By the time the killing stopped, 700 people were dead, activists and survivors say, making this the bloodiest single atrocity committed by the Islamic State in Syria since it declared its existence 18 months ago.
The little-publicized story of this failed tribal revolt in Abu Hamam, in Syria’s eastern Deir al-Zour province, illuminates the challenges that will confront efforts to persuade those living under Islamic State rule — in Iraq as well as Syria — to join the fight against the jihadist group, something U.S. officials say is essential if the campaign against the militants is to succeed.
The Abu Hamam area has now been abandoned, and many of the bodies remain uncollected, offering a chilling reminder to residents elsewhere of the fate that awaits those who dare rebel.
Just as powerful a message for those living under the militants’ iron fist was the almost complete international silence on the bloodbath.
News of the massacre coincided with President Obama’s decision to order airstrikes to turn back an Islamic State advance unfolding farther east in Iraq, toward the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil, as well as humanitarian airdrops to help desperate Iraqi Yazidis trapped on a mountain by the onslaught.
Many Syrians in the opposition are starting to complain about unequal treatment. (Continue Reading.)
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
And here's Couture-Rouleau after his conversion to Islam:
Notice a difference?
Once he had converted to Islam, Couture-Rouleau somehow got the idea that Islam commands him to wage jihad against unbelievers (perhaps by reading the same Muslim sources I quote daily). He is now dead, after running down two Canadian soldiers with his car, and charging at a female police officer when his car flipped over.
French sites are reporting that Couture-Rouleau called 911 and said he was "acting in the name of Allah."
How many more Western converts need to die waging jihad before we'll finally be allowed to have an honest discussion about Islam?
For more on jihad, watch this:
Martin Couture-Rouleau, 25, sped into the two young soldiers - one uniformed and one not - around 11.30am in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, not far from Montreal.
After the impact he sped off, but was chased down by Canadian police, who shot him dead.
Both soldiers survived the attack, but one is now in hospital with life-threatening injuries.
A Canadian government spokesman today confirmed that Couture-Rouleau, who describes himself as a recent convert online, was on a list of known radicals.
One neighbor told reporters that the man had fallen in with extremist Muslims around a year ago. On social media websites, Couture-Rouleau posted polemics attacking Christianity, Western leaders and Israel.
He also published images seemingly to glorify armed jihadist extremists, denigrating Westerners as 'kaffir', a derogatory Arabic term for non-believers.
After he ran down the two men, Couture-Rouleau called 911 and boasted to operators that he had attacked in the name of Allah, the Toronto Sun reported.
Eyewitnesses told the newspaper how during the police chase which followed, Couture-Rouleau rolled his car, which landed upside-down in a ditch. (Continue Reading.)
For more on jihad, watch this:
The bomber targeted a Shia mosque in the city's northeast al Harithyia neighborhood, the source said. As of Sunday, there has been no claim of responsibility.
The past few weeks have seen a series of car and suicide attacks on Shia targets, some of which have been claimed by ISIS.
Although Baghdad's perimeter has appeared to hold firm against ISIS encroachment, the militant Sunni group has made strategically valuable gains in the country's Anbar province, west of the capital.
ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, has been accused of massacring Shiites in areas it controls. (Source)
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Many of you may have spotted the story about an 87-year-old Spanish Catholic priest in Indonesia who converted to Islam after being in a coma for 17 months – well, the story is fake.
It had been claimed in the article that the priest suffered a heart attack while helping volunteers fix the roof of his church.
It was said priest Eduardo Vincenzo Maria Gomez fell two “stories” [sic] and emerged from his coma, saying that “Allah spoke to him and showed him ‘the beauty of the heavens’.”
The story was originally posted to satire website World News Daily Report and used the picture of British naturalist Professor David Bellamy as the supposed priest.
Shortly afterwards, the story went viral around the world.
The article went on to quote the fictitious priest as saying: “I know nothing of Islam. Never once have I read the Quran but God spoke to me and asked me to follow him to the heavens and the Holy light shone through my entire being and behold the golden gates of heaven appeared before me and God told me his name and it was Allah”.
According to a disclaimer posted at the top of all pages on the World News Daily Report website, it is “a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within worldnewsdailyreport.com are fiction, and presumably fake news.
“Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to politicians and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction.”
For more on jihad, watch this:
The latest attack reportedly occurred about 30 miles from the town of Beni, located in the rebel stronghold of North Kivu in the country’s northeast. Ten women, eight children and four men were killed when rebels raided the village of Byalos, according to media reports.
“This is a genocide, the way in which the ADF kills these people,” Omar Kavota, a spokesperson for the Civil Society of North Kivu said, according to a Reuters report.
The attack comes just two days after 27 people, including many children, were killed in the same area during raids by rebel militia. (Continue Reading.)
Saturday, October 18, 2014
I have one objection to the video—namely, that I don't see how Qur'an 4:6 or 24:59 establish puberty as a minimum age for marriage. Here's the first verse cited by Talk Islam:
Qur'an 4:6—Make trial of orphans until they reach the age of marriage; if then ye find sound judgment in them, release their property to them; but consume it not wastefully, nor in haste against their growing up. If the guardian is well-off, Let him claim no remuneration, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable. When ye release their property to them, take witnesses in their presence: But all-sufficient is God in taking account.This verse deals with caring for orphans. If you're put in charge of an orphan, and the orphan has an inheritance from his or her family, you are not to waste the inheritance money while caring for the orphan. Once the orphan has reached "the age of marriage," you are to hand over the inheritance. What does this have to do with men waiting until girls reach puberty before marrying them?
Here's the other verse (along with 24:58 for the context):
Qur'an 24:58-59—O you who believe! Let your slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission on three occasions: before the Fajr prayer, and while you put off your clothes during the afternoon, and after the Isha' prayer. (These) three (times) are of privacy for you; other than these times there is no sin on you or on them to move about, attending to each other. Thus Allah makes clear the Ayat to you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. And when the children among you come to puberty, then let them (also) ask for permission, as those senior to them (in age) ask permission. Thus Allah makes clear His Ayat for you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.This passage has nothing to do with marriage. It's about members of a household asking permission to enter someone's room when the person may be undressed or in bed. Here's Ibn Kathir's commentary on these verses:
These Ayat include a discussion of how people who are closely related should seek permission to enter upon one another. What was mentioned earlier in the Surah had to do with how unrelated people should seek permission to enter upon one another. Allah commanded the believers to ensure that their servants and their children who have not yet reached puberty should seek permission at three times: the first is before the Fajr prayer, because people are asleep in their beds at that time. (and while you put off your clothes during the afternoon,) means, at the time of rest, because a man may be in a state of undress with his wife at that time. (and after the `Isha' prayer.) because this is the time for sleep. Servants and children are commanded not to enter upon household members at these times, because it is feared that a man may be in an intimate situation with his wife and so on.So Muslim critic from Talk Islam is either completely ignorant of the Qur'an, or he's deliberately trying to deceive his Muslim viewers.
Apart from this, we know that the Qur'an does allow Muslims to have sex with prepubescent girls. According to Surah 2:228, if a Muslim man wants to divorce his wife, he should wait until she has gone through three monthly cycles (i.e., three periods) in order to make sure that she isn't pregnant. But the question later arose: What about wives who do not have monthly cycles? How long should their husbands wait to divorce them? The Qur'an answers this question in Surah 65:4, where it gives divorce rules for (1) women who do not have monthly cycles because they are too old, (2) girls who do not have monthly cycles because they are too young, and (3) women and girls who do not have monthly cycles because they are pregnant. The verse declares that, if Muslim men want to divorce girls who haven't yet reached puberty, they must wait three months (after having sex with them). The verse reads:
Qur'an 65:4 (Hilali-Khan)—And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death]. And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is until they deliver (their burdens), and whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him.In case there is confusion about the meaning of this verse, here are three classic Muslim commentaries on 65:4:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir—Allah the Exalted clarifies the waiting period of the woman in menopause. And that is the one whose menstruation has stopped due to her older age. Her `Iddah is three months instead of the three monthly cycles for those who menstruate, which is based upon the Ayah in (Surat) Al-Baqarah [see 2:228]. The same for the young, who have not reached the years of menstruation. Their `Iddah is three months like those in menopause.Hence, the Qur'an clearly allows Muslims to have sex with prepubescent girls. And that's exactly what Muhammad did. Muslims who try to twist the Qur'an in order to avoid the obvious must therefore be ashamed of their prophet. I don't blame them.
Tafsir al-Jalalayn—And [as for] those of your women who (read allà'ï or allà'i in both instances) no longer expect to menstruate, if you have any doubts, about their waiting period, their prescribed [waiting] period shall be three months, and [also for] those who have not yet menstruated, because of their young age, their period shall [also] be three months.
Tafsir Ibn Abbas—(And for such of your women as despair of menstruation) because of old age, (if ye doubt) about their waiting period, (their period (of waiting) shall be three months) upon which another man asked: “O Messenger of Allah! What about the waiting period of those who do not have menstruation because they are too young?” (along with those who have it not) because of young age, their waiting period is three months.
Yet, for all the outrage these executions have engendered the world over, decapitations are routine in Saudi Arabia, America’s closest Arab ally, for crimes including political dissent—and the international press hardly seems to notice. In fact, since January, 59 people have had their heads lopped off in the kingdom, where “punishment by the sword” has been practiced for centuries.
The Saudi legal system is based on Islam’s Sharia law. Some countries that use Sharia possess a penal code, but Saudi Arabia does not, although some activists have been calling for reform.
So, what’s it like to be beheaded there?
Your last morning on Earth would likely be spent in isolation. You would rise early and eat a last breakfast. If you are lucky, you might receive a sedative, like Valium, to calm your nerves.
Executions usually take place in the morning, before the oppressive heat of the desert kingdom takes hold, in a public square. Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea and Somalia are the only countries in the world that still execute people in public.
People will gather to watch you die. According to British author John R. Bradley, public beheadings are the “only form of public entertainment” in Saudi Arabia, aside from football matches.
If you are a prisoner in Riyadh, the capital, you might be taken to the ocher-colored Deera Square, which has acquired a macabre sobriquet: Chop Chop Square. Before you arrive, police and security forces will have prepared the area. It may have been cordoned off to keep curious spectators at a distance, but they will congregate nonetheless.
You will be led to the center of the square, on the bare earth. According to one of Saudi Arabia’s state executioners, Mohammed Saad al-Beshi, who was interviewed in the Saudi newspaper Arab News in June 2003, your energy is likely to fade at this point, from sheer exhaustion and fear. You will not fight for your life, nor protest against your restraints.
“When [death row prisoners] get to the execution square, their strength drains away,” said al-Beshi, who has beheaded up to seven prisoners a day and describes his calling as “God’s work.” He also said he does not see his work as particularly gruesome. (Continue Reading.)
Friday, October 17, 2014
RT—Hundreds of women and girls belonging to the Yazidi religious minority have been enslaved by Islamic State militants, who are selling them, forcing them to marry and convert to Islam, ruining not only their lives, but also the lives of their families.
A Yazidi woman weeps for her sister
On the Iraqi-Syrian border, RT’s Paula Slier contacted Amira, a woman whose life turned into a nightmare after her sister was captured by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) jihadists about a month ago.
The 27-year-old managed to call her and revealed that the jihadists "are hurting us, exploiting us, many of us are being sold." Women can’t do anything to save themselves. What’s more, the militants even "won’t let us kill ourselves."
The family fears that that it would be impossible to find the woman even if the jihadists are suppressed: "We are not sure if she is alive."
"My life is ruined, my mother’s, my family’s. I don’t think we can ever go back to a normal life, not after losing our sister," Amira said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has recently released a report, confirming abuses against people belonging to Yazidi community, a minority Kurdish religious group, by the IS militants. HRW said it successfully tracked down 16 Yazidis who escaped slavery, and also interviewed two detained women via phone.
The women shared stories of multiple rapes and forced religious conversions, with some of the victims just children – militants just picked up "those they desired, sometimes with force." They revealed that it was a common practice for IS to separate its captives into categories, depending on their age and sex.
The IS militants recently published online justifications to all sorts of crimes its fighters may do in the name of Allah: "We will … enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted." (Continue Reading.)
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Reza Aslan Invites ISIS Jihadists to Kill Apostates and Take Captives (but Probably Doesn't Even Realize It!)
Perhaps Aslan would like to share the context of these "rules" with his readers (and to show us which of the rules, properly understood, ISIS is violating), along with the source. In the meantime, let me give some further guidelines from Abu Bakr. After Muhammad died, many Muslims left Islam, to varying degrees. Some fully renounced Islam or returned to their former religions, while others abandoned certain prescribed practices (such as paying zakat to the central Muslim authority). Abu Bakr decided to fight all of them until they returned to orthodox Islam.
Here are some portions of a lengthy letter Abu Bakr sent (along with an army) to the apostates and rebels. Unlike Aslan, I'll actually document the source so that people can take a closer look if they like.
Here are five takeaways from the underlined portions:
I have learned that some of you have turned back from your religion after you had acknowledged Islam and labored in it, out of negligence of God and ignorance of His command, and in compliance with the devil. . . . I have sent to you someone at the head of an army of the Muhajirun and the Ansar and those who follow [them] in good works. I ordered him not to fight anyone or to kill anyone until he has called him to the cause of God; so that those who respond to him and acknowledge [Him] and renounce [unbelief] and do good works, [my envoy] shall accept him and help him to [do right], but I have ordered him to fight those who deny [Him] for that reason. So he will not spare any one of them he can gain mastery over, [but may] burn them with fire, slaughter them by any means, and take women and children captive; nor shall he accept from anyone anything except Islam. So whoever follows him, it is better for him; but whoever leaves him, will not weaken God. . . . (The History of al-Tabari, Volume X, State University of New York Press, 1993, pp. 55-57)
(1) According to Abu Bakr, Muhammad "struck whoever turned his back to" Allah "until he came to Islam, willingly or grudgingly." Does Aslan agree with Abu Bakr that Muhammad compelled people to convert to Islam, whether they wanted to become Muslims or not?
(2) Abu Bakr sends the letter with an army, and the army is instructed "not to fight anyone or to kill anyone until he has called him to the cause of God." Those who returned to Islam were to be left alone, while those who refused to return to Islam were to be fought.
(3) Khalid bin al-Walid (the commander of the army) was ordered not to "spare any one of them he can gain mastery over."
(4) The penalties for refusing to submit to Islam included "burning them with fire" and "slaughtering them by any means."
(5) Women and children were to be taken captive.
As you can see, the Islamic State is following Abu Bakr's guidelines to the letter. Yet Reza Aslan invites Islamic State jihadists to follow Abu Bakr's guidelines. By telling jihadists to obey Abu Bakr, Aslan is telling them to (1) invite people to Islam, (2) slaughter those who refuse to submit, and (3) take women and children captive.
This is what happens when clueless Western apologists for Islam start sharing what they learned about Islam from their American professors. They toss around quotes that they copied from the internet, mocking people like Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (someone who didn't get his information about Islam filtered through Western universities). Such tweets help sedate the ignorant, but do nothing to stop those who actually carry out the commands of Islam.
For more on Islam and ISIS, watch this:
And here's my tweet to Aslan:
Aslan's response was to delete my comment. This means that he now knows that his selective quote is thoroughly misleading and deceptive, and that he simply doesn't care.
Islamic Supremacist Erol Incedal Arrested for UK Terror Plot That Included Possible Attack on Tony Blair
Uh oh. Someone's been reading the Qur'an. To understand the Islamic view of unbelievers, watch this:
National Post—When police pulled over Erol Incedal’s car for what seemed like a routine traffic offence a year ago, it was a key moment in a case that would make British legal history.
Erol Incedal in court
Unbeknown to Mr. Incedal, 26, the officers who ran the rule over his black Mercedes secretly planted a hidden listening device, starting a chain of events that led to the first terrorism trial to be held largely in secret in a British court.
Tuesday, in one of the only parts of the trial to be heard in open court, a jury was told that Mr. Incedal had the address of Tony and Cherie Blair in his car and may have been planning an attack on an “individual of significance” or a more indiscriminate attack modelled on the 2008 Mumbai terrorist atrocity.
Lawyer Richard Whittam, opening the case for the prosecution, told members of the jury at the Old Bailey that they were part of an “exceptional” trial, the majority of which will be heard behind closed doors.
He said the bug planted in Mr. Incedal’s car recorded him saying: “I hate white people” and telling his wife he might have to switch to “plan B” after his car was searched.
When he was arrested two weeks after the initial “traffic offence” on Sept 30 last year, police seized material including a memory card containing a bomb-making manual.
Mr. Whittam said: “You will hear that he was actively engaged with another or others who were abroad. The prosecution case is that such engagement was for an act, or acts, of terrorism either against a limited number of individuals of significance or a more wide-ranging and indiscriminate attack such as the one in Mumbai in 2008.”
Referring to the piece of paper containing the Blairs’ address, Mr. Whittam said that although Mr. Incedal had not decided on a particular target or methodology, the address may “have some significance.”
Mr. Incedal denies preparing acts of terrorism and possessing a document titled Bomb Making.
Tony and Cherie Blair
The prosecution’s opening speech gave a rare insight into the tactics used by anti-terrorism police in gathering evidence against suspects.
The jury was told that the officers searched the car and found various items of interest, including the address for one of Mr. and Mrs Blair’s homes hidden inside a white Versace spectacles case. Also found was an Acer laptop computer, a pocket notebook and a USB dongle. Without the knowledge of Mr. Incedal, who was unable to see what was going on, the officers took photographs of the evidence but did not remove anything from the vehicle. Mr. Incedal was then allowed to go on his way.
Mr. Incedal’s encounter with the law unsettled him, it is alleged, but he appeared to have no inkling that a bug had been planted, the jury heard.
In the two weeks that followed, Mr. Incedal was recorded expressing concern that his alleged plot might have been thwarted.
The court heard that he told his wife: “Made a big mistake. There was some very important stuff in the car. If they found it, we’re f––.”
The listening device also recorded him saying: “I hate white people so much. I might have to destroy everything and do something else, Plan B.
“These pigs. I just feel like running them over. Everyone, even the kuffar, call them pigs.”
The jury was told that the listening device had picked up a reference to running an illegal house and a suggestion that it was “too dangerous” to carry rucksacks. Snippets of chatter also included references to Osama Bin Laden, fatwa, Syria and jihad.
Music was being played in the background that referred to “slaughter, looking at the enemy and looking at the bodies.”
The next time Mr. Incedal encountered the police, at 7.12pm on Oct 13 last year, the circumstances were rather different.
Again his car was stopped, but this time armed officers shot out the tires of the Mercedes on the approach to Tower Bridge to prevent him trying to drive away as he was arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences.
Once again, the car was searched. Hidden between his iPhone and its protective case was a memory card wrapped in masking tape that contained three files relating to “bomb making,” the jury was told.
They included references to latex gloves, goggles, chemicals to use and a description of how to use ground down matchstick heads. There was also a “rather comical” drawing of a bomb going off in the back of a car, said Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting.
The iPhone had been used to search the internet for “Islamic State of Iraq” in both English and Arabic.
Handwritten notes in a pocket notebook stated: “Fight those of the infidels who are near to you and why do you not fight in Allah’s cause for those oppressed men, women and children who cry out ’Lord rescue us from this town’?.” (Continue Reading.)
Monday, October 13, 2014
CNN—Despite airstrikes by the United States and its allies in Iraq over the weekend, reports suggest ISIS has continued to gain ground in Anbar province and has encircled Haditha, the province's last large town not yet under its control.
Provincial security force sources told CNN on Monday that Iraqi forces had abandoned a strategically important base in Anbar after heavy fighting with the militants.
The base outside Hit was one of the Shiite-led government's few remaining military outposts in Anbar, a predominantly Sunni province. It is a key control point for roads running through the region.
The Iraqi military still controls the Ayn al-Asad military base, which helps defend Iraq's second-largest dam and the provincial capital of Ramadi.
About 80% of Anbar is under ISIS control, according to Sabah Al-Karhout, president of the Anbar Provincial Council. The group's presence has been bolstered by as many as 10,000 fighters, dispatched from Syria and northern Iraq, the provincial council said. Anbar is about the size of North Dakota.
On Sunday, the leader of U.S. military efforts to fight ISIS in Iraq said the terror group came within 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) of Baghdad's airport. (Continue Reading.)
I wish to recommend this book to all those involved in Christian-Muslim dialogue. It is written by the Australian author Richard Shumack who has had many years of ministry in this area. I am recommending this book because Richard engages with Islam in a way that many of us do not, that is philosophically.
I suspect for many of us, myself included, we have engaged with Islam in terms of the texts of Islam, that is, the Qur'an and Hadith, and this is indeed one of our strengths. However, Muslims take much pride in Islam being a deeply rational and reasonable faith - and they see Christianity as irrational. To engage with Islam we also need to address this rational aspect and this is done philosophically.
Richard Shumack's book does this philosophical engagement. Some of the areas he covers are:
Certainty and Doubt
For each of these areas the common Islamic philosophical understanding is explained and critiqued. This was great for learning the history of Islamic philosophy and was also very practical. Then the Christian position was defended philosophically. This book has already helped me in my dialogue with Muslims.
The only weakness I found in the book was that because it focused on philosophy, not texts, I felt there were some important texts that were not considered, however, as the aim of the book was a philosophical engagement this does not take away from the book's helpful contribution.
I recommend this book to all who want to extend their thinking in this area.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Thursday, October 9, 2014
|Muslim convert Jennifer Williams|
Who would have guessed that jihadists are interested in blonde-haired American converts to Islam? Only anyone who knows anything about jihadists.
Williams, of course, is not interested in jihad, because, as is typical of Western converts, she knows far more about Islam than the jihadists who actually do what Islam commands. She's even read the Qur'an! Here's her story:
If you were to pass me on the street, you would never suspect I’m a Muslim: I don’t wear hijab. I have platinum blonde hair and blue eyes. And I am heavily tattooed. I grew up in Texas and was raised Southern Baptist. I use the word “y’all” a lot—and not ironically. But I am Muslim. I also speak Arabic and hold a Master’s degree in International Security with a focus on terrorism and the Middle East. Several years ago, I realized that although I had long studied, analyzed, and written about Islamic political theory and how jihadist ideologues like Osama bin Laden use the Qur’an to justify their heinous acts of violence, I had never actually read the Qur’an. So I read it—and what I found in its pages changed my life. I found answers to questions about faith and belief and morality that had been plaguing me since my youth. I found the connection to God I thought I had lost. And three years ago, I converted to Islam.Williams says she is a Muslim, and, by Western definitions (according to which anyone who says "I am an X" is therefore an X), she is undeniably correct. But is she a Muslim according to Islam? Though many readers assume that anyone who recites the Shahada is a Muslim, Allah has far more specific requirements.
Consider, for instance, what the Qur'an says about having Jewish or Christian friends:
Qur'an 5:51—O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.Notice what Allah says here. If you have Jewish and Christian friends, you're not a Muslim ("whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them"). But Williams, as a delightful Texas girl, has no shortage of Christian and Jewish friends. Apparently, she knows better than Allah.
As for the jihadists she condemns, consider the distinction Allah draws between Muslims who wage jihad and those who sit at home:
Qur'an 4:95—Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives. Allah hath conferred on those who strive with their wealth and lives a rank above the sedentary. Unto each Allah hath promised good, but He hath bestowed on those who strive a great reward above the sedentary.But here again, Williams knows better than Allah. After all, she read the whole Qur'an!
Williams goes on to explain what drew her to Islam:
Just to be clear: I detest the twisted interpretations of Islam espoused by the likes of Al Qaeda and ISIS just as much today as I did before I converted—in fact, probably more so, since now I see it not only as a sick bastardization of a beautiful religion, but a sick bastardization of my beautiful religion. When I read the Qur’an, I find a God who is beneficent, who is merciful, and who cherishes mankind. I find a religion that encourages independent thought, compassion for humanity, and social justice. The jihadis claim to love these same things about Islam, but have somehow decided that the best way to share God’s message of mercy and compassion with the world is to blow up mosques and behead humanitarian aid workers. Great plan, guys.Let's go through her claims about Islam one at a time.
(1) "I find a God who is beneficent, who is merciful, and who cherishes mankind."
The Qur'an certainly declares that Allah is beneficent and merciful, but not in the way a typical Westerner would interpret these words (more on this below). As for Allah cherishing mankind, I have no clue what Qur'an Williams is reading. Here's what the Qur'an says:
Qur'an 2:190—"Allah does not love those who exceed the limits."The Qur'an plainly declares that Allah has no love for most people (because most people fall into at least one of the above categories). To see what Allah's beneficence and mercy really amount to, let's take a closer look at one of the above verses:
Qur'an 2:276—"Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner."
Qur'an 3:32—"Allah does not love the unbelievers."
Qur'an 3:57—"Allah does not love the unjust. "
Qur'an 4:36—"Allah does not love him who is proud, boastful."
Qur'an 7:31—"[Allah] does not love the extravagant."
Qur'an 8:58—"Allah does not love the treacherous. "
Qur'an 28:77—"Allah does not love the mischief-makers."
Qur'an 57:23—"Allah does not love any arrogant boaster."
Qur'an 3:31-32—Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Say: Obey Allah and the Apostle; but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers.Notice that Allah only loves those who accept the message of Islam. Allah has no love for those who reject Islam. What Allah's "beneficence" and "mercy" amount to, then, is that if you turn to Allah in repentance, and you obey Muhammad, Allah will then love you. How does this qualify as "cherishing mankind"? Allah clearly states that he has nothing but contempt for Christians, Jews, and idolaters, going so far as to call us "the worst of creatures":
Qur'an 98:6—Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikun will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.So Williams claims that Allah cherishes mankind, while Allah claims that he despises everyone except obedient Muslims. It seems that Western converts like Williams know more about Allah than Allah knows about himself! Perhaps they should rewrite the Qur'an for him, so that people like me won't be so confused!
Moving on . . .
(2) "I find a religion that encourages independent thought, compassion for humanity, and social justice."
Oh my goodness. Independent thought? Allah demands mindless obedience. Consider a few verses:
Qur'an 4:65—But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.Muslims can "have no faith" until they "find in themselves no resistance" against Muhammad's decisions. Any critical thinking about Muhammad's decisions is therefore a sign of apostasy! (Note: In reading Williams' comments about Islam, we can see that she "finds resistance" against many of Muhammad's decisions. But the Qur'an condemns such "independent thought.") Here's another:
Qur'an 33:36—It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter, that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.Notice again that believers "have no option" but mindless obedience.
The Qur'an even commands Muslims not to ask too many questions, because such questioning may lead them away from Islam:
Qur'an 5:101-102—O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, Allah will forgive those: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most-forbearing. Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith.Think about this. Allah will give you clear answers in the Qur'an (which Muslims must mindlessly obey). Apart from that, questions aren't exactly welcome. Somehow, Williams reads this and concludes that Islam encourages independent thought!
What about "compassion for humanity"? As we have seen, Allah only loves obedient Muslims. But Allah also commands his followers to treat people accordingly. Thus, he commands Muslims to show mercy only towards fellow Muslims:
Qur'an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.So "compassion for humanity" really means "compassion for fellow Muslims only."
As for "social justice," Islam is diametrically opposed to the most basic principles of social justice. Islam allows Muslim men to beat their wives into submission (Qur'an 4:34) and to rape their female captives and slave girls (Qur'an 4:24). Islam allows Muslim men to have sex with prepubescent girls (Qur'an 65:4). Islam commands Muslims to execute anyone who leaves the religion (Sahih al-Bukhari 6878, 6921, 6922). Islam commands adherents to violently subjugate non-Muslims and to extort money from them (Qur'an 9:29; Sahih al-Bukhari 6924). I am not aware of any mainstream ideology on the planet that is more detrimental to social justice than Islam.
(3) "The jihadis claim to love these same things about Islam, but have somehow decided that the best way to share God's message of mercy and compassion with the world is to blow up mosques and behead humanitarian aid workers. Great plan, guys."
Here Williams mocks the jihadists for spreading Islam by the sword. But that plan comes from Allah and Muhammad, not from ISIS.
Qur'an 9:29—Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.So here's the sad reality. Jennifer Williams, like most Western converts to Islam, is completely clueless about what Islam actually teaches. Yet she puts herself forward as a true follower of Islam, opposing herself to Islamic State jihadists who follow the Qur'an to the letter.
Qur'an 9:123—O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).
Sahih Muslim 33—The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer, and pay Zakat and if they do it, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.
This is, of course, quite common in the West, where people have absorbed the cultural principle that they're free to believe whatever they want to believe. Westerners then carry this principle over to Islam, and they assume that they can believe whatever they want about Islam. While this is true from a Western perspective, it's completely false from an Islamic perspective. Muslims, according to the Qur'an, are not free to believe whatever they want to believe and still call themselves Muslims. The Qur'an calls such Muslims "hypocrites" and orders Muhammad to wage jihad against them (9:73).
The saddest part is that Williams is ultimately serving the jihadists, whether she knows it or not. ISIS is slaughtering apostates (as Islam commands), subjugating hypocrites and unbelievers (as Islam commands), raping female captives (as Islam allows), seizing property (as Islam allows), collecting jizyah (as Islam commands), and so on. Meanwhile, Williams and other Western apologists for Islam protect the Qur'an and Muhammad from criticism, thus allowing the ideology of jihadists to spread unchecked.
Great plan, Jennifer.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
One may object to halal meat for a variety of reasons (e.g., the methods of slaughter that are employed, the serving of such meats to school children who don't get a choice as to what their school serves for lunch, the Islamization of the meat industry, etc.). However, the question about Christians eating halal meat is usually based on a passage in 1 Corinthians 10. Muslims pronounce Islamic phrases (bismillah, "in the name of Allah," and Allahu akbar, "Allah is greater") over animals as they are slaughtered, so many Christians wonder if eating the meat of these animals is condemned by the Apostle Paul. Here's the first part of the relevant passage:
1 Corinthians 10:14-22—Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?Notice that Paul is specifically discussing meals that function as part of worship. He refers to the "Lord's Supper," in which Christians gather for a meal commemorating the sacrificial death of Jesus. He also mentions Jewish sacrifices, in which the person who brings the offering consumes a portion of the sacrifice (as do the priests).
1 Corinthians 10:23-31—All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.Since Paul advises Christians to "eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience' sake," he obviously doesn't care whether the animal has been slaughtered in the name of a false deity. He even says that it's perfectly acceptable to join a pagan for a meal, knowing that the meat may have been slaughtered as a sacrifice to a pagan deity.
Paul's concern is when the meal is eaten as part of worship, and the impact this may have on new or weak Christians who have been raised to think of the idols as objects of worship. Indeed, Paul's remark about the "table of demons" is connected to chapter 8, where he refers to "dining in an idol's temple" (1 Corinthians 8:10). Such meals were part of the worship of idols, and if new or weak Christians see Christians eating in the temples of idols, they may be tempted to join in the worship of the idols.
Applying these principles to the question of halal meat, an important difference becomes apparent. Although Islamic phrases are recited over the animals when they are slaughtered, this isn't the sort of sacrificial worship Paul discusses in 1 Corinthians. "Halal" simply means "allowed" or "permissible," not "sacred." Halal meat has met basic requirements for being consumed by Muslims. This doesn't mean it was prepared as part of Islamic worship.
But even if we view halal meat as somehow sacrificed to Allah, this shouldn't be a concern, because the god of the Qur'an, like the idols of Corinth, is nothing. Hence, Christians should have no religious objection to eating halal meat, whether in a store, at a restaurant, or at the home of a Muslim friend. The only exception would be if we are in the presence of Christians who are sincerely bothered by the eating of halal meat, because they think of it as somehow honoring Allah. In such cases, Paul says that we shouldn't eat the meat (1 Corinthians 8:13).
Again, there may be other concerns about halal meat. One may object to the treatment of the animals or to the application of Sharia principles in Western industries. But if we are wondering whether Paul says that we are sinning by eating halal meat, we can see that his only warnings for us are: (1) Don't eat halal meat as part of any worship towards Allah, and (2) Don't eat halal meat if a new or weak Christian is bothered by it. Apart from those cases, the general rule is that "everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer" (1 Timothy 4:4-5).
For more on this topic, here's John Piper: