Wolves dress in sheeps clothes.
Since 9/11 there has been a persistent, although now weakening, effort by various apologists to present Islam as a religion of peace. The evidence however speaks loudly to the contrary. Faced with this evidence the apologists are going silent. And thats a good thing.
Of course Muslims still strive to present Islam as peaceful to a naive and lazy Western audience. Cant blame them can you? That is after all a form of jihad and a religious duty. But you can blame the non-Muslims who continue to proclaim Islam is peace in the face of the evidence. They should be ashamed and criticized for they are carrying water for terrorists or at the least they are deceiving their fellow countrymen.
Thats the case with the academicians (Cole, Leupp, LeVine), Ive written about. Recently Ive come across another one of these apologists Dean Esmay.
The term "Useful Idiot" is a term applied to people who are ignorant of the facts and support a cause that they might not otherwise support. (Wikipedia)
I apply this idiom to Mr. Esmay, not because he is an idiot (he certainly is not), but because he plays the ignorant fool in his staunch support of Islam. He describes himself as both a supporter of the war on terror and a supporter of Islam. Mr. Esmay is an intelligent man whos been taken in by Islamic rhetoric. But he has not done his homework, he has not studied in any depth the actual doctrines of historical Islam, real Islam, the Islam that Muhammad created and taught. But that ignorance has not stopped him from speaking out.
Im going to comment on a recent internet posting (*) and a debate (*, *) which involved Mr. Esmay. Im not entering the debate for in the end it was very one sided and Esmay was embarrassed. What Im going to illustrate is that non-Muslims who preach the "Islam is peace" rhetoric do so from a foundation built upon ignorance. I suspect Esmays meager knowledge of Islam has been spoon fed to him by a well intentioned Muslim or collected off of some trivial website gleanings.
Oh, and for the record, let me say that I am clearly anti-Islam. Islam is a poison in humanitys body, soul, and spirit. Islam contains both good and evil precepts just as Muhammad had traits that were good and evil. But taken as a whole it should be rejected and spewed out of the mouth. Poison covered with chocolate is sweet and lethal.
FISKING DEAN ESMAY
The first post is a "fisking" (point by point refutation) that Esmay performed on an email he had received that was written by an unknown character. That email was argued poorly and based upon inaccurate premises. Dean enjoyed ridiculing the email much the same way a 5th grade bully enjoys picking on 1st graders. Ok, fair enough. But when Esmay delves into things Islamic he becomes the 1st grader.
Im not going to argue all of the emails points because some are unsupportable and should be criticized. But I will address a few.
As for wife-beating: The Muslim site "Answering Christianity" has a very detailed rebuttal to Christians who claim the Koran endorses wife-beating, citing chapter and verse in the Koran and other Muslim sources. The short answer is that there is one controversial verse, which has multiple interpretations, which MIGHT make it okay to do this in extreme circumstances--MAYBE.
1) Anyone foolish enough to use Answering Christianity for a rebuttal source earns a grin and chuckle. Some intelligent Muslims I know are ashamed by that site. The work there is usually dim-witted. Whats ironic about Esmays choice is that the same site contains an article supporting Islamic wife beating! (*) This is probably the first site to which Esmay surfed and thus chose to use without looking any further into its credibility.
2) Esmay frames the "wife beating" discussion as "Christians who claim the Koran endorses wife-beating." Duh, Dean, Christians are only repeating what the Quran, Hadith, and Sira say. Esmays argument should be with Muslims who take what the Quran teaches literally. There are far more Muslims who say that the Quran endorses wife beating than not. Esmay should have figured that out before he began his attack. The real problem Esmay has is with the Islamic source materials not with Christians who repeat and argue what those materials state.
3) Esmays "short answer" is wrong, painfully wrong. 4:34 is not a controversial verse in the Mideast. The Quran COMMANDS men to beat their disobedient wives. Here is verse 4:34 given in three different Quran translations done by Muslims and non-Muslims, (bold emphasis mine).
DAWOOD: Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.
PICKTHALL: Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah has guarded. As for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.
SHAKIR: Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in their sleeping places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.
Wife beating in the context of the Quran has to be severe enough to bring her into obedience. And it must produce a stronger psychological effect than verbal chastisement and sexual desertion. In other words - it's got to hurt! But the husband is not to whip her like a slave or severely injure the wife.
And wife beating is well accepted in the Islamic world. A few years ago a Muslim cleric in Spain got in big trouble, possibly he was expelled, because he published a book stating that disobedient women should be beaten.
Further, a couple of months ago a survey was carried out in Jordan, and found that students 91% of college approve of wife beating.
Its like that throughout the entire Arab world because Islam is the foundation of their culture and commands men to beat disobedient wives. For a thorough review on this issue, see my article Wife Beating In Islam.
[2.256] "There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing."
All this says to me is that religion is voluntary, not compulsory (the Koran says that in more than one place) but if you believe in God and reject Satan then God will know and you'll be in good shape.
This is another verse often used by Muslims in the West to prove that Islam does not teach that people should be forced to become Muslims. However, its another sham and the easily fooled Esmay repeats their mantra.
This verse was probably spoken for a specific group of people (the Jewish "Banu Nadhir" tribe), who were expelled by Muhammad from Medina after he attacked them. This verse dealt with some of the Muslim children who chose to leave with their Jewish foster-parents. 2:256 is not a universal declaration of "no compulsion" in Islam for all time. Later, in Islamic theology, this verse was abrogated or cancelled by 9:5 and others.
A recent internet posting by Dr. Bostom defines the discussion: The Religion of Peace?
A totally insane and hateful lie. There's just no other way to say it. I'm almost rendered speechless. The only part that appears to be true is that 10 is the lowest acceptable age for a girl to marry. You'll find that many civilizations of the past, including Christian ones, held that kids could get married as soon as they hit puberty, which is often around age nine or ten. If you read Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette, in the original, Juliette was about 13 and getting a little past her prime. The world changes, standards change.
Im not almost speechless at Esmays error, but I am laughing. Islam allows for a girl to marry and engage in sex before she is 10. I have no idea where Esmay got the statement, "The only part that appears to be true is that 10 is the lowest acceptable age for a girl to marry." Ive never encountered any Muslim supporting that. It contradicts what their source materials teach about marriage.
Many Muslims claim that Islam allows intercourse after the girls first menstruation but that is not correct. And, some young girls can have early periods as young as 9, possibly even at age 8. It is a medical abnormality. Islam puts no "age" limit on the date when a girl can marry, rather the only rule the Islamic writings establish as the correct time is, "if she is ready for it". Note then, that intercourse can occur prior to her first period. See the following article for more detail: An Examination of Muhammadís Marriage to a Prepubescent Girl And Its Moral Implications.
Aisha was 6 years old when Muhammad married her, and 9 when he sexually consummated his marriage with her, probably long before she had her 1st menstrual cycle, see Part 2 of the same discussion.
The point is that it is physically and mentally unhealthy for little girls to engage in sex. Cultural differences can no longer excuse it. And since Muhammad proclaimed himself to be the best example for mankind ya gotta question his actions. Would God be the source for continuing this harmful practice? This still goes on throughout the Arab world today.
For an in-depth examination of too early marriage see my article Muhammad, Aisha, Islam, and Child Brides.
By the way, the Muslims do NOT reject the authoritativeness of the Old Testament. At all. Where did you get this? Indeed, they view it as more authoritative than Christians do. They view both the Old and New Testatments as scripture, and authoritative, merely flawed and mistranslated due to human error over time.
Maybe Im missing something, but Esmay sounds like a professional double-talker. He does not understand what he is writing. Muslims accept the authority of the OT, but consider it to be flawed!?! Now then, how is a flawed, mistranslated book considered to be authoritive? Answer: It aint. But Muhammad did indeed consider the Bible to be authoritive. See these articles here:
Muhammad said that the Bible that the Christians had in their hands was indeed the Word of God. And note, that the Bible in our hands today was essentially the same Bible of the Christians in the Saudi Peninsula.
But later, Muslims having figured out that it contradicted the Quran, had to deny the Bibles authority. Today Muslims, in contradiction to what Muhammad spoke in the Quran, say that the Bible is corrupt. Esmay appears to have once again been spoon-fed Islamic apologetic rhetoric and swallowed it willingly without bothering to think things through.
One of the comments Esmay makes to a reader who pointed out the fact that Christians and Muslims dont worship the same God, and pointed Esmay to an article by Sam Shamoun is:
Randy: Sam Shamoun's theology strikes me as about as questionable as his logic. Many Christians wouldn't agree with it. But most he says seems to devolve to this: "the Koran and the Bible disagree with each other on certain points, therefore, it can't be the same God."
And you know what the answer to that is? Inherent to the faith of Islam is that the Bible gets it wrong because it was written and translated by humans and became flawed over time, and the Koran doesn't have that problem. Christians take the position that Muhammed was no prophet and that this claim is spurious. Who's right? You ought to hash it out with them.
Esmay is wrong when he says, "Inherent to the faith of Islam is that the Bible gets it wrong, and became flawed over time
It is not inherent to the faith of Islam that the Bible gets it wrong. Where on earth did he get that idea? Not from the Quran, not from the Sahih Hadith. The poor Esmay has a Muslim doing his thinking for him. Muhammad accepted the integrity of the Bible (see the articles mentioned above).
Shamoun detailed numerous instances of the contradictions of specific facts between the Bible and the Quran, contradictions between the character of God and Allah, (by Allah, I am referring to the god of Islam), and contradictions between the actions of these two "Gods". The Muslims sham excuse "mistranslations or corruptions" cannot hold water because the Biblical manuscript evidence is too strong, and the Scriptures that were in the hands of the Christians and Jews during Muhammads time is the same as what we have available today. Consider the Qurans statement asserting that the Bible is confirmed by the Quran ....
What We have revealed to you in the Book is the truth confirming previous Scriptures. God knows and observes His servants. Quran 35:31 (Dawood).
Instead of rejecting or criticizing those Scriptures, Muhammad stated that Gods word to him (the Quran) confirmed them.
The 2nd posting Ill examine regards an exchange Esmay had with Robert Spencer. Mr. Spencer gutted Esmay in their debate. Instead of discussing / debating the points, Esmay avoided them. I wont go over Spencers argument because it stands on its own. But I will highlight some key statements to illustrate why knowledge is important in this argument and ignorance is not bliss.
However, in my eagerness to find such people I am not going to allow myself to be fooled. I have read the Qur'an many, many times. I have read Bukhari, Muslim, and other Hadith collections. I have read the Sira of Ibn Ishaq. I have read treatises of Islamic law and first-hand accounts of Islamic history. All that brings me to certain inescapable conclusions about Islamic doctrine, Muhammad's character and behavior, and more -- conclusions which I have documented in my books. Then when I read various Muslim moderates, they state that the Qur'an teaches, and that Muhammad taught, and that Islam as a whole teaches, very different things from what I know to be the case.
Therein lies the rub. Spencer has done his homework, Esmay has not. Spencer knows what the Islamic source materials teach, Esmay does not. Spencer challenges Muslim moderates who say "Islam is peace", but Esmay swallows the deception. Spencer has the right to criticize Islam because he has studied it. Esmay has no right to defend it because he doesnt know what he is talking about. All Esmay does is to hide behind pejoratives such as "Islamophobe," or "Muslim Derangement Syndrome". Esmays tactic is "when you cant win the argument, call people names".
Don't tell me it's an attempt at reform, Esmay. Reform isn't accomplished by deception or self-deception. Reform is accomplished by acknowledging the problem and coming up with ways to deal with it.
Spencers point is that the so-called "Moderate Muslims" are not speaking accurately about what Muhammad did and taught or about fundamental Islamic theology. My view is that Islam cannot be reformed. You dont reform poison. One can certainly remove all aspects of violence and coercion from Islam. But that isnt reform, that is innovation, thats re-creation. The real question should be posed to the moderate Muslims, "Why would you even choose to be called by such a violent faith?" If Islam is so screwed up, why try to reform it? Why not leave it altogether?
The problem the moderate Muslims face is with their own sacred texts. Those texts are full of charges to violence and simply by reading them and thinking about them, any Muslim will understand those instructions and take action.
Anyone following current worldwide events knows that Western countries no longer need foreign terrorists to come over and do their dirty work. There are more and more home grown terrorists stepping up to the plate for Islam. Canada, England, Germany, America etc. have all been subject to Islamic terrorism from their own citizens.
My last quote is comprised of an initial quote from Esmay, and a response from Spencer:
I think there's only one thing that will get the violent Jihadis to put their weapons down: kill enough of them that the rest of them give up. Then we have to bring free speech, free press, and free elections to the people of the region, as much as possible, so they can join the rest of us in the modern world.
Yes, they have already shown how much they thirst for this, what with the Sharia provisions in both the Iraqi and Afghani Constitutions.
Esmay is right about dealing with the Muslim terrorists. But Spencers point is the most ominous of the discussion. It is a harbinger of generations of future pain. Your children, and your childrens children will be fighting this war.
Case in point: Recently an Afghani who converted to Christianity in Germany returned to Afghanistan. I believe he was involved as an aid worker. However once in Afghanistan he was jailed and came to within an inch of his life via execution. His crime: leaving Islam.
Muslims up and down the hierarchy in Afghanistan wanted him to be killed. From judges, to imams, to common street people, they called and demonstrated for his death. They proclaimed that America was trying to undermine the values of Islam, i.e. the free Afghani peoples values.
Now here is a country that many Americans have died in, fighting ostensibly to throw out an oppressive religious regime (the Taliban). Much blood has been spilt, and billions of dollars spent to build and defend the current government. Yet what have those Americans got with their money and blood? A shade of Islamic fundamentalism that is a bit lighter than the oppressive darkness of the Taliban? A regime that denies the freedoms in which the Americans believe. What a horrible return on their investment! Like the Washington Post basically said, "Why should our boys be fighting and dying for a regime that is still incredibly oppressive and denies people basic human rights? These people will not be Americas friends or allies in the long run. And when it comes time to choose, they will choose to side against them just as they have chosen to side against freedom today.
Esmays hope, that free speech, free press, and free elections liberates Muslims from the bondage of fundamentalist Islam is a noble hope, but a vain one. Bernard Lewis hoped for Tunisia to turn the same corner but it failed as well. The problem isnt "fundamentalist" Islam, the problem is Islam. "Moderate Islam" is not a solution (with respect to Daniel Pipes), because, as every honest Muslim knows, "moderate Islam" isnt really Islam.
Muslims who push to establish a "moderate" form of Islam are beneficial to society and should be encouraged. Bloggers like the Big Pharaoh and Sandmonkey are helpful, doing good work, and their voices are being heard. But they are trying to make a silk purse out of a pigs ear.
There are many in the West who know little about Islam. They hear continuing acts of a barbaric nature say that Islam is evil, but then hear Prime Minister Blair, Americas President Bush, and various Muslims, say Islam is peace. The violent actions are speaking louder but the patronizing rhetoric breeds confusion and uncertainty.
Good and intelligent people like Dean Esmay know Muslims who are hard working and outwardly profess similar moral standards. Since Esmay, (and many others) have not studied Islam they will naturally give those Muslims the benefit of the doubt and believe that Islam is peaceful. But ignorance is not bliss. Damrah fooled the local religious leaders of Cleveland Ohio, and Sami Al-Arian fooled the academicians at the University of South Florida, and many others as well. Muslims know the real score, and part of that script requires that they fool the ignorant. Obviously theyve done a great job so far.
Wolves dress in sheeps cloths and the ignorant invite them to dinner.
4 July, 2006