Note to readers: A friend who works in Hollywood penned this essay which I thought would be of interest to BigPeace readers. He would have gladly have contributed it directly, but as he works in Hollywood, he is concerned about the "non-existent" blacklist, and asked that I post it for him.
I use the term "Islamoawareness" because people who are critical of Islamic doctrine are often smeared as "Islamophobes". I reject this label because a "phobia" is an irrational fear of something, but to fear something that is, indeed, out to kill you is the height of rationality.
I started this journey after 9/11, but not immediately after. As shocked as I was that nearly 3,000 lives were brutally snuffed out by Islamic terrorists, I bought the line that George Bush and Tony Blair parroted; namely, that Islam is a "religion of peace" that had been “hijacked” by extremists. So, I dismissed Osama bin Laden as nothing more than a homicidal extremist, and I really didn't examine it any deeper.
But then I happened to see a billboard on Sunset Blvd. around May 2005. The billboard had some words on it I had never seen before, including "dhimmitude", "Eurabia" and "Bat Y'eor", and the address of a website, jihadwatch.org. (You can see the billboard here
Naturally curious, I wanted to know what these new words meant, so that night I Googled "dhimmitude", and my journey to Islamoawareness officially began. I visited the Jihadwatch website, found out about Robert Spencer, started to read his books, got a copy of the Qu'ran to verify the verses he was quoting, and read many other books besides.
While I continued my education, buses were bombed in London on 7/7/05. Then, the Muhammad cartoons were published later that year and outraged Muslims actually KILLED people over them. It seemed the Muslim protesters were saying, "Islam is a religion of peace; and if you say otherwise, we will kill you!" and that absurd irony made me seriously doubt that Islam really was a religion of peace, and made me dig further.
I learned about "The Verse of the Sword” (9:5) that says “slay infidels wherever you find them”, the verse condoning wife-beating (4:34), the hundreds of other violent, intolerant verses, and the all-important distinction between Meccan verses and the Medinan verses in the Qu’ran. (The more violent ones are considered “more true” to Islamic theologians.)
I learned about the countries where Islam rules, and saw that they almost always are places where freedoms are denied, economies stagnate, ideas are repressed and human rights violated.
I learned about the barbaric system known as Sharia law and its death penalty for homosexuality, adultery, and apostasy, and how it codifies second-class status for non-Muslim and all women. Iran actually executes gays routinely, simply because they are gay!
I learned about Muhammad; how he is held as an "excellent example of conduct" (33:21) for Muslims to follow even today, but then I learned the historical record (in the hadith; the collections of his doings and sayings, and in biographies written by pious Muslims) shows that he owned slaves, raped the female ones (in a couple of cases shortly after having their husbands killed), robbed caravans, tortured a man to find out where he hid his treasure--by building a fire on his chest, married a 6 year-old, and had sex with her when she was 9--and he struck her, too. He had all the men of an entire tribe slaughtered, and had his critics assassinated. And these are excellent examples of conduct?
And I learned a whole new vocabulary: “jihad”, “kaffir”, “dhimmi”, “dhimmitude”, “jizya, “taquiya”, “ijtihad”, “abrogation”, “nakbha”, “hijira”, and “lan astaslem”.
Not every thing I learned reflected poorly on Islam, but the more I looked into the doctrine and history of Islam the more "aware" I became of the existence of serious totalitarian, xenophobic, supremacist, expansionist elements of Islamic ideology and theology.
I have tried to communicate these ideas to my friends and colleagues and have run into resistance, and counter-arguments. It seems I can't mention jihad without having someone say “Well, what about the Crusades?” or “But there was the Inquisition, you know.” But are they really morally equivalent?
Moral equivalence asserts: "All religions are the same; all religions are equally capable of inspiring violence and extremism, and all religious texts can be just as easily misinterpreted."
This argument fails, fundamentally, because one person’s crimes don’t excuse another’s. I mean you will not be acquitted of killing one person, just because someone else also killed people. So, yes; I will be the first to agree that there has been violence caused in the name of Christianity, but that certainly doesn’t make Islam innocent.
First of all, these examples of Christian violence were hundreds of years ago, and one would think that if moral equivalence were true, there would be more current examples to use, like maybe even in the 21st Century.
Secondly, the Crusades are best seen as a defensive war against Islamic aggression. Yep, believe it or not; the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I, fearing his kingdom would be overrun by Muslim invaders - the Seljuk Turks, who had been invading territory after territory and killing for centuries by that point - asked Pope Urban II for help, and that started the Crusades.
So, if there had not been centuries of Islamic imperialism before the Crusades, there wouldn’t have been the Crusades! Ironic, don’t you think?
Thirdly, the Inquisition, over the span of 500 years, caused about 6,000 deaths. Compare that to 9/11. On a single morning, Islamic violence caused over half that amount.
Now let's look at Islamic violence, shall we? Just to keep it brief, let's focus on just the 21st Century; ignoring the 1400 years of Islamic conquests, invasions and slaughter, and the 270 million killed in the name of Islam in India, Africa, the Middle East and anywhere else Islam has been spread by the sword.
Ignoring that huge chunk of history, we see that Islamic violence continues at a frenetic pace even today. The Religion of Peace website (http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/
) documents over 17,000 terror attacks SINCE 9/11 (as of 5/18/11). Read that again; over 17,000 attacks in 10 years. That's nearly 5 attacks a day!
Here are some examples from just the past couple of days:
A Muslim blows himself up outside state security building in Kazakhstan, a Christian man is abducted, tortured and then beheaded in Iraq, jihadists murder two Buddhist monks in Thailand, a Muslim truck driver shouting "Allahu akbar" and "death to the Jews" plows into cars, murdering one person, injuring 17 in Israel, two Muslims are arrested and accused of hatching a plot to attack a synagogue in New York, and a Miami imam is accused of supporting the Pakistani Taliban & expressing the wish that Allah would kill 50,000 American soldiers.
Meanwhile, where is the Christian preacher hoping for the deaths of 50,000 U.S. soldiers? Where are the Hindu gunmen killing Muslims simply because they are Muslim? Where are the Buddhist suicide bombers? Where are the Jews murdering with vehicles while they yell “death to Christians”? Where is the global network of Christian extremists attempting to subjugate all non-Christians under Christian law? Where?
If all religions are equally capable of inspiring violence and all religious texts can be easily misinterpreted, we shouldn't have to look very far to find the daily acts of violence and mass deaths caused by Christians, justifying it all by quoting their holy books.
I mean, there are more Christians on earth than Muslims, so if moral equivalence is true, we should find more Christian than Islamic terrorist networks, more Christian than Islamic beheadings, kidnappings, murders and bombings. There should be a Christian Al Qaeda, a Christian Taliban, and a Christian Hamas, etc., etc., etc.
But, the fact is, these things do not exist.
So, in terms of ongoing relevance, numbers killed and overall scope, Christian violence is not even remotely in the same league as Muslim violence. Not even really close, let alone equal.
Why is this the case? Why does Islam inspire so much more violence than any other religion?
If you believe in moral equivalence, you have no answer for this.
Here's the bibliography that has led me to my conclusions about Islam:
-The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades
by Robert Spencer (2005)
by Robert Spencer (2003)
-The Truth About Muhammad
by Robert Spencer (2007)
by Robert Spencer (2008)
by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (2008)
-Because They Hate
by Bridget Gabriel (2008)
-My Year Inside Radical Islam: A Memoir
by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (2008)
-Why I Am Not A Muslim
by Ibn Warraq (2003)
-History Upside Down: The Roots of Palestinian Fascism and the Myth of Israeli Aggression
by David Meir-Levi (2007)
by Mark Steyn (2008)
-The Legacy of Jihad
by Andrew G. Bostom, M.D. (2005)
-The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History
by Andrew G. Bostom, M.D. (2008)
-The Al Qaeda Reader
by Raymond Ibrahim (2007)
-The Sword of the Prophet: Islam; History, Theology, Impact on the World
by Serge Trifkovic (2007)
-The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy
by Walid Phares (2008)
translated by N.J. Dawood (1959)
-The Hadith (both the Qu’ran and Hadith are collected in a searchable archive at: http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/
-Translations of Islamic speeches on Memri TV: http://www.memritv.org/
-Jihad Watch: http://www.jihadwatch.org/
-The Religion of Peace: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/
-Center for the Study of Political Islam: http://www.politicalislam.com/
-"Understanding The Koran" at: http://www.politicalislam.com/blog/understanding-the-koran/
-"Statistics and the Meaning of Islam" at: http://www.politicalislam.com/blog/statistics-and-the-meaning-of-islam/
-"Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade American Mosques" - a study by Freedom House found at: http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=383&report=45
-"To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad" by Steven Coughlin at: http://www.strategycenter.net/research/pubID.176/pub_detail.asp