Thursday, 30 July 2009

An Apology from AL-Qaeda

George Bush apologised for all the abuses, tortures, rapes and murders in Abu-Ghraib and expected the Islamic world to forgive. Imagine if the Al-Qaeda leadership issued an apology for the execution of Paul Johnson and then went on to explain that the perpetrators acted on their own initiatives. They lacked training, and were not aware of the rules of the Geneva Convention. Would the Americans be prepared to accept such an explanation and a similar apology to the one that was issued by George Bush with regards to the heinous crimes committed in Abu-Ghraib?

In describing the execution of Paul Johnson, the media deployed terms like ‘barbaric’, savage’, ‘and evil’ but not a ‘scandal’ like Abu Ghraib. So, why do the murders of prisoners in Abu-Ghraib, Bagram and elsewhere qualify only to be a ‘scandal’? Would it have been accepted as a ‘scandal’ if one of the Al-Qaeda members posed smiling with his thumbs up in front of the dead body and the severed head? Similarly, the world leaders rushed to condemn the execution but such swift words and strong emotions could not be heard for the thousands of civilians including women and children that have perished in Iraq.

In theory, if we genuinely believe that all human lives have the same value then the reaction should be identical to the killing of any innocent person. However, the killing of Paul Johnson and Nick Berg has aroused a lot of anger amongst the Americans whilst the killings of the thousands of innocent Iraqis did not even raise an eyebrow. It seems that the killing of the Iraqis or America’s enemies can always be justified whilst only the killing of Americans constitutes a crime. The justification can range from ‘self-defence’ to gaining personal enjoyment. As an example, CNN televised the entire incident where the US marine bragged about how good it felt and he described it as ‘awesome’ after he murdered a wounded Iraqi who was crying in agony on the floor. One of the US Senators said the boys were letting off some steam in describing the activities in Abu Ghraib.

If Paul Johnson were subjected to similar treatment given by the US soldiers towards the Iraqi prisoners, would that have led the media coverage and the reaction from the Western world to be any different? The answer is unlikely as Paul Johnson like Nick Berg was projected as a human being by the mass media; they had names, faces, families and friends. This is why their killings have evoked so much emotion.

However, the thousands of faceless and nameless Iraqis who have been killed by the US forces have ended up as background statistics, in the books of Colin Powell as collateral damage. The dead bodies, severed limbs and decapitated heads of babies are not aired, so that the Americans can continue to support the sanitised version of the war. Not a single family from the victims of Fallujah, Abu-Ghraib, Najaf and elsewhere was given any kind of coverage by the mass media. No reporters went out to the town to interview their family members and air how they felt about the loss of their loved ones.

What is good and evil, barbaric and civilised, justice and retribution is a matter of perspective. No one can claim that the beheading of a person is any more barbaric than torturing someone to death or incinerating defenceless civilians or bombing women and children at wedding parties. In fact, for many people a quick death is preferable than to be tortured, abused or humiliated in front of their family members. Nick Berg’s father also pointed this very point out after his son was executed.

When the anger has subsided perhaps, the American masses will reflect on the entire episode of Iraq from 1991 onwards and not just from 9/11/2001. This requires acknowledging the sequence of events and certain indisputable facts with regards to the entire conflict. A clear fact is Iraq has never attacked the US in the past nor did it ever have the capability to do so. The Iraqi threat to the US interests was only in terms of the possibility of denying the US companies and consumers the oil at a cheap price.

The justification given to the world by the US regime for the recent war was disarming Saddam of his alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) apparently authorised by the UN resolution. This was disputed by other members of the Security Council like Russia and France, as did most of the international legal experts. In any case, with the unfolding of events the facts clearly showed that the pretext of WMD was a total fabrication, which any fair-minded person cannot fail to conclude.

At home, Bush used the pretext of the link between Saddam and 9/11, which has also turned out to be false from their investigations and denials. Then what excuse is there for the war? If none, then surely America has killed thousands of Paul Johnsons, Nick Bergs and committed acts that are far worse. Yet, the US continues to argue that the Iraqis like the Native Americans and Palestinians are terrorists on their own lands! The absurd logic is that any retaliation from the Muslims is ‘terrorism’ but not the terror dispensed from the US war machine is something else!

The issuing of an apology by the US government as suggested by the New York Times would be a good start, followed by assessing war reparations for Iraq and then put the neo-cons on trial before the American masses. As many Americans have begun to understand that, this was a war for Israel and the big businesses.

Unfortunately, many of the Americans view the attack on Iraq as some sort of revenge for 9/11 regardless of the facts. That is the mindset of its soldiers as many openly boasted that they got their revenge in Iraq and the world got a glimpse of that in Abu-Ghraib, Fallujah and Najaf. They cite 9/11 as a first strike on the US. If we go back to the first gulf war in 1991, the attack launched by the US was clearly unprovoked, driven by corporate greed. They used the fig leaf of the UN as cover for their initial aggression against Iraq. It was not the soldiers in blue helmets but in US uniform, that launched the war under the American command. If the UN was a genuine neutral international organisation, why was it not mobilised to address the invasion of the Falkland Islands or Afghanistan prior to the invasion of Kuwait?

The dispute between Kuwait and Iraq was an internal matter for the Arabs, historically Kuwait was always a part of Iraq (Walayah of Basra); moreover none of these borders within the Arab world has real legitimacy, as they were the creation of colonialists (Sykes-Picot). They carved up the land to suit their interests, which have been the real cause of instability and disputes in the region. Unfortunately, many Americans do not even know a page of history pertaining to these regions. The right of Iraq over Kuwait is far greater than the right of the US over the Hispanic territories.

Even if the Kuwaitis asked for the US for help, the US should have declined this on the basis that Kuwait government is an undemocratic illegitimate regime that was never elected by its masses. This should have been expected from a country that promotes itself as the bastion of democracy. Secondly, the conflict was between Iraq and Kuwait. America was not party to the conflict in anyway and she was never attacked by Iraq. Hence, the US allying with the illegitimate Kuwaiti regime to attack Iraq had committed an unprovoked aggression against the Iraqi population with the UN being a rubber stamp.

After the Iraqi forces were expelled from Kuwait in 1991, the American forces went beyond the UN mandate as they slaughtered the retreating Iraqi civilians and armies going towards Basra at the behest of the criminal Kuwaiti regime. This was a real war crime. Those Americans feeling angry today should try and imagine that these thousands of Iraqis including women and children were beheaded like Paul Johnson and even worse.

Then, a decade of sanctions and bombings continued the subjugation. According to UN, figures about a million Iraqi children had perished due to the sanctions. The situation in Palestine continued to deteriorate with the constant killing and uprooting of the Palestinians by the Israelis with full support from the US. So, now perhaps the Americans should understand why people flew those planes into the WTC buildings on 9/11. This is no doubt a direct consequence of the US foreign policy.

Many Americans due to their lack of knowledge and the propaganda that is continuously being fed through the superficial media coverage are under the delusion that Iraq had attacked or was planning to attack the US at some point in the future. Both points are incorrect - a country ravaged by sanctions and war could not even defend itself how can it attack a superpower. Likewise, 9/11 was not a first strike. The killing of Nick Berg, Paul Johnson and the four mercenaries in Fallujah was in response to Abu-Ghraib if you simply examine the sequence of events and the reasons stated by those who carried out the execution. Only the dishonest and the hypocrites examine the events with one eye open.

If the US citizens recognised the causes, and the sequence of events in this conflict that would be the first step towards peace, it would clear the misinformation constantly dispensed by the mass media. There can never be real peace without justice for the victim and America is far from being the innocent victim.

Yamin Zakaria

London, UK

Published in April 2004

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Remember the Cairo Speech? Here comes President Obama’s first test

They all stood, and applauded President Obama, after he delivered a historical speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last month. For many, this must have seemed like the US announcing a change of attitude and policy towards the Arab world, after showing decades of hostility. The presence of the first black President with Muslim heritage must have enhanced that feeling of optimism in the Arab world. However, the Arabs also know from experience that one should not judge a book by its ‘colour’!

Prior to the Cairo speech, President Obama gave an open invitation to engage Iran diplomatically, also announced his intention to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay and remove the US troops from Iraq. All these maneuvers will be interpreted as Obama will be pursing a very different route to the previous neo-conservative regime. Whereas the sceptics would argue the US-Israel agenda has remained the same, but only the emphasis or style has altered, relying more on the soft-power rather than hard-power. They would also point out that removing troops from Iraq is a prelude to increasing troops in Afghanistan with the long term objective of planning the break up of Pakistan and removing its nuclear capability.

In the Cairo speech, President Obama outlined his vision for the Middle East peace plan, specifically stating that he expected Israel to lift restrictions on Palestinian movement, and implement an immediate and comprehensive settlement freeze. Many expressed caution because they want to see if Obama can put his words into action. That time has already come with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, refusing to halt expansion of Jewish settlement in predominantly Arab neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.

This refusal comes on the back of creeping Judaization of Palestine, as the Israeli Transport Minister announced recently that signs on all major roads in Israel, including East Jerusalem and possibly parts of the West Bank would be “standardised”, to Hebrew name.

Will this settlement expansion issue be the first test for Obama’s historic speech delivered at Cairo? If so, what are his options? The ‘polite’ request issued by the State Department to halt the expansion, has been casually ignored by Israel. Apart from diplomatic pressure, the US could threaten to reduce or halt the annual economic and military aid, concurrently increase the aid to the Arab world. If Israel continues to ignore the US demand or shall we say the demand of the ‘international’ community, the US can call for trade sanctions with threats of military actions through the UN - and for once it would not use the UN veto saving Israel.

If Israel persisted to ignore the UN resolutions, the US could do the unthinkable, and threaten Israel with military actions, as it does frequently with the Arab countries. Of course, that would be too much to expect from Obama or any US President as they all rely on the powerful Zionist lobby, and the Christian-Zionists to attain power in the first place.

In terms of lifting restrictions on the Palestinians, the walls and barriers remain in place, with the inhumane siege of Gaza.

Forcing Israel to freeze settlement, lifting the siege and restrictions on the Palestinians will be important tests for President Obama; if he fails, then it is highly unlikely he will be able to proceed to pass the big test of implementing the two-state solution that has gained currency over the years.

It is unlikely that President Obama can break free from the Zionist shackles, and become an honest broker in the Middle East. Israel will continue on its track to remove all traces of the Arab heritage, which includes the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Concurrently, Israel will continue to expect further concession from the Palestinians or it will create further barriers and offer to remove them as ‘concessions’. All the indicators suggest that the Cairo speech will prove to be empty rhetoric!

Yamin Zakaria
London, UK
Published – 21/07/09

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Who Is the Author of Al-Quran? Part 1

In any debate, the challenger demands proof and the one challenged usually responds with evidence. For the debate to conclude there must be agreement on the validity of the evidence provided as proof. Since, the challenger initiates the challenge then he must come forward and state what type of evidence constitutes as adequate proof. Failing that, the challenger has to provide an explanation why the evidence submitted does not constitute adequate proof.

Accordingly, when challengers wish to contest facts accepted by more than a billion people: the divinity of the Quran, they must advise what evidence is accepted by all parties as constituting proof, at the same time making their challenge; a reasonable mind can see the impossible moving target of trying to build proofs which are not accepted by both parties as evidence.

For tangible objects, the process is easy because it can be verified by the human senses, by either repeated observation (Astronomy) or a controlled experiment (Physics, Chemistry etc), and thus independent of any bias. As an example, to prove that a certain object is a motor car, then it is simply a matter of demonstrating - in a process of repeated observations and experimentation - that the essential characteristics of a car, such as engine, wheels, motion etc are present in the object. Take another example, when we see a horse through our senses of sight, we recognise it and accept it at once, because the criteria of what constitutes a horse are already ingrained in our minds, being extracted and abstracted from previous experiences and some conventional linguistic assignments.

However unlike tangible objects: historical events, philosophical questions like the purpose of life, morality, ethics and laws cannot be proven with just sense perception, or with empirical science. You cannot resurrect the battles of Hannibal or Alexander in a laboratory, and none of us witnessed these events. Neither science nor our senses can be used to distinguish between right and wrong. For example, is adultery immoral or is it simply an expression of personal freedom? Is capital punishment or a light prison sentence adequate retribution for murder? Science tells us how reproduction takes place, but cannot tell us the boundaries of with whom you should reproduce.

In the above-mentioned issues, it is a matter of conviction based on the evidences and arguments presented; most human beings are encompassed within a spectrum that goes from blind-faith to absolute conviction.

Often I am asked by arrogant and irrational people who call themselves freethinkers to prove historical events using empirical science. As if every aspect of their lives is governed by empirical science, or they only accept information verified directly by sense perception. Can you resurrect the dead, and ask them to give you a replay of the historical events in a laboratory environment repeatedly? How does a thinking being pose such a question? Perhaps the self-praised label of freethinkers actually reflects their insecurity or inability to think. Hence, they need to tell the world of their ability to think, it is not an irony but an accurate reflection of their mindset.

So people ask: what is the proof that the Quran is divine? Those who ask can be categorised into two camps: genuine-explorers open to debate and the witless-agitators much like pseudo freethinkers, products of personal traumas or scars, who are only interested in all that is negative about the subject.

The former group will usually pose investigative questions; be presented with evidence and debate, and be open to having views or interpretations be adjusted based on the prevailing evidence as true investigators with an open mind. In contrast, the witless-agitators will dismiss any evidence presented. Some of them will try to challenge the evidence, but when they find that the evidence is composed of complete and consistent arguments, then they are forced to run for the hills, either into digression or fall off the edge of an intellectual cliff into absurdity to avoid the uncomfortable truth of a possible adjustment to their prejudices, or losing their opportunities to mock and/or undermine the conviction in Quran being of divine origin.

Therefore, the witless-agitators as cynical challengers should tell us first what would constitute adequate proof to demonstrate that the Quran originates from a divine source. They should elaborate how they came to establish those criteria in the first place, given that many of them do not believe in the divine and none of them has any proven experience of being a Prophet of God. Only then, we can attempt to give them a satisfactory answer, otherwise, no matter what evidence is presented, the witless-agitators have the monopoly position of being simply able to dismiss the evidences without any justification. The witless-agitators can only accept or refuse the evidence we present but they are not in a position to state that we have not provided adequate proof, because nobody has defined what would be adequate proof in the first place.

First step towards answering the question, if the Quran is divine: is to pose the counter question - is the Quran the work of any known human being? Indeed let us ask the very obvious and pertinent question: Who is the author of this Arabic Book that altered the course of history in a manner that is unprecedented in human history? There is no like Arabic book of such impact, prior or after Islam, yet it was brought forward by one simple shepherd and it has now over one billion followers and growing. They are reciting it daily and memorizing it. So let us examine if the Quran was indeed the work of any human being(s).

There is unanimous agreement that this Book (Al-Quran) is not a translation from another scripture written in a foreign language. Furthermore, there is no dispute that it is an Arabic book, and the Quran itself testifies to this point. Anyone disputing this must bring forward the counter evidence; otherwise, it is just a wild speculation on their part. The counter-evidence must present at least the non-Arabic original, or substantial parts there-of, with irrefutable archaeological evidence proving its earlier date!

If the book is an Arabic book, it is rational to exclude non-Arabs or anyone who does not have a good command of the Arabic language. Therefore, non-Arabic speakers are eliminated by reason. Reality shows that nobody can produce even a small formal document or even a letter with punctuation and grammar without any formal education.

So did the Arabs of the time write it? Clearly not, as the contents of the Quran diametrically opposed their way of life, it attacked and threatened their social and economic structure. Naturally, leaders of Arab tribes took steps to curtail the message of the Quran by discrediting it, applying severe pressure on Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and viciously persecuting his followers. Remember that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his followers were subject to severe prosecution, torture, sanctions and embargo for the first thirteen years of his mission. Some of his followers were martyred in the process and a hundred, or so, were forced to flee their homeland seeking refuge and protection for the Abyssinian king. Even after their immigration to Medina, the newly founded Islamic State was under steady attack for its first five years. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his followers gained the upper hand only in the last five years of his life and mission.

No Arab came forward to claim authorship either, since Arabic literature, eloquence, rhetoric and poetry were at their peak [1], they easily recognised the power of the Quran and anyone claiming to be its author would be recognised and celebrated. Why the real author would conceal his or her identity and not take credit for this shockingly unique work, which was causing havoc in the pagan Arab society culminating into confrontation and war?! Even the most hostile critics of Islam have not advocated this as an argument. Secondly, the Quran actually challenged the Arab nation to produce even one chapter like those of the Quran, what would be the motive for someone doing that while concealing his identity? In fact, this would provide a perfect opportunity to gain fame, money and power.

That leaves only one other remaining sensible possibility: Did Prophet Muhammad (SAW) write the Quran, as many Orientalists over the years have claimed and tried to prove. In fact, during the life of the Prophet (SAW) and after His death, no Arab ever claimed Prophet Muhammad was the author of the Quran. How could he be? How can a publicly recognised illiterate shepherd, who has no history of entering any of the poetry contests regularly held in Arabia [1], suddenly produce a book that is so powerful in terms of its composition, structure, internal musical rhythm and meaning covering such a wide variety of subjects? Later we will examine some of these amazing aspects of the Quran in detail.

As a matter of fact there are a number of mutually corroborating narrations, reporting various independent incidents, as to produce certitude that he, Prophet Muhammad (SAW), did not possess a "musical ear" and that he was incapable of reciting any verse of poetry without breaking its rhythm and/or meter, save for the simplest songs and nursery rhymes.

The only allegation ever recorded, was made by the Pagan Arabs, that the Prophet was uttering the Quran after having been tutored by a man, Christian slave working as blacksmith, called Jabir, or whatever name he had. This is clearly false and irrational based on the following points.

a) The fact that the Pagan Arabs claimed the source of Quran was a third person called Jabir, actually proves my argument that the pagan Arabs themselves concluded definitely Muhammad could not have produced the Quran alone.

b) Some people suggested that the pagan Arabs were actually attributing the words in the Quran to Muhammad (SAW) but not the ideas! In fact, it is almost the opposite. The reason why the Pagan Arabs were amazed is mainly due to the formulation of the words in the Quran and not just their plain meaning. As we know tales of the old Prophets could be conveyed by storytellers, rules can be pronounced by judges and wise men. But it was not this, rather its entire Arabic composition, especially as Muhammad (SAW) was not known to be one of the men of poetry, rhetoric or particular eloquence out of the ordinary. This sudden production of this material shocked the Pagan Arabs. They would secretly approach the houses of some Muslims to listen to the Quran. In one reported occasion two of the pagan leaders bumped into each other and they both said they were mesmerised by some demonic force or witchcraft. They swore to each other never to do it again; such was their rejection of Islam, yet amazement at the Quran.

c) Subsequently, when the Pagan Arabs started to oppose Muhammad (SAW) and launch a vicious campaign against him in Mecca, in which some of his followers were martyred, why did they not simply go after this "Jabir", if he was the source of the Quran? That would have ended Muhammad’s (SAW) mission and solved all their problems? In fact nothing, more was ever heard about this man, who is supposed to have inspired the Quran, if he ever existed. Such allegations are necessarily baseless, absurd and irrational.

d) Also, the Quran answered the allegations; the Pagan Arabs did not challenge this position after the Quran asserted that Jabir, being of non-Arabic origin, did not speak clear Arabic. Hence, he could not have had any influence in producing the Quran.

e) There is a clear distinction between Hadiths (literal words and composition of the Prophet, but the meaning and the ideas have been divinely inspired) and the Quran. The recognition of the distinction from the very beginning, in fact, when one of the Arabs tried to compose a verse like the Quran, he was laughed at by the rest of the Pagan Arabs. There were no reports of the people being awed by the Hadiths but only by the Quran. They were the experts on this field of the language. The decisive text in Arabic clearly shows that the wording, composition and styles of Hadiths and Quran are fundamentally too distinct as to be from the same author.

It would be very easy to bring the war on terror to an end, as it would have been easy for the pagan Arabs to end the influence of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and His religion of Al-Islam forever by discrediting the authenticity and divine nature of the Quran. Sometime back Newsweek tried to initiate controversy in the authenticity of the Quran as have the Orientalists for centuries by trying to make the case the Prophet Muhammad was the author of the Quran. Clearly they have failed to make any progress in that arena.

The Quran is beyond doubt an original Arabic book; it was neither the work of the Arabs nor the works of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) therefore it is not the work of any known human being. Those who challenge this position must bring forward their evidence not speculation.

Yamin Zakaria

London, UK

Published in May 2006

Copyright © 2006 by Yamin Zakaria

[1] The ancient Arabs were known for their eloquence and rhetoric. Their culture was essentially a culture of language, linguistic skills and poetry. Their yearly markets and fairs (like: Mijannah, Zul-Majaaz, Ukaaz … etc) had formal poetic and literary competitions ranked by specialist judges and juries, very much like the Greeks, who had sporting and athletic competitions instead. It was customary for the Arab tribes to send an official delegation to congratulate any other tribe for the emergence of a new poet! These facts are historically well established beyond any possible doubt, as recognized by all the Arab linguists and historians, as well as by the Orientalists.

Friday, 17 July 2009

‘Freethinkers’ Vs Islam and the Burden of Proof

How often do we hear the familiar questions; - “Prove that God exists?”, “Prove that Muhammad (SAW) is a Prophet of God?”, “Prove that the Quran is the word of God?” These questions are reasonable; the Muslims should and have provided answers on these subjects. However, the problem arises when the so-called ‘freethinkers’ pose such questions to launch a subjective interrogation with preconceived ideas of right and wrong. As if, they have no burden of proof to justify their criteria and dogmas.

They construct a framework of dialogue where they assume the position of judge, jury and executioner by demanding not just answers but ‘proof’ of innocence, from the Muslims as if they are on trial in a court of law! The framework of ‘dialogue’ in essence is a one-way traffic lane: the Muslims are required to produce proof and the ‘freethinkers’ will fire away with their allegations and issue judgements while slyly avoiding the need to prove their own premise. Consequently, the burden of proof is conveniently shifted entirely upon the Muslims turning the ‘debate’ into an inquisition!

Eventually the ‘freethinkers’ take on the liberty to use their ‘free’ minds to express the so-called allegations against Islam using the most vulgar language like the depraved criminal hoodlums!Any neutral observer applying commonsense will appreciate the fact that a debate across two different value systems (ideologies, civilisations or religions) by rational necessity, demands that the burden of ‘proof’ should be a two-way process. Meaning that both sides need to provide evidences to: justify their respective positions and cross-examine each other’s viewpoints! And ideally, neutral arbiters or agreed common set of criteria should be used to determine the validity of the proofs. Otherwise, both sides will only end up trading accusations, counter accusation, continuously diverging, and never converging. Under such premise, it is no longer a debate but the whole exercise is futile.

In reality, the common trait amongst these so-called ‘freethinkers’ is their obsession with demonising Islam while simultaneously lacking the ability to elaborate on their alternative that is as comprehensive and convincing as Islam with its more than 1.5 billion followers, 1500 years of survival and its constant rising popularity. Dispensing allegations and criticisms, without providing a comprehensive alternative that can rival Islam proves that these ‘freethinkers’ are intellectually bankrupt as well as cowards and hypocrites; - because even a school child knows how easy it is for a hooded individual to call everyone else ugly!

The clearest evidence of their hypocritical and cowardly nature with pretence of being ‘rational’ lies in fact that they do not elaborate on their alternative solutions as vociferously as they express criticisms of Islam and Muslims! My recent interaction with one anti-Islamic fanatic who runs a hate-filled website fulltime confirmed this point. He said he was on a mission to take Muslims out of Islam but I asked him where to. Eventually and reluctantly, he started to mention about his so-called alternative formula but there was no section elaborating that anywhere on his hate-filled website! Well, why not? Because, he is driven by blind hatred of Islam, otherwise his alternative formula would have had prominence on his website. After all the provision of a comprehensive alternative to Islam is by far the most powerful and rational approach to convincing the Muslims to leave Islam!

In reality, none of these ‘freethinkers’ have produced anything that is original other than what has been borrowed from the Orientalists. He goes on to label the entire 1.5 billion Muslims as “animals” and “sub humans” like a typical intellectual midget with a heart of a racists Nazi. Note while labelling the Muslims as animals he also confesses that he was born into a Muslim family, so that must make him an animal too unless of course he admits to being a bastard child, thus maybe only half an animal!

These irrational rationalists constantly bark on as to why Muhammad (saw) is not a Prophet based on the various subjective allegations. If we disprove those charges, all we are achieving is the innocence of the Prophet (SAW) with respect to those charges but it does not establish his Prophet-hood. Otherwise, do we then assume any individual who is innocent of those allegations is a Prophet? If they were objective in this issue, they would have defined what constitutes Prophet-hood in the first place and then argue from that basis against the Prophet-hood of Muhammad (SAW). Such examples proves that these ‘freethinkers’ are not really interested in impartial analysis but foul mouth and hurl insults under the cover of raising allegations.

Eventually they degenerate to a position when they claim that their position is self-evident, so we should take their word for it! They begin to sound like real fanatics trying to shove down other people’s throats of their self-evident ‘truth’. This is after barking at the Muslims for not providing evidence, accusing them of being blind followers.

On the other hand when the ‘freethinkers’ are asked to provide justification for their alternative solution, that is after eventually getting to know what the alternative is in the first place, they demonstrate the most irrational behaviour, churning out contradictory statements. Again this is after bragging about their rationality and their reliance upon reason as ‘freethinkers’ as the following example will demonstrate! Another ‘freethinker’ who arrogantly calls himself a house of glowing wit, argued that secularism in Europe brought progression in the fields of science and technology, therefore the Muslims should adopt it blindly. But when I highlighted that secularism also brought countless genocide using these scientific advances, which continues to this day. It also produced colonisation, mass exploitation and the extreme forms of racist ideologies like Nazism all resulting in immense human misery.

Furthermore, it is rather shallow to assess a merit of a civilisation by its scientific achievements instead of how those were utilised. In frustration, he then argued those actions were not the product of secularism as nobody killed or colonised in the name of secularism. Well, if that is the case did the scientist also invent in the name of secularism? So why attribute good fruits to the tree and leave the bad fruits out? This is clearly irrational behaviour in the absence of a rational explanation. In frustration, he did not want to answer these points despite bragging about his ‘wit’ and he deleted my email responses and kept sending me his diatribe. Thus, the ‘freethinker’ transformed himself into a non-thinker! The dialogue was now one-way monologue with the fanatic trying to shove down my throat his viewpoints.

When they argue against Islamic teachings ironically they express criticism using values that are rooted in religion. As an example the ‘freethinkers’ show disgust at the marriage of Prophet Muhammad to the former wife of his adopted ‘son’ (Zaid Bin Harith). Of course, the purpose of such an action was to dissolve the notion of adopted ‘son’ in Islam as Prophets by definition define morality and ethics; or else, Prophethood is more or less meaningless and irrelevant. But the real contradiction is why the ‘freethinker’ found the marriage of a man supposedly to the former wife of his adopted ‘son’ to be offensive in the first place, since in his mind the adopted son was effectively held the same status as a real son. So, where did he get that value? Surely, if ration is the criteria which he constantly boasts about, who can place a limit and where, on such issues. Who and how one can determine the rights and wrongs of these matters. Clearly, the ‘freethinkers’ carry preconceived ideas about morality and ethics that has religious roots, yet they use that to wage a war against an established religion (ideology) hypocritically.

Thus the ‘freethinkers’ are in reality hypocritical-thinkers, non-thinkers, superficial-thinkers. In fact, they are the ones that display fanaticism and real blind-faith that they refuse to see the contradictions in their so-called alternative formula. Others degenerate to exhibit silence and to hide their embarrassment they go into an abusive mode.

Any impartial observer who really undertook an objective study of Islam, then one of the first questions would have been posed is: who is the author of the Quran. Especially considering that the Arabs of the time, including the most hostile opponents of Islam never claimed that the Quran was the words of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) or any other living Arab. Actually, some of the opponent categorically stated that Quran was not the words of Muhammad (SAW). The decisive words (Mutawatir Hadiths) of the Prophet transmitted to us are clearly distinct from the wordings in the Quran in terms of style. The style is very much part of the character of the person.

Also, why suddenly at the age of 40 Muhammad (SAW) started to produce such words as the reality is that even the most talented individuals will evolve from a certain point. There are no evidences to suggest that Muhammad (SAW) had complied similar works prior to producing the Quran, with the Quran representing the apex of his works. Muhammad (SAW) was not even known to be one of the poets or writers in the pagan Arab society. Nor does the Quran itself evolve in its style from the beginning to end, it remains consistent. This is unusual as any work of man has strengths and weaknesses. To answer these questions it necessitates examining the Islamic sources from the established Islamic scholars before examining the viewpoints of the opponents of Islam.

Then comes the questions of how do we know, how can we trust all these narrations. Life itself works on this principle of trust. We do not assume that human beings are natural liars unless we have evidence. Are we certain that our parents are who they say they are? Did we witness the copulation, the successive growth of the embryo to the birth? What do we do when a stranger tells us not to go in a certain direction as danger lies ahead? How do we react? Therefore, on what basis one can doubt multiple corroborative narrations about these events, confirmed by scholars across the board, but these ‘freethinking’ hypocrites are willing to believe any old theory as fact!

The fact is Islam continues to gain followers in the heartland of ‘freethinkers’. In frustration, they lower themselves to fight on their four limbs! In essence, these so-called ‘freethinkers’ are irrational reactionaries obsessed with Islam. Surely if Islam is inherently evil, people would automatically abandon it but instead Islam continue to gain converts in the heartland of the ‘freethinkers’. But thinking about such things would overload their ‘freethinking’ mind.

Too many Muslims have fallen for these traps laid by these malicious ‘freethinkers’ who put on a mask of rationality and logic by poising questions that evolve into interrogation as if they have no position or alternative to justify. For example, if one is not convinced about the evidence provided with respect to the existence of God then that does not automatically mean that a case has been made for the absence of God. They usually get away with this as they are not forced to place their alternative to Islam on the agenda during these pseudo dialogues.

The proof of the existence of God must be accompanied by what proof is there to support the absence of God. Likewise, the proof for Muhammad as the messenger of God must be accompanied by the secular perspective on what constitutes messenger and why Muhammad does not add up to that criterion; or whatever the alternative viewpoint they hold. The same goes for Quran, if one claim it is not the word of God then they must have a set of criteria for what constitutes the word of God! When the tables are turned on them watch the ‘freethinkers’ shrink into little hobbits and run for the nearest hole!

Yamin Zakaria

London, UK

Published in 22/02/2205

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Is ‘Free’ Speech a Product of Secular Intolerance?

Response to the article “Is it only Mr. Bean who resists this new religious intolerance?”1

Driven by secular intolerance and xenophobia, once again Islam and Muslims are maligned in the abovementioned article using the age old excuse of ‘free’ speech. Across the Atlantic Ocean their American cousins are much more candid where anti-Islamic diatribe is constantly propagated and often with vulgarity. Although the holy-secular-warriors brag about their opposition to all religions but in reality they are primarily targeting Islam and Muslims. That begs the question, why, and why use vulgar anti-Islamic diatribes as opposed to debate the issues objectively. The following points will try to explicate the reasons.

A) Cowardice – When the human instincts functions devoid of basic ethics the weak ones are inevitably targeted. Since the Muslim communities virtually have no voice in the corporate run mass media they are an easy target for the vultures. So, it has become fashionable to engage in Islam-bashing and the more powerful and influential communities like the Jews are carefully avoided. Just the threat of anti-Semitism leads them back to the top of the tree waiting for the next victim; the issue of ‘free’ speech is forgotten.

Newspapers columnists like Charles Moore (author of the abovementioned article) ‘bravely’ criticizes behind the protected influential positions just like the Anglo-US forces are bombing from high altitude and torturing the kidnapped Iraqi civilians including women and children! These Newspaper columnists, for once could set a real example of their commitment to ‘free’ speech by giving the Muslims an equal voice so that the discourse is a fair one. Instead, they abuse their monopoly position by incessantly feeding the masses with anti-Islamic tirades and propaganda, reminiscent of the mindset of priests living in the dark ages!

B) Capitulation – Only the Islamic world has not ceded to the secular fanatics and their moderate allies under the guise of reformation or modernization. Islam by default is the final challenge for the holy-secular-warriors. The Christians for example have complied with the secular definitions of what religion should be for the sake of getting accepted. One can see their desperate measures, from endorsing homosexuality, capitulating to feminism, to the selling of Christianity by exploiting the poverty of others. If the Christians are willing to tolerate the constant abuse hurled at Jesus (PBUH) why should that be a yardstick for the Muslims or anyone?

C) Secular Hypocrisy – Ulterior motives results in the selective application of principles thereby exhibit hypocrisy. The US selectively invaded a weak Iraq under the pretext of a security threat but simultaneously avoided confrontation with the Nuclear North Korea. Likewise, the holy-secular-warriors are selectively attacking Islam even though their arguments could be much more applicable against other religions. For example the Talmud clearly endorses blatant RACISM as it upholds the fundamental concept of God’s chosen race. The status of the gentiles (non Jews) is like the animals literally as according to the Talmudic edict, gentiles have been created to serve the Jews, they are to be enslaved (Goyeem). Numerous other edicts from the Talmud make this very clear.

Like typical hypocrites the holy-secular-warriors fear to confront the Jews and they run like cowards, barley holding up their trousers. Do we not frequently witness their hypocritical politicians getting caught with their pants down after lecturing about ‘morality’ then attempt to do a similar exit?

D) Xenophobia - As most Muslims tend to be of non-White origin they are targeted openly under various pretexts but the underlying motivation is racism. This is self-evident when you observe the increasing number of the rightwing organizations have taken an anti-Islamic stance from the old position of being anti-foreigner. The shift may also reflect a change in the sentiments of the general native white population. Of course, the media is always doing its best to increase the xenophobia through writers like Charles Moore.

E) Secular Intolerance – Why resort to vulgar anti-Islamic diatribe instead of engaging in a civilized dialogue? Mr. Charles Moore [1] admits that ‘free’ speech has limits and it should not be used to incite violence. How those limits are decided and enforced is another matter but it inherently contradicts the very notion of being ‘free’. Such notions of freedom can also exist under absolute dictatorship! However, Charles Moore simultaneously argues that in a modern liberal society one should be able to “attack all beliefs”.

So where does one draw the line, as abusing the values of others would naturally lead to anger, potentially translating into violence. This is where secular hypocrisy and intolerance begins. They expect everyone to endure any amount of abuse of religious values but when it suits them they curtail criticism under the guise of ‘incitement to violence’ as it was done with Sheikh Abu-Hamza and Sheikh Faisal.

Secularism has no sacred values other than their material interests; therefore, they are happy to lower the level of discussion using abusive language to all areas and only restrict criticisms to their defined areas of interest. However, the primary reason for using abusive and vulgar language is due to intolerance towards Islam. This intolerance is natural since the secular hypocrites are unable to pose an intellectual challenge by providing an alternative coherent set of values and principles. They define themselves primarily by criticizing Islam. Despite their constant propaganda of the ‘backward’ and ‘evil’ Islam it continues to gain converts in the heart of their own territory. Paradoxically the level of conversion increased after 9/11. If Islam is so primitive and insignificant then how can it pose a threat and why so much resource is allocated to containing it?

What are the Secular ‘Ethics’?

The incoherent secular ‘ethics’ was demonstrated by Charles Moore’s own example as he casts a slur on the Prophet (SAW) by mentioning the old question - if the Prophet (SAW) was a Pedophile as he married the young Aisha. Words were deliberately selected to denigrate the Prophet (SAW) and injure the feelings of the Muslims. In the same way Prophet Ishmael was described as a Bastard child by the Xenophobic and Jewish controlled media to denigrate the Arabs, yet benign terms like ‘love child’ are used to describe the illegitimate children of their celebrities.

The definition of pedophile is someone who is attracted to prepubescent children. Where as the marriage of the Prophet to his only virgin wife was conducted after puberty in line with the Judeo-Christian tradition. Furthermore, prepubescent sex with a child as young as 3 is sanctioned in Judaism not Islam; the Rabbis are permitted to have non-penetrative sex with them. So if the young age is really an issue why the hypocritical silence?

It seems peculiar for the likes of Charles Moore to suggest that it is immoral for two individuals with a considerable age difference to marry or engage in a relationship. Consider the following points. Why a marriage between heterosexual couples with disparity in age is more immoral than homosexual marriages that are licensed by the same liberal principles? It is the same liberal societies that are permitting all forms of sexual deviancies from bestiality, cannibalism to genuine pedophilia activity. In fact in the US there is an organization (NAMBLA) seeking to legitimize pedophile activity and the Danish government has refused to ban pedophile websites.

By the liberal criteria of freedom two consenting adults (meaning post puberty as defined by Islam) should be able engage freely in a marital relationship. Finally, if the secular west is really opposed to young people engaging in sex then why do they subject children to Porn-culture and casual sex? And teach them the tricks and provide them with the necessary tools to avoid the consequences of illicit sexual activities!

Non Muslims under Islamic Rule

Charles Moore also claimed that Dhimmis (non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic State) are oppressed as they have to pay the Jizyah tax. But he ignorantly or conveniently does not mention that the Dhimmis are also excluded from many other taxes that are levied upon the Muslim citizens. Consequently, the Dhimmis as are either financially better off or in the same position as the Muslim citizens! The point of Islamic conquest (Jihad) is to gain converts not to engage in wanton killings and plundering like that is happening in Iraq and has happened for the last 400 years or so. Let’s remind Charles Moore that it was not the Muslims that took the crown jewels from different parts of the world back to Mecca or Medina! Oppressing the Dhimmis would defeat this central objective.

There are no historical records of where Dhimmis have revolted due to the oppressive Jizya in fact the non-Muslims enjoyed far greater levels of security and prosperity under Islam than they found in Europe amongst their co-religionists. The brutal Spanish inquisition and the conflict between the Latin and Orthodox Church in the Balkans are two a clear reminders.

Furthermore, minorities are the second class citizens in a secular state not the Dhimmis! How? The rights of the Dhimmis are protected by the clear Islamic texts and the laws are fixed and permanent. The same cannot be said of the minorities in secular societies as the Jews found out under the Nazis, Rodney King is a recent example and now the Muslims are beginning to find the same. Minorities have rights subjected to the democratic majority approval who are at liberty to change those rights.

The incarceration at camp-X-ray and the brutality of the US-run prisons in Iraq are a reminder for those who think we are talking in the realm of hypothetical possibilities. There is nothing to stop Europe or the US resurrecting the gas chambers if the majority approves. Secular West in fact has only recently learnt to exercise a bit of tolerance after centuries of intolerance.

Christians have lived under Muslim rule for centuries and their presence in the Islamic lands is proof of the vicious lies that are circulating in the Western media. If the Muslims were as intolerant as the Christian leadership the Christian communities would have been annihilated in places like Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, suffering a similar fate of the Muslims in Spain. So, this is emanating from the mainstream press imagine the utter garbage in the tabloids. This shows that the West is still medieval when it comes to dealing with Islam and Muslims.

The Muslim Response

The Muslims being tolerant have not resorted to vulgar abusive language in the face of such vicious attacks. Despite the historic crimes that are being committed in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan they have not generated chauvinistic outbursts. However, the readers need to contemplate the following points to get a glimpse of how the Muslims would have responded to the constant denigration in the mass media if they had the mentality of the holy-secular-warriors.

The Muslims could have coined the term “a nation of Bastards” based on the statistics of huge number of children (30% to 50%) in the West born out of wedlock. Given the recent pictures from Abu-Ghraib and the carnage in Fallujah as corroborative evidences of that bastard nature! Or they could have also used the label “a nation of pimps” as the flesh trade is flourishing in the West. In fact, women can be purchased cheaper than cattle. The Muslims could have referred to the Pig like behavior using the old saying “what you eat is what you are” as it is the only animal that does not fight for its mate when another pig approaches it!

Looking at San Francisco, Jerry Springer, Abu-Ghraib and the Internet would it be constructive if the Muslims generalized by calling the West a nation of: homosexuals, necrophilia, serial killers and rapists. Or could the Muslims not look at the British history selectively and paint them as a ‘nation of pirates and thieves’; the process is being repeated now in Iraq. Or they could have reflected on the American history describing them as a ruthless greedy nation with an insatiable appetite for wealth and blood.

I am sure Mr. Moore and others would immediately burst into frenzy, newspaper headlines would be filled with venomous responses. But the more objective and enlightened individuals would recognize such name calling would not lead to a dialogue but a confrontation. The end result would be an increase in hatred and bigotry instead of mutual respect and understanding.

The Muslims to the contrary are happy to engage in an open civilized debate. They do not have a history of inquisitions or burning heretics at the crescent! There is no Islamic literature where volumes of information containing lies, vulgar profanities targeted against other faiths. Even the awful medieval crusades did not lead to such materials emerging in the Islamic world and that is true even to this day. Besides the mass media, if you search the Internet, there are many hateful anti-Islamic websites run by secular hypocrites and the foul mouth missionaries but one would be hard pressed to find any that is run by Muslims.

The likes of Charles Moore ought to realize that by vilifying Muslims it can end up in helping the cause of Islam by raising curiosity amongst the native population. During the time of the Prophet the pagan Arabs also engaged in a similar vilification campaign which only led to an increase in the number of followers as has happened due to the propaganda post 9/11. Islam has great resilience; it has stood many tests of time and continues to remain strong this day. History and the current reality proves that the West are only capable of containing Islam through the annihilation of Muslims e.g. Spain but never through intellectual dialogue!

Yamin Zakaria

London, UK

Copyright © 2004 by Yamin Zakaria.

Published in 1/12/2004