The ‘Get Islam Off the Hook Playbook’

The treatment of the aftermath of Islamic terror attacks are so entirely predictable by now that the only conclusion that we can reach is that the world’s media organizations are hell-bent on covering for the ‘Religion of Peace’.

I doubt whether a document like the one below actually exists, but it might as well, since most journalists are singing from exactly the same hymn-sheet and the key is denial of reality!

Memo to  all Mainstream Media Journalists

Whenever an atrocity is committed by someone claiming to be inspired by the teachings of the Qur’an the following steps should immediately be taken to avoid awkward questions about the ‘Religion of Peace’:

•    Interview friends of the perpetrator. Have them say how ‘totally shocked’ they are that such a nice guy could do such a thing (the implication being that he must have ‘snapped’)
•    Interview worshippers at his mosque. Have them say that he attended irregularly and ‘drifted away’ eventually (in other words ‘He could never have learned that stuff here’)
•    If the perpetrator had a troubled background (drugs, alcohol etc.) before turning to Islam make sure that it is emphasized.
•    Insist that the perpetrator is mentally deranged and/or a ‘lone wolf’
•    Insist that every interviewee or panellist talking about the attack repeat some version of ‘This has nothing to do with the peaceful teachings of Islam’ (It does not matter if they do not have the foggiest idea of what Islam actually teaches as long as the mantra is drilled into the minds of the public)
•    Do not broadcast any appeals to the Qur’an or the example of Muhammad made by the perpetrator to justify his/her actions. If this is unavoidable constantly point out that he/she ‘Misunderstands Islam’
•    Deflect attention from the incident (and assist the Muslim community in playing the victim card) by warning of a ‘backlash’. Feel free to do this even while the incident is playing out.
•    Start, or strongly support, a ‘feel good hashtag’ (e.g. #Illridewithyou or #JeSuisCharlie) so that people can engage in pointless social media activism instead of analyzing the root causes of the attack

Educate yourself to ask the questions that the media and political elites are trying to avoid at all costs by reading ‘Nothing to do with Islam – Investigating the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot’

Muhammad: Why Women are ‘Deficient in Religion’

Muslim apologists often proudly claim that Islam liberated women from the terrible conditions they lived in before the coming of Muhammad. Yet, it is probably fair to ask what exactly this ‘liberation’ means if Islam condemns women to hell simply for being women.

Allow me to explain. According to the most revered collection of ahadith (traditions) the ‘prophet’ Muhammad once passed by a group of women. He told them: “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man? “They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.” (Sahih Bukhari 1:6:301)

So here we see Muhammad not only cheerfully consigning the majority of women to hell but doing so based on a staggeringly misogynistic claim. You see, women have periods which in Islam means they cannot pray as often as men (as they are supposedly ritually unclean during menstruation). Fewer prayers means less merit in the eyes of Allah. Because of this their religion is ‘deficient’ and many are condemned to hell. Oh, and they are ‘deficient in intelligence’ as well!

Are we to understand that Allah (supposedly the ‘Compassionate and Merciful’) created women to have periods and bear children and then metes out terrible eternal punishment for being who they were created to be?

Equip yourself to ask the hard questions about the truth-claims of Islam that are all too often swept under the carpet in our society by reading ‘Questioning Islam – Tough Questions and Honest Answers About the Muslim Religion’

A Tale of Two Cities (In Which Goliath Bites the Dust)

There’s a small city just inside the Saudi Arabian border that most Westerners have probably never heard of. It is called Najran. Najran is the kind of backwater that gets its public swimming pool listed on Tripadvisor as one of the tourist attractions. Hicksville if ever there was one.

400 miles north of Najran is a city that just about everyone on the planet has heard of. A city visited by millions every year and that is the focus of every Muslim prayer prayed anywhere on the planet. I am, of course, talking about Mecca. To say that Mecca is on the other end of the scale from Najran in terms of name recognition is perhaps to be guilty of the understatement of the century.

It has ever been thus according to traditional Muslim historiography. Mecca is portrayed in Muslim sources (written down 200 years after the events they supposedly describe) as the most important religious and trade center in central Arabia since time immemorial.

Yet, there’s something that should be deeply troubling to any devout Muslim. When we investigate the primary sources (i.e. historical sources that can be definitively traced to the period they describe) a perplexing conundrum emerges. Najran is simply everywhere. Mecca nowhere.

Najran is referred to in the works of the three giants of Roman geographical writing (Strabo, Pliny and Ptolemy). Najran is also referenced in a wide variety of pre-Islamic trade and other geographical descriptions of central Arabia. It is, furthermore, mentioned in several religious texts dealing with the coming of Judaism and Christianity to this part of the Arabian Peninsula.

Perhaps the most famous episode in the history of Najran was the martyrdom (in 524 CE) of the local Christian Bishop. Aretas, and much of his flock were martyred at the hands of the last king of the Himyarite Kingdom Yusuf As’ar Dhu Nuwas. Aretas is still recognized as a saint by both the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church. Because of this the name of Najran was spoken as far away as northern Europe.

I’ve barely scratched the surface as far as historical references to the relatively unimportant and obscure city of Najran is concerned. Today, and in Muslim historiography, it pales in comparison with Mecca, its much more famous northern neighbor in terms of its importance.

Here’s the conundrum. If there is so much historical evidence available for the pre-Islamic existence of the Hicksville of Central Arabia we would logically expect that the historical evidence dealing with Mecca would be orders of magnitude more substantial. Except that it isn’t.

There is, in fact, not a single shred of uncontested primary source evidence for the pre-Islamic existence of Mecca. Nothing, zilch, zip, nada! This is a fact that, to put it mildly, has tremendous implications for the truth-claims of Islam.

I realize that this may seem like a tall tale, but don’t just take my word for it. Examine the evidence by reading my book ‘The Mecca Mystery – Probing the Black Hole at the Heart of Muslim History’

Islam: The Hotel California of Religions 

In the immortal words of ‘The Eagles’, the Hotel California is place where you can ‘check out anytime, but you can never leave’. This may as well have been a description of Islam.

The Qur’an makes it clear that abandoning Islam is a very serious sin. It, therefore, contains many blood curdling reminders that those who do so will suffer a terrible fate. One example: “Lo. Those who disbelieve after their (profession of) belief, and afterward grow violent in disbelief: their repentance will not be accepted. And such are those who are astray. Lo. Those who disbelieve, and die in disbelief, the (whole) earth full of gold would not be accepted from such a one if it were offered as a ransom (for his soul). Theirs will be a painful doom and they will have no helpers.” (Qur’an 3:90-91) The fact that threats like these were even necessary is quite interesting. Could it be that a very large number of people saw through the prophet and that the only way they could be persuaded to remain committed to Islam was through this kind of dire threat?

The hadiths make it clear that the ‘painful doom’ reserved for apostates is not merely a matter for eternity, but some of it must also be meted out by Muslims on this side of the grave. Some examples:

  • Muhammad issued a chilling command on how apostates should be treated by the Muslim community: “Whoever discards his Islamic religion, then kill him.” (Sahih Bukhari 4:52:260)
  • Muhammad felt so strongly about the possibility of apostasy that he made apostasy from Islam one of only three circumstances under which a person who had previously cited the Islamic confession of faith can be killed: “Allah’s Apostle said, “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.” (Sahih Bukhari 9:83:17)
  • The hadiths also contain many examples of Muslims willing to carry out the punishment of Allah against apostates. For example: “Narrated Abu Musa: A man embraced Islam and then reverted back to Judaism. Mu’adh bin Jabal came and saw the man with Abu Musa. Mu’adh asked, “What is wrong with this (man)?” Abu Musa replied, “He embraced Islam and then reverted back to Judaism.” Mu’adh said, “I will not sit down unless you kill him (as it is) the verdict of Allah and His Apostle” (Sahih Bukhari 9:89:271)

There can be no doubt at all, in light of the evidence presented above, that the prescribed Islamic punishment for apostasy is death. This is not merely an archaic teaching that has long ago been dispensed with. All four Sunni legal schools as well as orthodox Shi’a doctrine agree that apostates should be executed. This is demonstrated by the fact that people are often tried (and executed) for apostasy in countries where Islamic law (shari’a) is the law of the land. Even in places where shari’a is not consistently applied, apostates often live in fear of vigilante action from Muslims eager to carry out Muhammad’s wishes.

The teaching that apostates should be killed is without parallel in any other religion or belief system. It is only Islam among the faiths and ideologies of the world that demands death for abandoning it. It should also be noted, as the hadith quoted above make clear, that the punishment for apostasy does not only apply to those who were born into Islam but also to those who converted to Islam and then decided to turn their backs on it.

This aspect of the teaching of Islam should be of particular concern to those who are thinking of converting to Islam. They need to know that, while entry into Islam is relatively easy, leaving Islam is not such a simple matter. Those who leave can, instead, be in real peril. This fact should cause everyone, including those born into Islam, to pause and reflect on what Islam’s ruling on apostasy tells us about the religion. What are we to make of a faith whose founder decreed that those who follow it should be kept inside through the use of death threats? At the very least, it should tell us that Muhammad was not certain that proof and argument would be sufficient to keep devotees loyal to Islam. A rather revealing insight.

For more a critical examination of the truth-claims of Islam see my book: “Questioning Islam – Tough Question and Honest About the Muslim Religion’