Sunday, January 01, 2006
WARNING! The above contains graphic content
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Denmark Politician Gets It
Here is an interesting article from Denmark. It seems this guy has had enough of the Muslim bullshit going on in his country and is speaking out. KUDOS to him for having the balls to speak the truth about Islam.
Now if we could just get our appeasing, apologist, politically correct politicians to do the same we just might have a chance for the future as nation.
Replacement candidate: Islam is terror
The Danish People’s Party’s new spokesman on education affairs describes Islam as a terrorist movement
A few days after the Danish People’s Party (DF) punished its Copenhagen mayoral candidate for publishing racist remarks on her website, removing her from the post as the party spokesman on educational affairs, her successor went ahead and described the Muslim religion as a terrorist movement.
Defeated mayoral candidate Louise Frevert’s website compared Muslims with tumours, causing a public outrage. Though she blamed the statement on her website editor, DF punished her by removing her from a number of spokesman posts in parliament, including the one on educational policies.
Her replacement, Martin Henriksen, however, has also been criticised for having a website that is equally anti-Muslim.‘From its beginning, Islam has been a terrorist movement,
’ Henriksen stated on his website, warning against letting Muslims run for office in parliament and municipal councils.>‘It’s well known that Islam is lying low, well-knowing that no Islamic group or state has the military power it takes to conquer us. The goal we know, the method is to quietly take over and infiltrate our democratic institutions,’ Henriksen said on his website.
Danish converts to Islam get their share of the blame as ‘moral criminals’.
‘These young Danes, who turn their backs on their heritage and thereby all of us, are committing an indescribable moral crime,’ the website stated.
The website was discussed in a DF parliamentary group meeting last Thursday, where Henriksen said he had received full backing from his fellow party members.
‘It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that an MP from the Danish People’s Party is critical of Islam. It’s a part of the party’s policy, so I’m not removing anything from my website,’ Henriksen told national broadcaster DR.
Walid Shoebat was a guest on Bill O'Reilly's program this past Friday. I love this guy. For anyone not familiar with Mr. Shoebat, he is a former Palestinian terrorist who has left Islam for Christianity. He speaks out on the evils of Islam and tells why Islam begets terrorism.
Here is the link to the video of that interview. Scroll down a little to "download the video"
This is something we ALL should watch.
WOW! Where to Begin
So much has happened since my last posting here.
I recently purchased Andrew Bostoms new book "The Legacy of Jihad, Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims". What a great book of facts from history about Jihad, dhimmitude and what the world may be in for if it doesn't wake the hell up!
I had the pleasue of speaking to Dr. Bostom personally and he signed 2 copies of his book for me. One for KAOS and one for myself. The man is absolutely brilliant in the way he ties Islamic history together with our almost certain future.
I highly recommend it to everyone who is concerned about the future of the West and all the freedoms we hold dear.
Visit the following link to read this man's work. He is truly amazing
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Sunday School Teachers Found Guilty of 'Christianization' in Indonesia
Before you read this article please view this video from outside and inside the court house where these 3 Christian women were being tried for their crime of ''Christianization''http://www.jubileecampaign.org/home...amayu_video.wmv
Three Sunday school teachers accused of ''Christianization'' were found guilty Thursday by the Indonesian court and sentenced to three years of prison.
Three Sunday school teachers accused of Christianization were found guilty Thursday by the Indonesian court and sentenced to three years of prison.The women Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti, and Ratna Bangun plan to appeal the conviction.According to reports, the women were accused of breaking the Child Protection Acts of 2002 which forbids converting children to another religion because they had allowed Muslim children to attend a Sunday school program organized for local Christian children in a nearby public elementary school in Indonesias West Java province.Although all the children reportedly had full parental consent to join the program and none of children had changed religion, the women were arrested on May 13 following allegations made by the local chapter of the Indonesian Council of Muslim Clerics (MUI). According to UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide, MUI alleged that the women enticed Muslim children to participate in the camp and that they tried to convert the children to Christianity by giving them gifts. The women have since then been incarcerated in the Indramayu Prison. Since the womens first trial, Muslim protestors had crowded the courtroom calling for the conviction and even execution of the accused. Sources say the intimidating threats of the protestors and the noisy demonstrations outside the courtroom frightened and reduced some of the witnesses, including the children waiting to testify.Many threats were made against the judges and the accused, as well. According to reports, leaders and members of the Muslim mob cried out that they would shed their own blood for justice if the women were not found guilty and threatened anyone who supported the women.According to International Christian Concerns (ICC) Policy Analyst, Jeremy Sewell, pressure from the radical Muslims, fear of the threats, and concern for the danger of the lives of many might have caused the judges to rule the verdict as guilty.These women were accused of breaking the anti-conversion law, Sewell told the Christian Post.Such laws, Sewell said, need to be examined and seen by how much they are really valid when it comes to the freedom to practice religion.If you are not allowed by the government, to change your mind then its basically mind control, he continued. Anyone who cares for freedom should look into anti-conversion laws of countries and seek to get them repealed. Lobby the government and put pressure on them. But the best thing to do is pray for the change.Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller also spoke of the importance of prayer following Thursdays verdict. These women need our prayers and letters of support for this travesty of justice, said Moeller in a statement released by Open Doors. That these women were found guilty for simply conducting an approved Christian education program for kids is another example of how Christians suffer for their faith.Join me in praying for their release on appeal.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Tying Muhammed into The Fantasy Ideology
The Secret of Muhammad’s Success.Arabic translation
By Ali Sina
In the forum of this site, one person asked if Islam is not a religion but just a cult, why it has succeeded and survived while other cults have failed.
This “logic” is the biggest stumbling block for the Muslims to see the truth of Islam. I will discuss that shortly, but first let us analyze this logic and see how logical it is.
A Few Logical Fallacies
The claim that Islam must be true because it has endured the test of time is a favorite argument of Muslim apologists. This argument in Arabic is called “Taghrir” and in English/Latin it is known as argumentum ad antiquitatem
Argumentum ad antiquitatem, is the fallacy of asserting that something is right or good simply because it's old, or because "that's the way it's always been."
The world has known many thesis that were upheld for thousands of years and yet they were proven to be wrong eventually.
One such theory was geocentricity. Up until Galileo the majority of mankind or actually everyone, believed that the Earth is the center of the cosmos and this belief was as old as mankind could remember. The Sun the Moon and the entire firmament were believed to rotate around the Earth and few challenged this concept. Yet despite its antiquity, geocentricism proved to be false.
Another logical fallacy that Muslims cling to is the claim that since a great portion of humanity believes in Islam it must be true. The argument presented is “How can a billion people be wrong?”
This too is a logical fallacy and is called argumentum ad numerum
. Argumentum ad numerum asserts that the more people who support or believe a proposition, the more likely it is that that proposition is correct.
As the examples of geocentricity and flatness of the Earth prove, this argument is also a logical fallacy.
Just as something true does not become untrue if no one believes in it, something that is not true will not become true if more people believe in it. Truth cannot be attained through the consensus of the majority. Facts are independent from people’s beliefs. We can’t decide on truth by running an opinion poll. The Earth was never flat even if the whole world believed so.
Another variation of argumentum ad numerum is argumentum ad populum. Argumentum ad populum
is claiming that some thing is true because it is appealing to a lot of people. You commit this fallacy when you try to win the legitimacy for an assertion by claiming it is liked and favored by a large group of people. This form of fallacy is often characterized by emotive language. For example:
"For over 1400 years billions of people have believed in Islam. Islam has had a great impact on their lives. Islam has given the world Algebra and many sciences. The streets of Baghdad were illumined when Europe was engulfed in Dark Ages. Are you trying to tell that a billion people are all mistaken fools?"
The truth of a belief must be established on its own merits without any consideration of its antiquity or its popularity.
So, why Islam has succeeded when other cults failed?
There are two answers to this question:
1- Islam is a the biggest lie
2- Muhammad was a ruthless psychopath. .
'The broad mass of a nation will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.' These are the words of Adolf Hitler. They are living testament to the idea that the bigger the lie the more believable it becomes.
The logic behind this is that the average, normal and sane people generally do not dare to tell big lies. They content themselves with small lies. They fear a bigger lie would not be believed. They are embarrassed of making a total fool of themselves by telling outrageous big lies. And since everyone has heard or has fabricated a few small lies they generally can recognize it when they hear one. But big lies are so outlandish that often take the listener aback. Most people are not equipped to process them adequately. The average person wonders "how could anyone dare to say such a big lie?". And since telling a lie of such a magnitude is almost impossible therefore it must be true. However, what the average and normal person does not understand is that the liar is not an average and normal person but a psychopath, and his way of thinking should not be measured with the same yardstick that the thinking of an average mind is measured.
What the big lie does is that it offsets the scale of our commonsense and better judgment. This is like loading a scale that is designed to weigh kilos with tons. It breaks and stops showing the correct weight, in fact it may even show zero. That is why a bigger lie often appears to be truer than little lies.
Add to this, the absolute conviction of the psychopath liar and his readiness to apply extreme force in support of his claim. Appealing to force, in order to support a claim is yet another logical fallacy that has been often and quite successfully used by dictators and especially by Muhammad. This fallacy is called Argumentum ad baculum. It happens when someone resorts to force (or the threat of force) to push others to accept a conclusion.
This argument is often brought up by Muslims who say that the reason Muhammad won against all his enemies is because God assisted him. They completely overlook the fact that Muhammad used to send spies to bring him news about his to-be-victims and would attack when they were unarmed and least expecting. That he did not win because God was with him but because he was a cunning, perfidious and ruthless man who was bent to win even through dishonesty, treason and by taking his victims by surprise. You do not need God to be on your side to kill unarmed villagers when they are out after their daily business while you ride among them with your horses fully geared for war and with your sword unshielded.
This argument can be summarized as "might is right."
The threat of argumentum ad baculum could be direct like this:
Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. 9:5
I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them 8:12
Or indirect like this:
And as for those who disbelieve and reject Our Signs, they are the people of Hell 5:11
For him [the disbeliever] there is disgrace in this life, and on the Day of Judgment We shall make him taste the Penalty of burning (Fire). 22:9
This gives to the big lie a more dramatic sense of urgency. The impact is so big that one can't remain indifferent. If you are smart you may recognize it as sheer evil. But if you are gullible and foolhardy, as most people are, you may think that the liar must be endowed with a special divine power, for you have never seen this much audacity, this much conviction and this much brutal force. You will never want to kill anyone if he disagrees with your lies. After all you know what you say is a lie. But there is a man who tells very strange and unheard stories that is impossible for you to verify and you don't know whether you should believe him or disbelieve. But he is so sure of what he says that he is ready to kill any number of people to prove he is telling the truth. There must be something to it, you start suspecting, or he would not be so convinced of his claim such as to readily murder anyone who doubts him.
Furthermore this man is obsessed with God and he praises God when he massacres people. Criminals are not like that. There is a trace of conscience in all criminals. They often feel guilt. But psychopaths don't. They can kill millions of people without any compunction and in fact they feel they are entitled to do that. Hitler thought he was doing God's work.
With psychopaths your scale of commonsense goes off so much that you can't even recognize that everything he says is absurd and that he talks baloney. You marvel at the absurdities that he "reveals" to you and instead of using your logics to dismiss them you strive to find some esoteric and hidden meanings in his asinine words and somehow justify them.
Hitler attracted the support of many Germans with his big lies. He was a spellbinding speaker who had a great influence on his audiences. When he spoke, he became louder and louder as he vented his anger at the perceived enemies of Germany. He aroused the Germans with patriotism. His belief that the bigger the lie, the more believable proved to be true. Millions of Germans loved him and were moved to tears by his speeches. Had he claimed divine inspiration and had he not been defeated, wouldn't the Germans be Hitlerians today, worshipping him just as the Muhammadans worship Muhammad? Muslims think it is Allah whom they worship. But in effect Allah was but an alter ego of Muhammad. He was a convenient tool -- an anchor. It is Muhammad whom they worship.
Muhammad was the master of Hitler. This is not an ability that you and I can learn. It comes natural to psychopath narcissists. Men such as Hitler and Muhammad are absolutely bereft of conscience. They are pathological liars. Amazingly they are the first to believe in their own lies while at the same time they get more confirmation when others are fooled and believe in them.
There is a proverbial character in Persian folklore called Mulla Nasreddin. Legend has it that one day Mulla Nasredddin took his old moribund donkey to the market for sale. He extolled the attributes of his donkey so much that at once he said, why am I selling such a good donkey and rode the animal back home.
Mulla Nasreddin is a funny character but not a psychopath. The minds of the psychopaths, however, does not work the way normal minds work. Their logic is distorted and their reality is twisted. Their value system is completely different from the rest of the people. Have you ever wondered why someone would break a window of your car that cost you hundreds of dollars to replace just to steal a few coins? You wonder about this person’s total lack of conscience. How can he cause you so much damage for such an insignificant reward? It makes no sense. But the truth is that your values are distinct from his. He has no conscience. May be his brain is damaged by drugs. He does not think about you at all. You and your losses simply do not enter into his equation. The development of conscience in these people has stopped at a very primitive stag. Once I was in a South American country and read in a local newspaper that someone had killed a stranger just to steal his Nike shoes.
Would you expect a bear; for example, to have any consideration of your car if he spots a bag of potato chips inside it? He will break your windshield and ruin your car or even kill you to get his hand on the bag of chips. The ethical intelligence of some humans does not develop to full extent. They can be geniuses but morally and ethically they are animals.
Muhammad, Hitler, Stalin and all other very successful pathological narcissists had no conscience. To the pathological narcissist, lives of other people are worth nothing. To him, people matter, as long as they serve his selfish purpose but they can be disposed of with no contrition when they stand in his way or simply are of no use to him.
Scott Peterson was found guilty of murdering his 9 month old pregnant wife. Why a man would murder his wife and his own baby if there is no insurance to recover and when divorcing her is the logical option?
This is the way you and I, as normal people think. The logic of a pathological narcissist does not work quite the same way. He may think that going through the hassle of divorce, dividing the assets, paying alimony and child support for many years is not something fun. So the easy way is to get rid of his wife and his unborn child with a "perfect crime" and start all over.
Narcissists are bereft of conscience. They have no remorse and feelings. This case received wide publicity in America and many people though, and still think, he is innocent. That is because they judge him based on their own moral values. Psychopaths have no moral values.
Just as we do not look alike, we do not think alike. Just as some humans are impaired in one way or another, some people totally lack conscience.
Muhammad was one such person. He had no conscience. He could make up all sorts of lies and kill as many people as he desired with no compunction at all. This audacity of him confounded his companions as it does a billion of his followers today. “How can one be so sure of himself?” Muslims wonder. “How he could fool so many close friends and relatives including his wife?” they argue.
The answer is that we should not use the same parameters we use for normal people when dealing with Muhammad. Muhammad was a psychopath and he should be assessed as such. We have to compare him with other psychopath cult leaders who also impressed those around them and fooled very intelligent and balanced people.
A Few Influential Psychopaths
To understand the phenomenon of Muhammad we have to study modern cults and peer into the minds of their leaders. Cases abound. I only give a few examples:
Jim Jones convinced normal decent people that he is the Messiah. He convinced them to leave their families and follow him to his “Medina” in the middle of the Jungles. He convinced the Government of New Guyana to give him 300 acres of land for free. He convinced his men to carry guns and kill anyone who dissented. These men shot and killed a senator and his guards and then he convinced his followers to drink a cyanide potion and 911 of them willingly did what he told them and died.
How do you explain this magnetism on his part and this much loyalty and faith of those who believed in him?
David Koresh gathered his followers in Branch Davidian compound outside of Waco, Texas. They were with him every moment of the day. They armed themselves because he told them so. They allowed their teenage daughters to sleep with him, much like Abu Bakr allowed Muhammad to sleep with his underage daughter. They shot and killed four ATF agents and booby trapped the compound and blew it causing their own deaths and the deaths of all their families rather than surrender. If that is not loyalty what it is? 90 people died in that incident.
Order of the Solar Temple:This apocalyptic cult claimed 74 victims in three bizarre mass suicide rituals. Most of the members of the sect were highly educated and well-to-do individuals, much more intelligent than Abu Bakr, Omar and the kid Ali who was more fond of killing than thinking.
The two known leaders of the group were Luc Jouret, a Belgian homeopathic doctor, and Joseph di Mambro, a wealthy businessman. They were like Muhammad and Abu Bakr of this cult. They too believed in their insanity and they too committed suicide.
The cult gave great importance to the Sun. Their fiery ritual murder-suicides are meant to take members of the sect to a new world on the star "Sirius." To assist with the trip, several of the victims, including some children, were shot in the head, asphyxiated with black plastic bags and/or poisoned.
Luc and Joseph wrote, in a letter delivered after their deaths that they were "leaving this earth to find a new dimension of truth and absolution, far from the hypocrisies of this world." Doesn’t this sound eerily familiar to what Muhammad preached? Except that he did not advocate suicide; there was no gain in that for him. He ordered his followers to wage war for him, kill and get killed in the cause of his imaginary Allah. Loot innocent people and bring wealth and power for him. He was much more pragmatic than these cultists and far less willing to put at risk his own life.
How can you explain the devotion of these people to their sick beliefs? Do you deny the conviction of their leaders to their cause?Heaven's Gate
: On March 26, 1997, 39 members of "Heaven's Gate" decided to "shed their containers" and get on a companion craft hiding in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet.
The Heaven Gaters died in three shifts over a three-day period after celebrating their last meal on earth. 15 cultists died the first day, 15 the second and the remaining nine the third day. As one set of cultist ingested the poison, a lethal dose of phenobarbital mixed in with pudding and/or applesauce and chased with a shot of vodka, they would lie down and another cultist would use a plastic bag to speed up the dying. A frighteningly anal-retentive mass suicide, the cultist would clean up after each round of killing. Before the last two killed themselves, they took out the trash leaving the rented mansion in perfect order. Wanting to be helpful even after dead, all bodies had some sort of identification. Strangely, though, they also had five-dollar bill and change in their pockets and small suitcases neatly tucked under the cots and beds.
Also take a look at the story of John de Ruilter
, the man whose followers believe to be greater than Jesus, allow him to have orgies with their daughters. One of his followers is a psychologist who swears in his thirty years of practice he has never come across such a “sane” man.
We have thousands of cases such as these. The cult leaders are charismatic, they are persuasive and they are convinced of their own cause. They are not normal people, they are psychopaths. They are very different from ordinary people and that is why they stand out. They are often intelligent people, but their reality and fantasy are mixed up. They mystify others with their oomph, self assurance, single mindedness and unwavering resolution. That is because they can’t distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. They are the first to believe in their own lies. This conviction fools their close friends and relatives, making them believe that they must know something that others don't.
Muhammad was no different. He was a psychopath. I have described his psychological profile in another article, titled The Force Behind Muhammad.
Hitler, Stalin, or other charismatic cult leaders were not stupid. They were highly intelligent but they were insane.
More insane than that is the fact that a billion people follow a psychopath and all of them base their belief on a few logical fallacies. Each one of them bases his faith on the credulity of others and all of them, like sheep follow each other. If all the sheep go one way then that must be the right way to go. "After all not a billion people could be mistaken."
The Sheep Mentality and Deindividuation
Muslims call themselves Ummah. This word is of the same root of Ummi. Ummi is how Muhammad referred to himself and it means unlettered, unschooled, uneducated.
Therefore Ummah means the community of the unlettered followers. In the case of Muhammad this implied that his knowledge was of a divine source. However that distinction does not apply to the Ummah. Hence Ummah, by definition means the ignorant mass of believers.
The verse 3:20 reads:
وَقُل لِّلَّذِينَ أُوْتُواْ الْكِتَابَ وَالأُمِّيِّينَ أَأَسْلَمْتُمْ
And say to the People of the Book and to those who are unlearned: (Ummiyeen) "Do ye (also) submit yourselves?"
Here the word Ummiyeen الأُمِّيِّينَ which is the plural of Ummi is translates as:Yusuf Ali: those who are unlearned:Pickthal: those who read notShakir: the unlearned peopleLet us take another verse (Imran 3:75):
قَالُواْ لَيْسَ عَلَيْنَا فِي الأُمِّيِّينَ سَبِيلٌ
"They say, "there is no call on us (to keep faith) with these ignorant (Pagans).(Ummiyeen)"
Yusuf Ali translates this word in this verse as ignorant.Pickthal translates it as Gentiles. And Shakir translates the word as unlearned people.
The noun "gentile" is generally applied to an individual who is ignorant of the Scriptures. In English the synonym for "gentile" is "pagan".
Historically, the term gentile was used by the governing Romans for the non-Romans (foreigners); it was adopted by the Jews to denote the non-Jews; in turn the Christians used it for the Pagans. In the Qur'an the term al-Ummiyeen, is generally translated as "the Unlettered folks". The verse 62:2 reads,
هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ
Yusuf Ali translates this thus: "It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered an apostle from among themselves,"
And in his commentary he writes: "The Unlettered: as applied to a people, it refers to the Arabs, in comparison with the People of the Book..."
وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَابَ
And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book,
The root of Ummi is "Um" (mother). A literal translation of that into English would be “Natural”, although the two words have taken different meanings in time. Etymologically, Ummi is the natural state of being ignorant and unlearned, as when born by mother.
So Ummah is the uneducated and unlettered mass of people who are ignorant of the scriptures and hence unable to find their way. The Ummah is in constant need of guidance. Imam, also from the same root, is one who leads the Ummah. This is basically the concept of sheep and shepherd. The entire community of Muslims is deemed to be sheep in need of shepherd.
The believer is supposed to do whatever other believers do and all of them are to blindly follow what the Imam tells them to do, and he in turn is supposed to instruct them with what Muhammad used to do.
Right and wrong, good and bad are not appraised based on their own merits. Right is what Muhammad said or did and wrong is what he prohibited. In other words Muslims are not to judge Muhammad by norms of morality and commonsense but rather the standards of morality and commonsense are to be measured by Muhammad's deeds and words.
This attitude exonerates Muslims from thinking. By following a uniform behavioral and thinking pattern the individual finds safety and comfort in the group.
Conformity is encouraged and independent thought is severely punished. Disagreeing with the majority can bring immense pain and hardship to the independent thinker.
Muslims are kept in line by pleasure/pain stimuli. By conforming they get rewarded. Their sycophantism is prized and it helps them to be accepted and cling to their social status. On the other hand independence of thought has sever consequences.
On psychological level the believer is terrorized with the fear of hell and lured by the promise of paradise. This psychological pressure is intended to numb the rational faculty of the believer and discourage him from ever wandering his mind on things that may shake his faith in the big lie.
This is another important factor that has helped Islam to survive for so many centuries. Muslims are discouraged and do not dare to think independently. Breaking that pattern and rebelling against the conformity is so painful that the thought of that sends shiver down the spine of the believer. By thinking differently the believer could lose his wife, his family, his friends, his job, his status, his respect, his property, his freedom and even his life.
The fear of the society and the fear of the afterlife are two main reasons Islam has endured so long. This lie has never been challenged and as long as it remains unperturbed, it will stay unscathed. The longevity of a lie is not a proof that it is true. Islam has survived because of the fear factor and not because it is true.
Socially, Islam contributes to the deindividuation of the believer. Deindividuation is a technical term for sheep mentality. This is a psychological state where sheep mentality is aroused when individuals join crowds or large groups.
Deindividuation is characterized by diminished awareness of self and individuality. In Islam individuality is completely denied and the individual's life is fused with Ummah. He is not only reduced to a virtual slave, he is actually called by that name. People, are called Ibaad, which literally means slaves.
Deindividuation reduces an individual's self-restraint and normative regulation of behavior. It contributes to collective behavior of violent crowds, mindless hooligans, and the lynch mob. Such behavior is particularly noticeable when the Ummah gets into the mosque and is roused by red faced speeches of the imams and mullahs calling upon them to curse the Jews and the infidels for “oppressing” the Muslims.
The individual is not allowed to question why. What is the proof of that oppression and why he should hate the Jews and the infidels? If a child ask that question he will be slapped on the face so he can learn this is an inappropriate question, but if an adult asks that question he could be in big trouble.
Deindividuation has been also associated with other social phenomena such as genocide, stereotyping, and disinhibition. This explains the behavioral pattern of the believing/practicing Muslims. The mob lynching of the American contractors in Fallujah and the evisceration of the Israeli soldiers and gnawing on their hearts in Ramala are just two cases that were brought to public light because the victims were Americans and Israelis. But this behavior is not uncommon in Islam. In Iran thousands of Baha’is lost their lives to mob lynching. In Pakistan the same happens to those accused of violating the blasphemy law and insulting Muhammad. Muslims are often roused to hysteric levels, after listening to the sermons in their mosques, and become ready to commit murder.
Ironically it is the brutality and the repressive nature of Islam, in conjunction with its absolute irrationality that has made this doctrine a successful religion and has allowed it to survive this long.
Islam cannot stand scrutiny. Muhammad knew perfectly that he is unable to answer the questions raised by his critics. Therefore he saw to it so no one dare question him ever.
Even in the West if someone pronounces something critical of Islam, Muslims protest en masse and murder the westerners in Dar al Islam, claming that their "sensibility has been hurt". The idea is to intimidate you from criticizing their religion next time. They are fully aware that they can't answer answer your criticism and that means the end of Islam.
Why Everyone Praised Muhammad?
One question arises in the mind of the Muslims: Why all Muhammad's companions praised him so much? Why no one spoke opprobriously of him even after his death?
The answer is that In a society that is based on personality cult, speaking your mind is not easy. Telling the truth could bring you ostracism and even cost your life. People who think differently keep their thoughts to themselves. Instead the sycophants try to endear themselves by eulogizing the leader through flattery and exaggerated adulation. After the death of the cult leader, the sycophants add to their charade to gain prestige. Even today the situation is not changed. People who dissent are afraid to talk and are persecuted; while the toadies are honored for writing eulogies about Muhammad. How can truth come out in this repressive and deceitful atmosphere?
We have many stories about Muhammad ordering the assassination of those who criticized him and about Omar who was ever ready to withdraw his sword and slit the throat of one who questioned Muhammad’s authority. Muhammad encouraged sycophantism and punished criticism.
Therefore the secrets of Muhammad’s success are no secrets anymore. He succeeded because he told the biggest lie ever and because he was extremely ruthless towards those who questioned him and disagreed with him.
Muhammad succeeded also because he appeared among the most ignorant, the most superstitious and the most barbarous people. The qualities that he needed to bolster his marauding religion were all present among his early followers and later were imposed on others who fell prey to his cult. Chauvinism, bigotry, haughtiness, arrogance, megalomania, stupidity, greed, lust for sex, disrespect for life and other ignoble qualities such as these, that are the hallmark of Islam were already present as the materia prima in the Arabia where Muhammad launched his prophetic career. All he had to do was to invent a big lie and add some intolerance and some violence to create the most perfect religion of hate.
This is why Islam has survived so far and not because it is a true religion.
“ Everyone is a narcissist, to varying degrees. Narcissism is a healthy phenomenon. It helps survival. The difference between healthy and pathological narcissism is, indeed, in measure. Pathological narcissism and its extreme form, NPD (Narcissistic Pathological Disorder), is characterized by extreme lack of empathy. The narcissist regards and treats other people as objects to be exploited. He uses them to obtain narcissistic supply. He believes that he is entitled to special treatment because he harbours these grandiose fantasies about himself. The narcissist is NOT self-aware. His cognition and emotions are distorted.”
This fits Muhammed's personality to a "T".
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Saturday, September 10, 2005
September 11, 2001 />
Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology
By Lee Harris
now your enemy” is a well-known maxim, but one that is difficult to observe in practice. Nor is the reason for this hard to fathom: If you are my enemy, it is unlikely that I will go very much out of my way to learn to see things from your point of view. And if this is true even in those cases where the conflict is between groups that share a common culture, how much more true will it be when there is a profound cultural and psychological chasm between the antagonists?
Yet, paradoxically, this failure to understand the enemy can arise not only from a lack of sympathy with his position, but also from a kind of misplaced sympathy: When confronted by a culturally exotic enemy, our first instinct is to understand such conduct in terms that are familiar to us — terms that make sense to us in light of our own fund of experience. We assume that if our enemy is doing x, it must be for reasons that are comprehensible in terms of our universe.
Just how unfortunate — indeed, fatal — this approach can be was demonstrated during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. When Montezuma learned of Cortés’s arrival, he was at a loss to know what to make of the event. Who were these white-skinned alien beings? What had they come for? What were their intentions?
These were clearly not questions that Montezuma was in a position to answer. Nothing in his world could possibly provide him with a key to deciphering correctly the motives of a man as cunning, resourceful, and determined as Cortés. And this meant that Montezuma, who, after all, had to do something, was forced to deploy categories drawn from the fund of experience that was ready-to-hand in the Aztec world.
By a fatal coincidence, this fund of experience chanced to contain a remarkable prefiguring of Cortés — the myth of the white-skinned god, Quetzalcoatl. And, indeed, the parallels were uncanny. But, of course, as Montezuma eventually learned, Cortés was not Quetzalcoatl, and he had not appeared on the coast of Mexico in order to bring blessings.
We should not be too harsh on Montezuma. He was, after all, acting exactly as we all act under similar circumstances. We all want to make sense of our world, and at no time more urgently than when our world is suddenly behaving strangely. But in order to make sense of such strangeness, we must be able to reduce it to something that is not strange — something that is already known to us, something we know our way around.
Yet this entirely human response, as Montezuma learned to his regret, can sometimes be very dangerous.
An act of war?
n september 11, 2001, Americans were confronted by an enigma similar to that presented to the Aztecs — an enigma so baffling that even elementary questions of nomenclature posed a problem: What words or phrase should we use merely to refer to the events of that day? Was it a disaster? Or perhaps a tragedy? Was it a criminal act, or was it an act of war? Indeed, one awkward tv anchorman, in groping for the proper handle, fecklessly called it an accident. But eventually the collective and unconscious wisdom that governs such matters prevailed. Words failed, then fell away completely, and all that was left behind was the bleak but monumentally poignant set of numbers, 9-11.
But this did not answer the great question: What did it all mean? In the early days, there were many who were convinced that they knew the answer to this question. A few held that we had got what we had coming: It was just desserts for Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty or the predictable product of the U.S. decision to snub the Durban conference on racism. Others held, with perhaps a greater semblance of plausibility, that the explanation of 9-11 was to be sought in what was called, through an invariable horticultural metaphor, the “root cause” of terrorism. Eliminate poverty, or economic imperialism, or global warming, and such acts of terrorism would cease.
Opposed to this kind of analysis were those who saw 9-11 as an unprovoked act of war, and the standard comparison here was with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. To this school of thought — ably represented by, among others, the distinguished classicist Victor Davis Hanson — it is irrelevant what grievances our enemy may believe it has against us; what matters is that we have been viciously attacked and that, for the sake of our survival, we must fight back.
Those who hold this view are in the overwhelming majority among Americans. And yet there is one point on which this position does not differ from the position adopted by those, such as Noam Chomsky, who place the blame for the attack on American policy: Both points of view agree in interpreting 9-11 as an act of war, disagreeing only on the question of whether or not it was justifiable.
This common identification of 9-11 as an act of war arises from a deeper unquestioned assumption — an assumption made both by Chomsky and his followers on one hand and Hanson and National Review on the other — and, indeed, by almost everyone in between. The assumption is this: An act of violence on the magnitude of 9-11 can only have been intended to further some kind of political objective. What this political objective might be, or whether it is worthwhile — these are all secondary considerations; but surely people do not commit such acts unless they are trying to achieve some kind of recognizably political purpose.
Behind this shared assumption stands the figure of Clausewitz and his famous definition of war as politics carried out by other means. The whole point of war, on this reading, is to get other people to do what we want them to do: It is an effort to make others adopt our policies and/or to further our interests. Clausewitzian war, in short, is rational and instrumental. It is the attempt to bring about a new state of affairs through the artful combination of violence and the promise to cease violence if certain political objectives are met.
Of course, this does not mean that wars may not backfire on those who undertake them, or that a particular application of military force may not prove to be counterproductive to one’s particular political purpose. But this does not change the fact that the final criterion of military success is always pragmatic: Does it work? Does it in fact bring us closer to realizing our political objectives?
But is this the right model for understanding 9-11? Or have we, like Montezuma, imposed our own inadequate categories on an event that simply does not fit them? Yet, if 9-11 was not an act of war, then what was it? In what follows, I would like to pursue a line suggested by a remark by the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in reference to 9-11: his much-quoted comment that it was “the greatest work of art of all time.”
Despite the repellent nihilism that is at the base of Stockhausen’s ghoulish aesthetic judgment, it contains an important insight and comes closer to a genuine assessment of 9-11 than the competing interpretation of it in terms of Clausewitzian war. For Stockhausen did grasp one big truth: 9-11 was the enactment of a fantasy — not an artistic fantasy, to be sure, but a fantasy nonetheless.
A personal recollection
y first encounter with this particular kind of fantasy occurred when I was in college in the late sixties. A friend of mine and I got into a heated argument. Although we were both opposed to the Vietnam War, we discovered that we differed considerably on what counted as permissible forms of anti-war protest. To me the point of such protest was simple — to turn people against the war. Hence anything that was counterproductive to this purpose was politically irresponsible and should be severely censured. My friend thought otherwise; in fact, he was planning to join what by all accounts was to be a massively disruptive demonstration in Washington, and which in fact became one.
My friend did not disagree with me as to the likely counterproductive effects of such a demonstration. Instead, he argued that this simply did not matter. His answer was that even if it was counterproductive, even if it turned people against war protesters, indeed even if it made them more likely to support the continuation of the war, he would still participate in the demonstration and he would do so for one simple reason — because it was, in his words, good for his soul.
What I saw as a political act was not, for my friend, any such thing. It was not aimed at altering the minds of other people or persuading them to act differently. Its whole point was what it did for him.
And what it did for him was to provide him with a fantasy — a fantasy, namely, of taking part in the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. By participating in a violent anti-war demonstration, he was in no sense aiming at coercing conformity with his view — for that would still have been a political objective. Instead, he took his part in order to confirm his ideological fantasy of marching on the right side of history, of feeling himself among the elect few who stood with the angels of historical inevitability. Thus, when he lay down in front of hapless commuters on the bridges over the Potomac, he had no interest in changing the minds of these commuters, no concern over whether they became angry at the protesters or not. They were there merely as props, as so many supernumeraries in his private psychodrama. The protest for him was not politics, but theater; and the significance of his role lay not in the political ends his actions might achieve, but rather in their symbolic value as ritual. In short, he was acting out a fantasy.
It was not your garden-variety fantasy of life as a sexual athlete or a racecar driver, but in it, he nonetheless made himself out as a hero — a hero of the revolutionary struggle. The components of his fantasy — and that of many young intellectuals at that time — were compounded purely of ideological ingredients, smatterings of Marx and Mao, a little Fanon and perhaps a dash of Herbert Marcuse.
For want of a better term, call the phenomenon in question a fantasy ideology — by which I mean, political and ideological symbols and tropes used not for political purposes, but entirely for the benefit of furthering a specific personal or collective fantasy. It is, to be frank, something like “Dungeons and Dragons” carried out not with the trappings of medieval romances — old castles and maidens in distress — but entirely in terms of ideological symbols and emblems. The difference between them is that one is an innocent pastime while the other has proven to be one of the most terrible scourges to afflict the human race.
But before tackling this subject outright, let us approach it through a few observations about the normal role of fantasy in human conduct.
The nature of fantasy ideology
t is a common human weakness to wish to make more of our contribution to the world than the world is prepared to acknowledge, and it is our fantasy world that allows us to fill this gap. But normally, for most of us at least, this fantasy world stays relatively hidden. Indeed, a common criterion of our mental health is the extent to which we are able to keep our fantasies firmly under our watchful control.
Yet clearly there are individuals for whom this control is, at best, intermittent, resulting in behavior that ranges from the merely obnoxious to the clinically psychotic. The man who insists on being taken more seriously than his advantages warrant falls into the former category; the maniac who murders an utter stranger because God — or his neighbor’s dog — commanded him to do so belongs to the latter.
What is common in such interactions is that the fantasist inevitably treats other people merely as props — there is no interest in, or even awareness of, others as having wills or minds of their own. The man who bores us with stories designed to impress us with his importance, or his intellect, or his bank account, cares nothing for us as individuals — for he has already cast us in the role that he wishes us to play: We are there to be impressed by him. Indeed, it is an error even to suggest that he is trying to impress us, for this would assume that he is willing to learn enough about us to discover how best we might be impressed. But nothing of the kind occurs. And why should it? After all, the fantasist has already projected onto us the role that we are to play in his fantasy; no matter what we may be thinking of his recital, it never crosses his mind that we may be utterly failing to play the part expected of us — indeed, it is sometimes astonishing to see how much exertion is required of us in order to bring our profound lack of interest to the fantasist’s attention.
To an outside observer, the fantasist is clearly attempting to compensate by means of his fantasy for the shortcomings of his own present reality — and thus it is tempting to think of the fantasist as a kind of Don Quixote impotently tilting at windmills. But this is an illusion. Make no mistake about it: The fantasist often exercises great and terrible power precisely by virtue of his fantasy. The father who demands his son grow up and become a professional football player will clearly exercise much more control over his son’s life than a father who is content to permit his child to pursue his own goals in life.
This power of the fantasist is entirely traceable to the fact that, for him, the other is always an object and never a subject. A subject, after all, has a will of his own, his own desires and his own agenda; he might rather play the flute instead of football. And anyone who is aware of this fact is automatically put at a disadvantage in comparison with the fantasist — the disadvantage of knowing that other people have minds of their own and are not merely props to be pushed around.
For the moment I stop thinking about you as a prop in my fantasy, you become problematic. If you aren’t what I have cast you to be, then who are you, and what do you want? And, in order to answer these questions, I find that I must step out of the fantasy realm and enter the real world. If I am your father, I may still wish you to play football, but I can no longer blithely assume that this is obviously what you have always wanted; hence, I will need to start paying attention to you as a genuine other, and no longer merely as a ready-made prop. Your role will change from “born football player” to — x, the unknown. The very immensity of the required mental adjustment goes a long way toward explaining why it is so seldom made and why it is so often tragically impossible to wean a fantasist even from the most destructive fantasy.
Fortunately, the fantasizing individual is normally surrounded by other individuals who are not fantasizing or, at the very least, who are not fantasizing in the same way, and this fact puts some limit on how far most of us allow our fantasy world to intrude on the precinct of reality.
But what happens when it is not an individual who is caught up in his fantasy world, but an entire group — a sect, or a people, or even a nation? That such a thing can happen is obvious from a glance at history. The various chiliastic movements, such as those studied in Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium (Harper & Row, 1961), are splendid examples of collective fantasy; and there is no doubt that for most of history such large-scale collective fantasies appear on the world stage under the guise of religion.
But this changed with the French Revolution. From this event onward, there would be eruptions of a new kind of collective fantasy, one in which political ideology replaced religious mythology as the source of fantasy’s symbols and rituals. In this way it provided a new, and quite dangerous, outlet for the fantasy needs of large groups of men and women — a full-fledged fantasy ideology. For such a fantasy makes no sense outside of the ideological corpus in terms of which the fantasy has been constructed. It is from the ideology that the roles, the setting, the props are drawn, just as for the earlier pursuers of millennium, the relevant roles, setting, and props arose out of the biblical corpus of symbolism.
But the symbols by themselves do not create the fantasy. There must first be a preexisting collective need for this fantasy; this need comes from a conflict between a set of collective aspirations and desires, on one hand, and the stern dictates of brutal reality, on the other — a conflict in which a lack of realism is gradually transformed into a penchant for fantasy. History is replete with groups that seem to lack the capability of seeing themselves as others see them, differing in this respect much as individuals do.
A fantasy ideology is one that seizes the opportunity offered by such a lack of realism in a political group and makes the most of it. This it is able to do through symbols and rituals, all of which are designed to permit the members of the political group to indulge in a kind of fantasy role-playing. Classic examples of this are easy to find: the Jacobin fantasy of reviving the Roman Republic, Mussolini’s fantasy of reviving the Roman Empire, Hitler’s fantasy of reviving German paganism in the thousand-year Reich.
This theme of reviving ancient glory is an important key to understanding fantasy ideologies, for it suggests that fantasy ideologies tend to be the domain of those groups that history has passed by or rejected — groups that feel that they are under attack from forces which, while more powerful perhaps than they are, are nonetheless inferior in terms of true virtue. Such a fantasy ideology was current in the South before the Civil War and explained much of the conduct of the Confederacy. Instead of seeing themselves as an anachronism attempting to prolong the existence of a doomed institution, Southerners chose to see themselves as the bearer of true civilization. Imperial Germany had similar fantasies before and during the Great War. They are well expressed in Thomas Mann’s Notes of an Unpolitical Man: Germans possess true inwardness and culture, unlike the French and English — let alone those barbarous Americans. Indeed, Hitler’s even more extravagant fantasy ideology is incomprehensible unless one puts it in the context of this preexisting fantasy ideology.
In reviewing these fantasy ideologies, especially those associated with Nazism and Italian fascism, there is always the temptation for an outside observer to regard their promulgation as the cynical manipulation by a power-hungry leader of his gullible followers. This is a serious error, for the leader himself must be as much steeped in the fantasy as his followers: He can only make others believe because he believes so intensely himself.
But the concept of belief, as it is used in this context, must be carefully understood in order to avoid ambiguity. For us, belief is a purely passive response to evidence presented to us — I form my beliefs about the world for the purpose of understanding the world as it is. But this is radically different from what might be called transformative belief — the secret of fantasy ideology. For here the belief is not passive, but intensely active, and its purpose is not to describe the world, but to change it. It is, in a sense, a deliberate form of make-believe, but one in which the make-believe is not an end in itself, but rather the means of making the make-believe become real. In this sense it is akin to such innocently jejune phenomena as “The Power of Positive Thinking,” or even the little engine that thought it could. To say that Mussolini, for example, believed that fascist Italy would revive the Roman Empire does not mean that he made a careful examination of the evidence and then arrived at this conclusion. Rather, what is meant by this is that Mussolini had the will to believe that fascist Italy would revive the Roman Empire.
The allusion to William James’s famous essay “The Will to Believe” is not an accident, for James exercised a profound influence on the two thinkers essential to understanding both Italian fascism in particular and fantasy ideology in general — Vilfredo Pareto and Georges Sorel. All three men begin with the same assumption: If human beings are limited to acting only on those beliefs that can be logically and scientifically demonstrated, they could not survive, simply because this degree of certainty is restricted only to mathematics and the hard sciences — which, by themselves, are not remotely sufficient to guide us through the world as it exists. Hence, human beings must have a large set of beliefs that cannot be demonstrated logically and scientifically — beliefs that are therefore irrational as judged by the hard sciences.
Yet the fact that such beliefs cannot be justified by science does not mean that they may not be useful or beneficial to the individual or to the society that holds them. For James, this meant primarily the religious beliefs of individuals: Did a man’s religious beliefs improve the quality of his personal life? For Pareto, however, the same argument was extended to all beliefs: religious, cultural, and political.
Both James and Pareto viewed non-rational belief from the perspective of an outside observer: They took up the beliefs that they found already circulating in the societies in which they lived and examined them in light of whether they were beneficial or detrimental to the individuals and the societies that entertained them. As a botanist examines the flora of a particular region — he is not interested in creating new flowers, but simply in cataloguing those that already exist — so, too, James and Pareto were exclusively interested in already existing beliefs, and certainly not in producing new ones.
But this was not enough for Sorel. Combining Nietzsche with William James, Sorel discovered the secret of Nietzsche’s will to power in James’s will to believe. James, like Pareto, had shown that certain spontaneously occurring beliefs enabled those who held these beliefs to thrive and to prosper, both as individuals and societies. But if this were true of spontaneously occurring beliefs, could it not also be true of beliefs that were deliberately and consciously manufactured?
This was a radical innovation. For just as naturally existing beliefs could be judged properly only in terms of the benefits such beliefs brought about in the lives of those who believed in them, the same standard could now be applied to beliefs that were deliberately created in order to have a desired effect on those who came to believe in them. What would be important about such “artificially inseminated” beliefs — which Sorel calls myths — was the transformative effect such myths would have on those who placed their faith in them and the extent to which such ideological make-believe altered the character and conduct of those who held them — and certainly not whether they were true.
Sorel’s candidate for such a myth — the general strike — never quite caught on. But his underlying insight was taken up by Mussolini and Italian fascism, and with vastly greater sensitivity to what is involved in creating such galvanizing and transformative myths in the minds of large numbers of men and women. After all, it is obvious that not just any belief will do and that, furthermore, each particular group of people will have a disposition, based on history and character, to entertain one set of beliefs more readily than another. Mussolini assembled his Sorelian myth out of elements clearly designed to catch the imagination of his time and place — a strange blend of Imperial Roman themes and futurist images.
Yet even the most sensitively crafted myth requires something more in order to take root in the imagination of large populations — and this was where Mussolini made his great innovation. For the Sorelian myth to achieve its effect it had to be presented as theater. It had to grab the spectators and make them feel a part of the spectacle. The Sorelian myth, in short, had to be embodied in a fantasy — a fantasy with which the “audience” could easily and instantly identify. The willing suspension of disbelief, which Coleridge had observed in the psychology of the normal theatergoer, would be enlisted in the service of the Sorelian myth; and in the process, it would permit the myth-induced fantasy to override the obvious objections based on mundane considerations of reality. Thus twentieth century Italians became convinced that they were the successors of the Roman Empire in the same way that a member of a theater audience is convinced that Hamlet is really talking to his deceased father’s ghost.
Once again, it is a mistake to see in all of this merely a ploy — a cynical device to delude the masses. In all fantasy ideologies, there is a point at which the make-believe becomes an end in itself. This fact is nowhere more clearly exhibited than in the Italian conquest of Ethiopia.
Any attempt to see this adventure in Clausewitzian terms is doomed to fail: There was no political or economic advantage whatsoever to be gained from the invasion of Ethiopia. Indeed, the diplomatic disadvantages to Italy in consequence of this action were tremendous, and they were in no way to be compensated for by anything that Italy could hope to gain from possessing Ethiopia as a colony.
Why invade, then? The answer is quite simple. Ethiopia was a prop — a prop in the fantasy pageant of the new Italian Empire — that and nothing else. And the war waged in order to win Ethiopia as a colony was not a war in the Clausewitzian sense — that is to say, it was not an instrument of political policy designed to induce concessions from Ethiopia, or to get Ethiopia to alter its policies, or even to get Ethiopia to surrender. Ethiopia had to be conquered not because it was worth conquering, but because the fascist fantasy ideology required Italy to conquer something — and Ethiopia fit the bill. The conquest was not the means to an end, as in Clausewitzian war; it was an end in itself. Or, more correctly, its true purpose was to bolster the fascist collective fantasy that insisted on casting the Italians as a conquering race, the heirs of Imperial Rome.
America as a prop
o be a prop in someone else’s fantasy is not a pleasant experience, especially when this someone else is trying to kill you, but that was the position of Ethiopia in the fantasy ideology of Italian fascism. And it is the position Americans have been placed in by the quite different fantasy ideology of radical Islam.
The terror attack of 9-11 was not designed to make us alter our policy, but was crafted for its effect on the terrorists themselves: It was a spectacular piece of theater. The targets were chosen by al Qaeda not through military calculation — in contrast, for example, to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — but entirely because they stood as symbols of American power universally recognized by the Arab street. They were gigantic props in a grandiose spectacle in which the collective fantasy of radical Islam was brought vividly to life: A mere handful of Muslims, men whose will was absolutely pure, as proven by their martyrdom, brought down the haughty towers erected by the Great Satan. What better proof could there possibly be that God was on the side of radical Islam and that the end of the reign of the Great Satan was at hand?
As the purpose of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia was to prove to the Italians themselves that they were conquerors, so the purpose of 9-11 was not to create terror in the minds of the American people but to prove to the Arabs that Islamic purity, as interpreted by radical Islam, could triumph. The terror, which to us seems the central fact, is in the eyes of al Qaeda a by-product. Likewise, what al Qaeda and its followers see as central to the holy pageant of 9-11 — namely, the heroic martyrdom of the 19 hijackers — is interpreted by us quite differently. For us the hijackings, like the Palestinian “suicide” bombings, are viewed merely as a modus operandi, a technique that is incidental to a larger strategic purpose, a makeshift device, a low-tech stopgap. In short, Clausewitzian war carried out by other means — in this case by suicide.
But in the fantasy ideology of radical Islam, suicide is not a means to an end but an end in itself. Seen through the distorting prism of radical Islam, the act of suicide is transformed into that of martyrdom — martyrdom in all its transcendent glory and accompanied by the panoply of magical powers that religious tradition has always assigned to martyrdom.
In short, it is a mistake to try to fit such behavior into the mold created by our own categories and expectations. Nowhere is this more tellingly illustrated than on the videotape of Osama bin Laden discussing the attack. The tape makes clear that the final collapse of the World Trade Center was not part of the original terrorist scheme, which apparently assumed that the twin towers would not lose their structural integrity. But this fact gave to the event — in terms of al Qaeda’s fantasy ideology — an even greater poignancy: Precisely because it had not been part of the original calculation, it was therefore to be understood as a manifestation of divine intervention. The 19 hijackers did not bring down the towers — God did.
9-11 as symbolic drama
ost of our misunderstandings of al Qaeda’s goals have come about for one fundamental reason: In the first weeks after 9-11, it was impossible to determine whether or not al Qaeda had embarked on a systematic and calculated Clausewitzian strategy of terror simply because at that date we did not know, and could not know, what was coming next.
In the days and weeks following 9-11 there was a universal sense that it would happen again at any moment — something shocking and terrifying, something that would again rivet us to our tv screen. And, indeed, the anthrax scare seemed, at first, to be designed precisely to fit this bill. It even had something that 9-11 lacked, namely, the ability to frighten people who sat quietly in their living rooms in little towns across America, to make ordinary people feel alarmed undertaking ordinary daily activities, such as opening the mail. But, leaving aside the question of whether al Qaeda was in fact directly or indirectly responsible for the anthrax letters, what was most striking about this episode was the fact that it showed dramatically that if al Qaeda had elected to launch a Clausewitzian war of terror against the United States, even acts of terror on a vastly smaller scale than 9-11 would still be assured of receiving enormous media coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Indeed, even if another agent was behind the scare, it is still hard to understand how al Qaeda could fail to profit by the lesson the scare taught — that the American media, by nature, could be trusted to amplify even the least act of terrorism into a continuing saga of national nightmare.
But, leaving aside the anthrax episode, there was in fact no such act committed by al Qaeda in the months following 9-11. Nor does the possibility that one might still occur change the fact that during this critical initial period, one did not. This in itself is a remarkably telling fact.
Acts of terror, as noted earlier, can be used to pursue genuine Clausewitzian objectives in precisely the same way that normal military operations are used, as was demonstrated during the Algerian war of independence. But this requires that the acts of terror be deployed with the same kind of strategic logic that applies to normal military operations. If you attack your enemy with an act of terror — especially one on the scale of 9-11 — you must be prepared to follow up on it immediately. The analogy here to time-honored military strategy is obvious: If you have vanquished your enemy on the field of battle, you must vigorously pursue him while he is in retreat, i.e., while he is still in a state of panic and confusion. You must not let him regroup psychologically, but must continue to pummel him while he is still reeling from the first blow.
This al Qaeda failed to do. And the question is: Why?
Of course, given our limited knowledge, it is possible that al Qaeda did plan follow-up acts of terror but was simply unable to carry them out due to our heightened state of awareness as well as our military efforts to cripple al Qaeda in its base of operations in Afghanistan. But it is hard to believe that these factors could have precluded smaller-scale acts of terror — of the kind employed in Algeria and, more recently, by the Palestinian suicide bombers. What was to keep al Qaeda operatives from blowing themselves up at a Wal-Mart in Arkansas or a McDonald’s in New Hampshire? Very little. And while it is true that such acts would lack the grandiose effect of 9-11, they would have brought terrorism home to the average American in a way that even 9-11 had not done and, as evidenced by the anthrax episode, would have multiplied enormously the already enormous impact on the American psyche of al Qaeda’s original act of terror.
This was the reason why I, like millions of other Americans, spent the first few weeks after 9-11 either watching tv constantly or turning it on every 15 minutes: We were prepared to be devastated again. Our nerves were in a state of such anxious expectation that a carefully concerted and orchestrated campaign of smaller-scale, guerrilla-style terror, undertaken in out-of-the-way locales, could well have had a catastrophically destabilizing effect on the American economy and even on our political system.
But such Clausewitzian terror is quite remote from the symbolic drama enacted by al Qaeda on 9-11 — a great ritual demonstrating the power of Allah, a pageant designed to convey a message not to the American people, but to the Arab world. A campaign of smaller-scale acts of terror would have no glamour in it, and it was glamour — and grandiosity — that al Qaeda was seeking in its targets. The pure Islamic David required a Goliath. After all, if David had merely killed someone his own size, where would be the evidence of God’s favor toward him?
Are we at war?
f this interpretation is correct, then it is time that we reconsider some of our basic policy in the war on terror. First of all, it should be obvious that if our enemy is motivated purely by a fantasy ideology, it is absurd for us to look for the so-called “root” causes of terrorism in poverty, lack of education, a lack of democracy, etc. Such factors play absolutely no role in the creation of a fantasy ideology. On the contrary, fantasy ideologies have historically been the product of members of the intelligentsia, middle-class at the very least and vastly better educated than average. Furthermore, to hope that democratic reform would discourage radical Islam ignores the fact that previous fantasy ideologies have historically arisen in a democratic context; as the student of European fascism, Ernst Nolte, has observed, parliamentary democracy was an essential precondition for the rise of both Mussolini and Hitler.
Equally absurd, on this interpretation, is the notion that we must review our own policies toward the Arab world — or the state of Israel — in order to find ways to make our enemies hate us less. If the Ethiopians had tried to make themselves more likable to the Italians in the hope that this would make Mussolini rethink his plans of conquest, it would have had the same effect. There is no political policy we could take that would change the attitude of our enemies — short, perhaps, of a massive nationwide conversion to fundamentalist Islam.
The second consequence to follow from the adoption of this model for understanding our enemy is that we need to reconsider the term “war” as it is currently deployed in this case. When the Japanese started the Pacific war by bombing Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, it was not because Pearl Harbor was a symbol of American power: It was because it was a large naval base and the Japanese had the quite rational strategic goal of crippling the American Pacific fleet in the first hours of the war. Furthermore, the act itself would not have taken place if the Japanese had believed themselves otherwise capable of securing their political goals — i.e., American acceptance of Japanese hegemony in Asia and the Pacific. And the war would have immediately ceased if the United States, in the days following the attack, had promptly asked for a negotiated settlement of the conflict on terms acceptable to the Japanese.
In the case of the war begun at Pearl Harbor, all the parties knew exactly what was at issue, and there was no need for media experts to argue over the “real” objective behind the attack. Everyone knew that the Japanese attack was the result of a strategic decision to go to war with America rather than accept the American ultimatum to evacuate Manchuria. In each of these cases, war was entered into by both sides despite the fact that a political solution was available to the various contending parties. The decision to go to war, therefore, was made in a purely Clausewitzian manner: The employment of military force was selected in preference to what all sides saw as an unacceptable political settlement.
This was not remotely the case in the aftermath of 9-11. The issue facing the U.S. was not whether to accept or to reject al Qaeda’s political demands, which were nebulous in the extreme. Indeed, al Qaeda did not even claim to have made the attack in the first place! The U.S. and its allies were placed in the bizarre position of first having to prove who their enemy was — a difficulty that, by definition, does not occur in Clausewitzian war, where it is essential that the identity of the conflicting parties be known to each other, since otherwise the conflict would be pointless.
The fact that we are involved with an enemy who is not engaged in Clausewitzian warfare has serious repercussions on our policy. For we are fighting an enemy who has no strategic purpose in anything he does — whose actions have significance only in terms of his own fantasy ideology. It means, in a strange sense, that while we are at war with them, they are not at war with us — and, indeed, it would be an enormous improvement if they were. If they were at war with us, they would be compelled to start thinking realistically, in terms of objective factors such as overall strategic goals, war aims, and so forth. They would have to make a realistic, and not a fantasy-induced, assessment of the relative strength of us versus them. But because they are operating in terms of their fantasy ideology, such a realistic assessment is impossible for them. It matters not how much stronger or more powerful we are than they — what matters is that God will bring them victory.
This must be emphasized, for if the fantasy ideology of Italian fascism was a form of political make-believe, the fantasy ideology of radical Islam goes even one step further: It is, in a sense, more akin to a form of magical thinking. While the Sorelian myth does aim, finally, at transforming the real world, it is almost as if the “real” world no longer matters in terms of the fantasy ideology of radical Islam. Our “real” world, after all, is utterly secular, a concatenation of an endless series of cause and effect, with all events occurring on a single ontological plane. But the “real” world of radical Islam is different — its fantasy ideology reflects the same philosophical occasionalism that pervades so much of Islamic theology: That is to say, event b does not happen because it is caused by a previous event a. Instead, event a is simply the occasion for God to cause event b, so that the genuine cause of all events occurring on our ontological plane of existence is nothing else but God. But if this is so, then the “real” world that we take for granted simply vanishes, and all becomes determined by the will of God; and in this manner the line between realist and magical thinking dissolves. This is why the mere fact that there is no “realistic” hope of al Qaeda destroying the United States — and indeed the West as a whole — is not of the slightest consequence. After all, if God is willing, the United States and the West could collapse at any moment.
This element of magical thinking does not make al Qaeda any less dangerous, however. For it is likely that in al Qaeda’s collective fantasy there may exist the notion of an ultimate terror act, a magic bullet capable of bringing down the United States at a single stroke — and, paradoxically, nothing comes closer to fulfilling this magical role than the detonation of a very unmagical nuclear device. That this would not destroy our society in one fell swoop is obvious to us; but it is not to our enemies, in whose eyes an act of this nature assumes a fantasy significance in addition to its sufficiently terrifying reality — the fantasy significance of providing al Qaeda with a vision of ultimate and decisive victory over the West.
Fighting an ideological epidemic
n the initial aftermath of 9-11, President Bush continually spoke of al Qaeda not as terrorists, but as “evildoers” — a term for which he was widely derided by those who found it offensively simple-minded and childish. Evildoers, after all, are characters out of fairy tales, not real life. Who really sets out for the deliberate purpose of doing evil, except the wicked dwarves and trolls of our childhood fantasies?
Bush’s critics — who seem unfortunately to have won the semantic battle — were both right and wrong. They were right in observing the fairy-tale provenance of the phrase “evildoer,” but they were wrong in denouncing Bush’s use of it. For, whether by instinct or by cunning, Bush struck exactly the right note. The evildoer of the fairy tale, after all, is not motivated in his conduct by his wish to change the way other people act: His objectives are not to persuade or cajole or threaten others into doing as he wishes them to do. Instead, other people exist in his eyes only as an opportunity to do evil: He doesn’t want to manipulate them for his selfish purpose; rather, his one and only purpose is to inflict evil on them — evil and nothing more.
Rather than interpreting 9-11 as if it were a Clausewitzian act of war, Bush instinctively saw it for what it was: the acting out of demented fantasy. When confronted with the enigma of 9-11 he was able to avoid the temptation of trying to interpret it in terms of our own familiar categories and traditions. Instead of looking for an utterly mythical root cause for 9-11, or seeing it as a purposeful political act on the Clausewitzian model, he grasped its essential nature in one powerful metaphor, offering, in a sense, a kind of counter-fantasy to the American people, one that allowed them to grasp the horror of 9-11 without being misled by false analogies and misplaced metaphors. How much wiser Montezuma would have been if he had said, “I do not know who these white-skinned strangers may be, or where they come from, or what they want. But that they are here to do evil I have no doubt. So let us act accordingly.”
But, Bush’s critics argued, the term “evildoers” dehumanizes our enemy. And again, the critics are both right and wrong. Yes, the term does dehumanize our enemy. But this is only because our enemy has already dehumanized himself. A characteristic of fantasy ideology is that those in the throes of it begin by dehumanizing their enemies by seeing in them only objects to act upon. It is impossible to treat others in this way without dehumanizing oneself in the process. The demands of the fantasy ideology are such that it transforms all parties into mere symbols. The victims of the fantasy ideology inevitably end by including both those who are enacting the fantasy and those upon whom the fantasy is enacted — both those who perished in the World Trade Center and those who caused them to perish; and, afterwards, both those who wept for the dead and those who rejoiced over the martyrs.
There is one decisive advantage to the “evildoer” metaphor, and it is this: Combat with evildoers is not Clausewitzian war. You do not make treaties with evildoers or try to adjust your conduct to make them like you. You do not try to see the world from the evildoers’ point of view. You do not try to appease them, or persuade them, or reason with them. You try, on the contrary, to outwit them, to vanquish them, to kill them. You behave with them in the same manner that you would deal with a fatal epidemic — you try to wipe it out.
So perhaps it is time to retire the war metaphor and to deploy one that is more fitting: the struggle to eradicate disease. The fantasy ideologies of the twentieth century, after all, spread like a virus in susceptible populations: Their propagation was not that suggested by John Stuart Mill’s marketplace of ideas — fantasy ideologies were not debated and examined, weighed and measured, evaluated and compared. They grew and spread like a cancer in the body politic. For the people who accepted them did not accept them as tentative or provisional. They were unalterable and absolute. And finally, after driving out all other competing ideas and ideologies, they literally turned their host organism into the instrument of their own poisonous and deadly will.
The same thing is happening today — and that is our true enemy. The poison of the radical Islamic fantasy ideology is being spread all over the Muslim world through schools and through the media, through mosques and through the demagoguery of the Arab street. In fact, there is no better way to grasp the full horror of the poison than to listen as a Palestinian mother offers her four-year-old son up to be yet another victim of this ghastly fantasy.
Once we understand this, many of our current perplexities will find themselves resolved. Pseudo-issues such as debates over the legitimacy of “racial profiling” would disappear: Does anyone in his right mind object to screening someone entering his country for signs of plague? Or quarantining those who have contracted it? Or closely monitoring precisely those populations within his country that are most at risk?
Let there be no doubt about it. The fantasy ideologies of the twentieth century were plagues, killing millions and millions of innocent men, women, and children. The only difference was that the victims and targets of such fantasy ideologies so frequently refused to see them for what they were, interpreting them as something quite different — as normal politics, as reasonable aspirations, as merely variations on the well-known theme of realpolitik, behaving — tragically enough — no differently from Montezuma when he attempted to decipher the inexplicable enigma posed by the appearance of the Spanish conquistadors. Nor did the fact that his response was entirely human make his fate any less terrible.
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After posting this amazing article on a forum I used to frequent one of the members posted this reply that I believe is worth repeating. From the mind and fingertips of one of the more intelligent people I have had the pleasure to encounter on the net.
Trupolitik...my hat is off to you on this one:
I want to add one essentially crucial point concerning how we defeat the fantasy of radical Islam. As you said, we cannot defeat it through Clausewitzian methodologies and realpolitik, however, there is another method that goes beyond the strategy of "eradication" as you proposed. It is the humiliation of the fantasy itself. Where does a fantasy get its strength? Particularly a "magical" one? Quite simply in its "magic", in its "symbolic victories". Therefore, a symbol of an utter defeat of its "protective magic" would not merely be a strategic setback to its followers, but a shaking of their faith, a de-mystification. Just as 9-11 emboldened the Islamist fantasy, an "Anti-911" would crush it.
This is particularly true of the Islamist fantasy as opposed to the Christian one, because it is tied to the physical manifestation of Allah's power. Christianity thrives under oppression. Why? Because as Nietzsche said, it was historically, the ideology of the oppressed. As such, it sought refuge in the "other world" symbol. Therefore, defeats and acts against Christians only confirmed their faith, not shake it. However, Islam is no such lamb. Its symbol is the Lion. As muhammad said after he had picked up his own sword in pursuit of this fantasy, "And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way (to triumphs) over the believers.-Quran 4:141".
This tie to physical success makes Islamic symbology suseptible to De-mystification by placing doubt in the very power of the word of allah, if there is a catastrophic defeat. What would happen if we brought something about that SURELY allah would not have allowed...and yet this mystical symbol did nothing to stop it. It let it happen... this will send the fantasy crafters (ie the Imams) into a panic, into "terror" that the faithful will be shaken. It is at that point we learn from Osama's mistake, and do as you said..." If you have vanquished your enemy on the field of battle, you must vigorously pursue him while he is in retreat, i.e., while he is still in a state of panic and confusion. You must not let him regroup psychologically, but must continue to pummel him while he is still reeling from the first blow." If their faith is shaken, their recruiting will implode and so will their will and thus, their "magic". But we will only recieve these advantages in our Clausewitzian front if we De-Mystify "allah's power" first.http://trupolitik.blogspot.com/
10. Muhammad nicknames his weapons.
Tabari (AD 839-923) is an early Muslim historian who is considered largely reliable by scholars today. In fact, the State University of New York Press selected his history to be translated into 38 volumes. (We use The Last Years of the Prophet, trans. Ismail K. Poonawala, 9:153-55.)
In the context of the list of Muhammad’s assets at the end of his life (horses, camels, milch sheep, and so on), Tabari records the nicknames of Muhammad weapons.
Muhammad nicknames three swords that he took from the Jewish tribe Qaynuqa after he banished them from Medina in April 624: "Pluck Out," "Very Sharp," and "Death." Two other swords from elsewhere are named: "Sharp" and "That is wont to sink" (presumably into human flesh). After his Hijrah or Emigration from Mecca to Medina in 622, he owned two swords called "Sharp" and "Having the vertebrae of the back." This last sword he collected as booty after his victory at the Battle of Badr in March 624.
Next, Muhammad took three bows from the Qaynuqa tribe and named them as follows: "Most conducive to ease, or wide," "white," and "of nab wood" (species of tree from which bows are made).
The name of a coat of mail implies "ampleness" or "redundant portions," probably because Muhammad was portly (cf. Ibn Ishaq, Life of Muhammad, trans. Guillaume, p. 383).
Finally, even Muhammad himself has a nickname. After Tabari lists the positive ones, he matter-of-factly provides one that is not so positive: "The obliterator."
Muslim apologists may object that Tabari is not authoritative (except when he shows Muhammad as heroic or victorious) and that he is not on the same level as the Quran and some hadiths (words and deeds of Muhammad outside of the Quran). This is true. But Muslim apologists still must answer why such a tradition of naming weapons developed about Muhammad. After all, later, unauthoritative traditions about Christ developed, but they do not show him even owning weapons, let alone naming them. The answer to this question about Muhammad is found in the next nine reasons.
Thus, violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in the life of Muhammad. Islam is therefore not the religion of peace.9. Muhammad commands in his Quran that adulterers and adulteresses should receive a hundred lashes.
24:2 Strike the adulteress and the adulterer one hundred times. Do not let compassion for them keep you from carrying out God’s law—if you believe in God and the Last Day—and ensure that a group of believers witnesses the punishment. (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Quran, New York: Oxford UP, 2004)
The supposed historical context of this sura occurs during a raid of a tribe in December 627 or January 628, on which Muhammad brought his favorite and youngest wife, Aisha, also the daughter of Abu Bakr, his right-hand lieutenant. After the Muslims’ victory, they journeyed back to Medina, one hundred and fifty miles to the north. On their last halt, Aisha answered the call of nature, but lost her necklace in the dark, just as the army was setting out from their encampment early in the morning. She left her litter, returned to look for the necklace, and found it. Meanwhile, the man leading her camel assumed she was in her curtained litter and led the animal away by the halter. Returning, Aisha saw that she was left behind.
However, a handsome young Muslim named Safwan saw her and accompanied her back to Medina, though both the Muslims and Muhammad’s opposition wagged their tongues at seeing the two youngsters entering the city together. Eventually, revelation came that Aisha was not guilty of any immorality.
Sura 24 thus establishes some ground rules against adultery, of which flogging one hundred times is one of the rules. Amazingly, 24:2 exhorts the accusers and judges not to let compassion keep them from carrying out God’s law.
Moreover, early and reliable traditions depict Muhammad and his Muslims stoning adulterers and adulteresses, as recorded by the two most reliable collectors and editors of the hadith, Bukhari (AD 810-870) and Muslim (c. AD 817-875):
Umar said: God sent Muhammad with the truth and sent down the Book [Quran] to him, and the verse of stoning was included in what God most high sent down. God’s messenger [Muhammad] had people stoned to death, and we have done it also since his death. Stoning is a duty laid down in God’s Book for married men and women who commit fornication when proof is established, or if there is pregnancy, or a confession.
Umar was Muhammad’s right-hand lieutenant (along with Abu Bakr), and even shortly after Muhammad’s death he tried very hard to get a verse allowing stoning into the Quran, but he did not succeed (Ibn Ishaq, Life of Muhammad, trans. Guillaume, p. 684). Be that as it may, this and the next hadith are sufficient for many Muslims today to endorse stoning, as seen here: [1
Perhaps the most gruesome hadith is the following. A woman came to the prophet and asked for purification (by being punished for her sin). He told her to go away and seek God’s forgiveness. She persisted four times and admitted that she was pregnant as a result of fornication. He told her to wait until she had given birth. Then he said that the Muslim community should wait until she had weaned her child. When the day arrived for the child to take solid food, Muhammad handed the child over to the community and ordered the woman’s death by stoning.
And when he had given command over her and she was put in a hole up to her breast, he ordered the people to stone her. Khalid b. al-Walid came forward with a stone which he threw at her head, and when the blood spurted on his face he cursed her ... (Muslim, No. 4206)
It is true that Muhammad told Khalid to be gentler, but how gentle does one have to be when one throws a rock at a woman buried up to her breasts? Is the rock required to go only 30 miles per hour or 40? Perhaps Muhammad was ordering Khalid not to curse her. In any case, the prophet prayed over her dead body and then buried her. Truthfully, how effective was the prayer when Muhammad and his community murdered her in cold blood? They should have forgiven her and let her go to raise her child.
Even if some Muslim apologists today do not accept these hadiths, then they still have to answer why the true God would send down the harsh punishment of lashing in the Quran (Sura 24:2), when the New Testament says nothing about this. Christians should therefore rightly reject this verse, for Christ forgave the woman caught in adultery and told her to go and sin no more (John 8:1-11). He showed us the better way and taught the will of the true God.
For more information on this early punishment and how it is applied today, refer to this article
, which also answers Muslim apologists and explains John 8:1-11 more thoroughly.
Thus, cruel violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in Muhammad’s life and in his Quran. Islam is therefore not the religion of peace.8. Muhammad in his Quran permits husbands to beat their wives
4:34 Husbands should take full care of their wives, with [the bounties] God has given to some more than others and with what they spend out of their own money. Righteous wives are devout and guard what God would have them guard in the husbands’ absence. If you fear high-handedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great. (Haleem)
Written in the historical context of the Battle of Uhud (March 625), in which Islam lost 70 holy warriors, this verse belongs to a larger collection of verses that outlines laws for the family, such as how to divide the inheritance and to how to oversee the assets of orphans (vv. 1-35).
Plainly said, Sura 4:34 specifies that husbands may beat their unruly wives if the husbands "fear" highhandedness, quite apart from whether the wives are actually being highhanded. This puts the interpretation of the wives’ behavior squarely in the husbands’ judgment, and this swings the door to abuse wide open. This verse embodies a gigantic cultural and social step backwards and should be rejected by all fair-minded and reasonable people.
For a more thorough analysis of this hurtful practice, refer to this article
Thus, domestic violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in the life of Muhammad and his Quran. Islam is therefore not the religion of peace.7. Muhammad in his Quran commands that the hands of male or female thieves should be cut off.
5:38 Cut off the hands of thieves, whether they are male or female, as punishment for what they have done—a deterrent from God: God is almighty and wise. 39 But if anyone repents after his wrongdoing and makes amends, God will accept his repentance: God is most forgiving and merciful. (Haleem)
Three passages in the hadith interpret Muhammad’s policy and provide its context. This is a quick compilation taken from Bukhari and Muslim:
Aisha [favorite wife of Muhammad] reported the Prophet saying, "A thief’s hand should be cut off for only a quarter of a dinar and upwards."
A dinar, a word taken from the Roman denarius, was not a small sum, but not exorbitant either, yet one-fourth of a dinar merits the loss of a hand in Muhammad’s view.
Ibn Umar said the Prophet had a thief’s hand cut off for a shield worth three dirhams.
The shield was fairly expensive. The poor in Muhammad’s armies could not afford one. But is a shield equal to a hand?
Abu Huraira reported the Prophet as saying, "God curse a thief who steals an egg and has his hand cut off, and steals a rope and has his hand cut off!"
Some commentators are quick to say that an "egg" is really a helmet, and the rope is a ship’s rope, which is sizable and costly. However, the translation above is usually accepted, and this means that the penalty could be imposed for trivial thefts. But even if the more expensive items are in view here, they still do not measure up to a hand.
For more information on this gruesome practice and its historical context, consult this article
, which answers Muslim apologists who seek to defend this practice and which also contrasts Christ with Muhammad. Suffice it to say here, Christ never endorsed this. And Paul the Apostle says that thieves should work with their hands in order to share with those in need, not get their hand cut off (Ephesians 4:28). So Paul excels Muhammad.
Thus, harsh and excessive punitive violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in Muhammad’s life and in the Quran. Islam is therefore not the religion of peace.6. Muhammad assassinates poets and poetesses.
These two poets represent others in early Islam.
March 624: Uqba bin Abu Muayt
Uqba mocked Muhammad in Mecca and wrote derogatory verses about him. He was captured during the Battle of Badr, and Muhammad ordered him to be executed. "But who will look after my children, O Muhammad?" Uqba cried with anguish. "Hell," retorted the prophet coldly. Then the sword of one of his followers cut through Uqba’s neck.
March 624: Asma bint Marwan
Asma was a poetess who belonged to a tribe of Medinan pagans, and whose husband was named Yazid b. Zayd. She composed a poem blaming the Medinan pagans for obeying a stranger (Muhammad) and for not taking the initiative to attack him by surprise. When the prophet heard what she had said, he asked, "Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?" A member of her husband’s tribe volunteered and crept into her house that night. She had five children, and the youngest was sleeping at her breast. The assassin gently removed the child, drew his sword, and plunged it into her, killing her in her sleep.
The following morning, the assassin defied anyone to take revenge. No one took him up on his challenge, not even her husband. In fact, Islam became powerful among his tribe. Previously, some members who had kept their conversion secret now became Muslims openly, "because they saw the power of Islam," so conjectures an early Muslim source that reports the assassination.
In addition to the sources that recount these and other assassinations, the Quran also supports harsh punishments for mockers and insulters (Suras 3:186; 33:57; 33:59-61; and 9:61-63).
However, even if Muslims reject the early non-Quranic sources where these assassinations are found, they still must answer these questions: Why would such a tradition grow up around Muhammad in friendly Islamic sources? What was it about Muhammad that produced such reports? Why are these friendly sources eager to present their prophet in a "positive" way?
For an in-depth analysis of Muhammad’s assassinations of poets and how they justify assassinations of artists today, like the one of Theo van Gogh
, the Dutch filmmaker, refer to this article
, which also answers the Muslim apologists who try to justify Muhammad’s deadly policy, and which contrasts early Christianity with early Islam—Jesus assassinated no one, neither did he order this in the Gospels.
Thus, bullying and murderous violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in Muhammad’s life and in the Quran. Islam is therefore not the religion of peace.5. Muhammad in his Quran commands death or the cutting off of hands and feet for fighting and corrupting the land.
5:33 Indeed, the punishment of those who fight Allah and His Messenger and who go around corrupting the land is to be killed, crucified, have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides, or to be banished from the land. That is a disgrace for them in this life, and in the life to come theirs will be a terrible punishment. 34 Except for those who repent before you overpower them. Know, then, that Allah is All-Forgiving, Merciful. (Majid Fakhry, An Interpretation of the Quran, New York: NYUP, 2000, 2004)
According to the hadith, the historical context of these verses runs as follows and clarifies "fighting" and "corrupting" the land.
Some Arab tribesmen visited the prophet, but fell sick in the uncongenial climate of Medina, so he recommended an old folk belief: drinking the milk and urine of a camel. Subsequently, they are reported to have felt better. However, for some reason, after departing from Medina, they killed some of Muhammad’s shepherds, turned apostate, and drove off the prophet’s camels.
This news reached him, and he ordered them to be hunted down and brought before him. He decreed that their hands and feet should be cut off, their eyes gouged out, and their bodies thrown upon stony ground until they died.
For more information on this policy that punishes people today based on Sura 5:33, even on ambiguous charges like colonialism, racism, and the disintegration of family relationships see here
, and for a reply to Muslim apologists, refer to this article
, which also contrasts Christ with Muhammad.
Thus, gruesome violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in Muhammad’s life and in the Quran. Islam is therefore not the religion of peace.4. Muhammad aggressively attacks Meccan caravans
A year or so after Muhammad’s Hijrah from Mecca to Medina in 622, he attacks Meccan caravans six times, and sent out a punitive expedition three-days away against an Arab tribe that stole some Medinan grazing camels (or cattle), totaling seven raids.
W. Montgomery Watt, a highly reputable Western Islamologist who writes in favor of Muhammad and whose two-volume history of early Islam (Muhammad at Mecca (1953) and Muhammad at Medina (1956)) has won wide acceptance, tells us why geography matters:
The chief point to notice is that the Muslims took the offensive. With one exception the seven expeditions were directed against Meccan caravans. The geographical situation lent itself to this. Caravans from Mecca to Syria had to pass between Medina and the coast. Even if they kept as close to the Red Sea as possible, they had to pass within about eighty miles of Medina, and, while at this distance from the enemy base, would be twice as far from their own base. (Muhammad at Medina, emphasis added, p. 2)
It must be emphatically stated that the Meccans never sent a force up to the doorstep of Medina at this time—they did later on when they were fed up with Muhammad’s aggressions. It is true that the Meccans gathered forces to protect their caravans, but when Muhammad confronted them, they were many days’ journeys away from Medina, often more than eighty miles. (Medina and Mecca are around 200-250 miles from each other, taking seven to eleven days of travel by foot, horse, or camel.)
Hence, two Muslim scholar-apologists are misleading when they assert that the caravans "passed through" Medina, adding that the Muslims haphazardly sought for whatever spoils they could get, whereas the Meccans mobilized for war (Isma’il R. al-Faruqi and Lois Lamya’al Faruqi, The Cultural Atlas of Islam, New York: Macmillan, 1986, 134). Rather, it is more accurate to say that the Muslims were aggressively harassing the Meccans.
To complete the picture of expeditions, raids and wars in Muhammad’s life from 622 to 632, Watt totals up the number that Muhammad either sent out or went out on: seventy-four (Muhammad at Medina, pp. 2; 339-43). They range from negotiations (only a few compared to the violent expeditions), to small assassination hit squads, to the conquest of Mecca with 10,000 jihadists, and to the confrontation of Byzantine Christians (who never showed up), with 30,000 holy warriors to Tabuk (see below).
For a fuller account of these six early aggressive attacks against Meccan caravans, go to this article
, which explains more thoroughly why these attacks are not defensive.
Thus, aggressive military violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in Muhammad’s life and in the Quran. Islam is therefore not the religion of peace.3. Muhammad in his Quran promises sensuous Gardens for martyrs dying in a military holy war.
Throughout the Quran, Muhammad promises the men in his fledgling Muslim community that if they die fighting for Allah and for him, Allah will reward them with a "virgin-rich" Garden (Suras 44:51-56; 52:17-29; 55:46-78).
In the following Quranic passage, representing others (Suras 4:74, 9:111; 3:140-143), the Arabic word "jihad" (root is j-h-d) is the means or currency to trade in this life for the life to come in an economic bargain.
61:10 You who believe, shall I show you a bargain that will save you from painful punishment? 11 Have faith in God and His Messenger and struggle [j-h-d] for His cause with your possessions and your persons—that is better for you, if only you knew—12 and He will forgive your sins, admit you into Gardens graced with flowing streams, into pleasant dwellings in the Gardens of Eternity. That is the supreme triumph. (Haleem)
These verses are found in the historical context of the Battle of Uhud (625), in which Muhammad lost 70 of his fighters. Thus, he must make the loss of life appear worth the sacrifice, so he frames their deaths in an economic bargain (note the word in bold print). If his jihadists trade in or sell their lives down here, they will be granted Islamic heaven—it is a done deal.
For an in-depth analysis of Islamic martyrdom and how Biblical martyrdom opposes it, consult this article
. Christ’s "Martyrdom" on the cross opens the way to heaven so that Christians do not have to die in a holy war to reach heaven.
Thus, deadly, ‘heavenly violence’ sits at the heart of early Islam—in Muhammad’s life and in the Quran. Islam is therefore not the religion of peace.2. Muhammad unjustly executes around 600 male Jews and enslaves the women and children.
After the Battle of the Trench in March 627 (named after a trench that the Muslims dug around parts of Medina) against a large coalition of Meccans and their allies, Muhammad imposed the ultimate penalty on the men in the Jewish clan, Qurayzah, his third and final Jewish rivals (he banished the Qaynuqa tribe in April 624 and the Nadir tribe in August 625). The Qurayzah tribe was supposed to remain neutral in the Battle, but they seem to have intrigued with the Meccans and to have been on the verge of attacking Muhammad from the rear. They were judged guilty by one of their Medinan Muslim allies, though Muhammad could have shown mercy, exiled them (as indeed they requested), or executed only a few.
The sentence: Death by decapitation for around 600 men (some Islamic sources say 900), and enslavement for the women and children (he took a beautiful Jewess as his own prize). Muhammad was wise enough to have six clans execute two Jews each in order to stop any blood-feuds. The rest of the executions were probably carried out by his fellow Emigrants from Mecca and lasted the whole night.
The prophet says the following in Sura 33:25-26 about the Battle of the Trench and his treatment of Qurayzah:
33:25 God sent back the disbelievers along with their rage—they gained no benefit—and spared the believers from fighting. He is strong and mighty. 26 He brought those People of the Book [Qurayza] who supported them down from their strongholds and put terror into their hearts. Some of them you [believers] killed and some you took captive. 27 He passed on to you their land, their homes, their possessions, and a land where you had not set foot. God has power over everything. (Haleem)
Now this atrocity has been enshrined in the eternal word of Allah—and the Quran seems to celebrate it. But these questions must be answered: Is intriguing with the enemy equal to slaughtering 600 men and enslaving the women and children? Who decides? The Arab tribal chief with the most powerful army? Muhammad said around the time of his Hijrah in 622 the following:
16:126 If you [people] have to respond to an attack, make your response proportionate, but it is better to be steadfast. (Haleem)
Any reasonable and fair-minded person would judge that Muhammad was not making his response (execution) proportionate to the breach of the agreement. The Qurayzah tribe never attacked the Muslims, and even if a few were to have done so, the punishment does not fit the crime. Therefore, Muhammad was being excessive and disproportionate because he used an irreversible penalty to express his human wrath.
For a fuller account of this atrocity, refer to this article
Thus, anti-Semitic violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in Muhammad’s life and in his Quran. Islam is therefore not the religion of peace.1. Muhammad launches his own Crusades.
In the following verse, Muhammad uses the Arabic word qital (root is q-t-l), which means warring, fighting, or killing:9:29 Fight [q-t-l] those among the people of the Book [Christians] who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden and do not profess the true religion, till they pay the poll-tax out of hand and submissively.
The two most interesting clauses in this violent verse are (1) People of the Book (Christians in this verse late in Muhammad’s life) are to be attacked if they do not profess the true religion: Islam. This leaves the door wide open for terrorists today to attack and fight Christians because they do not adhere to Islam; (2) Christians must pay a tax for the "privilege" of living under the "protection" of Islam—submissively or in humiliation.
The historical context of Sura 9:29 finds Muhammad preparing for a military expedition against the Byzantine Empire in 630, two years before his ordinary death of a fever in 632. Indeed, some scholars regard Sura 9 as the last sura to be revealed from on high. Therefore, it sets many policies for Muslims today, and is often interpreted as abrogating or canceling previous verses, even peaceful ones.
Muhammad heard a rumor that the Byzantines amassed an army some 700 miles to the north in Tabuk (northern Arabia today) in order to attack Islam, so he led an army of 30,000 holy warriors to counter-strike preemptively. However, the Byzantines failed to materialize, so Muhammad’s belief in the false rumor was misguided and his expedition was fruitless, except he managed to extract (extort) agreements from northern Christian Arab tribes that they would not attack him and his community. An army of 30,000 soldiers from the south must have deeply impressed the northern tribes, so they posed no real threat to Islam. They are the ones who paid the "protection" tax mentioned in Sura 9:29 (and so do tribes and cities after Muhammad’s death). Therefore, Muhammad’s forced tax was aggressive and hence unjust, not defensive and hence just.
Muhammad’s military expedition qualifies as an Islamic Crusade long before the European ones. After all, in 638, only six years after Muhammad’s death, Muslim armies conquer Jerusalem. Today, Muslims should never again complain about European Crusades, unless they first come to grips with their own.
For more information on the Muslim Crusades after Muhammad’s death and their atrocities and motives, refer to these articles (one
Thus, crusading violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in Muhammad’s life and in his Quran—and beyond, even reaching to today’s western world. Islam is therefore not the religion peace.
What the ten reasons mean for us today
These ten aspects of violence that have burrowed into the hemorrhaging heart of early Islam have eight implications for us today. The first three are theological; the rest are practical.
The theological implications are as follows:
First, as each reason in this article has hinted at and the links explain more thoroughly, Christ never, ever engaged in such violence. For example, he never assassinated opponents, whipped adulterers, cut off the hands of thieves, or launched his own Crusades (what the Medieval Europeans did is not foundational to Christianity). Christ expresses the love of God. Therefore, Christians and all fair-minded persons have the right to question whether the true God would reveal the Quran when it contains such violent verses that conveniently support Muhammad’s violence, whereas the New Testament does not have such violence.
Second, Muslims believe that the New Testament is corrupted, whereas the Quran is inerrant. Even if we assume only for the sake of argument that these claims are true (but they actually are not), then why would reasonable seekers of the truth prefer the "pure" but violence-filled Quran over the "corrupted" but peaceful New Testament?
Before Muhammad is allowed to throw around unsubstantiated charges about alleged New Testament corruption, he and his Quran must pass a down-to-earth test regarding his dubious, violent practices. But he and it fail the test badly, as this article demonstrates, whereas Christ and the New Testament pass with a perfect score. Therefore, if Muhammad is so wrong about down-to-earth matters like whipping adulterers and cutting off the hands of thieves and beating wives, then he is likely wrong about unresearched accusations of New Testament corruption—and factually he is wrong.
Please refer to the articles listed on these pages for more information: [1
Third, since Muhammad who claims divine guidance is so wrong about practical matters, why should we believe him about theoretical matters like the deity of Christ and the Trinity, both of which he denies? Clearly, he was not divinely guided in practical matters because the true God would not degrade religion by endorsing such gruesome violence six hundred years after Christ came—the historical span is critical. Christ and the New Testament do not have even one example of such violence. Again, if Muhammad first fails the down-to-earth test, then he likely fails the theological or theoretical test—we have no reason to believe him in such high doctrines, especially since he was no theologian and his revelations are now empirically suspect.
The practical implications of the top ten reasons are as follows:
Fourth, nominal Christians who no longer take their faith seriously, but who are tempted to convert to Islam, must stop to think a second time. Christ the Son of God demonstrates the love of God (Matt. 3:16-17), not the wrath of an ordinary, self-described human messenger (Sura 3:144). Why would they trade in the religion of God’s peace and love for Allah’s human religion of violence?
Fifth, fanatical Muslims today are simply carrying on their prophet’s mission. Why should we be surprised if they want to conquer the West, in order to impose Allah’s will on non-Islamic societies? They are still working out Muhammad’s Crusades and trying to put a halt to the reality embodied in this simple logic:
(1) If A, then B. If Allah endorses Islam, then it should expand endlessly.(2) Not-B. But it is not expanding endlessly (see this analysis
).(3) Therefore, not-A. Therefore, Allah does not endorse Islam.
This logic eats away at the heart of fanatics, especially premise two, even if they are not conscious of it in this logical form. What is stopping the endless expansion of Islam, according to the fanatics? Their answer: the US and even the very existence of the Jewish State of Israel in the heart of the Middle East. The fanatics have yet to uproot the Jews, despite three wars, which the Arabs lost. This tiny non-Islamic, Jewish State in their neighborhood slaps them in the face every day. How could Allah let this happen? Hence, premise two is the deepest reason that they have been launching attacks on the US and the West and Israel for the last two decades and why Osama bin Laden ignited 9/11. For more information on three Quranic verses that predict the worldwide dominance of Islam and that provide the motives for fanatics, refer to this article
. And for more information on bin Laden’s motives specifically, go here
Sixth, as noted in the introduction to this article, Muslim apologists who have access to the national media and who constantly assert that Islam is the religion of peace must stop misleading unsuspecting Westerners. Factually, Islam is not the religion of peace. True, it had peaceful moments, but not for very long. Muhammad sent out or went out on seventy-four expeditions, raids, and wars in only ten years (622-632), most of which were violent.
Seventh, western civilization must never accept the lie that Muhammad’s life, the Quran, and sharia (the law derived from the hadith and the Quran) are benefits to society. Rather, Islam represents many gigantic steps backwards, culturally and socially. One of the most tragic events in the western world in recent years—and one of the most underreported—is the existence of an Islamic court in Canada
. Muslims are pushing for a sharia divorce court in Australia
, as well. The Canadian government should promptly shut it down, and Australia should never allow one. And such a court must never be allowed to exist here in the US or elsewhere in the West. Sharia does not benefit society, bluntly stated.
Eighth and finally, Islam should never be taught in our public schools, K through 11
. Perhaps grade 12 is acceptable, but only on one condition. If school administrators insist on teaching it, Islamic violence must be included in the lesson plans because it is part and parcel of early Islam and Muhammad’s life.
Of course, Muslim apologists assert that Christianity is filled with violence, citing the Roman Emperor Constantine and the Medieval Crusaders. However, to repeat, they are not foundational for Christianity—only Christ and the New Testament are. And he and the New Testament authors never practiced or endorsed such violence.
On the other hand, Muhammad and his Quran are foundational for Islam, and violence fills his life and its pages.
Therefore, for ten clear and verifiable reasons, Islam is not the religion of peace.