on the mosques to instigate it. Over 30 Israelis were murdered and over two hundred Palestinians, the vast majority terrorists or rioters, were killed in subsequent attacks and clashes.

Far from aiding the cause of peace, according deference to the fabrication of Jerusalem’s importance to Islam and centrality to Palestinians actively impedes it and enables the instigation of bloodshed. As long as Palestinians have good reason to believe that violence over Jerusalem will reap rewards, like President Donald Trump recently reneging on his pre-election promise to transfer the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, expect no change.

Morton A. Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).  Dr. Daniel Mandel is the director of the ZOA’ s Center for Middle East Policy and author of H.V. Evatt & the Establishment of Israel (Routledge, London, 2004).