Israel and Islam. What is it that really divides the the two, keeping the children of Jacob and Ishmael in perpetual war?
It turns out the difference stares us in the face, at the root of the words themselves. Clarity in understanding the wars of the Middle East comes when grasping the words in the original languages, Hebrew and Arabic, a point Dennis Prager explains in his book Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.
In Hebrew the word “Israel” means to “wrestle with God” or “to struggle with God.” Jacob was renamed Israel after spending a night wrestling with God’s angels. Struggling and arguing with the idea of God is what characterizes man’s relationship with Him in the Torah. Abraham talks back to God, arguing humanity’s case. This perpetual shifting and negotiating, new reaching out to the Divine is mirrored in the way the Bible is put together and how Jews and Christians learn to study it. We wrestle with God by wrestling with the text, trying to assemble the pieces in new and better configurations, building on the sages who have come before us. In Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchk’s The Lonely Man of Faith he shows how this movement back and forth is built into man’s nature as reflected in the two creation stories that start Genesis. Both describe man’s orientation to God and it is our challenge to shift back and forth between them.
In Islam the idea of man arguing with Allah or debating the proper interpretations of the holy text is blasphemous. In Arabic the word “Islam” means to submit to Allah.
While the Bible is a document made of numerous texts across the centuries depicting many mysterious and often conflicting understandings of God and competing schools of interpretation, the Koran purports to be the revelation of one prophet who supersedes all the others. And his book has an easy cheat system for how to make sense of conflicting passages: when two parts conflict, just go with the later prophecy. Abrogation! The practical result of this is that the violent, later prophecies are still in effect for Islam. And where did its doctrine of “struggle” manifest? In its call to wage Jihad. The struggle is not primarily with a transcendent deity, but to impose Shariah law — a Caliphate — onto the entire planet. There’s no mystery between man and Allah in the Koran, the relationship is clear: we are his slaves.
The more one studies the history, culture, and contemporary conflicts between Israel and Islamic states and Jihadists the more evidence one finds for this root breakdown between a free people and an enslaved people. Two of my most important guides in coming to grasp these issues have been P. David Hornik and Robert Spencer who I’ve had the pleasure of of editing each week for the past few years. Today I present collections of their work together, Hornik based in Israel and providing analysis of the news in the Middle East and the cultures influencing it; and Spencer connecting the Koran with the actions of its most zealous modern day adherents.
If there are themes you’d like to see David or Robert explore then please get in touch with your ideas: daveswindlepjm @ gmail.com or @DaveSwindle on Twitter.
Click here to read “100 Visions Of the Sacred and Secular in Israel From P. David Hornik”
Last year, inspired by James C. Bennett and Michael Lotus’s America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century—Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come, I argued that the history of the conservative movement could be understood in terms of three phases, each defined by the most serious threat to the country, and one writer-activist in particular provided an intellectual foundation: “Robert Spencer’s Vital Role in Creating Conservatism 3.0”
The 1.0/2.0/3.0 Bennett-Lotus model is applicable beyond the broad scope of their book. As America itself goes through the shifts from one era to the next so too do the cultures and institutions within it. So I will apply it to one of my preoccupations, political ideology. How does this sound?
Conservatism 1.0 = The Old Right, those who fought against the expansion of the federal government and US entry into World War II, often referred to as isolationists. This ideology was soundly refuted by US victory over the Axis. It turns out that foreign policy ideologies that assume muskets and months to sail across the Atlantic have limited utility in post-Hiroshima worlds. The heirs of this tradition today are the so-called paleo-conservatives (Pat Buchanan) and paleo-libertarians (Ron Paul) and their stealth advocate who has duped Republicans and infiltrated the Tea Party, Rand Paul. (My ax-grinding against all three will continue for the foreseeable future. These people should have been cast out of polite society long ago so they’d have more time to spend with their Holocaust-denying buddies.)
Conservatism 2.0 = The New Right, built by William F. Buckley Jr. and Barry Goldwater and institutionalized at the presidential level by Ronald Reagan. While adapting the Old Right’s traditionalism and opposition to the New Deal, the big shift came in reacting to the new foreign policy reality threatening human freedom: Soviet imperialism. The battle against murderous Marxism was what really animated Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan more than anything else. (It was in reading the extraordinary Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America that this started to become more apparent.)
So I’ve come to conclude that what we call “the conservative movement” was really just the political/cultural wing of what began as anti-communism. Thus, the reason for the degradation of Conservatism 2.0 is that with anti-communism as the primary base the ideological tent could widen to bring in people who do not actually believe in American values. Opposing the Soviets for one reason or another does not require one to be an advocate of America’s founding principles. Thus with the removal of the Soviet threat — only for a time really, of course… — the Reagan coalition has collapsed as each faction now squabbles for power and attention.
Conservatism 3.0 = As anti-communism created Conservatism 2.0, Robert Spencer’s counter-jihad movement will provide a foundational justification for the shift to Conservatism 3.0. As previous generations were fueled by reports of the horrors within Marxist slave states, today the truth about Shariah slave states will gradually bring together people across cultures, borders, and ideologies. And I say Robert Spencer’s counter-jihad movement because he has been a leader in this war for over a decade, documenting not just what is happening but explaining why.
In my years knowing Robert and editing his work, I’ve gradually come to see that the depth of this war is actually deeper than any America has ever experienced. The Nazis and Communists were the 20th century’s institutionalization of 19th century European ideologies based in class and race. But this is a conflict that predates the colonization of the North American continent. I’ve come to see that it’s vital not just to understand the history of Islam and what the Koran teaches, but the central role that they’ve had in provoking the creation of our nation centuries before we existed. What initially inspired Westward exploration? Islam shutting off the trade routes to the East. We exist today because our ancestors would rather try and go around the Jihadists than to defeat them militarily.
In starting this collection of Robert’s PJ Media and PJ Lifestyle articles we begin with his all-time most popular article, one that received over 100,000 pageviews, “5 Ways Muslims Have Contributed to ‘Building the Very Fabric of Our Nation’“:
Last Sunday, in his message congratulating Muslims on Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Barack Obama wrote: “Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.” That’s right: he said “manyachievements and contributions.” I could only think of five. Maybe you will be able to think of some more.
5. Getting us here in the first place
This one predates the United States as a nation, but without it, the United States would not exist. Every schoolchild knows, or used to know, that in 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered America while searching for a new, westward sea route to Asia. But why was he searching for a new route to Asia? Because the fall of Constantinople to the Muslims in 1453 closed the trade routes to the East. This was devastating for European tradesmen, who had until then traveled to Asia for spices and other goods by land. Columbus’s voyage was trying to ease the plight of these merchants by bypassing the Muslims altogether and making it possible for Europeans to reach India by sea.
So the bellicosity and intransigence of Islam ultimately opened the Americas for Europe – and made the United States possible.
Continue page 2 of the article here. To further grasp the chasm of differences between Western and Koranic values, consider the first of several series in this collection, a group of 13 articles in which Robert focused on how Islam molds men and women differently in its family structure. Also see Robert’s “Jazz and Islam” series which I’ve included next — these fights go well beyond the religious, political, and military realms, manifesting in how the competing civilizations regard art and the most intimate aspects of human life. Over the years Robert has consistently shined a light on these difficult truths, being banned from Great Britain and vilified even by self-proclaimed conservatives for his refusal to shut up as humans suffer. I hope with this collection if you may have shrugged off Robert’s interpretation of Islam in the past you’ll give him another chance.
How Islam Affects the Family and Male/Female Relationships
- Straight-Arrow Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a Mama’s Boy
- How Mothers from Hell Raise Their Boys to Do Evil
- Why The Sword of Islam Cuts Apart Families
- Will Islam Make a Man Out of You?
- The Muslim Family: An Empire of Fear
- Can Parents’ Divorce Push a Teen to Join Al-Qaeda?
- Would You Strangle a Cop for Giving Your Wife a Ticket?
- Proving Their Manhood in Syria
- My Son Jihad: Glorifying Evil in France
- ‘Stone Cold’ Yousef al-Khattab and His Children
- Teaching Children Jihad in Dagestan
- How 10-Year-Old Boys Learn to Slaughter Infidels in Syria
- The 7 Ways Islam Kills Romance
The Real War on Women
- The Silent Tragedy of Child Marriage
- What Would It Take for You to Kill Someone You Love?
- Why It May Be Easy for Huma Abedin to Stand by Her Man
- Could the Rape Jihad Come to America?
- Canada (and the U.S.) Welcome Polygamy
- Child Marriage Comes to Australia
- Burned Alive for $47
- Daughters of the Jihad Death Cult
- 5 New Hashtags for Michelle Obama
- 7 Reasons Why the Oklahoma Beheading Has Everything to Do with Islam
The Jazz and Islam Series
- Why Did Lenin and Muhammad Hate Music?
- 5 Exhilarating Jazz Improvisations to Unshackle Your Spirit
- Blues for Sayyid Qutb
- 5 Jazz Women We Love
- John Coltrane and Bilal Philips: Two Converts’ Paths
- The Questions Nobody Wants to Ask About ‘Moderate Islam’
- James Holmes: It Serves Him Right to Suffer
- Innovators: 6 Unique Jazz Performances That Will Blow Your Mind
- How Miles Davis and John Coltrane Ruined Jazz
- Why So Many Jazz Musicians Converted to a Heretical Form of Islam
- No More Music for Muslims: The Spiritual Journey of Tamerlan Tsarnaev
Terrorism and Jihad
- See No Jihad: U.S. Still Treating Fort Hood Jihadis as Criminals
- The Real Lesson of Benghazi
- ‘Islamophobia’ and the Latest New York Jihad Plot
- 8 Reasons You Aren’t Safer than You Were 4 Years Ago
- Obama’s Dangerous Fantasy of Al-Qaeda Defeated
- Pork No, Killing Infidels Sí
- The National Guardsman’s Jihad
- 5 Things the National Guard Jihadist Wants You to Know About Islam
- 5 Things You Should Know About the Latest Military Jihadist
- 5 Truths the 9/11 Museum Should Tell About 9/11
- 8 Signs That ISIS Will Strike in the U.S. Soon
- 5 New Signs of the West’s Myopia About the Jihad Threat
- 4 Freedoms at Stake in Our Defense Against Jihad
- 10 Things We Should Have Done Since 9/11 to Defeat the Jihad
- 10 Acts of Jihad in America That Americans Haven’t Heard About
- 6 Reasons Why the U.S. Should Not Arm the Syrian ‘Moderates’
What Is Stealth Jihad?
- Investigate Radical Christianity!
- McCarthyism and Mohamed Elibiary
- Why Is the Pentagon Listening to Hamas-Linked CAIR?
- DC Comics Mainstreaming ‘Islamophobia’
- Obama’s Islamic Supremacist Human Rights Rep
- How Muslims Celebrated Islamophobia Awareness Month
- The Ground Zero Mosque and Media Sleight of Hand
- #MyJihad: CAIR’s New Twitter Campaign to Whitewash Islam
- The Jihad Against Christmas
- A Subway Murder and the ‘Islamophobia’ Industry
- Huma Abedin, Alger Hiss, Huma Abedin, Alger Hiss, Huma Abedin, Alger…
- What Is the Difference Between ‘Extremist’ and ‘Moderate’ Muslim Brothers?
- 4 Muslims Who Deserve to Be Under Surveillance
- 6 Elements of ‘Extremist’ Islam That ‘Moderate’ Muslims Endorsed as They Condemned the Islamic State
- Islamic Antisemitism Enters American Electoral Politics
- The Worldwide Rise of Islamic Antisemitism
- Would a Palestinian State Bring Peace?
- Obama Throws Israel to the Wolves
- 7 Reasons Why the Palestinians Don’t Occupy the Moral High Ground
- 5 New Muslim Calls for Genocide of the Jews
- 6 Ugly Signs of Resurgent Worldwide Antisemitism
- Yes, You Can Tell the Truth About Jihad Violence in Britain (As Long As You’re For It)
- 5 Books That Will Get You Banned From Britain
- The 5 Latest Signs of Britain’s Imminent Demise
- Who Lost Britain? 14 Culprits
- Is It Still Possible to Question Islam?
- Suicide of the Western Media
- The Muhammad Movie Riots
- U.S. Imams Call for Restricting Free Speech
- 2013: The Death of Free Speech
- Too Cowardly To Print Muhammad Cartoons?
- Building Bridges Between Christians and Muslims: A Case Study
- Conan O’Brien Discovers: Muslim Polygamy Is No Joke
- 5 Ways the Islamic War on Free Speech Advanced Last Week
- 5 Muslim Movie Reviews
- 5 New Victories for Muslim Enemies of Free Speech
- 5 Things the Media and Government Won’t Tell You About Boko Haram
- Why Reza Aslan’s Christian Relatives and Friends Aren’t Trying to Kill Him
- 5 Falsehoods in Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
- The Hypocrisy of the Left’s Commitment to ‘Peacemaking’
- 3 Times I Was Framed for Murder – And How You Can Be, Too
- 5 Ways Bill Maher Is Right and Reza Aslan Wrong About Islam
- The Media’s Double Standard for Muslims
- The New Left Fascists
- The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam
- The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism
- The Hypocrisy of the Feminist Response to Islam’s Oppression of Women
- The Hypocrisy of the Western Christian Response to Muslim Persecution of Christians
- The Hypocrisy of the Leftist Response to Ariel Sharon’s Death
- The Hypocrisy of Ibrahim Hooper and CAIR’s ‘Islamophobic List’
- The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad
- The Hypocrisy of the Media Whitewash of Islamic Blasphemy Charges
- 5 Islamic Scholars Who Say They’d Demolish Me in Debate – But Don’t Dare Try
- Muslim Journalist Challenges Sharia, Gets Accused of ‘Hate’
- Is Michael Bloomberg Secretly a Muslim?
- Muslims vs. Archaeology
- U.S. Army Solution to Afghan Attacks: ‘Avoid Arrogance,’ ‘Respect Islam’
- Now that the U.S. Is an Islamic State…
- Algerian Jihadists Wanted to ‘Teach the Americans What Islam Is’
- When Slaves Choose Their Slavery
- The Persecution No One Dares Name
- ‘It Never Occurred to Us that Muslim Neighbors Would Betray Us…’
- Behead First, Ask Questions Later
- 5 Sharia Atrocities for Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres to Protest
- 5 Stories from Last Week Revealing Sharia’s Spread in the West
- 5 Ways the Quran Explains Today’s Headlines
- 5 Non-Muslims Who Know More About Islam than the Caliph of the Islamic State
An excerpt from the appendix of Not Peace But a Sword summarizes the difference between Islamic and Biblical values:
Check out these previous compilations of PJ Lifestyle’s best writers:
See more of my friend Bosch’s great art work at his blog and follow him on Twitter. Also check out my article “10 Badass Moments from Bosch Fawstin’s The Infidel #2.”
“What Makes Jon Stewart More Insufferable Than Bill Maher,” from October 3:
Recently four members of that least-recognized Indian tribe “Redskins Nation” agreed to participate in a Daily Show segment discussing the controversy surrounding their team name. Their conversation with comedian Jason Jones was stretching into its third hour when eight Native American activists were suddenly brought out. The newcomers became vitriolic and one fan left the set crying, saying later that she’d felt threatened.
The Washingtonians told the Washington Post that they would have gladly agreed to debate a group of the Indians, but the show had said no such confrontation would occur. The producers lied, sprang an ambush, and laughed at the acrimony that followed.
If this doesn’t feel like déjà vu, then it should. The Daily Show lies all the time. Once a clever romp through the evening news, the show has become a tedious exercise in ideological anthem playing. Its purpose is the same as that of Neil deGrasse Tyson: to present neatly edited vignettes that assure elites of their mammoth intellectual superiority over the Fox News crowd. Satirists are supposed to poke fun at the cultural consensus; the Daily Showruthlessly enforces it, seeking out and destroying anyone who ventures outside its bounds. Its host Jon Stewart is a pathetic devotee of hegemonic center-left opinion who uses dishonest techniques to portray himself as the last honest man. Its in-studio audience is the world’s most annoying echo chamber.
Related this weekend, Mediaite reports on a heated exchange on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday. Maher and Sam Harris Vs. Ben Affleck and Nicholas Kristof on Islam:
Ben Affleck, Bill Maher,Nicholas Kristol,Michael Steele, and author Sam Harris got into what could only be described as a tumultuous continuation of Maher’s comments on Islam from last week, with Maher and Affleck tearing into each other over the influence of fundamentalists in the Muslim community.
“We have been sold this meme of Islamophobia, where criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards muslims as people,” Harris began. “It’s intellectually ridiculous.”
“Hold on — are you the person who officially understands the codified doctrine of Islam?” Affleck, on the show to promote his movie Gone Girl, interrupted, and argued that criticizing Islam, as Maher and Harris were doing it, was “gross and racist. It’s like saying, ‘Oh, you shifty Jew!’”
Explicit language warning for video clip on next page:
I didn’t fully appreciate how spiritually free I am as an American woman until I set foot on an El Al plane.
“Do you speak Hebrew?” the fretting woman in front of me asked.
“No, not really.”
“It’s okay, I speak English,” she hurriedly replied, obviously looking for a friendly face. “These Orthodox,” she motioned to the people sitting next to her, “they don’t like sitting next to women.”
“Well, that’s their problem.” My response was pointed, matter-of-fact, American.
She smiled as if a light bulb went off in her head. “You’re right!” Her expression grew cloudy. “But what if I take off my sweater? They won’t like that I expose my shoulders with my tank top.”
Again, I simply replied, “That’s their problem.”
She smiled, empowered. Removing her sweater, she took her seat and stood her ground.
And at that moment I thanked God I was raised in pluralistic America, and realized, oddly enough, that the Holy Land was giving me my first chance to practice the biblical feminism I’ve preached.
Israel is a Western nation in that women have equal rights by law. Israel is also a confluence of religious and ethnic cultural attitudes, not all of which are friendly to women. Two days into our trip to Jerusalem, a family member who also happens to be a retired journalist explained the latest story to hit the nightly news. A man accused of spousal abuse was released to return home. Later that evening, police found his wife had been shot dead. The husband confessed to the murder. Apparently, domestic violence and death is a relatively small but significant problem in Israel. When I asked my former journalist why, he pointed to the influence of Middle Eastern (both Arabic and radical Islamic) patriarchal culture as the primary source.
Yet, even religious Jews in Israel (and around the world), despite their insular nature, are far from immune to sexual abuse. Sex scandals among the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) show up frequently on the evening news. In this case it’s not the Arab/Muslim influence, but perverted behaviors that arise from rabbinic abuse of biblical teachings. How do you expect a man to relate to a woman sexually when he’s not even allowed to look her in the eye?
This article was originally published in two parts last year on September 13 and 14, recounting a discussion I’d engaged in on that year’s anniversary of 9/11. I hope you might find it useful as some of these ideas and arguments no doubt reemerge again tomorrow. Warning: just a few bits of profanity and sexually profane insults flung at me…
When the government of Great Britain banned Pamela Geller and me from entering the country for the crime of speaking unwelcome truths about the jihad threat and supporting Israel a bit too vocally, I thought that Britain was a bit too anxious to appease its increasingly aggressive and demanding Muslim minority. When British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “I want London to stand alongside Dubai as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world,” Britain’s surrender to Sharia became an even more pressing concern, as Cameron will discover that Sharia finance cannot be separated from the rest of Islamic law any more than he could separate a bowl of blood pudding into its constituent parts.
But this past week came five signs that Britain is going to capitulate entirely to Sharia – or else descend into chaos and civil conflict — even sooner than most observers think.
5. Muslim terrifies churchgoers, enters church and shouts: “This is rubbish, you should be preaching Allah, turn to Islam”
The Derby Telegraph reported last week that “churchgoers were left terrified after believing a 52-year-old man who walked into their church ‘dressed like a terrorist’ on Remembrance Sunday ‘might be armed with a bomb.’”
Mohamed Dar didn’t just walk into the church: as he walked in during a service, wearing a bandana that proclaimed “Allahu akbar,” Dar demanded that the congregants “turn to Allah.” He shouted: “This is rubbish, you should be preaching Allah, turn to Islam, we send boys of 10 to war.” One of the assembled Christians recounted: “He was dressed like a terrorist, I though he may have a gun or a bomb or some sort of weapon, I was so frightened.”
It is indicative of how much British non-Muslims have learned to put up with this sort of thing that this incident was reported only in one laconic story in the Derby Telegraph, whereas if a Christian had gone into a mosque anywhere in Britain wearing a bandana that said “Jesus is Lord” and had begun shouting, “This is rubbish, you should be preaching the Gospel, turn to Christ,” it would without the slightest doubt have been national and international news, and the subject of numerous earnest BBC chats featuring media-hyped “moderates” such as Maajid Nawaz, Mehdi Hasan, and Mohammed Ansar, all sounding (in harmony) notes of wounded victimhood.
The incident would be taken as an indication of Britain’s deep-seated “Islamophobia,” and dire need to lay in yet more legal insulation against that vile crime. But Mojamed Dar’s little exercise in dawah (Islamic proselytizing)? That’s just life in Britain today.
I’ve defended and supported Sarah Palin in the past, but she has jumped the shark this time with her comments to the National Rifle Association on Saturday. Palin told the group (at the 7:16 mark in the video) that we need to put the “fear of God” in our enemies, adding:
Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.
Palin doubled down on the comments in an interview with NBC News:
Would I make it again? Why wouldn’t I, yeah, absolutely. Terrorists who want to annihilate Americans, innocent Americans, our children – whatever it takes to stop them. If I were in charge, I’d be stoppin’ em.
Aside from the fact that Palin, a professing Christian, describes a sacred sacrament in the context of a practice that many consider to be torture, there is the fact that in many Muslim countries identifying with Christ in baptism can actually have deadly consequences and flippantly inserting baptism into a joke about terrorists is in poor taste.
For example, in May 2010, an Afghan TV channel broadcast footage showing alleged converts to Christianity, including scenes of baptisms. This was followed by Afghan MP Abdul Sattar Khawasi’s call in the Afghan parliament for those featured in the footage to be executed. A crackdown against Christians ensued, and around 25 converts were arrested after a group of Kabul University students shouted death threats and demanded the expulsion of foreigners accused of proselytising. There were numerous demonstrations in the wake of the TV broadcast of the baptisms in different cities throughout the country — Herat, Baghlan, Mazar-e Sharif and again in Kabul. This resulted in a Christian cleansing of sorts in Afghanistan, as hundreds of former Muslims who had converted to Christianity fled the county, including hundreds who ended up in New Delhi, India, and now live in a legal limbo, still fearing for their lives. Christianity Today reported last year:
Although the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Refugees has recognized Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs fleeing Afghanistan for India, the Indian government’s refusal to do so means that Afghan Christians cannot seek legal protection from discrimination from other religious groups. Such discrimination often arises from Afghan Muslims who have also sought refuge in India. Many Afghan Christians make a meager living as translators for Afghanis seeking medical care in India, but the language and social challenges continue.
In other words, the Christians who fled to India after their baptisms were shown on TV continue to be persecuted by Muslims in what they thought would be their country of refuge. Examples abound of Christian persecution in Muslim countries and the public act of baptism is one of the main ways converts are identified and targeted.
I’m not a bit worried about offending terrorists (in fact, I share that sentiment with Sarah Palin), however I do object to Palin’s insensitivity to the brave Christians who are willing to pay with their lives for the privilege of being recognized as Christians through the sacrament of baptism in hostile countries around the world.
I love ya’ Sarah, but this is one you should walk back.
Have you ever been blamed for a murder? Speak out against jihad terror, and you probably will be. It has happened to me three times (so far):
3. Reza Aslan blames me for murder of Muslim woman in California.
Last Thursday in El Cajon, California, an Iraqi Muslim named Kassim Alhimidi was found guilty of murdering his wife, Shaima Alawadi, after she had told him that she wanted a divorce.
Before Alhimidi was arrested, this murder was widely reported as an “Islamophobic hate crime”: a note was found by Alawadi’s body that read, “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” Leftists and Islamic supremacists made a great deal of this, claiming that the murder was the work of an “Islamophobe” who hated Shaima Alawadi for wearing a hijab. They even staged a campaign, “One Million Hijabs for Shaima Alawadi.”
Reza Aslan, the celebrated author of Zealot, bashed out a sub-literate tweet blaming Pamela Geller and me for the murder: “If a 32 year old veiled mother is a terrorist than [sic] so am I you Islamophobic fucks Gellar [sic] Spencer et. [sic] al. Come find me.” When Alhimidi was arrested and it became clear that this was not an “Islamophobic hate crime” at all, I asked Aslan for a retraction and an apology, whereupon he showed yet again what a classy and mature individual he is, tweeting: “You owe me an apology for that beard you sexy walrus.”
In any case, the whole “hate crime” aspect of Shaima Alawadi’s murder was staged to deflect attention from the real murderer. Now that it has been definitively established that the murder was an Islamic honor killing, will the Leftists and Islamic supremacists who made so much of the hate crime now stage “One Million Hijabs Against Honor Killing”? Somehow I doubt it.
The story was overshadowed by Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Hood, but last Monday Fox News revealed that the FBI and the U.S. military had issued an alert for a Muslim former Army recruit who was planning a “Fort Hood-inspired jihad against U.S. soldiers.” This was more than just an eerie foreshadowing of the Wednesday shooting, although the story almost immediately got murky: on Tuesday the FBI responded to the Fox story with more or less a full denial, declaring that there was no manhunt and that the Muslim recruit named in the alert was not a threat. Nonetheless, enough details emerged to reveal some key facts:
5. Conversion to Islam can make a military man into a traitor.
The would-be Fort Hood-style jihadist was John Thomas Booker, a convert to Islam who now goes by the name Muhammad Abdullah Hassan. According to the alert that the FBI and U.S. military distributed, Hassan was,
“recruited by the U.S. Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for basic training on April 7. But he was discharged last week, apparently after law enforcement authorities learned of his alleged plan.”
The alert didn’t make clear whether Booker was already Hassan when he was recruited into the Army, or whether he converted while in the Army, but unless he entered the Army with the intention of subverting it and killing American soldiers, he probably entered the military with at least some patriotic sentiment, all of which he lost as he learned about his new faith.
In this Hassan resembles last month’s military jihadist, Ased Abdur-Raheem, formerly Nicholas Teausant, a member of the Army National Guard who called for respect for the military uniform just three days before he was arrested, and almost a year after he wrote on Instagram,
“don’t get me wrong I despise america and want its down fall but yeah haha. Lol I been a part of the army for two years now and I would love to join Allah’s army but I don’t even know how to start.”
This change may be because Islam calls for loyalty to the umma, the global Islamic community, above all other loyalties, and teaches (in the words of the twentieth-century Pakistani Islamic scholar and politician, Maulana Maududi) that non-Muslims have “absolutely no right to seize the reins of power in any part of God’s earth nor to direct the collective affairs of human beings according to their own misconceived doctrines.” If they do, “the believers would be under an obligation to do their utmost to dislodge them from political power and to make them live in subservience to the Islamic way of life.”
Such words can turn an American soldier into an America-hating jihadist.
As my friend Daniel Pipes wrote some days ago at National Review, the Middle East Forum is debating whether one can speak meaningfully of “moderate Muslims,” with Dr. Pipes defending the affirmative and Raymond Ibrahim the negative thesis. I respect both Pipes and Ibrahim, but I am not satisfied with the content of the debate. The first issue to be settled is what moderation might mean in the case of adherence to a religion, which is after all not a list of positions but an existential stance towards life. One can speak of a moderate Communist (e.g. Gorbachev) or moderate conservatives, but not quite as simply about moderate faith. Below is an essay I published on the subject in Asia Times in 2006 that attempts to set a theological context for the question.
The West in an Afghan mirror
Death everywhere and always is the penalty for apostasy, in Islam and every other faith. It cannot be otherwise, for faith is life and its abandonment is death. Americans should remove the beam from their own eye as they contemplate the gallows in the eye of the Muslims. Philistine hypocrisy pervades Western denunciations of the Afghan courts, which were threatening to hang Christian convert Abdul Rahman until the case was dropped on Monday.
Afghanistan, to be sure, is a tribal society whose encounter with the modern world inevitably will be a train wreck. The trouble is
that the West has apostatized, and is killing itself. There turned out to be hope for Rahman, but there is none for Latvia or Ukraine, and little enough for Germany or Spain. That said, I wish to make clear that I found the persecution of Rahman deplorable.
The practice of killing heretics has nothing to do with what differentiates Islam from Christianity or Judaism. St Thomas Aquinas defended not just the execution of individual heretics but also the mass extermination of heretical populations in the 12th-century Albigensian Crusades. For this he was defended by the Catholic philosopher Michael Novak, author of learned books about the faith of the United States of America’s founding fathers (see Muslim anguish and Western hypocrisy, November 23, 2004).
Western religions today inflict symbolic rather than physical death. One’s local priest does not like to preach such things from his post-modern pulpit, but the Catholic Church prescribes eternal hellfire for those who come into communion with Christ and then reject him. Observant Jews hold a funeral for an apostate child who is spiritually dead to them (retroactive abortions not being permitted).
The last heretic hanged by the Catholic Church was a Spanish schoolteacher accused of Deist (shall we call that “moderate Christian”?) views in Valencia as recently as 1826. Without Napoleon Bonaparte and the humiliation of the Church by the German and Italian nationalist movements, who knows when the killing of heretics would have stopped?
“Where are the moderate Muslims?” sigh the self-appointed Sybils of the Western media. Faith is life. What does it mean to be moderately alive? Find the “moderate Christians” and the “moderate Jews”, and you will have the answer. “Moderate Christians” such as Episcopalian priests or Anglican vicars are becoming redundant as their congregations migrate to red-blooded evangelical denominations or give up religion altogether. “Moderate Jews” are mainly secular and tend to intermarry. There really is no such thing as a “moderate” Christian; there simply are Christians, and soon-to-be-ex-Christians. The secular establishment has awoken with sheer panic to this fact at last. In response we have such diatribes such as Kevin Phillips’ new book American Theocracy, an amalgam of misunderstandings, myths and calumnies about the so-called religious right. 
The tragedy of Abdul Rahman also is the tragedy of Western religion. Islam differs radically from Christianity, in that the Christian god is a lover who demands love in return, whereas the Muslim god is a sovereign who demands the fulfillment of duty. Christian prayer is communion, an act of love incomprehensible to Muslims; Muslim worship is an act of submission, the repetition of a few lines of text to accompany physical expression of self-subjugation to the sovereign. The People of Christ are pilgrims en route to the next world; the People of Allah are soldiers in this one. Contrary to all the ink spilled and trees murdered to produce the tomes of Karen Armstrong and John Esposito, Christianity and Islam call forth different peoples to serve different gods for different reasons.
But the fact that Christianity and Islam educe different peoples for different gods should not obscure that one cannot be either Christian or Muslim without belonging to a People of God in flesh as well as spirit. Christianity demands that the gentile, whose very origin is redolent of death, and whose heathen nature is sinful, undergo a new birth to join God’s people. Whether this second birth occurs at the baptismal font for a Catholic infant or at the river for an evangelical adult is another matter. The Christian’s rebirth is also a vicarious death – the death of the Christian’s heathen nature – through Christ’s sacrifice. No vicarious sacrifice occurs in Islam; the Muslim, on the contrary, sacrifices himself (The blood is the life, Mr Rumsfeld!, October 5, 2005).
Where is the moderation? The Christian either joins the People of God in its pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Heaven, or he does not; the Muslim either is a soldier of the ummah, or he is nothing. Religious conversion is not mere adaptation to another tradition. It is a change of people. If God is “able of these stones to raise children of Abraham” (Matthew 3:9), Christians are the Gentiles made into sons of Abraham by miracle. In Islamic society, the convert to Christianity instantly becomes an alien and an enemy.
God may be able to raise sons of Abraham from stones; that is not necessarily within the power of earthly churches. European Christianity, as I have argued often in the past, made a devil’s bargain with the heathen invaders whom it made into Christians in the thousand years between the fall of Rome and the conversion of the Balts. It permitted them to keep one foot in their national past and another in the Catholic Church, under the umbrella of universal empire. The peoples revolted against church and empire and reverted to their pagan roots, and then fought one another to a bloody standoff in the two great wars of the 20th century.
In parallel to Christianity, but in a different way, Islam made its own compromise with the nations it absorbed. It would defend the pure traditional society of tribal life against the encroachment of the empires that encircled them: first the Byzantines and Persians, then Christian Europe, and now America. Traditional life inevitably must break down in the face of globalization of trade and information, and the ummah closes ranks to delay the time when the descendants of today’s Muslims will look with pity upon ancestral photographs, as they turn momentarily from their video game.
Europe’s Christians could not summon up the “moderation” necessary to tolerate their Jewish neighbors until after 1945, when Europe was conquered and rebuilt by the Americans. Once the ambitions of Europe’s peoples were crushed in the world wars, European Christianity became “moderate” indeed, so moderate that Europeans no longer bother about it. They also do not bother to reproduce, so that the formerly Christian populations of Europe will disappear, starting with the captive nations of the former Soviet Union.
No Christian People of God emerged from Europe. In a century or two, few European peoples will exist in recognizable form. Americans, by contrast, arrived in the New World with the object – at least in the case of the Massachusetts Bay Colony – of becoming a new People of God in a new Promised Land.
In a December essay in First Things titled Our American Babylon, Father Richard John Neuhaus argues that the United States itself is not the Promised Land or the Kingdom of God; it is still another place of exile. In Christian theological terms that is quite true. But the stubborn fact remains that if the English Separatists who founded Massachusetts had not deviated from Christian theology, and set out to become a new chosen people in a new Promised Land, we would not be talking about the United States of America to begin with. Christianity drew the notion of a People of God from the Jews, upon whose trunk it proposes to graft the reborn Gentiles. But the graft did not take except where radical Protestants emulated the Jews, and set out to make a new people in a new land.
Kevin Phillips, author of American Theocracy, warns that America’s religious right is “abetting far-reaching ideological change and eroding the separation of powers between church and state”, giving the Republican Party “a new incarnation as an ecumenical religious party, claiming loyalties from hard-shell Baptists and Mormons, as well as Eastern Rite Catholics and Hasidic Jews”. On the face of it, this is a nonsensical statement, for how can a coalition of Baptists, Mormons, Catholics and Jews oppose separation of church and state, a doctrine promulgated by dissenting Protestants to protect their own religious practice against the persecution of an established church?
The fact that the US boasts roughly 200 major Christian denominations, none of which can aspire to a plurality of members, ensures that no possible theocracy ever could emerge. When Phillips uses the word “theocracy”, he simply means the emergence of a religious vote on such issues beloved of the secular left as homosexual marriage, abortion, or censorship of pornography. But there is nothing theocratic in people of faith forming occasional coalitions to impose what the law calls community standards.
American Christians are migrating en masse to denominations that preach Christ crucified and the saving power of his blood, eschewing the blancmange Christianity of the old mainline sects (‘It’s the culture, stupid’, November 5, 2004). But the United States is unique among the nations, an assembly of individuals called out from among the nations, where Christian identity is compatible with a secular definition of peoplehood. Even in the US Christians find that one cannot be half-pregnant: either one is saved, or one is not.
Islam does not know moderation or extremism: it only knows success or failure. Unlike Christianity, which prevailed only through the improbable project of abandoning its old center to create a new land altogether, Islam cannot exist outside of traditional society, which by definition knows no doubt. Nowhere else but in the United States has personal conscience rather than religious establishment succeeded as the guiding principle of Christianity. “Moderate Islam” is an empty construct; the Islam of the Afghan courts is the religion with which the West must contend.
1. American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century by Kevin Phillips. Viking, US$26.95, 462 pages.
“War is deceit,” said Muhammad, and Ased Abdur-Raheem, the would-be jihad terrorist about whom I wrote last week, took his words to heart. Formerly (and currently in the mainstream media, ever anxious to protect the image of Islam) known as Nicholas Teausant, Abdur-Raheem, 20, was a member of the Army National Guard who called for respect for the military uniform just three days before he was arrested. This was almost a year after he wrote on Instagram:
don’t get me wrong I despise america and want its down fall but yeah haha. Lol I been a part of the army for two years now and I would love to join Allah’s army but I don’t even know how to start.
But he wasn’t always so deceitful. Last January, Abdur-Raheem kept a blog for twenty days, consisting of all of six posts, entitled “Just a Muslim Man Looking for answers in a Lost world.” It is refreshingly honest and direct, containing a wealth of information that the earnest young convert wanted you to know about Islam. Some of the highlights:
5. “Allah sent His Messenger with guidance and the true religion so that it might prevail over all other religions…”
This is from a Muslim denunciation of Valentine’s Day that has widely circulated on the Internet for several years, and was the last entry Abdur-Raheem posted on his blog. It is a reflection of Qur’anic teaching: “It is Allah who sent his messenger with guidance and a true religion that will prevail over all other religions, even though the pagans may dislike it” (9:33).
The Islam that young Nicholas Teausant embraced was frankly and openly supremacist, with no interest whatsoever in the “peaceful coexistence” and “pluralism” of the multiculturalist West. That Western intelligentsia, however, has taken little notice of the existence of this Islam, generally condemning such concerns as “Islamophobia,” and basing numerous domestic and foreign policies on the proposition that all Muslims in Western countries are secular-minded, benign pluralists. Meanwhile, this Valentine’s Day condemnation keeps circulating among English-speaking Muslims, year after year. Those Muslims can read the Qur’an, too.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in September of 2013 as “5 Falsehoods in Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months… Click here to see the top 25 so far and to advocate for your favorites in the comments.
Reza Aslan’s notorious interview with Lauren Green on Fox News has made him the toast of the liberal media, and his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth a massive bestseller. There’s just one problem: the book is lousy. It’s full of all of the empty portent of a bad B-movie screenplay (think Ben Hur as directed by Ed Wood), decades-old (and often discredited) scholarship breathlessly presented as brand-new discovery, and outright falsehoods foisted onto the unsuspecting reader, as Aslan manipulates facts to usher the reader to his predetermined conclusion.
Aslan arrogantly waved his credentials in Green’s face, and the media has eagerly taken up this particular cudgel for him: how dare Green question the prodigious scholar, the multi-degreed eminence, the dispassionate Muslim teller of truths about Christianity that are unpalatable to the racist, bigoted, Bible-thumping Islamophobes on Fox?
Matthew J. Franck, writing in First Things, noted that Aslan actually lied about his credentials to Green: he told her, “I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions. … I am a professor of religions, including the New Testament–that’s what I do for a living, actually. … To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions.” But he is not actually a Ph.D. in the “history of religions” at all; in reality, his Ph.D. is in sociology, and his dissertation was not on the New Testament at all, but on “Global Jihadism: a transnational social movement.”
Less often noted, however, is an even greater problem with Aslan’s obsessive citing of his credentials: degrees, particularly in this era of the politically correct stranglehold on academia, are no guarantee of knowledge, wisdom, or truth. Even if everything he had said to Green about his degrees had been true, it would confer on his book no presumption of accuracy or truth. There are plenty of fools with degrees, and plenty of geniuses without them. Aslan, from the looks of Zealot, is among the former – or at least he is hoping that his readers are. Here are five of this master scholar’s most egregious false statements:
1. Aslan refers numerous times throughout his book to Jesus living in “first-century Palestine.”
He has defended this usage in interviews by claiming that that was the Roman name for the area during Jesus’ time. But in fact, Jesus lived not in first-century Palestine, but in first-century Judea, a place that no one called “Palestine.” The Romans renamed it “Palestine” after emptying the area of Jews after the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 A.D. Aslan’s usage is an anachronism, and given his venomous opposition to the state of Israel, perhaps a politically motivated one at that.
NBC Los Angeles reported Tuesday that “a California college student and National Guard enlistee was captured Monday after an FBI investigation revealed a foiled plot to attack the Los Angeles subway system and plans to help al-Qaida.”
What could possibly have transformed a National Guard enlistee into someone who plotted a mass murder attack in the Los Angeles subway system on New Year’s Eve? What could have changed in Nicholas Michael Teausant’s mind and heart to make him want to dedicate his life not to defending Americans, but to killing them?
The answer is simple: Islam. Nicholas Michael Teusant now prefers to be called Ased Abdur-Raheem, although that name did not appear in a single one of the mainstream media reports published about his arrest (I found it on his Facebook page). The universal practice of the mainstream media is to refer to converts to Islam by their Muslim names if they do good things and are revered, beloved figures (think Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), and by their infidel names if they do evil in the name of Islam (think Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, aka Mujaahid Abu Hamza and Ismail ibn Abdullah, the jihad murderers of British soldier Lee Rigby on a London street; John Walker Lindh, the Marin County mujahid, who is now known as Suleyman al-Faris in his prison cell, where he is doing time for joining up with the Taliban in Afghanistan, etc.).
This is a real question.
Can a man marry a jinni female?
On Islam Shari`ah ResearchersAnswer
Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother, thank you for your question that shows your interest in Islam.The question of whether a human may marry a jinni is a controversial one. There is no evidence from the Shari`ah that can be said to be authentic in that regard.
The majority of jurists are of the opinion that such a marriage is not lawful, but some jurists consider it to be lawful. The first opinion is the more correct to follow.
Allah Almighty says: ”And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.“ (Ar-Rum 30: 21)
He Almighty also says, ”O people! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same (kind) and spread from these two, many men and women; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, by Whom you demand one of another (your rights), and (to) the ties of relationship; surely Allah ever watches over you.“ (An-Nisaa’ 4: 1)
Yadda yadda yadda…
Anyway, the more correct opinion to follow in this regard is that it is not lawful for a human being to marry a jinni, for they are of different worlds.
In Al-Ashbah wa An-Nadha’r, Imam As-Suyuti, an eminent Shafi`i scholar, wrote: ”Answering the question ‘is it lawful for a human being to marry a jinni?’ Imad Ibn Yunus said, ‘Yes.’”
This question was also one of those that Sheikh Jamal Ad-Din Al-Esnawi posed to the supreme judge Sharaf Ad-Din Al-Barazi.
Sheikh Jamal asked the supreme judge “Is it lawful for a man to marry a female jinn? Contemplating Allah’s Words ”And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves ….“ (Ar-Rum 30: 21) I find that from among yourselves refers to that one’s mate or spouse is to be from the same kind as one, and this is a blessing from Almighty Allah. But if we supposed that this might be lawful, as Ibn Unus said in Sharh Al-Wajeiz, would the man in this case have the right to oblige his jinn wife to stick to home or not? Suppose also that he would dislike to see her in a form other than the human one; would he have the right to prevent her from incarnating in other forms?
Also, would the conditions required in a valid marriage contract be required in this case, also? For instance, would the jinn’s guardian’s approval be required? Would their marriage be acceptable according to the jinn laws? Suppose that once, he did not recognize her, for she was incarnating in a form different from that he usually sees her in, but she told him it was she. Would he believe her and thus could he make love to her? Would he also be required to provide her with food that the jinn eat, such as bones and the like?”
The supreme judge Sharaf Ad-Din Al-Barazi answered:
It is not lawful that members of human kind marry members of jinn kind. This is inferred from the following verses: “And Allah has made wives for you from among yourselves ….” (An-Nahl 16: 72) and “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves ….” (Ar-Rum 30: 21)
The exegetes say about these verses that the words from among yourselves in both verses refer to human kind; they may be paraphrased from your own kind or from your own nature.
These verses are analogous to the verse “Now hath come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves….” (At-Tawbah 9: 128), for from amongst yourselves here refers also to human kind.
Besides, Allah Almighty refers in His Book to the women who are lawful for men to marry: “O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts ….” (Al-Ahzab 33: 50) [What was applied to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) according to this verse is also applied to Muslim men in general.] Mind that it is juristically known that this verse also indicates that single women who are not related to one may also be marriageable to one.
Allah Almighty also refers in His Book to the women who are prohibited in marriage to one. Notice all this is about marriage to women of human nature. This is because there is no marriage between human beings and jinn. (The words of Sharaf Ad-Din Al-Barazi end here.)
Yadda yadda yadda… He’s being extremely thorough, isn’t he?
By analogy, we also find that it is prohibited to cross donkeys and horses, for this results in a hybrid different from horses, and this may, in turn, lead to the rarity of horses. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) commented on those who do so by saying, “Those who do so are ignorant.” If so is the case with animals, it is with greater reason that it also be the case with marriage between humans and jinnis.
However, Abu `Uthman Sa`id ibn Al-`Abass Ar-Razi said in his book Al-Ilham wa Al-Waswasah that it was reported that some Yemeni people wrote to Imam Malik: “A male jinni has come to us and proposed to marry a young (human) woman saying, ‘I seek to stick to the right path by this proposal.’” Imam Malik answered, “I see that there is nothing wrong in doing so, but I dislike to expose this woman to a situation where she might be asked about her husband and she would answer, ‘It is a male jinni.’ This may lead to corruption among Muslims.”
In his book Akam Al-Murjan, Ash-Shabli, a Hanifi scholar, stated: Scholars are of two opinions regarding marriage between humans and jinn. One says it is unlawful and the other says it is lawful. The first view was adopted by a group of Hanbali scholars and was also reported in As-Seraji Fatwas. They cited as evidence in this respect Almighty Allah’s words ”And Allah has made wives for you from among yourselves….” (An-Nahl 16 72) and “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect“ (Ar-Rum 30: 21) They also cited as evidence in this regard a hadith to the effect that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prohibited marriage to jinns. The second point of view in this regard was reported to have been adopted by Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah, and others.
There is, however, one exemption.
I just returned from Australia, where I was speaking at a conference sponsored by Australia’s superlative human rights group, the Q Society, along with Stop Islamisation of Nations (of which I am a board member). Also on the trip were Pamela Geller (SION’s president), Ashraf Ramelah of Voice of the Copts, Nonie Darwish of Former Muslims United, the Israeli scholar Mordechai Kedar, and numerous Australian human rights activists.
Australia is a beautiful country full of marvelously friendly people, as I saw both on this trip and on my speaking tour of six Australian cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, and Cairns) in late 2011. If you’ve never gone, book your trip now – and watch out for a few of the things I saw there…
Books photographed on the awesome sumo gigantor beanbag…
So when I asked today’s PJ Lifestyle daily question about the best way to read, it was wholly with practical intent. I don’t read one book at a time; I’m always aways into dozens. It’s because my goal for many years now as a writer and editor has been to smash together ideas and thinkers to try to develop new approaches that transcend the stereotypes of Left vs Right, Believer vs Secularist, Liberal vs Conservative.
Here are six very different authors who I focused on last year and will continue dissecting this year to try to find fresh connections. The books of each of them will shock you in totally different ways. I recommend reading them alongside one another.
1. Counterculture intellectual and sci fi novelist Robert Anton Wilson
Page 7 of the introduction to the play Wilhelm Reich in Hell:
Page 221 of Volume 2 of Schrodinger’s Cat: The Trick Top Hat
2. Counter-jihad activist and religious scholar Robert Spencer
Page 139 of Islam Unveiled:
Page 63 of Did Muhammad Exist?:
3. Former Soviet Spymaster and Hero Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa
Page 207 of Pacepa’s memoir Red Horizons:
4. The #1 Conservative Columnist and Most Provocative Cable News Pundit Ann Coulter
Edward Hoffman’s The Wisdom of Maimonides page 46 juxtaposed with the cover of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton:
Page 56 of High Crimes and Misdemeanors:
5. Foundational Thinker of Western Civilization and Jewish Philosopher Maimonides
Page 35 of Hoffman’s The Wisdom of Maimonides:
6. Cultural Critic and Literary Theorist Camille Paglia
Page 66 of Sex, Art, and American Culture, an essay collection from the early ’90s:
Page xiv from the introduction to Break Blow Burn, Paglia’s analysis of 43 significant poems from Western Civilization:
What connections do you see between these various excerpts featured today? And what other authors and books that you like should I add to my studies?
As a Christian and a fan of Hollywood’s past biblical epics, I got excited upon viewing the first trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. The story of Noah and his ark has resonated through every culture of man, yet has never been the subject of a major Hollywood motion picture.
Alongside my enthusiasm, skepticism lurked. Modern Hollywood producing a biblical epic adhering to the written narrative and theological themes seemed unlikely given a culture increasingly opposed to the source material. That doubt grew with last month’s report that a disclaimer would be attached to the film’s marketing explaining that “artistic license has been taken.”
Any adaptation requires artistic license. Certainly, narratives were added to Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments which fleshed out the characters and layered the world in which Moses lived. Adding Anne Baxter’s Nefretiri to spice things up between Moses and Rameses is one thing. But you don’t add or subtract commandments from the ten. In the case of Noah, the disclaimer added by Paramount addressed criticism from Christian groups who claim that the film deviates substantively from the biblical narrative.
A clue to Aronofsky’s approach emerged alongside reports that actress Emma Watson had become sick during production after the director banned bottled water from their location. Watson told Wonderland magazine that the ban comported with the “pro-environmental message” of the film. The Telegraph recalled that Aronofsky called Noah “the first environmentalist” in a 2011 interview.
Now we have begun to see clips from the film. The one above revealed Aronofsky’s revised reason for Noah to build an ark. “Our family has been chosen for a great task, to save the innocent… the animals,” Noah tells his family.
When one of his sons asks what makes the animals innocent, Noah’s daughter beats him to the punch: “Because they still live as they did in the Garden [of Eden].”
From this we may infer that God regards animals as morally superior to human beings. In the clip, Noah adds, “I guess we get to start over too,” as if the involvement of his family were an afterthought secondary to God’s purpose.
The Bible tells a different story. All creation shares the curse of sin, including animals. The flood surged as judgment against that sin, and Noah’s family was preserved in fulfillment of God’s covenant to provide salvation for mankind.
By turning the story of Noah into an environmental tale, Aronofsky has missed the point. Beyond artistic license, he seems to have defiled the story’s essence. Imagine a film about the terrorist attacks of 9/11 which portrayed the hijackers as Hindu, and you understand the difference between artistic license and fraud. If Aronofsky’s Noah ends up as divergent as the above clip, it will trivialize something sacred, the treasured relationship between God and mankind.
Siskel and Ebert they ain’t, but Islamic scholars, supremacists, jihadists and pressure groups have made their views known, often in quite colorful ways, about numerous motion pictures that you may want to catch. So grab some popcorn and some old tomatoes: it’s movie time down at the mosque!
5. Thumbs down: Noah
Russell Crowe’s lavish Biblical epic Noah is about to be released in the Middle East, and Muslim scholars are enraged. It has been banned in Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Cairo’s Al-Azhar, which Barack Obama has praised as “a beacon of Islamic learning,” issued a statement denouncing the film as un-Islamic and calling for it to be banned. Some Muslim scholars in Egypt have even called for the destruction of any theater that dared to show the film.
The film has aroused such fury because, as Al-Azhar explained, depicting a prophet of Islam (as Noah is; his story is told and retold in the Qur’an, and he gives his name to the Muslim holy book’s 71st sura) “contradicts the stature of prophets and messengers … and antagonises the faithful.” Mahmoud Mehanna, a member of Al-Azhar’s Senior Scholars, added that “prophets, their voices, and even their shadows cannot be depicted,” helpfully explaining that “prophets are holy people.”
This is, of course, why we have not seen Muslims make laudatory films about Muhammad, even for proselytizing purposes: the story of a prophet who cannot be shown, even in shadow, and whose voice cannot be heard makes for a dramatic vacancy the size of a movie directed by Peter Jackson (the perpetrator of the interminably turgid Lord of the Rings series). Those who dare transgress against these strictures and depict a prophet face the prospect of being declared a blasphemer, which could mean demonstrations, riots, death fatwas, and worse.
This is true of Russell Crowe, even though his film depicts a lesser prophet. He may have started out trying to be the next Charlton Heston, and could wind up instead being the next Salman Rushdie.
Good and evil do exist, just not in the realm of political conversation — in America, that is.
Thursday, Crimean parliament member Refat Chubarov posted his outrage over the vote of 78 out of 100 of his fellow parliamentarians to secede from Ukraine and reunify with Russia. Even the failures of Google Translate can’t bungle the shocking truth out of his statement:
Those of my colleagues – Deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of the ARC who voted just crazy!
clear that they do the will of others …
Mind left them!
Only an expert intelligence agent, like Vladimir Putin, could have staged such a successful political takeover. First, he sends in armed, masked gunmen, then follows them with Russian troops who supposedly arrive to save the day. As a result, “Crimean lawmakers unseated the provincial government Feb. 28 under the eye of armed Russian soldiers and appointed pro-Russian politician Sergei Aksyonov, whose party got four percent of the vote at the last election in 2010, prime minister.”
True to his KGB roots, Putin’s disinformation campaign is well underfoot on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to Kremlin-backed Russian news media. Too bad for the dictator, not all of his subjects are loyal. In a bold move that took the Internet by storm, Russia Today news anchor Liz Wahl submitted her resignation from the state-controlled news show live on air, stating: ”I am proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth and that is why after this newscast I’m resigning.”
The best the American president can do, however, is paint a picture of moral equivalency while calling on the UN to mediate Putin’s illegal land grab. In a statement that included an acknowledgement of Russia retaining its “basing rights in Crimea,” President Obama placed the new Ukranian government on the same level as Putin’s Russia, urging, “Let international monitors into all of Ukraine, including Crimea, to ensure the rights of all Ukrainians are being respected, including ethnic Russians.”
Mega spoiler alert regarding the new Liam Neeson flick Non-Stop via Breitbart. Stop reading now if you’d like to be surprised when you go to the theater to see Lady Mary on the big screen.
The hero of the movie about a plane being hijacked is an observant Muslim.
Wait, it gets better.
The terrorist is a 9/11 family member. Yes, you read that right; the terrorist is a 9/11 family-member who lost a loved-one in the World Trade Center on that terrible September morning.
It gets worse…
After 9/11, this 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist then joined the military but found himself disillusioned by the pointless wars.
The 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist is upset because America hasn’t done enough to ensure there will never be another 9/11. And so he figures that if he can get an air marshal blamed for a terrorist attack, America will wake up and anally probe us before we’re allowed on a plane, or something.
It gets worse…
The villain’s sidekick is a member of the American military willing to murder 150 innocent people for a payday.
It gets worse…
The one passenger on the plane who is forever helpful, kind, reasonable, noble, and never under suspicion is a Muslim doctor dressed in traditional Muslim garb including a full beard.
Screw you, Hollywood.
Wikipedia’s summary of the film had a kinder, gentler, more bureaucratic approach to the biased plotline:
…as soldiers who were appalled by the lack of security at U.S. airports before 9/11, they hoped that framing [Neeson] as a terrorist will lead to drastically increased security.
Great. A propaganda film that uses the American military to advocate for the increased empowerment of the TSA. What next? A film featuring American soldiers deployed on the edge of the communist world spending their precious time dressing up in drag, defending gay rights on base? (Cue musical number Springtime for Obama.)
As bizarre as it may seem, the plotline of Non Stop shouldn’t come as a surprise. Liam Neeson, the film’s star, has been contemplating converting to Islam since filming Taken 2 in Istanbul in 2012:
Movie star Liam Neeson has admitted he’s afraid to convert to Islam because of how locals in his home town would take it.
The Northern Irish actor thinks Islam “is the answer” after experiencing the Muslim call to prayer while filming Taken 2 in Istanbul.
But the 61-year-old doesn’t want to go all the way because people in Ballymena, Co Antrim, may be annoyed with his decision.
…“It wouldn’t go down very well in Ballymena.
“They would say to me, ‘You’re a Muslim? Are you a Catholic Muslim or a Protestant Muslim?’ ”
Perhaps he’ll be able to answer that question in Non Stop 2. Having edged out Son of God for top rating at the box office this weekend, it doesn’t look like the blatantly anti-American tone will disappear anytime soon, despite the lackluster ratings. Casting suggestion for the sequel: Katy Perry as the flight attendant demonstrating an appropriate use of a Muslim pendant as a non-blasphemous work-wardrobe accessory. It’d be nice to see her cover up for a change.
Aside from the sources that reported these stories, the mainstream media largely ignored them all — of course.
5. France: Muslims sue satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for blasphemy
An organization calling itself the League of Judicial Defence of Muslims (LDJM) has brought suit against Charlie Hebdo in the city of Strasbourg for its edition headlined: “The Koran is s–t – it doesn’t stop bullets.” They picked Strasbourg because, uniquely in the secular republic, it has a blasphemy law – a hangover of its periods of German rule.
This is not the first time Charlie Hebdo has offended Islamic-supremacist sensibilities. The International Business Times (which scrupulously avoids causing offense to the poor dears itself by punctiliously referring to Muhammad as “the Prophet,” although I doubt it would ever refer to “the Lord Jesus Christ”) reported:
In November 2011, the paper’s office in Paris was fire-bombed and its website hacked. The attacks were linked to its decision to rename a special edition “Charia Hebdo” (Sharia Hebdo) with the Prophet Mohammed listed as editor-in-chief. The magazine was attacked by hackers again in September 2012, after it published cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Mohammed.
The name of the group bringing the suit, however, is a misnomer. For in fact, no Muslims were actually harmed by Charlie Hebdo, and no Muslims need any defense from it. No Muslims were physically injured by its Qur’an edition or other issues mocking Islam and Muhammad; no Muslims lost their jobs; no Muslims were discriminated against or harassed. Some Muslims may be offended by the magazine’s poking fun at the Qur’an and Muhammad, but that is the price of living in a pluralistic society: everyone has to put up with people who have values and priorities that differ from one’s own.
Ideally, this can be done in peace, and without one group attempting to assert hegemony over the others. But that is exactly what the League of Judicial Defence of Muslims is trying to do: impose Sharia blasphemy laws upon the rest of France.
As couples the world over celebrated Valentine’s Day last week, many no doubt recalled the great Muslim love stories: Romeo and Juliet and Fatima and Dalia and Naima; A Midsummer Night’s Stoning; the movies Veiled Woman and When Harry Beat Sally – so many.
Right-thinking people today would find such quips “Islamophobic” and distasteful; far more distasteful, however, is the grim reality they represent. When Valentine’s Day rolled around last week, Muslim leaders rose to oppose it with a fervor they have seldom mustered against the jihad terrorists who have supposedly twisted and hijacked their peaceful religion.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department thundered that “social ceremonies such as this are a stepping-stone towards greater social ills such as fraud, mental disorder caused by alcohol, abortion and baby-dumping, and other negative ills that can invite disaster and moral decay among youths.” The Indonesian Ulema Council declared that “celebrating Valentine’s Day is against Islam.” Saudi Arabia’s feared Islamic religious police banned Valentine’s Day and hunted for people toting suspicious roses and candy boxes. A Saudi cleric who has said that “devotion to jihad for the sake of Allah, and the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls, and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah and in defense of His religion, is, undoubtedly, an honor for the believer” dubbed Valentine’s Day “immoral.”
In Uzbekistan, Muslim clerics preached against Valentine’s Day in their Friday sermons. In Kashmir, Mohammed Akram Wani, a student at Srinagar’s Institute of Arabic and Islamic studies, declared: “The event is anti-Islamic and Muslims are not allowed to celebrate the day because in Islam the day has no importance.” And at Pakistan’s Peshawar University, devout Muslim students decided to celebrate February 14 as Haya (Modesty) Day, which consisted of stoning students who were celebrating Valentine’s Day, firing on police who intervened, and setting several rooms of their hostel on fire.
This hostility to Valentine’s Day, some Muslims explain, is because celebrating it is bid’a – innovation, an unacceptable concept in a religion that Allah has “perfected” (cf. Qur’an 5:3), and because it has roots in Christianity and has become an excuse for drunkenness and promiscuity. But there is a deeper reason as well: Islam is hostile to romance. “Asking a Moslem about his women,” the heroic journalist Oriana Fallaci wrote back in 1964, “is like asking him about a secret vice.” The condition of those women, and the state of Islamic romance, has hardly improved since then.
A few of the principal ways in which Islam is a romance-killer:
Controversial Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been described as the savior of the Islamic world and as a new Ottoman sultan. But likening him to the wizard Saruman from The Lord of the Rings is novel—as was done earlier this week by a leader in the Turkish opposition party:
“[Turkey has become] a country where headlines and program flows can change with one phone call as if it were Middle-Earth in Lord of the Rings. The [person] who does it is like a Saruman the White who has lost all sense of shame,” Republican People’s Party’s [CHP] deputy Emine Ülker Tarhan said in a written statement on Feb. 10.
Since my two main areas of expertise are the Middle East and Middle-earth, I shall thus follow Ms. Tarhan’s example and complete the slate of leadership analogies between Tolkien’s cast of characters, both evil and good, and that of our own clash of civilizations. The template will utilize The Lord of the Rings movies rather than the books, and not the newer Hobbit ones, for two reasons: 1) more people are probably familiar with the movies than Tolkien’s books; and 2) LotR lends itself more easily to a vast, geopolitical struggle with apocalyptic consequences than does The Hobbit.
Let’s start with the bad guys, and Turkey’s leader as Saruman. This is actually quite accurate, since the original White Wizard was a good guy gone bad—much as Turkey is slowly transmogrifying from a NATO member and secular, Western ally into a neo-Ottoman power dedicated to reviving political Islam in its old domains. (Just keep in mind that the real Saruman would have used a palantir, not a phone, to issue threats.) Gandalf’s former boss, however, only ever reached the status of an evil epigone; far more potent was the ancient enemy Sauron, a political and religious tyrant who demanded that all denizens of Middle-earth submit to his rule for their own good. The only possible Middle East analog of such a powerful figure would be the founder of Islam himself, Muhammad.