Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses a recent lecture about Christianity and Islam at Stanford, sponsored by the Islamic Society of Stanford University and the Muslim Students Awareness Network:
“Both Muslims and Christians ‘believe in Jesus as the Messiah and accept that he was born of a virgin, that he never sinned,’ he said. ‘There is more in common than there are differences between us.'” “” from this article about a lecture last Saturday by Hisham Mahmoud, a doctoral candidate of Islamic Studies at UCLA, on “Jesus in Islam: The Gospel of Jesus According to Prophet Muhammad”
Perhaps Hisham Mahmoud’s assertion that Christians and Muslims have “more in common” than they have differences is not quite enough to allay our fears, our suspicions, and above all, our knowledge. Certainly, as a kind of gloss on Mahmoud’s homily, one would like to hear from all those Christians who have been on the receiving end of Muslim sharing-and-caring: Copts from Egypt, Maronites from Lebanon, and Indonesian and Pakistani Christians, in addition to ex-Muslims in the West who have become Christians, or if they have not, at least can testify as to what attitudes toward Christians (and other Infidels) are encouraged by the texts of Qur’an, hadith, and sira. It would be fascinating to engage Mr. Mahmoud in live debate which would contain both the testimony of such Christians and that of Christians tortured and imprisoned for their belief in Saudi Arabia, a country whose inhabitants apparently do not share Mr. Mahmoud’s belief that Islam and Christianity “more in common than there are differences between us.” But what do those imams all over Arabia know about Islam, when Mr. Mahmoud knows so much more, and is quick to tell us all about it?
While the naÃ¯ve remain, their numbers are diminishing. Some simply cannot reconcile the evidence of their senses with the taqiyya and tu-quoque offered up by Muslim spokesmen (CAIR may be the most egregious, given the charges made, and proven, against many of its officers, but it is just the tip of the taqiyya iceberg). Of course, it is possible to find, here and there, bits and pieces of Jewish and Christian lore in the Qur’an. That, after all, is what the Qur’an is: an overlay or mixture of passages, usually misunderstood or distorted from their original sources, taken from the Jewish and Christian holy books and mixed with pagan Arab lore from the time of the Jahiliyya — that is, the Ignorance that prevailed before Islam arrived to clear everything up. Of course we all know that Jesus and Moses and a few thousand others were prophets; Islam took over, lock stock and barrel, all sorts of things from the prior monotheisms, appropriated them, and distorted them into an Islamic version. For example, as Mahmoud emphasizes, Jesus was a prophet but not the Son of God, and did not die on the Cross; the perfidious Jews, however, even though they did not kill Jesus, thought they did and boasted about it (see Qur’an 4:157), and besides, they had a different candidate for the Son of God, one “Uzair” or “Ezra” (Qur’an 9:30), although no real Jews have ever made such a claim about Ezra or anyone else.
These orthodox Muslim and Qur’anic versions of Judaism and Christianity are hardly recognizable to either Jews or Christians. Islam is irreconcilably hostile to both, and never more so than in Sura 9, the very last of the Suras to be written. Yet Mahmoud does not seem to have mentioned the curse of Allah on Jews and Christians (9:30 again) or other inconvenient matters. Not to worry. Just remember his theme: Christians and Muslims have “more in common than there are differences between us.”
Yet those differences are real. Traditional Islam denounces Christianity as “shirk,” (polytheistic, because of the Trinity and divinity attributed to Christ). It is a belief-system that for 1350 years has been persecuting Christians and other non-Muslims (see The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam by Bat Ye”or). It mandates for them the status of dhimmitude: humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity, in which all the non-Muslim’s rights derived from whatever the Muslims wished to offer, and from nothing else. Dhimmitude was imposed on Christians as it was on Jews, and then, in a different way, first to Zoroastrians and then to Buddhists and Hindus (the latter only because there were too many to kill, and besides, allowing them to live and to finance the Muslim state through their “Jizya” made economic sense).
The numbers of unwary Infidels diminish every day. But there are still many who want to believe that there is nothing wrong with Islam, a religion of “tolerance” and “peace.” Such people come away from talks like Mahmoud’s reassured and hopeful. But less credulous individuals should consult not only the likes of Mahmoud. Let them seek a comment from a Copt or a Maronite, or some other Christian who has been on the receiving end of Islam’s “respect” for Christianity. Someone who knew Bishop John Joseph in Pakistan, or who has seen his church attacked or burned down (in the Balkans, in Pakistan, in Egypt, in Indonesia, in the Sudan, in Nigeria).
Why are talks such as Mahmoud’s so readily given, and eagerly received, in our nation’s universities? One principal reason is that over the past 30 years many posts in universities have been systematically created and funded by Arab interests. Arab money funds individual chairs: the King Abdul Aziz II Chair, the “Guardian of the Two Noble Sanctuaries” Chair, the Edward Said Chair, as well as whole “centers” such as Esposito’s “Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding” and the Georgetown Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. This is all about vast financial resources deployed, carefully and with malice aforethought, by the Saudis, the Kuwaits, the U.A.E. And as any study of MESA (Mesa Nostra) would show, there has been over the past three decades an inexorable takeover or infiltration of many university departments. One thinks of Columbia’s Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures — a situation beyond parody, and beyond belief — made even more horrific by the crude and transparent attempt to limit scrutiny of the MEALAC department only to the anti-Israel antics of some of its faculty, and not to the fact that the main subject, Islam, including the early history of the Qur’an, a history of Jihad-conquest, and a history of dhimmitude or dhimmitude studies, is simply not even mentioned, much less taught, as part of the standard curriculum. The main function of such departments seems to be to misstate or omit the role of Islam, the belief-system that animates and explains so much of the present behavior and past history of those who live in what are now, but were not always, the countries of dar al-Islam.
At no other time have the citizens of an entire civilization been called upon to educate themselves, since those whose duty it is to instruct them are afraid of telling the truth about Islam and indeed are falling all over themselves misinforming us about its nature. This is done out of fear, out of denial, out of stupidity, out of all sorts of motives except that of recognizing, confronting, and articulating an unpalatable truth — one that implies a struggle without an end-point, that will require measures to be undertaken that, in the West, many had not thought appropriate even to contemplate.
And because the apologists for Islam have been honing their skills in taqiyya and kitman, and have such well-financed operations, and are not inhibited by any scruples in their campaign to spread Islam and to remove all barriers to its spread within the Bilad al-kufr, a further requirement of Infidels is not only that they learn about Islam, but that they also familiarize themselves with the repertory of rhetorical and other tricks used by Islamic apologists: what are the passages that keep being quoted, what are the appeals that keep being made to win over or disarm Christian (or Jewish) critics, what are the lines of attack, the lines of defense? For there are a small number of these, endlessly repeated.
Mahmoud retails some of the most common. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Legacy of Jihad, Islam and Dhimmitude, and a host of others will help immunize one against the hordes of Hisham Mahmouds. On the Internet, at www.usc.edu, one can find several different translations side-by-side of the Qur’an. The hadith of Bukhari, Muslim, and others are available at the same site. Non-hagiographical works on Muhammad are also easily obtained, including the recently-reprinted one-volume biography by Sir William Muir ($50 at Kessinger Reprints), or the short biographies by Tor Andrae and Arthur Jeffery. Books by Margoliouth on early Islam, and Schacht on Muslim law, have recently been reprinted. Peroncel-Hugoz, a French journalist, wrote The Raft of Muhammad, which deserves to be read. Though out-of-print it can be obtained online.
Armed with information, you can in turn better inform others. You may influence one, or five, or ten people. Every new addition to the ranks of the informed is important. The civilization they help save may be their own.