The numbers are astounding, and the result is disheartening. Will Islam rule the world after fifty years of demographic superiority? Are the brightly fired souls of Western Civilization being extinguished without so much as a whimper? The future looks bleak unless the tide of stealth Islamic jihad is stopped with same authority often used in the past to salvage the European cultures, by insisting that these recent migrations are reversed. Islam is less a religion as it is a political system, totalitarian in its outlook, and feverish in its concentration. But we know that this will not happen. We know that civil strife and possibly all out world war on European and North American soil (mismanaged as police actions) is assured, as the encroaching darkness of the AntiChrist with his false religion of Mohammedanism approaches.
But these projections inevitably involve a host of uncertainties, including political ones. Changes in the political climate in the United States or European nations, for example, could dramatically affect the patterns of Muslim migration. And the Pew Institute presents a much less radical observation:
BRITISH EXPATRIATE AND AMERICAN citizen Stuart Varney, a financial commentator on Fox News noted on one of their Saturday morning programs that Britain is beginning to "push back" at Muslims. Stating that he sensed a change in the British demeanor toward Muslims on the heels of the current veil controversy, Varney suggested a new tone was emerging, indicating "no more bending over backwards, no more appeasement." He also stated that a British politician had recently told him "it's either fit in or fly out".
Now that's all the news fit to print!
(Originally published here on October 24, 2006, and now residing in the archives ready for our WordPress reposting engine. And not to be overlooked, obviously our cause for enthusiasm with regard to British sovereignty pushing back at the Islamic invaders was mere flirtation, and unfortunately for many British neighborhoods, some six sharia-creeping years latergravely exaggerated.)
MEDEA (the European Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation), supported by the European Commission, is one of the key components of the Euro-Arab dialogue. On its own webpage, it states that:
"The Euro-Arab Dialogue as a forum shared by the European Community and the League of Arab States arose out of a French initiative and was launched at the European Council in Copenhagen in December 1973, shortly after the "October War" and the oil embargo. As the Europeans saw it, it was to be a forum to discuss economic affairs, whereas the Arab side saw it rather as one to discuss political affairs.
MEDEA Institute wishes to be a resource and a reference point for people wanting to engage in the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue. Via its meetings and talks the Institute seeks to create exchanges between political, economic, and diplomatic players, experts, journalists, academics and others."
As Bat Ye'or points out, while most of the workings of Eurabia are hidden from the public view, sometimes we can catch glimpses of it if we know what to look for. If you search the archives of the MEDEA website and other sources and read the documents carefully, the information is there. Even more material exists on paper, both in French and in English. I argue, as does Bat Ye'or, that there are sufficient amounts of information available to validate the thesis of Eurabia.
Arab immigrants make a substantial contribution to the development of Europe. The EU is firmly committed to fight all manifestations of racism and discrimination in all its forms. Full respect for the rights of immigrants in Europe is a consistent policy throughout Europe. Its implementation should be improved further and co-operation in the framework of existing agreements should be enhanced to take into account the concerns of Arab partners.”
One of the documents Bat Ye'or was kind enough to send me (which she mentions in her French book about Eurabia but not in her English book) is the Common Strategy of the European Council—Vision of the EU for the Mediterranean Region, from June 19th 2000.
It includes many recommendations, such as: "to elaborate partnership-building measures, notably by promoting regular consultations and exchanges of information with its Mediterranean partners, support the interconnection of infrastructure between Mediterranean partners, and between them and the EU, take all necessary measures to facilitate and encourage the involvement of civil society as well as the further development of human exchanges between the EU and the Mediterranean partners. NGOs will be encouraged to participate in cooperation at bilateral and regional levels. Particular attention will be paid to the media and universities [my emphasis]."
It also includes the goal of assisting the Arab partners with "the process of achieving free trade with the EU." This may be less innocent than it sounds, as I will come back to later. The Strategy also wants to "pursue, in order to fight intolerance, racism and xenophobia, the dialogue between cultures and civilisations."
Notice that this statement preceded both the start of the second Palestinian intifada as well as the terror attacks of September 11th 2001. It was thus part of an ongoing process, rather than a response to any particular international incident.One point in the document is particularly interesting. The EU wanted to "promote the identification of correspondences between legal systems of different inspirations in order to resolve civil law problems relating to individuals: laws of succession and family law, including divorce."
In plain English, it is difficult to see this bureaucratic obfuscation as anything other than an indicator that the EU countries will be lenient, adjusting their secular legislation to the sharia requirements of Muslim immigrants in family matters.
In another document from December 2003, which is available online, Javier Solana, the Secretary General of the Council of the European Union, Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission and Chris Patten, member of the European Commission, have signed a plan for "Strengthening the EU's Partnership with the Arab World." This includes the creation of a free trade area, but also plans to "invigorate cultural/religious/civilisation and media dialogue using existing or planned instruments, including the planned Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue of Cultures and Civilisations.
Arab immigrants make a substantial contribution to the development of Europe. The EU is firmly committed to fight all manifestations of racism and discrimination in all its forms. [What constitutes discrimination? Secular laws?] Full respect for the rights of immigrants in Europe is a consistent policy throughout Europe. Its implementation should be improved further and co-operation in the framework of existing agreements should be enhanced to take into account the concerns of Arab partners."
Super-Eurocrat Romano Prodi wants more cooperation with Arab countries. He talks about a free trade zone with the Arab world, but this implies that Arab countries would enjoy access to the four freedoms of the EU's inner market, which includes the free movement of people across national borders. This fact, the potentially massive implications of establishing an "inner market" with an Arab world with a booming population growth, is virtually NEVER debated or even mentioned in European media. Yet it could mean the end of Europe as we once knew it.
Another statement from the "Sixth Euro-Med Ministerial Conference: reinforcing and bringing the Partnership forward" in Brussels, 28 November 2003, makes the intention of this internal Euro-Mediterranean market:
"This initiative offers the EU's neighbouring partners, in exchange for tangible political and economic reforms, gradual integration into the expanded European internal market and the possibility of ultimately reaching the EU's four fundamental freedoms: free movement of goods, services, capital and people. Ministers are also expected to back the Commission's proposal to set up a Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue of Cultures, a Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly."
In June 2006, then newly elected Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi stated that: "It's time to look south and relaunch a new policy of cooperation for the Mediterranean." Prodi was outlining a joint Italian-Spanish initiative which sought to provide countries facing the Mediterranean with "different" political solutions from those offered in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. The prime minister then explained that the Barcelona Process - whose best known aspect is the creation of a free trade zone by 2010 - was no longer sufficient and a new different approach was needed. "The countries on the southern shores of the Mediterranean expect that from us" he added.
Notice how Prodi, whom Bat Ye'or has identified as a particularly passionate Eurabian, referred to what the Arabs expected from European leaders. He failed to say whether or not there was great excitement among Europeans over the prospect of an even freer flow of migrants from Arab countries and Turkey, which is what will result from this "Euro-Mediterranean free trade zone."
The instructions given in the book told Muslims to get together and organize themselves into viable Muslim communities. They should set up mosques, community centres and Islamic schools. At all costs they must avoid being assimilated by the majority, and to resist assimilation must group themselves geographically, forming areas of high Muslim concentration.
During the Euro-Mediterranean mid-term Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Dublin in May 2004, the participants declared that: "Work is now in progress to develop an agreed view on relations with the area which extends from Mauritania to Iran—the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The [European] Union has proposed to include Mediterranean partners in the European Neighbourhood Policy."
The EU can offer a more intensive political dialogue and greater access to EU programmes and policies, including their gradual participation in the four freedoms particularly the Single Market, as well as reinforced co-operation on justice and home affairs."
Again, exactly what does "co-operation on justice and home affairs" with Egypt, Syria and Algeria mean? I don't know, but I'm not sure whether I will like the answer.
The Barcelona declaration from 1995 encouraged "contacts between parliamentarians" and invited the European Parliament, with other Parliaments, to launch "the Euro-Mediterranean parliamentary dialogue." In March 2004, this was converted into a specific institution called The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, EMPA (pdf). During the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference in Crete in May 2003, the Ministers included a provision which envisaged the consultative role the Parliamentary Assembly will play within the framework of the Barcelona process.
EU Commissioner Chris Patten has reiterated the European Commission's readiness to co-operate fully with the Assembly, giving the Assembly the right to comment on any subject of interest to the Euro-Arab Dialogue. The Assembly consists of 120 members from EU countries, both members of national parliaments and of the European Parliament, and an equal number of representatives from the Parliaments of the Mediterranean partner countries.
Like most Europeans, I hadn't even heard about this institution before coming across it during an Internet search. However, it is apparently going to influence the future of my entire continent. This set-up leaves me with some questions. When we know that these "Mediterranean partner countries" include non-democratic Arab countries such as Syria, isn't it disturbing that representatives from these countries should participate in a permanent institution with consultative powers over the internal affairs of the European Union? Especially when we know that our own, democratically elected national parliaments have already been reduced to the status of "consultation" with unelected federal EU lawmakers in Brussels?
The Algiers Declaration for a Shared Vision of the Future was made after a Congress held in Algeria in February 2006. The document states that: "It is essential to create a Euro-Mediterranean entity founded on Universal Values" and that "It is crucial to positively emphasise all common cultural heritage, even if marginalised or forgotten." A Common Action Plan draws up a large number of recommendations on how to achieve this new Euro-Mediterranean entity. Among these recommendations are:
• Adapt existing organisations and the contents of media to the objectives of the North- South dialogue, and set up a Euro-Mediterranean journalism centre
• Set up a network jointly managed by the Mediterranean partners in order to develop "a harmonised education system" [A "harmonized education system" between the Arab world and Europe? What does that include? Do I want to know? Will they tell us before it is a fait accompli?]
• Facilitate the transfer of know-how between the EU countries and the Mediterranean partner nations and "encourage the circulation of individuals"
• Prepare action and arguments in support of facilitating the mobility of individuals, especially of students, intellectuals, artists, businessmen "and all conveyors of dialogue"
• Set up Ministries responsible for Mediterranean affairs in countries of the North and of the South [Europe and the Arab world, in Eurocrat newspeak], in order to benefit from a better management of Mediterranean policy;
• Train teachers and exchange students between the North and the South and set up a network of Euro-Mediterranean Youth clubs
• Establish a "civil watchdog" anti-defamation observatory (with an Internet tool and a legal help network), to cope with racist remarks and the propagation of hate towards people of different religion, nationality or ethnic background.
These agreements, completely rewriting European history books to make them more Islam-friendly, and gradually silencing "Islamophobia" as racism, are being implemented even now. Walter Schwimmer, the Austrian diplomat and Secretary General of the Council of Europe from 1999 to 2004, told foreign ministers at the Islamic conference in Istanbul (June 15th 2004) that the Islamic component is an integral part of Europe's diversity. He reaffirmed the commitment of the Council of Europe to work against Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance.
The Council was also actively involved in the co-organisation of a Conference on the Image of Arab-Islamic culture in European history textbooks, which took place in Cairo in December 2004. The event was held within the framework of the Euro-Arab Dialogue ''Learning to Live together.'' The aim of the conference was to examine negative stereotyping in the image of Arab-Islamic culture presented in existing history textbooks, and to discuss ways to overcome this stereotyping.
In the European Parliament, the German Christian Democrat Hans-Gert Pöttering stated that school textbooks should be reviewed for intolerant depictions of Islam by experts overseen by the European Union and Islamic leaders. He said textbooks should be checked to ensure they promoted European values without propagating religious stereotypes or prejudice. He also suggested that the EU could co-operate with the 56-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference to create a textbook review committee.
In June 2005 in Rabat, Morocco, a conference was held on "Fostering Dialogue among Cultures and Civilizations." The Conference was jointly organized by UNESCO, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), the Danish Centre for Culture and Development (DCCD) and the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures (Alexandria, Egypt).
Notice that this was months before the Danish Muhammad cartoons created havoc. It was not a reaction to this issue; rather it was a part of a sustained, ongoing process to promote the Arabic-Islamic culture in Europe. Among the recommendations that were raised by Mr. Olaf Gerlach Hansen, Director General of the DCCD: "We are interested in new actions in the media, in culture and in education. These proposals include:
• Concrete initiatives to develop "intercultural competencies" in the training of new generations of journalists
• Concrete initiatives for links and exchanges between journalists, editors, media-institutions, which encourage intercultural co-operation"
• Concrete initiatives for curriculum development through new educational materials and revision of existing textbooks.
Although not stated directly, one may reasonably assume that among the "negative stereotypes" to be removed from the textbooks used to teach history to European schoolchildren are any and all references to the 1300 years of continuous Jihad warfare against Europe. These recommendations were accepted and incorporated into The Rabat Commitment. According to Serge Trifkovic, "The present technological, cultural and financial strength of Europe is a façade that conceals a deep underlying moral and demographic weakness. The symptoms of the malaise are apparent in the unprecedented demographic collapse and in the loss of a sense of place and history that go hand-in-hand with the expansion of the European Union. The emerging transnational hyper-state is actively indoctrinating its subject-population into believing and accepting that the demographic shift in favor of Muslim aliens is actually a blessing."He points out specifically the EU Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation N° 1162 (19 September 1991) on "the contribution of the Islamic civilization to European culture."A decade later, in its General policy recommendation: "Combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims," the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance emphasized "Islam's positive contribution to the continuing development of European societies, of which it is an integral part." It expressed strong regret "that Islam is sometimes portrayed inaccurately [as] a threat."The ECRI called on the EU member states to adopt measures that would effectively outlaw any serious debate about Islam and introduce pro-Muslim "affirmative action." European countries should:
• modify curricula to prevent "distorted interpretations of religious and cultural history" and "portrayal of Islam on perceptions of hostility and menace";
• encourage debate in the media on the image which they convey of Islam and on their responsibility to avoid perpetuating prejudice and bias;
Trifkovic says "Cynically defeatist, self-absorbed and unaccountable to anyone but their own corrupt class, the Eurocrats are just as bad as jihad's fellow-travelers; they are its active abettors and facilitators." Eurabians want to create a unity of the Mediterranean region. This desire is strikingly similar to the goals of some Islamic organizations.The Muslim Brotherhood, regarded as the most important Islamic movement of the past century, was founded by Hassan al-Bannain 1928, inspired by contemporary European Fascists in addition to Islamic texts. German historian Egon Flaig quotes Banna as saying:"We want the flag of Islam to fly over those lands again who were lucky enough to be ruled by Islam for a time, and hear the call of the muezzin praise God. Then the light of Islam died out and they returned to disbelief. Andalusia, Sicily, the Balkans, Southern Italy and the Greek islands are all Islamic colonies which have to return to Islam's embrace. The Mediterranean and the Red Sea have to become internal seas of Islam, as they used to be."Patrick Poole describes how discussion of a document called "The Project" so far has been limited to the top-secret world of Western intelligence communities. Only through the work of an intrepid Swiss journalist, Sylvain Besson, has information regarding The Project finally been made public. It was found in a raid of a luxurious villa in Campione, Switzerland on November 7, 2001. The target of the raid was Youssef Nada, who has had active association with the Muslim Brotherhood for more than 50 years.Included in the documents seized was a 14-page plan written in Arabic and dated December 1, 1982, which outlined a 12-point strategy to "establish an Islamic government on earth" – identified as The Project.
According to testimony given to Swiss authorities by Nada, the unsigned document was prepared by "Islamic researchers" associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. It represents a flexible, multi-phased, long-term approach to the "cultural invasion" of the West. The Project has served for more than two decades as the Muslim Brotherhood "master plan." Some of it recommendations include:
• Using deception to mask the intended goals of Islamist actions
• Building extensive social networks of schools, hospitals and charitable organizations
• Involving ideologically committed Muslims in institutions on all levels in the West, including government, NGOs, private organizations
• Instrumentally using existing Western institutions until they can be put into service of Islam
• Instituting alliances with Western "progressive" organizations that share similar goals
• Included among this group of Muslim Brotherhood intellectuals is Youssef al-Qaradhawi, an Egyptian-born, Qatar-based Islamist cleric. Both Sylvain Besson and Scott Burgessprovide extensive comparisons between Qaradhawi's publication, Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase, published in 1990, and The Project.
They note the striking similarities in the language used and the plans and methods both documents advocate. As Patrick Poolesays, "What is startling is how effectively the Islamist plan for conquest outlined in The Project has been implemented by Muslims in the West for more than two decades."Youssef al-Qaradhawi, one of the most influential clerics in Sunni Islam, has predicted that "Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor," was an important figure during the Muhammad cartoons riots, whipping up anger against Denmark and the West.According to Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen, "Clearly, the riots in Denmark and throughout the world were not spontaneous, but planned and organized well in advance by Islamist organizations that support the MB, and with funding mostly from Saudi Arabia."The current leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammad Mahdi Akef, recently issued a new strategy calling on all its member organizations to serve its global agenda of defeating the West. Akef has called the U.S. "a Satan." "I expect America to collapse soon," declaring, "I have complete faith that Islam will invade Europe and America."Ehrenfeld and Lappen state that the Muslim Brotherhood and its offspring organizations employ the Flexibility strategy: "This strategy calls for a minority group of Muslims to use all "legal" means to infiltrate majority-dominated, non-Muslim secular and religious institutions, starting with its universities. As a result, "Islamized" Muslim and non-Muslim university graduates enter the nation's workforce, including its government and civil service sectors, where they are poised to subvert law enforcement agencies, intelligence communities, military branches, foreign services, and financial institutions."
In the Middle East Quarterly, Lorenzo Vidino writes about "The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe." According to him, "Since the early 1960s, Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers have moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and well-organized network of mosques, charities, and Islamic organizations."
The Brotherhood, particularly, is active in investments in properties and businesses across Europe, laying the groundwork for the future network that will be able to react rapidly and with great flexibility in case of another attempted crackdown on the group's financial structure. Most of the money comes from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
One of the Muslim Brotherhood's first pioneers in Germany was Sa'id Ramadan, the personal secretary of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. The oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia has granted an influx of money to the powerful Islamic Center of Geneva, Switzerland, run by Sa'id's son Hani Ramadan, brother of Tariq Ramadan. Hani Ramadan was made infamous by—among other things—a 2002 article in the French daily Le Monde defending the stoning of adulterers to death. Tariq Ramadan, a career "moderate Muslim," later called for a "moratorium" on stoning.
According to Vidino, "The ultimate irony is that Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna dreamed of spreading Islamism throughout Egypt and the Muslim world. He would have never dreamed that his vision might also become a reality in Europe."
Former Muslim Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo warns that the Islamicization going on in European cities is not happening by chance. It "is the result of a careful and deliberate strategy by certain Muslim leaders which was planned in 1980 when the Islamic Council of Europe published a book called Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States."
The instructions given in the book told Muslims to get together and organize themselves into viable Muslim communities. They should set up mosques, community centres and Islamic schools. At all costs they must avoid being assimilated by the majority, and to resist assimilation must group themselves geographically, forming areas of high Muslim concentration.
Douglas Farah writes about the largely successful efforts by Islamic groups in the West to buy large amounts of real estate, territory that effectively becomes "Muslim" land once it is in the hands of Islamist groups. Some groups are signing agreements to guarantee that they will only sell the land to other Muslims.
The Brotherhood, particularly, is active in investments in properties and businesses across Europe, laying the groundwork for the future network that will be able to react rapidly and with great flexibility in case of another attempted crackdown on the group's financial structure. Most of the money comes from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. According to Farah, the governments of Europe and the United States continue to allow these groups to flourish and seek for the "moderate" elements that can be embraced as a counter-balance to the "radical" elements.
"We do not have a plan. They do. History shows that those that plan, anticipate and have a coherent strategy usually win. We are not winning."
Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen(born 11 June 1975) is a Norwegian far-right anti-Islamic blogger. Jensen wrote anonymously as Fjordman starting in 2005, until he disclosed his identity in 2011. He has been active in the counterjihad movement, which argues that multiculturalism, particularly Muslim immigration, poses a threat to Western civilization.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The Persian Ten Year Plan? HERE'S AN EYE OPENER, maybe an eye burner if one actually takes the time to realize how much this administration has co-operated with a transnational political policy which is actually succeeding in putting Humpty Dumpty (the Caliphate) back together again, and guess what, there are only a few pieces of the eggshell puzzle left to go. According to the former president (1997-2005) of Iran Seyed Mohammad Khatami, in what he dubbed "six plus six", Iran's eventual goal was to see secular dictators in all the countries bordering Iraq as well as Egypt, to fall.
Note where Obama has helped with speeches and even force of arms, and notice who Obama has silently ignored while the people cry out from their oppression. Iran. Syria, its satellite. Given a pass. Egypt. Libya. Oops. Beating to their own drum, more secular than mullah dominated. Thumbs down. Take down time comes rushing out from the other side of President Obama's Nobel prize winning mouth.
Well, it doesn't take a weather man to know which way the wind blows...
It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Another well-researched well-crafted essay by the European writer called Fjordman...
IDO NOT BELIEVE that there is such a thing as a moderate Islam, and have been quite clear about that since I started writing. I disagree with observers such as Dr. Daniel Pipes on this particular point. I'd like to say to Pipes that I enjoy much of his work. I have linked to it a number of times before and intend to do so in the future as well. However, I get increasingly disturbed by how many people keep repeating the mantra of reaching out to "moderate Islam" when I have yet to see a single piece of evidence that a moderate Islam actually exists.
When asked about where to find a moderate Islam, Daniel Pipes has repeatedly referred to the late Sudanese scholar Mahmud Muhammud Taha, whose ideas are available in English in the book The Second Message of Islam. Taha's disciple and translator Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'Im, author of the book Toward an Islamic Reformation, has this to say about the ideas of his teacher:
"[T]he Medina message is not the fundamental, universal, eternal message of Islam. That founding message is from Mecca. So, the reformation of Islam must be based on a return to the Mecca message. In order to reconcile the Mecca and Medina messages into a single system, Muslim jurists have said that some of the Medina verses have abrogated the corresponding earlier verses from Mecca. Although the abrogation did take place, and it was logical and valid jurisprudence at one time, it was a postponement, not a permanent abrogation."
Because of this, An-Na'Im thinks that "The Mecca verses should now be made the basis of the law and the Medina verses should be abrogated. This counter-abrogation will result in the total conciliation between Islamic law and the modern development of human rights and civil liberties. In this sense we reformers are superfundamentalists."
I have read the books of both Taha and An-Na'Im closely. I find that their writing sounds better the first time you read it than it does the second time. For instance, Taha suggests that the reason why Muhammad and the early Muslims "had to" murder so many people was because these individuals didn't accept Islam peacefully. Not only does Taha not indicate that he thinks this was wrong, he describes armed Jihad as a "surgical tool" which can be used to implement true Islam. He hints that this hopefully won't be needed now because people are "mature" enough to know that Islam is good for them and will submit without coercion.
What happens to those who don't like Islam and have no intention of submitting? Taha doesn't say, but judging from his writings, he seems to believe that violence is justified against such people. It is hard to see in what way this is supposed to represent a "reformist" way of thinking. According to orthodox Islamic theology, Muslims are not allowed to physically attack non-Muslims unless these have first been invited to embrace Islam yet have failed to do so, in which case they are fair game. In other words, Muslims should try to convert people peacefully first and then start killing them afterwards if they refuse. Taha thus advocates a traditional concept of Jihad, one not qualitatively different from that espoused by Jihadist terrorists such as Osama bin Laden.
Although Taha resembles an apologist for Jihadist violence, he was still considered so unorthodox by traditional Muslims that he was executed as an apostate. Besides, his ideas are built on questionable "truths" about the Koran. Consider what the German professor Christoph Luxenberg claims in his pioneering work:
"In its origin, the Koran is a Syro-Aramaic liturgical book, with hymns and extracts from Scriptures which might have been used in sacred Christian services. In the second place, one may see in the Koran the beginning of a preaching directed toward transmitting the belief in the Sacred Scriptures to the pagans of Mecca, in the Arabic language. Its socio-political sections, which are not especially related to the original Koran, were added later in Medina. At its beginning, the Koran was not conceived as the foundation of a new religion. It presupposes belief in the Scriptures, and thus functioned merely as an inroad into Arabic society."
In other words, if Mr. Luxenberg is correct, what we now call the Meccan chapters of the Koran are peaceful precisely because they aren't "Islamic" at all, they are based on Christian texts. The "authentic" texts related to Muhammad and his companions, whoever the historical Muhammad really was, are the much more violent and aggressive chapters we classify as Medinan. This is precisely the opposite of what Taha and An-Na'Im suggest. From a secular point of view, their ideas are thus extremely vulnerable to historical criticism, and from an Islamic point of view, it's difficult to see how their ideas can be implemented.
After reading through much of the literature on the subject, I would divide "Muslim reformers" into three categories. The first, and by far the largest category, consists of liars, opportunists and taqiyya artists; people who want to infiltrate our societies rather than reform Islam. The second category consists of people who may be well-meaning but simply don't understand the issues involved. Irshad Manji, for instance, is not a bad person, but she just doesn't know very much about Islamic history. The third and smallest category consists of people who are knowledgeable and genuinely desire reform. The German-Syrian scholar Bassam Tibi could be placed here. I find some of his work interesting, but even he is incoherent and unconvincing in presenting the case for how a moderate Islam should look like.
Where does Taha belong in this picture? Frankly, I suspect it's among category 1. He is theologically unconvincing, and some of the passages he writes are outright disturbing if you read them closely and analyze what he's actually saying. The following quotes, with page references, are from the book The Second Message of Islam by Mahmud Muhammud Taha.
Page 74: "Reciprocity (al-mu'awadah) in the case of fornication is a fixed punishment (hadd) of either stoning to death or whipping. Since the fornicator sought easy pleasure without regard for Shari'a, he is made to suffer pain in order to recover his senses. An individual tends to lean more towards pleasure than towards pain. By pulling the self to pain, when it succumbs to prohibited pleasure, he reestablishes a certain equilibrium and avoids recklessness and folly. The fixed punishment for drinking alcohol is based on the same principle. A person who takes alcohol wishes to numb his mind, thereby trying to escape reality. The pain of whipping is intended to bring him back to face bitter reality, so that he may use his clear mind to improve this reality."'
Page 75: "Islam, in its essence, is not a religion according to the common meaning of the word, but rather a science, its dogma being merely transitional to its scientific stage."
Page 130: "We have said that the Qur'an was divided between al-iman and al-islam, as well as being revealed in two parts as Meccan and Medinese. The Meccan Qur'an was revealed first. In other words, people were invited to adopt Islam [in the ultimate sense] first, and when they failed to do so, and it was practically demonstrated that they were below its standard, they were addressed in accordance with their abilities."
My comment: What Taha means by this quote, as he makes clear in other passages, is that Muslims during the early Mecca phase invited people to accept Islam. When some of them refused to do so, Muslims had the right to start killing people and force them to accept Islam. Taha indicates that this principle should apply now, too. He also makes it perfectly clear that his definition of "freedom" is identical with sharia, and that those who abuse their freedom by not living according to sharia should face armed Jihad until they do. It's for their own good.
Page 134: "In this way, all the verses of persuasion, though they constitute the primary or original principle, were abrogated or repealed by the verses of compulsion (jihad). This exception was necessitated by the circumstances of the time and the inadequacy of the human capability to discharge properly the duty of freedom at that time."
"Some Muslim scholars believe that Islamic wars were purely defensive wars, a mistaken belief prompted by their keenness to refute claims by the Orientalists that Islam spread by means of the sword. In fact, the sword was used to curtail the abuse of freedom. Islam used persuasion for thirteen years in propagating its clearly valid message for the individual and the community. When the addressees failed to discharge properly the duties of their freedom, they lost this freedom, and the Prophet was appointed as their guardian until they came of age. However, once they embraced the new religion and observed the sanctity of life and property, and the social claims of their kith and kin, as they had been instructed, the sword was suspended, and abuses of freedom were penalized according to new laws. Hence the development of Islamic Shari'a law, and the establishment of a new type of government. In justifying the use of the sword, we may describe it as a surgeon's lancet and not a butcher's knife. When used with sufficient wisdom, mercy, and knowledge, it uplifted the individual and purified society."
Page 135: "Suffering death by the sword in this life is really an aspect of suffering hell in the next life, since both are punishments for disbelief. Whoever adds to his own disbelief by inciting others to disbelief or to shun the path of God must be suppressed before he takes up arms in the cause of disbelief."
Page 136: "Islam's original principle is freedom. But the Islamic religion was revealed to a society in which slavery was an integral part of the socioeconomic order. It was also a society that was shown in practice to be incapable of properly exercising its freedom, and therefore its individual members needed guidance; hence the consequent enactment of jihad. In Islamic jihad, the Muslims first had to offer to the unbelievers the new religion. If they refused to accept it, they had the second option of paying jizyah and living under Muslim government, while practicing their own religion and enjoying personal security. If they also refused the option of jizyah, the Muslims would fight them and if victorious take some of them as slaves, thereby adding to the number of those already in slavery."
"If an individual is invited to become the slave of God but refuses, such refusal is symptomatic of ignorance that calls for a period of training. The individual prepares to submit voluntarily to the servitude of God by becoming the slave of another person, thereby learning obedience and humility, which are becoming of a slave. Reciprocity (al-mu'awadah) here rules that if a free person refuses to become the slave of God, he may be subjugated and made the slave of a slave of God, in fair and just retribution: 'And whoso does an atom's weight of evil will also see it.' (99:8)"
My comment: The above passage is one of the most disturbing quotes from the entire book. Taha was from the Sudan, a country where chattel slavery is still being practiced today. If Taha had said that slavery once existed in most human societies, I could perhaps have accepted that. But he goes further than that. He indicates that slavery can in fact be morally good because it is a "training period" for becoming a slave of Allah, as all human beings should be. Let's imagine for a moment that Mr. Taha had been a white Christian, not a black Muslim. What if, say, Robert Spencer in his next book stated that slavery in the United States was good because it taught the slaves obedience and humility. Does anybody believe he would then have been hailed as a great example of a moderate and tolerant Christianity? Somehow, I doubt it. But there is apparently nothing "extremist" about supporting slavery if you are a Muslim. Extremists are nasty Islamophobes such as Geert Wilders.
Page 149: "Being so supreme, Islam has never been achieved by any nation up to the present day. The nation of muslimin has not yet come. It is expected to come, however, in the future of humanity."
My comment: Apart from sharia, Taha likes Communism, but he thinks the road to perfect Communism goes through sharia. Sharia is the key to global equality, eternal peace and warm apple pie. Unless they have banned warm apple pie by then, I don't know whether it's halal or not. It could be part of a Zionist plot:
Page 155-156: "The key here is that no one should be allowed to own anything that permits the exploitation of one citizen's labor to increase the income of another. Individual ownership, even within such narrow boundaries, should not be ownership of property as such, but rather ownership of the benefits derived from property, and all property remains in the ownership of God and the community as a whole. As production from resources increases, the equity of distribution is perfected, and differences are reduced by raising both minimum and maximum incomes. But the gap between minimum and maximum incomes is gradually narrowed in order to achieve absolute equality. When such absolute equality is achieved through the grace of God, and as a result of abundant production, we shall achieve communism or a sharing of the earth's wealth by all people. Communism thus differs from socialism in degree, in the sense that socialism is a stage in the development towards communism. The Prophet experienced ultimate communism."
Page 156-157: "…as the Prophet said, 'Justice shall fill the earth in the same way it was previously full of injustice.' This is what Marx dreamed of, but failed to find the way to achieve. It can only be achieved by al-muslimin who are yet to come, and then the earth shall enjoy a degree of fulfillment of the verse: 'The God-fearing are in gardens and springs. They will be told: Enter therein, in peace and security. We cleansed what was in their breasts of hatred, so they became brothers sitting together, never to feel hardship or be removed therefrom.' (15:45-48) This is the degree of communism to be achieved by Islam with the coming of the nation of muslimin, whence the earth shall light up with the Light of its Lord, and God's Grace is conferred upon its inhabitants, when there shall be peace, and love shall triumph."
All things summed up, I agree with Daniel Pipes: Mahmud Muhammud Taha is indeed an interesting case, but for precisely the opposite reason of what Mr. Pipes claims. Taha supports the idea of slavery on a moral basis, not just as an historical fact. "Freedom" is identical with sharia and being a slave of Allah. Those who don't want to accept Islam or Islamic rule should face armed Jihad, and the sword should be used as a "surgical tool" to cut them off from the body of society. And this is moderate…..how, exactly?
If Taha is the great hope for a moderate Islam, we can conclude that a moderate Islam supports slavery, stoning people to death for adultery, whipping those who enjoy a glass of wine or beer and massacring those who disagree with the above mentioned policies. Taha openly supported many of the most appalling aspects of sharia, yet was still considered so controversial that he was executed as an apostate.
The story of Mahmud Muhammud Taha is the ultimate, definitive and final proof that there is no moderate Islam. There never has been and there never will be. It's a myth. We should not base our domestic or foreign policies on the existence of a moderate Islam just like we should not base them on the existence of other mythical creatures such as the yeti or the tooth fairy.
It is unpleasant to conclude that Islam cannot be reformed. I don't like it either, and would much have preferred a different answer. But I see no practical indications that a tolerant Islam is emerging and have great difficulty in envisioning how such an entity could look like. There are several ways Islam could conceivably be reformed, yet none of them are very likely to succeed.
I have reviewed and criticized Irshad Manji's work before. Although she never says so explicitly in her book, I get the impression that Manji largely agrees with the mantra that "Islam is whatever Muslims make of it." I don't share this view. Why do those who behead Buddhist teachers in Thailand, burn churches in Nigeria, persecute Hindus in Pakistan or blow bombs in the London subway always "misunderstand" Islamic texts? Why don't they feel this urge to kill people after reading about, say, Winnie the Pooh?
If any text was infinitely elastic, we could replace the Koran with any other book and get the same result. That's obviously not the case. If you have a text that repeatedly calls for killing, death and mayhem, more people are going to "interpret" this text in aggressive ways. Islam is the most aggressive and violent religion on earth in practice because its texts are more aggressive than those of any other major religion, and because the example of Muhammad is vastly more violent than that of any other religious founder. If you return to the original Islam, which Manji claims to seek, you get Jihad, since that's what the original Islam was all about.
The dozens of explicit Jihad verses in the Koran won't all magically disappear. As long as they exist, somebody is bound to take them seriously. And since any "reformed" Islam must ultimately be rooted in Islamic texts, this probably means that Islam cannot be reformed.
The process of change is anyway not our job. Muslims should do that themselves. They are adults and should take care of their own problems just like everybody else does. For this reason, I dislike Manji's suggestion that infidels should spend money on sponsoring Muslims.
Muslims will not feel much gratitude if we fund their hospitals or schools. To them, everything good that happens is the will of Allah. Infidels are supposed to pay the jizya to Muslims anyway, so many of them will see payments from us as a sign of submission. They will thus become more arrogant and aggressive by such acts rather than feeling grateful.
As long as infidels keep bailing them out, Muslims have no incentives to change. They will only reform or abandon Islam once they are forced to deal with the backwardness brought by Islamic teachings. For this reason, we need a strategy for containment of the Islamic world. It's the very minimum we can live with. If Muslims need money, let them ask their Saudi brothers for it. If the Saudis have to finance hospitals in Gaza or Pakistan, this means they have less of it to finance terrorism, which is good. I agree with Hugh Fitzgerald on this one.
It is possible that some schools or branches within Islam are more tolerant than others. Yes, there are theological differences between Sunnis and Shi'a Muslims. These can be significant enough for Muslims, but for non-Muslims they are usually not important. Shia Islam is not more peaceful than Sunni Islam, nor is it more tolerant, with the possible exception of the Ismaili branch, but they are far less numerous than the adherents of Twelver Shi`ism. Since the Shi'a constitute a tiny minority of the world's Muslims, the Ismailis are a minority of a minority and quite marginal in the greater scheme of things.
My view is that as long as you start out with the texts used by orthodox Muslimsthe Koran, the hadith and the sirait is more or less impossible to come up with a peaceful and tolerant version of Islam. In principle it might be possible to change things by either adding more religious texts or ignoring some of those that already exist. Both options are problematic.
Since Muhammad was supposed to be final messenger of Allah, the "seal of the prophets," any person later claiming to bring new revelations to mankind will invariably be viewed as a fraud and a heretic by orthodox Muslims. This is what happened to the Ahmadiyya movement, who are viewed as unbelievers by most others Muslims, including many in "moderate" Indonesia.
Another example is the Bahá'í faith, which is indeed more peaceful than mainstream Islam, but their view of history, where the Buddha is seen as a messenger alongside Muhammad, differs so radically from traditional Islam that it is usually classified as a separate religion. Bahá'ís are ruthlessly persecuted in the Islamic world, particularly in Iran where the movement originated. They are viewed as apostate Muslims since they challenge the concept of the finality of Muhammad's prophethood. Ironically, their supreme governing institution is situated in Haifa, in the evil, racist apartheid state of Israel. So they get persecuted by "tolerant" Muslim, yet are treated with decency by the "intolerant" Israelis.
There are also the "Koran only" Muslims, who, from what I can gather, currently constitute a very small group of people. They advocate that Muslims should ignore the hadith and the sira and rely solely on the Koran for guidance. In order to achieve this, they will first have to defy mounting opposition from other Muslims who will have some rather powerful theological arguments in their favor. The Koran itself says repeatedly that you should obey both the Koran and the example of Muhammad. But the personal example of Muhammad and his companions, his Sunna, is mainly recorded in extra-Koranical material such as the hadith and the sira. If you remove them, you remove the main sources of information for how to conduct prayer, pilgrimage etc., which is usually not recorded in any great detail in the Koran.
"Koran only" reformers, and indeed all aspiring reformers, will have to face the possibility of being branded as heretics and apostates, a crime which potentially carries the death penalty according to traditional sharia law. On top of this, there are more than enough verses in the Koran itself advocating Jihad and intolerance for this alternative to remain problematic, too. For these reasons, it is unlikely that a "Koran only" version of Islam can ever constitute a viable long-term reform path.
A researcher from Denmark, Tina Magaard, has spent years analyzing the original texts of different religions, from Buddhism to Sikhism, and concludes that the Islamic texts are by far the most warlike among the major religions of the world. They encourage terror and fighting to a far larger degree than the original texts of other religions. "The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with," says Magaard. Moreover, there are hundreds of calls in the Koran for fighting against people of other faiths. "If it is correct that many Muslims view the Koran as the literal words of God, which cannot be interpreted or rephrased, then we have a problem. It is indisputable that the texts encourage terror and violence. Consequently, it must be reasonable to ask Muslims themselves how they relate to the text, if they read it as it is," she says.
It has been suggested that some regional versions of Islam, for instance "Southeast Asian Islam," are more peaceful than "Arab Islam." First of all, in this age of globalization and international sponsorship of conservative theology by Saudi Arabia and others, regional interpretations are likely to diminish, not increase. And second of all, I'm not convinced that Southeast Asian Islam is more tolerant than other forms of the religion.
It is true that Muslims in some parts of Indonesia have perhaps been less strict than Muslims in, say, Egypt, but this was because Indonesia was Islamized at a later date and still contained living residues of its pre-Islamic culture. In such cases, we are dealing with "less Islam" or "diluted Islam," which isn't quite the same as "moderate Islam" even if some observers claim that it is. Moreover, numerous churches have been burnt down or destroyed in that country only during the last decade, which hardly indicates that Indonesia is a beacon of tolerance.
In Thailand and the Philippines, where Muslims constitute a minority, non-Muslims have been murdered or chased away from certain areas by Islamic groups who wage a constant Jihad against the authorities. The city-state of Singapore is surrounded by several hundred million Muslims and can only manage to avoid outside attacks by curtailing the freedom of speech of its citizens and banning public criticism of Islam.
Malaysia has been a moderate economic success story because it has had a large and dynamic non-Muslim population and only recently became majority Muslim. This corresponds to some extent to the early phases of Islamization in the Middle East. The Golden Age of Islam was in reality the twilight of the pre-Islamic cultures. The scientific achievements during this period are exaggerated, and those that did take place happened overwhelmingly during the early phases of Islamic rule when there were still large non-Muslim populations. When these communities declined due to Muslim harassment, the Middle East, home to some of the oldest civilizations on earth, slowly declined into a backwardness from which it has never recovered.
Lebanon was a reasonably successful and civilized country while it still had a slim Christian majority, but has rapidly declined into Jihad and sharia barbarism in recent decades due to higher Muslim birth rates and non-Muslims leaving the country. It is possible that something similar will happen to Malaysia, as Muslims become more confident and aggressive.
Lastly, you can try to constrain Islam and keep it down by brute force. This kind of muscular secularism, enforced with methods no Western country would even contemplate supporting at the present time, has been tried under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. Yet Turkey has never been a beacon of tolerance, and the very few non-Muslims who remain in the country still face harassment. Kemalism has kept Islam at bay but has never really reformed it. Even after almost a century, Islam is in the process of making a comeback. There are serious cracks in the façade of secularism, and some observers fear an Islamic revolution in the country.
The Turkish example is not altogether promising. We should remember that Iran, too, was perceived as a moderate and modern country until the revolution brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1979. The lesson we can draw from this is that Islam can lie dormant for generations, yet strike again with renewed vigour when the opportunity arises.
If "reform" is taken to mean a return to the historical period of the religious founder, Muhammad, and his followers, it will lead to an inevitable upsurge of Jihadist violence, since that was what Muhammad and his followers were all about.
The debate about a "reformed" Islam is inappropriately colored by a Western historical perspective, with references to the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth century Europe. This indirectly implies that there is some form of equivalence between Christianity and Islam. I don't think there is, even though I am not a Christian. Christianity with its concept of the Trinity is akin to soft-polytheism from an Islamic point of view. The religious texts are clearly different, not to mention the personal examples of the founders of the two religions, Jesus and Muhammad. Islam became a major world religion through armed conquest and the creation of an empire. Christianity became a major world religion by gradually taking over an already established empire, the Roman Empire.
Christianity's slow growth within a Greco-Roman context made it possible for Christians to assimilate Greek philosophy and Roman law to an extent that never happened among Muslims, even in the Mediterranean world which had been dominated by the Romans. This had major consequences for further scientific and political developments in Europe and in the Middle East. Exposure to Greek and other scientific traditions did lead to some advances in the earliest centuries of Islamic rule, but Greek natural philosophy was never accepted into the core curriculum of Islamic madrasas as it was in European universities.
When the American Founding Fathers in the eighteenth century discussed how the shape of their young Republic should be, they were influenced by, in addition to modern thinkers and the British parliamentary system, descriptions of democratic Athens and the Roman Republic, through Aristotle's political texts and Cicero's writings. None of these texts were ever available in Arabic or Persian translations. They were rejected by Muslims, but preserved, translated, and studied with interest by Christians. The artistic legacy of the Greeks was also largely rejected by Muslims. In short, Westerners have no shared "Greco-Roman legacy" with Muslims. They cared mainly for one part of this great legacy, the scientific-philosophical part, and even that part they failed to assimilate.
The theological differences between Christianity and Judaism vs. Islam are huge. As Robert Spencer explains in his excellent little book Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't, in Christianity the central tenet is that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). While acknowledging that any human being is capable of evil, the Koran says that Muslims are "the best of peoples" (3:110) while the unbelievers are the "vilest of creatures" (98:6). In such a worldview, it is easy to see evil in others but difficult to locate it in oneself. The Koran also says that the followers of Muhammad are "ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another" (48:29), and that the unbelievers are the "worst of created beings" (98:6). One may exercise the Golden Rule in relation to a fellow Muslim, but according to the laws of Islam, the same courtesy is not to be extended to unbelievers.
Yes, you can find violent passages in the Hebrew Bible, such as in the book of Joshua regarding the conquest of Jericho, but "throughout history, rather than celebrating such biblical passages, Jews and Christians have regarded them as a problem to be solved. While interpretations of these passages differ widely among Jews and Christians, from the beginning of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity one understanding has remained dominant among virtually all believers: these passages are not commands for all generations to follow, and if they have any applicability, it is only in a spiritualized, parabolic sense."
As Spencer says, "the consensus view among Jews and Christians for many centuries is that unless you happen to be a Hittite, Girgashite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, or Jebusite, these biblical passages simply do not apply to you. The scriptures record God's commands to the Israelites to make war against particular people only. However this may be understood, and however jarring it may be to modern sensibilities, it does not amount to any kind of marching orders for believers. That's one principal reason why Jews and Christians haven't formed terror groups around the world that quote the Bible to justify killing non-combatants."
The fact that two initially separate calls for reform, started under different circumstances and for different reasons, produced somewhat similar results is worth contemplating. Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin also called for returning to the Golden Age of early Christianity. Although the Reformation was a turbulent period while it lasted, it did pave the way for more tolerance and religious freedom in Christian Europe in the long run.
The main problem with Islam isn't that it is a stupid religion, as some people say, but that it is a violent and aggressive one. I consider Scientology to be an incredibly stupid creed, but I haven't heard about many people living in fear that Tom Cruise will cut off their head while quoting poems of L. Ron Hubbard and then post a video of the deed on the Internet.
Yes, religions do evolve. Stoning people to death was once practiced by Jews, but they progressed and left this practice behind because they considered it to be cruel, which it is. The problem is that there are literally dozens - more than one hundred, depending on how you count - verses calling for Jihad in the Koran, and additional ones in the hadith. Any "tolerant" form of Islam would have to reject all of these verses, permanently, in addition to the personal example of Muhammad and his followers as well as a large body of secondary literature by more than a thousand years of sharia scholars. That's a tall order. We should also remember that Jihad is not the end goal of Islam. Sharia is. Jihad is a tool used to achieve sharia and the rule of Islamic law extended to all of mankind.
As I have explained in my earlier essay Do we want an Islamic Reformation? and in the online booklet Is Islam Compatible With Democracy?, the question of whether Islam is compatible with democracy largely hinges upon your definition of "democracy." If this simply means voting, with no freedom of speech or safeguards for individual rights or minorities then yes, it can, as a vehicle for imposing sharia on society. But such a "pure" democracy isn't necessarily a good system even without Islam, as critics from Plato to Thomas Jefferson have convincingly argued.
Likewise, the question of whether or not Islam can be reformed largely hinges upon your definition of "Reformation." I usually say that Islam cannot be reformed, and by "reformed" I thus implicitly understand this as meaning something along the lines of "peaceful, non-sharia based with respect for individual choice and freedom of speech." In other words: "Reform" is vaguely taken to mean less Islam.
However, Robert Spencer and others have argued that there are similarities between Martin Luther and the Christian Reformation in 16th century Europe and the reform movement started by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab in the Arabian Peninsula in the 18th century. Wahhab's alliance with regional ruler Muhammad bin Saud and his family later led to the creation of Saudi Arabia. There was another modern "reform" movement, the so-called Salafism of 19th century thinkers such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh. Whereas the former was an internal reform movement triggered by calls for removing "corruption" from society, the latter was clearly a response to external, Western pressures.
Although Abduh's ideas were continued in a secular direction by individuals such as Egyptian writer Taha Hussein, clearly the most successful strands were those developed into what was later termed "Islamic fundamentalism" in the 20th century. Muhammad Abduh's pupil Rashid Rida inspired Hassan al-Banna when he formed the Muslim Brotherhood. Rida urged Muslims not to imitate infidels, but return to the Golden Age of early Islam, as did Abduh. Rida also recommended reestablishing the Caliphate, and applauded when the Wahhabists conquered Mecca and Medina and established modern Saudi Arabia. The two reform movements thus partly merged in the 20th century, into organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
The fact that two initially separate calls for reform, started under different circumstances and for different reasons, produced somewhat similar results is worth contemplating. Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin also called for returning to the Golden Age of early Christianity. Although the Reformation was a turbulent period while it lasted, it did pave the way for more tolerance and religious freedom in Christian Europe in the long run. This was, in my view, at least partly because Christians could return to the example, as contained in the Gospels, of an early age where the founder of their religion and his disciples led a largely peaceful movement separate from the state. Muslims, on the other hand, can find a similar example only in the Mecca period. As long as the writings from the violent Medina period are still in force, a return to the "early, Golden Age" of Islam will mean a return to intolerance and Jihad violence.
Some Western observers are searching for a "Muslim Martin Luther" who is expected to end the resurgent Islamic Jihad. But one could argue that we already have a Muslim Martin Luther: He's called Osama bin Laden, deeply inspired by the teachings of Muslim Brotherhood thinker Sayyid Qutb. If "reform" is taken to mean a return to the historical period of the religious founder, Muhammad, and his followers, it will lead to an inevitable upsurge of Jihadist violence, since that was what Muhammad and his followers were all about.
The question of whether Islam is reformable is an important one. But perhaps an even more crucial one is whether an Islamic Reformation would be desirable from a non-Muslim point of view, and the likely answer to that is "no."
Myth: Islam is a Religion of Peace Muhammad was a peaceful man who taught his followers to be the same. Muslims lived peacefully for centuries, only fighting in self-defense when it was necessary. True Muslims would never act aggressively.
Muhammad organized 65 military campaigns in the last ten years of his life and personally led 27 of them. The more power he attained, the smaller the excuse needed to go to battle, until finally he began attacking tribes merely because they were not part of his growing empire. These are the natural acts of a standard ops military psychology, nothing extraordinary. After Muhammad’s death, his most faithful followers and even his own family turned on each other almost immediately. There were four Caliphs (leaders) in the first twenty-five years. Three of the four were murdered. The third Caliph was murdered by the son of the first. The fourth Caliph was murdered by the fifth, who left a 100-year dynasty that was ended in a gruesome, widespread bloodbath by descendents of Muhammad’s uncle. Muhammad’s own daughter, Fatima, and his son-in-law, Ali, who both survived the pagan hardship during the Meccan years safe and sound, did not survive Islam after the death of Muhammad. Fatima died of stress from persecution within three months, and Ali was later assassinated. Their son (Muhammad’s grandson) was killed in battle with the faction that became today’s Sunnis. His people became Shias. The relatives and personal friends of Muhammad were mixed into both warring groups, which then fractured further into hostile sub-divisions as Islam grew.
Muhammad left his men with instructions to take the battle against the Christians, Persians, Jews and polytheists (which came to include millions of unfortunate Hindus). For the next four centuries, Muslim armies steamrolled over unsuspecting neighbors, plundering them of loot and slaves, and forcing the survivors to either convert or pay tribute at the point of a sword.
Companions of Muhammad lived to see Islam declare war on every major religion in the world in just the first few decades following his deathpressing the Jihad against Hindus, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Buddhists.
By the time of the Crusades (when the Europeans began fighting back), Muslims had conquered two-thirds of the Christian world by the sword, from Spain to Syria, and across North Africa. The Arab slave-trading routes would stay open for 1300 years, until pressure from Christian-based countries forced Islamic nations to declare the practice illegal (in theory).
Today, there is not another religion in the world that consistently produces terrorism in the name of religion as does Islam. The most dangerous Muslims are nearly always those who interpret the Qur’an most transparently. They are the fundamentalists or purists of the faith, and believe in Muhammad’s mandate to spread Islamic rule by the sword, putting to death those who will not submit.
The holy texts of Islam are saturated with verses of violence and hatred toward those outside the faith. In sharp contrast to the Bible, which generally moves from relatively violent passages to far more peaceful ones, the Qur’an travels the exact opposite path. The handful of earlier verses that speak of tolerance are overwhelmed by an avalanche of later ones that carry a much different message. While Old Testament verses of blood and guts are generally bound by historical context within the text itself, Qur'anic imperatives to violence usually appear open-ended.
By any objective measure, the "Religion of Peace" has been the harshest, bloodiest religion the world has ever known.
Under no circumstances, should we, the American People, permit or accept that this fate of creeping jihad into our country, although it is already here. Battles are already being fought, and yet, the administration continues to hamstring our military and name our enemy, while allowing unchecked immigration from Islamic countries to flood onto our shores.
Some of our "leaders" need to be informed in no uncertain terms, by whatever means necessary, of the words of Samuel Adams, early American patriot:
"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.