Tag Archives: Western

The Price Of Compromise, The Wages Of Influence

The Price of Compromise
"Some cultures do not compromise. Take the example of Islam. Islam is now culture, now religion, now political system and now race. It can be anything, depending on the situation. However, Islam cannot change. You cannot water it down, reform it or modernize it.

sean-prayer
The Willfulness Of Strangers

The Qu'ran is emphatic that Islam is perfect (Q: 5:3). No Muslim will tolerate reforming his religion that was perfected by God. Consequently, the only culture that will have to give in to the point of extinction will be the Western culture."

Ali Sina

The Wages of Influence
"One facet of this sad disagreement, criticism, and rejection, of each other's religious beliefs, all of them, in the discourse that is not going so well, is to pray for the ancestors in the spirit world, that preceded the domination of their posterity who came under false ideology, of a bellicose, combative nature. The spirit world does not organize under falsehood forever. There used to be compartments of Presbyterianism, Methodism, etc, etc. but one of the tasks of the man born without blood ties to Satan is to open up the spirit world. People do not realize this, but pretty near all the people who have died are still influencing the world because of their selfishness. Even the relatively small segment of spirit world which claims a transcendent value perspective. Therefore Jesus went into the spirit world, and opened up the realm in which his antecedents pioneered. Prayer is one front on the unified front against false idols. Deep patient prayer. Not 20 minute prayers. We should appeal to the people that lived in the Middle East and Indonesia, that once existed, in regions, previously not dominated by Islam, as if they exist now, because they do, and their religion results in poverty, and eternal war, this prayer, can cause them to influence their dependents to gradually come more into line with the central theme of God's Providence. The spirit world with its many expressions of selfishness, compels people to be selfish, and to live in iniquity, and misfortune. God is interested in people's well being, if He was not there would be no reason to pursue Him. This is for people that are so inclined to prayer, but it must be coupled with what expands the body of Christ."

—Sean Creamer

Islam's Influence On Old Sicily

The following information has been culled from a thorough if somewhat romanticized article written by Palermo native Vincenzo Salerno, and at first glance, contradicts a good portion of what I have learned about the nature of parasitical Muslim culture. But I'll leave that final assessment to the reader, because attached at the end of this article is a highly critical opinion of The Camp of Islam and its controversial history.

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Sicily about to get new mega-mosque...

PALERMO MAY NOT HAVE the polished look of Venice or Florence, but it is a beautiful stretch of Old Country charm, an open-air museum to the foreign cultures that have conquered Sicily over the centuries. A short breezy walk can lead one past Byzantine mosaics, Arab domes, Norman churches and Spanish sculptures. The most striking architectural hybrid must be the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, a lush Roman Catholic sanctuary that was converted from a Muslim mosque after the 12th century departure of the Arabs. The church's Islamic roots can be clearly seen in its red domes and cubic structure. Another mixed, though ultimately Christian, visual feast is the city's main cathedral, an imposing 12th century testament to Gothic grandeur. This is an interesting detail in the study of Islam's influence on Sicily and what became the hidden hand, or mafioso culture on the island and in America, because often we only hear of beautiful churches that have been converted to mosques.

The Muslims ruled Sicily for two centuries and a few decades but their influence was nothing short of monumental. Under their administration, the island's population doubled as dozens of towns were founded and cities repopulated. The Arabs changed Sicilian agriculture and cuisine. Their scientific and engineering achievements were remarkable. More significantly, they changed society itself. To this day, many Sicilian social attitudes reflect the profound influence—often in subtle ways—of the Arabs who ruled a thousand years ago but who (with the Greeks and others) are the ancestors of today's Sicilians.

The Arabs, who in medieval times were sometimes called "Saracens" or "Moors," have been identified since antiquity (in Assyrian records dated to circa 850 BC), but until the Middle Ages they were not unified as a people. In the Early Middle Ages, it was Islam that united the Arabs and established the framework of Arab law. Initially, most Muslims were Arabs, and during the Arab rule of Sicily their Islamic faith was closely identified with them. (Even today, many principles believed to be tenets of Islam are, in fact, Arab practices unrelated to Muslim ethics.) The rapid growth of Arab culture could be said to parallel the dissemination of Islam.

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The Fatimid Caliphate

Except for some poetry, the first major work of literature published entirely in Arabic was the Koran (Quran), the holy book of Islam, and one may loosely define Arabs by the regions where Arabic was spoken in the Middle Ages and afterwards. Arabs were a Semitic people of the Middle East. The Berbers of northwest Africa and the Sahara were not Arabs, though many converted to Islam, adopted Arabic as their language and assimilated with Arab society. Though most parts of Sicily were conquered by Arabs, certain areas where settled by people who, strictly speaking, were Muslim Berbers. Like many Berbers, some Arabs were nomadic.

With the emergence of the Byzantine Empire, groups of Arabs lived in bordering areas in the Arabian peninsula and parts of what are now Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt. Their language, Arabic, is a Semitic tongue of various dialects related to Hebrew and Ethiopic, written in script from right to left.

Muhammad (the prophet of Islam) was born in Mecca around AD 570 and his religious and military community at Medina eventually grew to dominate the entire Arabian peninsula. Following Muhammad's death in 632, caliphs (civil and religious leaders) succeeded him. Three families from Muhammad's tribe ruled the expanding Arabian empire for the next few centuries, namely the Umayyads (661-750), the Abbasids (750-850) and the Alids (Fatimid dynasty in northern Africa from 909 to 1171). In practice, certain regions—including Sicily—were actually controlled by particular (if minor) families, or often under local emirs (there were several in Sicily when the Normans arrived in 1061).

Initially, the Arabs aspired to little more than some productive land in coastal areas and around the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, but within decades of Mohammed's death their objectives grew greater. With the growth of their society supported by conversions to Islam, the wealth sought by Arabs was precisely that which the Koran (3:14) discouraged: "The passion for women, the desire for male children, the thirst for gold and silver, spirited horses, and the possession of cattle and land, in fact all the pleasures of life on earth." Sicily offered all of these things in abundance.

By 650, the Arabs were making their way through Libya and Tunisia, and what remained of the once-prosperous city of Carthage was destroyed in 698. The Byzantines had already lost these areas, but they retained control of Sicily—despite numerous raids by Arab pirates—until 827. In that year, Euphemius, a Byzantine admiral and resident governor of Sicily who found himself at odds with the Emperor, offered the governorship of the island to Ziyadat Allah, the Aghlabid Emir of Al Qayrawan (in Tunisia) in exchange for his support. This fiasco resulted in the landing of over ten thousand Arab and Berber troops at Mazara in the western part of Sicily. Euphemius was soon killed and Sicily's Arab period had begun.

Three Arab dynasties ruled Sicily—first the Aghlabids (a "minor" family based in Tunisia which had broken away from the Abbasids of Baghdad) and then, from 909, the Fatimids, who entrusted much of their authority to the Kalbids in 948. In that year, Hassan al-Kalbi became the first Emir of All Sicily. By 969, the Fatimid dynasty (descended from the Prophet's daughter, Fatima) were moving their geographic center of power to Cairo, leaving their Tunisian capitals (Madiyah and Al Quayrawan) and western territories to the care of what in Europe would be called "vassals."

Islam spread quickly across the Mediterranean but in Sicily the Arabs' conquest was a slow one. Panormos, which was to become the seat of an emirate as Bal'harm (Palermo) in 948, fell in 832. Messina was taken in 843. Enna (the Arabs' Kasr' Yanni, also an emirate) was conquered in 858. With the violent fall of Syracuse in 878, the conquest was essentially complete, though Taormina and several other mountaintop communities held out for a few more years.

Byzantine society, culture and government were closely identified with Christianity, and the law was based largely (though not entirely) on Judeo-Christian ideas, but it would have been mistaken to consider the Byzantine state a theocracy. Moreover, as Christianity already existed in many regions (such as Sicily) in the Byzantine Empire, there was not always a need to introduce (or impose) it. Islam, however, was a way of life that could not easily be separated from society itself, and it was a religion formerly unknown in Sicily. This obviously influenced Arab society in Sicily and elsewhere, though efforts were made to retain something of the established order. In the early ninth century, Islam itself could be said to be in its formative stages socially, with certain literary sources (collections of hadiths containing sunnahs or "laws") still being written.

Arab administration, if not particularly enlightened, was not very harsh by medieval standards, but it was far from egalitarian. Sicily's Christians and Jews (Sicily was at least half Muslim by 1060) were highly taxed, and clergy could not recite from the Bible or Talmud within earshot of Muslims. Christian and Jewish women (who like Muslim ones were veiled in public) could not share the public baths with Muslim women—many of whom were ex-Christians converted to Islam to contract financially or socially advantageous marriages to Muslim men. Non-Muslims had to stand in the presence of Muslims. New churches and synagogues could not be built, nor Muslims converted to other faiths. A number of large churches, such as the cathedral of Palermo, were converted to mosques. (The Arabic inscription shown above is still visible on one of its columns.)

map-sicily2

A degree of religious tolerance prevailed; there were no forced conversions. Yet, a new social order was soon in place. Except for a few merchants and sailors, there had been very few Muslim Arabs in Sicily before 827, but Byzantine legal strictures imposed upon them, and upon the Jews living across the island, cannot be said to have been as rigid as those imposed upon non-Muslims by the Arabs after about 850. At first, however, many Sicilians probably welcomed the prospect of change because they had been overtaxed and over-governed by their Byzantine rulers.

The Arabs introduced superior irrigation systems; some of their qanats (channels) still flow under Palermo. They established the Sicilian silk industry, and at the court of the Norman monarch Roger II great Arab thinkers like the geographer Abdullah al Idrisi were welcome. Agriculture became more varied and more efficient, with the widespread introduction of rice, sugar cane, cotton and oranges. This, in turn, influenced Sicilian cuisine. Many of the most popular Sicilian foods trace their origins to the Arab period.

Dozens of towns were founded or resettled during the Saracen era, and souks (suks, or street markets) became more common than before. Bal'harm (Palermo) was repopulated and became one of the largest Arab cities after Baghdad and Cordoba (Cordova), and one of the most beautiful. Construction on Bal'harm's al-Khalesa district built near the sea was begun in 937 by Khalid Ibn Ishaq, who was then Governor of Sicily. Despite later estimates of a greater population, there were probably about two hundred thousand residents in and around this city by 1050, and it was the capital of Saracen Sicily. Bal'harm was the official residence of the Governors and Emirs of All Sicily, and al-Khalesa (now the Kalsa district) was its administrative center.

As we've mentioned, in 948 the Fatimids granted a degree of autonomy to the Kalbid dynasty, whose last "governor" (effectively a hereditary emir), Hasan II (or Al-Samsan), ruled until 1053. By then, Kasyr Yanni (Enna), Trapani, Taormina and Syracuse were also self-declared, localized "emirates." (This word was sometimes used rather loosely to describe any hereditary ruler of a large locality; in law Sicily had been a unified emirate governed from Palermo since 948, but by the 1050s the others had challenged his authority over them.)

Naturally, Arabic was widely spoken and it was a major influence on Sicilian, which emerged as a Romance (Latin) language during the subsequent (Norman) era. The Sicilian vernacular was in constant evolution, but until the arrival of the Arabs the most popular language in Sicily was a dialect of Greek. Under the Moors Sicily actually became a polyglot community; some localities were more Greek-speaking while others were predominantly Arabic-speaking. Mosques stood alongside churches and synagogues.

Arab Sicily, by 948 governed from Bal'harm with little intervention from Qayrawan (Kairouan), was one of Europe's most prosperous regions—intellectually, artistically and economically. (At the same time, Moorish Spain was comparable to Sicily in these respects, but its prior society had been essentially Visigothic rather than Byzantine.) With the exception of occasional landings in Calabria, the Sicilian Arabs coexisted peacefully with the peoples of the Italian peninsula. These were Lombards (Longobard descendants) and Byzantines in Calabria, Basilicata and Apulia, where Bari was the largest city.

Under the Byzantines' empire, Sicily enjoyed some contact with the East, but as part of a larger Arab empire having greater contact with China and India, Far Eastern developments such as paper (made from cotton or wood), the compass and Arabic numerals (actually Indian) arrived. So did Arab inventions, such as henna—though today's middle-class Sicilian obsession with artficial blondness is a twentieth-century phenomenon. Under the Arabs, Sicily and Spain found themselves highly developed compared to England and Continental northern Europe.

Byzantium hadn't forgotten Sicily, and in 1040 George Maniakes, at the head of an army of Byzantine-Greeks, Normans, Vikings and Lombards, attempted an invasion of Sicily without success. By the 1050s, the Pope, and some Norman knights from this failed adventure, were casting a long glance toward Sicily with an eye to conquest. This desire was later fueled by dissension among the island's Arabs, leading to support by the Emir of Syracuse for the Normans against the emirates of Enna and Palermo. Most of these internal problems developed after the ruling Fatimids moved their capital from Tunisia to Egypt, where they established Cairo (near ancient Memphis).

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The Norman's Break Muslim Hold On Sicily
The Normans conquered Messina in 1061 and reached the gates of Palermo a decade later, removing from power the local emir, Yusuf Ibn Abdallah, but respecting Arab customs. Their conquest of Arab Sicily was slower than their conquest of Saxon England, which began in 1066 with the Battle of Hastings. Kasr Yanni was still ruled by its emir, Ibn Al-Hawas, who held out for years. His successor, Ibn Hamud, surrendered, and converted to Christianity, only in 1087. Initially, and for over a century, the Normans' Sicilian kingdom was the medieval epitome of multicultural tolerance.

By 1200, this was beginning to change. While the Muslim-Arab influence continued well into the Norman era—particularly in art and architecture—it was not to endure. The Normans gradually "Latinized" Sicily, and this social process laid the groundwork for the introduction of Catholicism (as opposed to eastern Orthodoxy). Widespread conversion ensued, and by the 1280s there were few—if any—Muslims in Sicily. Yet, the mass immigration of north-African Arabs (and Berbers) was the greatest Sicilian immigration since that of the ancient Greeks, leaving today's Sicilians as Saracen as Hellenic.

While Norman government and law in Sicily were essentially European, introducing institutions such as the feudal system, at first they were profoundly influenced by Arab (and even Islamic) practices. Many statutes were universal, but in the earliest Norman period each Sicilian—Muslim, Christian, Jew—was judged by the laws of his or her own faith.

When did the various Sicilian localities cease to be Arab (or Byzantine Greek)? There was not an immediate change. Following the Norman conquest, complete Latinization, fostered largely by the Roman Church and its liturgy, took the better part of two centuries, and even then there remained pockets of Byzantine influence in northeastern Sicily's Nebrodi Mountains.

Had the Normans not conquered Sicily, it might have evolved into an essentially Arab society not unlike that which survived in some parts of Spain into the later centuries of the Middle Ages, and the Sicilian vernacular language (as we know it) would have developed later. It is interesting to consider that general functional literacy among Sicilians was higher in 870 under the Arabs and Byzantines than it was in 1870 under the Italians (at about seventeen percent). In certain social respects, nineteenth-century Sicily still seemed very Arab, especially outside the largest cities, well into the early years of the twentieth century.

And now for a critical look at the Islam of contemporary times by an online contributor: Islam is like a lobster pot. It's easy to get in but impossible to get out.

This fact above all else needs to be shouted from the rooftops across the entire Infidel world. Christian, Jewish and other non-Muslim chaplains and psychologists/ counsellors who work in prisons in the West particularly need to be informed of this fact, so that they can warn the vulnerable why it is NOT WISE to listen to Muslim da'wa. Even the most hardened ghetto gangsta might surely think twice if told—if you became a Muslim, and then decided you wanted to leave, THEY WOULD KILL YOU, OR AT LEAST TRY VERY HARD TO DO SO.

Islam is the only modern religion that explicitly prescribes and enforces death for the apostate—and for all critics and questioners, that is, 'blasphemers', as well, be they Muslim or non-Muslim.

If our politicians and journalists and academics can be forced to wrap their minds around this one simple, amply demonstrable fact; if they can be made to realize it is general, common, standard Islamic practice; that even the most well-educated, 'moderate' Muslim families living IN THE WEST have been known to transform into murderous assassins upon discovering that a family member has converted out to another faith; then we might get people to realize that This Thing Called Islam Is Dangerous.

Let's start pointing out, loud and clear, the unpleasant parallels between mainstream, historic Islam and—the Mafia, or the Thuggees, or the Triads. Not all members of a mafioso crime 'family' do the actual hands-on stuff—the robberies, kidnappings and mutilations, application of threats/ extortion, concrete bootings, briberies and shootouts; one might compare such 'silent participants' to the 'peaceful' Muslims. But everybody in 'the family' is loyal to 'the family'; everybody lives off the payola; everybody admires il capo; and nobody rats, or they die.

—Dumble Dore's Army

You be the judge.

Women Rank Lower In Islam

Over and over again we are told how liberated women are under Islam sharia law, by the men who hold them hostage, and the women who obey them. Apologists for Islam like to distort history, or simply rewrite it altogether in claiming that Islam gave women a higher role than had been traditional to Christianity in Mohammed's time, despite the fact that Aisha, Mohammed's child bride, who later often became a thorn in Mohammed's side, for instance when she is quoted in the Hadith by Bukhari as having said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look, her skin is greener than her clothes."

But in reality, we draw a different picture. Dr. Farrukh Saleem writes in The News International:

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Being Woman While Muslim

Muslims do not treat women right. According to the Global Gender Gap (GGG) report, the planet's ten-worst offenders are: Yemen, Chad, Pakistan, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Benin, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and Oman. Of the ten, nine are Muslim-majority states. At the other end of the spectrum, the planet's best countries for women to live in are: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Philippines, Germany, Denmark, Ireland and Spain. Not even one of the top-ten is a Muslim-majority state.

GGG collected data from a total of 128 countries to develop a comprehensive, scientific index. The GGG Index is based on four different sub-indices—namely, economic participation, educational attainment, political empowerment and health—while each of the sub-indices has half a dozen components.

Under economic participation, five of the worst-offenders are: Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Oman and Bahrain. Under educational attainment, the worst-offenders are: Chad, Yemen, Benin and Pakistan. The best: Denmark, United Kingdom, Australia, France and Belgium. Under political empowerment the worst are: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt and Iran. The best: Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Spain.

For women, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan comes out as one the worst of countries to live in; there are only two other countries worse off than is Pakistan—Yemen and Chad. Under economic participation, Pakistan is ranked 126 out of 128. Educational attainment, 123 out of 128. Health, 121 out of 128. Political empowerment, 43 out of 128. Surprisingly, Pakistani women are worse off this year than they were last year.

Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Suudiyah, or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is ranked really low, too. Under economic participation, Saudi Arabia is ranked 127 out of 128. Educational attainment, 87 out of 128. Health, 60 out of 128. Political empowerment, 128 out of 128.

Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah, or the Republic of Yemen is worse than both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Under economic participation, Yemen is ranked 128 out of 128. Educational attainment, 127 out of 128. Political empowerment, 127 out of 128.

Intriguingly, there is a correlation between poverty and status of women. Some of the worst offenders are also the poorest of the poor (with the exception of oil wealth). Most of the Arab world is far below global averages and conditions, unfortunately, are actually deteriorating—not improving. Yes, there are a few exceptions. The UAE, for instance, has invested massive resources into educating its women. Bahrain now has a woman parliamentarian....

The Fallacy Of Shared Values

The following essay was written by Janet Levy and is part of the ACT for America! campaign to educate Americans to the threat of "slow" and "fast" Jihad under the regime of Islam. If you don't already know the difference, you are undereducated or intentionally miseducated about the totalitarian regime's prime directive which is to conquer the entire planet for Allah, one ignorant people, one scrap of turf at a time. Read on:

No Democracy
Gentlemen dressing up and acting out. No biggie. Nothing to see here folks...
AT A TIME WHEN 40% of young Muslims in the United Kingdom want to impose sharia law on the country and 36% favor executing apostates of Islam, the head of the Church of England called for the selective application of sharia law in Britain in the interest of social cohesion.

On February 7, 2008, Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, issued what amounts to a capitulation to the encroachment of Islam and an accommodation to sharia. This Islamic theo-political-legal doctrine assigns second class status to Christians and Jews, utilizes a medieval system of justice that sanctions cruel and unusual punishments and mandates the inequality of women and non-Muslims.

Archbishop Williams' suggestion is not unexpected given his 2003 speech at Princeton University, "Islam versus the West: Challenges Facing the Human Family." In that address, the Archbishop called for the cultivation of an "enduring partnership based on shared values that make us human beings, that make us capable of receiving God's gift of love and peace."

But an examination of the intersection of Islam and traditional Western or Judeo-Christian societies reveals very little evidence of any "shared values." Instead, glaring conflicts between the two are evident in the role and practice of religion in society, the concepts of moral behavior, the value of human life, personal responsibility and civil and legal rights.

Church and State

The most dramatic of these conflicts is the difference over the power religion holds in matters of state. Theologies shape societies, but the extent of their ability to control human interactions is in direct proportion to the extent of their mandate.

In the West, democratic governments preside over affairs of state and the church's domain is subordinate to the rule of the land. Christ's instruction to "render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" embodies the separation of these realms from a theological standpoint. Separation of church and state is the underlying civil principle.

However, within Islam's all-encompassing religiopolitical ideology, no dichotomy exists between the civil world of government and the theological world of religion. Unelected religious clerics, who enjoy lifelong reign, issue binding rulings on every aspect of people's lives. Such rulings are indisputable and represent the will of Allah as interpreted from the Islamic teachings.

Democracy vs. Theocracy

From these two differing theological and civil positions, two vastly different methods of governing are derived. In most Western democracies, government is "of, by and for the people" or some approximation thereof. In essentially pluralistic participatory democracies, the populace decides by a majority vote who among them will best represent their interests and will advance the most beneficial policies for the nation as a whole. A political leader who doesn't perform according to the will of the people can be voted out of office.

But in Islamic nations, rigid theocracies, for the most part, rule in accordance with Islamic scriptures. Religious practices and laws are enforced under the watchful eye of religious police, empowered to beat or imprison violators. Clerical leaders control all aspects of life, with the primary concern obedience to the words of Allah and Mohammed. Religious leaders strictly interpret the Islamic doctrine and dissent is prohibited and viewed as un-Islamic.

Equality vs. Supremacy

The Western concept of rule by the general populace led to the logical extension and development of human rights. Equality under the law regardless of race, religion, sex, or ethnicity is a cornerstone of democratic societies. Government agencies monitor human rights violations and prosecute violators of existing statutes. Affirmative action programs often mitigate perceived disadvantages of identified minority groups. Violence against women is prohibited by law and spousal abuse is prosecuted and viewed as morally abhorrent by society.

By contrast, within Islamic societies, in which the individual is subordinate to God's rule, no concept of human rights exists and no acceptance of differences, particularly religious differences, exists. Instead, Muslims are viewed as superior to and more privileged than non-Muslims. In many Islamic countries, non-Muslims are slighted for not embracing Islam, treated like second class citizens and are frequently prohibited from practicing their religions. Inequality also exists between men and women, with men having greater standing and worth than women. Women are under the control of male relatives. The movements, careers and marital choices of women are often restricted. Women who are not obedient may be dutifully beaten by their husbands as a God-sanctioned corrective measure and responsibility under Islamic teachings.

Acceptance vs. Elitism

Western and Islamic societies also differ in their approach to treatment of others. Key moral features of any society are the rules delineating how others should be treated.

In Western societies, the expected standard for human interaction can be summarized from the universally accepted Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Thus, a reasonable expectation exists that others will treat you the way in which they would like to be treated and that you will reciprocate in kind.

Islam, however, lacks the concept of the Golden Rule. Instead, the world is divided into believers in Allah, the Dar al Islam, and the world of kafirs, the evil unbelievers, known as the Dar-al-Harb or world of war. Behaviors prohibited against fellow Muslims, such as lying, cheating or stealing can be used with impunity and are considered permissible against kafirs. Even in murder, the acceptability of the act is judged by the victim's status. Killing a fellow Muslim is a serious crime, but the murder of an infidel is justified by his non-belief in Allah.

Religious Freedom vs. Religious Coercion

The practice of religion itself also differs dramatically in Western and Muslim societies. In the West, religion is freely chosen and practiced according to an individual's desired level of orthodoxy. Religion is viewed as a guide for living a moral life, based on reason and interpretations of the word of God. God is perceived as a just, loving and forgiving divine presence and a human-divine relationship exists. Religious scriptures are "divinely inspired" and open to interpretation, with doctrine allowed to evolve over time.

In Christianity, the messenger of God, Jesus Christ, is depicted on earth as an ethical, honest, compassionate human being who works for the common good of mankind. The Bible is considered a "how-to" guide for living an ethical existence. Practitioners of Christianity and Judaism endeavor to live peacefully alongside believers of other religions and the highest level of religious expression is to serve all mankind and establish harmony in the world. Western religions are not at war with other religions and strive to live in peace with the rest of the world.

Islam, however, dictates all facets of life and allows no room for interpreting the words of Allah and Mohammed. According to Islamic teachings, Allah dictated the Koran verbatim and it must not be interpreted or altered. For Muslims, Allah's messenger or prophet, Mohammed, is viewed as the ideal man whose life is to be emulated. His actions included advocating the mass murder of kafirs or non-believers, use of deception or taquiya to further the goals of Islam and subjugation of non-Muslims and women. Allah is represented as a revengeful, rigid and condemning god who demands that followers conquer the world for Islam. Any concept of a God-human partnership is alien.

Further, the Koran and Sunnah contain no concept of equal justice for all and focus on revenge and warmongering. Islam is in conflict with other religions and the highest level of devotion to Allah is waging jihad and defeating those who do not embrace Islam. Muslims who leave Islam are considered to be apostates and are threatened with death. The Koran is a manual for life that must be followed literally. Islam is viewed as superseding Judaism and Christianity, which are nullified by Allah's final revelations in the Koran.

Abhorrence vs. Embrace of War

In democratic societies, war is viewed as a necessary evil to protect fellow countrymen and preserve liberty and freedom. Citizens, government representatives and military officers view loss of life as tragic and regret the carnage and destruction of war. Efforts are made to protect innocent citizens and military strategies are developed accordingly.

In Islam, war against infidels is a noble, divinely commanded mission against those deserving of death for their unbelief. The death of non-Muslims - men, women or children - is a cause for celebration and a certain route to Paradise. Young children are indoctrinated to hate non-believers, are required to participate in military training and are taught to revere martyrs.

Justice vs. Honor

Finally, Islamic and Western societies differ in their application of laws and punishment. Western societies operate under the rule of law and a set of equally applied legal standards. Murder, for even an unpremeditated crime of passion, is condemned, punishment is demanded for the perpetrator and the victim is mourned and often memorialized. In instances of attempted assault or murder, the intended victim is protected by authorities and generally receives support and sympathy from the public at large.

But in traditional Islamic societies, murder is viewed as honorable if it is committed to enforce social control and adherence to Islamic or sharia law. Women who violate required behavioral, social norms can end up the victims of honor killings. They can be killed for failing to wear proper clothing, being in the company of an unrelated male without a chaperone, dating, marrying a person deemed unacceptable or leaving an abusive, forced marriage. Women who commit such offenses are shunned, prompting murder as a response to defend family honor. As such, it is a purposeful, planned event often committed with the collusion of family members. Upon the completion, the murderer is celebrated and the victim promptly erased from memory.

Given these dramatic and irreconcilable differences between Western and Islamic beliefs, the quest by the Archbishop of Canterbury to identify a common ground of shared values is obviously a hollow and futile enterprise. While Western societies endeavor to accommodate to the demands of Muslim immigrants and cultivate interfaith understanding, Muslims are continually looking for ways to overcome the West.

Acceptance of sharia law is thus not a step in the direction of recognizing shared values. It is a step toward capitulation to Islam, the subjugation of women and the state of dhimmitude, or creation of minority and unequal status for non-Muslims. Instead of calling on Muslims to integrate into the mainstream of British society and for all UK citizens to follow the law of the land, Rowan Williams is wrong headedly suggesting that British citizens recognize and accommodate Islamic law. Already, Britain has accepted polygamy, halal meat in public schools and sharia finance. With honor killings, forced marriages and female genital mutilation rampant in the United Kingdom, the Archbishop should be speaking out about the preservation of cherished Western values of democracy and freedom.