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?
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
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.
Christians you suggest shouldn’t live up to the teachings (not ideals btw) of Jesus?? What? Then, by definition they are NOT true Christians! “By their works shall ye know them” – Jesus.
The difference is ( according to Islam) Muhammad never said or wrote a word of his own (he merely transcribed it all of the Qu’ran as dictated to him, by an angel). Also he was merely a prophet.. In no sense is Muhammad considered anything other than a man with all of a man’s failings..
Jesus on the other hand is consider by Christians to be the Christ and His teachings and behaviour were HIS.. he was not transcribing. So his example is paramount.
It is possible for Christians and Jews to interpret the Bible (OT) in hateful ways as well and they did and they do, one example being black skinned people were allegedly marked by God to be enslaved.. Christians believed that! And we have plenty of racists in the world today!
Please note: Hitler, Stalin, Churchill and now Biden, all war criminals, were/are Christians so called.. and Netanyahu, today’s arch war criminal is Jewish. Not a Muslim in sight!
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.
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..
So how many Jews live in Muslim majority countries then? How many in Christian?
Assad in Syria ?
So Muhammad isn’t responsible, it’s a case of “blame the angel”!!
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..
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.
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..
No they didn’t – just cos Allison Pearson said they did. She wasn’t even there.
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.
Fenian? Surely you’re not reduced to that are you?
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.
You make the key point.
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.
What ? When ?
But 1000 years have passed since then. Islam is still practicing the old barbarity.
Not if you’re muslim you can’t.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, but what are their “peaceful philosophies”, do you know of any, Jane?
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.
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.
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.
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”; and Pakistani fatwa were issued legitimizing Bengali Hindu women as spoils of war. Women who were targeted often died in Pakistani captivity or committed suicide, while others fled to India.
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.
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.
In the late 11th century Omar Khayyam wrote of his dread of the joy sucking spread of religious zealotry.
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.
Why is Hamas, the very model of ideal muslims, keeping Palestinians poor?
Because in their eyes, the commandment of jihad is even more important.
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
Because if the Palestinians received the aid that was sent to them they would be content . And the last thing Hamas wants is contentment.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Tunisia. Modern, secular, and abolished polygamy in order to bring women’s status up.
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?
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.
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.
The old canard of “we were here 3000 years ago.” Indigenous tribes should take over all of North America.
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
So how come Israel has disregarded so many UN resolutions?
Maybe because so many of those resolutions have been unjust, biased and promoted by an Islamist majority?
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.
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.
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.
Are you criticising the Christians who have failed Christ’s teachings? Or the teachings?
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.
Israel has the largest number of Christians in the Middle East; they are persecuted in muslim countries
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.
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
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.
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.
Lies, propaganda.. try not to be so naïve.
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
Hitler was not a Christian. He believed in a mythical German religion. Stalin was an atheist.
Why has the Christian West undergone scientific development since 1260 ?
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.
Because Hitler was an antisemitic monster. exactly why Hamas need to be destroyed, preferably by Palestinians, now.
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…
the hitler youth training did a good job in germany – pretty much the same really !
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.
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 .
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.
@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.
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.
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 .
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.
Because the terms of peace included Hitler running Europe and murdering people ?
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’.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I hope you are not confusing Catholicism with Christianity.
Read the Qu’ran, you’ll get the feel quite quickly
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.
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.
Indeed – all fanaticism is shouted down doubt.
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
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
I have. It has no Golden Rule,unlike all other religions as well as humanism.
Dr Ali Sina’s “Understanding Muhammad” also points up that the muslims’ prophet used to hold cursing competitions against his enemies….
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.
I find these hermeneutical details to be fascinating, something I know nothing about but would like to know more. Thanks for posting this.
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.
‘ 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.
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.
Islam fundamentalists want to chop your head off. Islam moderates want the fundamentalists to chop your head off.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They are not equal. Stop that stupid moral equivocation.
Calling something stupid isn’t an argument. Now say something that isn’t vacuous bluster.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Completely spot on. My experience exactly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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
Slavery is alive and flourishing in the most fundamental Islamic countries. The Gulf countries were built upon it and continue unabated today.
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.
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.
You’re entitled to your opinion.
Indeed I am.
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.
That’s not much reassurance to the rest of us!
I have read the Quran & what it says about “Jews.”
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.
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?
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!
Joe Biden is Catholic, hardly a Christian if you examine his fruit.
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.
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.
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?
Our national broadcaster sadly gets it wrong on just about every major issue. Its a propaganda feed for the ignorant mob.
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.
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.
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.
‘Electronic intifada’. Ok. I believe it.
I know, right? What a credible and unbiased source! I almost snorted tea out of my nose when I saw that…
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.
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!
Sensible advice on the face of it but how to deal with the swarms of angry killer-bee-like muslim reaction to that?
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.
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.
Yes – I thought that. The reduction of specific horrors carried out by specific people to part of the eternal human condition.
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.
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.
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.
Gotta admit, I’ve been thinking about October 7th a lot… and I never once thought about Beowulf.
Me neither, but what i think the author is trying to demonstrate with such examples is that there’s a strand in human nature which stretches back into pre-history, and which we’re witnessing being played out again in the terrain of the Middle East (the “Holy Land”) and on the streets of our cities.
He should not be castigated for doing so, or misunderstood. At last, the fundamental issues of human civilisation are laid before us. The advance of technology allows it, to be brought to a screen each minute of every day.
This is what we need to understand – to finally start to come to terms with: ourselves.
I’ve been arguing this very thing in these Comments sections for some time now. We do need to defend our civilisation, but can only do so by rebuilding it on the basis of our common humanity, and not on myths, and especially not on “my myth is better than your myth”.
How do you decide what “common humanity” is? Who aren’t the untermensch?
Mere semantics. It’s understood by all humans what’s common to us, rather than what separates us.
Thanks to God.
I understand it perfectly well without, although those who need such intercession may struggle with that.
Does Hamas understand “what’s common to all humans rather than what separates us”?
Our desire for universal explanations always seems to stumble in the particulars.
I rather think the whole point of the notion of common humanity is that in truth there are neither untermenschen nor übermenschen, however some twisted ideology may want to separate us.
Who says we should be able to live together? We all have two legs, two arms, two eyes, etc. and walk upright. Where is it written that everyone should be friends. Some groups of people are an existential threat to civilization. How can we live with them?
And how would you establish that your belief that everyone else’s beliefs were just myths, was not itself a myth?
Whatever it is you believe is the ultimate purpose of your life, whatever it is you believe gives your life significance… your beliefs have premises which do not arise from some ‘scientific’ process. You seem to have clear and strong views on the human condition… but what ‘objective’ argument do you give to someone who denies the meaningfulness of (for example) ‘common humanity’?
There is no experiment to determine the real nature of the human condition. What marks our current age is people confusedly thinking they are unique in the history of mankind, enlightened beyond all previous humans, with their special insights obtained from the laboratory – but in fact those special insights are the same blindness of all peoples through all time, just in a modern guise. Many people today reject ‘religion’ as it has been practiced historically – but all humans are ‘religious’ in the real sense. We all have value commitments about human existence that are held by faith.
The key question for all of us, is why do we hold the commitments we do, and on what basis should we argue that others should hold ours?
I’m afraid you’re missing the point, possibly due to an obsession with semantics around “belief” and “religion”. The latter is a man-made concept, although it’s given expression to our spirituality which goes back far beyond anything resembling organised religion. There are other options which don’t result in conflict and bloodshed.
Think of Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” – without being too specific, they’re pretty much common to all human beings who survive into adulthood. Base society around them, with mutuality at the core. No need for a deity, or the conflict that arises from the “my god is better than yours” variety. I used the word “myth” instead of “god” to try to bypass the usual knee-jerk reactions invoked by it, and lo and behold, you’ve fallen into that trap anyway.
Here’s a western academic not once acknowledging the occupation of Palestinian lands. No context whatsoever. Just Othering, from a Provost no less.
Hamas is about jihad, not occupation. The secular PLO cares about Palestinians and occupation. For Hamas, all of Israel is dar al-harb that needs to be made dar al-Islam and death in jihad to achieve that is glorious.
The Arabs invaded Palestine from the Hejaz in 629, about 1300 years ago whereas the Jews were living in Palestine 4000 years ago.
It was the Arabs who stole the land from the Jews.
Exactly. And the Orthodox Christians would like Constantinople back from the oppressing, occupying Turks.
Indeed. Though I’d settle for the Turkish Republic returning to secularism, allowing the Halki Seminary to reopen and giving us back the Hagia Sophia to use as the patriarchal cathedral in place of that wretched little church in the Phanar.
Who owned the land before the Jews then in this journey back through time?
Nobody who is around today to claim it.
Hang on , assuming they weren’t all massacred by Jews , are they not likely form part of the ancestry of the Palestinians , and indeed of the Jews themselves .
Yes, part of the ancestry of lots of people in the region.
The United Nations set up Israel.
Yes… and is a busted flush now, isn’t it?
Seems like you are Othering the Western academic author of this essay. A Provost no less.
Nope. That’s just a lazy contrarian response. I have used under 25 words to critique. He’s used hundreds to generate sophistry in a lousy attempt to Otherize an entire civilization. Something your other responses would indicate you understand.
Judging by the choice of articles and votes this forum has its share of Islamophobes.
No, I think “Otherize” is empty, pseudo-academic rhetoric – the elevation of ideological theory over historical fact and universal features of the human condition.
This is preponderant in academic discourse now. I am a rich, white, educated, Protestant male – and yet despite that, when I am in a room with other similar people, I often feel alienated, lonely, wonder if I am wanted, eager to leave.
If I were a black woman or gay or Jewish or whatever, I would ascribe my feelings to my “otherness” – but in fact “otherness” is the existential condition, a universal feature of human experience. Only now some have re-characterized this experience for ideological and political gain.
This attempt to divide humans by their demographic identities, rather than unite them via their common humanity, is tearing apart our societies, weakening our economies, making us personally anxious and unhappy. It’s just terrible.
PS. And that’s a totally different question from whether we should be scared of Islam or not.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In any society where there is an absence of free and open discussion; there is extensive corruption and nepotism, the conspiracy theories flourish.
Unfortunately they are now flourishing in free countries thanks to the Internet. The whole Qanon madness being a case in point. Western education systems have failed to teach critical thinking.
It did when education was based upon Greek, Latin and Maths. Marxists and leftwingers have removed Classics from the education system.
Up to 1920 one needed to pass a paper in Greek to matriculate to Oxford.
C Northcote Parkinson said a a don in the mid 19th century would have had a degree in Classics, probaly maths as well and read three to four European languages. Divines would have had Hebrew as well. Gladstone and Peel had double firsts in Greats and Maths.
W. B Yeats said it best – “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity… And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
I was thinking of that very poem, “The Second Coming.” Looks like we’re getting the answer as to the nature of that “rough beast.” Would that it were not so.
IMO, the events post-Oct 7 indicate the seemingly improbable unity of Islamist extremist tribalism and western neo-socialism under a common banner of Equity of Outcome. “Inequality is Injustice”.
These strange bedfellows are in agreement: Jews (Israel) are a problem and must be cancelled. Extremist Islam is easy because Beliefs are everything and require little thought. Secular liberal democracy is hard because it requires a balance between Values developed over centuries of the Enlightenment and Beliefs. That requires continual thought and endless questions.
Equity of Outcome has been offered up to westerners as an easy way out of the hard work and a short cut to easing one’s conscience. You don’t have to think about or question why some folks don’t do well even though the historical barriers of race,gender and religion were removed long ago. You don’t have to ask or answer awkward questions that perhaps some people are the author of their own misfortune. Regarding the current issue at hand, you don’t have to ask why 2M Palestinians in Gaza aren’t revolting against Hamas, which has brought them nothing but misery. You can yell “Occupier” all day long if you don’t have to think about the fact that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. You can carry a sign saying “Q**rs for Palestine” when you don’t have to think about the state of Gay rights in the ME.
I remember once reading an article by a journalist who was kidnapped in Beirut by some Islamic group or other [ can’t remember the details] and eventually managed to escape. He thought he had got a solid friendship with an Arab Muslim and had shared meals with the Arab and his family. It was the Arab ‘friend’ who abducted him and sold him for cash to Islamist gangsters. During his time in captivity he had plenty of time to reflect that there is no such thing as friendship between an Arab Muslim and a western Christian or ‘infidel’. He also remarked that Arabs bear grudges towards those they believe have harmed them, and they pass those grudges on down the generations ad infinitum – and it’s the duty of members of the clan to pursue the blood feud at every possible opportunity.
Hamas are amoral criminals who use Palestinian freedom and Islam as justifications for their actions. The belief in a cause seems to be used as a front to steal aid money as well as torture and kill in pursuit of a propaganda coup. Even Putin seems relatively harmless by comparison. God help us if they get hold of nuclear weapons as I fear that – unlike the current owners of nuclear arms – they would not hesitate to use them. The concept of mutual assured destruction would mean nothing to them as members of a death cult.
Yes, they can be very amicable, but beware, they are practicing taqiyya.
Yes, a vital point always worth remembering — Muslims are allowed, even encouraged, to lie in defence (or furtherance) of their religion.
Well, we can wipe out their populations in an afternoon. There will be several nuclear wars this century and most of them will involve Muslims.
After the promise, this essay fails for me in its location of evil. It’s not out there in the dark. I am Abel. I am Cain.
Yes,every time a “monstrous serial killer” was unmasked,back in the days before life got way more scary,it was never the Neanderthal Boris Karloff image person the media had been hyping up. “The Face of a Monster” the headline would proclaim,and the photo would show a perfectly pleasant looking person,not a hint of anything sinister,someone you might chat to at the bus stop or in the pub,and all the neighbours would say ” he(less often she) was a good neighbour,so polite and helpful,and his/her friends would say,”we never guessed he/she was quiet and hard working “. We want it to be THE OTHER but it is,or could be,US.
But it isn’t, is it Jane? That central moral truth is why our civilisation should be defended, and jihadism should be stamped on. Because it’s not us.
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t get up this morning, kneel on a mat and simper in Arabic to a god whose prophet beheaded hundreds of Jews who wouldn’t convert, before having my morning coffee and heading out to murder some more.
It’s not us Jane.
Our “civilization” burned at the stake,beheaded and tortured millions of Jews for 2000 years.
I can’t hold your rootin tootin sure as hell A team philosophy with John Wayne as my Jesus avatar because the society I live in is more nuanced than that. It sounds to me that you live in a redeemed redoubt in Idaho ready to Gatling gun all who come after your maize crop.
Well, I love a spirited reply, Jane! Fairplay to you. The downvotes aren’t from me.
I’m afraid your first sentence is so hyperbolic and inaccurate it barely merits a response, but it’s worth pointing out at least that Jews exist in the (post)Christian West, and have done for 2 millennia despite often being treated very cruelly. They don’t exist at all in Muslim countries. I wonder why?
I’ve never been to Idaho, I’m a Brit from the Home Counties. But it’s interesting that while you are willing to drip contempt on people who would never hurt you (unless you tried to nick their maize, presumably), you appear to be struggling to define evil promptly when it is represented by people with openly published religious manifestos calling for mass murder. If ‘the society you live in’ feels the need to fish around in the sewer to find some nuance to explain this, then it seems I’d probably be more at home in Idaho.
Anyway, please do let us know how you plan to combat Islamic terrorism by discussing the potential for evil in all of us. I’ll be back shortly, I need to crawl more ammo out to the Gatling.
It’s debatable how Christian Hitler and the NAZI government were but it’s a fact that millions of Jews have been murdered, over 2,000 years, in Christian countries, while Jews lived relatively peacefully in Muslim countries. That is not to say the recent antisemitic Islamic cults like Hamas do not need destroying.
Is Christianity passed down via the bloodstream? Absolutely not!
Haven’t about 600,000 Jews been expelled from Muslim countries in the last century??? I haven’t checked but it seems to make sense. Living in Israel now.
Depends upon country and which period- be specific.
Not Jane, you or I am called upon to ‘combat Islamic terrorism’ as you (Greg) put it. Instead each of us is called upon to locate, enter, live, thereby integrate the darkness within instead of projecting it onto ‘the sons of Cain’ (quoting the subheading to this essay). That would be a start.
But there are good reasons, Greg, for seeing, as Jane does, that the potential for violence exists in us (in me certainly); I have known few people in my life of 80 years that were innocents.
Here are two reasons….
To fight, as we must, an enemy motivated by hatred and the destructive force it is useful to be able to a limited extent to enter his mind.
To know one’s own propensity for violence is helpful in holding back from frenzied revenge.
The IDF, I think, will know this.
Too bad, for you. How about a visit?
I don’t see how existing in a tiny little intellectual black box furthers this discussion. The fact is, that the barbaric torture and slaughter of civilians must be opposed if we are to live in a civilized world. The emotionally manipulative hamas apologists do not alter the facts on the ground. The innocent need protecting. Israel is at least trying to minimize civilian suffering. Not so hamas.
“Israel at least trying to minimize civilian suffering”. Who told you that? I suggest you listen to what the UN agencies are saying about the unprecedented suffering of the people of Gaza.
Not only content with the slaughter on an industrial scale and the etnic cleansing ongoing with the latest command that the people crammed into Khan Yunis go south…to where?
Yawn. Reality denied will out. Let’s face it now rather than whining in 80 or 90 years that “we didn’t know!!!” My first employer would say to you. “Think!Think!Think!” Imagine a place where humanitarian aid won’t be stolen to buy weapons and luxurious lifestyles for creepy old men, and help make a future for Palestinian children rather than training them for a life of depravity.
We did it too is not an argument. Our ancestors also were cannibals at times, so we should excuse everything about our enemies.
Nope, you’re Hendrik. And unless you’re in a jihadist cult, the location of evil ought not to be too complicated for you.
The location of evil is in the human ego,ie in all of us
No, I don’t think it is. I’m subject to the normal human failings, including anger, and I’m not particularly good person. I can imagine getting into physical confrontations if circumstances prevailed. But there are – by dint of adequate parenting, good kamma, or the grace of God – certain acts that I could never commit. Most of us, I hope, are like that.
And if we are merely just another animal in the animal kingdom, I wonder where that inclination to never commit certain acts comes from?
We’re more evolved than just another animal in the animal kingdom, however, even primates for the most part don’t go around slaughtering for pleasure.
Simon, the ‘certain acts (you) could never commit’ are committed on your (and my) behalf. I wouldn’t call that ‘good karma’ or ‘the grace of God’.
No. People might rationalise their evil, but I am indeed fortunate to have become incapable of committing it.
Spot on. Doubtless we all have dark thoughts sometimes. The difference (is it moral, cognitive, empathy or just self awareness) is that most of us do not act on them, or even come close.
If you think there are ‘certain acts I could never commit’ then I think you are just reflecting the incredible prosperity and stability of the society that was gifted to you by your forebears.
What distinguishes me from Hamas isn’t something inside me, but something outside me. This is why flourishing societies depend upon a recognition that there are no such things as ‘good people’ and ‘bad people’ (as if our job were to sort the wheat from the chaff), but in fact none are righteous – not one. And the path forward for flourishing societies are guard rails which direct and encourage people into productive and healthy choices – this runs the gamut from criminal law to banking regulation to community expectations re: ‘anti-social behavior’ after a night at the pub.
As soon as you start thinking that on some fundamental level you are better than Hamas, you are giving in to the very way of thinking that inspires and justifies Hamas.
Yes, I think I made it clear that there are causal factors behind my inability to commit certain acts of depravity. Moral luck, as Bernard Williams termed it, is absolutely central to what we are. What goodness I have (and it’s not a lot!) is not an innate unchanging substance. But I can be as certain that I am not going to commit depraved atrocities as I am that I am not going to start enjoying mathematics or gout.
Please, speak for yourself.
The location of evil is in the human ego,ie in all of us.
Indeed, human nature is flawed, and pride is the root of all evil.
Civilization is the attempt to improve human nature.
I thought money was the root of all evil.
Oh, I see, we are all potentially monsters, so best not to pass judgement on the precious “Others.”
The actual monsters are more authentic, apparently.
Greg, my point is that ‘Civilisation will never escape the descendants of Cain’ (quoting the sub) not because Hamas or Israel are evil but because the ‘monsters’ (referencing the heading to this essay) are us. I am Hamas. I am Israel. And as Hendrik, I am called upon to deal with this fact as best I can. Projecting my unresolved shadow on to Hamas or Israel is not the way, I believe. All that does is make me feel I’ve done my virtuous bit for humanity so I can return to my life. Undisturbed.
Choosing and then projecting rather than integrating my darkness onto others is the cop out.
Today is the forty eighth anniversary of the death of Francisco FRANCO Bahamonte; Caudillo de España, por la Gracia de Dios.
His triumph in the Spanish Civil War meant that Spain did not descend into the cesspit of communism and the mass slaughter that would undoubtedly have entailed. Nor did Spain construct an Auschwitz or Treblinka as the communist propaganda expected and no doubt wished for, if only to further their own vile ends.
Thanks to the Soviet victory of 1945 and incessant communist bile ever since, Spain and Franco’s achievement are often overlooked, if not reviled, when they should be revered as a remarkable exercise in moderation.A credit to Europe in fact.
You could argue a similar case for General Pinochet in Chile. But I still wouldn’t be convinced that this was the only or necessary way to avoid communism in these countries or that it can ever justify the crimes of Franco and Pincochet.
Spanish citizens (regime opponents) did die in German concentration camps. The fact that the camps were outside Spain is neither here nor there and does not absolve Franco’s regime of responsibility.
The only good thing I can think of to say about Franco is that he kept Spain out of WWII. Though it would have probably been an even greater burden on the Axis than Italy had he joined in.
No you cannot argue a similar case for General Augusto Pinochet. The only commonality they had between them was that they both spoke Spanish.
The one inestimable benefit that the Pinochet ‘Trial’ brought to the UK was the well deserved destruction of the career of one Leonard Hoffman* aka ‘leg- over Lennie’.
I disagree that communism could have been stooped in Spain by ’something’ else. Military victory was the only solution.
Franco did allow Spanish ‘volunteers’ to fight on the Eastern Front with the Wehrmacht*. They performed very well, in marked contrast to the Italians who only seem to have obeyed the executive order “run away”.
(* Where far more died than in any “German Concentration Camps”.)
Spain did not construct an Auschwitz?
What Franco did was pretty close. One of the most vindictive dictators that we have ever seen. Not satisfied with winning the war, he persecuted 10s of thousands who were no longer a threat, and even went to the extent of retrospectively criminalising those that had fought against him for what was at the time the legally constituted government of Spain.
You’ve obviously never been to Auschwitz to make such a crass remark.
Well there’s an interesting take on the Spanish Civil War.
My understanding was right wing general stages coup against elected leftwing government with moral and material support of both Mussolini and Hitler.
Orwell at least was pretty clear that the Soviets and Stalinists were neither numerous not dominant within the Repulican coalition opposed to Franco – at least at the start – but that, when Britain and France turned their backs on the elected Government, the Republicans felt that they had little choice but to appeal to Stalin.
Who eventually reneged on his obligations and ended up keeping Spain’s gold reserves.
That doesn’t quite amount to Franco as anti-Stalinist hero in my book. What am I missing?
What would HE have to have done to make him “an anti- Stalinist hero” in your book precisely?
Two things: first, he’d have had to be fighting against a threat from Stalin which predated his own coup.
As I said in my post, my understanding is that Stalin only got a toe-hold in Spain because a) Franco overthrew the Government b) France and Britain declared themselves neutral rather than coming to the defense of their fellow democracy and c) the Republicans therefore had nowhere else to turn for external support. In that sense, Franco therefore created the very problem that you credit him with confronting.
And, second, he’d have had to be a hero. I don’t admire people who overthrow democratic governments, plunge their countries into civil war, and violently repress their political opponents.
That remark just illustrates how deeply the pernicious cult of communism has permeated the very lifeblood of the West, with simply appalling results.
As an aside, presumably you are not a fan of one Gaius Julius Caesar?
ps. WHO seriously denies this?
So deeply that I’m genuinely struggling to follow your argument.
I infer that you consider Franco’s coup to have been a response to a pre-existing Stalinist threat so grave that it justified the violent overthrow of a democratically elected Government. I think you’re saying that I don’t know about this because I have reds not so much under my bed as in my very bloodsteam. I’m inviting you to set me straight/blow my appalling pinko mind.
As to Caesar, I don’t think fandom quite describes my thoughts on the man. But you’re surely not suggesting that the late republic was a democracy in any meaningful sense?
Then again, perhaps you’re not a fan of democracies. (Messy business)
Absolute balderdash. There was mass slaughter of those opposed to Franco unlike in most of ‘communist’ central Europe, and Spaniards rightfully threw out fascism in the 1970s. Spain in the 1950s and 1960s was backward.
Steady on chap, I would have thought it was obvious that I was referring to the slaughter of the Ukrainian peasants in the 30’s, conterminous with Franco in fact and NOT to Central Europe in the 50’s.
The Spanish did NOT “throw out fascism” as you so emotionally put it. Franco died and his regime with him.
Spain was certainly poor in the 50’s and 60* but that doesn’t mean backward, unless you judge everything on material wealth as you probably do?
Spain is now rich, thanks to ‘other peoples money’ eg: the EU/Fatherland.
… “unlike in most of communist Central Europe”. You must be ignorant of the places of torture and death in Eastern Europe. In East Germany one was called Berlin- Hohenschönhausen, and you can read plenty of eye-witness reports what took place in these “facilities” …
Spain has been backward since the 1600s. In many ways Spain obtaining vast riches from South America stopped technical development helped by the Inquisition. From 1500 a very rigid aristocracy developed and with the wealth from South America minimal technical development took place.
Spain did not create a middle class who pioneered the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions as in Britain.
The result is that from the late 19th century the political pendulum swings between left and right wing governments who are prepared to use violence. The murder of priests in 1934 increases tension. The extensive murder of clergy and rape of nuns post 1936 by Reds creates a conflict where there is little mercy.
If one looks at the battles in N Africa in WW2 figthing is intense but there is hardly any murder of prisoners, women or children-it is a clean war.
Spain was poor in 1931, even more so in 1936 and by 1939 was extremely poor. Extensive hunger produce stunted deformed people. The Civil War finished 83 years ago and still Spanish wish to remember it. Without EU money where would Spain be today?
Owell pointed out that in Britain, political change occurred with comparatively little violence; not many peoples appear to be able to achieve change without slaughter.
The modern view of Franco is certainly more nuanced than the traditional view that he was a little Hitler, but I think you’re overstating his virtue. He was a son-of-a-b***h but he was not an insane mass murderer. That’s a low bar.
“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”. What a great opening sentence! I was all in, It sounded like my kind of read, but it gradually began to go over my head. As one who has never read the bible and for whom myth is, well, myth it was, sad to say, like Greek to me.
For sure I get what Hamas is all about, but I doubt they understand their motivation much more than good/bad, right/wrong, us/them, as far as reasons for their hatred of Jews. As an atheist, I see, yet again, the horror that is done in the name of God.
The greatest murderers of the 20th century (and probably of all human history) didn’t act in the name of a god, but rather sought to eradicate God in the name of race or progress. Mass murder is pre-god and a far more basic human mindset. There will always be a reason for death and mass-murderer. I think that this is what this article is trying to explain.
There’s been quite a lot of mass murder committed by people dedicated to eradicating religion. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot just for starters. I wouldn’t get too smug about how humane atheists are.
They were trying to turn themselves into gods, so they needed to destroy other gods first.
I don’t think you can link their acts with atheism. Besides, Hitler never renounced his religion and received birthday greetings from the Vatican until his death; German troops had Gott Mit Uns on their beltbuckles. You may as well say that the holocaust derived from Hitler being a vegetarian. If he had eaten properly, as my mother would say, he wouldn’t have been so daft.
I deliberately didn’t mention atheism, because Nazism was more complex than that. They sought to eradicate the corrupt “Judeo-Christian ethic” from the world in the name of some ancient Teutono-Christian god.
Just as the Taliban tried to obliterate religions and cultures which came before it. Islam’s topsy-turvy “best is last” reasoning resulted in two Korans – the first meant to appeal to mohammad’s Jewish neighbours, wealthy merchants, whose money he needed. When those Jews would not believe in him in the way he believed in himself, he would attack their caravans, but form faux-allegiances with them which he broke as soon as was convenient.
Eventually he was driven out of Mecca to Medina, (the origin of hijrah, the migration which spreads islam and exists today), where he rewrote the koran from the heavily plagiarised Old Testament version, to the blood-thirsty one which obtains today, full of “smiting the necks of unbelievers” and such-like. This he did and when strong enough marched on Mecca and took it for his new cult.
The last, bloodthirsty koran is the one taught today.
The late 19th century saw an increase in the interest in demonic and pagan powers in Germany. Ludendorff became a member of the Thule Society post WW1. Himmler and Hitler created their own pagan religion and had a respect for islam. The Cardinal of Cologne was one of those who opposed the Nazis.
Not really ! Hitler cynically realised the Christian religion was too ingrained in Germany to attack head on and made it organisationally subservient to the Nazi party .
Hitler changed his religious belief system over time. After the age of 18 he never attended church anymore and later in his life, he thought that Christianity was a slave religion. The Nazis came up with a kind of State Protestantism and Hitler agreed to a “Reich Concordat” with the Vatican. But they also developed their own religious myth, which was based on ancient Germanic Tales.
He knew that so many Germans had been brought up as Christians , whether protestant or Catholic , he couldn’t attack it head on , at least initially .Apparently there was a lot of propaganda about all the poor old German women persecuted and murdered by the Church as witches .
I’m not being smug, just factual.
I would argue, that this is what the Christians call Original Sin (recently mentioned in another article) It is the human capacity of committing the most unspeakable crimes. The Cain and Abel myth taking place right in our hearts as these unleashed human forces cannot be explained rationally. Reading CG Jung’s books on human behaviour is a big eye opener and so are Jordan Peterson’s great lectures on the Old Testament.
I prefer the late Erich Fromm”s works. The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness and The Fear of Freedom to name but two.
God was last seen holding a placard: “Not in my name!”
God is still seen holding a placard: “You are broken. But I can help… if you’ll let me.”
The only good thing about GOD is that is DOG spelled backwards, and who can really deny that Dogs are Gods?
The Dogs of God by James Reston is a great read on the Spanish Inquisition. You may not have expected this.