Encounters With Islam: Half a Century of Connection, and a Final Separation (Part 1: 1949-1961)

SaracenCastleThe Crusaders in their heavy mail at first paid little attention to the arrows that struck and wounded them lightly. The Arabs stood a good ways off and their shafts were half spent when they struck.

The Europeans dismounted and formed a shield wall, waiting for the Arab onslaught.

Which never came. Just the unending flights of arrows. Of so many, some did strike vital areas, and heat and cumulative bleeding brought other men down. Maddened, some charged, and then the Arabs came and struck some down, wheeled and stood off again.

The sally was over, and the siege would not end today. As the Franks retreated to their castle they were followed by the ululating war cry La illalah ilahi”

There is no god but Allah.

Then my mother called me for dinner.

UrbanII-220x300I put the solders and castle away. After dinner there would be homework, but I didn’t mind. In Catholic school we were studying the Crusades. We had just received our first issue of a Catholic magazine for juveniles, called “Crusade” and on its cover was Pope Urban, blessing kneeling knights as they took the cross.

We were to learn and celebrate the achievements of these warriors of Christ, but I had a secret. I was drawn to the bearded men in white robes, with their curved swords and exotic war cry. I was nine, and all I knew of Islam is that it had been at war with the Church, my church, the one I had been born into. The history book showed their sweep across the Near East and Africa and up into Spain and even beyond in the name of their god Allah, and their Prophet Mohammed.

In Geography there were pictures of some famous Islamic structures, the Taj Mahal, and the Hagia Sophia, which we learned had first been a great Church with minarets added later. Camels, goats, and women covered from head to foot. In school,the followers of Islam were called Mohammedans, and I cannot now remember when I first encountered the terms “Islam” and “Muslim.” I was a great reader and much interested in knights and armor. Old books with rotogravure illustrations taught me about Richard Coeur d’Lion, but also Saladdin and the just Caliph, Haroun al-Rashid, walking his city incognito in the night.Henty

At the movies there was “the Seven Voyages of Sinbad,” with a cute princess, a roc,and a caliph, and on the black and white television. “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” and old Sabu movies, all with men in robes and turbans, and sometimes,not very well veiled women with excitingly bare midriffs and transparent harem pants,  but I don’t remember anyone mentioning Allah. 220px-Seventh_voyage_of_sinbad

An old ship mate of my father’s had worked in Saudi Arabia for a while, and he showed us slides of the dusty streets and veiled women, and close ups of comically grinning camels. I had no idea why their women were veiled ,but I do remember one excellent shot of a crowd at an Aramaco(Arabian American Oil Company, now wholly Saudi government owned) night ball game. Women in the back, all in black, boys in checkered headdresses in front, drinking Pepsi.

HalliburtonArabia

Richard Halliburton with Abdul Aziz, first king of Saudi Arabia.

This then was what I knew of Islam, which we knew as Mohammedanism, as I played at Crusaders versus Saracens: it was sort of a heresy, its warriors had conquered great swathes of the wold, starting from Arabia, and the lands of Islam looked quite exotic, the kinds of places I’d like to explore, like Richard Halliburton, celebrity explorer and writer of the 20s and and 30s, who swam the Hellespont with the minarets of Constantinople behind him, and met the King of Arabia. Islam seemed largely for and of Arabs, although I knew the Turks were in there somewhere.

Then, in 1961, my father was transferred to Sumatra along with all of us. I read up in the library.  Islam was the religion of the great majority of Indonesians, I found, and took up some basics: they had no Trinity.  Muslims prayed five times a day,( and I found that particularly awful, as I hated church and did not enjoy good night prayers. My mother’s occasional spurts of piety sometime resulted in family rosaries that seemed interminable), and revered Jesus as only a prophet, didn’t eat pork, or drink alcohol, and went on pilgrimage to Mecca, that forbidden city Halliburton had tried to visit.Halliburtonturban

In May 1961, we boarded a plane, then a ship, then more planes, and one bright, equatorial day, my encounter with Islam began.

(Read Part Two here)

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Refuting the Borg: Arguing With Leftists about Islam.

Perhaps you’ve had this experience: You’re discussing historical events or the issues of the day with a liberal or left friend, and suddenly he seizes up. His eyes glaze over, lids droop, and out comes something like,

“Republicans are racists!”

“The science is settled!”

And the show stoppers:

“Sarah Palin!” “Bush!”

They seem to derive the same comfort from this as might a Buddhist chanting the Lotus Sutra. And while you may observe this in a wide range of settings, with men and women of different ages and skin tones, there is a remarkable consistency, down to vocabulary and syntax, in these ejaculations.

borgThis is the voice of the left-progressive- liberal Borg.

On no other issue is the assimilation of these once (perhaps) individual minds into a collective voice more complete than it is in matters pertaining to Islam. More than once I’ve startled friends and acquaintances by pre-echoing what I knew was about to come out of their mouths.

What with beheadings and jihad in the news, I thought I’d provide a public service for those of you who may not have been as aware of the, ahem, problematic nature of Islam, as I have for so long, but are savvy enough to know that whatever liberals in government, academia and the media say about Islam, it has to be a crock.

Islamophobia!

This one is really worthy of no more than an eye roll and gag mime. A phobia is an irrational fear. Any thinking person will know that there are, at the very least, currenst within the Islamic world that are cause for concern.

The term itself was invented by operatives of the Islamic Circle of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood front group, in a quite clever piggyback on the success of “homophobia,” which –given Islam’s attitude towards homosexuality – is worth an ironic giggle.

Racism!

This is the standard condemnation– and, in Europe legally sanctioned to the point of trial, fines and incarceration – of criticism of Islam. It hasn’t gone that far in the U.S. yet, but racists are bad people who leave comments on Stormfront. You wouldn’t want to be one of them, would you?

But, you might ask, Islam is a religion, so what has it got to do with it?. This is another example of leftist induction based on an irrelevant truth. While there are many Muslims, particularly in the Caucasus and former Ottoman territories who would not look any different from the average white Mid-westerners, the majority of them are of non-European stock.

But, so what? Ronald Reagan might have been accused of being a war monger, and mindless anti-communist, a Soviet Union hater, but he wasn’t called anti Russian.

And, secondarily, in the leftist mind, people who don’t like Islam tend to be Republicans, fundamentalist Christians, Reich Wingers, and other undesirables who especially dislike President Obama, and are, therefore, racist.

 The Inquisition!

The burning of heretics at the stake is not a Catholic monopoly

640px-Templars_Burning

The burning of heretics seems to have become standard around the8th Century in Eastern and Western Christianity, as well as Islam, but the Inquisition reached its apogee in the High Middle Ages. Here,Knights Templar burned in 1314.

In the earliest days of Islam, during the 7th Century Ridda Wars in Arabia following Mohammed’s death the Caliph Abu Bakar burned many apostates. Death by fire for apostates and heretics were reported among the Ottomans and in the Barbary States well into the 18th Century

The 9th Century Abbasid Caliph al-Ma’mun instituted an inquisition to punish and at times execute those who contested the eternal and uncreated nature of the Koran. The most prominent victim was Mansur al-Hallaj, Persian born Sufi mystic, who was slowly chopped to bits, and his remains then burned in Baghdad in 922.

all hallaj

The execution of al-Hallaj

One can get into a numbers game, but this is fruitless and irrelevant as it is striking that death for apostasy remains uncontested in Islamic jurisprudence, and is applied under the legal codes of a number of Muslim countries today – most prominently, Saudi Arabia.

 

“What about the Crusades?”

Yeah, what about them?

The proximate cause, was, as any Catholic school child, at least, learned in the 50s, was the Seljuk Turks cutting off pilgrimage routes to the Holy land, as well as robbing and murdering pilgrims and local Christians.

The greater cause was Islamic imperialism. One again, going back to my 50s classroom, I remember the history book, the arrows advancing from Arabia across the Middle East and North Africa and into Spain and beyond.

Tours, Charles Martel. Roland at Roncesvalles. Ok, Roland was actually fighting Basques, not Muslims, as the legend has it, and Tours was not a decisive as I was taught, but Islamic forces did reach Central France in the 8th Century and were in the end turned back.

The Near East and North Africa once were Christian, and Greek, Latin and Syriac speaking. Now that vast area is primarily Muslim and Arabic speaking. The Crusaders may then be seen as a belated response to Muslim aggression against the disordered post-Roman West.

martel

Charles Martel, ” The Hammer,” whacking Saracens at Tours(Or maybe Poitiers, not exactly clear),732.

The Wars of the Crescent preceded the wars of the Cross by centuries.

 

Religious inspired terrorism isn’t just a Muslim thing. What about Timothy McVeigh, The IRA and abortion clinic bombings?

While you might not get all these in one sentence, you probably will in a single session as you bat them down one by one. There is more than one thing going on here.

First, is the old moral equivalence game. We saw this back in the Cold War. Segregation and lynching in the American South, for example, while perhaps not equivalent to the Gulag, showed that at heart we were no better.

This is a rhetorical trick which leftists think is pretty slick, but which merely exposes the poverty of their reasoning. State a truth so general as to be useless as a reference point, but which, in the leftist mind, is all encompassing and subsumes your argument to theirs.

If a guy smacks his wife and lays her flat, do we respond by saying, ”Everybody gets angry?”

Next there is the leftist’s habit in argumentation of spitting out isolated snippets of fact, which in his mind, are signifiers of entire narratives that are, in his world, given, and need not, indeed should not be questioned. These isolated facts are almost always irrelevant or outdated.

The last abortion clinic bombing in the United States was in 1998.

More than ten years later, the last fatality I could find was the murder of Dr. George Tiller in 2009. His killer is serving life with no parole for at least 50 years. Worldwide, total fatalities in anti-abortion violence, to date fall far short of the average market bombing in Baghdad.

Anti abortion violence is also an example of the Left’s love of weak, or more often, entirely faulty syllogism. These embedded causal chains are the mortar that holds the Left world view together.

This one is about as strong as it gets, which is not much.

There is no doubt that anti-abortion violence has a religious dimension. While there are secularists and even atheists uneasy with abortion (I recommend reading Christopher Hitchens on this), opposition   comes largely from believers, with the Catholic Church in the van.

The religious horror at abortion comes from scriptural injunction against the taking of life. This also precludes the killing of an abortionist. Thus, we have a religiously inspired motivation for this violence, without any basis in religion.

Islam, starting with its (in)famous Verse of the Sword, has no such scruples in employing homicide in its advancement.

Unless you’ve been in such talks, a Lefty shouting “Timothy McVeigh!” in defense of Islam, might seem like a bit of Tourette’s, but is in fact an example of deductive absurdity that underlies much of their thinking.

mcveigh

Murderer Timothy McVeigh: Bright, misguided, and a decent prose stylist, but not at all concerned with religion.

 Here’s how it works: McVeigh blew up that federal building, because he didn’t like big government. People who don’t like big government, such as the Tea Party, believe in God. So, Timothy McVeigh bombed for God, just as Muslims do for Allah, when they are not bombing because of poverty or imperialism, that is.

That baptized, but non practicing as an adult, Roman Catholic McVeigh was a self professed agnostic to the day before his death, who only a few hours before the needle, decided to make Pascal’s wager and took the last rites, is something that evades the Left.

Then there is the IRA. It works the same way here. The IRA bombed and killed on behalf of Northern Ireland’s Catholic majority, so clearly they must have been motivated by religion. The Provos, the most extreme of the bunch, were basically Trotskyites with brogues, but somehow that doesn’t signify. Much as in the conflict between Serbs and Croats, religion in Northern Ireland defines ethnicity between groups who are otherwise identical in appearance and language, and the IRA had no interest in imposing Catholicism on anyone, least of all themselves, as they would have to rise early on Sundays after a night at the pub.

There’s a lot of bad stuff in the bible, too.

This comes up when you quote the Koran and relate it present day Islamic violence.

Indeed, Ecclesiastes is a byword for cruel punishment, particularly for moral transgressions. However, you won’t find its strictures in the civil code of Israel.

The genocides conducted by the Hebrews as they occupied Canaan are a favorite of the moral equivalence crowd. These slaughters are pretty gruesome, and too numerous to go into here. However, one reading other chronicles of Middle East peoples such the Hittites and Assyrians will be struck by the similarities. Islam has been largely consistent in offering the option of conversion over death, whereas the Israelites seemed to have had little interest in increasing the number of Jews. Ancient Israel had an expansionist phase, but located between other massive powers as it was, never got very far. Nor is there a consistent imperative to spread Yahweh’s religion to the ends of the earth.

victory-of-joshua-over-the-amorites-5046

Joshua fighting the Amorites, Nicholas Poussin. 17th Century. Why people tend to lose their clothes in these kinds of paintings isn’t clear,but hey, it’s French.

So, overall, pretty much a wash.

As to the leading characters of the Old Testament, even the best are flawed. We are told to admire David’s bravery and love of the Lord, but not encouraged to steal other men’s wives as he did Bathsheba.

In Islam, though, Mohammed, “al-Ihsan(the Perfect One) is held up as a model for all Muslims in every aspect of his character and deeds. Conquests, enslavement of non Muslims, and their killing, rape and plunder, may thus still be admirable ends to Muslims, as they were for Islam’s founder.

Those looking for equivalence in the Bible to Islam, focus on the Old Testament, the Hebrew
Torah, because the new Christian dispensation is of no use to them at all. Jesus had some hard words for sinners, but killed none, nor asked that others do so.

Israel is the problem.

This one introduces positions that range from the end of Israel to a “fair” deal for the Palestinians. Again, refer to the history of jihad. And not to go all wonky, but Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the font of the modern Jihad, acted in response to the Kemalist abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924, when the ink on the Balfour Declaration was barely dry.

If we didn’t bomb and invade Muslim countries they wouldn’t dislike us so much.

blackhawk

Black Hawk Down, Mogadishu, Somalia, 1993.

I certainly agree that this is waste of lives and money, but it is curious to note that, since the Viet Nam War, aside from Grenada and Panama, every American military intervention abroad has involved Muslims, and aside from the Balkans, where Orthodox Serbia was the enemy, the U.S. has been defending one bunch of Muslims from another.

 

Radical Muslims are a tiny minority

Here we are getting into area where the Borg speaker rather than deflecting from Islam, purports to know something about it. As usual, his facts are irrelevant or distorted.

So, how tiny is tiny? Surveys of opinion, in both of Muslim countries and in Muslim populations in the West, consistently show very large numbers supporting sharia law, jihad, suicide bombers, Hamas and Hezbollah, and the destruction of Israel. These figures rise and fall and vary from place to place, but in the aggregate amount to hundreds of millions of Muslims. Pew Research reports regularly on these issues.

There is also, again, the matter of thirteen centuries of jihad in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Islam is a religion of Peace. “Islam” itself means peace.

While the word is derived in Arabic from the same root of that for the word for peace, Islam means submission. In the Islamic view a peaceful world will arise when the entire globe submits to Islam. Islamic geopolitics sees the world divided in twain: Dar ul Islam, the house of Peace, has already submitted. Dar ul Harb, the house of War –that’s us – has not.

It is also important to note that while Islam is seen as, and sees itself as a universal religion, the Koran says that it was revealed in Arabic, to the Arabs as they ”… are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.”

Radical Muslims misunderstand their religion.

This is something the Borg talker will repeat when they hear explanations of Islamic violence from Muslims.  So what is it exactly that they misunderstand? Ask for citations from Islamic scripture, and classical Muslim commentators.

Note also that there are many Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists who engage in worship, but are weak in, or even largely ignorant of their respective theologies, but there doesn’t seem to be a problem with them and religiously inspired violence.

Conclusion

There is probably more, but I’ll stop here. Writing this has been almost as wearying as arguing with leftists. I don’t at all care for Islam, but there is an injunction against “arguing with fools” in Islamic law. I kind of get that, but persist.

Looking back at these pages, I see that a few leftie discourse markers have inspired me to write more than a couple of thousand words in rebuttal. Behind these words are entire libraries and disciplines, which I have barely plumbed.

I persist because I’m interested. Practically speaking, these points likely won’t change any Leftists’ minds, but they might just shut them up. That’s why I haven’t included much in the way of links.  I’ve done my research. Let the lefties support their own assertions, with their own research.

They won’t, of course. But, hey, whatever.

Then, if your friends are like mine, you can put it aside, have a few drinks, and enjoy the fruits of the civilization bequeathed to us by fighters such as Charles Martel, one in which I and my friends can hoist a craft beer, and agree to disagree.

Without beheading anyone.

The Increasing Reach of Sharia Law

Does anyone remember Ahmad Kashgari, the young Saudi journalist and  blogger, returned by Malaysia to Saudi Arabia, after a red notice issued by Interpol at the Kingdom’s request?  Mr. Kashgari had expressed some mild doubts, and not disbelief in, as to the character of Islam’s prophet, Mohammed. Thousands called for his death.  He has recanted, but is still imprisoned. Even if released, it is unlikely that he will ever know freedom, and will live out his life in that desert prison nation.

The greater scandal was that Interpol, headed by an American, headquartered in Lyon, France,cooperated in a depriving a man of his freedom for violation of ancient religious law.  Now it appears that Interpol may be at it again, this time with the cooperation of Sweden, a country that touts itself as a bastion of tolerance and liberal values, but which has abased itself to multiculturalism, opened its borders, and subjected its people to assaults on their persons, as well as their  ancient values and freedoms.

As reported  2 September 2012, in the English language Saudi Gazette:

Efforts on to bring back ‘Al-Khobar girl’ from Sweden

AL-KHOBAR — The Al-Khobar girl who fled the Kingdom after allegedly converting to Christianity will be brought home from Sweden in a matter of few days, Al-Yaum newspaper reported Saturday quoting informed sources.

The(sic) Interpol is coordinating with the Saudi Embassy in Stockholm and Swedish authorities to return the girl to her homeland before her “kidnappers” move her to another country, the sources said.

This story started showing up a few days ago on conservative, Christian, and anti-jihad sites.  “Al Khobar girl” is a telling trm, aimed at leading readers to think we are dealing with a minor whose parents have her best interests at heart.  No age is given, and this is significant: in Islam, women are not considered autonomous indivuals, and never achieve majority, remaining children, and chattels, throughout their lives.

It is intereting that the Gazette gave both “Al Khobar Girl, in the headline, and “kidnappers” in the body, quotation marks, which, given the climate in the Kingdom, is a subtle but still gutsy note of skepticism.

That skepticism is warranted is demonstrated by this statement:

Sources said it is highly likely that a global human trafficking network was involved in the kidnapping of the girl, who was persuaded by her Lebanese manager to embrace Christianity and leave the country without the knowledge of her family.

Human Trafficking?  Really?  Have the pervs become so jaded that they are no longer satisfied with Russians, Romanian, Kazakh, Moldavan, and Mainland Cinese women – all of which operate here in Indonesia, where I live, especially in Jakarta’s Chinatown, where these working girls pull down a grand a night or more – that traffickers are looking for novelty in Saudi Arabian hookers?

I doubt it.

That the young woman embraced Christianity, fled and is now being sought by the Saudi and Swedish authorities, facilitated by Interpol, I’ll take as true, until any of these deny it.  Whether Western media decide to pursue this story remains to be seen, but I’m certainly not expecting women’s rights organization to take up the Saudi “girl’s” defense.

In the United states, those who warn about the influenced of Sharia law are routinely derided as bigots and nuts.  Lost  in the politically correct white noise is that the anti- shariah movement does  not posit that the the Supreme court will one day be staffed with bearded, turbaned kadis, but that U.S. case law might be decided with reference to the shariah, and without regard to basic constitutional principles.  In fact, this has already happened. The anti Islamic law movement has morphed into a ant iforeign law movement, which is gaining momentum despite denigration by media and government voices.

Those, generally on the left, who deride these efforts as at worse “islamophobic bigotry,” and at best frivolous, should reflect on Mr. Kashgari, who was returned from Malaysia en route to New Zealand, in response to Interpol’s red notice, to Saudi Arabia, were the penalty for his offece is ofcially, death, as it is for that of the “al-Khobar girl.”

Malaysia is an Islamic country but now we may have Western  authorities colluding to return a Muslim to face punishment for something that is not an offense in any Western legal tradition.

How long before a Westerner suffers rendition for an offense to Islam?

Never happen?

Really?

Islamic Snuff Flicks

Tawfik Okasha presenting the beheading video

A couple of weeks ago, a video appeared on the internet.  Another beheading, but what made it unusual was that it was shown on Egyptian TV by talk show host Tawfiq Okasha, described in various postings as a liberal, on his show “Egypt Today.” Mr Okash said the crime took place in Tunisia and that the film  showed men beheading a Christian for the crime of having converted from Islam.

Some days later other posts and comments appeared on line saying that the video was first posted by the Free Syrian Army, and that the victim was an a Alawite, the Shia offshoot to which Assad belongs.

The internet is replete with this sort of thing, the decapitation of Daniel Berg in Iraq being the most widespread. Some years ago, I watched the film of Mr. Berg’s last minutes, and had not returned for more.

This time, I felt that if Mr Okash was brave enough to show this on Egyptian T.V., and ask the anguished question, “Is this Islam,” I would do him the courtesy of watching.

I don’t speak Arabic but have enough words to pick up a little of the gist.  The words “murtad,” apostate, and “mushrik,” polytheist – which Muslims consider Christians, with their concept of the Trinity to be – recur over and over again.

What did I see? I saw a man have his head slowly severed from his body, as I had seen before, the initial cut severing the carotid much the same as the that of the halal slaughter method, so one hears a gurgling as the victim continues to breathe though the blood.

The young man first lies calmly with the knife at his throat, calm, his eyes doe like, with either the peace of resignation, hope for the life hereafter, or perhaps drugged, although I very much doubt this kind of mercy was shown.

The first slice is shallow, and the blood starts.  Then the sawing begins, and it goes on for a very long time, as the killer slices and also bends the head away from the growing neck cut so that one is presented a grisly anatomy lesson. Within this time the life drains from the eyes and death triumphs.

When the head comes free it is lifted in triumph to cries of Allahu Akbar ( Allah is greater). Then as I had seen before, the head is set upon the trunk, much as one might display a hunting trophy,

Some days after the video appeared, posts appeared on line showing the video in earlier posts, and stating that it was not in Tunisia, but Syria, citing the use of the epithet “rafidi”( deserter), which they say is used for Shia, but certainly could describe anyone who left Islam. Not knowing the word then, I didn’t hear it, and have no desire to watch again so as to confirm this.  Most said it was the Free Syrian Army, who are Sunni, killing an Alawite . A few said the victim was Shabiha, as the informal militias of street thugs, and undercover secret police Assad employs are known. These commenters thought the man got what he deserved, and looked forward to more of the same.

Some thought the audio might have been dubbed, although I haven’t found that anyone has yet done any forensics to prove or disprove this.

In the end, It really doesn’t matter.  What does, is the answer to Mr. Okasha’s question, “Is this Islam?”

And the answer is yes, it is , and has always been thus.

The Islamic tradition of the end of the Jewish Banu Quraiza tribe after their defeat in Medina at the Battle of the Trench is iconic.

“The Jews were made to come down, and Allah’s Messenger imprisoned them. Then the Prophet went out into the marketplace of Medina , and he had trenches dug in it. He sent for the Jewish men and had them beheaded in those trenches. They were brought out to him in batches. They numbered 800 to 900 boys and men. As they were being taken in small groups to the Prophet, they said to one another, ‘What do you think will be done to us?’ Someone said, ‘Do you not understand. On each occasion do you not see that the summoner never stops? He does not discharge anyone. And that those who are taken away do not come back. By God, it is death!’ The affair continued until the Messenger of Allah had finished with them all.”

Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 35, See Also Ishaq:464

Narrated Atiyyah al-Qurazi: I was among the captives of Banu Qurayza. They (the Companions) examined us, and those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair.

Abu Dawud 38:4390

And this rather odd detail related by Mohammed’ s child bride, Aisya:

Narrated Aisha: No woman of Banu Qurayza was killed except one. She was with me, talking and laughing on her back and belly (extremely), while the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) was killing her people with the swords. Suddenly a man called her name: Where is so-and-so? She said: I  asked: What is the matter with you? She said: I did a new act. She said: The man took her and beheaded her. She said: I will not forget that she was laughing extremely although she knew that she would be killed.

Abu Dawud 14:2665

As for apostasy, the penalty is death, although beheading may not be the sole means of execution.

From “Reliance of the Traveler,” A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred law( ISBN 0-9159-5772-8), which represents the Hanafi school of jurisprudence which dominates in Sunni Islam. The translation is endorsed by Al Azhar Univeristy Cairo, among other authorities.

Section o8.1 “When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostasizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed.”

And, lest one think that the word “deserves’ indicates opinion only,  08.2 goes on to say, “In such a case it is obligarory for the Caliph( or his representative) to ask him to repend and return to Islam.  If he does, it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed.”

Given the example of Islam’s founder, beheading is understandably the method of choice, as in Saudi Arabia, although Iran has progressed to the Seventeenth Century or so, with hanging.

So, Mr. Okahsa, this is Islam. Clearly you were appalled, but if your horror is to have any meaning, you must look squarely at your religious tradition and admit what it is now, if you are to have any hope of changing it to something on which you could look on without being sickened

(This link is one of many that will take you to the video.)

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day: A Personal Rubicon

In 2010 American cartoonist Molly Norris of Seattle proposed May 20 as “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day 20.”  This was in response to threats against the creators of South Park, who had named a bear suited character Mohammed.  A Facebook page sprung up and attracted a large number of followers.  Ms Norris’ own contribution was rather tame and did not in fact depict Islam’s prophet;  further, she disassociated herself from the Facebook page, which was the work of third parties.

Molly Norris’ contribution to “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” After credible threats to her life, the cartoonist went underground, and remains in hiding.

Nevertheless, in the end, she received more serious and credible threats than had the South Park team, and was advised to go underground by the FBI.  This she did at her own expense, so that a citizen of the United States, exercising her constitutional rights, was on her own, while violent felons and turned terrorists flourish in government sponsored witness protection.

Since 9/11, when Islam roars, the West cowers, as it did the previous year during the furor over Muhammad cartoons in the Danish Newspaper Jyllands –Posten.  In that instance, after a lag of some months, protests began as internet provocateurs – Muslims themselves– distribute the pictures along with even more graphically offensive images which had never appeared in the Danish newspaper.  Rioting, arson and death spread through the Middle East and Central Asia. It is ironic that the depiction of Islam’s prophet is not clearly proscribed in the Koran itself, and there is a rich history of portraiture showing Muhammad and events in his life in the artistic traditions of Persia, Central Asia and the

A Persian depiction of the Angel Gabriel revealing the Koran to Mohammed.

Ottoman Empire.

Logo from OIC Website. This pretty much says it all: a world centered on Mecca.

Since then, the OIC(Organization of Islamic Cooperation) has pushed its “anti-blasphemy”(read: anti criticism of slam)   rules in the west, with officials of purported democracies all too eager to comply.  Free speech in regard to Islam, among other multicultural shibboleths has bee criminalized in Europe, and has only shaky protection in the Anglophone democracies of the former empire.  The mother country has all but capitulated as “public order” and “community cohesion” statutes muzzle critics in Britain.  Only in the United States does the Constitution’s second amendment remain as a bulwark for freedom.

I have been associated with Islam and Muslims for most of my life.  At the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, I prayed that the actors not be Muslim.  Then came 9/11, the second and successful attack on the Twin Towers.  Even then, I made excuses and distinctions.  It was the violent and irrationally disproportionate  reaction to the Danish cartoons  of 2009 that led me to to examine Islamic tradition and scripture.

I did not like what I found, and am daily further appalled as I continue my exploration.  In the last few years, I toyed with the idea of posting something on May 20 each year, but refrained, telling myself that giving needless offense helped nothing.  There is validity to that argument, but, in truth, underlying it was moral cowardice, and personal sadness.  While I live in a  Muslim country, I am obscure enough that physical jeopardy is unlikely.  However, it is likely that some people for whom I have personal regard will not be able to see beyond their emotional attachment to  a religion which I am certain they do not fully comprehend, and our association will thus end.

So be it.

Like the larger part of my generation, I have never been called to stand for anything, as my father and grandfather were in the conflicts of their times.  Due to accidents of birth and class, Viet Nam passed me by.  This then is a small thing to do.

                     My contribution to “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”

Art is not my forte, so my drawing requires some explication:

I show Muhammad as bearded and turbaned, as he is described in most traditions.  Note that I use the word “traditions” as the historical record is even scantier than support for the Christian Gospels.

The other sketches show aspects of Islamic belief and history:

1)”The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and his messenger, and strive for mischief n the land is execution, crucifixion, or the  cutting  off of hands and feet from opposite sides (Koran 5:32)

2)  While the Koran prescribes one hundred lashes for adultery (really, any extra marital sex) in the hadith( sayings and deeds  attributed to Muhammad and purportedly verified through a documented chain of transmission, which  are central to Islam, particularly the Sunni majority) quote the prophet as personally ordering death by stoning:  “Allah’s apostle commanded that she be stoned to death:  Sahih Bukhari

3) The sack of Alexandria 641E: Islamic  tradition and scripture support spreading the religion by the sword. It is a conundrum that today, as Arabs and Muslims protest the existence of Israel, and bemoan the horrors of the Crusades, with the support by much of the world, that the historical record is generally ignored.  The extra-Arabian  Middle East, Turkey  and North Africa, once Christian, and Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, Hebrew, and Latin speaking, now is Arab  and Turkic, and almost  entirely        Islamic.  The war on Christians begun by the early caliphs is today in its final phase in Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

Holy war is an Islamic concept, as epitomized today on the Saudi flag, with the Muslim confession of faith surmounting a sword. For contrast, one need only look at the legacy of the European empires: only in the Americas, and the Philippines in Asia do we see indigenous religions vanquished by Christianity, inlands that were conquered by the Iberian powers in the century immediately after the end of their seven hundred year Muslim occupation.

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya( a tax required of non-Muslims under Islamic rule) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Koran 9:29)

4)Some of Muhammad’s many wives.  While Islam limits the number of wives to four, its founder had many more, as well as numerous concubines, with some of each taken in war.  The small figure on the right is Aisha, the youngest of all.  Betrothed at six, bedded at nine.  She holds a doll.

Hadith – Bukhari 8:151, Narrated ‘Aisha

I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet , and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah’s Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fateh-al-Bari page 143, Vol.13)

5) The Battle of the Trench 627 CE.  After defeating the Jewish tribes and their allies who had been besieging the Muslims in Medina, between 600-900 men and boys were beheaded in the public square.  Muhammad presided, and in some accounts, participated.  Boys without pubic hair were spared and joined the women and girls in slavery.

Such practices are common through the histories of many peoples, in many times.  What is different here is that the conduct is not reexamined in the light of modern mores, but rather, celebrated, extolled, and emulated. One simply does not find traditions depicting the founder of any other major religion engaging in such actions.

My examination of Islam has lead me to the firm conclusion that this belief system, in its core doctrines and traditions, offers nothing but supremacist delusion , which is daily expressed in violence and repression, throughout the word, with the majority of victims themselves Muslims. There will be no peace until Islam reforms – and I consider this highly unlikely – or until it is turned back on physical an moral battlefields.  If not, one hopes, not though actual war, but a rhetorical, economic and moral equivalent of Tours, Lepanto, Vienna, and the defeat of the Ottomans.     It is a conflict that the West denies, and of which only the proponents of Islamic dominance speak the truth.

6) 9/11  A latter day incident in a very old war

Hamza Kashgari Returned to Saudi Arabia: Where the 7th Century and 1984 Converge in the 21st Century

Malaysian authorities have deported a Saudi journalist accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a tweet. –BBC(12 February 2012)

In typical Beeb style, this is a rather measured statement of what actually happened.  And that is this: A young man exercising speech rights enshrined in the U.N. human rights convention, but not recognized anywhere  in the Islamic world, was seized while in lawful transit en route to a third country,  by Malaysia’s “soft” theocratic state, and turned over to agents of world’s most repressive religious regime for rendition to Saudi Arabia, with the collusion of an international policing agency answerable to no one.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia's glittering gateway. I plan on staying away.

And now Hamza Kashgari, journalist and blogger from Jeddah, awaits retribution for his thought crime. It is interesting to not that Kashgari means “of Kashgar” a city in Southwest China, once known as a great caravan terminus in Chinese Turkestan. There has been great diversity within Islam, but the Wahhabi/Salafi/Muslim Brotherhood assault is bent on destroying these differences in the name of the  suffocating orthodoxy challenged by the young Saudi.

Malaysia acted in response to a “red notice” issued by Interpol at tthe request of Saudis.

The Guardian notes :

In response to past criticisms of the red notice system, it has said: “There are safeguards in place. The subject of a red notice can challenge it through an independent body, the commission for the control of Interpol’s files (CCF).”

One can only imagine the cost of the legal resources that would need to be brought to bear to achieve any result.  Mr. Kashgari will not have the benefit of civil society organizations that would be able to help in some societies.

These “safeguards” were of no avail to the 22 year old Saudi. It makes me want to weep.  Can you imagine how this boy felt, his young life in ruins behind him, but still with hope before him, as he flew east?

Then he lands in  KLIA (Kuala Lumpur), transiting to New Zealand, and the  grim face of Islamism greets him.  Perhaps his hope continued to flicker for the few hours he was held, hoping that a world outcry would save him.

Human rights organizations did shout his case out to a largely heedless world, but those who could have helped, the foreign offices of Europe, and the  United States State Department were, and of this writing, still are, silent.

How he felt on the flight “home” is too awful to contemplate.

I spit on “moderate Malaysia.”

This is the face Malaysia presents to the world. Not a hijab in sight when, in fact, most Malaysian Muslim women have taken up the head scarf since the 1980s.

Mr. Kashgari’s remarks would

Malasian Pas(Islamist Party) members demonstrate. This is more representative of current developments in Malaysia.

seem innocuous to those unfamiliar with the parameters defining blasphemy in Islamic jurisprudence:

In the first, Kashgari declared “I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me,” but then added: “I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.” He followed that with a second tweet, “I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.”

In a third, Kashgari said: “I shall not bow to you.  I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.”

Reminiscent of one seeking a personal relationship with Jesus, but given the unquestioning regard of Muslim believers for the Islamic prophet, which only misses being fairly termed  idolatry in that images of this “Perfect Man” are forbidden, the Saudi blogger’s tweets were enough to bring the wrath of the entire Kingdom, from royals to ordinary citizens.

The twats at Twitter should say something about it, but don’t count on it, as they have picked up a stack of Saudi Petrodollars recently

The Red Notice system has been the subject of abuse before, as in this 2004 Congressional Record discussion of bogus notices issued by Uzbekistan. What we have here is a system that allows repressive governments to pursue their nationals for crimes that would not be offenses in free countries, to suppress dissent, and purse their rulers’ personal vendettas..

During World War II, Interpol, then headquartered in Vienna, was headed by such SS luminaries as as Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Reinhard Heydrich.  Now based in Lyon, France,  it is headed by Ronald K. Noble, Clinton era U.S. Justice Department Undersecretary for Enforcement, and head of the Department’s “Waco Administrative Review Team.”  In other words, there is more than a whiff of sympathy for coercive statism in the agency’s history.

And it is this  that made Kashgari’s apprehension possible, even certain.

He fled his native country with thousands quite literally calling for his head.accusing him of apostasy.  This is no surprise as, although the Koran itself does not state a temporal punishment for the crime, a widely accepted  hadith (saying of Islam’s prophet Muhmmad) does:

Whoever changed his (Islamic) religion, then kill him” Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:84:57

Muhammad himslef was no mean axeman, at least by proxy, as the story of the Jewish Banu Qurayza, among other traditions,  will attest.

While Mr.Kashgari did not deny Muhammad as Allah’s messenger,  mere mockery of Allah or the prophet can constitute apostasy. The journalist is in jeopardy of great harm, not the least of which is time in a Saudi jail.  Yet, I do not think his life will be taken.  The case  does have some visibility, and the suave spokesmen the Saudis send to the West will, one

Adel A. Al-Jubeir, current Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

hopes,counsel moderation for the sake of good PR.

A Saudi beheading. A regular Friday crowd pelaser at "Chop Square" in Riyadh. Plenty more where this came from: perennial favorites on YouTube

Rather, Hamza Kashgari’s fate will recall that of Winston  Smith in 1984  Some schools of Islamic jurisprudence allow the apostate to recant and thus avoid death.  This is the line taken against Christians accused of apostasy from Islam by Iran.  Remember how in Orwell’s book, Winston, after his torture and breaking, was allowed his physical freedom, for a while.

One can almost wonder is Kashgari’s flight towards the western world was like the way the Inner Party played with its victims, before erasing them. Kashgari, too will learn to love Big Brother, or at least to convince all around that he does so.  Islam is more merciful than Ingsoc, in that it requires only outward submission for survival in this world, leaving damnation for the secret denier to the next.

Nevertheless, the end result is the same: “a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

 

What you can do:

Contact your foreign office.

Contact the Saudi Embassy in your country.

Express your anger to Malaysian representation in your country.

Contact Tourism Malaysia and let them know you will not be visiting Malaysia as a result of their country’s complicity in the Kashgari affair.  This page provides contact information for Malaysian tourism promotion offices in various countries.

For the U.S.  go here to email Secretary Clinton

or call: 202-647-4000

Email Royal Saudi Embassy in Washington

Telephone: (202) 342-3800

Information/Press Office: (202) 337-4076

Malaysian Embassy, Washington

Email: malwashdc@kln.gov.my

Telephone (202) 342-3800

Sign on line petitions.  Here is one, and there are many more.

Tweet and Facebook Kashgari’s story.  Use the links in this piece, or find your own, but spread the news.  Talk to your friends and family.