Understanding Islam – Part 30 – (Islamophobia)


We all have phobias of sorts.  Some are troubled with heights, others, close quarters, crowds, being on stage, and so on.  Just the other day I read a web published piece entitled, “Was Marco Polo an ‘Islamophobe’? A Study in Continuity, by Raymond Ibrahim (Raymond Ibrahim is associate director of the Middle East Forum, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, and guest lecturer at the National Defense Intelligence College.), Pajamas Media, April 16, 2010, [http://www.meforum.org/2637/marco-polo-islamophobe.]  I then asked myself the question, as I have been writing this continuing series on Understanding Islam, am I an Islamophobe.  Could be.  Now, the question is, if so, does that make me a persecutor of Islam?  Hope not.

Ibrahim noted that, “’Criticisms being made against Islam today were also made centuries ago.’…They cannot all be ‘Islamophobic’ – ‘unfounded fear of and hostility towards Islam.’”

Ibrahim sees a “continuity” in the concerns about Islam since the time of Marco Polo (1254-1324).  Polo did not just criticize Muslims, but at times Christians, and he praised some religious leaders as well.  Ibrahim sites “Brahmins” of India as an example – whom Polo considered – “most honorable.”  There were good Muslim leaders in his day as well, with whom he came into contact.  But as to the “Muslims of Tauris, (modern day Iraq), Polo wrote: According to their doctrine, whatever is stolen or plundered from others of a different faith, is properly taken, and the theft is no crime; whilst those who suffer death or injury by the hands of Christians, are considered as martyrs. If, therefore, they were not prohibited and restrained by the powers who now govern them, they would commit many outrages. These principles are common to all Saracens (p.63from the book – The Travels of Marco Polo, by Manuel Komroff).

Ibrahims notes Polo’s recall of “Muhammad’s numerous raiding expeditions, plundering infidels is quite standard in Islam.”  He refers his readers to the Koran – an entire chapter (Sura #8) dedicated to and named after plunder (Surat al-Anfal).” And he summarizes “According to Polo, a certain “Achmath” (probably “Ahmed”), one of the few Muslims to have had great influence over Kublai Khan, habitually abused the largely non-Muslim subject peoples without the Khan’s knowledge: he put to death anyone he pleased, robbed them of their possessions, and, most notoriously, he and his sons regularly raped and coerced into concubinage countless women. Due to Achmath’s many atrocities, he was eventually assassinated. When the Khan later discovered the extent of Achmath’s crimes, his attention [went] to the doctrines of the Sect of the Saracens [i.e., Islam], which excuse every crime, yea, even murder itself, when committed on such as are not of their religion. And seeing that this doctrine had led the accursed Achmath and his sons to act as they did without any sense of guilt, the Khan was led to entertain the greatest disgust and abomination for it. So he summoned the Saracens and prohibited their doing many things which their religion enjoined (p.173The Travels of Marco Polo).

“Crimes against non-Muslim infidels,” according to our writer, “have a doctrinal base and fall within the legal jurisdiction of jihad and its attendant institutions (e.g., dhimma status): war upon and death for non-subjugated infidels is a Koranic mandate (e.g., 8:39, 9:5, 9:29); the sub-human treatment of infidel slaves, particularly women, or, in the Koran’s language, “what your right hand possesses,” is well codified. Little wonder that Muslims like this Achmath — or today’s terrorists — can act “without any sense of guilt.”

The verses: 8:39 – And fight with them (non-believers) until there is no more persecution, and all religions are for Allah….; 9:5 – …slay the idolaters, wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush….; 9:29 – Fight those who believe not in Allah….until they pay the tax in acknowledgement of superiority and they are in a state of subjection. 

What is there to fear – first, the goal of Islam is the whole world for Allah – so you gotta believe or die, or pay a tax to live (but for how long), and second, the sword (symbolic, except for the too often read stories of beheadings) remains at the throat of idolaters (God – the Trinity followers, among others) wherever we are, and third, there is no end until we all believe in Allah, even if that is not what we believe.  So is our fear, a phobia, unfounded?

I agree too with Ibrahim that it is not the people, not the Muslims as persons, individuals, that are criticized, it is the doctrine of Islam.  The people are intelligent, quite so, yet in many cases they are constrained and prevented from learning of other ideas, other religions, even the foundational religion from the Bible that is the basis for their own Quran (claimed as a corrected version), limited in reading or their ability to hear other views (i.e. due to non-proselytizing restrictions by non-Muslims).  It is a lack of freedom that exists among the Muslim communities that is most objectionable.  They are coerced to follow these diabolic tenants of Islam as written in the Quran.  This book is a manifesto, a call to arms against all that is not as written in the Quran.  That is something to fear.  Fear = Phobia.

When as a Christian the Quran clearly promotes a ‘hatred’ for non-Muslims, Sura 60:4 reads, “…We disbelieve in you and there has arisen enmity and hatred between us and you forever until you believe in Allah alone….”  Should that not stir some concern about our safety and raise doubts, phobias, towards Muslims.  The Quran, the guide to all Islamic activities (religion, law and governance) in itself profiles Muslims to hate Jews and Christians – those from Abraham.  It concerns me – I honestly admit.

Then there is Ibrahim’s final claim, “Here, then, is the problem: If today it is “Islamophobic,” that is, irrational, to claim that Islam advocates war against and subjugation for infidels, permitting the latter to be abused, plundered, and enslaved in the process — what does one make of the fact that, some 700 years ago, the same exact claims were made by our Venetian traveler? Indeed, what does one make of the fact that, centuries before and after Polo, a diverse host of writers — including John of Damascus (d.749) Theophanes the chronicler (d.818), Francis of Assisi (d.1226), Joinville the crusader (d.13th century), and Manuel the Byzantine emperor (d.1425) — all made the same “Islamophobic” observations about Islam? (The latter’s writings, when merely quoted by the pope, caused an uproar in the Muslim world.) This, of course, is to say nothing of the countless Muslim ulema who regularly affirm that Islam teaches war, subjugation, slavery, and plunder vis-a-vis the infidel, tracing it back to the words of the Koran and Muhammad.”

This is an eye-opener.  For me, and should be for you too. 

More from Ibrahim, “In short, the word “Islamophobia” is a ruse — also permitted in Islam under the doctrine of taqiyya — meant to paralyze all discussion concerning Muslim doctrine (see this Blog piece on Tariq Ramadan and Lying – Understanding Islam – Part 28); and it has been successful: the United Nations has already presided over a conference titled “Confronting Islamophobia” and a Council of Europe summit condemned “Islamophobia.” Moreover, the influential Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) regularly lambasts the specter of Islamophobia, calling it the “worst form of terrorism,” and publishing two reports on the phenomenon. Yet, in a classic twist of irony, the opening assertion of the OIC’s first report — “Islamophobia has existed since the time of inception of Islam” — contradicts its entire argument, for it begs the following question: How can something, in this case “unfounded fear of and hostility towards Islam” — to use CAIR’s definition of Islamophobia — be a constant aspect of Islam’s fourteen-hundred year history, and yet still be regarded as “unfounded”?”

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Forgive me for my fears dear Lord.  I do not have any doubts in you.  You are God and capable of doing as you wish.  Allah has claimed that he too can do as he wishes and did so with the virgin birth of Jesus to Mary.  “He has chosen thee (Mary)…above the women of the world” (Sura 3:42), and “Allah gives thee good news…whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary…” (Sura 3:45)  Allah in reply to Mary’s question, “…how can I have a son and man has not yet touched me.?” (Sura 3:47), Allah said, “Allah creates what He pleases.  When He decrees a matter.  He only says to it Be, and it is.” (Sura 3:37 cont’d)  This is not a son of Allah, “If Allah desired to take a son to Himself, He could have chosen those He pleased out of those whom He has created….” (Sura 39:4)  Any reference to the term ‘son of God’ by Quranic standards refers to “honored servants” of Allah (Sura 21:26).  All well and good, but the Triune God, capable as Allah, for a Christian moreseo, he was able to introduce himself to mankind in the form of His Son, born of Mary (a fact Allah is well aware of – or Muhammad), divine and human – Incarnate.  Lord you have provided a means for Salvation, salvation assured, through your Son, your divine presence on earth, for as an eternal Being we may never know your countenance as it is surely as we cannot conceive. We can only know your Son as Begotten by you, Father.  “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) 

Grace and peace to all who are known by the Lord, the Triune God, who has provided for the sins of man and allowed for His wrath to fall on only those who do not believe in Him, as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit that dwells within.  Our freedom is being attacked with the fear of repression for not honoring what Christians feel is not our god.  Allah and the Trinity are not the same.

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