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What are we to make of the “Imam of Peace”?

I first became aware of Imam Tawhidi aka the “Imam of Peace” when his tweets started to show up in my Twitter timeline. His views – for a Muslim – are a little unorthodox. To say the least. He believes in democracy, religious tolerance and rights for women and gays. He also claims to have received death threats for his troubles.

This sort of thing makes me suspicious. For starters, all sorts of dubious characters claim to have received death threats. But the bigger problem is with Islam. Most strands of the religion – even the ones at war with one another – agree on the nasty stuff: jihad, beheadings, treating women as property, banning anything resembling art, thought or fun. Just about everyone who has looked at Islam with an open mind has reached the same conclusion. The only, unequivocally civilised Muslim sect is the Ahmadis. They go to the extraordinary length of creating their own Messiah in order to rid themselves of the unpalatable aspects of Islam. As such one could argue that they are no more Muslims than Christians are Jews.

So how does Tawhidi manage to square Islam and civilisation? Mainly by separating the Koran from “interpretations” of the Koran. Here are a few quotes from a recent interview with Brittany Pettibone:

They [the ones who come up with these interpretations] are not scholars they are ideological terrorists.

I want to be very flexible with how I deal with some of the interpretations [of the Koran]. I can ban some of them. I can de-register some of them from the state libraries and universities…

…even have them [interpretations] banned when they are being shipped into the West.

The last two may not sound very liberal but freedom of religion is a very recent phenomenon in the West and only came about when the various Christian denominations for the most part stopped dabbling in politics. Up until about 1750 rulers were very clear that religious dissent had to be kept under control.

He makes one concession:

I wouldn’t say they [the interpretations] were wrong. I would say they were right and they were suitable for a specific era.

Now, at this point you might be thinking he’s going soft. Not a bit of it:

Everyone killing is a Muslim.

I don’t want to ban the Koran but…

He goes on to state quite explicitly that Western countries should ban further Muslim immigration and have no compunction about deporting anyone thinking of indulging in Jihad. I really can’t see how you can be in favour of things like that and be some sort of jihadi fifth columnist. Tawhidi is the real thing.

That’s quite a crescent to bear

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64 comments to What are we to make of the “Imam of Peace”?

  • It has been said often that what Islam needs is a Muslim Martin Luther to kick start the Islamic version of the Protestant Reformation. Several hundred years late I suppose, but better late than never.

    The problem with all of this is up until our own reformation by Martin Luther, the bible was solely the preserve of priests, written in a language that the common folk couldn’t understand and thus couldn’t read and whilst there might be a certain beauty to the Latin Mass, most commoners just followed it by rote.

    With the introduction by Martin Luther of the concept of Sola Fide (faith alone), each person is able to cast aside the structure and corruption of the Catholic church with its requirement for priests as the sole intermediary between themselves and god and replaces this with a personal and direct relationship, guided by biblical teachings (hence a personal interpretation of the bible which is written in their own language) and Christ as personal saviour.

    Once you discard the need for priestly intercession you also undermine much that goes with it, including all of the ordinances and prescribed punishments of the Catholic church. As a Protestant the main requirement for salvation is sincere repentance through which Christ will absolve you and wash away your sins.

    Where all of this differs from Islam is that it is an article of the Islamic faith that the Qu’ran is the literal word of Allah as transcribed by the prophet Mohammed.

    Thus a literalist view is taken as opposed to the interpretative view (however narrow) that most Christian religions take.

    It also explains why the various main Muslim sects have been at each others throats for centuries over what most Westerners would say are minor differences in interpretation.

    The Ahmadis have been down a similar road already for something like 150 years and despite numbering in the tens of millions and attempting to simply practice a peaceful version of Islam, they are denounced as heretics or non-Muslims and persecuted by other Muslims across the world, even here in sunny Scotland.

    I wish Imam Tawhidi good luck on his spiritual journey, but I suspect that even if he is successful, all he will do is create yet another branch of Islam deemed heretical and persecuted by the rest.

  • Jacob

    How many followers (divisions) does this imam have?

  • Pat

    I suspect Islam will, over generations, fracture far further than it has already. As Muslims learn to read and gain access to copies of their religious books they will increasingly find many and various interpretations of them. The time when Islam meant whatever the Imam said it meant is coming to an end.
    The ones that eventually prosper will be the ones that suit people on earth, not necessarily the ones most faithful to the original.
    Expect the debate to be at least as lively as the thirty years war.

  • A very big problem faces anyone trying to reform Islam. As Edmund Burke wisely kept saying, “To innovate is not to reform.” You can reform any religion back to its founder’s core principles but you cannot reform a religion to ignore its founder. It is also vastly implausible to reform it away from what allowed it to grow in its early days.

    Christ never killed anyone. Christianity was the underdog religion for its first three centuries – those who had power in the Roman Empire scorned it and persecuted it, sometimes formally, sometimes with vigour. Eventually it became the state religion (with a brief interruption under Julian the Apostate) but the western state whose religion it was then fell and once again it was the underdog, having to persuade conquerors to adopt it from a position of weakness. In England it had to do this twice, first with the angles, saxons and jutes, and then with the vikings. By the time professed adherents of Christianity could start conquering non-Christians and laying down the law to them on any scale, it had a acquired a definite character. A mediaeval bishop wielding a mace instead of a sword (because Christian clerics should not shed blood) was having to deal with that character.

    Mohammed killed dancing girls who made fun of him – and many others. He personally arranged assassinations and used agents of disinformation to trick his enemies into fighting each other. He instructed his followers to spread the faith by conquest and that is how they did from its earliest days.

    Reforming Christianity away from the Spanish Inquisition is easy. The difficulty is rather to maintain that version of it without an inquisition to stifle questions. Anyone can return to Christ’s own words and actions as the things you accept, then start from there along a more peaceful path.

    Reforming Islam away from conquest, assassination and deceit seems impossible to me. The more you return to Mohammed’s words and actions, the more obvious it is that he, and islam from its beginning, not only used these methods but depended on them to grow beyond Medina. It would be immensely difficult for a true believer simultaneously to respect God’s choice of Mohammed as divinely perfect and yet reject opinions and actions so central to who he was and what he achieved.

    Ann Coulter’s advice – “convert them to Christianity” – always seemed a far more realistic plan than reforming islam. My post below suggests that the attempt to convert them to western-style contempt of one’s own religion and culture has not worked out.

  • As Edmund Burke wisely kept saying, “To innovate is not to reform.” You can reform a religion back to its founder’s principles and to the practices that let it grow in its earliest years. You cannot reform it away from that.

    – Christ never killed anyone.

    – Christianity was the underdog religion for its first three centuries. The powers-that-be of the Roman Empire scorned it and persecuted it, at times with vigour. Then it became the state religion but that western state fell and it was the underdog again, trying to convert conquerors from a position of weakness. In England, this had to be done twice, for the anglo-saxons, and then for the vikings. It was a long time before Christians could conquer non-Christians in significant numbers.

    By contrast

    – Mohammed killed dancing girls who made fun of him, commanded political assassinations, and used agents of influence to trick his enemies into fighting each other.

    – Islam expanded from Medina by conquest, as led and planned by Mohammed. Islam was a conquering religion from the first. It never lost that character, and, being in contact with the less-advanced eastern end of Christendom it never had real cause to doubt it could conquer until the late 18th century.

    It would be ridiculous for any truly-believing Christian simultaneously to think that Christ was the son of God and that a ton of sayings and deeds central to how he preached and how early Christianity advanced were some big mistake. It would be ridiculous for a true moslem simultaneously to think that Mohammed was the divinely-chosen prophet of God, eclipsing all others before and since, and that a ton of how he acted and how his faith expanded was some kind of dreadful crime.

    Ann Coulter’s plan – “Convert them to Christianity” – always seemed more realistic to me than trying to reform Islam. My post below suggests the attempt to convert them to western-style contempt for one’s own religion and culture has not worked out.

  • bobby b

    John Galt
    July 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

    “Thus a literalist view is taken as opposed to the interpretative view (however narrow) that most Christian religions take.”

    Interestingly, here in the U.S., those Christian churches which have maintained a fairly strict originalist stance are growing in membership, while the churches that have chosen to reinterpret their Scripture to fit the SJW model are facing extinction as their adherents dwindle, churches close, and leaders become scarce.

    Perhaps religion needs to be authoritarian and scary to survive.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @bobby b
    “Perhaps religion needs to be authoritarian and scary to survive.”
    No, but it does need to be confident and authoritative, even when it is being authoritative about tolerance. “Hate the sin but love the sinner” might be a good, simple example of that.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    One thing that the Shia and Sunni can agree on is that they hate the Ahmadis. Both regard them as heretics and are encouraged to kill them.

  • bobby b

    “No, but it does need to be confident and authoritative . . . “

    I think your word choice was better than mine. When I said “scary”, I meant it in the sense that it’s not a free-for-all feel-good social club, but rather a system that believes in and follows specific non-alterable doctrine delivered by a higher power, and that sees (scary) consequences for a failure to follow it.

    Every Christian religion seems to be dwindling, except for the evangelicals – who hold to a doctrine that decidedly doesn’t revolve around “just be nice to everyone.” If a religion requires no personal commitment and no personal struggle, why bother? At least, the falling membership would seem to be evidence of that.

    This would explain Islam’s continual growth, as it seems to require the most personal commitment and sacrifice of all the religions. You have to buy into it so completely that it’s not easily or lightly discarded, while the local Catholic guitar-strumming service involving mostly liberal agenda items can be skipped without impact.

  • bobby b

    Bearing directly on the OP, I’m going to paste a rather longish excerpt which explains why I see the Imam described above as falling on the trailing slope of the religion-existence bell curve, which is why I don’t see him succeeding in Islam:

    “Meanwhile, the charismatic, evangelical religions are experiencing a remarkable growth rate, filling the expanding void left by failing faiths. Their adherents are younger and they are having more children. Fortunately for them, nearly every important demographic trend is pointing positively in their direction. Their charismatic worship and dynamic evangelization is rapidly increasing the number of converts, with some coming from the declining religions. If their rapid growth trend continues, in just a few decades, they will be crowned the largest religious traditions in America.

    Studying the trends impacting religions growth, a bell-curve theory for religion’s success and failure was discovered. The elements that undergird the development of the bell-curve theory were identified first by Dean Kelly in his 1972 study commissioned by the National Council of Churches, titled Why Conservative Churches are Growing: A Study in Sociology of Religion. Kelly’s very disruptive research was followed by Rodney Stark’s more recent study published in his 2008 book, titled “What Americans Really Believe: New Findings from the Baylor Surveys of Religion.” Add to that even more recent findings reported by two Canadian researchers, David Haskell and Kevin Flatt, in their 2016 study, titled Theology Matters: Comparing the Traits of Growing and Declining Mainline Protestant Church Attendees and Clergy.

    The bell-curve theory for religious success and failure based on numerical growth postulates that every successful religion grows because it is demanding, strict and nonconforming, while simultaneously promulgating a peculiar, otherworldly message that appeals to both the heart and mind, claiming a religious market share never tapped into or abandoned by declining faiths.

    The bell-curve theory predicts that as the successful religion rapidly grows, climbing up the bell-curve, it eventually attracts and develops sophisticated clergy and adherents who are more educated and prosperous. These sophisticated clergy struggle relating to the spiritual needs of the less educated and less prosperous adherents and investigators, usually constituting half or more of their religion’s membership and investigator pool.

    Unaware of the consequences on growth, the sophisticated clergy dismiss their religion’s peculiar, otherworldly teachings they consider intellectually inexplicable and socially unsettling.They begin to shift to self-actualization sermons sprinkled with a few scriptures, while advancing a social advocacy agenda that tends to politicize their pulpits away from promulgating supernatural, salvation teachings and championing the kingdom of God on earth.

    Thereafter, their religion’s rate of growth begins to slow until it flattens at the top of the bell-curve. The churches then react if not panic. First in practice, and then in policy, they begin to accommodate and conform, hoping to push the rate of growth back up. They reasonably conclude that if their religion is less demanding and more conforming, it should be appealing to more adherents and investigators alike. This appears to be a fatal flaw.

    Undoubtedly, religion becomes more acceptable and perhaps increasingly popular when churches accommodate and conform to societal trends. Nevertheless, when they do so, their once unique religion is not pushed back into growth. Instead, it is unwittingly pushed over the precipice of the bell-curve, sliding down into the statistical pit unable to climb out. According to the bell-curve theory, this counterintuitive phenomenon ultimately happens to every religion that accommodates worldliness.

    Why? Because a religion that becomes increasingly conforming and less demanding inevitably attracts less-devoted adherents. These less-devoted adherents are less willing to sacrifice to support a rigorous religious life and consequently they are less inspired to share their faith with others. No religion can endure long with apathetic adherents at ease. According to the bell-curve theory, the symbiotic relationship between sophisticated clergy and less-devoted adherents unavoidably results in decline.

    The bell-curve theory also becomes predictive when churches insist on blaming outside influences — such as secular influences — for their religion’s decline. These clergy are in denial, unable or unwilling to acknowledge the compromising concessions instituted along the way that attract only the less devoted, undermining their ability to impassion a commitment that could reverse the decline. If anything, the secular forces they are blaming for the religion’s decline were invited into their sanctuaries the moment they began to make concessions conforming to societal trends.”

    (Mods, if this excerpt is too long, feel free to wipe it out and just leave the link in the first sentence. Don’t know your policy in this regard.)

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @bobby b
    China too!

    I would (also) argue that Catholicism is still thriving where it remains true to a doctrinal certitude.

    So, the big question may be “do we all want to become Evangelicals to fight off militant Islam?” and if the answer to that one is “No!”or “Hell no!” then what?

  • So, the big question may be “do we all want to become Evangelicals to fight off militant Islam?” and if the answer to that one is “No!”or “Hell no!” then what?

    You presume that we all need to be armed with evangelical religion to be able to take on Islam (the “militant” bit is tautologous)?

    I certainly don’t and I am at best an agnostic/atheist. For me the rationale is not that Islam is an offensive religion*, but rather that it is an existential threat to Western civilisation as a whole.

    If the UK Government was to suddenly to shake off its delusions about Muslims being the Religion of Peace and decide to deport the buggers and was looking for volunteers, I would give it serious consideration.

    I would place the threat of Islam as even greater than the general threat of the state, which (for those that know me) is saying something.

    This is not a clash of religions, nor a clash of religion versus secularism, it is a clash of two ideologies that are in almost total contrast.

    It is freedom versus slavery, it is that simple.

    * – Although I would dispute that it is a religion, seeing it closer to a political ideology bent upon world conquest than anything else.

  • bobby b

    Then, even though I think it’s too early in Islam’s life for this to work well, the best bet to bring about the decline of Islam is to foster “sophisticated and worldly” Islamic clergy such as Imam Tawhidi above.

    Not because he’ll moderate the aims and goals of Islam, but because he will make it into another feel-good religion that’s easier to leave.

  • Bobby b: so what you are basically saying is that Islam’s appeal is the sunk costs fallacy?

  • That was aimed at your post before the long quote, in case it isn’t clear 😉

  • bobby b (July 16, 2017 at 6:29 pm), your interesting excerpt is maybe a too general (and too mechanistic) description of what has happened to e.g. the liberal wing of the episcopal church in the states (the episcopal church in Scotland may yet follow the same path). It is just another example of standard SJW operating procedure, as noted by instapundit, iowahawk and others: “Take over a respected institution. Kill it. Gut it. Wear its carcass as a skin suit. Demand respect.” It is similar to their long march through more secular institutions, and it is no accident the two are happening at the same time.

    —-

    BTW, my two almost-identical posts above at July 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm and July 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm are because the smiter got a bit overzealous with the first and actually spammed it. I wrote the second and then the first was pardoned and reappeared. (If the OP reads this, by all means delete whichever you think less well written.)

  • bobby b

    “Bobby b: so what you are basically saying is that Islam’s appeal is the sunk costs fallacy?”

    Partially, plus the idea that Allah is a vengeful god who brooks neither disrespect nor straying, while the present god of Martin Luther seems to be satisfied if we think happy thoughts and value diversity (a message we hardly need to sacrifice a good chunk of our weekend to pick up nowadays.)

  • @Bobby B:

    The vengeful god of Abraham and Isaac didn’t just disappear or transform through some caterpillar-to-butterfly mechanism into the Holy Trinity of either Pope Francis or Martin Luther. He’s still there, happily being the vengeful, indeed wrathful HaShem worshiped by millions of Jews from Hanoi to Honolulu.

    Although not technically a deity, Buddha is pretty much the antithesis of a vengeful god and yet Buddhism still seems to have plenty of followers across the world, following what is (at least on paper), a religion of almost blissful peacefulness and passivity.

    So I’m not sure I buy the argument about the nature of the “god behind the curtain” of any particular religion as being a measure of either success or durability.

  • Laird

    “It would be immensely difficult for a true believer simultaneously to respect God’s choice of Mohammed as divinely perfect and yet reject opinions and actions so central to who he was and what he achieved.”

    This.

    “For me the rationale is not that Islam is an offensive religion, but rather that it is an existential threat to Western civilisation as a whole.”

    And this.

    Islam is fundamentally and irreconcilably antithetical to western values and, ultimately, to western civilization itself. There can be no peace between them; either we occupy entirely different geographic areas and coexist with a sort of detante, or one must destroy the other. Anyone who thinks there is any third option is terminally naive.

    Wh00ps, why do you consider “sunk costs” to be a fallacy?

  • Julie near Chicago

    I have no reason to doubt Imam Tawhidi’s sincerity, so I will extend to him the presumption thereof. So this is intended purely as an observation:

    The Imam’s statement “What I Stand For” is no different from “moderate” Librul/Proggie/Leftist boilerplate. And some persons among the latter group include the second part (“I will never falter,” so-to-speak), at least in public utterances; but do they often mean it, or do they finish with it for the sake of PR (Public Relations)?

    . . .

    Still, I’d rather have libruls and the “moderate” Proggies and Lefties than the proponents and supporters of violence, world-wide legally-required adoption of Mohammedanism, and Shari’ah Law among the Muslims. At least the former aren’t in favor of driving airplanes into the Twin Towers. Or blowing up nightclubs, theatres, restaurants, and on and on and on….

    So, I hope that the Imam can at least persuade a segment of his target audience to give up on the violence, and also on the insistence that other folks behave by their (totalitarian) rules. Lawfare, dhimmitude for infidels, punishment for apostasy, so forth.

    That’s not to condone the leftish crowd’s ambitions or actions; just to note that it’s a bit safer to be alive in a Western country, however misguided its laws and political beliefs, than to be alive in a country that finds the Imam’s audience to be somewhere between tolerable in their psychopathy and right on!.

    .

    Yet, they’re on precisely the same course insofar as both groups are pursuing world-wide governance in accordance with their ideal of all men, world-wide, men living together in perfect accord in all of their ideals. And requiring this by law, whether or not the alleged proponents of freedom choose to admit to the One-World and thought-crime part.

    They find it’s not possible, of course, to force persons to accept in their own heads and hearts all that you want them to, though perhaps most of them pretend to; and there are always a segment of Inconvenient Persons who have the gall to rebel–sometimes undercover (Mitrokhin), sometimes verbally (samizdata), sometimes violently.

    Therefore you must have forced-labor camps, torture rooms, death camps, publicized mass killings of expendables/recalcitrants pour encouragé les autres, so forth.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird, every time I hear that phrase I also hear the stertorous breathing of the captured Alien as he speaks it.

  • bobby b

    John Galt
    July 16, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    ” . . . Buddha is pretty much the antithesis of a vengeful god and yet Buddhism still seems to have plenty of followers across the world, following what is (at least on paper), a religion of almost blissful peacefulness and passivity.”

    Buddhism still manages to confuse me. I can’t tell if it fits the definition of religion, or if it’s really just a very detailed belief system along the lines of Transcendental Meditation.

  • Buddhism still manages to confuse me. I can’t tell if it fits the definition of religion, or if it’s really just a very detailed belief system along the lines of Transcendental Meditation.

    Join the club. The mother of my child is a very active practising buddhist and I still never got the straight dope from her regarding that despite reading various buddhist texts and living with practicing buddhists for years.

    The closest I can say is that Buddhism is more a philosophy for life than a religion, but by a process of accretion, it has picked up many religious practices from the cultures that it has embedded itself within that it has become a defacto religion.

  • bobby b

    John Galt
    July 16, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    “He’s still there, happily being the vengeful, indeed wrathful HaShem worshiped by millions of Jews from Hanoi to Honolulu.”

    True, which is why Judaism ought to be one of those religions still in ascendancy.

    But Judaism has its own special problem attracting adherents. It’s just so damned dangerous to be a Jew in today’s world.

  • bobby b

    Niall Kilmartin
    July 16, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    ” . . . your interesting excerpt is maybe a too general (and too mechanistic) description of what has happened to e.g. the liberal wing of the episcopal church in the states (the episcopal church in Scotland may yet follow the same path). It is just another example of standard SJW operating procedure . . . “

    Kelly’s and Stark’s studies were looking explicitly for a mechanism that explained why some churches grow while others decline, so “mechanistic” probably applies.

    The SJW effort to overwhelm the institutions fits very neatly into the bell-curve theory. First one needs the “sophisticated and modern” clergy looking to reconcile superstition with a moral system that more modern and sophisticated consumers will buy into, and it’s that very effort that opens the door to the converging powers of the SJW-types, who see a vulnerable target.

    Look at where Islam is right now. Do you see any strong SJW effort to converge THAT church? No, because it is still on the ascending slope of the bellcurve structure. It has none of the “sophisticated and modern clergy” attempting to make it palatable to the moderns – like Imam Tawhidi would be were he to gain adherents. So far, his admirers seem to be mostly non-Muslims who would like to see Islam converged into a pale imitation of the force that it is now.

    (P.S. If it was the OP author who coined the caption below the illustration – good one!)

  • True, which is why Judaism ought to be one of those religions still in ascendancy.

    For an allegedly 5,777 year old religion* Judaism ain’t doing too bad, especially since it doesn’t do much in the way of conversions except prior to marriage.

    The holocaust didn’t help too much either, although the number of Jews has now passed pre-holocaust levels, I am glad to hear. Provided that they can keep their Islamic neighbours fingers off the nuclear trigger I expect Judaism to keep going from strength-to-strength.

    But Judaism has its own special problem attracting adherents. It’s just so damned dangerous to be a Jew in today’s world.

    I don’t know, I think they learned some pretty harsh lessons during WW2, which has led to very radical and optimistic actions by them. Securing their own homeland and firmly turning the world against politically motivated genocide has done wonders for the Jews.

    They are far more secure and stronger than they’ve been since the Assyrian invasion of 722BC, which is more than any other religion can say.

    I’d be far happier living in Israel than most other countries outside Western Europe. Although I’d probably end up weighing 300 pounds.

    * – In truth probably only about 3,000 year old, but still…

  • Does Imam Tawhidi see himself as the Islamic Martin Luther?

  • Alisa

    Bobby B., this bell-curve thing works only against religions that do not advocate and promote violence against non-believers.

    That said, thanks for the link – I will read it with interest.

  • bobby b

    John Galt
    July 16, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    “Securing their own homeland and firmly turning the world against politically motivated genocide has done wonders for the Jews.”

    I think that, pre-Holocaust, Jews were counted at a peak of slightly over 17 million. They’re now back to around 16 million.

    What’s saving them has been their abandonment of most of the world. Over 85% of all Jews are now found in the USA and Israel. It’s just not safe anywhere else.

  • bobby b

    Alisa
    July 16, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    “Bobby B., this bell-curve thing works only against religions that do not advocate and promote violence against non-believers.”

    Deuteronomy 17:

    2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,
    3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
    4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
    5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

    Luke 19:27:

    But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

    Matthew 10:34:

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

    Alisa, I can’t think of too many religions which, in their early, ascendant phases, didn’t advocate and promote violence against non-believers.

  • I think that, pre-Holocaust, Jews were counted at a peak of slightly over 17 million. They’re now back to around 16 million.

    It depends how you determine Jewishness (in whole or in part)

    The Jewish People Policy Institute said (in 2015) there are currently 14.2 million Jews in the world. When factoring in individuals with one Jewish parent and others who identify as partially Jewish, the figure approaches 16.5 million — the Jewish population on the eve of the second world war. The Nazis and their collaborators killed about 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.

    The most recent figures (for 2015) are here.

    What’s saving them has been their abandonment of most of the world. Over 85% of all Jews are now found in the USA and Israel. It’s just not safe anywhere else.

    Which is almost exclusively the after effects of those escaping Nazi persecution from WW2 and those survivors who left Europe to reunite with what was left of their families.

    There are also wider problems of socialist driven anti-semitism, but that would be to derail this thread.

  • Alisa

    Bobby, I am replying to your proposed solution to the threat that Islam presents now, which no other religion presently does.

  • bobby b

    Ah. Got it. Misunderstood.

  • Alisa

    “Take over a respected institution. Kill it. Gut it. Wear its carcass as a skin suit. Demand respect.”

    Reform Judaism in a nutshell.

  • bobby b

    “Reform Judaism.” Isn’t that like our Living Constitution proponents? It doesn’t matter what it said then, it matters what we need it to say now?

  • Alisa

    Yes, Progressive to the core.

  • Laird

    Julie (@ 8:05 PM), did you not see the link I included?

    bobby b, thanks for mentioning the caption below the photo in the OP. On my computer it’s almost illegible: the text is in a tiny font, in dark gray on the blue background, so I had missed it entirely.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Indeed I did, Laird, and acknowledged it thus:

    Julie near Chicago
    July 16, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Laird, every time I hear that phrase I also hear the stertorous breathing of the captured Alien as he speaks it.

    Heh… “no peace ” ;>)))

    I have probably seen Independence Day around 800x. Go ahead, call me a fan! 😈

  • Thailover

    Let’s assume that this guy is the elusive pink unicorn. So what? The problem is STILL the 20%-40% of a billion “believers” and what is actually in the koran and hadith. Islam is not a mere religion, it’s a theocracy which is just another fanatical form of totalitarianism.

  • Thailover

    “Alisa, I can’t think of too many religions which, in their early, ascendant phases, didn’t advocate and promote violence against non-believers.”

    And believers alike. Sorry Bob, but were not talking ancient history here. We’re not talking mere crusades and witch burnings. During the founding of America, various protestant churches would jail or stockade people in the public square to punish and ridicule them for offenses as slight as not attending church or somehow breaking the Sabbath. Consider the Danbury church’s letter to Tom Jefferson in which he coined the famous wall of separation between church and state phrase. They were worried that the Congregationalists, with local legal backing, would run them out of town on a rail. Church v church.

    And lest we forget…
    “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” ~ Jesus, Luke 14:26

  • Phil Terry

    “What to make of the “Imam of Peace?”

    Not a lot once the Muslim’s have finished with him, there won’t be a lot left to scrape up.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @John Galt 7.12 pm
    “You presume that we all need to be armed with evangelical religion to be able to take on Islam (the “militant” bit is tautologous)?”
    I presume nothing of the sort.
    My comment was a rhetorical device seeking proposals for action.

  • Mr Ed

    Have a look at what David Wood, a Christian apologist and avid reader of the Koran says about ISIS. I am not aware of anything that would contradict what he says about Islam, but by all means let us know if there is anything pertinent that he has not said.

    As an example, here is David Wood in a short video about what motivates ISIS: Top Ten Quran Verses for Understanding ISIS (the Islamic State)

    Dr Wood’s case here is the ISIS have been following the Koran to the letter, and that with the doctrine of abrogation, the ‘peaceful’ early passages are abrogated by later passages calling for the subjugation of non-believers and hypocrites, i.e. those who are muslims but are lax.

    The gentleman in the OP seems to want to edit the Koran to remove the parts that he does not like, the references to violence and to ban the original version of the Koran from the West. He appears to be calling for massive censorship and a selective interpretation of Islam.

  • Paul Marks

    Mohammed personally supported the killing of people who mocked him – including an old blind poet, and a pregnant poetess. How could Mohammed have misinterpreted the religion he invented?

    Take the example of slavery – many Christians have owned slaves and dealt in slaves, but Jesus himself did not.

    Mohammed did – he was both a slave owner and a slave trader. There were good historical and theological (you can take infidel women your “right hand holds”) reasons why most countries in Arabia said that slavery was central to Islam up to the early 1960s (Oman up to 1971) – because how can a modern Muslim condemn what Mohammed “the perfect model of conduct” personally did? It is an incredibly difficult theological problem – the “Mohammed problem”, most Muslims are nice people but Mohammed was not nice. So nasty groups can always appeal to the personal example of Mohammed. How can one take Mohammed out of Islam? I repeat that most Muslims are really nice people – but taking Mohammed out of Islam is really difficult.

    As for the private alternative “we will pretend that Mohammed was nice – even though he really was not”. That might work some of the time, but it tends to fall apart when people who want to copy the example of Mohammed come along – “see that film maker over there, he made a film mocking Mohammed – he must be killed” and a thousand other examples.

    Still if the gentleman thinks he has found a solution – well that is good.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Mr Ed, just as we of Christian background have selectively interpreted Islam. Just as the Jews have exercised “censorship” of the Torah (covering unacceptable parts with their hands so as not to read them to the congregants).

    Not every Muslim swallows the Koran wholesale, nor what is supposed to be the Authorities’ interpretations thereof. Not every Musling accepts the Hadiths as being on the same level of authoritativeness as the Koran.

    We discount the aims and efforts of people like Irshad Manji to illustrate differing interpretations of the Koran. We insist that anyone who differs from the Party Line set forth by the likes of al-Kharadawi are No True Muslims. Well, per a-K, such a person is not Muslim. Fine.

    The question remains as to why we non-Muslims allow the Bad Guys to set the rules for what Mohammedans must believe, and how they interpret their so-called Holy Book.

    None of this is to say that we non-Muslims are wrong to be very, very leery of Muslims, especially with all the examples of Muslims who are “perfectly decent people” until they suddenly behead their wives (like the TV “bridge-building” guy in whichever of the Eastern states it was…Boston? Pennsylvania? I forget), or cheer when the WTC goes down, or murder their daughters for disobedience, or ….

    I’m not talking about so-called “tolerance” nor even giving “benefit of the doubt.” I’m saying that a non- or anti-Muslim hard-core arguer for the doctrines put forth by the most evil Authorities on Islam is of great help to those Authorities in persuading the world of their view AS authoritative, and I have to question the wisdom of this.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Mr Ed, just as we of Christian background have selectively interpreted Christianity, or the Bible — even as others insisted the Bible is the Word of God (no matter what others claimed about mortals who wrote the texts “inspired by”); quotes above from the Bible do say what they say, even though most of us see them as either anachronistic beliefs today, or else mis-reportage by such as Matthew and Luke. Just as the Jews have exercised “censorship” of the Torah (covering unacceptable parts with their hands so as not to read them to the congregants).

    Not every Muslim swallows the Koran wholesale, nor what is supposed to be the Authorities’ interpretations thereof. Not every Muslin accepts the Hadiths as being on the same level of authoritativeness as the Koran.

    We discount the aims and efforts of people like Irshad Manji to illustrate differing interpretations of the Koran. We insist that anyone who differs from the Party Line set forth by the likes of al-Kharadawi are No True Muslims. Well, per a-K, such a person is not Muslim. Fine.

    The question remains as to why we non-Muslims allow the Bad Guys to set the rules for what Mohammedans must believe, and how they interpret their so-called Holy Book.

    None of this is to say that we non-Muslims are wrong to be very, very leery of Muslims, especially with all the examples of Muslims who are “perfectly decent people” until they suddenly behead their wives (like the TV “bridge-building” guy in whichever of the Eastern states it was…Boston? Pennsylvania? I forget), or cheer when the WTC goes down, or murder their daughters for disobedience, or ….

    I’m not talking about so-called “tolerance” nor even giving “benefit of the doubt.” I’m saying that a non- or anti-Muslim hard-core arguer for the doctrines put forth by the most evil Authorities on Islam is of great help to those Authorities in persuading the world of their view AS authoritative, and I have to question the wisdom of this.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Sorry for the double posting, but anyway please ignore the first one. The second one contains a few clarifying (I hope) additions.

    🙁

  • The gentleman in the OP seems to want to edit the Koran to remove the parts that he does not like, the references to violence and to ban the original version of the Koran from the West. He appears to be calling for massive censorship and a selective interpretation of Islam.

    Given that the Qu’ran is the literal word of Allah as transcribed by Muhammad (if you believe that bollocks), then anyone doing so is painting a target on their chest.

    Good luck with that.

  • Laird

    @ Julie:

    “Not every Muslim swallows the Koran wholesale, nor what is supposed to be the Authorities’ interpretations thereof. Not every Musling accepts the Hadiths as being on the same level of authoritativeness as the Koran.

    * * *

    The question remains as to why we non-Muslims allow the Bad Guys to set the rules for what Mohammedans must believe, and how they interpret their so-called Holy Book.”

    I don’t set the rules for what they “must” believe; they can believe whatever they like. It’s their actions which are the problem. Those actions are driven by their beliefs, and it is they who permit the “Bad Guys” to define what Muslims “must” believe, by not standing up to them. It may be only “Bad Guys” who harbor unsavory beliefs and commit atrocities, but they comprise an unacceptably large percentage of the Muslim population. So even if “not every Muslim” subscribes to those beliefs (an assertion which I question), or commits (or even condones) those actions, the number who do is sufficiently large that all must bear some degree of responsibility for them.

    Words such as those from Mr. Tawhidi are fine (and he might actually believe them), but until we see serious, concrete and extensive actions from the supposed “moderate” majority (not merely paying lip service to opposing terrorism, but such things as ostracizing and reporting terrorists and their supporters, agitating for the deportation of radical Imams, rejecting calls for the application of Sharia law, expressly tolerating the existence of different religions and lifestyles, assimilating into the larger Western community, etc.) I will continue to argue that all Muslims are enablers of the “Bad Guys” (witting or otherwise). And frankly, I can’t see that ever happening, because anyone possessing the intellectual honesty to reach that point cannot also remain a Muslim; you cannot reject the central tenets of a religion (such as those enunciated and demonstrated by Mohammed) and still remain an adherent to it. By the same token, I would not believe or trust anyone who claims to have rejected those tenets while remaining a Muslim. I require explicit rejection of the faith (whether or not combined with conversion to some other one).

  • Renminbi

    “… Islam, this absurd theology of an immoral Bedouin,is the rotting corpse which poisons our public life”.

    Kemal Ataturk

  • Julie near Chicago

    The point (the practical point that is; my actual point was an epistomological one) is that by accepting the word of the likes of A-K as definitive of Islam, we empower him and his crew and have no alternative view that will encourage people to question his ALLEGED authority to lay down the law as to What It Means to Be a Muslim.

    It’s rather like adopting the view that Humans Are Evil by Nature because some vocal misanthrope with a big big stick said so, never mind that his argument is circular and therefore it doesn’t hold up.

    Because, WHY must Muslims live their lives in lockstep with every word in the Koran and the Hadiths? Why?? Because A-K and the rest of his ilk say so, that’s why.

    Why, O Great A-K, do I have to live according to these rules?
    Because the Koran says so!
    But why, O Great A-K, do I have to follow the Koran in all things?
    Because I am an Imam of great power and authority, and I say you must! And because I will show you and yours most painful Death if you disobey.

    . . .

    Smart guy, Ataturk.

  • Laird

    I disagree completely, Julie (except for that last sentence!). The pronouncements and actions of Mohammed are the core of Islam; if you reject those there is nothing left, and you have de facto rejected Islam. It isn’t that some “bad guy” has so decreed, and you are free to disagree with his pronouncements; it is the fundamental teaching of the Koran. Reject that and you reject Islam.

  • Laird

    This thread is getting a little long in the tooth, but I just came across the following. It’s too good not to share, and this seemed as good a place as any:

    Jiggs McDonald (NHL Hall of Fame broadcaster) speaking in Ontario, says:

    “I am truly perplexed that so many of my friends are against another mosque being built in Toronto. I think it should be the goal of every Canadian to be tolerant regardless of their religious beliefs. Thus the mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance.

    “That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque, thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque. We could call one of the clubs, which would be gay, ‘The Turban Cowboy,’ and the other, a topless bar, would be called ‘You Mecca Me Hot.’

    “Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbecue pork restaurant, called ‘Iraq of Ribs.’

    “Across the street there could be a lingerie store called ‘Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret,’ with sexy mannequins in the window modeling the goods, and on the other side a liquor store called ‘Morehammered.’

    “All of this would encourage Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us.”

  • That is pure genius, Laird. Got a link?

  • NickM

    “Iraq of Ribs”.

    Laird, you swine! You owe me a keyboard for that!

  • Laird

    Sorry, Perry, no link. I cut and pasted it from a comment on another blog. I’ll enquire there.

    NickM, good luck collecting! 😛

  • Alisa

    I tried looking for the source with no success, but it’s good nonetheless 🙂

  • Patrick Crozier (Twickenham)

    One of my weirder experiences was walking into a shopping mall in Marrakech and being confronted with a lingerie store.

    I did not expect that.

  • Laird

    Perry, supposedly it was in one of the comments to an article on Guido Fawkes’ blog on 06/08/2017. There’s only one on that date which deals with Muslims, so I presume that’s the one. Unfortunately, it appears that those comments have all been deleted (or at least turned “off”) so I can’t find it. Sorry.

  • NickM

    Patrick,
    I shall see and raise. There is a small shop in Levenshulme, Manchester which is a self-styled Polish/Iranian grocer. I know Poland quite well and the gaff runs on pork and vodka. I don’t know Iran as well but I doubt it does.

    http://lovelevenshulme.org/place/supermarket-marta/

    BTW the term “supermarket” is very OTT. It did though sell pickled chicken hearts which I almost bought until my wife (who reads Polish) told me…

    But hey ho! Multi-culturalism in action! Actually I do love it – some of it – not the pickled chicken hearts but (and I am in danger of going OT here) I don’t other than curious detail issues regard Poland as culturally different. Yeah, there are things of interest and different food (inc. The best Tex/Mex I have outside the USA – in a small town in Silesia) and stuff but my sister-in-law’s boyf speaks perfect English and is the biggest Tolkien fan I know.

    Having said that… Someone from the local government did try to rent me a castle.

    This one…

    http://www.slaskiesmaki.pl/en-us/Poi/Pokaz/515109/7225/the-piasts-castle-in-raciborz

    Personally I was thinking of a B&B but if I were to get all “Game of Thrones”…

  • Your loss Nick, chicken hearts are awesome if done right. Indeed I had some the other day at St.John’s on Maltby Street Market… bullshit tiny hipster portions for bullshit large hipster price but damn, they were seriously yummy (for twice the quantity or half the price)).

    No one tried to rent me a castle there however.

  • Slartibartfarst

    Does this mean that Islamic reform is possible? Very droll. Now children, how does one spell “taqiyya”?
    Allah is great and all-knowing and will make the weak infidels susceptible to false suggestions of what they wish for.

    Les arrivistes anglais will probably lap it up.
    ______________________________________

  • Slartibartfarst

    Perry de Havilland (London), July 19, 2017 at 8:16 am:

    That is pure genius, Laird. Got a link?

    Looks like an urban legend (now “fake news”). See Snopes.com Jiggs McDonald on Muslims

  • Laird

    You could be right, Slartibartfarst (although I don’t take Snopes as gospel, either). In any case, it’s a good quote, and if you would rather attribute it to me please feel free to do so!