Jihad Watch reader Michael Greenspan, who sent me this link on Twitter, had the perfect analogy to show up exactly how grotesque the lead sentence really is in this National Post interview of Islamic apologist Karen Armstrong: “National Post, Nov. 28, 1963: ‘It’s been a tough week for the Oswald family.'” Like the Toronto and Ottawa police, the National Post, and all of the mainstream media, has imbibed the lesson well: after every jihad attack, Muslims are the victims, and need special reassurances. Of course, there should be no “backlash” against any innocent people and whoever vandalized the mosque should be found and prosecuted, but the murders are worse than the vandalism (no, that is not to justify or excuse the vandalism), and the focus on Muslims as victims when jihadists are murdering non-Muslims is obscene. Who is reassuring non-Muslims about keeping them safe from jihad attacks? Who is calling upon Muslim leaders in Canada or anywhere else to back up their condemnations of jihad terror with real action against it, including programs to teach young Muslims to reject that understanding of Islam?
And to add in an interview with Karen Armstrong, who has likened Muhammad to Gandhi and said that Islam came to spread compassion among the nations of the world, just adds insult to injury.
As I have said before, the mainstream media is a one-party state. Only one point of view is allowed. As soon as you see the headline “Is Islam inherently violent?,” you can be 100% certain that the article will say No, that it is not.
“Is Islam inherently violent? Quest for power — not religion — motivating jihadists, author says,” by Patricia Pearson, National Post, October 24, 2014 (thanks to Michael Greenspan):
It’s been a tough week for Canadian Muslims. After two tragic deaths attributed to homegrown Islamic terrorists – celebrated on Twitter by fellow jihadists – a predictable backlash has emerged. On Friday, for example, a mosque in Cold Lake, Alta., was vandalized, its windows smashed, its front defaced by graffiti calling for members to “go home.” But is Islam inherently more violent than any other religion? In her new book Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, respected historian and author Karen Armstrong explores the roots of bloodthirst and prejudice – and finds it not any holy tradition but in the human quest for power and personal significance. She spoke to Patricia Pearson this week about why we so often get religion wrong.…
Q: Maybe one of the reasons is because there is a lot of illiteracy now around religion.
A: There is, indeed. And also a sort of laziness about looking at some of the other factors contributing to Islamc extremism. There is a malaise among the young, a sense of helplessness and lack of meaning in their lives that is a very serious thing that we have to take into account when we consider this vogue for converting to Islam. Two of the young men who left Birmingham, England, to go and fight in Syria had ordered a book called Islam for Dummies. There’s such a wide range of religious illiteracy involved in this. They’re certainly not inspired by Islamic ideals. They’re making it up on the plane over.
So much is made of the fact that two jihadis from the West, out of well over 1,000 who have gone to the Islamic State from the U.K., Western Europe and North America, ordered Islam for Dummies, as if this proves that the primary motivations of most of those 1,000+ people were not religious. Actually they may have ordered the book for any number of reasons — to find easy ways to explain things that they found difficult to put into words, or to send to their secularized relatives, or to give to Infidels to proselytize. And even if those two who ordered the book were indeed not well versed in Islam, this doesn’t cancel out the fact that many of those Muslims from the West who have gone to the Islamic State have explained and justified their actions by referring to the Qur’an and the example of Muhammad. Armstrong doesn’t make any reference to that, because it doesn’t fit her paradigm.
Q: So where does the idea of Jihad and those heavenly virgins come from?
A: They came from soldiers manning the frontiers of the Islamic empire, who had been away from their families and homes for years. So they developed hugely compensentory day dreams, if you like, about what awaited them in heaven to make up for all the deprivations. It was they that said that Jihad was a central pillar of Islam. This was not the case in places far from the frontier, where Muslims thought of Jihad as a struggle to create a just society, such as giving to the poor.
Arrant nonsense. The promise of Paradise to those who kill and are killed for Allah is in the Qur’an (9:111), as are the heavenly virgins (56:36, etc.). When the Qur’an speaks of jihad, it means warfare. There is an entire chapter of the Qur’an (chapter eight) entitled “The Spoils of War.” It explains how the booty should be divided up after battle. What spoils of war result from the struggle to create a just society? In saying that jihad meant “giving to the poor,” Armstrong is confusing jihad, which a manual of Islamic law certified by al-Azhar specifies is warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers (see Umdat al-Salik O9.8), with zakat, which is…giving to the poor.
Q: Tell me about Wahhabism – the Saudi-based sect of Islam that informs ISIS fighters.
A: The whole exportation of Wahhabism over the last 30 years is a huge problem. In several countries, the young have been brought up on a form of Islam in Saudi-funded schools that gives them a very narrow and restricted view of their own faith and a very limited view of all other faiths. This is entirely uncharacteristic of Islam. Before Wahhabism, which developed in the 18th century, the most popular form of Islam was Sufism, which had a very positive view of other faith traditions. It’s quite common for a Sufi to cry in ecstacy that he’s neither a Muslim nor a Christian nor a Jew because once you’ve glimpsed God these manmade distinctions fall away. And that is very much endorsed in the Koran as well. Indeed, in one passage, it says that religious pluralism is God’s will.
Yes, that’s why Sufis were leaders of the Chechen jihad for centuries, and why Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, prescribes Sufi spiritual exercises for the early Brothers.
That has all been knocked out in Wahhabism, because they call any other form of Islam “apostate.” Also, Wahhabists encouraged people to read the Koran directly, and ignore the centuries of interpretation by learned scholars. Now that sounds great and liberating, but people were then licenced to come up with many wild interpretations. In the past, no one read the Koran on its own; it was enmeshed in a wide swath of complexity that actually held radical interpretations in check. Now that check’s been lifted, and all kinds of freelancers like Bin Laden, who is no more qualified to issue a Fatwa than I am, have free reign to come up with these extraordinary interpretations….
Yes, it’s a “wild interpretation” to think “slay the polytheists wherever you find them” (9:5) means “slay the polytheists wherever you find them.”