April 12, 2018
From Lebanon to Israel, Spain, England, France, Germany, America and Canada, terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists on an unarmed populace has been rife. In all of the massacres the terrorists shouted at the time of their killing, “Allah Akbar” [Aramaic for “God is great”] and claimed adherence to and acting on behalf of Islam. Moslems in Palestine cheered the 9/11 attacks and Moslem suicide bombers are labeled heroes.
Many question whether Islam itself is responsible for the violence. Some assert that the tenants of the religion promote violence; others claim Islam is a peaceful religion. Our topic is, “Does Islam promote violence?”
The answer is: It depends.
To understand Islam one must understand its founder, Abu al-Qasim Muhammad, commonly known as Muhammad.
Muhammad was born in 570 AD. He was raised by his grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, who was not rich but was prominent in Mecca. Muhammad married a rich widow Khadijah, who was at least 40 when they married, and she bore him several children.
In 610, Muhammad had the first of his visions. Muhammad was brought to a Christian Scholar Waraqa ibn Nawfal, Khadijah’s cousin, who told Muhammad the vision was from the Angel Gabriel and that he was a prophet. Impressed with both Judaism and Arian Christianity[i] as taught by Waraqa, Mohammad saw himself as a bridge between Judaism and Christianity. In honor to the Judeo-Christian history of Islam, followers of Muhammad were to pray four times daily, bowing to Jerusalem.
With the support of his wealthy wife, Mohammad began his ministry in Mecca preaching an all powerful, monotheistic God. At the time Mecca was a wealthy pilgrimage site for several pagan religions which believed the meteorite called the “Kabah”, was a divine symbol. Mohammad’s preaching against pagan gods was not well received by the Mecca elites and he and his followers faced constant harassment.
Mohammad was exiled from Mecca in 622 in what became known as the “Hegira” (flight), an event celebrated as the year 0 in the Islamic calendar. He took residence in Medina where Muhammad and his followers began pillaging caravans with mixed success. In 624, Muhammad led an ambush on a camel caravan in which his 300 followers defeated 940 caravan guards. While the caravan escaped, the battle established Muhammad as a military leader. To rid themselves of Muhammad’s caravan raids, Mecca sent an army of 10,000 to attack Muhammad in Medina. With the help of a Persian convert/mercenary, Muhammad had a series of ditches dug which handicapped the Mecca cavalry, eventually causing the Meccans to retreat. This is known as the Battle of the Ditch.
The Jews in Medina did not accept Muhammad as a prophet and were sympathetic to the Mecca resistance. After the battle Muhammad took fierce vengeance upon the Jewish community forcing the few survivors to leave Medina. Muhammad further decreed that the daily prayers were to be made facing Mecca, not Jerusalem.
In 630 Muhammad marched on Mecca and forced the conversion of the Meccans. His influence continued to grow as well as his wealth. It is said by some that upon his death in 632, Muhammad was the richest man who ever lived at any time.
In Medina, Muhammad married his favorite wife, 6 year old Aisha. He also married his aunt Khaula, which was incest in the eyes of all major religions; he also married the wife of his adopted son Zaynab and had many slave concubines from his raids. Islamic apologists defend the marriage to Aisha by suggesting the marriage was not consummated until she was 9; and his other marriages to Khaula and Zaynab was authorized because Muhammad claimed that in one vision following the death of his first wife, the Angel Gabriel gave Muhammad the gift of Kafit, the sexual prowess of 40 men.
The Koran was not written by Muhammad and it is unknown whether Muhammad was literate. The Koran was memorized by Muhammad’s followers and parts of it were written on whatever was available, including parts of bodies. In 644-656, under caliph Uthman, Islamic scholars began to write the Koran from the sources still available.
The Koran (or Quran) is said to be dictated by God to Muhammad. Unlike the Jewish/Christian scriptures which were written by men under the inspiration of God, the Koran is said to be the very words of God.
Yet the Koran is not consistent. In the books written in Mecca, the Koran teaches a genuine tolerance of Christianity and Judaism; and Muhammad devotes an entire book to Mary, the mother of Jesus. This is what is meant when reference is made to the “people of the book.” In one Mecca quote, Muhammad says:
“Surely the believers and the Jews, Nazareans and the Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last Day, and whosoever does right, shall have his reward with his Lord and will neither have fear nor regret.” (The Cow.)
But when Muhammad was in Medina he raided caravans, sold the survivors into slavery, started referring to himself as God’s apostle, and accumulated his wealth, dictating a Koran intolerant of any other religion or religious practice:
“Say [to the Jews] the death from which you run will surely come to you. You will be sent back to Him who knows the unknown and the known, who will tell you what you used to do.” (The Congregation.)
“They are surely infidels who say Isi (Jesus) is God.” (5th Surah.)
“Fight everyone in the way of Allah. What happened (before conversion to Islam) will be forgiven them. If they persist, they should remember the fate of those who have gone before them (total destruction). So fight them till all oppression ends; and obedience is wholly God’s.“ (Spoils of War.)
“You tell the unbelievers in case they desist whatever has happened of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah.” (Ishaq.)
“Kill any Jew who falls under your power.” (Tabari.)
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and his messenger (Muhammad) and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off …; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have grievous chastisement.” (The Sword.)
In addition to the Koran, Islam considers as sacred writings the Sunnah (traditions); imja (consensus); and ijtihad (individual thought). In 830, Islamic scholar Ibn Hisham edited the Sunnah and in his introduction said that certain parts of the life of Muhammad were left out because they are “disgraceful to discuss” and would “distress” some readers. As his child bride and incestuous marriages survived in the Sunnah, one can only speculate on what was removed.
Following the death of Muhammad a schism developed in Islam which divided Islam into the Shiite, Sunni, and Sufi sects. The Shiites believed Muhammad’s cousin Ali to be his successor caliph; the Sunnis followed Abu Bakr, Aisha’s father who was appointed successor by Muhammad; and the Sufi’s became the mystical branch of Islam.
The word “Islam” means submission; Muhammad taught that the “submission” of following him was submission to the will of God. There are five “pillars” of Islam consistent to all branches: 1. The profession of faith (“there is no god but God; Muhammad is his prophet.”); 2. Prayer 5 times daily facing Mecca; 3. The zakat, or poor tax; 4. Fasting during Ramadan; and 5. Pilgrimage to Mecca or other holy sites. A sixth pillar is claimed by some, which is jihad, or the export of Islam, forcibly if necessary.
To those who desire violence in the name of Islam, the Koran and Sunnah provide a firm basis. To those who seek tolerance in the name of Islam, the Koran and Sunnah also provide firm guidance. Those who seek violence claim the Medina books of the Koran supersede the Mecca books of the Koran, but since the Koran is said to be the exact words of God the whole Koran must be taken as truth; if the Mecca Koran is superseded, it is no longer true. The seekers of violence do not justify this inconsistency and it is a grave failure of Islamic scholars that they do not seek to reconcile the Mecca and Medina books of the Koran.
Of course one can also look to the Old Testament for justification of violence by Christians and Jews. In the book of Genesis God Himself destroys sinful cities and, in the days of Noah, destroyed virtually all of mankind. In the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, God promises the wrathful destruction of cities and empires including Judea. In summary, if anyone – Christian, Jew or Moslem – wants to justify his or her lust for violence, there is authority in all the holy books of all faiths.
The modern plague of Islamic violence, however, is fanned by Wahabism, a Saudi sponsored creed of extremist Islam which is directly linked to global terrorism. Wahabism is a wealthy sect of Islam which finances mosques, and finances a school curriculum offered to mosques worldwide. The benefit to the mosque which subscribes to Wahabism includes generous payments to the mosque, well financed DVDs, very presentable guest speakers, a curriculum fully thought out and presented, and even paid vacations to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for extremist students. Wahabism promotes violence, hatred and the destruction of western culture and Judaism. These are not just words, Wahabists are extremists in every sense of the word and brainwash Moslem youth with a bias and hatred that would be the envy of
the Klu Klux Klan. Indeed, Wahabism influence may be compared to what would be if the KKK was running Christian churches, including their school curriculums. Obviously, the KKK would teach a very un-Christian view of Christianity.
Radical Islam is also encouraged by westerners who, in the name of tolerance and inclusion, protect even the most radical expressions of Islam. The result: There are large areas of Europe that are closed to non Moslems; In America, the beheading of a woman in the name of Islam was called workplace violence; The kidnapping of girls for sex slaves is virtually ignored by the Western press; The crucifixion of Christians in the Middle East is virtually ignored by the Western Press; The killing of Christian Priests and Ministers is ignored by the Western Press; The mayor of Minneapolis wore the headscarf hijab when addressing the murder of a woman by a Somalia refugee, announcing a toll free number to report anti-Moslem acts with no sympathy for the victim; Those teaching the violence of Islam are not allowed into the United Kingdom on the grounds they promote hate speech; In Canada, an insult against Islam is considered criminal hate speech – whereas an insult against Jesus Christ is considered art; Homeowners associations in Tennessee and California will not permit residents to display the American flag on the basis that it might be offensive to Moslems; Valentine’s Day celebrations are banned in Milwaukee schools on the grounds that Moslems might be offended. The examples are too numerous to list here.
This protectivism encourages the segregation of Moslems from western culture, reinforces the claimed superiority of Islam, and eliminates all counterbalances to the teachings of Wahabism. Yet the preachers of this selective tolerance[ii] obtain nothing in return for their protection of radical Islam. Radical Islam still kills homosexuals, kidnaps young girls for sex slaves, encourages female genital mutilation, protects abuse against women, use bombs and machine guns and trucks to kill innocents. And this selective tolerance only encourages contempt of the West. In the words of Ferris Bueller, “You can’t respect someone who kisses your a…”
Islam does not have a pope or figure like a pope. Each mosque teaches its own version of Islam, but many caliphs and Islamic scholars do not teach the Mecca books out of fear of assassination. In 1988, Salman Rushdie wrote “The Satanic Verses” critical of the Koran. His death was proclaimed as a religious duty (fatwa), a generous bounty was placed on his death, and he is still in hiding. Many are also critical of local caliphs who preach hatred and intolerance because prejudice is so much more profitable than tolerance.
Which brings up the issue of $$. When money and faith combine, the result is blasphemous terror. The Moluccas riots in Indonesia in the late 1990s were started by Moslems who were direct in their demand that they wanted the middle class Christian houses for their own; eventually 500,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes. Our own Father Francis observed that Moslem rioters in Nigeria were paid to riot against Christians and they did it for the money, no offense intended. Saddam Hussein paid the families of suicide bombers so well that several mothers actually forced their sons to be suicide bombers. Linda Sarsour calls herself a “typical New York white girl” before she decided she decided she was a Palestinian activist, put on a hijab, now calls for jihad against America, made $1.8 million by fundraising to restore a vandalized Jewish cemetery – and kept the money, was caught by the FCC when she raised funds supposedly to help the Houston hurricane victims but in fact sent the money to a radical Islamist group, and makes millions on the lecture circuit speaking hatred of Jews and destruction of the West, all to relieve the plight of a Palestine she has never even visited.
But the most egregious example of the mixture of money, religion and terror is the 9/11 attacks. In the week before the attack there was a rush on international airline securities whose stock bottomed out in the days after the attacks. The result was that over $11 million was made by overseas stock traders in the week following the attacks by short sale transactions. This presents a horrible possibility, “Were the 9/11 attacks planned so that the planners could get rich?”
On our part, we must always remember our place and never become complacent Christians. Recall the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46, it is not what we say that gains entry into heaven, it is how we treat the least of our brothers and sisters. And Matthew 7:21, is even more frightful:
“Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many (Christians) will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?” Then I will declare to them solemnly, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.””
Finally, there is my own example: Not too long ago I injured my foot and was trying to learn how to use crutches while opening a very heavy office door. Two gentlemen in Moslem beards and wearing the Moslem skullcap (taqiyah) who I had never met saw me straining and both men jumped to my assistance. Then again, while dinnering at Denny’s with my family, I ate facing a vicious hate stare from a Moslem un-gentleman who was dining with his hijab wearing wife and daughter.
So, does Islam promote violence? The answer, it depends upon the person.
Bibliography: The Koran; Islam.org; The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (1988); A Summary of Catholic History (1960); Time Frame: The March of Islam (1988); From Jihad to Jesus (2006); The Bookseller of Kabul (2004); The 9/11 Commission Report; Facts and Details.com; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Foreign Affairs (2015); Foreign Affairs (2016); “215,000,000 Christians Persecuted, Mostly by Moslems” (2018); MSNBC; CBS News Online; Christianity, Islam and a Deadly Double Standard, (Catholic World Repor)t; New York Times (August 7, 2015); CNN, 2017 Hate Crime Statistics
[i] The Arian heresy was prominent around 315 AD, and was based upon the belief that Jesus was begotten of the Father and Mary was not the Mother of God. In fact, ALL heresies throughout the Christian era are based on one of two principles: Either, 1. Jesus was a nice guy but was not God; or 2. Jesus was God and His appearance and suffering were just a figment of our collective imaginations. For over 2,000 years, certain people cannot accept that Jesus had the dual nature of fully God and fully man. To their credit, it is difficult to contemplate that the creator of quasars and super-novas, hurricanes and earthquakes and tornadoes, lions and tigers and bears, walked the dirt roads of Judea with sore feet and occasional bad breath.
2. The tolerance is “selective” because it does not include tolerance of Jews, who are the most persecuted religion worldwide and in the United States; nor does this tolerance include Christianity, which is the second most persecuted religion worldwide. Most persecution of Jews and Christians is by Moslems.