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Hamas has unleashed the West’s monsters Civilisation will never escape the descendants of Cain

Armed Palestinian members of Hamas. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

Armed Palestinian members of Hamas. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)


November 20, 2023   6 mins

We live in an apocalyptic moment, when something truly hideous, long hidden just beneath the surface of everyday life, is breaking forth from the ground. The torture, rape, massacre, and kidnapping of roughly 1,200 Israelis on October 7 was only the beginning of this revelation. In the West, Hamas’s butchery has unleashed eruptions of antisemitism and massive, increasingly violent displays of support for the terrorists. Like some mythical monster that periodically emerges from hibernation to slaughter far and wide, the rough beast, it seems, is just stretching its legs. And we are only beginning to take its measure.

It’s important to understand the sheer evil that now threatens us. Hamas has been called “barbaric”, but that is hardly a sufficient description of its primitive savagery. The Greeks called non-Greeks barbaroi because their words sounded like babble to their ears: “bar bar bar.” Barbarians ranged from the slavish inhabitants of large, sophisticated, highly stratified societies (Persians, Egyptians) to fiercely spirited, independent tribes (the forest-dwelling Northerners that the Romans called Germani). None of these peoples based their identity on the struggle against a hated Other whose total elimination, to be achieved at any cost, was their sole reason for existence. None embraced the complete destruction of body and spirit — including their own as well — that the Nazis called Vernichtung: “negation”. None, in other words, were pure enemies of civilisation.

But jihadis are. Civilisation is the sum of cultural and social conditions that make for flourishing lives and communities. Jihadism is a death cult. In a recent podcast, Sam Harris reminds us of the Taliban jihadists who, in 2014, murdered 132 Muslim children at a school in Peshawar and burned a teacher alive in front of her students. A supporter of the Pakistani Taliban said of the dead children: “We did not end their lives. We gave them new ones in Paradise…. They will be rewarded for their martyrdom. After all, we also martyr ourselves with them.”

These words are themselves apocalyptic. From the perspective of Islamic fundamentalism, there is no human being who does not deserve to die. Muslims will go to Paradise; non-Muslims will burn in Hell. Death is a blessing for true believers, divine justice for apostates and infidels. Choosing a martyr’s moral and physical self-destruction thus legitimises the deaths of everyone one can possibly kill. Murder-suicide on this grand scale is the ultimate form of religious totalitarianism, the complete control of the lives of others.

This mentality explains a lot, including the abject misery of the Gazans — a people who, pressed beneath the heavy machinery of organised death-worship, are twisted with moral scoliosis. Is it any wonder that Hamas has stolen tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid for military purposes? Or that it hides weapons and hostages in hospitals using sick and injured Gazans and new-born babies as human shields? Or that it blocked evacuation routes and confiscated the car keys of civilians who wanted to cross the Wadi Gaza, as the IDF urged them to do, in order to flee Israeli military action in the northern part of the territory?

Hamas’s strategy is to maximise civilian deaths in order to stimulate worldwide opprobrium of Israel, and, if possible, open up more military fronts of Iranian proxies in Lebanon and Syria. As Harris says, Hamas is “eager to martyr all Palestinians for the pleasure of killing Jews”.

But if Hamas, Isis, and other jihadis are not barbarians, what are they? This question takes us back to remotest antiquity, when very ancient peoples struggled to master the dark depths of the human psyche, and to establish the handful of “Thou shalt nots” on which all civilisation is based.

Weirdly, the most primitive tribal impulses are today expressed by means of the latest digital technology. There is a recording of a phone call that a Hamas terrorist made to his parents on October 7. The audio captures a human drama as old as recorded history: a son seeks approval from his parents for his prowess in battle. But there is something deeply twisted about their conversation. “Hi Dad!” the son shouts. “I’m talking to you from [kibbutz] Mefalsim. Open my ‎WhatsApp now, and you’ll see all those killed. Look how many I killed with my own hands! Your son killed Jews! … Dad, I’m talking to you from a Jewish woman’s phone. I killed her, and I killed her husband. I killed ten with my own hands! Dad, ten with my own hands!” The whole time, his father is repeating “Allah hu Akbar!” A little later, the young man says “Mom, your son is a hero!”

In Homer’s Iliad, the Trojan Hector imagines the day his son, still a toddler, “comes home from battle bearing the bloody gear / of the mortal enemy he has killed in war— / a joy to his mother’s heart”. But the battle he envisions is armed combat against trained warriors, not a surprise terror attack on innocent families. The Hamas murderer claims the status of a hero, but his deeds belie his words. His perspective has no Greek analogue. It is pre-Homeric.

It is also pre-Abrahamic. In Genesis 22, God tells Abraham to take his son Isaac, the child of Sarah, up Mount Moriah to be sacrificed. Isaac embodies the entirety of Abraham’s hopes, as it is with Isaac’s descendants that God has established his eternal covenant. Abraham dutifully binds Isaac and draws his knife so that he may cut his throat, drain his blood, and burn his corpse. An angel stays his hand at the last moment, and he learns that the Almighty does not want human sacrifice.

Herein lies the basic problem: Islamists never got the message. That’s why they regard murder-suicide as a sacrament. When the Hamas jihadi’s brother tells him to come back, he replies “What do you mean come back? There’s no going back. It is either death or victory! My mother gave birth to me for the religion.” In other words, she gave birth to him so that he might advance the cause of indiscriminate death.

Why does Islam remain fertile ground for such insanity? The Bible suggests that fraternal conflict is at the root of the problem. When Abraham’s wife Sarah could not conceive, she instructed him to impregnate their Egyptian slave girl, Hagar. But when Hagar became pregnant with Ishmael, Sarah harassed her and she fled. An angel told her that her child “will be a wild ass of a man— / his hand against all, the hand of all against him”. Hagar then returned to Abraham and Sarah, but after Isaac was born, Sarah drove her and Ishmael out of their camp.

The angel’s prophecy makes sense in hindsight. An outcast twice over, Ishmael must bear considerable ill-will toward Isaac — the son favoured not only by his father and stepmother, but by God. This is important, because Muslims regard Ishmael to be the ancestor of Arab tribes, and of Muhammad in particular. Islamic tradition furthermore holds that the Jews falsified the Hebrew Scriptures, and many Muslims believe it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was Abraham’s favoured son. These facts, too, suggest fraternal resentment.

The story of fraternal enmity and rancour is one of the earliest in the Bible, and a recurring theme in Genesis (think of Esau and Jacob, or Joseph and his brothers). It first appears immediately after the exile from Eden. Cain is incensed that God favours Abel’s sacrificial offering. Turning a deaf ear to God, who urges him not to sin, he murders his younger brother. Exiled by God, he becomes “a restless wanderer on the earth” who is nevertheless protected by the Lord’s own mark. That means he and his descendants will be with us forever. If we are to come to grips with the revenant monster that announced itself, yet again, on October 7, we must acknowledge this fundamental fact.

No one has thought more deeply about what Cain’s story means than the anonymous author of Beowulf, an epic poem that explores the open wound of the outcast brother. Heorot, the great mead-hall built by Hrothgar, king of the Shielding Danes, is a place of light, warmth and decorous ritual: generous mead-pouring and gift-giving. A microcosm of civilised existence, Heorot “stands at the horizon, on its high ground”, a Nordic city on the hill “meant to be a wonder of the world forever”. But the monster Grendel prowls the low, cold bogs outside until, berserk with anger, he splinters Heorot’s doors and wreaks bloody horror.

What ails Grendel? A “corpse-maker mongering death” in his repeated night-raids, he descends from “Cain’s clan”. For this wild branch of the sons of Adam, split off from the main human trunk by primal sin, the house of civilisation is an unbearable reproach. In Beowulf, resentment and envy are fevers of the mind that inflame and disfigure the body, twisting it into a sullen slouch. Outlawed by God, cast out by men, barred from hall and feast to gorge on envy and resentment, Cain’s clan — “ogres and elves and evil phantoms / and the giants too who strove with God”— are grotesque figurations of poisonous passions, the fermentation of the bitter fruit of exile.

Beowulf soberly acknowledges the disconcerting fact that we who dwell in the house of civilisation can neither make peace with, nor be rid of, the descendants of Cain. The eponymous hero slays Grendel and his mother and rules his people, the Geats, for 50 good years. But Beowulf finally succumbs to the poisonous bite of a flame-belching dragon, accidentally awakened after many centuries, that emerges from its subterranean lair to waste Geatish farms, homesteads, forts, and earthworks with great sprays of “molten venom”. The hero’s death spells doom for the Geats. At the poem’s end, a grieving woman unleashes “a wild litany / of nightmare and lament: her nation invaded, / enemies on the rampage, bodies in piles, / slavery and abasement”. Order and decency, peace and security, are only as solid as the ground they stand on.

The woman’s nightmare is a dark prophecy for our age, which has few heroes but plenty of monsters. Some parade daily on the streets of major Western cities, surrounded by mobs of ignorant, confused people. We face the same challenges Beowulf confronts, but with none of the poem’s clarity or resolve. Many of us can no longer tell good from evil, or hate from love. Under these circumstances, how long can our house, the increasingly divided house of the civilised world, remain standing?


Jacob Howland is Provost and Dean of the Intellectual Foundations Program at the University of Austin.


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STEPHEN GILDERT
STEPHEN GILDERT
8 months ago

It would instructive to hear Islamic voices provide an alternative view of their religion that shows its compassion and humanity. Christianity has the precept of “turn the other cheek” and “love thy neighbour”. These are peaceful philosophies. Are there any Islamic equivalents?

jane baker
jane baker
8 months ago

According to them there are. But it’s the same with most Holy Texts of whatever faith. You can pick and choose the bits that advise what you already want to do

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Like him, or not, Jesus is a very different figure to Muhammad. It’s hard to think of Jesus followers boasting of his sexual or martial prowess. Or even his cunning.

Obviously christians have not always lived up to the ideals of their founder – who could, or even should? – but the image that each religion has of its founder must make a difference. And both portray their founder as some sort of ideal that one should at least try to live up to.

Last edited 8 months ago by David Morley
John Greatorex
John Greatorex
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Stalin’s Soviets supressed the Church and sought to dismantle all Christian institutions, be they physical or moral, through legislation and fear. Hitler only courted the Church to appeal to the German electorate, as National Socialism came to view Christianity as emboldening the weak.
In the struggle against Islamism, Christians should be brave and bold enough to say that Christianity is the religion of the civilised world.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
7 months ago
Reply to  John Greatorex

Yes I know all that BUT the point is NONE of them was a Muslim, not born a muslim, nor raised as a Muslim, nor influenced in any way by the prophet Mohammad or the Qu’ran! Whatever religious influences those degenerates had (big or small) were Christian.. no getting away from that. Trying to demonise Islam just doesn’t stack up.
Throughout history, the best friends Jews ever had, ever, were Muslims.. the worst enemies the Jews ever had were Christian..

Mark Eltringham
Mark Eltringham
7 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So how many Jews live in Muslim majority countries then? How many in Christian?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Assad in Syria ?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
7 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Assad… what?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

So Muhammad isn’t responsible, it’s a case of “blame the angel”!!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Not even the angel’s fault.. blame the twisted interpretation of the Qu’ran just like we should blame the twisted interpretation of the OT..
For every (out of context) exhortation to violence in the Qu’ran you’ll find a similar one in the OT.. Personally, I confine myself to the NT and Buddhism..

simon lamb
simon lamb
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Maybe so – but you still have a distorted view of the world if you think those you list are war criminals. Try Putin, Assad, the Houtis, the Iranian Regime. The worst enemies the Muslims have are other Muslims – by a country mile. Context, context, context my friend

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

The 26 muslim invasions of India, death toll probably 88M ( K S Lal ) including Timur the Lame. “Remember Khaybar” as Hamas supporters chanted in London.
Churchill was not a war criminal he fought a war to stop the Nazis.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I’m trying to confine the discussion to modern times.. if you go back into ancient times there is no end to savagery all round!
Churchill is of course a war criminals as he was responsible for the South African concentration camps, the Indian famine and the bombing of Dresden.. three clear war crimes..

Hardin Jones
Hardin Jones
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

No they didn’t – just cos Allison Pearson said they did. She wasn’t even there.

P N
P N
7 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Churchill a war criminal? That’s just Fenian nonsense intended to get a rise. The concept of war crimes didn’t exist in Churchill’s day, just as they didn’t during Mohammed’s day.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
7 months ago
Reply to  P N

Fenian? Surely you’re not reduced to that are you?

Hardin Jones
Hardin Jones
7 months ago
Reply to  P N

Dresden was a war crime – civillians were targeted with the aim to flatten the infrastructure (as in Gaza). Churchill was a war criminal in that he could have prevented the war having had 8 opportunities to do so. Thatcher didn’t have to go ahead with the Falklands but it won her the next election and 500,000 people would still be alive today had Boris not messed with the Kremlin-Kiev peace deal which had diddly to do with the UK. Wars make money. And taxpayers pay for them. Cha-ching.

simon lamb
simon lamb
6 months ago
Reply to  P N

Hmmm – I wonder what the Irish did to combat Nazi Germany…? Oh yes – I remember now – absolutely nothing! Naming as war criminals those who stood against Nazism at huge cost in lives and suffering so that Liam can enjoy his freedoms today (including the freedom to write the sort of tripe he does) is little short of sick

Last edited 6 months ago by simon lamb
Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
7 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

You make the key point.

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
7 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

What some human beings have done in the name of Jesus has been utterly horrific – equally as nasty as anything done in the name of Mohammed, whatever the real men were like.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
7 months ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

What ? When ?

Hazel Gazit
Hazel Gazit
7 months ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

But 1000 years have passed since then. Islam is still practicing the old barbarity.

Sherrytrifle 0
Sherrytrifle 0
7 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

To

sue vogel
sue vogel
8 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Not if you’re muslim you can’t.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Yep, Christian America, according to American university study, has killed 8 million and counting in its, bombings, coups, murder of democratically elected leaders, toppling of democratically elected governments, full scale invasions and economic sanctions. How’s that for terrorism?
Madeline Albright, US state terrorist said the killing of a million Iraqis including 500,000 children :was worth it”! How’s that for terrorism?
Now we have Netanyahu quoting his holy bible saying God commanded the Israelites to annihilate every man, woman, child and animal in a Palestinian town 2,000 odd years ago and he’s determined to do the same with Gaza.. How’s that for terrorism.

Paul K
Paul K
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Well, firstly Netanyahu is a Jew, so he’s very unlikely to be ‘quoting his holy bible’, unless something truly staggering has happened.
And secondly there is no such thing as ‘Christian America’. The country is a capitalist republic, not a theocracy. It’s imperialist foreign policy continues whatever the faith, or none, of its leaders.

Fraoch A
Fraoch A
7 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Well well a new low for Unherd. Not only has my uptick registerd the opposite of my intention this time I’ve been told that I have alredy voted…hmm.

Last edited 7 months ago by Fraoch A
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Yes, but what are their “peaceful philosophies”, do you know of any, Jane?

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

At the very least look up the Ahmadiyyas: https://www.alislam.org/ahmadiyya-muslim-community/
And try to talk to some actual Muslims. They are human beings just like you. It doesn’t matter which demographic group you belong to, here will be some in the group who think and act for healthy values and some who think and act destructively. The labelling of people and seeing them only through their group belonging is exactly what the woke ideologies do, that are so despised here on Unherd. I think we should be extremely careful not to fall into that trap to and dehumanise the other while extolling our own virtues.

james goater
james goater
7 months ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

Ahmadiyya Muslims are ruthlessly persecuted in their native land, Pakistan, where the majority Sunnis consider them heretics. They are hard-working peaceful Muslims who try hard to integrate with whichever host country has given them refuge. Notoriously refugee-averse Japan has accepted hundreds of Ahmadiyyas.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
7 months ago
Reply to  james goater

Absolutely spot on. I would add the Bohras as another example of moderate Islam who have mostly been well integrated without taking recourse to extra- territorial religious loyalties running counter to nations they stay in.
They are a peaceful business oriented community in Western India, and contrary to the reductionist polemics of Western MSM a support base for Prime Minister Modi’s India first policies.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

Are you aware of the Bangladesh War of Independence? Muslim West Pakistanis were happy to murder East Pakistani Muslims.
Bangladesh Liberation War – Wikipedia
Bangladesh genocide – Wikipedia
Pakistan’s imams declared Bengali Hindu women to be “war booty”;[6][7] and Pakistani fatwa were issued legitimizing Bengali Hindu women as spoils of war.[7][8] Women who were targeted often died in Pakistani captivity or committed suicide, while others fled to India.[9]

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Terrible crimes continue to be committed by remnants of pro Pakistani elements in Bangladesh till today against Hindus and Buddhists. Destruction of temples, loot and plunder of their habitats, rapes of women. I hardly see any coverage in Western MSM otherwise obsessed with ” minority” rights.

R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago

These reformist minded schools of thought existed a thousand years ago, heavily influenced by Aristotle. That was during Islam’s golden age. Needless to say, they did not survive the end of the Baghdad caliphate.

Mrs R
Mrs R
8 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

In the late 11th century Omar Khayyam wrote of his dread of the joy sucking spread of religious zealotry.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
8 months ago

I think the fifth commandment of Islam is to help the poor. As far as pacifist Christianity is concerned, its historical record is pretty dreadful, just taking WWII.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
8 months ago

Why is Hamas, the very model of ideal muslims, keeping Palestinians poor?

Last edited 8 months ago by Vijay Kant
Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
8 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

Because in their eyes, the commandment of jihad is even more important.

sue vogel
sue vogel
8 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Which is why they teach their children to want to die while killing Jews and other non-believers and see also https://tinyurl.com/2x23pewk

William Cameron
William Cameron
8 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

Because if the Palestinians received the aid that was sent to them they would be content . And the last thing Hamas wants is contentment.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago

Do you really believe that Palestinians will be content to have their land stolen, to be evicted from their homes, and to be driven further and further into the desert? Cop on.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
8 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Muslims have stolen land from every cultures in the old world! The whole of North Africa and Western Asia is stolen by Muslims and Arabised! But, oh, as soon as an acre of Muslim land is claimed back, the whole of Muslim world suffers from a diarrhoea. You need a good flushing.

Last edited 8 months ago by Vijay Kant
harry storm
harry storm
8 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

No such thing as “stolen land” anywhere in the world. Every habitable square inch of land on earth has been taken, and taken again and again and again and again. Also, nobody’s driving anybody “further and further into the desert.”

Iris C
Iris C
8 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You are right about that. The two country solution is not the answer. Israel controls the productive land and the Palestinians are never going to be content with the dregs.
The only solution is for the total land mass – that includes the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – to be one country with equal rights to all the citizens.
Israel would never agree to that but perhaps economic and diplomatic world pressure should be brought to bear in order to avoid escalation.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

Please show in the Hadith and Quran where Islam allows full and equal rights for all people. Without full and equal rights there can be no freedom, justice and demoracy for all. Please show a modern Islamic country which is democratic, free and allows full and equal rights for all. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, Sunni persecute Shia.

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Tunisia. Modern, secular, and abolished polygamy in order to bring women’s status up.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

List of terrorist incidents in Tunisia – Wikipedia
2015 Sousse attacks – Wikipedia
Does everyone, including Jewish people have equal rights ? Can a Muslim change their religion and marry a non- Muslim? What about blasphemy?

Waffles
Waffles
7 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

Your solution is to integrate Hamas into a civilised society where they have equal rights? I think you need to gain some perspective of how people in non-Western countries think.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
7 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

Israeli lands were awful unproductive lands. But they “made the desert bloom”. Then Arabs wanted to move back to share in the prosperity……

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
8 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I presume you know there was never any such thing as a Palestinian state? There was never a political entity that was “Palestine”, any more than there was a state called The Levant, or The Middle East. It was a name for a region, not a country.
I say “I presume you know …”, yet you seem to deny the history, so here goes …..
Palestine was the disparaging name given to the region surrounding what had previously been Judea by the Romans when they expelled the Jews from the area. Palestine was a corruption of the word Philistine – who colonised the land having arrived from Crete. The Arabs didn’t settle the land until after the C8th, from the Muslim conquest that brought Arabs from Arabia. The Hebrews were the indigenous people, the Jews.
Judea means “Land of the Jews”. Many Jews didn’t leave. There has always been a Jewish presence there since that time. The last ‘owner’ of the land was the Ottoman Empire. As the empire was falling at the end of WWI, it ceded legal authority over the whole region to the League of Nations, (the precursor to the UN) who gave it to Britain, as part of the Mandate for Palestine.
The Mandate for Palestine was a specific directive to the British to create a Jewish national home in the land of what is today, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. The British immediately gave the whole eastern part to the Arabs. And that became Trans Jordan, then Jordan. But they set aside the rest for the Jewish national home. So what does that mean? ‘Israel is the Jewish national home’? The only country in the world that actually has a legal claim to the land of Gaza, is Israel.
The Israelis have tried co-existence, the Israelis have agreed to a “Two state solution” multiple times. Each time the Arabs – who only started calling themselves “Palestinians” in the 1960s – destroyed any hope of a deal, because they refused to agree to Israels right to exist.
You’ve claimed in previous posts that you abhor the violence of Hams, yet seem to strain every sinew to justify them. I don’t think I’m misrepresenting the tone of your comments when I tell you that I’ve seen far too much comment from people like you over the last few weeks who wrap their anti-semitism in the language of compassion for Palestinians, as though there is an equivalence.
I’ve no wish to be uncharitable but claims of anti-Zionism usually seems to be a tissue-thin cover for anti-semitism.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

The old canard of “we were here 3000 years ago.” Indigenous tribes should take over all of North America.

Malcolm Powell
Malcolm Powell
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I wasnt stolen.It was voted by a resolution of the United Nations by a large majority.
Also prior to that much land was bough by Jewish settlers from rich Arab landlords enjoying themselves in the fleshpots of Beirut, casablanca etc. The problem was they “forgot” to tell their tenants

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
7 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Powell

So how come Israel has disregarded so many UN resolutions?

Hazel Gazit
Hazel Gazit
7 months ago

Maybe because so many of those resolutions have been unjust, biased and promoted by an Islamist majority?

Will K
Will K
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I guess they prefer to have their land stolen, to be evicted from their homes, and to be driven further into the desert, and have Hamas keep all the money sent to Gaza.

Last edited 7 months ago by Will K
Waffles
Waffles
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The Jews were there first. They established a kingdom centuries before Arab colonists forceably removed them.

Returning them in the 20th century was reparations.

But Wokes mindlessly equate White with bad and colonist, and non-White with good and eternal victim.

I hope you can break free from your programming one day.

Will K
Will K
7 months ago

If Ukraine had usefully used the $100B aid that was sent to them (instead of blowing it on weapons) they would likely be content too. But that’s the last thing the USA wants.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
8 months ago

Are you criticising the Christians who have failed Christ’s teachings? Or the teachings?

Mrs R
Mrs R
8 months ago

What do you make of Islamic expansionism and imperialism? Do you believe that once established it maintains its hegemony with a velvet glove or an iron fist?
Just thinking of those islamic states today where religious minorities – including those that predated the arrival of islam – are systematically persecuted, where apostasy is forbidden and any rebellion against the status quo ruthlessly suppressed.
The koran speaks of how the caliphate will be achieved and what will be the fate of the unbeliever.

sue vogel
sue vogel
8 months ago
Reply to  Mrs R

Israel has the largest number of Christians in the Middle East; they are persecuted in muslim countries

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

I worked in two Muslim countries and found no persecution whatsoever, indeed quite the opposite. You listen to too much propaganda and lies and fakery in government directed MSM.

Waffles
Waffles
7 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I suspect your experiences would have been a little less pleasant without the protection of Western citizenship.

This report details what you would have faced https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/59786a0040f0b65dcb00000a/042-Persecution-of-Christians-in-the-Middle-East.pdf

McExpat M
McExpat M
7 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I spent over a decade in the Middle East. No persecution, well perhaps, but you were never a full citizen and would never, ever be no matter your contributions there. Infidels are routinely made examples of in even the most free Muslim countries for transgressing against Islam. This never touched me personally but I absolutely observed all the rules. Expats thrown in prison for things like, sex outside of marriage, gasp , did not happen routinely but just enough to keep the non-believers in check. My co-worker wouldn’t let me come within several feet of her desk with a Quran on it if I was menstruating.
You are tolerated, but just barely. The tax-free salary blinds many to how repressive, racist, and corrupt those places are.

sue vogel
sue vogel
8 months ago

Hamas was not doing too well before the massacre at helping the poor of Gaza was it? It sold UN food aid, meant to be issued for free, to Palestinians.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

Lies, propaganda.. try not to be so naïve.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
7 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Ok so Hamas are humanists doing great and good stuff , unaffected by the corruption manifest elsewhere in the Middle East . Satisfied ? Do you live in Ireland ? I wonder sometimes if the pro – Palestinian attitudes current in Ireland is somehow related to the dearth of actual Muslim immigrants who have moved there. About a quarter or less of the proportion of the population of the U.K. who are Muslim . The same figures more or less as those of Scotland , surprise ,surprise

Last edited 7 months ago by Alan Osband
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

Hitler was not a Christian. He believed in a mythical German religion. Stalin was an atheist.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago

Why has the Christian West undergone scientific development since 1260 ?

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
8 months ago

Churchill refused Hitler’s offer of a peace treaty. Why? Look at the death and destruction that followed as a result. Priests were asking for God’s help in defeating each other. I can see no evidence of humans wanting to live in peace.

glyn harries
glyn harries
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Because Hitler was an antisemitic monster. exactly why Hamas need to be destroyed, preferably by Palestinians, now.

sue vogel
sue vogel
8 months ago
Reply to  glyn harries

I shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for Palestinians to rise up against Hamas. They can’t even prevent them from sacrificing their children, who’re taught at school and summer camps to want to die while killing Jews. No they are the embodiment of Stockholm Syndrome if one wants to be kind…

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
8 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

the hitler youth training did a good job in germany – pretty much the same really !

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

You’re confused.. that kind of indoctrination is delivered by Israelis in their schools, “Birthright camps” and kibbutzen.. if you look on line you’ll find several decent, moral young Jewish people who have escaped their hateful indoctrination.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You’re deluded . There is no equivalent of the concept of Jihad in Judaism or Christianity . Muhammed set in motion 1000 years of vicious Islamic conquest and aggression .And it only stopped ( at least against the west) because the west became economically and therefore militarily superior .

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Alan, you’re spot on, but my suggestion is to not engage with the previous poster. He appears to be the forum’s resident troll and agitator. I have a strict policy to not feed trolls.

Julian Newman
Julian Newman
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

@alan osband: Do you think Crusade is not equivalent to Jihad? Personally I see two differences
1) Islam had been imposed on previously Christian lands by force – this invalidates Islamist claims
2) Despite a good deal of self interest and corruption in the actual waging of the crusades, there was an underlying agenda to restore and spread Christian civilisation, and the values that Jesus taught have been of immense benefit to modern secular civilisation.
The biblical story of the Fall encapsulates an uncomfortable truth – we are all imperfect creatures and too often betray the standards by which we profess to live.

Last edited 8 months ago by Julian Newman
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Julian Newman

Up to about 950 AD Christains were allowed to go on pilgramage to Jerusalem. Control by the Seljuk Turks stopped this, hence Crusades. For Islam, The Mongols were a far bigger problem. The Crusades were an irritant. The Mongols sacked Baghdad, destroying The House of Wisdom resulting in the doors of ijtihad closing. There was little technical development in Islam from 1258, whereas in England in about 1260 Roger Bacon said Faith and Reason were separate. Bacon could said to start modern Western scientific thought.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
7 months ago
Reply to  Julian Newman

Yes I thought about citing the supposed counter example of the Crusades ( much cited by leftists in the west) and making much the same points you , and Charles Hedges below , make .

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Because Hitler had proven to be untrustworthy with regard to treaties, and Germany could not invade Britain let alone defeat the British Empire.
There was no reason to entertain a peace treaty; the whole Cabinet agreed that.

William Cameron
William Cameron
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Because the terms of peace included Hitler running Europe and murdering people ?

Duncan White
Duncan White
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

a ‘peace treaty’ with Hitler would not have prevented the Holocaust or an attempt to subjugate the rest of Europe, the UK would have become party to the genocide not the preventer. Churchill saw the long term consequences rather than the myopic ‘here and now’ wish fulfilling claims of appeasers. Never has a war been stopped, let alone won, by appeasement. A peace treaty with Hitler or Hamas is to appease and extend the war by years. Defeating Hitler and Hamas is question of ‘if not now, when’.

Jim M
Jim M
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Hitler needed to be destroyed. We did not negotiate with Isis and we should not tolerate the existence of Hamas. The terrorist apologists in this country should be stripped of their acquired citizenship and deported.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Sad but true.. however it is largely the elite degenerates who drive the hatred, and the wars and the divisions.. to suit their own evil ends.. People in general are opposed to these things but being gullible, easily led and suckers for propaganda a great many fall into the trap.
My experience is that people, worldwide, of every colour, creed and nationality are almost all good people or would be if they weren’t led astray by evil, twisted, greedy, selfish megalomaniacs!

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
7 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Which is why Leftism doesn’t work. It either misunderstands or misrepresents human nature.

Lefties believe that people are puppets of influential others and, in a perfect world, there would be no baddies.

Naive, insulting and infantile, but also evil at heart – because it betrays a fundamental disrespect for the individual (and promotes authoritarianism).

10% of all populations are personality disordered and 1% are psychopaths. Even good people prioritise themselves and their families over others. All human beings are capable of evil.

Civilised regimes/countries recognise human failings and design laws and democratic systems to guard against our worst instincts.

Tyrannical regimes debase their populations who have to abandon their virtues to survive. Like any criminal enterprise, the most degenerate thrive and the innocent are victimised.

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Hamas have behaved as savages but savagery has a long history and somehow we understand what it is. What we have not ever come to terms with is what the German regime did in the 1940s . We simply have no mechanism for doing so as they went far beyond our experience into a world that we have no access to at all. How could we ? Because of this our culture has lost it’s confidence. How could it fail to do otherwise? We cannot even measure our actions and the actions of others against what they did then. There is just no way for us to do so. We can defeat the savagery of Hamas and the like but to defeat the evil that came in to our world in those days of the war is a task for angels not for men. All we can do now is to try our best and refuse to take part in any action or event that in any way mirrors that evil. Because evil is the only word that fits.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

I hope you are not confusing Catholicism with Christianity.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
7 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

I’m afraid I would like to point out that humans come in two sexes. The women, whose sons and husbands and brothers die in war, want to live in peace. The men………

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
8 months ago

Read the Qu’ran, you’ll get the feel quite quickly

Last edited 8 months ago by Andy Iddon
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
8 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

That’s the problem, no one reads these texts. The same with the Bible. Too many simply rely on others opinions rather than just understanding what lies right in front of their own faces. Too busy with their iPhones, football, over indulgence, etc. etc.

sue vogel
sue vogel
8 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

When an entity, in this case islam,forbids questioning lest the questioner be dissatisfied with the answer, (per one of the hadiths) because it would cause people to be uneasy at least, and promotes submission to the will of whoever shouts the loudest or is the most violent then the enslaved populace can have no opinion but the ones foisted on them.

Last edited 8 months ago by sue vogel
Dark Horse
Dark Horse
8 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

Indeed – all fanaticism is shouted down doubt.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
8 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

exactly – see my comment above re civilisation sliding backwards due to a dearth of real “classical’ education ie 101 learning how to think first vs too lazy and easier to imbibe something pre digested by another blind person. Socrates 700bc RIP

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It is not texts, but the interpretation of texts. Muslim preachers know how to turn any text the way the want in order to brainwash the crowd
.

David Jory
David Jory
8 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

I have. It has no Golden Rule,unlike all other religions as well as humanism.

sue vogel
sue vogel
8 months ago
Reply to  David Jory

Dr Ali Sina’s “Understanding Muhammad” also points up that the muslims’ prophet used to hold cursing competitions against his enemies….

David Yetter
David Yetter
8 months ago

There would be — there are texts in the Qu’ran and some Hadiths that support compassion and humanity — but for one thing: the standard Islamic hermeneutic principle for resolving conflicts in meaning between passages in the Qu’ran is “naskh” or abrogation. The “later revealed” passages of the Qu’ran written after Mohammed became as successful warlord, which include all the bits about striking at the necks of unbelievers, screeds of Jew-hatred and the command to execute apostates, are held to abrogate conflicting passages written earlier with mild sentiments like “to kill one man is the same as killing all humanity” and commands to treat “people of the Book” — Jews and Christians — well. Unfortuately every fiqh of Islamic sharia, both Sunni and Shia, use naskh.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
8 months ago
Reply to  David Yetter

I find these hermeneutical details to be fascinating, something I know nothing about but would like to know more. Thanks for posting this.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
8 months ago
Reply to  David Yetter

Precisely! On top of that, the Quran is prescriptive rather than descriptive. The Bible, with a few notable exceptions including the Ten Commandments which are prescriptive, is descriptive; hence, there is no comparison between the violence recorded in the Old Testament, which is not meant to be emulated, and Quranic suras ordering the killing of infidels.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
7 months ago
Reply to  David Yetter

‘ Unfortuately every fiqh of Islamic sharia, both Sunni and Shia, use naskh.’

Yes, somewhat similar happens in Israel where the hawks come out on top again and again. And not just in Israel BTW.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
8 months ago

Some years ago a friend pointed out that of the three Abrahamic religions only Islam is devoid of miracles. There’s also no chance of redemption and no conversation with God. Just obedience.
In my reading I’ve kept an eye out for anything to contradict this. And, early on, there were hints of a more humanistic approach. Almost always quashed by bitter, violent fundamentalists.
It has been many hundreds of years since Islam lost any connection to philosophy and turned to cultish worship. It’s frightening.

Last edited 8 months ago by laurence scaduto
Rick Frazier
Rick Frazier
8 months ago

Islam fundamentalists want to chop your head off. Islam moderates want the fundamentalists to chop your head off.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Rick Frazier

Right on!

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
8 months ago

There are many miracles in the Quran. One example: the prophet Solomon had the ability to understand animals, and could hear an ant warning the other ants to get out of the way or risk being trampled by him and his army. another: the Prophet Muhammed’s night journey to Paradise, from the masjid of Al-Aqsa (which is in part why the Dome of the Rock is so important to Muslims).

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
8 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

The so-called miracles are only mentioned in the Hadiths. The Quran does not mention them or if there is a rare reference, there is no description why the event was miraculous!

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
8 months ago
Reply to  Katja Sipple

The journey of the prophet to paradise is not mentioned in the Quran, you’re right (oops) but the miracle of Suleiman (Solomon) and the ant is. There’s also a miracle involving the queen of Sheba (also in the same chapter about Solomon, who had a lot of miraculous powers). The story of Jonah (Yunus) being trapped in the whale is also in the Quran. Sorry, my bad about the error.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

Great example of Islam stealing Jewish narratives and figures. That was Mohammed’s sales pitch to the Jews of 7th century Arabia: “look how similar it is to your religion.” Of course we all know the outcome – the Jews rejected Mohammed so he slaughtered them.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

I was thinking more of the “healing the sick” or “reattaching severed heads” kind of miracles. Or even the “weeping statues”; my favorites. Services for the faithful rank and file.

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
7 months ago

Yes we cannot compete with raising the dead (Lazarus) or the resurrection (although we believe Christ will come back to earth to fight the Dajjal, or something close to your concept of the Anti-Christ). But the way in which the Queen of Sheba was transported to Jerusalem is pretty neat. A bit like the Star Trek teleportation device, she is brought over, throne and all, in the blink of an eye.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
8 months ago

Excellent point. I had never really considered the lack of miracles, but now that you mention it, I realise that this absence of miracles, which are glimpses of divine redemption, foreshadowing the greatest miracle of all, the resurrection of Christ, is indeed telling. Although I am not observant, I was raised Catholic with hints of Anglicanism (my dad was Anglican and my grandmother was a regular churchgoer), and I absorbed enough Christian theology to have a good foundation. My knowledge of Islam has been acquired through academic research and study, but I can unequivocally state that the differences between Christianity and Islam are fundamental. Superficial similarities come from early contact with Christians, some of whom were non-Trinitarian, and of course, Jewish scripture.
There is also an interesting theory that Muhammad never existed, as inscriptions indicate that the name was used as a title for Christ. The desire for an Arab prophet led to the title becoming separated from Jesus, and to be filled with new meaning which included a fictitious figure and an invented biography.

sue vogel
sue vogel
8 months ago

The muslims’ prophet instructed them to fight those who didn’t believe in him or his Allah. They are also never allowed to alter any aspect of their prophet’s message so any who preach peaceful coexistence in the way you might wish are likely to be under threat. Also when you believe that peace can exist only between muslim and muslim (honoured, it seems, as much in the breach as in the observance) then fighting “non-believers” to the death seems to tie in.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
8 months ago

It would also be useful to put all this in a historic context. Right now we have an extreme form of Islam to the fore, arguably to an extent supported by Saudi money, and in reaction to the failure of Ba’athism and Pan Arabism of times past. Christianity hasn’t always been so benign and Islam hasn’t always been so intolerant.

Jim M
Jim M
8 months ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

They are not equal. Stop that stupid moral equivocation.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim M

Calling something stupid isn’t an argument. Now say something that isn’t vacuous bluster.

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
8 months ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

No way to legitimately merge on the one hand, the teachings of Jesus plus the New Testament, on the other, with episodes like “the Crusades” and call that “Christianity”. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” There is no Christian equivalent of the Islamic state, because Christianity by very definition is a religion of the willing. “He who wills, let him come.” “Here I stand at the door and knock,” Jesus says. It’s an invitation to a personal relationship. Christian warfare vocabulary is entirely spiritual: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities in the heavenly realms”
Hence phrases like “Christian militia” are an oxymoron.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
8 months ago
Reply to  Simon Tavanyar

St. Paul 1 Corinthians 12: ‘We were all baptised so as to form one body…if one part suffers, every part suffers with it…’ We can’t so easily pick and choose who we call fellow Christians. As for ‘my kingdom is not of this world,’ it may not be but we are in the world and have to take the world seriously, as Paul said many times in the New Testament. I wouldn’t be so quick to call Christianity a religion of the willing and Islam one of the unwilling. 

Jim M
Jim M
8 months ago

Stop that wishful Western way of thinking. You mean the Islamists who want to lie about their religionists pasts? There is no more violent religion in history that is as widespread as Islam.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
8 months ago

Yes of course there are.. and better still (applying the maxim Jesus suggested: ” by their works shall ye know them) why not check the actual figures on lack of humanity perpetrated by each side against the other:
3,000 (mainly white Christan) Americans killed in 911 by Egyptian and Saudi terrorists. The US response? (with UK vassal in tow) was to wage a murderous war and sanctions against the wholly innocent Iraqi people, kill rate 1,000,000+ that terrorism was 333 times worse by the West.
Similar pictures for Afghanistan, Libya, Syria etc Christian (state) terrorism v Islamic “terrorists” (defending their own land, at home!) another 333 to 1, give or take!
And now Israeli state terrorism (aided and abetted by USUK) v Islamic freedom fighter terrorism, 27 to 1 since 1948..
Comparing Western/Christian (my arse) terrorism to Islamic terrorism is a no contest!
I worked in two Muslim countries, Türkiye and Malaysia ..kindest, gentlest people on the planet but sure, if you torture a gentle dog don’t be surprised if he turns on you with great ferocity!
Incidentally, my contact in (93% Muslim) Türkiye was Jewish, and my contacts in (67% Muslim) Malaysia were Hindu and Christian.. all got on with each in complete harmony! Go figure as the Yanks say!

Dark Horse
Dark Horse
8 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Neither of those countries are in Arabia. I worked in Kuwait and Iraq. The people were generally pleasant and welcoming to a white western woman but quite snobbish and racist towards their black Sudanese co-religionists, virulently anti-semitic (despite never having met any Jews), virulently homophobic (despite a lot of secret homosexual activity) and not remotely feminist. The double standard was breathtaking. Women had to be virgins on their wedding night but men were expected to sow their wild oats – usually with the high number of prostitutes available – many of whom were very young and very poor. Servants from Sudan and Ethiopia were often treated with great cruelty.
I was hard pressed to find anyone who had not been brainwashed by their Islamic teachers and was capable of free thinking rational debate. Those few rational atheists I did know had to be very careful.
The Kuwaitis were less depressed than the Iraqis because their dictatorship was more generous and much less bloodthirsty.
But everyone lived under a regime that stifled intellectual enquiry and many were desperate to get out.
I saw no evidence of anything positive in Islam – to be a Muslim is to be a slave.
The warmth and hospitality I experienced in the Muslim world I also experienced in all other non-Muslim countries. I think Islam is a curse for all Muslims robbing them of freedom and agency and filling their heads with backward ideas and superstitions.

McExpat M
McExpat M
7 months ago
Reply to  Dark Horse

Completely spot on. My experience exactly.

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
8 months ago

I would, as a Muslim, be willing to show you the many hundreds if not thousands of instances where Islamic religious scholars, political leaders, and other figures of authority have condemned extremist violence committed by terrorists claiming to act under the banner of Islam. Sadly, those voices are almost always ignored, not by the people of the countries in which they lead, but by people in Western countries. The APS attack referenced here, which happened in my country, managed to end any sympathy people might have had for the Pakistani Taliban, and it was the beginning of the end of their rampage across the country. (I live in Pakistan and that particular attack was apocalyptic, even though we thought we’d become inured to political and religious-inspired violence)

Islam has specific and humanitarian rules for conduct in warfare. It outlaws killing innocent civilians, especially women and children. There were provisions for captured women, who were meant to be treated with kindness and married legitimately, never raped or assaulted or even forced into concubinage. This is not to say that warriors always obeyed those rules. In fact, the extremists twisted and distorted a lot of them to suit their own designs.

I don’t expect anybody to take me at my word (why should you?) But there are many, many Muslim voices calling for peace and interfaith harmony, acting in accordance with the Islam they know and practice. As Reza Aslan once said in an interview, you get out of Islam what you yourself bring to it — if you value and espouse peace, you’ll find peace, if you espouse violence, you’ll practice the religion in a violent and abhorrent manner.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

What about Calcutta and Punjab in 1947, Biafra late 1960s, East Pakistan when it arose against West Pakistan 1970,Khomeini post 1979, Muslim Brotherhood- killed Sadat, honour killings, grooming gangs in the UK, Slavery existed in Muslim countries into the 1960s , if not 1970s- Mauritania for example. Assad senior, S Hussein and Gaddafi all Muslims who killed fellow Muslims, Algerian Civil War of 1990s.
How many Muslim countries are democratic and where religious minorities including Muslim ones, such as Shia are not persecuted? The slaughter between Sunni and Shia in Iraq was immense.
Equal rights for all people under Islamic rule, including in courts of law including marriage between people of different faiths including leaving the faith of their birth.
I would suggest the ability to keave the faith of one’s birth, marry and convert to another faith, is the ultimate test of religious tolerance and freedom.

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
8 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

You’ve referenced the Partition, which didn’t involve just Muslims but Hindus and Sikhs as well. As for Biafra, I’m not sure what that particular war has to do with Islam. As for the rest, are you actually suggesting that all these egregious examples of war and wholescale slaughter are condoned by Islam? I’m here to tell you they are not.
But we see religion being used on every level to justify killing, from Israel to China to Myanmar in the last century alone. Never mind the Crusades of the last millennium. Or the religiously-inspired invasions and colonizations of South and Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia in the 18th to 20th centuries.
Nobody’s innocent here, which is why I can understand atheists. What I don’t understand is atheists who support a claim that God gave the land to a particular group of people following a particular faith and that the proof of that is in a book of scripture.
And your last sentence, about religious freedom — I’m completely in agreement. “there is no compulsion in religion” and “to you your faith, and to me, mine” are my two favorite quotes from the Quran.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

There are the Surahs of the Sword.The Cow ” Kill them whereve you find them. Figthing is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. ” Hamas supporters shouting remember Khaybar is threatening to Jewish people.
The murder of 30,000 Christians by Mulsims starts the Biafran War.
The Fatwa issued by Khomeini to kill Salman Rushdie, laws enabling states to kill people for blasphemy and apostasy shows there is compulsion in religion.
Woman sentenced to death in Pakistan over ‘blasphemous’ WhatsApp activity | Pakistan | The Guardian
It was a Muslim Pakistani who told me that if Arab land owners had not sold land to Jewish settlers from the 19th century up to 1940s, there would have been no Jewish settlements outside of the homes owned by Jewish people who had lived in Jerusalem in for centuries. By the 1930s British official were trying to stop Arab land owners selling their land to Jewish settlers but they were obtaining up to 10 times it’s value.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Even today the persecution of Hindus and other minorities continues unabated in Pakistan. No outrage at the temples which are UNESCO world sites demolished yesterday from any Western MSM.
Some comments here are perhaps unaware that Hindus were massacred in Noakhali and Calcutta in 1946 by “Sufi” mobs and a sitting Chief Minister HS Suhrawardy. They need to be better read.

Last edited 7 months ago by Sayantani Gupta
Alan Osband
Alan Osband
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

I can’t argue with your point that there are moderate and humane Muslims , having met such people . People tend to cherry pick from religious texts and ignore what doesn’t concur with their own values .However some here have made the point that the more moderate , universalist parts of the Koran are from the time before the prophet became a successful warlord and are supposedly abrogated when they conflict with later parts , which if true is unfortunate .

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
7 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Hi Alan, I saw that particular comment about abrogation, but the commenter didn’t really have the technicalities correct. One example I can give you is of how alcohol came to be banned: at first the instruction was to not get intoxicated so as to lose your senses. then the next instruction was not to come to your prayers while intoxicated, and so on until the final “don’t drink at all” came about. So in this case the final rule means the earlier instructions were abrogated. Such is the case for other instances of this as well, but it would require going through a lot of jurisprudence to be able to know them all. Slavery was also abolished gradually, rather than all at once. Hope this helps clarify things a little

McExpat M
McExpat M
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

Slavery is alive and flourishing in the most fundamental Islamic countries. The Gulf countries were built upon it and continue unabated today.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

Slavery was abolished gradually . In Mauritania it was in 1981 and my have lasted until 2010.
Slavery in Mauritania – Wikipedia
One aspect of assessing any religion is the degree of freedom it allows, to think and act provided others peoples freedom is not reduced.
As Orwell pointed out, as soon as censors one part of one’s mind it affects all others. If we examine locations where innovation has taken place, say Florence from 1380 to 1550, London under Elizabeth(the writers Shakespeare, Marlowe , Jonson) and Britain 1666( Newton ) to say 1850, the freedom to think and act is vital. France was larger and wealthier than Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries but did not innovate to the same extent because it lacked the freedom.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

As an atheist, I’m not aware that any atheist would make a claim about what’s in the Bible. Speaking for myself I’ve never read it. I don’t have time for any religion, but I find Muslims particularly annoying.

Bina Shah
Bina Shah
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You’re entitled to your opinion.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

Indeed I am.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

That’s a typical shallow understanding of Jews, who are first and foremost a people, and secondly who have their own religion (like First Nations in N.America). Most Jews in Israel are secular (and most Jews in general are not particularly religious) so Israel’s actions are not based on religious ideology but rather survival. Simply, the Jews are the only people who have had a continuous presence in Israel since their ethnogenesis there 3500 years ago. The only sovereign nation there, ever. Nothing to do with scripture.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

That’s not much reassurance to the rest of us!

Last edited 7 months ago by Clare Knight
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Bina Shah

I have read the Quran & what it says about “Jews.”

Last edited 7 months ago by UnHerd Reader
Will K
Will K
7 months ago

Which moral principles may be ‘best’ is very uncertain. Nothing makes ‘compassion and humanity’ intrinsically ‘better’ than other possible moral codes. Communism isn’t obviously ‘better’ than Capitalism, which is very cruel at a personal level. Christianity isn’t obviously ‘better’ than Islam.

Last edited 7 months ago by Will K
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago
Reply to  Will K

What Christianity did with Roger Bacon is to separate Faith and Reason and with the development of perspective by Brunelleschi is to expand our mind, the ability to represent 3 dimensions on two. The development of printing allowed mass production of knowledge. The Translation of the Bible from Latin into local languages created mass literacy. The discovery of the telescope in 1608 further opened up the Christian mind. The Pope sent a telescope to the Sultan of Turkey, The Mughal and Chinese Emperors who did little with it. Using the telescope, Newton developed the fundemental laws of the Universe and gave us the modern world.
Many of the founders of the Industrial Revolution, including Faraday were Christians.
The Duke of Wellington said Britain’s greatest assset was her honesty which was the product of her religion. The laws of the universe do not lie. They remain hidden until discovered by honest, invariably hard, work.
Are the secrets to civilisation honesty, freedom and hard work?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
7 months ago

Yes of course there are: almost identical.. the odd one out is not Islam but Judaism with its eye for and eye philosophy.. except today that’s 27 Palestinian eyes for one Israeli eye. Like the Americans they suffer from the cardinal sin of pride (as Satan does: hence the similarities) it’s called Exceptionalism (US) and God’s Chosen by those who murdered their own Messiah.
But there are those who espouse not the precepts of their faiths but the direct opposite such as so-called Christian Joe Biden who does pretty much the opposite of every one of Jesus’s teachings.
“By their works shall ye know them” – Jesus.
I worked in two Muslim countries.. nicest, gentlest people you ever met.. nothing like brutal, violent so-called drunken Christians!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Joe Biden is Catholic, hardly a Christian if you examine his fruit.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Really, Liam, you know nothing about Jews. We don’t subscribe to exceptionalism and don’t force our ideas on others. Interesting that you don’t mention Muslims, who suffer from being prideful – to the point where killing your gay son is justified in the name of restoring “family honour”. Quite frankly, IMO this is the cause of ME conflict – the Arabs are so ashamed of losing their genocidal wars against the Jews multiple times that they will fight until eternity to restore their honour. That’s why Hamas fighters posted all their atrocities online. A twisted sense of honour for sure. At least some Arab countries are now starting to become reasonable.

Hardin Jones
Hardin Jones
7 months ago

Of course. Alastair Crooke’s RESISTANCE: The Essence of the Islamic Revolution is a good one. Beautifully written – looks into the spirituality of the East and how they view us in the West.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
8 months ago

The woman’s nightmare is a dark prophecy for our age, which has few heroes but plenty of monsters. Some parade daily on the streets of major Western cities, surrounded by mobs of ignorant, confused people.

That’s a startlingly true passage from a profound and sobering article. One of my personal disappointments here is how the BBC, UK political parties, and lots of supposedly well-educated and superficially benign people are part of that ignorant mob.
Earlier I was listening to an interview on the Today programme on Radio 4, featuring a very articulate and intelligent spokesman for the Israeli government, explaining how recent finds and video evidence proved incontrovertibly that the Al Shifa hospital had been used as a terrorist base. I strongly recommend it. He was more than a match for his weaselly interviewer. But it was a matter of some shame to me that our national broadcaster should attempt to discredit him by means of a broadcaster with the surname Husain. Tone deaf, or gaslighting?

Last edited 8 months ago by Simon Neale
Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
8 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Gaslighting.

Hazel Gazit
Hazel Gazit
8 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Both.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
8 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Our national broadcaster sadly gets it wrong on just about every major issue. Its a propaganda feed for the ignorant mob.

J. Hale
J. Hale
8 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

The fact that Hamas uses the hospital for military purposes is a “dog bites man” story. Few people care. Terrorists are ALLOWED to do this because they are “oppressed.” I see no solution to this problem. So called progressives only care about ideology. They refuse to let facts contradict their world view.

Fraoch A
Fraoch A
8 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

I am so fed up with with the blatant Islamaphobia/racist sentiments expressed here and on other articles.
As for the bunker and tunnels under the Al Shifa Hospital, the Israelis should know because they built it. Not only built it but according to them destroyed it substantially in 2021. If anybody is gaslighting it’s the Israelis.
https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/did-israel-build-bunker-under-al-shifa-hospital

Samia Mantoura Burridge
Samia Mantoura Burridge
8 months ago
Reply to  Fraoch A

I get fed up with the anti Arab and anti Muslim racism on this site too. Clearly there are Editors here who consider it important to comission content like this article that, behind
a veneer of intellectual analysis, seems to serve mainly to dehumanise Palestinians and further terrify readers (who seem already terrified of Islam and respond to content that will reinforce their fears/views). I am not denying the obvious facts that Hamas conduct terror attacks as their MO and have an unpleasant ideology including a (laughably unrealistic) objective to re-conquer historic Palestine and destryoy Israel. But for the vast majority of ordinary Palestinians, at least, the conflict with Israel has never been about religion. It is about occupation and disposession from their homeland. Most Gazans are already refugees and descendents of, and have never been allowed to return to their villages in what is now Israel. By chance, the people who have taken their homeland over happen to be Jewish and happen to have formed a Jewish state (giving special rights to migrate there to Jews only). But whoever had done this to them, Palestinians would still be trying to gain equality and freedom and the right to return to their former villages. I also want to point out there have been many Christian suicide bombers and terrorists. Look up the Al Asqa Martyrs brigades which is secular. And Muslim and Christian Palestinians have almost zero conflict among themselves (and Israel has never succeeded in dividing them). The idea that this conflict is some apocalyptic battle between Islam and the West is nonsense. Despite what some pro-Israel voices (and perhaps also Iran?) would have us all believe.

Frank Carney
Frank Carney
8 months ago
Reply to  Fraoch A

‘Electronic intifada’. Ok. I believe it.

Last edited 8 months ago by Frank Carney
Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
8 months ago
Reply to  Frank Carney

I know, right? What a credible and unbiased source! I almost snorted tea out of my nose when I saw that…

John Harris
John Harris
8 months ago

I see evidence daily that Islam is Stone Age. I find no redeeming outward manifestations it embraces the West, other than its desire to locate in the West & take advantage of its superior living systems. Health, transport, etc. While at the same time living a parallel existence with Westerners but not integrating with them. I see no good coming from more of Islam within Europe. The opposite in fact, I only see evidence of ongoing conflict.

Last edited 8 months ago by John Harris
Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
8 months ago
Reply to  John Harris

That is why the West must proactively remove all the radical mullahs and their sympathisers living in it. Because the moderate western Muslims are sure not going to do it!

sue vogel
sue vogel
8 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

Sensible advice on the face of it but how to deal with the swarms of angry killer-bee-like muslim reaction to that?

Jim M
Jim M
8 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

There are no “moderate” Muslims. They are probably closeted atheists putting on a show for their Muslim friends and family so they don’t get killed as apostates.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
8 months ago

Too much intellectualising and contextualising of Hamas’s terror campaign on Israel is actually excusing ordinary Muslims from their urgent responsibility of modernising their religion.

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

Yes – I thought that. The reduction of specific horrors carried out by specific people to part of the eternal human condition.

Mrs R
Mrs R
8 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

But our very own governments and institutions have been complicit in snuffing out any hope of ‘modernising’ islam. Blair took it on himself to elevate only the ultra conservative Muslim community leaders as spokesmen. The MCB springs to mind. Liberal muslims who came to this country hoping to escape the paralysing strictures of sharia for example were shocked to find that Britain was prepared to look the other way and tolerate its application here. Clerics from the most hardline elements of that faith were sent into prisons to preach and convert there. I’m sure many Muslims were very confused by ‘the war on terror’ in Iraq and Afghanistan while mosques and imans preaching the very message of jihad were encouraged here.

Jim M
Jim M
8 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

That’s a western wet dream. Islam is what it is. You can’t change the actual words of God. Get rid of all the believers is how you will falsify it.

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
8 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

The great difficulty (as expressed by Ayaan Hirsi Ali recently and in her books) is that Western democracies need to ban Muslim madrassas that teach Islam as a death cult, but free speech laws won’t allow it.
Society can only tolerate a moderate Islam. The question is, “How moderate?”
No honor killings? No jihad? If you try to make Islam like Christianity or Judaism, (i.e. “safe for society”), then it becomes a personal system of discipline only, like a monastic movement. Is that possible in a Western setting? Only Muslims can do this to their own faith. It’s an existential problem for the West.

David McKee
David McKee
8 months ago

Now whoa there, just a moment. This piece starts with ‘apocalyptic’, and goes on in that vein. Do the facts justify it? In the West, the antisemitic attacks are pinpricks (although they don’t seem like it to the victims), where the aim is to destabilise and demoralise us.

In the Muslim world, it’s far more serious. Islamists kill far more Muslims than they do Jews or Christians. We forget that. But Islamists have a fatal weakness: they are much better at destroying than building. That’s why the rickety caliphate of ISIS lasted only three years. Muslims did not rush to join ISIS en masse.

In the West, we can defeat them if we keep our heads. So ignore any journalistic article with the word ‘apocalyptic’ in it. It’s not helpful.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Great comment.

Warren Francisco
Warren Francisco
8 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

I appreciate the tone of your comment but how do we “keep our heads” when so many seem to be losing their minds? Revelatory articles like this are a helpful countermeasure to the ‘apocalypse’ already unfolding in the streets.

Jim M
Jim M
8 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Dumb. Just another way to say, “Nothing to see hear. Move along.” Another somnambulant, delusional Westerner. The caliphate was destroyed by external powers, it did not collapse on its own. You really are delusional and wishful. People like you don’t deserve to live in civilization, you help to destroy it.

Dark Horse
Dark Horse
8 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Lived 7 years in the Muslim world and a decade married to a Muslim and I can confirm that tribal enmity is far more virulent within the Arab Muslim world than any hatred of Christians or Jews. The hatred of Jews tends to be very abstract as most Muslims in the Arab world have never met any. Some Old Testament prophets are buried in Iraq and their graves are places of pilgrimage among the local Muslim population.
My ex-husband recently stated in his local mosque that he actually likes and admires Jews after living in this country 33 years and working alongside some of them. The response was mild embarrassment from his fellow Muslims and then in the car park afterwards some came up to him and whispered their agreement.
Yes they unanimously dislike those they refer to as Zionists but believe that ordinary Israelis are basically decent people who could live in peace with their neighbours if given a chance.
But they also believe that October 7th was deliberately engineered by Netanyahu so that he could justify destroying Gaza and that 9/11 was perpetrated by the CIA! Whenever evil is perpetrated by Muslims they always assume that America has had a hand in it. It is a real blind spot.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
8 months ago
Reply to  Dark Horse

In any society where there is an absence of free and open discussion; there is extensive corruption and nepotism, the conspiracy theories flourish.