“The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.” — from the speech by Barack Obama
Is that really what the “Holy Koran” teaches? It’s true, there is a verse in the Qur’an, taken verbatim from an earlier Jewish text, that says “whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind,” etc.
But that verse, verse 5.32, in the Qur’an is followed by another verse, one that Barack Obama carefully or carelessly — it hardly matters which — chose to overlook, and by overlooking, mislead not his Muslim audience (who were no doubt pleased he left out, just as any Muslim apologist for Islam would have left out, the following verse 5.33) but rather, all of the world’s Infidels, which includes 99% of the American people, whose welfare he is supposed to keep foremost in mind, for the right instruction and the protection of the American people is his solemn duty.
We”ve been here before, of course. When Barack Obama quotes 5.32 and leaves out 5.33, he is merely channeling George Bush. For Bush, in his deep respect for the “religion” of Islam, liked to quote the same Qur’anic passage, that is, 5.32. The passage, of course, one of the more appealing ones in the Qur’an, was lifted wholesale from the Jewish text of the Mishnah. Barack Obama might have recognized that, but he didn’t dare — for if he had said it, it would have infuriated Muslims. They don’t want to have the Qur’an’s sources in other, prior monotheisms, revealed, and they don’t even want the elements, such as the djinn, borrowed wholesale from pre-Islamic Arab pagan lore, connected to their original sources. For the Qur’an is for Muslims never to be subjected to the kind of historical analysis that was done for both Judaism and Christianity by the practitioners of what is called the Higher Criticism, beginning with Julius Wellhausen and other German and English Protestant scholars of the mid-to-late 19th century.
What Bush always left out, and what Obama left out today, was the following passage, 5.33, that was added by the composers of the Qur’an and that they did not lift from any Jewish text. This is 5.33:
“The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land” (Qur’an 5:33).
And who do those who take their Islam most feelingly to heart and most thoughtfully to mind think are the people who “make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land”? Why, it’s non-Muslims, it’s the Infidels, the ones who do not submit to Islam but for some strange reason hew to their own non-Muslim beliefs, and their own legal and political institutions and founding documents (such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man in France, and the Constitution of the United States in this country). Those institutions and which founding documents are flatly contradicted by the letter and spirit of the Shari”a, the Holy Law of Islam, and thus those who continue to support them are people who, in the Muslim view, are not acting defensively but offensively. Anyone who resists Islam is making offensive war on Islam, and thus they are those who “make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land” — so that, according to 5.33, that follows the appropriated Jewish text of 5.32, they should be “killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land.”
Here is just one example, this one from the Islamic Republic of Iran, where the charge of “corruption” — as in “spreading corruption in the land” — is fleshed out in a real-life case:
Tehran, 28 Nov. 2005(AKI) – Iranian parliamentarian Kurosh Niknam, a member of Iran’s Zoroastrian religious minority has been summoned to appear before the country’s Revolutionary Tribunal after being accused of spreading false news and showing lack of respect for the authorities. The charges stem from comments Niknam made to protest against derogatory remarks against non-Muslims uttered by a close aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Non-Muslims “cannot be called human beings but are animals who roam the earth and engage in corruption.” said Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati last week at a ceremony in north-eastern Iran to commemorate the ‘martyrs’ of the Revolutionary Guards and the war against Iraq (1980-88).
Nikam described the remarks as “an unprecedented slur against religious minorities.”…
The Zoroastrian community in Iran is estimated to number some 22,000 – half the size of that in existence before the 1979 Islamic revolution.
One more time: Non-Muslims “cannot be called human beings but are animals who roam the earth and engage in corruption.” Who said that? A simpleton, untrained in Islam? Not at all. A full-fledged Ayatollah, that is, a learned Shi”a cleric, with a thorough knowledge of Islam.
Now, getting back to that so-often-unquoted 5.33, wouldn’t it be fair to say that if, in being told about 5.32, we were also told at the same time about the very next verse, 5.33, since that might make a difference in our understanding of 5.32? And don’t you think that George Bush, in quoting 5.32 but not 5.33, clearly misled us, his audience, and perhaps was also misled himself? Perhaps he was never told about 5.33 and didn’t think to ask.
There are two possible explanations for what Bush, and now Obama, have done in their highly selective, and indeed utterly misleading, quotation from the Qur’an. (They have, by the way, stayed well away from the Hadith and the Sira. Perhaps they don’t even know what the Hadith and Sira are. Perhaps they have failed to read even a few dozen of the former. Perhaps they do not know what the Banu Qurayza, and the Khaybar Oasis, and Asma bint Marwan, and Abu Afak, and little Aisha were all about, and the meaning that present-day Muslims give to those important events in the life of the Perfect Man, al-inan al-kamil, Muhammad.
The first explanation, for both Bush and Obama, is that neither is a great or a serious reader. At this point, too, their days are so overfilled with the hectic vacancy of office that they have lost the habit, if they ever had it, of studying for themselves, and so are easily manipulated by those who control what information they see, and what they even consider finding out about. If “everyone knows” or “everyone thinks” a certain way, why then, who is George Bush, and who even is Barack Obama, to seek knowledge elsewhere, to suspect that something might be deeply wrong with what “everyone knows” about the sources of Muslim hostility and aggression, not just toward Americans (the entire focus of Obama’s speech), but against all Infidels, everywhere?
It is hard, after all, to read the opaque, sometimes downright incomprehensible Qur’an. Christoph Luxenberg, Ibn Warraq, and other scholars of the Qur’an and early Islam insist that 20% of the Qur’an cannot be understood by anyone. And it is also difficult, if you are unwilling to put in the time, to quite grasp what the study of the isnad-chain is all about, and how it helps determine the rankings of “authenticity” assigned by the muhaddithin, such as Bukhari and Muslim, to the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Hadith that they winnowed down to a manageable number. And then there are the early Muslim biographies of Muhammad, the Sira, with the first one being composed some 150 years after his death. All of this is unlikely to have been quite understood by Obama, just as it was never quite explained to Bush.
And so both are creatures of, captives of, their advisers, their advisers “on Islam” (that sweetly-smiling confidently-hijabbed Ms. Mogahed, for example), and the others called in for special advice (those “Muslim heads” of “American corporations” referred to today in The Times). And perhaps even John Esposito still has managed to escape being declared a virtual agent of Islam and thus persona non grata for his complete dependence on the vast amounts of Arab money he has been able to attract, originally from a rich Lebanese contractor, and latterly from the same Saudi prince whose check was ostentatiously offered to Mayor Giuliani, and promptly, and correctly, torn up. John Esposito has never met a check he wouldn’t cash.
In Bush’s case, and in Obama’s too, perhaps each was made aware of 5.32 and never bothered to find out if there might be a “context” they should know about. Or perhaps one, or both, knew about 5.33, but also knew that the long-suffering American public would not know about 5.33, but would simply accept the quoting of 5.32 without its indispensable — for meaning — following verse. What reporter, after all, even nearly eight years after the 9/11/2001 attacks, and with thousands of Muslim terrorist attacks carried out, or thwarted, all over the globe against every kind of non-Muslim in every possible setting, knows anything about the Qur’an? What reporter knows anything about Islam, even after the colossal sums — some two trillion dollars — spent in pursuit, in Iraq, of the will-o”-the-wisp goals of “prosperity” and “national unity”? Such goals are not only hopeless of attainment, but from the viewpoint of intelligent long-term policy to protect Infidels everywhere and to weaken the Camp of Islam, are exactly the wrong goals.
I suspect that Bush didn’t really know about 5.33. I suspect that Obama, on the other hand, did. But he is so intent on currying favor with Muslims that he is quite prepared to mislead his own people, the American people, and all the non-Muslims who at present (but perhaps not for much longer) look to America as the strongest Infidel power. They still (but perhaps indeed not for much longer) look to America as the power most willing to stand up against, and to refuse in any way to yield to, those conducting Jihad by many means other than terrorism and qitaal or combat. These include diplomatic campaigns, the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da”wa, and demographic conquest. Perhaps Obama is deeply condescending to the American public, certain that it will not find out, and will not choose to inquire, into what the texts of Qur’an and Hadith and Sira say. And he may be right. After all, have you ever seen, once, in major newspapers or on television ever, a single mention of Asma bint Marwan, Abu Afak, the Khaybar Oasis, the Banu Qurayza, little Aisha? You haven’t? No, I didn’t think you had.
Muslims, by contrast, know all about 5.33 and a great deal more about the “Jihad verses” of the Qur’an. They know, in fact, all about what the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira say about Infidels, for Islam is a faith that was cobbled together in order, precisely, to offer an alternative to the Christians and Jews (and then the Zoroastrians). These were the inhabitants of the first lands conquered by Muslim Arabs. They were to be presented not with an entirely new faith, but with one that seemed a little bit familiar, for it incorporated, though in greatly distorted form, many of the main personages, and stories, of both Judaism and Christianity. Those two prior-in-time monotheisms were not denounced outright as completely false, but rather presented by Muslims as illegitimate because greatly distorted versions of Islam, of the true Message that had been received by Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets.
Among Muslims, many will think to themselves that he, Barack Obama, can be counted on to carefully ignore those passages that provide the essential “context” — the absence of which “context” Muslims are always complaining about. He doesn’t want Muslims to think he cares, or perhaps even that he knows, what immediately follows 5.32. And what’s more he, Barack Obama, doesn’t care if by such selective quotation he furthers the ignorance and the misconception of the people whose understanding of Islam he claims to wish to further, and whose safety is his primary responsibility, and not the self-esteem of Muslims, in Cairo or anywhere else.
Oh, there is so very much that is wrong with this speech, that it will be seen as a defining moment — a moment downwards, so that many in this country, including many dismayed by the impenetrable stupidity of Bush and so many around him, will now feel as if they are abandoned and forlorn, because they put their faith in Barack Obama, and he turned out to be, quite quickly in fact, someone with far less to offer than met the eye. But there will always be those who will still sing his praises, and ask, obliquely, when the subject of the recognition of Barack Obama’s deep deficiencies is raised, in order to deflect such talk, “who you gonna believe — me, or your lying eyes?”
Bush and Obama have a great deal in common. Both appear to be deeply impressed with the notion that something called a “religion” deserves, for that reason alone, immediate respect. Bush thought that “religions” were always and everywhere a Good Thing. Obama may not truly believe that (it’s hard to get a handle on what he truly believes, except in himself and his Personal Journey, or in the Personal Journeys of others, especially if they are akin to his in being, as he liked to call it, “improbable”). But Obama suggests that criticism of Islam is illegitimate, and that those who would, for example, criticize the imposed restrictions on what women wear as using “the pretence of liberalism” to “criticize Islam.” Instead, he should see that the true liberals are those who will not allow Islam to remain immune from the same kinds of criticism that we should all be free to level against any religion, or any ideology, or any Total Belief-System, even one that we make the mistake, faute de mieux, of calling too carelessly a “religion” when it clearly contains a politics and a geopolitics.
I ran across two quotes just today, made by a recent American President. Here they are:
“Islam, itself, is a peaceful religion, and those who adhere to Islam are people that respect the rights of others… we cannot allow… these totalitarians, these Islamic extremists to distort a great religion and define the nature of that religion.”
“There needs to be more understanding between the Muslim world and the Western world. There needs to be a better understanding of the true beliefs of their respective religions.”
Both were made by George W. Bush. But both could easily, in the sentiment they expressed and in their wording, both treacly and untrue, have appeared in the Cairo Declaration of Barack Obama that was delivered on Thursday morning, June 4, 2009. That shows us how far we”ve come: we haven’t come far at all. We haven’t made a step beyond the misunderstanding of Islam, and the messianic sentimentalism, of the Bush Administration.
Obama is better at playing the role, or role-playing, as the Messiah who will bring Peace On Earth. It’s a tall order, but he’s a well-pleased pleaser, and thinks if anyone is up to it, he is.
So we are still colossally squandering men, money, and materiel, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan. And Obama would like Americans to spend still more on those people, Muslims, who have been the recipients of the largest transfer of wealth in human history, and one which came about not through any effort on the part of those Muslim, chiefly Arab, recipients, but purely as the result of an accident of geology.
What does he say the Task of Americans now is, those Americans suffering from economic desarroi that is not temporary but permanent, and that threatens Social Security and Medicare? Oh, our new task, should we choose to accept it — and Obama assumes we will choose to accept it — is to be here to help the world’s Muslims, lest they think we are insufficiently caring and sharing. We are here to supply — can that favorite English phrase of so many Arabs, “Marshall Plan,” be far behind? — still more money, and more money, despite the fact that the rich Arab states have received more than twelve trillion dollars in revenues from the sale of oil and gas since 1973 alone, and now sit collectively on far more than a trillion dollars, while America is the greatest debtor nation on earth. And we will mislead ourselves, or our leaders will do it for us, telling us what Islam stands for, and what the history of Islam, and of Muslim conquest of vast non-Muslim lands and peoples, has meant. Barack Obama does not recognize Islam as a vehicle of Arab imperialism, in which the conquered peoples were, quickly or slowly, forcibly converted — most often to avoid the onerous condition of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity that was the lot of all dhimmis, even if sometimes an unusual Muslim ruler, such as the syncretistic Akbar, might temporarily soften the effects of Muslim rule. Akbar even lifted the payment of the Jizyah, but after Akbar came Aurangzeb with all his ferocity. He has given no thought to how, in Islam, all pre-Islamic and non-Islamic elements that have gone into the making of a people are ignored, belittled, forgotten, or destroyed, as examples of Jahiliyyah, of the Time of Ignorance before Islam arrived.
Bush and Obama are showing themselves to be very much alike. But Bush, as everyone knew, was a dope. What, many would like to know, is Obama’s excuse?