Tuesday, 18 July 2017

An Islamophobe is...

An Islamophobe is someone who is accused of sowing hatred and division whilst trying to warn people about a belief system that sows hatred and division.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Jews and Muslims Nobel Prizes

I was reading Denis MacEoin's excellent essay at Gatestone today and on seeing the number of Nobel Prizes won by Jews compared to Muslims I thought it would be interesting to see what the numbers looked like in visual form. Here is the answer:

LOL. Islam is a ruinous belief system and it will ruin us if we let it.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Truth Is Hatred

How Truth Becomes Hatred

Speech likely to result in a more negative view of a minority is becoming defined as inherently hateful. The truth of what is said is irrelevant. A minority has a special protected status.

As well as feeling “oppressed” by such speech there is the possibility that a more negative view of a minority could engender discrimination towards them, regardless of the intentions of the speaker.

The truth about is Islam is very negative; far more negative than most people are willing to discover.

Telling the truth about Islam (even things openly acknowledged by many Muslims) can have the effect of casting Muslims in a more negative light.

Telling the truth about Islam could therefore lead to discrimination against Muslims, no matter how emphatically the speaker makes the distinction between Islam and Muslims.

Telling the truth thus becomes classified as “hate speech” and bigotry because of what some third party might do after hearing it or because the people most associated with Islam might be upset.

A person reporting harsh truths about Islam is therefore seen as someone stoking hatred and potentially causing discrimination towards Muslims.

Truth becomes hatred.

(If the truth about Islam was not so negative this would not happen)

The title of this post may be stark but when people accuse truth-tellers of "hate speech" this is what they are saying: Truth is hatred.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Ramadan Revisited

A while back I looked at the figures from thereligionofpeace.com to see if the claim that Ramadan is typically a bad month for Islamic terror was true. What I failed to check at that time was the number of attacks occurring during Ramadan as a percentage of the attacks for the year that would be expected from the same number of days.

Taking this approach I found that there is a higher rate of Islamic terror during Ramadan than during the rest of the year.

If we calculate the percentage of days that Ramadan represents for the year and compare this to the percentage of attacks for the year we see a higher percentage than we would expect for the number of days covered by Ramadan.

Here is a table showing the Ramadan dates, number of days and the proportion of attacks we would expect to see during Ramadan if it was no different to any other period and the actual percentage of attacks which occurred during Ramadan compared to the total number of attacks that have happened that year. 2001 has been excluded because we don't have complete data for the year.

As you can see Actual % has always exceeded % Expected.

The average for % expected attacks is 7.56% during Ramadan whereas the actual average of attacks occurring during Ramadan is 9.31%. This figure is 23% higher than expected.

By this analysis Ramadan is the deadliest month. Base data taken from www.thereligionofpeace.com

Loyalty and Tolerance

We are constantly told that “the vast majority of Muslims” are peaceful and tolerant; that the jihadists are twisting the real message of Islam out of all recognition; that they are not real Muslims and that the real Muslims despise the jihadists as much as we do. The numbers of Muslims among the jihadists’ victims is adduced as evidence of these assertions.

On the other hand, we are also constantly told that we must not “confirm the narrative” of the jihadists because to do so would drive all these otherwise real and peaceful Muslims to their cause and they would take their side against us, becoming in the process the same non-true Muslims that we are told they despise in the first assertion.

We are told that the aim of the jihadists is to divide us, to drive a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims and that to acknowledge in any way that what the jihadists believe about Islam might be valid or plausible would serve their aim.

To hold Muslims in general in any way accountable; to scrutinize their scriptures and ask probing questions about the nature of their teachings; to examine the character of Muhammad in the light of the historical accounts; any of these things could so offend Muslims that they would give their allegiance to the jihadists. This is what we are told or what is very much implied.

These arguments conflict with each other and I think the conflict points to a fact which is sensed at a deep level but is not articulated.

Islam is at its heart a tribal religion. The tribe is now a super-tribe, the ummah. Loyalty to the tribe is reinforced continuously. The tribal boundary is strictly defined and policed. This boundary is defined in terms of belief and non-belief, “The is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger”. If you accept this you are an insider, if not, you are an outsider. Muslims are commanded not to take non-believers as friends, since he who takes them as his friends is one of them, i.e. an outsider.

One only needs to look at the penalty for apostasy to see how rigorously Islam treats disloyalty. The apostate, the person who renounces belief in Islam and thus betrays the tribe and becomes an outsider, is to be killed. The woman who betrays her husband through adultery is to be stoned to death. A woman should be loyal to her husband however badly he treats her.

We see a very strong bond of loyalty between Muslims and Islam and between all other Muslims. This is a tribal identity. We see them defining their group affiliation in their dress; we see them defending the reputation of the group by dissociating Islam from any harm done in its name, where it is expedient to do so but elsewhere the destruction is celebrated; Islam is always good and perfect, it can never be wrong.

In his book, The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt set out his theory of Moral Foundations. What this theory suggests is that there are emotional/intuitive systems in the mind which are the products of evolution. During hundreds of thousands of years early humans had to adapt to living in groups in order to survive. We are the descendants of these groups. Living in groups requires certain adaptations like doing a fair share of the work in order to receive a share of the rewards; learning to accept the authority of elders allows knowledge and wisdom to be passed on and for a workable social order to be maintained; loyalty to the group enables a group to persist in the face of many challenges.

These adaptations have become part of our nature. We feel that loyalty is good, that betrayal is wrong. This intuition, and others like it, informs our thinking about the way we and others ought to behave. We can’t explain this rationally because it exists within us at a pre-rational level. It is not the product of thinking; rather, moral thinking is the product of the underlying moral foundation.
Haidt and his team have identified six moral foundations:


These six dimensions allow of different weightings between one pole and its opposite and from these emerge the different moral orders of different cultures. Where secular, liberal culture is heavily weighted on avoiding Harm and maintaining Fairness, Islam is heavily weighted on Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity (avoiding blasphemy, ritual washing, fasting, halal, etc)

The absence of the Care/Harm foundation is evident in the brutal punishments of Sharia, the mistreatment of non-Muslims, and the general tolerance of cruelty. The absence of Fairness/Cheating is evident in the religious sanctioning of lying to further the aims of Islam (taqiyya), the instruction to feign friendship with non-Muslims whilst holding enmity in their heart towards them, the discriminatory laws established for non-Muslims in Muslim empires.

We see the Authority foundation expressed in the respect given to religious scholars and the fatwas that they issue for moral guidance on every aspect of life. It is also evident in the obedience given to the Islamic hierarchy.

So, in the present context, living within the Islamic moral order, Muslims feel the need to argue in favour of the tribe and its beliefs regardless of how much damage is being inflicted on outsiders or even fellow Muslims.

Research shows that whilst liberals and leftists have a moral order dominated by Care/Harm and Fairness/Cheating (defined around equality), conservatives have a moral order that is informed fairly equally by all the moral foundations.

This may help to explain why conservatives are better able to understand the fundamental orientation of Islamic culture. They are better tuned in to the underlying moral foundations of Islam, though they clearly do not sympathize with the particular expression of those foundations.

The doctrines of liberalism are articulations of the Care/Harm and Fairness/Cheating foundations, with Liberty/Oppression also playing a part. This is why liberal societies have raised their levels of tolerance to such heights; as long as you are not causing harm you can say and do what you like. This is now changing as intolerant Social Justice Warriors extend the notion of what is harmful to a preposterous degree.

We observe what is going on in the world. We see the brutality meted out in the name of Islam; we can read about the brutal origins and history of Islam and the brutality of Muhammad himself.  And yet Muslims stay with it. They appear to feel no shame. Why is this?

It might well be the dominance of the loyalty foundation in their moral order that explains this. Unless a Muslim is prepared to abandon that which he/she has been taught to believe is the most important thing in life then the influence of this dominant moral factor will hold him/her in its power. Any number of rationalizations will be deployed to justify it. We are self-justifying animals.

Also, note this: it is a moral factor that does not sit well with tolerance.

Going back to the conflicting views set out at the beginning, people must sense that the loyalty foundation will take precedence if Muslims are confronted with criticism of their religion or we cease to intone the mantra that Islam is a religion of peace.

Given how central to Islam the loyalty foundation is it seems very likely true that whilst many Muslims are not openly at war with us at present, if we became more confrontational and less deferential towards their religion then their loyalty would ultimately be with Islam and fellow Muslims, however horrendous the atrocities committed by other Muslims.

A fact which is a key aspect of moral foundations theory is how moral reasoning is essentially a rationalization for the underlying foundation. This means that we feel something is right or wrong and provide plausible arguments to defend the feeling. The intellect serves as a PR person for the underlying moral intuition. Islam has well-orchestrated PR operating to deflect criticism and avoid any requirement for self-examination on the part of Muslims in response to atrocities.

Due to the primacy of loyalty in the Islamic moral order, it is indeed very likely that when push comes to shove Muslims will side with other Muslims under the Islamic banner. This is not an argument for not confronting Muslims at the present time but very much the opposite.

Given the changing demographics of non-Muslim societies, which in many cases now have fast-growing Muslim minorities, it is a matter of great urgency to start confronting them about the violent and imperialist teachings of their religion since with each passing day the ability to do so and contain a violent reaction is dwindling.

And you can be sure of this: when Muslims exist in non-Muslim societies in even greater numbers the primacy of loyalty to Islam (however ugly) will be even stronger. The demand for deference will be even greater.

In conclusion, the fact that the majority of Muslims are not actively attacking non-Muslims does not mean that Islam is a religion of peace. There actually seems to be precious little opposition between the Muslims who are killing us and the others.

Islam is a religion where loyalty is the primary moral compulsion. This would explain the absence of any substantial division between the jihadists and the rest.

We can expect religious tribal loyalty to assert itself if Muslims are confronted about their religion but that is not a reason to avoid doing this. The presence of growing Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries makes this confrontation a matter of great urgency.

Religious tribal loyalty will also not decrease as Muslims become a larger proportion of the population. Quite the reverse.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A rare view into the Muslim mind

However brilliant a person may be, if their thinking rests on false assumptions their conclusions will be worthless. Unfortunately, the thinking about Islam of most Western leaders rests on false assumptions.

In this interview with Israel's leading authority on Islam, Prof. Moshe Sharon, we gain a rare insight into some important facets of Muslim mentality. We can see how much credence we should give to what Muslim leaders say in English as compared to what they say in Arabic; how much value they place on agreements made with non-Muslims; whether the normal condition of Islam is peace or war; whether they respect and reciprocate kindness or whether they respect only strength.

Prof. Sharon studied under Bernard Lewis, one of the world's foremost authorities on Islam. But perhaps more significant than this, he lived as a Bedouin among the Bedouin of the Galilee, herding his own flock of sheep, speaking their language and understanding the cultural nuances that infuse all languages.

Reprinted from FrontPageMag

By Gideon Israel

President Trump will be meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas this coming Wednesday. Unlike his predecessor, President Trump understands that the major problems in the Middle East are Iran, ISIS and Syria, and that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has a minor connection, if any,  to the broader conflicts in the Middle East. Still, President Trump is looking to take a swing at solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a feat that has eluded all of his predecessors.  Is a solution possible, and if so, what needs to be done to reach it?

I spoke with Professor Moshe Sharon, professor emeritus at Hebrew University, and world renowned expert on Islam, about the possibilities of President Trump striking a peace agreement in the Middle East.  A former student of Professor Bernard Lewis, Sharon is considered Israel’s most highly respected authority on Islam, and served under Prime Minister Menachem Begin as his advisor on Arab affairs where he took part in the negotiations with Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat.

In my interview with Professor Sharon, we discussed what President Trump should say to Mahmoud Abbas when they meet; why Iran might actually use a nuclear weapon if they obtain one; and whether such a term as moderate Muslim exists.

Understanding Their Language

Professor Sharon is fluent in Arabic and Farsi among other languages. More than 50 years ago, Sharon knew that he wanted to study Middle Eastern Studies and thus went to live with the Bedouins in Southern Israel and Israeli Arabs from the Galilee to better understand their culture.  At the beginning, they knew he was Jewish, but once he became fluent in Arabic, it was indiscernible.  “I had my own sheep, my own little flock, I spoke their language, I was like one of them,” remembers Sharon.  “The most important thing was to learn their language, their habits, their nuances, and once that happens you hear not only what they say to you, but also what they don’t say, which is just as important.”

Sharon lived with the Bedouins for a period of time, and then went to live with the Arabs  to understand them.  From the outside, the Arabs can be seen as a homogenous people, but in reality they are very different one from another.  When discussing a two state solution, many Westerners talk about combining Gaza and the West Bank together as one Palestinian state that will live alongside Israel, Sharon disagrees.

“Arabs from Gaza and the West Bank are from two different worlds.  If you say to the West Bankers that the Gazans are coming to live with them, they will be absolutely flabbergasted, they won’t believe you.  If a Gazan went to live in Nablus, he would be in a bad situation.  Even more than that, if an Arab from Hebron went to live in Nablus (60 miles north of Hebron), he wouldn’t be in a good situation, because these cities are made up of families, clans, and tribes, they aren’t homogenous societies.”

According to Sharon, the way Israel negotiates with the Palestinians needs to be different. For decades, he has been critical of the way Israel’s leaders have handled negotiations with Arab leaders in general, and has written a guide as to how to negotiate in the Middle East bazaar.   One important change is to remove the English language from negotiations. “I want negotiations to be in two languages: Hebrew and Arabic.  Israel will speak Hebrew and they will speak Arabic.  Because then you will really hear what the Arabs have to say, and what they don’t have to say.  The Arabs know that what they say will be quoted in their media and therefore they will be very careful what they say and you will hear their true positions.  In English, they can say anything they want, and then later when confronted with what they said they will say it wasn’t understood correctly and taken out of context.”

Sharon says that as a general rule, what Muslim/Arab leaders say in English means absolutely nothing.  First, because they will always say what the English audience wants to hear, even if it has no resemblance to reality.  Second, Muslims don’t view themselves as obligated to the Western audience.  “When Muslims speak in front of their own people, they know that when they commit to something they are expected to supply the goods.  That is not so with English audiences.”

But the divide is even greater.

Sharon explains that when Muslim leaders speak in front of English audiences they will not only say what their Western audience wants to hear, but also use it as a basis to extract concessions from them.  For example, when discussing commitment to peace with Israel or to a certain deal, the Arab/Muslim leader goes on and on about peace, their commitment to it, its importance and so forth. The Western listener believes everything that has been said and will interpret the words and declarations of the Muslim leader as to actually mean the concept and ideas that he believes in.  When the European hears about ‘peace’ from an Arab leader, he thinks about the Western concept of peace which is very different from the Muslim’s concept of peace.

“No one ever asks the Muslim speaker to explain what is it he means when he says ‘peace’ and ‘tolerance’, because they think that they know what it means since there is a definition of peace.  When the Muslim speaker tells the Western audience what they want to hear, he will then take advantage of the fact that the Westerner heard what he wanted to hear, as if the Muslim made a concession to him, and as a result will demand concessions from the Westerner, since the Muslim leader has given the perception that he has made concessions to the Westerner.”

When Trump Meets Abbas

Sharon explains that there is a major difference between agreements in the Muslim world and agreements in the West. “In the Muslim world you only keep an agreement because you have to keep it, but the moment the agreement can be terminated, you terminate it, because you are the stronger party.”

In regard to a peace agreement, there is a difference between how the West understands the nature of this agreement as opposed to the Muslim world.  “In Islam, the normal situation is war until the world is conquered. However, there are times when the Muslims cannot continue the war because they are not strong enough to win or for other reasons that might cause them to lose the war. The solution for type of situation in Islamic legal terms is called Sulha. This is when the  Muslims stop their battles with the non-Muslims for a limited period of time which is the Sulha. This idea has rules and it can be renewed, but it is only temporary since Muslims cannot stop Jihad forever. Jihad is a normal situation, but to stop Jihad temporarily there must be a very good reason – the Muslim needs to have an alibi. However, even if there is a Sulha, it is only valid as long as the Muslims feel they are not strong enough to fight the non-Muslims, the minute this changes, they are required to return to Jihad.”

Sharon believes that there is no chance for any peace agreement because in simple terms, Israel wants peace whereas the Palestinians are committed to Israel’s destruction. “If Abbas and the Palestinians wanted to make peace, they could have done it numerous times already. The Palestinians received conditions for peace from former Prime Ministers Barak and Olmert that would have led to the destruction of the State of Israel. If Abbas would have accepted then what was offered it would have been the end of the State of Israel without question, because Hamas would have taken over the West Bank, and then there would be a situation where not one airplane could take off from Ben Gurion airport due to missile and mortar threats.” Sharon is referring to territorial concessions that both Prime Ministers made to the Palestinians which would allow them to have control of the hills overlooking Ben Gurion International Airport, only about five miles away.

If that is the case, what does Abbas want from Trump and how should Trump conduct his meeting with Abbas?

“Mahmoud Abbas is going to meet President Trump in the White House in order to get the American President on his side because he has a plan, which is not to make peace with Israel, but rather to destroy it. Part of this agenda is to find allies for his cause, and the best ally is the United States. The minute the U.S. becomes the ally of Palestinians it ceases to be the ally of Israel, as happened during the Obama Administration.”

How should Trump conduct his meeting with Abbas?

“He needs to say to Abbas: what is your peace plan and show me your covenant.”  Sharon is referring to the PLO charter which was established in 1964, three years before Israel took control over the West Bank.  In that charter, Israel’s existence or recognition of its existence is not mentioned at all. This document was the blueprint for the principles that would guide the PLO in their efforts to reclaim all of Palestine from Israel.

“Trump needs to ask Abbas what is the meaning of his covenant and to go through the  articles of the covenant and understand what each means.”  For example, what does Article 2 mean when it says that ‘Palestine with its boundaries at the time of the British Mandate is a regional indivisible unit.’  “Trump needs to ask Abbas what exactly is your plan and what are you willing to give Israel.  He should say ‘we only hear about what you want from Israel, but what are you willing to give Israel.’

But what if Abbas says he is ready to stop terror attacks against Israel?

“No, that’s not enough. I’m ready to stop killing you, that is giving you something?!”

So, let’s say he says I’m ready to stop incitement?

“No, what are you ready to give in real terms, not that you are going to stop to killing Jews. You want from the Israelis a list of concessions connected to territory that brings you within seven miles of Israel’s main cities, but what are you willing to give them in terms of real things.”

So what if Abbas says he is ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish state according to the 1967 borders?

“Yes, that is very important.  To recognize Israel is important and Trump needs to tell Abbas, ‘Go back to Ramallah, stand up in public and give a speech saying the Palestinian people recognize Israel as a Jewish state’ in those exact words in Arabic, but Abbas will never do it.  In any event, this is only the declarative part, the second part is what is Abbas willing to give Israel in real terms, in real estate?  Sometimes people ask me in public lectures ‘what is your plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict’?  I say I have no plan.  I want to know what is the Arab’s plan.  The Arabs will never present their plan first, they will always create a situation where you have to present your plan first and they work from there.”

A Religious or National Conflict?

Some people get mixed up when they see the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  On the one hand there is the PLO which seems like a secular nationalist movement, and on the other hand there is Hamas and other Jihad organizations which speak in terms of a religious war against Israel – which is it?  “There is no secularism in Islam, there is no such word for secularism in Islam. That is a mistake people make since they look at Islam like they look at Christianity.  Even if a Muslim doesn’t go to mosque, doesn’t fast during Ramadan, doesn’t make a pilgrimage to Mecca, he is still  a Muslim, because Islam is a source of identity, remember that. Islam is a center of identity. We are not talking about a religion on a scale of less and more. There is no separation between state and religion.”

Do Moderate Muslims Exist?

“There are about 1.25 billion muslims in the world, 99% want to go to work and bring food home, but the ones that set the tone for Islam are the 1%. ISIS is very small, but they give the tone, same with Iran,  those who have the power and give the tone are a fraction of the community.”

But are all the Muslims happy with that tone?

“Most are not happy with the leaders, but they are irrelevant. That makes no difference, no one is asking about happiness. If you have power you don’t ask about happiness because you can behead the people that don’t agree with you. Think about Saudi Arabia, under any normal standards the government should have collapsed years ago. Whoever has the power to kill has the power to rule. There are many Muslims who are nice and talk about peace, but the person who speaks about peace and how wonderful it would be, ask him not what he thinks, but what he could do for it?  And if he is truthful he will say he can do nothing about it, because he has no power.”

But are these people who want peace adhering to Islam which calls for Jihad and commands Muslims to takeover the world?

“Yes, but they can’t do anything about it.”

Are Muslims happy when they have an alibi that they don’t have to go to jihad?

“This is not the question. They will have to go to jihad if a call for jihad is issued by their own leader.  They are like a sheep looking for the shepherd who will take them to the water or a grazing area.  There are a few thousand in the western world who want to be westerners – let them be westerners – which means that they are ready to lose their identity.  Some people say “I met a wonderful Muslim who wants peace” and I say: Wonderful I want peace also, but what he can do about it? Nothing, he doesn’t set the tone.

And there will never be a situation where the leader of Islam can give a tone of reconciliation?

“The question of reconciliation is impossible. Why? Because then you put on parity Muslims and non-Muslims and that is impossible. “

But these people in the West who want peace, if they became leaders of Islam, would they be talking differently?

“The idea is very simple. The rules which control the Muslim who is a leader are not the same rules that control a regular Muslim running around Paris, London, and NY.  When he has no power, a person can live by different rules but if he becomes a leader then there are other rules that govern him because he is now a ruler with the power to do something.”

Iran Might Use An Atomic Bomb

In a previous interview, Professor Sharon said that there is real possibility that Iran would use a nuclear weapon should they obtain one.  “Iran is ruled by fanatic rulers who live with a feeling of impending apocalypse.  The Shia is a messianic movement which means that it lives with the idea that the messiah, or Mahdi, exists somewhere, but he is hidden.  This messiah is waiting to appear.  There is one possibility where the Shia leadership would do everything they could to induce the Mahdi to appear – mainly through wars which would lead to major catastrophes.  This would remain in the realm of religion, but there are other dangerous things that Iran’s leaders might pursue.  The Shi’ites are the sufferers of the Islamic world, they are the minority in Islam and they have been persecuted by the majority of Islam which is the Sunnis. For them, the greatest in enemy of the world are the Sunnis, and they will do everything they can to destroy them.  I always say that if Iran obtains nuclear weapons Saudi Arabia will be the first to be on the receiving end, since Saudi Arabia, more than any other country, represents pure Sunni Islam.”

“When Ahmadinejad was Mayor of Tehran he spent about six million dollars to build a royal entrance so that the Mahdi could enter into Tehran in a very respectable way.  So they are not just talking abstractly. We may think it is ridiculous, but understand his thinking, he believes that he can bring the Mahdi and that is why builds this entrance.”

While the Iranians talk about bringing the Mahdi, Islam has been around for almost 1,400 years, have they not tried to bring the Mahdi before? Didn’t they have not a powerful army before that could bring destruction and catastrophe? Sharon says that bringing the Mahdi has never before been tried by the Shia, though they talk about it all the time.

“The Shi’ites never created for themselves a real powerful army, to such an extent where they could challenge the powers of the Sunni.  Almost all of the time they were under Sunni rule.  Until the 16th century Iran was a Sunni country.  The Shia are a minority in Islam, maybe six or seven percent of all Muslims.  What is unique now is that Iran presents themselves not only as the leaders of Shia, but also they are claiming to be the leaders of the Islamic world in general, because they are presenting a goal which is acceptable to all Muslims.  This goal is first fighting the “Great Satan” which is represented by the U.S., a Christian country which is so big and so strong that in order to take over the world it needs to be brought down, and then they have this helper which runs around between its legs which is Israel.”

For Muslims, Israel is both ritually unclean and dangerous since it is suicidal by nature in the sense that Muslims don’t know what Israel going to do, and Israel also puts the whole Muslim world to shame.   Islam is a shame oriented society as opposed to the Christian world which is a guilt oriented society. In a guilt oriented society, the antidote for wrongdoing is either punishment or forgiveness, whereas in a shame oriented society, the only way to deal with shame is revenge, to obliterate the thing that caused the shame.  Israel puts the Muslim world to shame, and therefore the only thing they can do to Israel is destroy it.

How does Iran view President Trump?

“They see him as a real leader. He talks a language that they understand. The Iranians saw Obama as weak, and scared of Iran.  The Iranians are trembling because they believe that Trump is the other side of Obama.  They think to themselves, ‘maybe we should reach an agreement with him before he starts to damage us’.  The stronger Trump acts towards Iran the better.  They are not saying it openly, but if you read between the lines in Iranian newspapers they are far more careful, but still trying to project strength.  But if Trump continues the way he is going, he could bring them down.” 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Fitna - the radioactive core of Islam

The first section below consists of notes from Mark Durie’s exposition of the fitna worldview in The Third Choice pp.96-99. Following that is a discussion of how the fitna worldview plays out in the world today.

Fitna – meanings range from temptation to persecution

Derived from fatana which means to turn away from, to tempt, to seduce or subject to trials.

Fitna can include temptation or trial, including positive and negative inducements, up to and including torture. It emerged as a key concept in the context of the early Muslim community’s experiences with non-believers.

Muhammad accused the Quraysh of subjecting him and the rest of the Muslims to fitna, in order to get them to leave Islam or dilute its claims.

The eminent medieval theologian, Ibn Kathir, argued that the first verses revealed concerning fighting after the migration to Medina made clear that the whole purpose of fighting and killing was to eliminate fitna, because it could cause Muslims to turn away from Islam.

“persecution is more grievous than slaying…
…fight them, ‘til there is no more persecution [fitna].” Q2: 190-193

The idea that fitna of Muslims was “more grievous than slaying” proved to be highly significant. It would be used again in Q2: 217 after an attack on a Meccan caravan during the sacred month (a period during which Arab tribal traditions forbade raiding.)

It implied that shedding the blood of infidels is less serious than a Muslim turning away from Islam.

The other significant phrase in the lines from Q2 is “fight them until there is no fitna”. This was also used more than once. The second being the Battle of Badr, during the second year in Medina. (Q8: 39)

These fitna phrases established the principle that jihad was justified by the existence of an obstacle to people entering Islam, or of inducements to Muslims to turn away from Islam.

Put another way: fighting and killing people may be grievous but undermining or obstructing Islam is worse.

Most Muslim jurists extend the concept of fitna to include the mere existence of unbelief (kufr), so that the phrase is interpreted as ‘unbelief is worse than killing.’

Ibn Kathir equates fitna with ‘committing disbelief’:

“Since jihad involves killing and shedding blood of men, Allah indicated that these men [i.e. polytheists] are committing disbelief in Allah, associating with Him (in the worship) and hindering from His path, and this is a much greater evil and more disastrous than killing.”

Ibn Kathir Tafsir vol 1 p.528

It is on this understanding that the concept of jihad warfare to extend the dominance of Islam was based.

Ibn Kathir, commenting on Q2 and Q8 said that the command to fight means to go to war ‘so that there is no more kufr (disbelief).’

A quote from Muhammad Usmani (a contemporary eminent cleric) shows the Islamic consensus on this point:

“…the purpose of jihad…aims at breaking the grandeur of unbelievers and establishing that of Muslims. As a result no one will dare to show any evil designs against Muslim [sic] on one side and on the other side, people subdued from the grandeur of Islam will have an open mind to think over the blessings of Islam…I think that all ulema (religious scholars) have established the same concept about the purpose of Jihad.”

Muhammad Usmani Islam and Modernism pp.133-34

It is highly significant that the beginning of the Islamic calendar is defined by the end of tolerance to opposition.

This was a defining moment in the establishment of Islam, after which forbearance of fitna would no longer be an option: jihad had been declared.

Fitna is not some archaic concept but a living principle that informs Muslim doctrine today just as throughout its history. Egyptian cleric Ahmed al-Naqib, speaking on television in response to yet another Muslim mob attack on a Christian church explained:

‘… the open display of shirk—the greatest sin in Islam, associating someone else with God, which the Koran accuses Christians of doing via the Trinity—“is the worst form of fitna, worse than murder and bloodshed.”’


How clearly this illustrates the aggressive response to innocuous behavior that the fitna worldview inspires.

One consequence of the fitna worldview is that all non-Islamic phenomena become a source of adversity to Muslims. Every non-Islamic art-form, custom, or achievement emerges as a standing temptation; an obstacle to conversion; or a tacit rebuttal of Islamic claims.

What is the solution? Why, to destroy all non-Islamic phenomena through dawa and jihad. Unless the whole world is Islamized until no trace remains of non-Islamic phenomena then fitna remains, Muslims are suffering "persecution".

Another consequence of the fitna worldview is that it feeds our natural tendency to blame our problems on the behavior or even the existence of other people - the victim mentality. Some religious teachings try to counter this tendency as in the sayings of Jesus:

 “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” Matthew 7:5
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matthew 5:44
In dramatic contrast, the fitna worldview broadens the definition of “persecution” to include such things as mockery but it also goes far beyond this and within the same category includes the mere existence of difference (committing disbelief in Ibn Kathir’s terms).

Why are the current champions of “diversity” not concerned about this? As things stand, many of them are only too happy to shout down, vilify and compile hit lists of the contemporary critics of Islam and thereby enforce the fitna worldview.

The current diversity agenda in the Western democracies is playing right into the hands of the fitna worldview as their citizens are legally bound to “respect” difference which leads to cultural capitulation in a thousand forms like halal meat, prayer rooms, washing facilities for wudu, prosecution for pranks such as bacon on mosque doors, the institutionalized denial that Islam has a violent core, etc.

There is also a widespread belief that if Muslims are upset it must be due to some real injustice and that that injustice is our responsibility.*  This reinforces the fitna worldview on their part and the surrender to it on ours. This dynamic is playing out in millions of micro-social situations every day.

* There is of course an ironic truth in this since we are responsible for our unbelief and this is the most grievous fault in the fitna worldview. We are guilty of our rejection of the call to Islam.