Saturday, November 21, 2015

Is Islam Violent?

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently claimed that "Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” Secretary of State John Kerry recently assured us that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam.

Over and over we're told that Islam is a religion of peace. Well, the religion of peace is racking up quite a body count lately, not just the 3000 victims of the 9/11 attack, not just the more recent 600 plus victims of the Ankara, Beirut, and Russian airliner bombings, the 130 victims of the Paris slaughter, and the 30 or so victims of the Mali hotel attack, but uncountable lesser crimes throughout the world all done in the name of Islam.

To say that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism is like saying Christendom had nothing to do with the Inquisition. As Jonah Goldberg puts it:
The jihadists say they are motivated by Islam. They shout “Allahu akbar!” whenever they kill people. “Moderate Muslims” in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have been funding Islamic radicals around the world for nearly a century. This morning in Mali, terrorist gunmen reportedly released those hostages who could quote the Koran. The leader of ISIS has a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies and openly talks about restoring the Caliphate.

Oh, one other thing: The Islamic State is called the Islamic State. I used to eat at a restaurant called “Burrito Brothers.” Saying the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam is like telling someone eating a burrito they bought at Burrito Brothers that Burrito Brothers has “nothing whatsoever” to do with burritos.
It is inexplicable that so many of our politicians and opinion-molders seem unable to grasp this. If Republicans had rung up as many casualties as Muslim terrorists have you can bet there'd be no reticence about drawing the connection between Republican thinking and murderous barbarism. Indeed, some who can't bring themselves to put the words terrorist and Muslim together in the same sentence had no trouble putting the words Tea-party and terrorist together just a few years ago.

But set all that aside. The test of whether people are true Muslims or Christians is how closely their behavior, either theoretical or actual, comports to that of the founder of their religion - the one whose example and teaching they aspire to emulate.

When this test is applied to Islam it turns out, unfortunately, that the ISIS savages who enslave and behead are far more like their founder than are those Muslims who simply want to live in peace.

Mohammad himself practiced slavery, he condoned it for Muslims, and encouraged his followers to have sex with their female slaves. Yet all of these the world professes to be appalled at when practiced by ISIS.

Mohammad also cut off the heads of those he had taken prisoner. He had 500-900 Qurayza Jews, men and boys, decapitated after the battle of Trench and gave their wives, mothers, and sisters to his soldiers. When ISIS cuts the heads off their enemies they're following the example of the Prophet all Muslims revere and whose life they look to as their example. Indeed, Islamic literature, including the Qu'ran, is replete with passages enjoining Muslims to kill infidels.

This is why, perhaps, significant minorities of Muslims in eleven countries polled by the Pew Foundation condone the horrors that ISIS perpetrates. The numbers of supporters, though small in terms of percentage of the population, are huge in absolute terms. As many as 63 million people in eleven countries actually support ISIS, and that number rises to as many as 287 million if those who aren't sure are factored in. In Israel alone, for example, only 4% of the Muslim population supports ISIS but that translates to 66,000 individuals.

In any case, the claims of Clinton and Kerry that ISIS does not represent Islam and that Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism seem to be instances of burying one's head in the sand to avoid having to face a very unpleasant reality. We can be very grateful that millions of Muslims deplore the atrocities perpetrated by ISIS and other Islamic groups, but in order to do so they have to tacitly distance themselves from the behavior of Mohammad himself.