Several days ago Robert Spencer posted the photograph of a sign advertising a Muslim propaganda meeting, as part of a college-campus “Islam Awareness Week,” to which someone had helpfully added the annotation “Sura 9:5.” This cryptic addition directed would-be visitors to Qur’an 9:5, the “Verse of the Sword” that commands Muslims thus:
And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
That’s not a verse Muslim propagandists are likely to want to have the attention of non-Muslims drawn to; nor are they likely to want non-Muslims to become aware of other, quite similar verses preaching hate and homicide, such as Sura 9:29:
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, 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.
Or Sura 2:191-192:
…fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you…[2.191] And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.
Or any others among what are often described as the “Jihad verses” in the Qur’an.
That anonymous annotator who scribbled “Sura 9:5” was onto something.
To be effective in countering Muslim propaganda, it will not do only to denounce, without more, an ideology called “Islam” or people called “Muslims.” That simply signifies, to the simple-minded, that the denouncer is “intolerant” and an “Islamophobe.” Always and everywhere, those informed about, and therefore worried about, Islam, should attempt to force the actual Islamic texts, by constant quotation, into our collective consciousness. We must put Muslims on the detailed defensive, so that they are not simply standing up for something called “Islam,” but made to acknowledge, and forced to try to explain, or explain away, the most disturbing passages in the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira. It is much harder for Muslims to justify a specific blood-curdling verse than to defend Islam in general terms.
And it would also be exceedingly useful to have mass-produced mini-posters displaying not just one but several dozen passages of the Qur’an, but also the proper names – say, those of little Aisha (age 9) and Asma bint Marwan and Abu ‘Afak – that might stimulate non-Muslims to look into Muhammad’s morality (the moral issues raised by his 9-year-old child bride, and his evident approval of the murders of those who mocked him in verse) – that need to be made part of a discussion of Muhammad, and that would be far more disturbing for defenders of the faith than such vasty terms as “Islam” and “Muslims.” If the hundreds of thousands, or perhaps by now a few million, of non-Muslims in this country who have educated themselves – not least through this site – about Islam, were to carry with them at all times several dozen of these mini-posters, adhesive paste on their backs, and of a size to be seen when affixed to any announcement of Muslim propagandizing that they run across, whether advertising an Infidels-Welcome Night at the local mosque, or a presentation of Islamic post-colonial victimhood before a university’s left-wing student group, or a soulful more-in-sorrow tale of victimhood before a churchful of interfaith outreach innocents, or AFDI-denouncing signs in subways and on buses, this would certainly make things much more difficult for Muslim propagandists engaged in the task of taqiyya.
In the same way, those few political candidates who have been warning publicly about Islam would be more effective by quoting from, and drawing attention to, the actual wording of Qur’anic texts. Imagine, for example, that instead of saying “I think Islam hates us” without more, Donald Trump had said: “Based on my reading of the Qur’an I don’t think it unreasonable to conclude that Islam inculcates hatred of non-Muslims. Let’s all start by looking at 9:5 and 9:29.” The difference in effect would be considerable. It is certainly not his wonted tone, but he can surely put that tone on for the occasion, playing the sudden scholar of Islam for the greater good. Then, to answer him, Muslim defenders would be stuck to the tar-baby of those impossible-to-explain-away verses from the Qur’an, and forced to discuss them. And the whole galere of their willing media collaborators – The New York Times, The Huffington Post, CNN, NPR, the BBC — would be forced to do the same, in reporting on this guerilla war of counter-posters. “And,” continues this revised edition of Trump (or, of course, of other candidates – Cruz? — who show a willingness to take Islam’s measure), “I’d like to learn more about Muhammad’s marriage to little Aisha, and about what happened to Asma bint Marwan and Abu ‘Afak.” All in a disingenuous spirit of Youth-Wants-To-Know. Once these names are put out there, they can’t be unremembered, their stories cannot be ignored, as defenders of Islam would much prefer. But by then it would be too late. Imagine a world where Muslims are forced to discuss not the abstract “Islam,” but the “Jihad verses” of the Qur’an and the marriage-and-murder record of Muhammmad the Perfect Man, as set out in the Sira and Hadith.
The more general and vague the charges made against Islam, the less effective and more easily challenged they will be; the more specific and textually-based those charges, the harder it will be for Muslims to ignore them. “Islam hates us” can be waved away; a Qur’anic passage, or several dozen, commanding Muslims to “Kill the Unbelievers,” can not. But don’t wait for last week’s scribbler of “Sura 9:5” to reappear; rather, pitch in yourself, follow his lead and expand upon his work with your own supply of pre-printed Post-It-Note lists of passages or personages from Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, ready for affixing to a larger pro-Islam propaganda poster, whenever one crosses your path. For which would you rather encounter at this point in our collective confusion and doubt, on a college campus or a local mosque, accompanied by a Middle Eastern dinner and bake sale — an evening of “Islam Awareness” or what is a very different thing, an evening of Islam Awareness?