Islam: Religion of Bigots
Posted ByÂ Frontpagemag.comÂ On August 23, 2013 InÂ Daily Mailer,FrontPage/Â Comments
Barack Obama has said repeatedly that Islam is “a religion of peace.”Â His administration has accused those who do not agree with this proposition â€” or who dare mention Islamic violence against women and homicidal oppression of homosexuals â€” of “Islamophobia.”
These are fictions and the President has done the country a fundamental disservice by promulgating them.Â The truth?Â The true religious bigotry is the one that exists in the heart of Islamic orthodoxy.Â In Saudi Arabia, the existence of Christian churches is prohibited, along with the Bible itself; no Christian or Jew can enter Mecca or Medina lest their mere footsteps desecrate Islam’s holiest sites.Â In Pakistan and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world, conversion from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death.Â In Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and even the President’s beloved Indonesia, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and other “infidels” often face acts of religious genocide by fundamentalists who invoke core Islamic texts and teachings to justify their actions.
In short, as Robert Spencer shows in his alarming new pamphlet,Â Islam: Religion of Bigots, the creed of Muhammad, far from being a religion of peace, has revealed itself in the post-9/11 world to be a religion of bigotry.
To order the pamphlet,Â click here.
Islam: Religion of Bigots
by Robert Spencer
“Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance,” proclaimed President Barack Obama during his appeal to the Muslim world from Cairo on June 4, 2009. “We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.”1
Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Even during what is generally considered to have been the Golden Age of Islamic “tolerance,” it is more accurate to say that non-Muslims were tolerated as second-class subjects rather than respected as equals under Islamic regimes. They were regarded as dhimmis, whose residence was conditioned on their submission to humiliating regulations that ensured their subjugation to the Muslim population. They had to pay an onerous special tax (jizya)Â mandated by the Qur’an (9:29), for example, and wear special marks identifying their second-class status.
Moreover, unlike Christendom, whose leaders have issued apologies for past mistreatment of Jews and condemned the scriptural justifications for that mistreatment, authorities in the Muslim world from Muhammad’s day to this have never thought twice about referring to Jews as “apes and pigs” (cf. Qur’an 2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166), or regarding them as destined by God’s will for destruction. These are some of the salient facts that Obama’s charitable view obscures at a time when prominent Muslim leaders including Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the world’s most prominent Muslim cleric, are calling on the faithful to finish the extermination of the Jews that Hitler began.2
In countries where Muslims are a small minority, such as the United States, there is a surface plausibility to Obama’s claim. Muslim groups have so far accommodated themselves to a democracy whose secular faith is one of diversityÂ and tolerance. But in countries and communities where Muslims constitute a national majority, the face of Islam looks quite different. In Saudi Arabia, the existence of Christian churches is prohibited, along with the possession of Christian Bibles; no Christian or Jew is allowed to enter the cities of Mecca and Medina lest their footprints defile Islam’s sacred sites. As the Kingdom of the Two Holy Places, Saudi Arabia has a unique status in the Islamic world. One aspect of this status is that Mecca and Medina are realizations of Muhammad’s command to remove all but Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula.3Â Mecca and Medina represent the aspirations of the Muslim world, the vision of a quintessential Islamic society: one in which there are no non-Muslims.
In Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere, conversion from Islam to Christianity is already punishable by death, in accord with Muhammad’s command. In Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, and even Obama’s beloved Indonesia, religious minorities â€” Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and non-believers –face harassment and often violent religious persecution. These persecutions are carried out byÂ jihadistÂ Muslims who invoke core Islamic texts and teachings to justify their actions. In short, in the Muslim world itself, which since 9/11 has been increasingly swept up in the tide of Islamic supremacism, the creed of Muhammad reveals itself to be a religion of bigots rather than, as President Obama would have it, a religion of peace.
There is a theological foundation for Islamic bigotry. The Qur’an calls the Jews and Christians who reject Muhammad “the most vile of created beings” (98:6). It says that the “polytheists are unclean” (9:28), and since it claims that Jews consider Ezra the Son of God the way Christians consider Jesus the Son of God (9:30), and that “it is not befitting for Allah to take a son” (19:35), in Islamic theology, Jews and Christians are as much polytheists as are Hindus and hence just as unclean.
In March 2013, the Egyptian Islamic scholar Abdullah Badr demonstrated how such a belief can work out in practice when he explained that Christians disgusted him, saying that it was “not a matterÂ of piety, but disgust. I get grossed out. Get that? Disgust, I get grossed out, man, I cannot stand their smell or … I don’t like them, it’s my choice. And they gross me out; their smell, their look, everything. I feel disgusted, disgusted.”4
That disgust has combined with imperatives derived from Qur’anic injunctions to “slay the polytheists wherever you find them” (9:5) and to subjugate the People of the Book (9:29) to play out in Islamic history in the cleansing of entire regions of their non-Muslim populations. Eliminating other religions, as per Qur’an 8:39 (“fight…until religion is all for Allah”) and making sure that any non-Muslims who remain are conquered and submissive, is the overarching goal ofÂ jihad. As an Iranian Bahai observed to V. S. Naipaul in the course of his travels through the world of Islam, “These Muslims are a strange people. They have anÂ oldÂ mentality. VeryÂ oldÂ mentality. They are very bad to minorities.”5
The transformation of Constantinople following its conquest in 1453 illustrates the effects of Muslim bigotry. Before the Muslim conquest, Constantinople had been the center of Eastern Christianity and the second city of all Christendom, as well as the chief rival to the splendor and authority of Rome. Its Hagia Sophia cathedral, built by the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century, was the grandest and most celebrated church in the Christian world until the construction of St. Peter’s in the Vatican. As recently as 1914, Constantinople still boasted a population nearly fifty percent Christian. Today, as a result of the religious persecution of Christians, the city is now 99.99% Muslim.6
After the 1453 Muslim conquest, the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, like so many other Christian churches before and after, was transformed into a mosque. After Turkey’s secularization, the mosque was converted into a museum by the secularists, and is now about to be transformed into a mosque again. While secular Turkey did not enforce Islamic law, it saw a depoliticized Islam as essential to the Turkish identity at the expense of the Christian population. In Tur-Abdin in southwest Turkey inÂ 1960, there were 150,000 Christians; today, there are just over two thousand.7Â The rest have fled in the face of Muslim hostility and harassment.
Occasionally, Muslim authorities found it politically expedient to draw explicitly on the genocidal passions Muhammad had inspired, and used them to arouse the fury of the populace against theÂ dhimmis, who were bringing Allah’s disfavor upon the larger community. In a harbinger of the Armenian catastrophe that would take place in Turkey twenty years later, the Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid initiated a series of bloody strikes against the restive Christian Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1895. The Armenians had made the mistake of embracing Western notions of human rights, and of beginning to question theirÂ dhimmiÂ status. According to Lord Kinross, historian of the Ottoman Empire, “at the point of a bayonet,” the Armenians were offered “the choice between death and forcible conversion to Islam.”8Â The genocide that the Muslim Turks subsequently conducted during World War I was a manifestation of the sameÂ jihadistÂ strain inÂ Islam, and led to the murder of a million and a half Armenians.
In Turkey itself, the Christian population has declined from 15% in 1920 to 1% today. In Syria, the Christian population has declined from 33% to 10% in the same span. Since the Turks occupied northern Cyprus in 1974, churches have been despoiled of their icons, which have flooded the market in Greece. The Turks have taken over many churches for secular uses, and even tried to convert the fourth century Christian monastery of San Makar into a hotel. Christian Cypriots are forbidden to come near the building, much less enter it.9
Likewise in Tunisia, “in the early 1950s, half of the inhabitants of Tunis were Catholics, but with the declaration of independence some 280,000 Tunisian Catholics were expelled. Today there are no more than a tenth of this number and most of the churches are closed or no longer in use.”10
Before the Gulf War, the number of Christians in Iraq approached a million people, according toÂ some estimates.11Â But with Shi’ites and Sunnis vying for power in the war-torn country, over half, or roughly 500,000 Christians, have fled the country rather than risk the treatment in store for them from the majority Muslim population. This is not to suggest that the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein was particularly hospitable to Iraqi Christians. Even under his relatively secular regime, in which Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz was a Chaldean Catholic, the small Christian community faced random violence from the Muslim majority. Aside from outbreaks of actual persecution, including murder, Christians were routinely pressured to renounce their religion and to marry Muslims.12Â But since Saddam’s removal and the institution of Iraq’s Islamic constitution, the situation has grown exponentially worse.
Since the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendancy in Egypt, enabled by the Obama administration, Islamic bigotry has been directed with increasing violence toward the nation’s indigenous Coptic Christian population. Recently, Muslim mobs, with the acquiescence of the Islamic supremacist regime, conducted an armed attack on St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic pope. Now Copts are fleeing the country in droves. NBC News reported in June 2013: “The number of Egyptians receiving asylum