Kathy Shaidle’s comment on this appalling piece is excellent: “I would die before I would repeat those words under any circumstances. And yes, there is a ‘peaceful verse for every violent one.’ However, Muslims use abrogation to decide which verses are more authoritative. The later violent (‘sword’) verses cancel out the earlier, peaceful ones. ‘The odds are that if you are assailed by a radical Islamist in the streets of London or Toronto, it will be with words not bullets.’ You forgot to mention knives. Just ask Lee Rigby. Oh wait… you can’t… Everything I needed to know about Islam, I learned on September 11, 2001. Take your talk of tolerance and understanding to a Muslim majority country and see how you fare.”
Imagine: a publication in the free West counseling submission to murderous thugs in order to save one’s miserable life. Giving in to thuggery has never been a virtue. Give me liberty or give me death, we used to say in the U.S., but probably there is a considerable number of enlightened Leftists here who will be nodding in agreement with Afsun Qureshi’s insulting and menacing piece.
London, England — As a young girl in a downtown Toronto hospital, I stood on my tiptoes, peering at my cancer-ridden uncle lying mutely on the hospital bed. He was asleep — exhausted and wasted from years of waging war with cancer. For some reason, I was left alone with him for a few moments, which turned out to be the moments in which he took his dying breaths. He woke with a jolt and started shrieking in a booming voice that belied his deathly ill state. His eyes were dilated but fixed straight at me while he shouted the lines twice. I ran to my mother, hysterical and shaking. Nurses sprinted to him, adjusting machines and pumping fluids — but within minutes he had died.
In her attempt to comfort me, my mother explained that the words he had uttered to me comprised the shahadah, a testimony to the identity of Allah as the one true God, and Muhammad as his prophet. Muslims are supposed to recite the shahadah if they know they are dying. It signals to God that they are indeed Muslims, the real deal. Still, I was spooked for years.
Yet these words that terrified me saved a number of lives during the 2013 al-Qaeda-linked attack at Kenya’s Westgate Mall. To weed the Muslims out from the infidels, terrorists asked people to recite the shahadah to prove their faith. They asked other things too, like certain key passages of the Koran, the name of Mohammad’s mother, that sort of thing — it was al-Qaeda Question Hour. The wrong answer meant death.
After that, many, myself included, wondered: Should we — Muslim or not — learn the basics of Islam and have a read through the Koran? If one of us ever finds herself in a situation similar to that of Westgate Mall victims, could even a rudimentary knowledge of Islam save us?
Yes, non-Muslims should indeed learn the basic of Islam and read the Qur’an, in order to inform themselves about the ideological underpinnings of the jihad threat — not in order to kowtow to one’s would-be murderer in order to buy a few more years of a wasted, cowardly life.
More broadly, being versed in the Koran might help Muslims to discredit and marginalize the fundamentalists who have warped the words from that holy book.
That would be great: I would love to see a Qur’an-based refutation of the Islamic State’s understanding of Islam. Although everyone in the West assumes that such a thing exists and is easy to find, in reality the only refutations of the Islamic State’s theology from Muslims in the West are exercises in deception, diversion, and dishonesty.
Earlier this month, Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary of the UK, where I live, said there were at least 500 British Muslims training with ISIS in Iraq and Syria — more Muslims, apparently, than there are enlisted in the UK Military. What if these lunatics decide to use their passport to come back to the UK to launch Westgate-style attacks?
For every violent passage in the Koran, there is a peaceful passage — which can be a handy tool when it comes to confronting radicals in the realm of ideas.
Nonsense. As Shaidle noted, the “radicals” know full well according to the Qur’anic (2:106) principle of abrogation as it is understood by mainstream Islamic scholars, the violent Medinan passages take precedence over the less violent Meccan passages. This is an ancient concept in Islam: in his eighth-century biography of Muhammad, Ibn Ishaq explains the contexts of various verses of the Qur’an by saying that Muhammad received revelations about warfare in three stages: first, tolerance; then, defensive warfare; and finally, offensive warfare in order to convert the unbelievers to Islam or make them pay the jizya (see Qur’an 9:29, Sahih Muslim 4294, etc.). Mainstream Qur’an commentaries by Ibn Kathir, Ibn Juzayy, As-Suyuti and others also emphasize that Surat At-Tawba abrogates every peace treaty in the Qur’an.
In the modern age, this idea of stages of development in the Qur’an’s teaching on jihad, culminating in offensive warfare to establish the hegemony of Islamic law, has been affirmed by Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb, Pakistani Islamic scholar and politician Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, the Pakistani Brigadier S. K. Malik (author of The Qur’anic Concept of War), Saudi Chief Justice Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid (in his Jihad in the Qur’an and Sunnah), and others. The “radicals” know all this.
The odds are that if you are assailed by a radical Islamist in the streets of London or Toronto, it will be with words not bullets. For the sake of intellectual self-protection, it is worth getting up to speed on what these fanatics are so fanatical about.
There is much in the Koran about “kafirs” (non-believers) and how Muslims should deal with them. (Spoiler: They shouldn’t always be killed.)
No indeed. The “People of the Book” should be subjugated: “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29).
From my personal experience, a conversation with a Muslim theologue always changes for the better once you show them you have some kind of knowledge of the Koran and Islam.
Odd. In my experience, once I show Muslim spokesmen that I have some kind of knowledge of the Qur’an and Islam, their response is invariably rage, contempt, and furious attacks on my character, parentage, associates, family, and more.
Some might fear that learning a bit of Islam will lead to a Homeland type situation, with folks going all Brody on us. But I doubt that. When I was growing up in Don Mills, Ont., school kids had to learn and recite the Lord’s Prayer, regardless of the fact that the majority of students at my school were Jewish. I don’t recall any of us going on to become Christian soldiers.
But the shahada is different: Muslims understand that saying it publicly in the presence of a male Muslim witness makes you a Muslim. It signifies conversion to Islam. Then if you say, “But I didn’t mean it!,” remember that the penalty for apostasy is death.
In the years since the Iraq War, paramilitary jihadist groups have been growing. They are all competing for the Gold Medal in the Jihadist Games: a big hit on America. UK is the Silver — and let’s hope Canada isn’t the bronze. Until this fight is over, a little knowledge could go a long way.
In other words, a little cowardice, a little submission.