21 May 2009
For the record, this NER blogger is a life-long Democrat, life-long liberal, and life-long atheist. Calling NER right-wing is simply inaccurate.
Looking at the core religious beliefs of Islam, as laid out in the Qur'an and the hadiths (the deeds and words of Mohammad, whom Muslims believe to be the perfect example for all people to follow for all time), I can find no way to reconcile the hatred and violence expressed therein with the beliefs that I was raised with in the suburbs of the Midwest of the U.S.
There is nothing right-wing or left-wing about being against the murder of apostates (Muslims who have left Islam for another religion), physical abuse of wives, ownership of slaves, sexual abuse of pre-teen girls, murder of homosexuals, and so on. These acts are simply morally wrong. I don't really care that Mohammad took part in and promoted all of these and more, and that the acts are therefore given religious sanction in Islam. They are simply morally wrong.
Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists have certainly done all of these acts. The difference is that they were acting in spite of their religion's teachings, not because of them. I've read the Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament is not someone I'd care to meet. But Allah is a whole other ball of wax completely. He tells His followers:
Qur’an 2:191 “And kill them wherever you find and catch them. Drive them out from where they have turned you out; for Al-Fitnah (polytheism, disbelief, oppression) is worse than slaughter.” -and-
Qur’an 4:91 “You will find others who, while wishing to live in peace and being safe from you to gain the confidence of their people; thrown back to mischief headlong; therefore if they do not withdraw from you, and offer you peace besides restraining their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and against these We have given you a clear sanction and authority.” -and-
Qur’an 9:5 “When the sacred forbidden months for fighting are past, fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, torture them, and lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”
Where the God of the Old Testament used plagues and natural disasters to kill those who didn't believe in Him, Allah is telling his followers to do His killing for Him. And He's giving them an order to kill, that applies for all places and for all times. There is nothing like that in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confuscianism, or any other mainstream religion.
You will be told that these quotes (and there are many, many more) are taken out of context. Fair enough. The Qur'an is available on-line for you to see for yourself whether their context gives a peaceful interpretation of "kill them wherever you find them." Maybe there is. Look for yourself.
You will be told that these are bad translations, and that the Qur'an can only be read in Arabic. Fair enough. Search out the translations by all of the different Muslim translators, and see if the translations differ significantly in meaning or spirit. Take a look.
You will be told that the Qur'an also contains peaceful verses, and that it is up to the believer to decide which one is more accurate. Query your favorite browser for the word "abrogation", and begin to learn how and why the violent verses take precedence over the peaceful verses, according to mainstream, traditional Islamic belief, and why the meaning is no longer open to interpretation.
Okay. We are extreme-right-wing racist poopy-heads for saying that Islam is different than other religions, and for criticising Islam. But when all the name-calling is done, aren't you just a little bit curious about Islam? About why Muslims are killing non-Muslims (and not-Muslim-enough-Muslims) in Israel, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sudan, UK, Spain, U.S., and so on? Can you read or watch the nightly news without some mention of an Islamic car-bombing or riot or mass murder? Why is that? How do Muslims, all around the world, misunderstand the Qur'an in the same way?
And why don't Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Confuscians misunderstand their holy books in the same way? Why aren't there nightly reports of Christians yelling "Surrender to Jesus or die!" before detonating their bomb belt on a crowded subway? Why don't Buddhists shout "Buddha is sovereign over all" before crashing airliners into skyscrapers?
Read a book, any book, by Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Ayan Hirsi Ali, or any other author who dares criticise Islam. Read it with the intention of proving how wrong they are, and how bad they are for saying it. But read it.
If all religions are the same, and they all teach the same values, then find quotations from mainstream religious literature for any other religion similar to the Qur'anic quotes. It should be easy enough. Take your time. We're not going anywhere. We'll be here.
And unlike the followers of a certain religion, the writers of NER do not advocate nor carry out murder of those who have other beliefs.