It’s worth reading this amusing Spectator blog post that looks at the decline of “pop-science” author/speaker/professor Richard Dawkins in the eyes of the politically-correct left. Now that they recognize his anger, vitriol, and invective have not been saved solely for the Christian church, he’s suddenly become a ‘bigot.’
Pass the popcorn bowl people, this one should be good for a laugh.
As I said at the time, that article — in the Washington Post, no less — ‘conjures up the image of a nasty old man who’s losing his marbles. It’s not very nice about the Pope, either.’ But Dawkins has not become any crazier in the intervening four years; he’s simply widened his attack on blind faith, as he sees it, to include Muslims and feminists.
In the process, he’s exposed a rich vein of hypocrisy in the Left — and, more significantly, an intellectual rift between hard-line and multiculturalist atheists. That rift is growing fast: non-believers, having exhausted their anti-Christian rhetoric, are turning on each other with the ferocity of religious zealots. Enjoy.
This man has a powerful story. Well worth considering his words.
“Stand, and resist evil!”
There’s no other way to describe this than surreal. This animal actually believes that Islamic rules on beating one’s wife “honors” women and that this behavior recommends Islam as a political philosophy/religion worthy of the world’s acceptance. He believes that since he taught his followers to threaten first and then avoid hitting hit her “in the face” (which might “make her ugly”) or openly “curse” her, Mohammed has somehow helped women out. This learned religious leader believes that Islam actually “honored” the wife by smacking her around (no more than ten times).
Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian cleric Sa’d Arafat, which aired on Al-Nas TV (Egypt) on February 4, 2010:
Click here to view this clip on MEMRI TV.
Interviewer: “Would you believe that the European women in our times yearns for a husband who would be like a guardian to her. I would like to provide the viewers with some statistics. 90% of British women do not want to marry a weak man, who sits down and cries the moment there is a problem. They say: No, such a man looks more like a woman. We want a manly man. [...]
“Wife beating is a serious accusation [leveled against Islam]. Let us examine this matter bit by bit.”
Sa’d Arafat: “Allah honored wives by instating the punishment of beatings.”
Interviewer: “Honored them with beatings? How is this possible?!”
Sa’d Arafat: “The prophet Muhammad said: ‘Don’t beat her in the face, and do not make her ugly.’ See how she is honored. If the husband beats his wife, he must not beat her in the face. Even when he beats her, he must not curse her. This is incredible! He beats her in order to discipline her.
“In addition, there must not be more than ten beatings, and he must not break her bones, injure her, break her teeth, or poke her in the eye. There is a beating etiquette. If he beats to discipline her, he must not raise his hand high. He must beat her from chest level. All these things honor the woman.
“She is in need of discipline. How should the husband discipline her? Through admonishment. If she is not deterred, he should refuse to share the bed with her. If she is not repentant, he should beat her, but there are rules to the beating. It is forbidden to beat her in the face or make her ugly.
When you beat her, you must not curse her. Islam forbids this.”
Interviewer: “With what should be beat her? With his bare hand? With a rod?”
Sa’d Arafat: “If he beats her, the beatings should not be hard, so that they do not leave a mark. He can beat her with a short rod. He must avoid beating her in the face or in places in the head where it hurts. The beatings should be on the body and should not come one right after the other. These are all choices made during the process, but beatings are allowed only as a last resort. [...]
“The honoring of the wife in Islam is also evident in the fact that the punishment of beating is permissible in one case only: when she refuses to sleep with him.”
Interviewer: “When she refuses to sleep with him?”
Sa’d Arafat: “Yes, because where else could the husband go? He wants her, but she refuses. He should begin with admonishment and threats…”
Interviewer: “Allow me to repeat this. A man cannot beat his wife…”
Interviewer: “…over food or drink. Beatings are permitted only in this case, which the husband cannot do without.” [...]
Did you ever wonder why it is that the cult-like religions (those that refuse to allow their followers to openly question teachings, or respond violently to any form of questioning) always seem to be OK with smacking women around, having several wives at the same time, and making it extremely easy for the husband to drop one woman (or several woman) when he sees another one that strikes his fancy?
Did you ever wonder why the guys who try to sell themselves as “manly men” also feel some strange compulsion to lord their so-called manliness over women with threats and physical violence?
Do you think that their actions might have more to do with certain men justifying their sexual perversions than it does with growing closer to God or god(s).
Pajamas Media has an excellent article discussing arguments that the Founding Fathers respected Mohammed and revered his doctrines and teachings. Apparently one specific talking head – Akbar Ahmed – has been claiming that John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers regularly read and were substantially influenced by the Quran and “respected” Mohammed and described him as a “model of compassion.”
Unfortunately Ahmed is 180 degrees out of phase with the truth. As the PJTV article notes, John Adams described Mohammed as,
“a military fanatic” who “denies that laws were made for him; he arrogates everything to himself by force of arms.”
John Quincy Adams wrote that Islam,
In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar, the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust, by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE. [emphasis in the original]
There are several other revealing quotes from Jefferson and Franklin. They’re well worth taking the time to review as a means of learning the Founding Fathers actual views on Mohammed and his doctrines.
This Wall Street Journal article adds a bit of historical perspective to the furor over the proposed World Trade Center mosque by considering another sensitive religiously-themed situation. The article discusses the group of Carmelite nuns that moved into an abandoned building near the site of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in the 1980s. As the article describes, the nuns were completely convinced that they were doing a good thing by setting up a chapel where they could pray for the souls of those who had been killed in the camp, and they were well within their legal rights to locate where they did. However, their actions were taken by many in the Jewish community as an affront or a challenge to what is perceived as a place of uniquely Jewish suffering. The article describes how Pope John Paul II resolved the situation (I won’t steal his thunder if you don’t already know).
I’ve been fighting with the issue of the WTC mosque in my heart and mind from the first day I heard of it. My libertarian instincts immediately come to the fore and say, “it’s a free country, and legislating or regulating against its creation means that any church, synagogue, or chapel could be attacked in the same manner.”
On a more human and personal level, however, the actions of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf — trying to put a mosque right in the middle of an area where, (like it or not) followers of his religion, using that religion as a justification for their actions, murdered over 3,000 people, is so profoundly offensive it boggles the mind. Rauf’s actions are akin to interrupting a funeral service with loud, off-color jokes, or prolonged flatulence. No sensible person would ever consider doing what he is doing unless they had another motive that pushed them beyond the bounds of civilized behavior.
Reasonable people would wait for improv. night at the local pub, or remove themselves to the washroom to deal with their intestinal distress. But here we are and, amazingly, Rauf and his supporters not only continue to stink up ground zero, they’re doing it with what appears to be a perverse sense of enjoyment. And, the project is moving closer and closer to becoming a reality.
(Really, is anyone that dense that they accept Rauf’s claim to be building bridges between faith communities by engaging in behavior analogous to demanding a blood transfusion from local Jehovah’s Witnesses? Building bridges involves taking the time to understand why people are offended and repeatedly stabbing a sharp stick into the eye of those who’ve been offended doesn’t count.)
It was in this sense that the WSJ article noted above, and the historical context it provided, helped to clarify what I had quietly hoped would be the option chosen. As any libertarian will know, rights entail responsibilities and, just because you have a right to do something, doesn’t always mean that you should do it. While Rauf may have the right to build the mosque at ground zero, it is patently obvious that to do so is a grotesque offense to any basic human sense of right and wrong. Rauf and his backers need exercise their rights to build in a different location.
One would hope that people around the country would see that, as hard as it is to admit, our Constitutional freedoms protect our right to say what we want to say, even if it is offensive. You have the right to tell rude jokes and fart in a funeral, just as Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is doing. Civilized people wouldn’t do it and any decent individual would encourage them to take their bad behavior elsewhere, but we don’t legislate against the freedom to act in that manner.
So, for what its worth, I would suggest that those who (quite rightly) find Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s actions offensive make sure to let him know about your outrage. Do everything you can, legally and morally, to encourage him to take his mosque somewhere else. Send letters to his financiers, protest the building site, set up another organization and petition to build a synagogue or church in this building. I only urge you to not use a legislative or regulatory means to attack the mosque that will some day be used to trample the free speech and religious rights of other groups.
Update: David Harsanyi penned a column with similar sentiments for Reason Magazine today.
Update 2: If this article doesn’t demonstrate Rauf’s underlying motivations, I’m not sure what does.
The imam behind plans to build a controversial Ground Zero mosque yesterday refused to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization.
According to the State Department’s assessment, “Hamas terrorists, especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilian and military targets.”
Asked if he agreed with the State Department’s assessment, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf told WABC radio, “Look, I’m not a politician.
“The issue of terrorism is a very complex question,” he told interviewer Aaron Klein.
I’ve listened to the audio of this interview and the interviewer asks Rauf over and over again if he will just denounce Hamas as a terror group. Rauf ignores the question and repeatedly states that he is interested only in “building bridges,” and he won’t allow himself to be put in a position of making that kind of statement. However, there’s nothing complex when it comes to denouncing Hamas as a group of murderers, thugs, and terrorists. Trying to build bridges to Hamas’ hate-filled world is straight up wrong.
Is the hate and bigotry present in the extreme forms of Islam becoming more mainstream? You tell me.
Via MEMRI, we have video and excerpts of the “Gaza Friday sermon, which aired on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV.” Read through the excerpts and watch the video and tell me how this “sermon” sounds.
Preacher: “Dearly beloved, the Al-Aqsa Mosque is subjected to a vicious campaign of Judaization and defilement, at the hands of the filthiest creatures made by Allah – the Jews. [...]
“Today, we see the brothers of apes and pigs destroying homes with their occupants still in them, uprooting trees from their land, and killing women, children, and the elderly. [...]
“A levy of blood will be paid for the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Our people will never relinquish the Al-Aqsa Mosque or Palestine. We will redeem it with our souls, with our blood, with our sons, with what is most dear to us – regardless of the sacrifices we will have to make – until it is liberated, with the grace of Allah, and until this holy land is purified from the filth of the Jews. [...]
“Brothers in faith, the Al-Aqsa Mosque remains under oppressive occupation. The Jews continue to defile it with their filth. The only way to liberate it is through Jihad for the sake of Allah. [...]
“Jihad today is an individual duty, incumbent upon each and every Muslim man and woman. According to the Islamic legal principle, when an enemy invades a Muslim country, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Muslim man and woman. A son should set out on Jihad even without the permission of his father, a wife should set out even without the permission of her husband, and a slave should set out even without the permission of his master.” [...]
You can view this “sermon” on MEMRI TV: http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2555.htm.
BTW, if you’re going to try and say that I am somehow attacking Islam, remember that I’m only quoting portions of a “sermon” presented by an Imam and expert in Koranic law.
If you have a problem with this fellow’s belief that the Koran teaches “every Muslim” has a “duty” to “liberate,” “redeem,” and “purify” the so called Muslim countries (dar-al-Islam) with a “levy of blood” from “the Jews” and “enemies,” I welcome you to cite (chapter and verse) where he has his gone wrong in his interpretation of your holy texts. I hope you can convince me that this fellow’s brand of hatred, bigotry, and violence does not represent mainstream views. I hope also that you then have the courage to take your more peaceful and tolerant interpretation of Islam into the mosques that are preaching hatred and bigotry and teach them where they’ve erred.
While checking out LGF, I saw a link to an interesting article on some North Carolina-based islamist wannabe that runs a website with video clips showing U.S. soldiers being injured and killed in Iraq. I read through the article, but couldn’t get past the opening paragraphs.
In a quiet, upscale neighborhood in Charlotte, N.C., rows of custom-style homes and neatly landscaped lawns represent the American dream.
But one local resident has shattered that image, calling for the death of American troops in Iraq and supporting Al Qaeda through his Web site, which he reportedly runs from his parents’ home.
Samir Khan is the man behind Revolution.Muslimpad.com — a radical Islamic site that praises Usama bin Laden and asks for Allah to “curse more American soldiers.”
Samir; the big, tough, islamist warrior is running his global jihad website from his mom’s basement. Now there’s a LEADER!!! Real inspiring. Just when he and his jihad buddies are really getting into their planning for the next big jihad posting they’re going to put up, I can just hear his mom yelling from upstairs.
“Saaaaami … tell your computer friends that you have to sign off, wash your hands and come up for supper. We’re having pork chops tonight; your favorite….”
I wonder if she still puts a snack pack in his “little Mohammed” lunch box before he goes off on his weekend militia training.
I was truly amazed to see two posts on Michelle Malkin’s site that discussed the Church of England.
Although the official church line appears to be that their “faith” is based in preemptive capitulation to Islam and sharia and Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (instead of that stodgy, silly old New Testament), there still may be a few people in the church that still follow some of Christ’s teachings. (Amazing!)
In one post, they discussed Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, who actually started a row in the church by suggesting that Christians might do well to remember the country’s Christian heritage and be willing to share their beliefs with non-Christians.
In the other, they described a Church of England report that (seriously) will take the British government to task for its chronic and habitual patten of “discriminating against the Christian Churches in favour of other faiths, including Islam”. Amazingly, the Church of England officials that put the report together still had enough strength of mind and purposed to,
(accuse) the Government of “deep religious illiteracy” and of having “no convincing moral direction”.
I had pretty much given up on the Church of England. I thought that they had forgotten where they came from and the beliefs and people that had gotten them where they are today. But it seems like there might be one or two serious people left over there. There might still be some life in the ol’ girl yet.
The Asia Times Online has an interesting article that takes a very quick peak into the origins of the Qu’ran.
No one is going to produce proof that Jesus Christ did not rise from the grave three days after the Crucifixion, of course. Humankind will choose to believe or not that God revealed Himself in this fashion. But Islam stands at risk of a Da Vinci Code effect, for in Islam, God’s self-revelation took the form not of the Exodus, nor the revelation at Mount Sinai, nor the Resurrection, but rather a book, namely the Koran. The Encyclopaedia of Islam (1982) observes, “The closest analogue in Christian belief to the role of the Koran in Muslim belief is not the Bible, but Christ.” The Koran alone is the revelatory event in Islam.
What if scholars can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Koran was not dictated by the Archangel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammad during the 7th century, but rather was redacted by later writers drawing on a variety of extant Christian and Jewish sources? That would be the precise equivalent of proving that the Jesus Christ of the Gospels really was a composite of several individuals, some of whom lived a century or two apart.
It has long been known that variant copies of the Koran exist, including some found in 1972 in a paper grave at Sa’na in Yemen, the subject of a cover story in the January 1999 Atlantic Monthly. Before the Yemeni authorities shut the door to Western scholars, two German academics, Gerhard R Puin and H C Graf von Bothmer, made 35,000 microfilm copies, which remain at the University of the Saarland. Many scholars believe that the German archive, which includes photocopies of manuscripts as old as 700 AD, will provide more evidence of variation in the Koran.
The article goes on the suggest that certain “incomprehensible” portions of the Qu’ran were misunderstood by scholars because they were written in Syriac-Aramaic, not Arabic. This misunderstanding led to confusion over the notion that 72 virgins awaited Muslim martyrs. Instead this group of researchers suggests the text refers to “raisins,” not virgins. If true, that could cause some concerns among dedicated jihadees. They also argue that the Qu’ran actually “copied a great deal of extant Christian material.”
More interesting than the claims of this group of researchers, however, is the concern over the near complete lack of will among Muslims to investigate the origins of their most holy book. This group of researchers could be totally off base; they could be the Muslim equivalent of the Davinci Code — a kooky, off-beat fantasy that attempts to prove the foundations of Christianity are a hoax. However, few can afford the potential backlash and career-ending outcomes of opening the dialogue in the first place. Rather than address the issue directly and take an honest look at the foundations of their beliefs, Muslim scholars refuse to even entertain the idea of textual criticism.
The story thus far recalls the ending of another Indiana Jones film (Raiders of the Lost Ark), in which the Ark of the Covenant is filed away in an enormous warehouse, presumably never to be touched again. The Muslim world will continue to treat Koranic criticism as an existential risk, and apply whatever pressure is required to discourage it – albino monks presumably included.
But that is not the end of the matter. The Islamic world is forced to adopt an openly irrational stance, employing its power to intimidate scholars and frustrate the search for truth. It is impossible for Muslims to propose a dialogue with Western religions, as 38 Islamic scholars did in an October 13 letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders, and rule the subject of text criticism out of the discussion.
Precisely for this reason, Church leaders see little basis for a dialogue with Islam. Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, who directs the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, told the French daily La Croix, “Muslims do not accept discussion about the Koran, because they say it was written under the dictates of God. With such an absolutist interpretation, it’s difficult to discuss the contents of the faith.”
Nod to Darcey
There is a good article on the death of Canadian teen Aqsa Parvez. Aqsa was murdered by her father for refusing to wear the burqa. The article, written by former Muslim, Alamgir Hussain is on the Islam Watch website. Later in the article, he discusses — with several references — the issue of compulsion in religion. It’s well worth reading the full article.
The murder of 16-year-old Canadian teen, Aqsa Parvez, by her Pakistani immigrant father for her refusal to wear a burka or hijab has shocked and saddened the nation. As people from all walks of life are mourning her tragic death, Muslims — particularly their religious leaders — have joined the chorus of denials that “Islam has nothing to with the death of Aqsa.”
Here is a Muslim riddle. When one criticizes the practice of Muslim women wearing the burka or hijab, Muslims quickly respond that their religious symbol or choice is being attacked, but when girls like Aqsa die for refusing to accept the same religious symbol, Muslims quickly respond by saying their religion has nothing do with the death.
It is indeed a fact that wearing the burka (not the more liberal hijab) is a religious duty for Muslim women commanded by Allah. The Quran [24:31] commands Muslim women to “draw their veils over their bosoms” so as not to expose their physical assets to unrelated people. Allah says [Quran 33:59]: “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers [Muslims] to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad).”
No Muslim will deny that Allah’s commands in the Quran are non-negotiable and binding on all Muslims. When someone dies for refusing to comply with those binding Islamic obligations, it is ridiculous to say the Islamic religion has nothing to do with that death.
When I was growing up as a Muslim, my religious teachers at my school and madrasa used to tell us that a righteous Muslim parent must ask his or her children to follow their religious duties at the age of eight and pressure them at the age of ten. If they continue to refuse, beat them at the age of twelve. In many Muslim countries not all parents apply this protocol rigorously, but it remains a widely accepted guide. Some parents do follow it closely in order to bring their disobedient children onto the righteous path. As a result, injuries and even deaths occur, like Aqsa’s. These injuries and deaths can in no way be separated from the Islamic religion.
There’s more here, check it out.
When the followers of a religion consider giving a teddy bear the same name as their primary prophet an offense so grievous that it requires prison and violent physical retribution, reasonable people have ample grounds on which to question the foundations of their beliefs.
KHARTOUM, Sudan — A 7-year-old Sudanese boy is defending the British teacher accused of insulting Islam by naming a teddy bear Muhammad, Reuters reported.
The boy said Gilliam Gibbons, 54, asked him, as part of a school assignment, what he wanted to call the stuffed animal and he said, ‘Muhammad,’ after his name, Reuters reported.
Sudanese authorities on Tuesday questioned Gibbons who could face charges of insulting religion — a crime punishable by up to 40 lashes, six months in prison or a fine.
Even if the teacher had meant to insult religion, this would hardly amount to a “crime” worth even a nasty look from the judge. Also, the notion that Sudanese authorities are at all concerned that religion was insulted is laughable. If the teacher had named the bear “Jehova,” “Jaweh,” or “Jesus Christ,” I’m confident that those authorities would have bothered to notice.
I recently watched Dinesh D’Souza and Christopher Hitchens debate the question “is Christianity the problem?” While I disagreed with Hitchens on many of his premises, at no time in the debate did I feel a need to attack him physically or to demand that he be imprisoned, chastised, or abused by the authorities.
This type of violent, aggressive overreaction to any perceived slight against one’s religion is a sure sign of the aggressor’s lack of faith in their god’s ability to withstand the criticism. That lack of faith speaks far louder about their religion than criticisms offered up by an “infidel.”
As you read through the article, you can also see just how far the postmodern, never offend anyone at any cost mindset has seeped into the British population and government.
The case brought widespread calls in Britain for her release. The Muslim Council of Britain calls upon the Sudanese government to intervene in the case.
“This is a very unfortunate incident and Ms Gibbons should never have been arrested in the first place. It is obvious that no malice was intended,” said Muhammad Abdul Bari, the council’s secretary-general.
British opposition Conservative party lawmaker William Hague called on the British government to “make it clear to the Sudanese authorities that she should be released immediately.”
“To condemn Gillian Gibbons to such brutal and barbaric punishment for what appears to be an innocent mistake is clearly unacceptable,” he said.
While it is good to see both the British government and British Muslim groups contesting the Sudanese government’s ruling and demanding Gibbons’ release, it is pathetic to see them refusing to address the real problem. The Muslim Council is arguing that “no malice was intended” by Gibbons and the opposition party is arguing that she made “an innocent” mistake.
Neither appears willing to simply state that the Sudanese need to abandon their fourth or fifth century mindset and join us in the contemporary world. The action of condemning someone to jail, physical torture, or fines for “offending religion,” or for some alleged “misconduct against the Islamic faith” is barbaric. For the British government to criticize the punishment and not the people who are threatening to carry the punishment out is simply wrong.
The British government, the British Muslim Council and reasonable people all over the world need to openly tell the Sudanese that they are acting in a barbaric manner by imposing such an outlandish punishment for such a petty “offense.”