Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Myths of Islam, Part 1

Islam Means 'Peace'
















The Myth:
Lesser educated Muslims sometimes claim that the root word of Islam is “al-Salaam,” which is “peace” in Arabic.

The Truth:
The root word for Islam is “al-Silm,” which means “submission” or “surrender.” There is no controversy about this among Islamic scholars.

Submission and peace can be very different concepts, even if a form of peace is often brought about through forcing others into submission.

In truth, the Qur’an not only calls Muslims to submit to Allah, it also commands them to subdue people of other religions until they are in a full state of submission to Islamic rule. This has inspired the aggressive history of Islam and its success in conquering other cultures.

Islam Respects Women as Equals

The Myth:
The Qur’an places men and women on equal foundation before Allah. Each person is judged according to his or her own deeds. Women have equal rights under Islamic law.

The Truth:
Merely stating that individuals will be judged as such by Allah does not mean that they have equal rights and roles, or that they are judged by the same standards. In fact, Sura 37:22-23 implies that women will be punished on Judgment Day for sins committed by their husbands.

There is no ambiguity in the Qur’an, the life of Muhammad, or Islamic law as to the inferiority of women to men, despite the efforts of modern-day apologists to salvage Western-style feminism from scraps and fragments of verses that have historically held no such progressive interpretation.

After military conquests, Muhammad would dole out captured women as war prizes to his men. In at least one case, he advocated that they be raped in front of their husbands. Captured women were made into sex slaves by the very men who killed their husbands and brothers.

There are at least three Qur’anic verses in which Allah makes it clear that a Muslim master has full sexual access to his female slaves, yet there is not one that prohibits rape.

The Qur’an gives Muslim men permission to beat their wives for disobedience. It plainly says that husbands are “a degree above” wives. The Hadith says that women are intellectually inferior, and that they comprise the majority of Hell’s occupants.

Under Islamic law, a man may divorce his wife at the drop of a hat. If he wishes to remarry her, then she must first have sex with another man. Men are exempt from such degradations.Muslim women are not free to marry whomever they please, as are Muslim men. Their husband may bring other wives into the marriage bed. She must be sexually available to him at all times (as a field ready to be “tilled,” according to the holy book of Islam).

Muslim women do not inherit property in equal portions to males. Their testimony in court is considered to be worth only half that of a man’s. Unlike a man, she must cover her head and often her face.

If a woman wants to prove that she was raped, then there must be four male witnesses to corroborate her account. Otherwise she will be jailed or stoned to death for confessing to “adultery.”

Given all of this, it is quite a stretch to say that men and women have “equality under Islam” based on obscure theological analogies or comparisons. This is an entirely new stratagem that is designed to appeal to modern tastes, but is in sharp disagreement with the reality of Islamic law and history.

Jihad Means 'Inner Struggle'

The Myth:
Islam’s Western apologists sometimes claim that since the Arabic word, Jihad, literally means “fight” or “struggle,” it refers to an “inner struggle” rather than holy war.

The Truth:
This is extremely difficult to reconcile with the Qur’an, which, for example, exempted the disabled and elderly from Jihad (4:95). This would make no sense if the word is being used merely within the context of spiritual struggle. It is also unclear why Muhammad would use graphic language, such as smiting fingers and heads from the hands and necks of unbelievers if he were speaking merely of personal development.

With this in mind, Muslims themselves usually admit that there are two meanings to the word, but insist that “inner struggle” is the “greater Jihad,” whereas “holy war” is the “lesser.” In fact, this misconception is based only on a tiny handful of extremely weak and unreliable Hadith.

By contrast, the most reliable of all Hadith is that of Bukhari. The word, Jihad, is mentioned over 200 times in reference to the words of Muhammad and each one is a clear connotation to holy war. By contrast, Bukhari does not contain a single reference to Jihad within the context of “personal struggle.”

Islam is a Religion of Peace

The Myth:
Muhammad was a peaceful man who taught his followers to be the same. Muslims lived peacefully for centuries, only fighting in self-defense when it was necessary. True Muslims would never act aggressively.

The Truth:
Muhammad organized 65 military campaigns in the last ten years of his life and personally led 27 of them. The more power that he attained, the smaller the excuse needed to go to battle, until finally he began attacking tribes merely because they were not part of his growing empire.

After Muhammad’s death, his most faithful followers and even his own family turned on each other almost immediately. There were four Caliphs (leaders) in the first twenty-five years. Three of the four were murdered. The third Caliph was murdered by the son of the first. The fourth Caliph was murdered by the fifth, who left a 100-year dynasty that was ended in a gruesome, widespread bloodbath by descendants of Muhammad’s uncle.

Muhammad’s own daughter, Fatima, and his son-in-law, Ali, who both survived the pagan hardship during the Meccan years safe and sound, did not survive Islam after the death of Muhammad. Fatima died of stress from persecution within three months, and Ali was later assassinated. Their son (Muhammad’s grandson) was killed in battle with the faction that became today’s Sunnis. His people became Shias. The relatives and personal friends of Muhammad were mixed into both warring groups, which then fractured further into hostile sub-divisions as Islam grew.

Muhammad left his men with instructions to take the battle against the Christians, Persians and Jews. For the next four centuries, Muslim armies steamrolled over unsuspecting neighbors, plundering them of loot and slaves, and forcing the survivors to either convert or pay tribute at the point of a sword.

Companions of Muhammad lived to see Islam declare war on every major religion in the world in just the first few decades following his death - pressing the Jihad against Hindus, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Buddhists.

By the time of the Crusades (when the Europeans began fighting back), Muslims had conquered two-thirds of the Christian world by the sword, from Spain to Syria, and across North Africa. The Arab slave-trading routes would stay open for another 1300 years, until pressure from Christian-based countries forced Islamic nations to declare the practice illegal (in theory).

Today, there is not another religion in the world that consistently produces terrorism in the name of religion as does Islam. The most dangerous Muslims are nearly always those who interpret the Qur’an most transparently. They are the fundamentalists or purists of the faith, and believe in Muhammad’s mandate to spread Islamic rule by the sword, putting to death those who will not submit.

The holy texts of Islam are saturated with verses of violence and hatred toward those outside the faith. In sharp contrast to the Bible, which generally moves from relatively violent passages to far more peaceful ones, the Qur’an travels the exact opposite path. The handful of earlier verses that speak of tolerance are overwhelmed by an avalanche of later ones that carry a much different message. While Old Testament verses of blood and guts are generally bound by historical context within the text itself, Qur'anic imperatives to violence usually appear open-ended.

By any objective measure, the "Religion of Peace" has been the harshest, bloodiest religion the world has ever known.

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My Favorite Speeches and Other Items of Interest

  • George Bush's March 28, 2007 Discusses Economy, War on Terror During Remarks to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association;http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/03/20070328-2.html
  • Mitch McConnell's March 15, 2007 Funding For Troops, Not Timelines for Retreat; http://mcconnell.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=270747&start=1
  • Ronald Reagan's June 12, 1987 Tear Down This Wall Speech; http://www.reaganfoundation.org/reagan/speeches/wall.asp
  • Vice President Cheney's March 12, 2007 Remarks at the AIPAC 2007 Policy Conference; http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/03/20070312.html

Winston Churchill Quotes

  • A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.
  • Although personally I am quite content with existing explosives, I feel we must not stand in the path of improvement.
  • Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.
  • Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
  • Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter.
  • Danger - if you meet it promptly and without flinching - you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!
  • I always seem to get inspiration and renewed vitality by contact with this great novel land of yours which sticks up out of the Atlantic.
  • I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.
  • I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
  • I like a man who grins when he fights.
  • I was only the servant of my country and had I, at any moment, failed to express her unflinching resolve to fight and conquer, I should at once have been rightly cast aside.
  • If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time-a tremendous whack.
  • In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.
  • It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.
  • Moral of the Work. In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill.
  • Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
  • Never, never, never give up.
  • No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism.
  • One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!
  • Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
  • Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
  • The first quality that is needed is audacity.
  • The nose of the bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go.
  • The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.
  • There is no such thing as public opinion. There is only published opinion.
  • These are not dark days: these are great days - the greatest days our country has ever lived.
  • They are decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.
  • True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.
  • Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
  • War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.
  • War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.
  • We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
  • We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.
  • When the eagles are silent the parrots begin to jabber.
  • When you are winning a war almost everything that happens can be claimed to be right and wise.
  • You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.

Ronald Reagan Quotes

  • "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant: It's just that they know so much that isn't so."
  • Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.
  • All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.
  • Approximately 80% of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let's not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources
  • Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
  • Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.
  • Double, no triple, our troubles and we'd still be better off than any other people on earth. It is time that we recognized that ours was, in truth, a noble cause.
  • Facts are stupid things.
  • Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
  • Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.
  • Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.
  • Governments tend not to solve problems, only to rearrange them.
  • History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.
  • How can a president not be an actor?
  • How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.
  • I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.
  • I will stand on, and continue to use, the figures I have used, because I believe they are correct. Now, I'm not going to deny that you don't now and then slip up on something; no one bats a thousand.
  • In Israel, free men and women are every day demonstrating the power of courage and faith. Back in 1948 when Israel was founded, pundits claimed the new country could never survive. Today, no one questions that. Israel is a land of stability and democracy in a region of tryanny and unrest.
  • Let us ask ourselves; "What kind of people do we think we are?".
  • Man is not free unless government is limited.
  • My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out.
  • No mother would ever willingly sacrifice her sons for territorial gain, for economic advantage, for ideology.
  • Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.
  • Our forbearance should never be misunderstood. Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will. When action is required to preserve our national security, we will act.
  • Protecting the rights of even the least individual among us is basically the only excuse the government has for even existing.
  • Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem.
  • The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas - a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated.
  • The United Sates has much to offer the third world war.
  • There are no easy answers' but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.
  • To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I did not take the oath I have just taken with the intention of presiding over the dissolution of the world's strongest economy.
  • Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong.
  • We are never defeated unless we give up on God.
  • We have the duty to protect the life of an unborn child.
  • We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.
  • We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.
  • Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.
  • You know, if I listened to Michael Dukakis long enough, I would be convinced we're in an economic downturn and people are homeless and going without food and medical attention and that we've got to do something about the unemployed.

Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes

  • No one can make you feel inferior without your consent

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