Veiling Shari`a in a Judeo-Christian Cloak: Imam Ra'uf's and Muqtedar Khan's Latest Ruse





Timothy R. Furnish, Ph.D., is a recovering college professor and current writer, researcher and analyst specializing in Islamic history, sects, eschatology, ideology and Mahdism. He learned Arabic at taxpayers' expense while in the U.S. Army and, later, studied Farsi, Turkish and Ottoman while a doctoral student at Ohio State University. He blogs at Occidental Jihadist.

A current tactic favored by Muslim apologists is to posit perfect harmony between Islam and Western (particularly American) civilization,  or between Islam and the other two monotheistic faiths.  In an example of the former, last month Imam Feisal Abdul Ra’uf, mastermind of the Ground Zero/Cordoba/Park 51 mosque, gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in which he argued that “90 percent of Sharia [sic] law is fully compatible with…American laws.”  Exemplifying the latter, several months earlier the director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware, Muqtedar Khan, had published a blog article in the Washington Post claiming that “Sharia [Islamic law] is based on [the] Ten Commandments.”  Of the two claims,  the religious one is more insidious, and in fact the political one to a large extent derives from it—thus, ripping the veil off  shari`a’s alleged compatibility with Judeo-Christian teachings is the higher priority.

Khan was responding to a statement by former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin that American law “should be based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments.”  Since Americans “are beginning to think of Islamic religion as something to be feared and rejected,” thanks to “the profound ignorance about Islam among American politicians and commentators,” Khan believes we need to be reassured that shari`a is really just an Arabic version of the Decalogue—and, as such, compatible with American civilization.  Khan and Ra’uf are the latest, but by no means the only, North American Muslims to argue in this vein.  Robert Crane, a former Nixon administration advisor and convert to Islam, has argued Islamic law focuses like a laser beam on justice  and human rights more than any other belief system.  Anver Emon, a law professor at the University of Toronto, has written that sharia, properly understood and applied, is just as rational as Anglo-American Common Law.  And the University of Michigan’s Sherman Jackson, at a conference on “Re-thinking Jihad” (which I attended last year in Edinburgh, Scotland) contended  that “Islam is a religion of peace toward non-Muslims who do not harbor it ill-will”—taking this position from the influential, modern Sunni theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Khan makes the standard-issue academic charge that a negative view of Islam stems from ignorance;  but, if anything, uninformed Americans tend to err on the side of understating the Islamic basis of global violence.  Recent statements about jihad-means-never-having-to-say-holy-war by Obama administration officials are a case in point.  But despite such misinformation coming out of Washington, there are many good reasons to view mainstream Sunni Islamic teachings with a healthy dose of wariness.  Khan may chalk up Islam’s problems to just a few “egregious fatwas,” but even some Muslims are worried about the proliferation of them promoting violence.  Over half the world’s terrorist organizations (64, by one count) are Muslim—yet only two are Christian (and one is Jewish).  This despite the fact that Christians make up about one-third of the world’s population, far more than the one-fifth that is Muslim.  If there were truly nothing to “fear” or “reject” about Islam, why do so many terrorist groups claim that particular religion as their motivating ideology?

The first thing to note about alleged Decalogue-sharia parallelism is that the Qur’an lacks  any discrete, emphasized list of moral mandates analogous to that in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:1-21.  Khan has to ferret though at least a half-dozen suras (chapters) of the Qur’an to piece together the ayas (verses) allegedly corresponding to the Ten Commandments.  This cut-and-paste exegesis makes his claim suspect from the beginning—for if the Qur’an indeed stressed the same moral code, why is it presented so scattered and piecemeal?

There is no denying similarities between the Bible’s first four commandments (no gods but God, no idols, no taking His name in vain, a holy day for rest and worship) and some Qur’anic teachings.  Yet in his adduction of the alleged Qur’anic equivalents to the last five commandments Khan misleads so egregiously that he appears to be practicing taqiyya—intentional Islamic deception.  For example,  he claims that the “Quran forbids the taking of life except as justice for crimes.”  At the risk of sounding post-modern, if not downright Clintonian, “that depends on what the definition of ‘crimes,’ is.”  Suras 47:3 and 8:12 enjoin the beheading of  “those who blaspheme” in battle—and decapitation is normally fatal.  Sura 9:5 orders Muslims to “kill those who join other gods with God wherever you find them; seize, besiege, ambush them, unless they convert….”  And according to mainstream, Sunni literalist Islamnot merely “extremists”—Christians are often deemed such mushrikun  (polytheists) due to their Trinitarian doctrine, which holds that God is three Persons in One substance:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Khan himself implies this by saying that that Christians “often talk of God’s unity in terms of trinity and idols and images of Jesus and Mary; you will find none of Allah.”  (One wonders whether he is reassuring fundamentalist Sunni readers that he knows the real score with those heretical Christians.)  Also regarding Qur’anic crime and punishment, Sura 5:32ff states “the penalty  for those who war against God and his messenger [Muhammad] and spread fasâdân across the land shall be killing [by] crucifixion or cutting off alternate hands and feet or banishment.”  Fasâdân literally translates as  “corruption, depravity, immorality” and, while some Islamic commentators have equated this with homosexuality, it has also been interpreted  as simply “undermining Islamic law.”

Khan’s allegation that the Qur’an only allows killing “criminals” conveniently camouflages the reality that in many passages Islam’s holy book declares non-Muslims ipso facto guilty and deserving of death for any opposition to Islam—a verdict still in effect today, alas, in the minds of too many Muslims (and one which effectively demolishes the Jackson-Qaradwi myth of defensive jihad as the only allowable mode of Islamic violence).  Also, Khan’s claim that “Islam forbids unlawful sexual intercourse” just like the Decalogue is dishonest.  The Qur’an allows a man as many as four wives  (Surah 4:3)—which even Anver Emon concedes—as well as married women who have been taken as captives (Sura 4:24).  Yet despite the occasional toleration for polygyny in Old Testament times, it was not sanctioned by the Ten Commandments.

The last two commandments proscribe false testimony and coveting one’s neighbor’s belongings.  The very existence of a doctrine such as taqiyya, which allows Muslims to deceive non-Muslims, proves the incompability of sharia with the ninth commandment.  And permitting the seizing of married women as sexual property undermines both the spirit and letter of the tenth commandment, to put it mildly.  But it is in his risible assertion that the Qur’an “advocates repeatedly that Muslims must cherish and support their neighbors” that Khan is most untruthful, echoing Robert Crane in his loquacious apologias for Islam.  This is the same propaganda—“Islam teaches the Golden Rule”—repeated  by President Obama in his Cairo and Nobel acceptance speeches.  The Qur’an does teach love and respect for neighbors—justas long as they are MuslimsNo such toleration is mandated for followers of other religions.  If the aforementioned Qur’anic citations do not suffice to demonstrate this, look at Sura 3:28 (“let not believers [Muslims] take infidels for their friends rather than believers”),  3:118 (O believers! Do not become intimate with other than yourselves”),  and 48:29 (“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and his comrades are vehement against the infidels but full of tenderness among themselves”).  Those are not the same teachings as Jesus gave in Matthew 7:12: “in everything, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” 

Unquestionably, the Ten Commandments and Islamic sharia teach different moral codes in many important ways.  And what of that other section of the Bible, the one rather relevant to adherents of the world’s largest religion—the New Testament?  Muslim apologists and “ecumaniac” Christians love Khan’s claim that  “the message and the law revealed to Moses and Jesus was…the same as that revealed to Muhammad,” but the Christian scriptures, to borrow Sarah Palin’s recent neologism, “refudiate” that allegation.  The Islamic Jesus is contradicted not only by His own Gospel-recorded teachings, such as “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:38) and “he who lives by the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52), but by His entire life, death and, most importantly,  resurrection (Matthew 27:33-28:10; Mark 15:22-16:20; Luke 23:33-24:12; John 19:16-21:25)—clearly contra the Qur’an (sura 4:157).  Furthermore, unlike Muhammad who led armies in battle, married at least 11 wives (one of whom, Aisha, was only nine years old when the founder of Islam had sex with her) and ordered the slaughter of almost one thousand Jews who refused to convert to Islam, Jesus Christ was a lifelong celibate who eschewed political power and never hurt anyone (except for running a few loansharks out of the Temple courtyard).  Clearly, far from being compatible with American civilization, Muhammad’s shari`a is a sullen, hostile camel whose nose should not be allowed under our Judeo-Christian tent.  


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Fahrettin Tahir - 11/3/2010

Elliott

Turkish PM Erdogan thinks highly of poet Necip Fazil Kisakurek. Streets, schools and culture centers are named after him, a hero of the AKP.

This man thought Hitler had correctly analysed the Jewish problem and had started to do the right thing about it. He was critical of Hitler for not doing enough!


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/3/2010

Elliott

You are absolutely right about all you write.

My feeling is that the Western political establishment can not give up trying to use Islamists for their own political ends.

Each time they try they burn one more country.

Turkey and Israel are next.


Peter Saisee - 11/3/2010

Great article Dr Furnish and I have enjoyed the comments a lot and learned therefrom.
One thing: you mention one count of 64 Islamic Organisations or "over half the total".
I have recorded 91 Islamist terrorist organizations, 79% of All and 98% of religiously-based ones.
The numbers and PDF of the figures are here:
http://thebattleoftours.blogspot.com/2009/12/terrorist-organisations-list.html


Elliott Aron Green - 11/3/2010

NF,
In regard to Iran, it is known --and should be better known-- that Carter administration policy, directed by zbigniew brzezinski, helped Khomeini to get rid of the Shah and tried to prevent, apparently successfully, the Shah from suppressing Khomeini and pro-Khomaini movements. So Fahrettin is right about that, I believe.

Now some of the policy wackos in Washington are talking about supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, because it undeniably has broad support there. Therefore, the DC argument goes, supporting the MB would be supporting "democracy." Likewise, some of the DC wackos want to legitimize the Hamas, also in the name of "democracy," although reading the Hamas charter will show anyone with at least a moderate capacity for reading comprehension that Hamas is not only not democratic in any real sense [their position is humorously summarized as "one man, one vote, one time], but is genocidal in intention towards Jews [see Article 7]. Hamas also goes in for ripe and pungent European Judeophobic writings such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and its "Jewish conspiracy" claim. Yet Hamas has friends in DC. In Turkey, both the Bush and Obama administrations have been remarkably friendly towards the AKP Islamist party now in power, and seeking to suppress actual and potential opposition, including show trials. Fahrettin can tell me if I'm wrong. Although the AKP may represent a majority, it quite undemocratically suppresses its opposition, actual and potential, as said above. But DC doesn't seem to care. Obama's friend, Lee Hamilton, runs the partly federally funded Wilson Center in DC, which saw fit to give an award to Erdogan's foreign minister, Davutoglu, for exemplifying the values held high by the Wilson Center and supposedly by Woodrow Wilson.

So here we have the curious fact that Washington is sympathetic or indulgent toward Islamist movements: Khomeini's, the MB, Hamas, AKP, etc.
Who can explain this predilection?


Rick Johnson - 11/3/2010

So what? Just because their are other examples of the despicable practice that some how makes it right? Why do you think your allah allowed his prophet to rape that 9 year old child? Did allah think it was OK because other people did it too? Why did allah make alcohol haram but old men marrying and having sex with little children halal? Wouldn't you think that your allah would know better? Why did your allah make so many common and accepted practices of the day, haram, but somehow overlooked sex with 9 year old children? It doesn’t add up. Does it? Unless of course allah was just a creation of a wicked man used to justify his evil.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/3/2010

And India does not have to worry about being broken up to fulfil US and European interests.

Iraq, Sudan and Turkey are presently being broken up.

This is the type of policy which convinces people that the West is their enemy.

That is why you have to worry about Moslems.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/3/2010

Free trade imposed by Britain stopped Egypt, then under Albanian-Turkish rule and Ottoman industrialisation. With successful industrialization the discussions of reform would have become obsolete.

At the time of the Iran revolution the Shah was publicly complaining that the US prevented him from stopping the revolution. At that point it was US policy to support Islamists as a weapon against the USSR.

The Ayatollahs ended the Shah's industrialization effort.


Elliott Aron Green - 11/2/2010

NF, without getting into the heart of the discussion, here's a point where you may be supporting one of Fahrettin's arguments, though you may not be aware of it. He charges the British with squelching or ending industrial development in the Arab countries that they occupied. Then you mention how these fanatic preachers are given free rein on BBC.

One of them, I would add, is the hateful Yusef Qaradawi, a buddy at one time of Ken Livingston, the so-called Red Mayor of London. Now, al-Jazeera has a lot of British influence. Many of its Arab journalists were trained by the BBC and they were the core of the staff of al-Jazeera at the beginning. Further, while al-J has its broadcasting HQ in Qatar, its business and corporate HQ is supposed to be in London. Correct me if I'm wrong. If that is correct, then there would seem to be a big British input into al-Jazeera, into the broadcasting network that promotes Qaradawi and his ilk. So what is the British role vis-a-vis Islamic extremism?? Fahrettin may be right if he points his finger at British influence for aiding and promoting Islamic extremism.


N. Friedman - 11/2/2010

Fahrettin,

You write: "I am saying that the underdevelopment of the Arab world was a consequence of the failed Ottoman attempt at industrialisation."

That may well be the case. However, we have similar problems in Iran - although not as bad regarding industrialization as in the Arab regions. Today's Iran still does not even have sufficient competence to repair its oil fields (although, evidently, it is learning something about nuclear engineering - scary stuff, if the reports are correct).

When it comes to understanding the end game for the Ottoman Empire, I tend to rely on Bernard Lewis. He notes, rather sympathetically, efforts at modernization during the 19th Century and believes that, while at least some (if not many) in the upper echelons and below merely feigned interest in reform, more than enough members of the elite (among others) were serious enough about reform to support the view that the efforts at reform were genuine.

However, my recollection is that one thing the reforms definitely did, whatever their motivation, was to increase the power of the sultan, resulting in an increase in tyranny and oppression - hence, a great deal of dissatisfaction and other centripetal forces that undermined any sense of a national cohesion in favor of modernization (with non-Muslims wanting out of the empire, among other things). And, in areas apart from the Turkish center of the empire, there was also great resentment against elements of the reform which brought greater equality among the country's religions - which I think is an important point, since, just now, it is those who seek religious revival who are critiquing the the past of what was once part of the great Ottoman Empire.

I am not sure that Britain stopped the Egyptians from developing. In any event, the British have been out of Egypt for quite some time and, whether there or not, there appears to be limits to the capacity of Egypt to develop. My impressions is that the mindset of average people is simply not modern. In fact, I think that is the basic problem through the Arab lands.

For this last point, I note that many fascinating reports from and broadcasts translated by the MEMRI website from preachers who appear on stations like Al Jazeera. The discussions are amazingly often of a type which would make America's holy roller preachers blush in jealousy because it appears that the men of religion in Arab lands seem to play such an important public role (at least compared to the fairly religious US). And, to me, that is the problem in a nutshell - religion dominates to an extent that modern ways of thinking are forced to take a back seat.

One last point. I think trouble for the West - at least when it became obvious - began with the Iranian Revolution and what followed. That ought to have been the wake-up call that there were terrible troubles ahead.

As for India, you are certainly correct that it has a lot of internal bloodshed. However, for those of us who do not live in India, we do not have to worry that India (or, at least the Hindu population) plans to kill non-Indians. While that is small consolation, it is an important point. And, India does seem to be embracing modernity, albeit slowly.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/2/2010

As I wrote further above at that point in history a child marriage was not as unusual as it would be today. I gave examples of who else had such traditions.


Rick Johnson - 11/2/2010

"I guess this is what Dr. Furnish intends to tell people about the 1.5 billion Moslems"

Tell what? Can you be more clear? Are you referring to Aisha's narration in Sahih Bukhari? I'm the one who posted that. And I stand by what I said. I think all decent people would be revolted by a 53 year old man having sex with a 9 year old child. I can't imagine such an obvious mistake in such an important collection texts not to have been corrected, immediately, by “horrified” believers. Oh well.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/2/2010

I guess this is what Dr Furnish intends to tell people about the 1,5 billion Moslems.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/2/2010


Mr Friedman

my theory is more subte than that. I am saying that the underdevelopment of the Arab world was a consequence of the failed Ottoman attempt at industrialisation. This was the 1840ies. Part of my family was the upper class of Iraq, after we were gone, came the Saddams.

Turkey herself did quite fine after getting rid of the Romanov empire. Karl Marx says in one of his articles about the Crimean war that the pashas knew what to do if the Russians would let them. The Arab countries constructed by the British did not. They were not designed for success.

Egypt had been developing fantastically under Mehmet Ali Pasha earlier in the 19th century but that too the British ended.

The Us needs India and keeps praising her but that is the country where thousands of people die when they start fighting about temples. They might not be fighting the West but ...

I share your view that Islamists are not going to solve any problems. I also remember the 1970ies where the Soviets were trying to support Afghan modernization and the US used the opportunity to engage them in a war where Afghans were fighting to prevent their daughters from going to school.

Is that not the point where the shit started?


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/2/2010

D.
Dr. Furnish

I have no problem with secularism nor do I think that the USA should be Saudi Arabized.

My point was simply that you should not be rejecting immigrants attempts to integrate into the US heritage using similarities between Islam and US culture as a starting point.

A lot of the Islamic heritage is based on a. The Judeo Christian tradition and b. Roman law.

Christians won't come into Islamic countries? Does that include their armies? Are you for ending the Western policyof breaking up Sudan?


N. Friedman - 11/2/2010

Fahrettin,

Yours is all interesting and, at least on the surface (if not possibly deeper), a plausible theory.

Where I have trouble is that, for all that might be said about European exploitation of the region, the Turks pushed the Europeans out rather swiftly at the end of WWI and renegotiated the treaty ending the war. As you note, prior to WWI, the Ottoman Empire really was attempting to reform and did have some notable achievements. And, after WWI, Attaturk built what seemed, at the time, to be building a modern state. So, imperialism did not really disable the Turks.

In the Arab regions, the period of European colonization ended rather swiftly, all things considered. In fact, Europeans have not had the upper hand in a long time. And, the US, whatever else might be said, protect US interests but did not interfere in a manner that would keep a country from developing - otherwise, we would see South Korea, with large number of US forces in the country, also being a basket case like many of the Arab countries are.

In Elie Kedourie's fascinating work, Islam in the Modern World and Other Studies, there is a fascinating chapter about the impact of modernization which, in some ways, belies the Western imperialism theory. He notes that, whether in an area under European imperial influence or in satellite states where European imperial influence was not a factor, the same problems developed, with the traditional order breaking down due, rather than to imperialism, to the needs of modernity which the broke down traditional relationships between subjects and rulers so that subjects were treated like dirt - having no place to complain. Which is to say, much of what you might ascribe to Western imperialism was occurring anyway, and may, instead, be due to the needs of modernizing the political and economic order.

I am not all that persuaded, as you can see, by the imperialism theory. So far as I can tell, it is difficult to imagine a more exploited land than India - crown jewel of the British Empire, far more so than Arab lands or any primarily Muslim lands. Similarly, the imperial influence of the US on Central and South America has not produced anything like what comes out of the Islamic regions. Hence, similar forces - in fact, more intrusive forces outside of the Muslim regions - seem to lead in a different direction, suggesting that something else is at work in the Muslim regions.

Lastly and I repeat, this is not an attack on Islam. It is, instead, a statement that the Islamic revival movement, which aims to reclaim Islam's glory years and employs a strategy of radical violence is a disaster, and for many reasons. One, you are quite correct, is the scapegoating of Jews - a telltale sign of a truly dangerous movement.

Another, is the fact - and I think it is a fact - that, for our time, governing a modern land in accordance with Islam's traditional precepts and laws is an impossibility and can lead nowhere good.

And, last but not least, the movement is radically violent and will, unless it is ultimately crushed or otherwise loses its momentum and following, lead to death on a truly genocidal scale.


Rick Johnson - 11/1/2010

What insignificant stories? You mean stories about the false prophet? Do you mean the story about how the vile monster Muhammad? The perverted creep that married and raped a female child while at the age of 53? Is this the kind of man any halfway decent human being should revere?


Timothy Furnish - 11/1/2010

Fahrettin,
I nowhere said that Judaeo-Christian heritage was so "great"--but is IS our heritage, and I--along with the vast majority of my fellow citizens and co-religionists--do not want it Islamized. What is wrong with that? I'll make you a deal: Chrisitans won't come into Islamic countries and try to set up Christian laws, and Muslims do the same vis-a-vis the West.
Except...that's not what's happening, because Muslims ARE entering France, the UK, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Canada and the US demanding that their rights and laws be respected--but a parallel movement of Christians into the Islamic lands, demanding respect for Christian rights and laws, it NOT happening. And please don't try to adduce the examples of Iraq and Afghanistan--the U.S. is bending over backwards to respect Islam in those nations, in fact spending U.S. government money (probably in a violation of our Constitution) to build mosques and madrasahs.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/1/2010

Dr. Furnish

I do not want to excuse the local influences on the Islamist movement, not in the least. The actors are responsible for what they are doing and that is a lot of horrible stuff. None of what are doing will solve any real issues.

However being myself a part of the Ottoman experience I do not want to allow you to forget about the role Western countries played in the destruction of the Ottoman culture. It was the –intended and executed - destruction of this culture which made both the colonization of the Middle East and the disgusting stuff which followed possible. By the time the West acted as if it were withdrawing the ancient political culture had been replaced with lasting colonial structures. A Saddam would not have been possible the places had remained an Ottoman province. The Saudis would have kept wandering around in the desert, unhappy that the schools were teaching infidel stuff like physics, mathematics and languages. The oil revenue would have been used for social and industrial development. Even with no oil Turkey is more developed than any Arab country and Iran.

Let us remember the basic parameters:

The imperial Ottoman government, which was - read Toynbee – the government not of a colonial empire but a universal empire of all of its subjects, decided on a modernization program in the 19th century. Industrialization beginning in the 1840ies, democratization beginning in the 1850ies, abolishment of slavery 1847, equality of all subjects 1863, general elections 1876 was a formidable reform program.

Wars initiated by Russia bankrupted the Ottoman empire, genocide of the population of her most developed European provinces weakened her, free trade imposed by the English for the limited support they gave against Russia stopped industrialization. The demagoguery about the Turkish yoke made enemies of her peoples. Just as today with the PKK enjoying asylum in US-Iraq.

This was all necessary so that the Islamic world could be colonized enslaved and exploited. Nor is the process over, even yet. The war of the PKK and western support for the AKP are doing the same destruction of Ottoman culture in the core which had survived the imperialist onslaught thanks to Ataturk and his reforms.

This is happening because the Western countries are greedy for the assets Turkey kept in 1924 and the AKP is promising to give away what they are asking for. Cyprus, Kurdish provinces, the Aegean sea, Armenia. Read the euphoria in the Economist. Read the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung which keeps telling its readers the happy news that Turkey’s traditional Kemalist elite is happily being replaced by the Islamist parvenu. That is the destruction of Turkey, which had been their ally.

Anti-Semitism is replacing Kemalist nationalism which prevented giving away assets. “Let them hate the Jews as long as they give away Turkish assets.”

As for India:

Western countries in praising India tend to oversee the Naxalite movement, which is as horrible as anything the Islamists do. It does not hit Western institutions and as such is acceptable. Same for the Nepalese Maoists.


N. Friedman - 11/1/2010

Fahrettin,

You write: "If we want to analyse why some Islamic societies are still so backward we should not ignore the role Western imperialism is playing."

Western imperialism, whatever role it played and plays, is not the whole story or, I suspect, even the main story. In fact, I would think that the rise of the Islamist movement, as a religious revival movement, corresponds with the decline of Western influence in the Muslim regions.

Consider: the first generation of rulers as the West pulled out of, say, Arab countries were more or less Western in their mindset, if not in their policies. Not only did their remedies not work but, with the coming to age of the next generation of leaders, local influences (e.g. religion) came to the forefront. Hence, the rise of the Islamist movement. Which is to say, I think we are dealing with a religious revival movement which, if we go by history, can be a very violent thing. Think the Reformation and the violence that resulted.

At this point, Western imperialism is an excuse used by all movements in the Muslim regions for their remaining locked in Medieval thought patterns. Yet, similarly treated peoples in other parts of the world have not developed the equivalent of an Islamist movement.

For example, the entire Indian subcontinent may be poor and has a whole host of problems but, among that region's populations, it is only those of Muslim background who have a chip on their shoulders regarding not only their immediate predicament but about the whole world. Islamist terrorists from Pakistan, you will recall, not only stormed an Indian hotel, restaurants and a train station but sought out a Jewish center in Mumbai which, as we both know, has exactly nothing to do with any dispute between Pakistan and India (or between Hindus and Muslims) - and the terrorists, it has subsequently been learned, did not chose the Jewish center by accident but it was, in fact, among, if not the, the main target in the attack. That choice of targets tells me that the issue here is one of ideology - religious ideology, as it were -, not mere circumstance or opposition to imperialism.

This is not really so much a statement about the possibilities of Islam. On that point, your view that Islam is not alone in providing textual fodder for a lot of bad stuff has some merit. It is, however, a statement about today's Islam and what it means for Muslims and the world.

That religious ideology is not adequately explained as a reaction to imperialism - otherwise, we would see a lot of Hindus blowing up things all over the world. Which is to say, there are issues of religion involved. Again: Hindu Indians may attack Muslim Indians in India and vice versa. But, it is Muslim Indians who do not see fit to limit themselves to their immediate enemies, the Hindus, instead placing everyone else in danger as well. In simple words, Islamist ideology targets something far broader than anything explainable merely as a reaction to imperialism or, to be frank, a reaction to anything other than a drive for power, seemingly driven by religious ideology.


Rick Johnson - 11/1/2010

I did, but what has that got to do with what you said - "Nobody seriously sees age 9 as an example to be emulated"

Well, guess what? They do, and not just pedophiles, but islamic courts, as well. I'm glad you think that Muhammad's 7th century disgusting deeds are no guide for the future, though.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/1/2010

Rick,

please read the rest of what I wrote.


Rick Johnson - 11/1/2010

What are you talking about? There are lots of examples around the Islamic world where child brides are accepted, for example not too long ago in Saudi Arabia an 8 year old child was actually in court trying to divorce her 40 year old husband. And what a shocker, the judge sided with the 40 year old child molester. Don't let on that Muhammad's evil deed hasn't been repeated and accepted for centuries by Muslims that see him as the perfect man. Funny, how such an incredible mistake like Aisha being 9 years old at the time 53 year old Muhammad had sex with her could be overlooked, for centuries, without much fanfare in the Islamic world. And this “mistake” in their most reliable collection of hadiths. The scenario is so vile and sick one would think something would have been done about it very early on.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/1/2010

Dr Furnish

Your article quotes a Moslem immigrant in the US as finding the Islamic tradition compatible with your Judeo Christian heritage.

Your comment is that this is not the case, the US Judeo Christian heritage being so magnificent and the Islamic a camel. You use Mohammed's person as a prime example of what is wrong with the Islamic tradition.

I have been showing you what the real Judeo Christian tradition is. Child marriage which at that point Jews and Mohammed practiced is one example of compatibility.

That Jews have given it up, most Moslems never practiced it and some Moslems still practice it is not our starting point.

If we want to analyse why some Islamic societies are still so backward we should not ignore the role Western imperialism is playing.

In Turkey the West has made a war of the most backward corner, the Kurdish speaking provinces possible. The result has been the perpetration of the backwardness of this region.

Without that war they would have joined the rest of the country in economic and social development.

Read last weeks Economist, the voice of the British establishment, and you will see how happy they are in seeing the Islamis AKP replace the secularist establishment. By enormous economic support the Europeans have assured that an antisemitic Islamist movement has stabilized its rule and is now establishing authoritarian rule.

This is how imperialism has assured that the Middle East remains a backward place.

Look at what is happening today and forget the 7th century!


Timothy Furnish - 11/1/2010

Fahrettin: How many Jews today are practicing child marriage based on those rubrics? Any?
How many THOUSANDS, or TENS of THOUSANDS, Muslims, are doing it based on the example of the Islamic "prophet?"
You're fighting a losing battle on this point--but I suspect you know that.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/1/2010

Elliott

Ever heard of Farinelli? He was a castrato, castrated as a boy so he could sing well.

This practice was banned by the Italian state in 1861 and the papacy in 1903!

The World is far more barbaric that some people imagine.

So let us stop throwing stones and discuss how to live in peace.


Fahrettin Tahir - 11/1/2010

The following is from the Wikipedia:

Child marriage by religion
In Judaism

Main article: Child marriage in Judaism

Child marriage was possible in Judaism, due to the very low marriageable age for females. A ketannah (literally meaning little [one]) was any girl between the age of 3 years and that of 12 years plus one day; a ketannah was completely subject to her father's authority, and her father could arrange a marriage for her, whether she agreed to it or not. According to the Talmud, if the marriage did end (due to divorce or the husband's death), any further marriages were optional; the ketannah had the right to annul them. If the father was dead, or missing, the brothers of the ketannah, collectively, had the right to arrange a marriage for her, as had her mother, although in these situations a ketannah would always have the right to annul her marriage, even if it was the first."

As I wrote, if you want to create ethnic aversions you find something disgusting everyone does, then you start shouting "Look at what the Moslems are doing."


Timothy Furnish - 10/31/2010

No, I am not. But Ockham's Razor says that that is the most likely influence.


Fahrettin Tahir - 10/31/2010

And you are sure they would not without Mohammed?


Timothy Furnish - 10/31/2010

But it DOES have relevance--because thousands of Saudis, Afghanis, Pakistanis and other MUSLIMS practice such child marriage and justify it with the example of Muhammad. That is VERY relevant.


Fahrettin Tahir - 10/31/2010

I accept that he possibly did marry the girl at that age.

My points are

1. that marrying 9 year olds is nothing unusual in India and represents an old tradition which is strange for us in the West.

2. That islamist scholars deny the event demonstrating that they find it embarassing and as such not something to emulate

3. The episode while good for throwing mud has no relevance for the issues we are dealing with 1400 later


Elliott Aron Green - 10/31/2010

Fahrettin, the reason I mentioned castration --which was in fact practiced in other many societies, not only in Islamic societies-- is that American slavery was brought up. As far as I know, castration was not a regular or common practice in American slavery although may have been practiced in certain cases.


Timothy Furnish - 10/31/2010

Mr. Tahir,
Could you please cite one reputable "Islamic scholar" who has seriuosly presented a historical case that al-Buhkari was wrong about Aisha being 9 when Muhammad had sex with her?
Of course perverts are not limited to the Islamic world. But pedophiles who adduce the example of their religion's founder pretty much are. No one has ever cited any Christian sources on Jesus Christ to justify intercourse with a 9-yr. old girl.
/


Fahrettin Tahir - 10/31/2010

Elliott

Islamic scholar deny that Aishe was 9. They calculate higher ages, which might be acceptable.

Nobody seriously sees age 9 as an example to be emulated.

There are perverts of course but they are not limited to the islamic World.

You are right of course that Arabia of the 7th century is not the key to mankinds future.


Fahrettin Tahir - 10/31/2010

not discuting but disgusting.


Fahrettin Tahir - 10/31/2010

Elliott

Only the slaves working in the harem were castrated. The same thing happened in China well into the 20th century. Castration was also nothing unusual in West and (Christian) East Rome.

This discussion is a prime example of how to incite people to ethnic hatred.

You find something discusting everone does, then start shouting "look at what the Moslems are doing".

It also works with Christians or Jews orn anybody else.

The only Islamic countrie swhich still have slavery structures are the oil kingdoms invented by the British after WW I and kept going by US military aid.

Neither power cares about slavery as long as they are allowed to steal the oil.


N. Friedman - 10/31/2010

Elliott,

Slavery is never a good thing. The point, at least the one I was making, is that Islam regulated slavery, which tended to improve the lot of slaves comparatively speaking. That did not make slavery good, of course. And, in that Islamic law is generally considered inerrant and eternal, Islamic civilization still has difficulty ridding itself of the institution of slavery, which is not a good thing - and which helps explain why there is still slavery in some Islamic countries.


N. Friedman - 10/31/2010

Elliott,

Mohammad as the "example" is both good and bad. There is, so that we are clear, much that is rather good about Mohammad and in Islam. However, those who advocate use of that religion as a guide to operate a modern nation are pushing an anachronism which will lead nowhere.


Elliott Aron Green - 10/30/2010

In comparing Islamic with Western slavery, we might point out that slaves in the Islamic world were often castrated to produce eunuchs. This was done despite whatever the prospective eunuch might have wished. Some might argue that eunuchs could and did rise to high political and military posts, thus mitigating their involuntary castration. That is a matter of values of course, and of how one evaluates freedom, human dignity, etc.


Elliott Aron Green - 10/30/2010

NF, good point. The problem is that Muhammad is seen as an exemplar to be emulated by Muslims. Whatever the truth of the Muslim tradition's own account of Aisha and Muhammad, the fact that the tradition says that she was only nine at the time of marriage consummation encourages Muslim men to follow their prophet's example, as they believe it to have been.


Timothy Furnish - 10/29/2010

The key term here is "tried."


Fahrettin Tahir - 10/29/2010

Dr Furnish

You are proud of the Graeco Roman tradition which according to american political myths is one of the antecedents of the USA. Ancient Greece was a country of slave owners. Rome actually had the technology to start an industrial revolution but slavrey was cheaper.

Islam tried to limit the rights slave ownwers had and encouraged liberating the slaves. More can not be expected of a 7th century society.

The Caliphate abolished slavery earlier than the USA. In those parts of the Ottoman Empire controlled by the Ottoman governement that meant no more slaves.

By the 2nd half of the 19th century large parts of the empire were not under any control. There slavery might have continued. That would not change the moral principle that the leadership of Sunnitic Islam had abolished slavery.


Fahrettin Tahir - 10/29/2010

Dr Furnish

I just found that you were getting carried away when you claimed that sex, violence and power were non-American. The incarceration rate is in any society proportionla to the violence in that society. Mohammed was building an empire and that always necessitates violence and power.

His sexual preferences are an embarassment, as the poor Jews he murdered but are hardly significant for 21st century issues which should be in our focus.

Having 6 years old girls marry 90 year old men was (is?) not unusual in India and until recently the poor children were burned alive when the old guy kicked the bucket. An Asiatic tradition.

All nationalisms have their myths and te Judeo Christian tradition is an American myth. Ask the native Americans if what they went through had anything to do with a Judeo Christian tradition.

I happen to be a regular reader of the press of a Moslem nation, Turkey. Except for the occasional nut who will relate insignificant stories about the prophet events of the 7th century you make such a big deal of play no role whatsoever in their political thinking. Iraq is the big issue determining their thinking about the usa.


N. Friedman - 10/28/2010

I shall add it to my reading list. Thanks, as always.


Timothy Furnish - 10/28/2010

N.,
I've read that book, Ehud Toledano's book on the Ottoman slave trade is valuable, as well, Fahrettin seems blissfully (or perhaps intentionally) unaware of historical realities concerning Islam and the Ottomans.


N. Friedman - 10/28/2010

Tim,

I would highly recommend Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry, by Bernard Lewis. A few points, which I think are seminal to understanding the problems that plague Islamic civilization, are elucidated by the book, with reference to slavery.

Islam is properly understood, akin to Judaism, as a religion of laws (i.e. the Sharia law). That is both a good and a bad thing. With respect to slavery, the institution that existed over the centuries in Islamic countries was substantially regulated and softened by that religious law. Compared to other parts of the Medieval world and even, by the standards that existed in the US South before the Civil war, if one had to be a slave, one was comparatively fortunate (among the unfortunate, of course), to be a slave in a Muslim household.

The downside of having a religion guided by a law deemed perfect and unchanging - as Islam views its law - is that an institution like slavery remains something supported by that perfect and unchanging law. Hence, we have religious leaders in Islam who preach the moral and religious propriety of slavery. That, at this point, is unique to Islam.

Of course, slavery exists, at least in the background, in many parts of the world including even in the West - although, of course, it is illegal in the West. However, the main thrust of your point is correct.

In places like Sudan, the government and religious figures still advance the view that slavery is religiously proper, meaning that, unlike in the rest of the world where there are instances of slavery, slavery is an overt institution in places like Sudan.

If Islam is to enter the modern world, it needs to reject anachronisms that sanction things like slavery.


Timothy Furnish - 10/28/2010

Fahrettin,
Despite the fact that it is clear from your sarcasm that you do not really want answers, but are instead trying to score cheap debating points, I will nonetheless answer.
The Gospel records are as reliable as any from the ancient world from the Roman period. And they, as well as early Church tradition, clearly point out His celibacy. In fact, the historical records for Jesus Christ are far more trustworthy and complete than they are for that horny old goat that founded Islam.
I never said "the American way of life." I said "American civilization." While we are an officially secular state, nonetheless the underpinning philosophical weltanschauung of our civilization is undeniably Judaeo-Christian--emphasis on the "Christian." That does not mean we all wear a robe, sandals and sport a beard--it means that the teachings of Jesus, refracted through Graeco-Roman culture, are in large measure (but not in toto) the basis for American (stemming from European) laws and mores.
I don't understand what the incarceration rate in this country has to do with the Christian basis for our civilization. If you are arguing that imprisonment per se vitiates our Christian roots, I don't agree with that contention. If you are arguing that the crime rate in America vitiates our Christian roots, I would respond that, rather, that is the fault of getting AWAY from the following of Christian teachings among a segment of the population.
That "Lancet" article was long ago discredited. What will you cite next--Noam Chomsky?
And I never said that "never hurting anyone" was the "American way of life." Try reading what I wrote, Mr. Tahir, not the straw men that you wish to knock down.
And just for the sake of clarity: it's "Dr.," not "Mr."


Timothy Furnish - 10/28/2010

Fahrettin,
I'll throw that stone any day, and twice on Fridays. The Ottomans may have officially abolished slavery, but many humans were kept as slaves for decades aftewards. Furthermore, the slave trade was going on well into the 1880s--some twenty years after the American Civil War, and seventy+ years after the British began interdicting the Translatlantic slavey trade--from Sudan and other parts of Africa into the Islamic Middle East.
"Official" and "real" are two different things, Fahtrettin--you know that.
Plus, it is in the ISLAMIC world that slavery still exists in the modern world (Islamic Africa and Yemen, to name just two locales). Nowhere is it still practiced in the Christian world.


Fahrettin Tahir - 10/28/2010

Mr Furnish

Is Jesus led a celibate life (how do you know?) eschewed political power and never hurt anyone, what makes you think that is compatible with the American way of life?

We are talking of a country which has 2 million citizens in jail, more as a proportion of the population than any other country. There will be good reasons why they got locked up.

There was an estimate in the British medical magazine Lancet that the US Iraq invasion had cost 1 million Iraqi lives.

Never hurting anyone as the American way of life.

A very good joke!


Fahrettin Tahir - 10/28/2010

The Ottoman Empire, seat of the caliphate, abolished slavery in 1847, before the USA.

That is one stone Americans should not throw.

Slavery is the shame of mankind.


N. Friedman - 10/27/2010

Hi Tim,

The facts about Mohammad's life are not well known, at least if historical information is the basis. We have everything from Patricia Crone's thesis (i.e. that he is not from Arabia at all) to the sociological/historical thesis of Maxine Rodinson. The historic facts here are, as with those of Judaism and Christianity, more in the nature of symbolic histories and symbolic facts.

The facts and history that exist show that Muslims for a very long time have generally taken Aisha to have been 9 when she her marriage with Mohammad was consummated. The issue as to the morality of a thing in the context of Islamic interpretation goes by the "example" of the Prophet. Hence, if one wishes to change the mind of true believers, one needs to discredit what is purported to be the provenance of such aspects of his relationship with Aisha. That was my main point. In this regard, texts are facts. That, however, does not mean that the described events are facts.


Timothy Furnish - 10/27/2010

But N.--this is not a religious argument; rather, it is a historical one. The Muslim sources themselves maintain that Muhammad was a polygamist and that one of his wives was single-digits in years when...well, you know. And the inescapable fact is that many, if not most, men in the Islamic world today who take such "child-brides" justify it by appealing to the example of the their founder.


N. Friedman - 10/27/2010

Mr. Akhter,

Assuming that your version of Aisha is better than that of Mr. Furnish, it would make sense (a) for your version of history to be directed towards those who, on the basis of the ahaditha, permit the marriage of children and (b) that you also take on the the provenance of what appears in al-Bukhari.

For what it is worth, religion is not so much about history, fact and truth as it is about the symbolic history, symbolic fact and symbolic truth. Which is to say, while it seems logical to note - and, perhaps, is the case - that child brides were not the norm (or, as you would have it, there is no evidence to support that it existed) in pre-Islamic Arabia, symbolic history is not readily overcome with logic or facts.

I try to stay out of religious polemics. However, Islamic society surely would benefit from at least some things the West has to teach - religion not necessarily being one of them. Instead of moving in that direction, Islamic civilization seems bent on reviving an anachronism - even in places where tradition began to bend towards modernity, as in Turkey -, which is, I think, a dead end for Islamic civilization.


Peter Kovachev - 10/27/2010

Oh, and as if things aren't silly enough, the Sunni adore Aisha as the mother of all Muslims, whereas the Shia hate her, claiming, among other things, that she committed adultery. Iran even had to issue yet another fatwa with regards to this kerfaffle: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/news/experts-iran-fatwa-prophets-wife-will-not-bridge-sunni-shia-divide.

Both sides appear to have little issue her being nine ...either as a fact or as an ethical concern... when Mohammed "consumated" their marriage.


Peter Kovachev - 10/27/2010

"Narrated Aisha: The prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six. We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Harith Kharzraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, "Best wishes and Allah's blessing and a good luck." Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah's messenger came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age." (From the hadith of Bukhari, volume 5, #234)

"Aisha said, "The Apostle of Allah married me when I was seven years old." (The narrator Sulaiman said: "Or six years."). "He had intercourse with me when I was 9 years old."(From the hadith of the Sunan of Abu Dawud, volume 2, #2116)

"Girl divorces her 80-year-old husband: On April 23, 2010, The Telegraph, London, reported that, on the previous day a 12-year-old Saudi girl successfully won a divorce from her 80-year-old husband. The incident sparked wide uproar in Saudi Arabia to abolish the shameful tradition of child marriage. Many believe that it could prompt the Saudi Government to enact a new law fixing the minimum age for marriage for girls." ((http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36717454/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/)





Timothy Furnish - 10/26/2010

I meant Ibn Ishaq--apologies. Fatigue will do that.


Timothy Furnish - 10/26/2010

Actually, he did--according to the MUSLIM historian Ibn Hisham: Muhammad allowed “one of [their] own number,” one Sa`d bin Mu’adh, to pronounce judgment on them.His verdict: “the men should be killed, the property divided, and the women and children taken as captives.” The narrative continues:

Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina … and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches….There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900…. This went on until the apostle made an end of them.[…] Then the apostle divided the property, wives, and children of B. Qurayza among the Muslims….
(Abd al-Malik Ibn Hisham, Life of Muhammad. A Translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, Introduction and Notes by A. Guillaume (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1955), pp. 459-466.)
You might want to learn your own founder's history.


ayaub hussain akhter - 10/26/2010




Mohammad never ordered the slaughter of the Jews!!

http://www.mostmerciful.com/prejudiced-partial.htm


Timothy Furnish - 10/26/2010

All of your mind-numbing pretzel logic aside, al-Bukhari that great and renowned Muslim hadith compiler, says that Muhammad "consummated" the marriage to Aisha when she was 9: Volume 7, Book 62, Number 88:
Narrated 'Ursa:

The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with 'Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).



ayaub hussain akhter - 10/26/2010

What was Ayesha’s (ra) age at the time of her marriage?

It is normally believed that she was nine years old at the time of her marriage with Mohammad (sws) was consummated. I do think it was according to the traditions of the Arab culture, as otherwise people would have objected to this marriage. But unfortunately, the modern day man is not satisfied with an answer as simple as that.

Reply1

To begin with, I think it is the responsibility of all those who believe that marrying a girl as young as nine years old was an accepted norm of the Arab culture, to provide at least a few examples to substantiate their point of view. I have not yet been able to find a single dependable instance in the books of Arab history where a girl as young as nine years old was given away in marriage. Unless such examples are given, we do not have any reasonable grounds to believe that it really was an accepted norm.

In my opinion, the age of Ayesha (ra) has been grossly mis-reported in the ahadith. Not only that, I think that the narratives reporting this event are not only highly unreliable but also that on the basis of other historical data, the event reported, is quite an unlikely happening. Let us look at the issue from an objective stand point. My reservations in accepting the narratives, on the basis of which, Ayeshas (ra) age at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (pbuh) is held to be nine years are:

* Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah reporting on the authority of his father. An event as well known as the one being reported, should logically have been reported by more people than just one, two or three.

* It is quite strange that no one from Medinah, where Hisham ibn `urwah lived the first seventy one years of his life has narrated the event, even though in Medinah his pupils included people as well known as Malik ibn Anas. All the narratives of this event have been reported by narrators from Iraq, where Hisham is reported to have had shifted after living in Medinah for seventy one years.

* Tehzibu'l-tehzib, one of the most well known books on the life and reliability of the narrators of the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) reports that according to Yaqub ibn Shaibah: "narratives reported by Hisham are reliable except those that are reported through the people of Iraq". It further states that Malik ibn Anas objected on those narratives of Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)

* Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, another book on the narrators of the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) reports that when he was old, Hisham's memory suffered quite badly. (vol 4, pg 301 - 302)

* According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-tafseer) Ayesha (ra) is reported to have said that at the time Surah Al-Qamar, the 54th chapter of the Qur'an, was revealed, "I was a young girl". The 54th surah of the Qur'an was revealed nine years before Hijrah. According to this tradition, Ayesha (ra) had not only been born before the revelation of the referred surah, but was actually a young girl (jariyah), not an infant (sibyah) at that time. Obviously, if this narrative is held to be true, it is in clear contradiction with the narratives reported by Hisham ibn `urwah. I see absolutely no reason that after the comments of the experts on the narratives of Hisham ibn `urwah, why we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.

* According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.

* According to almost all the historians Asma (ra), the elder sister of Ayesha (ra) was ten years older than Ayesha (ra). It is reported in Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 hijrah she should have been 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrah. If Asma (ra) was 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrah, Ayesha (ra) should have been 17 or 18 years old at that time. Thus, Ayesha (ra), if she got married in 1 AH (after hijrah) or 2 AH, was between 18 to 20 years old at the time of her marriage.

* Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.

* According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before Umar ibn Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.

* Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and subsequently his son divorced Ayesha (ra). Now, if Ayesha (ra) was only seven years old at the time of her marriage, she could not have been born at the time Abu Bakr decided on migrating to Habshah. On the basis of this report it seems only reasonable to assume that Ayesha (ra) had not only been born 8 years before hijrah, but was also a young lady, quite prepared for marriage.

* According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (ra) came to the Prophet (pbuh) advising him to marry again, the Prophet (pbuh) asked her regarding the choices she had in her mind. Khaulah said: "You can marry a virgin (bikr) or a woman who has already been married (thayyib)". When the Prophet (pbuh) asked about who the virgin was, Khaulah proposed Ayesha's (ra) name. All those who know the Arabic language, are aware that the word "bikr" in the Arabic language is not used for an immature nine year old girl. The correct word for a young playful girl, as stated earlier is "Jariyah". "Bikr" on the other hand, is used for an unmarried lady, and obviously a nine year old is not a "lady".

* According to Ibn Hajar, Fatimah (ra) was five years older than Ayesha (ra). Fatimah (ra) is reported to have been born when the Prophet (pbuh) was 35 years old. Thus, even if this information is taken to be correct, Ayesha (ra) could by no means be less than 14 years old at the time of hijrah, and 15 or 16 years old at the time of her marriage.



These are some of the major points that go against accepting the commonly known narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage.

In my opinion, neither was it an Arab tradition to give away girls in marriage at an age as young as nine or ten years, nor did the Prophet (pbuh) marry Ayesha (ra) at such a young age. The people of Arabia did not object to this marriage, because it never happened in the manner it has been narrated.

I hope I have been of some help.


Timothy Furnish - 10/26/2010

I most certainly did address your points--and as for my credentials, YOU questioned them, which is why I responded as I did. Your ability to obfuscate and twist is indeed admirable.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/26/2010

Tim
You fail to address my points and choose instead, for starters, to brandish and herald your " scholarship".
But that is something that degrees do not make but objective, honest, impartial and non selective reporting of research results does.
That is,sadly, ALWAYS lacking in your output.

Specifically:
1-That hadith I reported, that you neither confirm, dispute nor negate, established the principle of racial equality in Islam from day one of its inception whether you agree or, for your own purposes, do not!

2-Freedom of worship for "People of the Book” and the injunction against any coercion in matters of religious affiliation and practices abound in both the Koran and the hadith.
You are supposed to be familiar with that with your degree.

3-The subject of the article was the Sharia , i.e. the multitude of laws, injunctions, etc as revealed in Islam, the doctrine, the religion itself (per se), and NOT whether they were scrupulously practiced or not.

It was about the doctrine, the religion of Islam, NOT its historical application/implementation and observance at different eras of Islamic rule.
(You would know that they were during the era of al Khalafa Al Rashidin !)

You chose the easy and unprincipled way out by referring to its application and observance not the precepts of the doctrine as revealed and as taught and practiced by the Prophet (al sira).

In doing that you consciously ignored and chose to side step my point and the questions addressed to you; namely:
“Generally do the acts of a number of people against the ordinances of their religion efface or negate those ordinances or imply that their behavior is condoned by their religion?
Were American GIs at Abu Ghraib implementing Christian principles?
Can we, based on their behaviour, accuse Christianity of allowing or condoning torture and criminality?

Tim you should know better than to equate the acts of some with the precepts and teachings of a doctrine or a religion or one would equate the Holocaust with Christianity! “

****Last but not least you write:
“I never wrote that "American laws are the standard by which to to evaluate other legal systems." It was Ra'uf and Khan who claimed that sharia was/is compatible with our laws and with the Bible. “
Which is something I never claimed you did as you imply!
Had you read carefully what I said on that ; which is”
“However the height of absurdity is to
CLAIM or DENY
(claim or deny) that "Sharia is compatible with American laws ” for that would presume that American Laws are the standard by which to evaluate other legal systems !! “

Had you read these words carefully You would have noticed that neither claims nor denials of that proposition, no matter where they emanate from, are of interest to me !.
That sentence was hardly addressed to you, if anything at all it is addressed to all those who claim it, including Ra'uf and Khan, as much as those who deny it.

You chose instead to erect a chimera edifice of your own making, by implying that I did, then demolish it with your heroic but pointless, fatuous and irrelevant assertion of:
” Omar, IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA OUR LAWS ARE THE STANDARD “.

Hardly scholarly behavior!


Timothy Furnish - 10/26/2010

Omar,
As for my "presumed expert on Islam" status, you are free to take issue with the Board of Regents of the Ohio State University, which granted me a doctorate in Islamic history after 9 years of study. The fact that I take positions which you dislike does not mean I'm ignorant; in fact, just the opposite might be the case.
Now, you made the sweeping claim that "racial equality in Islam is...15 centuries old." My reason for undermining that expansive claim was to point out that there the reality of Islamic theological, social and political history is far different from this idealized racial nirvana you posit.
As for your claim that "as old in Islam is the freedom of worship and right to practice one's non Muslim religion unhindered and unmolested..."--that would be news to the Christians and Jews of Middle East and North Africa who, post-Muslims conquest, were not allowed to build new synagogues or churches, proselytize or rise above certain levels in the government or military because of their "back of the bus" dhimmi status. Do you know nothing of Islamic history?
I never wrote that "American laws are the standard by which to to evaluate other legal systems." It was Ra'uf and Khan who claimed that sharia was/is compatible with our laws and with the Bible. I simply deconstructed that absurd claim. And yes, Omar, IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA OUR LAWS ARE THE STANDARD--and as an American I have problems with Muslims who come into our nation and try to implement sharia. Frankly, they can take it back where they came from. It's not going to happen on my watch.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/26/2010

Despite his unadulterated anti Islam bigotry R. Craigen ( Nature of Sharia (#145595) on October 25, 2010 at 1:07 PM ) has an interesting and relevant question:

" What does sharia say about the seat of executive power? "

The issue of executive power of non Moslems in a Moslem, or Islamist?, state has been the subject of intensive theological/political debate recently among the more note worthy and influential contemporary Islamist thinkers (Fahmi Hueidi, M S Awa, Tarik Bushari etc).
A consensus seems to be emerging that in an Islamic state ALL positions of Legislative, Executive and Judicial power are, or should be, open to all citizens of a Moslem state irrespective of their religious affiliation EXCEPT that of Calipha (literally = Successor to Mohamed) who by definition has a dual, religious and mundane, authority .

With a religious role to play it is only understandable that the Calipha should be a Moslem in a Moslem state!

Those in the know, and with the good will to seek knowledge from its legitimate objective sources, would know, or should recall, that only recently this particular issue was a major source of agreement and dissention in the Moslem Brotherhood, the foremost Sunni organization, with a very sizable faction opting for the above "demarcation" of power in a Moslem state.

The question, to the best of my knowledge, is still unresolved but the above seems to be the emerging consensus.
I contend that it will soon become the unanimous consensus in an intelligent application of the Prophet’s injunction “ Antum alam bi shoun dunyakum” ( You Moslems would know better the exegesis/demands/requirements of your dunya; where dunya denotes both TIME and PLACE)


omar ibrahim baker - 10/26/2010

Tim
As a presumed expert on Islam you are supposed to know that the basic principle re racial equality in Islam is established in the hadith " La karamata li Arabi alla ajami ila bil takwa" (piety is the only advantage an Arab can ever have over a non Arab); also that the Prophet had among his "sahaba" (disciples/friends) men of colour(=Bilal)and that men of colour often assumed positions of trust and responsibility unhindered by their colour.

Historically some Moslems did, as in most nations at the time, actually engage in slave trade but that was their personal anti Islamic teachings behavior.
Generally do the acts of a number of people against the ordinances of their religion efface or negate those ordinances or imply that their behavior is condoned by their religion?
Were American GIs at Abu Ghraib implementing Christian principles?
Can we, based on their behaviour, accuse Christianity of allowing or condoning torture and criminality?

Tim you should know better than to equate the acts of some with the precepts and teachings of a doctrine or a religion or one would equate the Holocaust with Christianity!
However that your blind bigotry over rides your "scholarship" does NOT surprise me.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/26/2010

Tim
As a presumed expert on Islam you are supposed to know that the basic principle re racial equality in Islam was established in the hadith " La karamata li Arabi alla ajami ila bil takwa" (piety is the only advantage an Arab can ever have over a non Arab); also that the Prophet had among his "sahaba" (disciples/friends) men of colour(=Bilal)and that men of colour often assumed positions of trust and responsibility unhindered by their colour.

Historically some Moslems did, as with most nations at the time, actually engage in slave trade but that was their personal anti Islamic teachings behavior.
Generally do the acts of a number of people against the ordinances of their religion efface or negate those ordinances or imply that their behavior is condoned by their religion?

Were American GIs at Abu Ghraib implementing Christian principles?
Can we, based on their behaviour, accuse Christianity of allowing or condoning torture and criminality?

Tim you should know better than to equate the acts of some with the precepts and teachings of a doctrine or a religion or one would equate the Holocaust with Christianity!

However that your blind bigotry over rides your "scholarship" does NOT surprise me.


R. Craigen - 10/26/2010

I have to strain to see your point, Mr. Green, it strikes me as quite a digression.

I did not assert that Palestine is mentioned by name in the NT. I merely used the word to refer to a geographic region in terms that should be understandable to modern readers with no background (how many of those unfamiliar with the text would understand a reference to "Judea"? While the story may have been told in Judea it specifically referenced an inhabitant of Samaria, and Luke locates its telling somewhere in transit from Galilee to Judea, most likely in Samaria. So on technical terms a more encompassing location is more appropriate).

The geographic label has no bearing on the point I elicited from the text. I suspect you're chafing at the term because of its contemporary political meaning, but "Palestine" as an identifiable geographical region predates even the NT, and I do not see how use of the reference "first century Palestine" could be conflated (if that is what you're doing) with current political discourse about so-called "Palestinians", most of whose anscestors, at the time of Christ, lived nowhere near that region.

In any case I'm sure you will recognize that in addition to occupying a central place in Christian thought this particular parable comes out of the pharasaic rabbinical tradition -- it would have struck a chord in Jesus' audience because it resonated within that heritage (in terms of his basic theology and discourse it is generally recognized that Jesus worked mainly within the tradition of the pharisees, aside from a few distinctives, not the least of which was his spectacular claims about himself and his mission).

My point is that completely generalized love of neighbor is fundamental to both Christian and Judaic tradition, but foreign to Islamic foundational texts, particularly those of sharia.

Note Omar's unwillingness to address specifics about Sharia here -- which really is the central point of this discussion. He seems focussed on discussing executive power of near east states at a time when the Islamist movement was at its nadir, christian subpopulations were less beaten down than they are today (in some regions they were dominant), and Western sensibilities had more influence in civic governance through fading influence of colonial powers and the European mandates following the collapse of the Ottoman empire. To pretend that this somehow illustrates pluralism in "Islam" is patent nonsense.


Timothy Furnish - 10/26/2010

Elliott,
Good point: the defining criterion was Muslim, good; kaffir, bad--and so enslavable.
But for all the vaunted and bally-hooed "equality," black Muslims were (and still are) looked down upon by many of those with less melanin.


Ellliott Aron Green - 10/25/2010

RC, if you go back to the NT, you will see that it never uses the name "palestine." Matthew, chapter 2, uses the name "Land of Israel" twice. Some verses in Acts & Luke use Judea to refer to the whole country, which was Greek & Roman usage. Others use Judea just for the southern part of the country, which was based on the Jewish usage of Erets Yehudah, Land of Judah.


Ellliott Aron Green - 10/25/2010

Tim, Omar is right in a way about racial equality. After all, Muslims are equal opportunity enslavers. They took white slaves too. Anybody who was not Muslim could be a slave. And sometimes black Muslims too.

As old in Islam is the freedom of worship and the right to practice one's, non Moslem, religion unhindered and unmolested unlike ....

Of course, Omar, as long as non-Muslims paid the jizya they could have freedom of worship. Otherwise, off with their heads.

Yes, there was a Kafir prime minister in Egypt back in the 1920s and one in Syria in the 1940s. And since then??


Timothy Furnish - 10/25/2010

Omar,
What are you talking about "racial equality in Islam." The Muslim Arabs began the trans-Saharan slave trade in the medieval period, enslaving black Africans long before the Portuguese ever showed up. AND the Islamic slave trade in blacks continued long after the British ended such in 1807.
Furthermore, the "myth" of Islamic racial "equality" is just that: I have lost count of how many times I've read, and heard, Turks denigrate Arabs, Arabs denigrate Africans and Iranian denigrate everyone.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/25/2010

"Islam neither needs nor seeks to gain favor or acceptance by anybody or nation or faith! It stands deeply rooted, totally convincing, intrinsically acceptable and satisfying, self assured, proud and unassailable where that really counts: with Moslems and in Islamdom "

None of that means "that Islam/Sharia is the
perfect
and
most pleasing
system. “
It simply means what it says .

Interestingly you do NOT dispute that :
1-...that Egypt and Syria had Christian Prime Ministers ( the real seats of executive power), Butros Ghali in the 1920s and Faris Khoury in the 1940s respectively , much before the USA ever had a Catholic President !

2-Racial equality in Islam is something like 15 centuries old, actually as old as Islam, while in the USA is less than one century (+/-) old !

3-As old in Islam is the freedom of worship and the right to practice one's, non Moslem, religion unhindered and unmolested unlike ....

4-Up to this very day in the US of A non Americans, all Moslems, in Guantanamo are denied the same legal due process of law afforded non Moslems, all Americans, accused of the same crime!

5-However the height of absurdity is to claim or deny that "Sharia is compatible with American laws ” for that would presume that American Laws are the standard by which to evaluate other legal systems !!




R. Craigen - 10/25/2010

Chapter and verse? Apparently Omar is unable to recognizing my paraphrase of his ode,

Islam neither needs nor seeks to gain favor or acceptance by anybody or nation or faith! It stands deeply rooted, totally convincing, intrinsically acceptable and satisfying, self assured, proud and unassailable where that really counts: with Moslems and in Islamdom!

Interesting examples, Egypt and Syria. Pray tell, Omar, do you have examples of actual Sharia states in which Christians and Jews have been elevated to power? I note how quickly you shift away from discussion of Sharia to abstract, fuzzily-defined "Islam". But Egypt's current constitution stipulates that no law can be made that contradicts sharia.

What does sharia say about the seat of executive power? First, "Prime Minister" and so on are not recognized as categories of political power under sharia. This alone tells us that Egypt is a hybrid state -- until the Muslim Brotherhood or similar islamists come to power. Then there will be no office of Prime minister and examples like Omar's are rendered moot.

Indeed, the only reason such examples exist is because sharia in such places has been compromised by some influence of western civil structure. Judging from our prior conversations, I'll wager that Omar considers such compromise "unjust" and would desire REAL sharia to be fully implemented in these lands.

The leader of a sharia-compliant state is the caliph, who cannot be anything but a muslim. Chapter and verse:
The obligatory character of the caliphate
... The investiture of someone from the Islamic Nation (Umma) able to fulfill the
duties of the caliphate is obligatory by scholarly consensus ... (9.25.1)

Qualifications of a caliph
... the qualifications of the caliph are
that he be:
(a)Muslim, so that he may see to the best interests of Islam and the Muslims: it being invalid to appoint a non-Muslim. It being invalid to appoint a non-Muslim (kafir) to authority, even to rule non-Muslims ... If the caliph becomes a non-Muslim ... it becomes
obligatory for Muslims to rise against him if possible, remove him from office, and
install an upright leader in his place ... [it] is obligatory on any group who can remove him to do so. (9.25.3)

There is much more, of course, but I won't quote the entire 800 page manual here. The source quoted is Reliance of the Traveller, Um dat al Salik, which has received the imprimatur of the scholars of Egypt's Al Azhar university, the highest authorities in Sunni Islam.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/25/2010

Ignorance is a bane BUT worst still is fabrication.
RE the former it takes a non ignorant to know that Egypt and Syria had Christian Prime Ministers ( the real seats of executive power), Butros Ghali in the 1920s and Faris Khoury in the 1940s respectively , much before the USA ever had a Catholic President !

Racial equality in Islam is something like 15 centuries old, actually as old as Islam, while in the USA is less than one century (+/-) old !

As old in Islam is the freedom of worship and the right to practice one's, non Moslem, religion unhindered and unmolested unlike ....

Up to this very day in the US of A non Americans, all Moslems, in Guantanamo are denied the same legal due process of law afforded non Moslems, all Americans, accused of the same crime!

One can go on indefinitely like that but that would be as childish as the argument of " my father is stronger than your father" of elementary schools play yards.

However the height of absurdity is to claim or deny that "Sharia is compatible with American laws ” for that would presume that American Laws are the standard by which to evaluate other legal systems !!
Ignorance can be tolerated and allowed for but fabrication can NOT .

Where ever did he “..see our friend Omar is back ….making his tired argument that Islam/Sharia is the perfect and most pleasing system. “
which would be the childish rehash of that famous elementary schools argument??
Pray indicate chapter and verse!

Unlike ignorance fabrication is not pardonable!


R. Craigen - 10/25/2010

Regarding your observation, "The Qur’an does teach love and respect for neighbors—just as long as they are Muslims! No such toleration is mandated for followers of other religions.", Tim:

I fully agree with the case of Sina which you cite, pertaining to the golden rule, but I think the point can be sharpened further by considering the exact thrust of Jesus' best known teaching on love of neighbor, the parable of the Good Samaritan, which bears repeating in full here:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coinse and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37, NIV)

It is no accident that Jesus made a Samaritan the hero of this story, and the point is easily missed by one unschooled in the culture of first century Palestine.

For the Samaritans were most reviled and despised among the Jews, for religious reasons. They were considered unclean: to even touch a Samaritan would leave one ceremonially defiled. Yet it was the Samaritan who proved to be "neighbor" to the victim -- evidently a Jew. This story is not told against Jews, as might be supposed on first reading. It is to support a universal proposition that the very one whom you consider an inferior religious outsider is the one who may prove neighbor to you.

Further, as Jesus commands his Jewish listeners to do as the Samaritan in the story did, it presses the point futher: not only should you love your neighbors when you are part of the dominant culture and the neighbor is a hated minority, but you must also do so when you are a member of the hated religious minority and your neighbor is a member of the dominant group.

This is, of course, not merely incompatible with Mohammad's notion of loving one's neighbor -- it is diametrically opposed to it. This cannot be emphasized strongly enough.

Now I want to point out that many muslims, even in muslim-majority countries, follow Jesus' instructions here. I can think of many examples (unfortunately they are in the minority of examples of Muslim behavior toward nonmuslims that come to mind.) I regard such muslims as true heros. For they not only behave according to the high JudeoChristian standard, they do so in violation of their own Islamic principle, sometimes called "al Wala wal Bara" -- love (of the islamic) and hatred (of the non-Islamic).


R. Craigen - 10/25/2010

I've stopped being particularly interested in the specifics of Sharia insofar as proving something about the system of law, because the response is always "Oh, you're cherrypicking -- MOST of sharia is not like that". Well, indeed, MOST of sharia IS like that, but how to induce these idiots to actually read enough of it to be convinced?

Rauf's remark, “90 percent of Sharia [sic] law is fully compatible with…American laws.” is easy enough to sustain in the face of such willful ignorance.

But from my reading of Sharia I have discovered a much easier path to understanding why it is incompatible, which might provide a more succinct answer to fatuous claims like that of Imam Rauf.

For perhaps the most salient and prevailing aspect of sharia is that it divides people into religious groups and doles out judgements according to their membership in those groups. Muslim? Christian? Jew? Polytheist? Athiest? This all determines how you are treated under Sharia. It's easy enough to establish, just flip one of the standard Sharia references (like the one I generally use, Um dat al-Salik) open at random and begin reading. Repeat as necessary.

This characteristic of Sharia, of course, flies in the face of all Western legal tradition and is fundamentally incompatible with the basis of U.S. Law, namely that (a la Jefferson) "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their maker with certain inalienable rights..." Not "One law for me, but another for thee" as you have in any place where Sharia is enacted.

This is, for example, why a person in a land where Sharia dominates carries an identification card specifying their religion -- this information determines their legal status. On the other hand, equality of rights in the west is precisely why it is ILLEGAL for (for example) employers to ask what religion you are: It is not legal for them, except in very specific circumstances (such as employment in a religious institution) to treat people of different religions differentially, a principle enshrined in our very constitutions.

I remember laughing when an islamist friend described his home country (which I won't name here) as being more religiously tolerant because its parliament had special seats reserved for the Christian and Jewish minorities. Actually that proves how backward and discriminatory the nation is, because it does not permit Christians and Jews to participate in the general political process as members-at-large, but only within a special, prescribed category. It is just another extension of the same principle as we see at work in Sharia.

I see our friend Omar is back (and a cheery salaam to you Mr. Baker!) making his tired argument that Islam/Sharia is the perfect and most pleasing system. Well, I suppose if one feels that a brutal and oppressive hegemony of one group over all others, with harsh, medieval penalties for minor crimes even for its own group (and worse for others) is "perfect and pleasing", well...whatever floats your boat.

But don't bring it over here. It's not compatible with western liberal tradition. Not 90%, not 10%. Because its very foundation is inextricably discriminatory, it is not compatible at all.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/25/2010

If Rauf's and Khan's calls are meant as an attempt by some leading American Islamists to ingratiate their faith and their community with the American public of Christians and Jews , then I will join Furnish in denouncing it or at least separate myself from it!

Islam neither needs nor seeks to gain favor or acceptance by anybody or nation or faith!
It stands deeply rooted, totally convincing,intrinsically acceptable and satisfying, self assured, proud and unassailable where that really counts: with Moslems and in Islamdom!

However if their efforts are meant as an attempt to high light and stress that which is common between all three monotheistic faiths then I would support it as a constructive, and enlighted, effort to achieve minimal meeting grounds where people of different confessional allegiances are bound to co exist and interact as equal citizens as in, inter alia, the USA and most Arab countries where Moslems and Christians, but sadly , few Jews live are bounf to co exist in mutual respect!

As is always the case with Furnish, Pipes and Co the real issue is the presence or absence of good faith in receiving and interpreting what comes from Moslems

Moslems and Islamists will nevertheless continue their unremitting efforts to enlighten non Moslems about Islam in full confidence that their majority will receive and interpret it in good faith for what it really is particularly now that the political implications, mainly Zionist/Israeli profiteering, of the rabid campaign to which Islam has been subjected for the last few decades is being progressively unveiled.

Ultimately it makes little difference what Furnish, Pipes & Co believe or say or preach!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/25/2010

If Ra'uf's and Khan's calls are meant as an attempt by some leading American Islamists as an attempt to ingratiate their faith and their community with the general American public of Jews and Christians , then I will join Furnish in denouncing it or at least separate myself from it!

Islam neither needs nor seeks to gain favor or acceptance by anybody or nation or faith!
It stands deeply rooted, totally convincing, intrinsically acceptable and satisfying, self assured, proud and unassailable where that really counts: with Moslems and in Islamdom!

However if their efforts are meant as an attempt to high light and stress that which is common between all three monotheistic faiths then I would support it as a constructive, and enlighted, effort to achieve minimal meeting grounds where people of different confessional allegiances are bound to co exist and interact as equal citizens as in, inter alia, the USA and most Arab countries where Moslems and Christians, but sadly , few Jews live!
As is always the case with Furnish, Pipes and Co the real issue is the presence or absence of good faith in receiving and interpreting what comes from Moslems .
Moslems and Islamists will nevertheless continue their unremitting efforts to enlighten non Moslems about the real Islam in full confidence that their majority will receive and interpret it in good faith for what it really is particularly now that the political implications, mainly Zionist/Israeli profiteering, of the rabid campaign to which Islam has been subjected for the last few decades is being progressively unveiled.

Ultimately it makes little difference what Furnish, Pipes & Co believe or say or preach!

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