by Hugh Fitzgerald
This article about Latino conversions, and others like it, should sound as a tocsin to the priests and ministers who have been part of the Latino community. They can continue to do nothing and watch as more and more Latinos apparently embrace Islam, based on a series of misrepresentations, beginning with those about the Islamic Jesus and Mary. Or they can react, and conduct a campaign of counter-Da’wa by stating some disturbing home truths about Islam.
What would such a campaign look like? The goal is to make sure would-be converts are fully informed about the most disturbing aspects of Islam. It should focus, first, on the 109 verses in the Qur’an that command Muslims to wage violent Jihad against non-Muslims, the half-dozen verses that that tell Muslims to “strike terror” in the hearts of the Infidels, the verse that tells them not to take Jews and Christians as friends, “for they are friends only with each other,” and the verse that describes non-Muslims as “the most vile of creatures.” They should learn that Muslims are taught to shun their own non-Muslim relatives, which would be a particular shock to Latinos for whom the extended family is so important. Clearly, Efrain Diaz is still deeply attached to his Christian relatives and would not like to learn that, according to Islam, he is not to continue to befriend them.
As for the disturbing news about the numbers of Latinas converting to Islam, clearly they need to be better informed before they convert — it’s much harder to unconvert people who have committed to Islam than to prevent their conversion in the first place — especially about what Islam says concerning the role and status of women. Latinas might be told, for example, that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man, a rule that Muhammad himself justified by claiming that women were “deficient in intelligence.” The hadith, from Bukhari (3:826) goes like this:
“Mohammed asked some women, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half that of a man?’ The women said, ‘yes,’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of the woman’s mind.’ “ In still another hadith, Bukhari 2:541, Mohammed tells women: “I have not seen any one more deficient in intelligence and religion than you.”
Then the inferiority of women in Islam should be pressed home. Daughters ordinarily inherit only half that of sons. Muslim women must endure polygyny. A disobedient wife may be “beaten” by her husband. A husband can divorce his wife merely by repeating the triple-talaq, but it’s a much more complicated business, hardly automatic, for a wife to obtain a divorce. In Islamic societies, male relatives often assume the role of guardians of females. Saudi Arabia provides the most extreme example of these male guardians regulating the lives of “their” women, but in other Muslim states female relatives are also subject to varying degrees of male control.
These are the kinds of things Latina women need to know. Such books as Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s autobiographical Nomad and Infidel, with hair-raising examples of the control exhibited over Muslim women by their male relatives, could be widely distributed, in both English and Spanish. That requires recognition of the conversion menace, and the will to do something about it.
Some may still not be sufficiently alarmed. But if you have read the Qur’an and the most important Hadith, and such works as The History of Jihad by Robert Spencer, you are likely to be inspired to join an effort to limit conversions to Islam.
“Cum undecima hora” — at the eleventh-hour, when it is almost too late — is how the medieval popes began their bulls, calling on Christians to repent and for missionaries (Dominicans, Franciscans) sent to the East to convert both Muslims and Mongols. Now the task is different, which is to prevent Christians from converting to Islam. And we should identify groups particularly at risk. These include African-American prisoners, seeking to join the strongest (Muslim) gang, one which justifies criminal behavior if it is conducted against the Infidels, with crimes of property viewed as merely helping oneself to a proleptic Jizyah. About 40,000 such prisoners convert each year to Islam. But you don’t hear about campaigns of counter-dawa being conducted in the prisons by Christian pastors to prevent such conversions. Why not? Have they been scared off by Muslims inside the prisons?
What would such a campaign, aimed at black prisoners, look like? It would focus on the history of Muslim racism — including hair-raisingly contemptuous remarks about blacks by many Islamic worthies, such as Ibn Khaldun, and even statements by Muhammad himself in the hadith. Would-be converts should learn, too, about about the history of the Arab slave trade in Africa, especially that involving African boys who were castrated on site, with a mortality rate of 90%, a slave trade that began earlier, ended later, and claimed tens of millions more victims, than did the Atlantic Slave Trade. The Arab slave trade ended only because of pressure from Western Infidels. Saudi Arabia officially ended slavery only in 1962, and several other Muslim countries ended it even later. Mauritania officially ended slavery in 2007, the last country to do so, but in fact, the Arabs continue to have black slaves, and the estimate of the anti-slavery groups is that there are now 600,000 black slaves in Mauritania. There are 200,000 black slaves now in Mali. Hundreds of thousands of black Africans were enslaved by the Arabs during the civil war in the Sudan. In Libya, a slave market selling Africans has been started up by Arabs in just in the past year. All this deserves to be better known, and especially among African-American prisoners who may be misinformed about Islam. We need to remind ourselves that there never was an Islamic William Wilberforce, because Muhammad himself, the Perfect Man and Model of Conduct, bought, owned, and traded slaves.
For Latinos, perhaps the first point worth making is that Islam teaches that Muslims must avoid “taking Christians and Jews as friends,” including one’s own relatives, which is likely to make a deep impression on a group for whom the extended family is so important. Efrain Diaz, for example, lives with his two daughters in a house with his parents, and many aunts and uncles. Would he be willing to regard those relatives as Unbelievers he must shun?
Anti-black racism in Islam, too, needs to be much better known among Latinos, many of whom are mixed race, as well as among African-Americans.
In the Hadith, we find these:
“Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet said to Abu-Dhar, ‘Listen and obey (your chief) even if he is an Ethiopian with a head like a raisin.’ And this: Ahmad ibn Abi Sulayman, the companion of Sahnun said, ‘Anyone who says that the Prophet was black should be killed.‘” (Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi, Qadi ‘Iyad, p. 375)
And there is this from the celebrated Arab historian Al-Tabari: “Noah prayed that the hair of Ham’s descendants [Africans] would not grow beyond their ears, and that whenever his [Ham’s] descendants met Shem’s, the latter would enslave them.” (Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 21, p. 21)
There is a long history of anti-black remarks among outstanding figures in Islamic history, still scarcely known:
Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) was, among other things, an Islamic jurist, Islamic lawyer, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, and hafiz (one who has memorized the entire Qur’an). He is one of the most important figures in Islamic history. Here are two (among many) remarks he makes about black Africans in his Muqaddimah:
“Therefore, the Negro nation are, as a rule, submissive to slavery, because [Negroes] have little [that is essentially] human and have attributes that are quite similar to those of dumb animals, as we have stated.”
“Beyond [known peoples of black West Africa] to the south there is no civilization in the proper sense. There are only humans who are closer to dumb animals than to rational beings. They live in thickets and caves, and eat herbs and unprepared grain. They frequently eat each other. They cannot be considered human beings.”
Ibn Sina or Avicenna (980-1037), was another celebrated figure in Islamic history: a Hafiz, an Islamic psychologist, scholar, and theologian and, by our lights, a racist: “[Blacks are] people who are by their very nature slaves.”
Ibn Qutaybah (828-889), was a renowned Islamic scholar from Kufa, Iraq: “[Blacks] are ugly and misshapen, because they live in a hot country.”
Nas?r al-D?n al-T?s? (1201-1274), was a Shia Muslim Scholar and Grand Ayatollah:
“If (all types of men) are taken, from the first, and one placed after another, like the Negro from Zanzibar, in the Southern-most countries, the Negro does not differ from an animal in anything except the fact that his hands have been lifted from the earth –In no other peculiarity or property – except for what God wished. Many have seen that the ape is more capable of being trained than the Negro, and more intelligent.”
“The Zanj (African) differ from animals only in that] their two hands are lifted above the ground,… Many have observed that the ape is more teachable and more intelligent than the Zanj.”
Al-Muqaddasi (945/946-1000) was a medieval Muslim geographer:
Of the neighbors of the Bujja, Maqdisi had heard that “there is no marriage among them; the child does not know his father, and they eat people — but God knows best. As for the Zanj, they are people of black color, flat noses, kinky hair, and little understanding or intelligence.” [Kitab al-Bad’ wah-tarikh, vol.4]
Al-Masudi (896-956), was a Muslim historian and geographer, known as the “Herodotus of the Arabs”:
“Galen says that merriment dominates the black man because of his defective brain, whence also the weakness of his intelligence.” (Al-Masudi, Muruj al-dhahab)
Ibn al-Faqih was a Muslim historian and geographer:
“A man of discernment said: The people of Iraq … do not come out with something between blonde, buff and blanched coloring, such as the infants dropped from the wombs of the women of the Slavs and others of similar light complexion; nor are they overdone in the womb until they are burned, so that the child comes out something between black, murky, malodorous, stinking, and crinkly-haired, with uneven limbs, deficient minds, and depraved passions, such as the Zanj, the Somali, and other blacks who resemble them. The Iraqis are neither half-baked dough nor burned crust but between the two.” (from his Mukhtasar Kitab al-Buldan, 903 AD)
These are just a small sample of the racist remarks made by outstanding figures in Islamic thought, but ought to be made much more widely known.
Latinos would also profit, especially if mixed-race, from learning the history of the Arab slave trade. Such knowledge could have a salutary effect, at least in provoking thought, and curbing would-be converts’ enthusiasm for Islam. And then there is the real story of Islamic Spain, not that of the soothing tall tales about an interfaith “convivencia” in which everyone lived contentedly under wise Islamic rulers, but a history punctuated by Muslim massacres of both Christians and Jews. When allowed to live, both Christians and Jews had to pay the Jizyah and endure a series of other onerous requirements. That may also dampen the enthusiasm of those whose Latino heritage, with Spanish as their first language, might have made them especially interested in, and susceptible to, stories about the supposed “tolerance” of Islamic Spain.
One would like to believe that when these stories about a particular group that is proving remarkably open to conversion to Islam appear, that Christian clergy will be appropriately alarmed, and immediately go on the offensive, offering a campaign of counter-dawa that is tailored to the particular group whose members have been converting to Islam in significant numbers. Such an impulse needs to be encouraged and channeled. Would-be female converts should learn about the misogyny of Islam and grossly unequal treatment of the sexes. Lapsed suburban Catholics will require a different emphasis than African-American prisoners. Latinos will differ from both in what would likely prove to be of most negative significance for them about Islam.
There’s a demographic race now on between Islam and other faiths. What percentage of the American or European population will be Muslim, in 2025, in 2035, in 2045? It’s not just a matter of how many Muslim migrants are allowed in, or of what Muslim fertility rates are by comparison with non-Muslims. There are also, everywhere in the Western world, campaigns — mendacious, persistent, effective — to convert non-Muslims. In this country, they’ve had particular success among African-American prisoners, and now, it seems, are starting to have success as well among the large Latino population. Let’s hope more people will recognize the need to address this threat (first of all by recognizing that it is a threat), in order to slow down, or ideally to halt, or even reverse, these campaigns of conversion, by undermining, through nothing more than the unruffled deployment of facts and texts, the Islamic temptation.
First published in Jihad Watch.