Friday, May 30, 2008

Islam and The West-8

Some of the stories in the old Testament defy logic and belief. I will only include three and offer no comments so as not to insult the feelings of believers.

On Abraham

Muslims mention Abraham, along with Mohammed, in their five daily prayers: Oh God, send your blessings on Mohammed and his posterity as you sent your mercy on Abraham and his posterity. The Bible tells a very unflattering story of the father of Ismail and Isaac.

Genesis - 12

10: And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
11: And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
13: Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. 14: And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15: The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.
16: And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
17: And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.
18: And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
19: Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
20: And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

Genesis - 20

1: And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.
2: And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.
3: But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.
4: But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?
5: Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.
6: And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.
7: Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

On David

2 Samuel - 11

2: And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
3: And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
4: And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. 5: And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
6: And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.
7: And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.
8: And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. 9: But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
10: And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?
11: And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing. 12: And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.
13: And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.
14: And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15: And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
16: And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.
17: And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
18: Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;

On Genocide/Ethnic Cleansing

1 Samuel -15

1: Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.
2: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

Numbers - 31

1: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2: Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.
3: And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian.
4: Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war.
5: So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. 6: And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand.
7: And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
8: And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Islam and The West-7

All the following quotes are from Deuteronomy, unless otherwise stated.
1-Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. (12-23)
2- (Also banned) And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase. (14-8)
3- Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk. (14-21)
4-Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof; thou shalt pour it upon the ground as water. (15-23)
This is like the ban in the Koran:
He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits-then is he guiltless…(Surah 2, Al Baqarah, verse 173)
(إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلۡمَيۡتَةَ وَٱلدَّمَ وَلَحۡمَ ٱلۡخِنزِيرِ وَمَآ أُهِلَّ بِهِۦ لِغَيۡرِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ فَمَنِ ٱضۡطُرَّ غَيۡرَ بَاغٍ۬ وَلَا عَادٍ۬ فَلَآ إِثۡمَ عَلَيۡه...)
5- Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. (14-22)
6-If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, (17-2)
7- And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; (17-3)
8- And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: (17-4)
9- Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. (17-5)
10-And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. (17-12)
All the above are more strict than anything in the Koran.
11- And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (19-21)
This is like the Koranic:
…The free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman… (Surah 2, Al Baqarah, verse 178)
(...ٱلۡحُرُّ بِٱلۡحُرِّ وَٱلۡعَبۡدُ بِٱلۡعَبۡدِ وَٱلۡأُنثَىٰ بِٱلۡأُنثَىٰ‌ۚ...)
12- When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. (20-10)
13- And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. (20-11)
14- And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: (20-12)
15- And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: (20-13)
16- But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. (20-14)
17- If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: (21-18)
18- Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; (21-19)
19- And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. (21-20)
20- And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. (21-21)
Again, nothing even close, is to be found in the Koran about a prodigal son.
21- And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: (21-22)
22- But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: (22-20)
23- Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. (22- 21)
24- If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. (22-22)
25- If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; (22-23)
26- Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.(22-24)
27- But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: (22-25)
28- For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. (22-27)
29- When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing. (23-9)
30- When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. (24-1)
31- And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. (24-2)
32- And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; (24-3)
33- Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (24-4)
There is something similar in the Koran and Sharia; a divorced woman can go back to the first husband but only after marrying and divorcing a second man. He is popularly known as Muhallel.
34- Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: (24-14)
35- At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee. (24-15)
According to the Prophet’s tradition, a labourer must be paid before his sweat dries out.
36- When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: (25-11)
37- Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her. (25-12)
38- And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father. She shall be burned with fire. (Leviticus 21:9)
39- And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
"Speak unto Aaron and to his sons and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them: `Whosoever he be of the house of Israel or of the strangers in Israel, who will offer his oblation for all his vows and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering"
ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats.
But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer; for it shall not be acceptable for you. . (Leviticus 22:17-19)
40- And the mixed multitude that was among them fell to lusting. And the children of Israel also wept again and said, "Who shall give us flesh to eat?
We remember the fish which we ate in Egypt freely, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic;
but our soul is dried away. There is nothing at all besides this manna before our eyes."
And the manna was as coriander seed, and the color thereof as the color of bdellium.
And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it in mills or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. (Numbers 11:4-8)

To be continued...

Thought of the Day

The Canadian Foreign Minister, Maxime Bernier, has resigned under pressure after leaving a sensitive government document at the house of a former girlfriend. This is one problem we don't have in the Arab World. Half of our leaders can't do it and the few who can would rather do it to their own people.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Islam and The West-6

- Women in the time of the prophet were treated as property. They were inherited along with the sword, the tent and the horse. Islam gave them unprecedented rights. Recently converted men objected against the so-called inheritance verse, which gave to women and children and parents the right to inherit. Their view was that only fighting men should inherit as they defend their clan and tribe. My understanding of the history of that early period of Islam is that women in Mecca inherited , which explains Khadijah’s wealth, while women in Medina did not, possibly under Jewish influence there. The Koran says: Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females: if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth…(Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 11)

)يُوصِيكُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِىٓ أَوۡلَـٰدِڪُمۡ‌ۖ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثۡلُ حَظِّ ٱلۡأُنثَيَيۡنِ‌ۚ فَإِن كُنَّ نِسَآءً۬ فَوۡقَ ٱثۡنَتَيۡنِ فَلَهُنَّ ثُلُثَا مَا تَرَكَ‌ۖ وَإِن كَانَتۡ وَٲحِدَةً۬ فَلَهَا ٱلنِّصۡفُ‌ۚ وَلِأَبَوَيۡهِ لِكُلِّ وَٲحِدٍ۬ مِّنۡہُمَا ٱلسُّدُسُ مِمَّا تَرَكَ إِن كَانَ لَهُ ۥ وَلَدٌ۬‌ۚ فَإِن لَّمۡ يَكُن لَّهُ ۥ وَلَدٌ۬ وَوَرِثَهُ ۥۤ أَبَوَاهُ فَلِأُمِّهِ ٱلثُّلُثُ‌ۚ فَإِن كَانَ لَهُ ۥۤ إِخۡوَةٌ۬ فَلِأُمِّهِ ٱلسُّدُسُ(…

(also verses 12 and 176). And she gets half a man’s right of blood money and is half a witness.

In other verses:

…And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them…(Surah 2, Al Baqarah, verse 228)
(…(وَلَهُنَّ مِثۡلُ ٱلَّذِى عَلَيۡہِنَّ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ‌ۚ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيۡہِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ۬‌ۗ

… Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he a male or female…
(أَنِّى لَآ أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَـٰمِلٍ۬ مِّنكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوۡ أُنثَىٰ...)

And in nowise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than others: to men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn ...(Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 32)
(وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوۡاْ مَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بِهِۦ بَعۡضَكُمۡ عَلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬‌ۚ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ۬ مِّمَّا ٱڪۡتَسَبُواْ‌ۖ وَلِلنِّسَآءِ نَصِيبٌ۬ مِّمَّا ٱكۡتَسَبۡنَ...)‌ۚ

The believers, men and women, are protectors, on of another ...(Surah 9, Al Tawbah, verse 71)
(وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتُ بَعۡضُهُمۡ أَوۡلِيَآءُ بَعۡضٍ۬‌ۚ...)

…He that works a righteous deed - weather man or woman - and is a believer - such will enter The Garden (of bliss) ...(Surah 40, Ghafir, verse 40)
(...وَمَنۡ عَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا مِّن ذَڪَرٍ أَوۡ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤۡمِنٌ۬ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يَدۡخُلُونَ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ...)

Still, Islam did not make women equal to men. That paper in Georgetown produced an unexpected result, something new to me and Professor Sharabi who was very secular. In the New Testament, the role of the Virgin Mary is very limited. After delivering Jesus she all but disappears. As she was married to Joseph, the Gospel according to Mark tells us that she gave Jesus half brothers: “Is not this the carpenter, son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” (6:3) Mathew simply refers to “Jesus and his brothers.” In the Koran Mary has a whole sura, or chapter, named after her, and she is mentioned in other suras, by name or as in Issa (Jesus) and his mother. The Koran has her speaking to Archangel Gabriel who in Islamic traditions speaks only to prophets. As a result, Andalusian ulema, like Ibn Hazm, considered her a prophet, a position never accorded her in the Holy Book.
- The laws of Islam and Judaism are similar and at times identical, both in the Koran and the Old Testament, and also in Sharia and Talmud. Tithe is like Zakat. Kosher is the equivalent of Halal. Minyan is a quorum of ten men required for a Jewish prayer and is similar to the prayer of “Jama’a” for Muslims. While Muslims are required to pray five times a day Orthodox Jews pray three to four times a day, a practice called Shema Yisrael. Their women cover their hair after marriage, and a few are seen in a veil, or even niqab. When the laws of the two religions differ it is almost always far more strict in the Old Testament. Some of the punishments are not found in the Koran. In the five Books of Moses, Leviticus presents the laws in detail and Deuteronomy is a late edition of the law, probably written about 500 BC. I will now include laws from Deuteronomy chapters 12-26 and a Muslim will immediately realize that many of them are almost identical to material throughout the Koran which does not include the punishment of stoning as in the Bible.

To be continued...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Islam and The West-5

Miscellany من كل واد عصا

The following joke is relevant:

Abe went to see his rabbi. "Rabbi," he said, "I would be grateful if you could explain the Talmud to me.”
"Very well, Abe," said the rabbi, "First, I need to ask you a simple question. If two men climb inside a chimney and one comes out dirty and the other comes out clean, which one washes himself?"
"The dirty one," replied Abe.
"No, Abe. They look at each other. The dirty man thinks he is clean but the clean man thinks he is dirty and washes.
"Now another question," said the rabbi. "If two men climb inside a chimney and one comes out dirty and the other comes out clean, which one washes himself?"
Abe smiled, "You just told me that one, Rabbi. The clean man, because he thinks he is dirty."
"No, Abe," said the rabbi.. "They each look at themselves.. The clean man knows he doesn't have to wash and the dirty man washes himself.
"Now one final question," said the rabbi. "If two men climb inside a chimney and one comes out dirty and the other one comes out clean, which one washes himself?"
This time Abe frowned, "I don't know, Rabbi. It could be either one, depending on your point of view."
"No, Abe," said the rabbi. "If two men climb inside a chimney, how could either of them come out clean? They are obviously both dirty and so they both wash."
Abe was now thoroughly confused, "Rabbi, you asked me exactly the same question three times, yet you gave me three different answers. Are you playing games with me?"
"No, Abe, I would never joke with you. This is Talmud."

(From: OY! The Ultimate Book Of Jewish Jokes by David Minkoff)

So the problem of a verse allowing for several interpretations is not limited to the Holy Koran, but to be found as well in the Talmud which is a massive compilation of writing that forms the basic body of Jewish laws and traditions, the equivalent of Sharia, or Islamic Jurisprudence.

- A Muslim does not have to be paranoid to think that people are out to get him. There are many enemies of Islam and Muslims, the most dangerous, and by far the worst, being Islamic terrorists. Al Qaeda and all such organizations are the real threat to Islam. They kill Muslims and at the same time justify actions by enemies of Islam that punish all Muslims, while scaring away people of good intentions who seek coexistence among peoples of all faith, or no faith. More than the U.S. or any international alliance, Muslims need to defeat the so-called Islamic terrorists. Anti-Islamic, or anti-Muslim, feelings are such that when the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams asked in a lecture if the British Legal System should allow non-Christian courts to decide some matters of family law, he faced a firestorm of protest concentrating on Sharia, and ignoring the fact that he also mentioned Orthodox Jewish law. The archbishop spent days later trying to explain himself.

- Of all the atrocities that have come out of Iraq, I have chosen two examples:
1- Two unveiled women are standing in a room, while an armed man is reading something possibly from the Koran. The next scene is of the two women kneeling with their hands tied behind their backs, and dying in a ferocious burst of gunfire.
There is absolutely no Koranic text or practice that justifies killing an unveiled woman.
2- An Al Qaeda terrorist is seized and is being questioned by Kurdish security men. He had forced a husband and wife out of their car then beheaded them. He admitted his crime saying that Al Qaeda gave him the job of beheading people and told him to learn his trade. When an interrogator told him that the slaughtered couple were innocent, the terrorist said it would still be okay as they would go to heaven. In his warped mind he was doing them a favor.

- Nowhere in the Koran is there a stipulation of stoning as a punishment. The word is mentioned two or three times, but in reference to old, Biblical, times. In the Bible I found stoning mentioned as punishment once in chapter 17 of Deuteronomy and twice in chapter 22. Chapters 12-26 of the fifth book of Moses are seen as the law chapters of the Jewish faith. There is also burning to death: And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire. Leviticus (21-9) and this: And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel. Judges (19-29). There is nothing comparable in the Koran.

- When I was at Georgetown University, my teacher and friend Hisham Sharabi suggested that I write a paper on women in the Koran and Islamic tradition, to show that Islam gave women their rights. I tried but in the end had to conclude that women were not made equal to men in the Koran. It says: Men are protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all). (Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 34)

)ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٲمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعۡضَهُمۡ عَلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُواْ مِنۡ أَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ‌ۚ فَٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتُ قَـٰنِتَـٰتٌ حَـٰفِظَـٰتٌ۬ لِّلۡغَيۡبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ وَٱلَّـٰتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَٱهۡجُرُوهُنَّ فِى ٱلۡمَضَاجِعِ وَٱضۡرِبُوهُنَّ‌ۖ فَإِنۡ أَطَعۡنَڪُمۡ فَلَا تَبۡغُواْ عَلَيۡہِنَّ سَبِيلاً‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّ۬ا ڪَبِيرً۬ا(.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Islam and The West-4

Relevant Koranic text

We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our Messengers with Clear Signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land (Surah 5, Al Ma’idah, verse 32).

)مِنۡ أَجۡلِ ذَٲلِكَ ڪَتَبۡنَا عَلَىٰ بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ أَنَّهُ ۥ مَن قَتَلَ نَفۡسَۢا بِغَيۡرِ نَفۡسٍ أَوۡ فَسَادٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَڪَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ ٱلنَّاسَ جَمِيعً۬ا وَمَنۡ أَحۡيَاهَا فَڪَأَنَّمَآ أَحۡيَا ٱلنَّاسَ جَمِيعً۬ا‌ۚ وَلَقَدۡ جَآءَتۡهُمۡ رُسُلُنَا بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّنۡهُم بَعۡدَ ذَٲلِكَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ لَمُسۡرِفُونَ(.

Also: Those of you who die and leave widows should bequeath for their widows a year’s maintenance and residence; but if they leave (the residence), there is no blame on you for what they do with themselves, provided it is reasonable. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise (Surah 2, Al Baqarah, verse 240).

)وَٱلَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوۡنَ مِنڪُمۡ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزۡوَٲجً۬ا وَصِيَّةً۬ لِّأَزۡوَٲجِهِم مَّتَـٰعًا إِلَى ٱلۡحَوۡلِ غَيۡرَ إِخۡرَاجٍ۬‌ۚ فَإِنۡ خَرَجۡنَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ فِى مَا فَعَلۡنَ فِىٓ أَنفُسِهِنَّ مِن مَّعۡرُوفٍ۬‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَڪِيمٌ۬(.

And: For those who take an oath for abstention from their wives, a waiting for four months is ordained; if then they return, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (Surah 2, Al Baqarah, verse 226).

)لِّلَّذِينَ يُؤۡلُونَ مِن نِّسَآٮِٕهِمۡ تَرَبُّصُ أَرۡبَعَةِ أَشۡہُرٍ۬‌ۖ فَإِن فَآءُو فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬(.

Al Baqarah two verses show how the time for a widow was cut down from a year to four months.

Also: Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth… (Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 48).

)إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَغۡفِرُ أَن يُشۡرَكَ بِهِۦ وَيَغۡفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٲلِكَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ‌ۚ(…

So it is only “Shirk”, believing in more than one God, that cannot be forgiven.

There are many verses on the Jews and they move from the positive or neutral to negative as Jews in Medina confront Mohammed and his followers, and the two sides fight.

(In this study all translations from the Koran are taken from The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, by ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali, published by Amana corporation. It is used in Islamic studies at Oxford University. Quotes from the Bible are from The Authorized King James Version, published by the Oxford University Press).

To be continued...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Islam and The West-3

The Veil

The Koran says: Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do (Surah 24, Al Nur, verse 30).
)قُل لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ يَغُضُّواْ مِنۡ أَبۡصَـٰرِهِمۡ وَيَحۡفَظُواْ فُرُوجَهُمۡ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ أَزۡكَىٰ لَهُمۡ‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرُۢ بِمَا يَصۡنَعُونَ(.

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons…(Surah 24, Al Nur, verse 31).

)وَقُل لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِ يَغۡضُضۡنَ مِنۡ أَبۡصَـٰرِهِنَّ وَيَحۡفَظۡنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبۡدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنۡهَا‌ۖ وَلۡيَضۡرِبۡنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِہِنَّ‌ۖ وَلَا يُبۡدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ ءَابَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ ءَابَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ أَبۡنَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ أَبۡنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ إِخۡوَٲنِهِنَّ أَوۡ بَنِىٓ إِخۡوَٲنِهِنَّ(...

Verse 31 is known as the “Verse of the Veil”, but all explanations I have read of this verse agree that it is talking about modesty, urging women to cover any cleavage. There is absolutely no mention of the word “hair” in the Book. Neither of Niqab.

Other relevant verses say: And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs … (Surah 33, Al Ahzab, verse 53).

)إِذَا سَأَلۡتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَـٰعً۬ا فَسۡـَٔلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَآءِ حِجَابٍ۬ۚ ذَٲلِڪُمۡ أَطۡهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمۡ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّۚ (...

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, most Merciful (Surah 33, Ahzab, verse 59).
)يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ قُل لِّأَزۡوَٲجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَآءِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ يُدۡنِينَ عَلَيۡہِنَّ مِن جَلَـٰبِيبِهِنَّۚ ذَٲلِكَ أَدۡنَىٰٓ أَن يُعۡرَفۡنَ فَلَا يُؤۡذَيۡنَۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ غَفُورً۬ا رَّحِيمً۬ا(.

Another relevant verse: … Even though their beauty attract thee…(Surah 33, Al Ahzab, verse 52)
(...وَلَوۡ أَعۡجَبَكَ حُسۡنُہُنَّ...)

I understand the above to mean that there is no hijab in the Koran, certainly no niqab. The hijab is a tradition, not a duty, like prayer. Still there are those who admit that the Koran carries no clear order for women to wear veil but support it nevertheless under the principal of avoiding temptation. This is an insult to men and women, seeing them like animals in heat who cannot restrain their basic instincts.


There are many verses on drinking alcohol throughout the Koran. The most important of which, and one of the latest, says: O ye believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork; eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper (Surah 5, Al Ma’idah, verse 90).

)يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡخَمۡرُ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرُ وَٱلۡأَنصَابُ وَٱلۡأَزۡلَـٰمُ رِجۡسٌ۬ مِّنۡ عَمَلِ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِ فَٱجۡتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ(.

The verse clearly says “avoid him”, or Satan, where it could have said “avoid it” and thus refer to alcohol and gambling.
Among the others: They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: “In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit”… (Surah 2, Al Baqarah, verse 219).
)يَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡخَمۡرِ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرِ‌ۖ قُلۡ فِيهِمَآ إِثۡمٌ۬ ڪَبِيرٌ۬ وَمَنَـٰفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثۡمُهُمَآ أَڪۡبَرُ مِن نَّفۡعِهِمَا‌ۗ (...

Also: And from the fruit of the date palm and the vine, ye get out wholesome drink, and food: behold, in this also is a Sign for those who are wise (Surah 16, Al Nahl, verse 67).

)وَمِن ثَمَرَٲتِ ٱلنَّخِيلِ وَٱلۡأَعۡنَـٰبِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنۡهُ سَڪَرً۬ا وَرِزۡقًا حَسَنًا‌ۗ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَةً۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يَعۡقِلُونَ(.

And: O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say…(Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 43).

)يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَقۡرَبُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَأَنتُمۡ سُكَـٰرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَعۡلَمُواْ مَا تَقُولُونَ(...
In all the above, and in other verses, I see no direct, absolute, ban on alcohol.


The Koran says: If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice (Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 3).

)وَإِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَلَّا تُقۡسِطُواْ فِى ٱلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ فَٱنكِحُواْ مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ مَثۡنَىٰ وَثُلَـٰثَ وَرُبَـٰعَ‌ۖ فَإِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَلَّا تَعۡدِلُواْ فَوَٲحِدَةً أَوۡ مَا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَـٰنُكُمۡ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ أَدۡنَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعُولُواْ(.
It also says: Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women even if it is your ardent desire…( Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 129).
)وَلَن تَسۡتَطِيعُوٓاْ أَن تَعۡدِلُواْ بَيۡنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ وَلَوۡ حَرَصۡتُمۡ‌ۖ (...

I understand this as a ban on taking more than one wife as the condition for two or more is fairness and God says man can never be fair and just to more than one wife. (Also, it is not a wife and a slave, but rather either or, not the two together).

I must be very clear at this point: I am not opposing the veil or polygamy, and I am not advocating drinking alcohol. All I am doing is reading Koranic text, mostly verses of not well-established meaning. If the Sheikh of Al-Azhar and the Mufti of Saudi Arabia say a veil is required of a Muslim woman, they know better.

The Koran says: None of Our revelations do we abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things? (Surah 2, Al Baqarah, verse 106).

)مَا نَنسَخۡ مِنۡ ءَايَةٍ أَوۡ نُنسِهَا نَأۡتِ بِخَيۡرٍ۬ مِّنۡہَآ أَوۡ مِثۡلِهَآ‌ۗ أَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمۡ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ(.

Abrogating certain verses was explained by the changing general interest of the Muslims. Restrictions on alcohol were gradual, as drinking was very wide-spread.

The second Orthodox Caliph Omar understood that conditions change, and acted in a bold and decisive manner.

The Koran says: Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer (thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom (Surah 9, Al Tawbah, verse 60).

)إِنَّمَا ٱلصَّدَقَـٰتُ لِلۡفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلۡمَسَـٰكِينِ وَٱلۡعَـٰمِلِينَ عَلَيۡہَا وَٱلۡمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُہُمۡ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلۡغَـٰرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبۡنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ‌ۖ فَرِيضَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَڪِيمٌ۬(.

The prophet used to give certain important men gifts from zakat money to win them over to Islam. So when some of “those whose hearts have been recently reconciled” came to Omar and asked him for land granted them by the first Caliph Abu Bakr, Omar refused saying “Islam is now strong and does not need you. You either remain Muslim or we resort to the sword.” Omar did not order cutting off the hands of thieves in the “year of famine”. Omar did not uphold the tradition of the prophet himself and a pledge by his predecessor Abu Bakr when conditions changed.

My point is that the revelations changed with changing condition and verses were abrogated, that Muslims have the example of Omar (who in the world is more Muslim than Omar?), but a majority of Muslims today do not change, and those who want to move on and modernize are marginalized or accused of apostasy.

To be continued...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Islam and The West-2

Islam 101

Islam is better than today’s Muslims. Words may be used to the point of being abused and remain true: Islam is a moderate religion. There is, however, an extreme minority that has hijacked the faith, with the vast majority of Muslims silent, disinterested, or in a state of denial.

Every religion has traditions of tolerance and prejudice. The Los Angeles Times carried a story on Oct. 20, 2007, under the headline: Scholars try to reconcile ‘problematic’ religious texts. Staff writer K. Connie Kang wrote that Christian, Jewish and Muslim experts met in Los Angeles to add context to passages that have been perceived as hostile toward other religions.

The Koran say of itself: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are not of well-established meaning. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is not of well-established meaning … (Surah 3, Al Imran, verse 7).

)هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِنۡهُ ءَايَـٰتٌ۬ مُّحۡكَمَـٰتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَـٰبِهَـٰتٌ۬‌ۖ فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمۡ زَيۡغٌ۬ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَـٰبَهَ مِنۡهُ ٱبۡتِغَآءَ ٱلۡفِتۡنَةِ وَٱبۡتِغَآءَ تَأۡوِيلِهِۦ‌ۗ وَمَا يَعۡلَمُ تَأۡوِيلَه ۥۤ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ‌ۗ وَٱلرَّٲسِخُون َفِى ٱلۡعِلۡمِ (…

The fourth Orthodox Caliph Ali famously said that the Koran carries many interpretations.

It is unfortunate that in the case of verses of no well-established meaning, the most restrictive, or narrow, interpretation is almost always adopted. Terrorist organizations, like Al-Qaeda and its offshoots, and extremists supporting terrorism have, at times, gone against basic, or fundamental verses. The Koran says: … Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah hath been to you most Merciful! (Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 29).

…)وَلَا تَقۡتُلُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمۡ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمۡ رَحِيمً۬ا(.

It also says: If a man kills a Believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (forever): and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him (Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 93).

)وَمَن يَقۡتُلۡ مُؤۡمِنً۬ا مُّتَعَمِّدً۬ا فَجَزَآؤُهُ ۥ جَهَنَّمُ خَـٰلِدً۬ا فِيہَا وَغَضِبَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡهِ وَلَعَنَهُ ۥ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ ۥ عَذَابًا عَظِيمً۬ا.(

I understand this to mean that God forbids a believer from killing himself, like in suicide bombing, or killing other Muslims. In fact, a Muslim is not allowed, or requested, to kill a non-believer.

The Koran says: If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the Word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge. (Surah 9, Al Tawbah, verse 6).
)وَإِنۡ أَحَدٌ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ ٱسۡتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرۡهُ حَتَّىٰ يَسۡمَعَ كَلَـٰمَ ٱللَّهِ ثُمَّ أَبۡلِغۡهُ مَأۡمَنَهُ ۥ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ بِأَنَّہُمۡ قَوۡمٌ۬ لَّا يَعۡلَمُونَ(.
The Koran also says:
Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds; but speak to him mildly…(Surah 20, Taha, verses 43 & 44).
(ٱذۡهَبَآ إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ إِنَّهُ ۥ طَغَىٰ٠ فَقُولَا لَهُ ۥ قَوۡلاً۬ لَّيِّنً۬ا ...)

Let there be no compulsion in religion…(Surah 2, Al Baqarah, verse 256)
(لَآ إِكۡرَاهَ فِى ٱلدِّينِ‌ۖ...)

…Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject … (Surah 18, Al Kahf, verse 29)
(...فَمَن شَآءَ فَلۡيُؤۡمِن وَمَن شَآءَ فَلۡيَكۡفُرۡ...)

…Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee…(Surah 3, Ali Imran, verse 159)
(...وَلَوۡ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ ٱلۡقَلۡبِ لَٱنفَضُّواْ مِنۡ حَوۡلِكَ‌ۖ...)

If thy Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people…(Surah 11, Hud, verse 118)
(وَلَوۡ شَآءَ رَبُّكَ لَجَعَلَ ٱلنَّاسَ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬‌ۖ...)

On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Surah 2, Al Baqarah, verse 286)
(لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفۡسًا إِلَّا وُسۡعَهَا‌ۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتۡ وَعَلَيۡہَا مَا ٱكۡتَسَبَتۡ‌ۗ...)

We have not sent down the Qur’an to thee to be (an occasion) for thy distress. (Surah 20, Taha, verse 2)
(مَآ أَنزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ لِتَشۡقَىٰٓ)

The tradition of the Prophet and his first Orthodox Caliph Abu Bakr adds to the above. There are several instructions to Muslim armies and they all say: Keep your word. Don’t kill women, children or old men. Leave monks in monasteries to their dedication. Don’t cut trees. Don’t kill animals except to eat.

Abu Bakr’s armies were involved in the Ridda (apostasy) wars, when the polytheist tribes of Arabia returned to worshipping false idols after the death of Mohammed. Had the Muslim armies lost then, there would be no Islam today. Still, Abu Bakr restricted the operation of the armies to what was almost modern day practices. Muslims today are about 1.2 billion and there is no danger to Islam whatsoever, to justify any killing.

I said earlier that in explaining verses with no well- established meaning, one interpretation becomes dominant and others are suppressed. As a student of Islam, I would like to offer three of the most talked about subjects today (I am not saying controversial because to most Muslims the argument is settled).

To be continued...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Islam and The West-1


For over 30 years, I have been involved in inter-faith work, first with Prince Charles and Prince Hassan of Jordan, then with Prince Charles and Prince Turki Al-Feisal of Saudi Arabia, and now with the World Economic Forum’s C-100 initiative to promote a dialogue between Islam and the West. I am a founding member of the C-100 and on its core group.
I have also attended conferences on Islam and the West in London, Istanbul and other cities. I am an active member of the Next Century Foundation whose international Media Council gives prizes to journalists who contribute to better understanding both in and towards the Middle East.

I wrote the paper Islam 101 for non-Muslim members of the C-100 in January after I noticed that some of them were straining under a test of commitment and resolve in the face of little progress and continuing terrorism. I have attempted to reassure them that Islam is a religion of peace and moderation.

When I studied Islam at university in Beirut, oil was a dollar a barrel. I studied it for its own sake, long before the onset of terrorism and turmoil. I have since updated my academic knowledge when I helped my son in his work after he also chose to study Islam and Islamic history at Oxford University.

A Muslim reader must already know the material of Islam 101, and he may disagree with my interpretation which is personal and hence subjective. I advise him to follow the words of Sheikh El Azhar or the mufti of his own country.

The Muslim reader should find the second part more informative and challenging.

This study is intended to defend Islam, not Muslims. I receive daily material attacking the Muslim faith, mostly from publicity seekers, like a Dutch MP, or degenerate racist members of the Israel lobby in the U.S. In defending Islam, not Muslims, I have tried my best to be fair to other religions I have quoted from but not commented on. I hope I have succeeded.

Jihad Khazen
May/June 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thought of the Day

I am sorry I've been away since January. Viewers of this blog may be sorrier; I have written a long study of Islam which will be published here shortly. It defends Islam, but not Muslims, and compares its revelations with material from the Old Testament. Muslim readers will protest the first part and Christian readers will not believe the second. I welcome all views.