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Islam, A Religion Of...Uh...
The apologists insist that the terrorists distort the Koran. But, do they? Well, why should they, when the Koran contains statements like these, commanding Muslims to kill anybody who doesn't believe in Allah?

Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. - 2:191

Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme. (different translation: ) Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is God's entirely. - Sura 2:193 and 8:39

Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. - 2:216
(different translation: ) Prescribed for you is fighting, though it is hateful to you.

O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people. - 5:54

Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme - 8:39

It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he has made slaughter in the land. - 8:67

Allah will humble the unbelievers. Allah and His apostle are free from obligations to idol-worshipers. Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers. - 9:2-3

When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. - 9:5

Fight unbelievers who are near to you. 9:123 (different translation:
Believers! Make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Let them find harshness in you. (another source: ) Ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers....

As for those who are slain in the cause of Allah, He will not allow their works to perish. He will vouchsafe them guidance and ennoble their state; He will admit them to the Paradise He has made known to them. - 10:4-15

Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal sternly with them. Hell shall be their home, evil their fate. - 66:9

So, is murder a perversion of the Islamic faith...or just a faithful following of it?

Here's another version, over at Accuracy In Media (AIM).

Oh, and P.S. The Bible isn't such a sweet document either. Unfortunately, thanks to The Bible, homophobia still reigns, and from time to time, people (almost always those raised as Christians) murder gay people. Still, there aren't large groups of Christians or Jews running around killing gays, witches, sluts, or nonbelievers -- all of whom are condemned in The Bible. Check this out. Below are a few sweet, loving statements from The Bible:

Kill People Who Don't Listen to Priests
Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

Kill Witches
You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

Kill Homosexuals
"If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives." (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

Kill Fortunetellers
A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

Death for Hitting Dad
Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB) Death for Cursing Parents
1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB) 2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

Death for Adultery
If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

Death for Fornication
A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

Death to Followers of Other Religions
Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)

Kill Nonbelievers
They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

Kill False Prophets
If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, "You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord." When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

The conclusion: Irrational belief (belief without evidence) in god is dangerous -- but some religions are much more dangerous than others.

Posted by aalkon at November 23, 2006 11:49 AM

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The sacred words of our Most Holy Saviour, the Lord Jesus H. Christ (AKA Prince of Peace)should be added to this biblical litany of hate: Luke 19:27...But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.


Posted by: Bill Henry at November 23, 2006 3:32 AM

Interesting that most of the Biblical "Kill the bad guys" verses are from the Pentateuch. And yet, though Orthodox Jews aren't fond of fornication, adultery, sodomy, fortune-telling, or parent-abuse, the Jewish community hasn't put people to death for these sins in quite some time.

Indeed, is any of this stuff (excepting parent-abuse) even a crime in Israel? The Orthodox have quite a bit of power there.

In Islamic countries, these are crimes, many getting the death penalty. And rape is fornication or adultery, if you're a female victim -- which can be given the dealth penalty (by stoning?) or perhaps the much lighter sentence of 90 lashes.

As to the "Prince of Peace", I don't know where people got the idea that Jesus was some hippy-dippy "whatever floats your boat, man" type of person. There's quite a bit of harshness to Jesus, and he's shown bitching out the Apostles all the time. To be fair, those guys were whiny. And there are a couple of truly weird episodes - one where Jesus zaps a fig tree/bush, and one where he performs an exorcism where the demons go into a bunch of pigs which then stampede off a cliff.

Posted by: meep at November 23, 2006 3:49 AM

The best thing about JC is most likely he never really existed. His bible persona is a composite character generated in the minds of the whackos du jour of the 1st century or thereabouts. Just for laughs, here's another one of my favorite quotes attributed to him: Luke 12:47... "And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few." Smile, Jesus loves you!

Posted by: Bill Henry at November 23, 2006 7:39 AM

NAB = New American Bible
NLT = New Living Testament

I had to look those up...

Posted by: eric at November 23, 2006 8:07 AM

Amy, isn't the lesson here that there is a clear difference between what is written in religious texts and what, over time, has evolved as religious practice?

Members of all religions have, in the past, behaved appallingly and used their god as a justification, sometimes by referring to holy texts and sometimes not. There were Franciscan priests in Croatia and Croat-controlled Bosnia in the 1990s who were cheering on the slaughter of Muslim civilians -- rather contrary to the teachings of St Francis, the prototypical beard-and-sandals peacenik.

I'm not convinced that Islam, as a religion, is any worse than Christianity or Judaism. And I don't think it's fair to seize on practices in one country (eg medieval criminal justice in Saudi Arabia) and say they are symptomatic of "Islamic countries", when the same practices are regarded as barbaric in many of the others.

In other words, the wellsprings of the Islamist militant movement are, I would argue, to be found somewhere other than in religion itself. Religion is the crutch they use to give themselves respectability and draw sympathisers. But it's a red herring to say that Islam itself is driving their movement, just as it's misleading (and politically incendiary) to suggest that anyone who is Muslim is a closet suicide bomber because of what is written in a few verses in the Koran.

Posted by: modestproposal at November 23, 2006 8:25 AM

The real problem is the irrational belief in god. People who can be led to believe in a god for whom there's no proof can be led to believe that anything that god "says" must be done.

I don't think anyone who's a Muslim is a suicide bomber, but, on the other hand, I don't think you'd find a lot of Christians who'd listen to somebody who said god said you should kill an entire town if one person worships another god...and then go off and commit mass murder.

You do have Muslims believing they get 72 virgins in the imaginary place called heaven if they murder people in the name of Allah.

I was just trying to give equal opportunity to various forms of religious crapthink in this blog post. The difference comes in the course of action the irrational religious people will take.

What would be nice is for the Muslims who don't think this way to speak out against it, in large numbers, and with force. I don't see or hear that...do you? There are a couple of exceptions -- far too few. Do they not do it because they're complacent or because they're afraid of being murdered?

If we suddenly don't have free speech in our society because of people's irrational religious beliefs...it means democracy is being mutilated by religion.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 23, 2006 8:47 AM

> some religions are much more
> dangerous than others.

Exactly! Important breakthrough... And on this special day!

If some religions are more dangerous than others, we need to concentrate ire of those that do the worst. Belittling religion in an offhand, scarttershot was doesn't reflect our best understanding.

Posted by: Crid at November 23, 2006 9:18 AM

All religions do damage unless they don't seek to have public policy based on their irrational belief. Death, however, is the ultimate damage.

Here's an interesting piece by Debbie Schlussel:

http://www.wnd.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=24835

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 23, 2006 9:31 AM

You blew through some stops signs there....

Posted by: Crid at November 23, 2006 10:25 AM

Funny. But, did I really? Perhaps it seems too simple, but it's the truth. I don't want public policy decided based on other people's superstition. And I certainly don't want to die because of other people's superstition. Typically, dying is worse.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 23, 2006 10:47 AM

I'm ashamed to admit it, but sometimes I wake up in the morning and the first thought in my head is "You should not let a sorceress live." This usually clears up after the 2nd cup of java.

Posted by: Lena at November 23, 2006 12:02 PM

>>What would be nice is for the Muslims who don't >>think this way to speak out against it, in >>large numbers, and with force. I don't see or >>hear that...do you?

Imagine you were a Muslim living in an Arab country. Nobody special, just an ordinary joe. Imagine that you felt demonized as some kind of closet terrorist by the United States -- a country whose leaders and media demonstrate little to no knowledge of your culture, alternately cosy up to your autocratic government leaders and threaten them with invasion if they deviate far from US policy, and rarely if ever seek out the opinions of intellectuals and opinion leaders from your or any other Arab country. Sure, you were appalled by what happened on 9/11, and might have felt inclined to say so at the time [as many Arab governments and ordinary Muslims did], but now the United States has invaded an Arab country without provocation and brought about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people -- several orders of magnitude more than perished on 9/11. Yet people in the United States, where reports of Iraqi civilian casualties are rare to non-existent, are complaining that you aren't doing enough to condemn Islamic militant violence against the US and its allies. Mightn't you feel vaguely pissed off and disinclined to do it?

I'm not saying this to condone the silence necessarily, but I think it does explain it.

Posted by: modestproposal at November 23, 2006 11:20 PM

Modest, I hate that blog comment.

Posted by: Crid at November 24, 2006 7:13 AM

Sorry, there's no excuse for condoning murder, which is what you do by not speaking up against it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 24, 2006 7:20 AM

Great blog Amy. It's good to see someone in the media state an unpopular opinion and challenge people to think.

I completely believe in the one rule of my religeon: Do as you will, as long as you harm NO ONE. That means myself as well as others.

And yes, I'm one of those sorceresses/witches (wiccans) that are not supposed to be allowed to live.

Posted by: Kelly at November 24, 2006 7:31 AM

I'm a sorceress in the shallowest sense: I like the statement a pointy black hat makes, and I only cast spells with my breasts.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 24, 2006 7:39 AM

Pass along the breast spells! I can always use more of those. ;-)

Posted by: Kelly at November 24, 2006 8:06 AM

I'd agree with you wholeheartedly about not condoning murder, but I'd also argue that there is a far greater tolerance in this culture for dead Muslims (in Iraq, or Lebanon, or the West Bank) than there is for dead Jews or non-Arab Christians. And that's a form of condoning violence too -- with real-world political consequences we ignore at our peril.

I know Crid and others are going to hate that comment too. So why don't we just agree that religion can bring out the very worst in people and be used to justify the unjustifiable, and leave it at that? I've eaten way too much turkey to argue that hard.

Posted by: modestproposal at November 24, 2006 8:56 AM

> greater tolerance in this culture for
> dead Muslims (in Iraq, or Lebanon,
> or the West Bank) than there is for
> dead Jews or non-Arab Christians.

Perhaps it's because of the isolation and insularity of the Muslim cultures. These are not people who project a vibe of connectedness and competition within boundaries, which is what Jews and Christians often excel at. (These attitudes are particularly tough to convey from within a burqa.)

It's freaky how liberals think the problem is with feelings and emotions:

> Imagine that you felt demonized
> as some kind of closet terrorist
> by the United States

> Mightn't you feel vaguely pissed...

Perhaps I'm hypersensitive about this as a youngest child, but we have to realize that it's not all about us. These cultures have terrible problems that have nothing to do with the fact that the United States doesn't give them enough respect.

> reports of Iraqi civilian casualties
> are rare to non-existent,

What?!??!

> the United States has invaded an
> Arab country without provocation
> and brought about the deaths of
> hundreds of thousands of
> innocent people

That's a stupid thing to say... It's not an error in proportion. It's just dumb.

> rarely if ever seek out the
> opinions of intellectuals
> and opinion leaders from
> your or any other Arab
> country.

In Iraq at least, Saddam had them all killed in the late 70's. A problem across the region is that there aren't enough intellectuals being generated... At least, not enough who can stay at home and deliver the goods.

> All religions do damage unless
> they don't seek to have public
> policy based on their irrational
> belief.

Free people will never, ever let you, a stranger, pick through their minds and decide precisely when their Godly principles should or should not apply in matters of policy. You will never, ever have that kind of authority. And that's a good thing!

> Death, however, is the
> ultimate damage.

Yes. Some things are worse than others, and there are gradations to evil. So why are you in such a hurry to lump all believers in with the worst? You've just acknowledged that some faithful do no harm. Should I be forbidden to buy a glass of wine twice a week because some guys rob little old ladies to shoot heroin? Of course not; inebriation may be a continuum--which is fun to spell-- but these are fundamentally different behaviors.

Posted by: Crid at November 24, 2006 9:55 AM

mph. You, Amy, seriously or not, are promoting the same black-and-white bumpfh you decry. Nice context, though.
Labeling people by artificial systems is what trial by jury is to deter : finding if people are misguided and/or vengeful without regard to social judgment and authority and personalizing evaluations.
i.e. Are they violent assholes or victims of circumstance ?

Posted by: opit at November 24, 2006 1:11 PM

Crid, I'm not suggesting we forbid religion -- just that public policy be decided based on science and data, not people's wacky beliefs. Should their wacky beliefs happen to coincide with what science and data shows, well, bully for them.

Opit, all I can say is...

Huh?

But, assuming I'm correct in guessing what you're getting at...ever hear of Martin Luther King?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 24, 2006 3:52 PM

How we gonna know when a belief is wacky?

If logic-meisters in lab coats with slide rules can handle everything, then we don't need people to vote, right?

It seems unlikely that you believe this.

Posted by: Crid at November 24, 2006 5:06 PM

For example, when deciding whether to offer "abstinence only" education, a peek or two should be taken at the data which shows it doesn't work.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 24, 2006 5:23 PM

Umm...

ok

Posted by: Crid at November 24, 2006 6:04 PM

Where Crid is involved, I wouldn't want abstinence involved.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at November 25, 2006 10:13 AM

Be my bride!

Posted by: Crid at November 26, 2006 2:35 AM

As a freshman in college I learned the importance of reading the whole context of an author's words. It's intellectually lazy (and often dishonest) to take someone's words out of context and then construe them to say something they may never have said. Yet nearly every biblical quotation has been out of context. The times Jesus was quoted above he was actually telling a story. The words were not his own; he was using a story as an illustration.

In contrast, Jesus actually said (his own words, not the words of a character in a story):

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

"If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.

"If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.

"Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

"Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:27-31, NIV).

A parallel account is found in Matthew 5, where, interestingly enough, Jesus is addressing an idea similar to those quoted above (killing people for various offenses): "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-44, NIV).

Why don't Christians espouse killing adultresses and homosexuals, et. al.? Because Jesus Christ (in a sense, the "founder of Christianity," the God-Man) taught us to "hate the sin but love the sinner."

Posted by: Tim Joiner at December 6, 2006 6:35 PM

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