Muslims, Islam, West and the rest – IV

If you really believe this “sword in one hand and Quran in the other” propaganda, ask yourself which Muslim army ever invaded Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, composed of islands, all separated by vast oceans from the Arabian Peninsula. 

(Daily Times, 4 September 2013)

Let us now look at some specific issues that agitate non-Muslims regarding Islam and Muslims:

Violence in the Quran: It is an almost universal belief among non-Muslims that the Quran promotes violence, that it is the source of the current spate of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslims. I recommend readers to make a google search for violence in the Old Testament and the New Testament or the Hindu and Buddhist scriptures. They will be surprised at what they find.

Conversely, it might also be instructive to look for references to peace, compassion, tolerance, charity, good works, human dignity, human life and the rights of women, children, orphans, destitute and widows in the Quran and compare them with the other scriptures. Again, Islamophobes may be surprised at what they read.

As to the Quranic verses calling for Jihad, they must be read in the context of Arabia of the first half of the 7th century.  Only crackpots will read or understand them otherwise.  And 99.9999 per cent of Muslims are not crackpots.

Spread of Islam: It is a widely held belief that Islam was spread through forced conversions. Muslim hordes marched with “sword in one hand and Quran in the other”, offering their “unfortunate victims” a choice between war and conversion.  In an age when defeat in war could mean being put to the sword, giving the choice of conversion was probably a humane idea, revolutionary for its time.

But if you really believe this “sword in one hand and Quran in the other” propaganda, ask yourself which Muslim army ever invaded Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, composed of islands, all separated by vast oceans from the Arabian Peninsula.  It also bears mention that Islam is now arguably the fastest-growing religion in some Western countries, if not the whole world.  Surely, these non-Muslims are not converting to Islam to save their necks from present or future Muslim invaders!

It is also merits reminding that, in the ancient world and well into the Middle Ages, all religions were spread either by invasion or through the conversion of the ruler, who left no choice for his hapless subjects except conversion.

Polygamy:  While it is true that the Quran permits four wives, a fact every Tom, Dick and Harry of every religion seems to know, what they don’t know or overlook is that in the same verse the Quran qualifies and limits a man’s right to multiple wives with these words: “And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice.” (4:3). And further down, it categorically rejects this conditional “right” by saying: “Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so)” (4:129).

Most Muslim countries don’t permit polygamy. In those that do, very few actually practice polygamy. Polygamy among south Asian Muslims is rare and among south-east Asian Muslims it is virtually non-existent.

Many non-Muslim societies are polygamous, particularly in Africa. The president of South Africa and the King of Swaziland have many wives, as does the former king of Bhutan.  The Mormons in the US have been known to be polygamous. Not all polygamists are Muslims and very few Muslims are polygamous.

Status of women:  Islam has not prevented four Muslim women from serving as prime minister or president in the three Muslim countries with the largest Muslim populations, namely, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  Women have been ministers, ambassadors, vice chancellors, lawyers, magistrates, judges, etc. in perhaps all Muslim countries, barring Saudi Arabia and a few Gulf countries.  Their numbers may not be high, but, by the same token, women are under-represented in jobs and high positions in all countries. 

In all underdeveloped countries, there is a significant gap between male and female literacy. In India, this gap is nearly 17 %, in Nepal 27% and in Ethiopia 20%. The first two are Hindu-majority Asian countries and the third a Christian-majority African country.  On the other hand, in four Muslim countries, it is 5.9% (Indonesia), 8.6% (Bangladesh and Iran) and 28.3% (Pakistan), take or leave, in all cases, a few percentage points depending on which data you use.

New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote, and this happened as recently as in 1894.  Still, women could vote but not stand for election. In the US, no woman has yet been elected as president or vice president, only three have ever been appointed as secretary of state. UK has had but one female prime minister in its long history.

The veil: The full veil (burqa or niqab) causes some genuine concern among Western believers in women’s rights.  But it has also become the battle-cry of Islamophobes.  It will be sobering to ask how many Muslim women wear the full face veil.  As to the headscarf (hijab) or some kind of head covering for women, they are worn in many non-Muslim ethnic groups and communities across the world, from Russia and Eastern Europe to India to South America. 

And many Muslim women wear the full face veil not because they are compelled to do so by their fathers or husbands but for different personal reasons. Adherence to traditional values or religious injunctions are most often the cause, although there is a great deal of controversy as to the true meaning of the Quranic verses on this issue.  The relevant verses are the subject of different interpretations, which is why the number of Muslim women who choose to wear the full veil is so few as to be negligible. 

Estimated to total two thousand in France, for example, they comprise 0.04 percent of the five million Muslims in that country.  And the millions of Muslim women around the world who do not even wear the headscarf, let alone the face veil, do so without regarding themselves to be sinners, without any feeling of guilt and without compromising their faith.

(To be continued)

By Razi Azmi


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7 Responses to Muslims, Islam, West and the rest – IV

  1. Jacob Kipp says:

    Brilliant and necessary. This is a piece of sanity in a crazy world. Keep it up.

  2. anexmuslim says:

    I always enjoy your rational thinking reflected in your articles. However, this time your emotional attachment to Islam clouded your rationality. Jihad verses are touted by far more than the 0.001% but jobs that you think would want to apply them in the present. Quran is for all times. It is the final revelation of the final Prophet. Great Imams over the centuries have written Tafseers and applied the Jihad verses to their times. See the laws of the Ottoman Empire or even the Mughal Empire, and the treatment of the Kafirs makes it obvious what their views were on the Jihad verses. Denying an obvious truth and bandying about Islamophobia does not sweep away the innate violence at the heart of Islam. Throwing up example of Indonesia does not wipe away the sword of Islam that swept from Egypt to the door of China in 70 years. That sword was not peaceful and its history was bloody. Why try to deny that history?

  3. N S Parameswaran says:

    In your article “Thinking Aloud: Muslims, Islam, West and the rest — IV” you have mentoned and i quote below

    They may not have employed religious terminology, but their goal was a state for the Hindu Tamil people of northern and eastern Sri Lanka. LTTE’s victims included an Indian prime minister and a Sri Lankan president, who were killed by female Tamil suicide bombers in 1991 and 1993, respectively.

    Your understanding is not correct. LTTE was not a Hindu Organization. It’s chief Mr Prabhakaran and his family were Christians who used Hindu Names. This is a common practice among Christian Missionaries in India and other S.Asian countries – the converts are encouraged to keep Hindu Names so that other’s get confused.

    LTTTE was essentially a Christian organization funded by Christian NGO’s and that is why you find such a huge support for them in European countries. This was a plot of Christians to divide Buddhist Sri Lanka and create a Christian homeland but not so openly and obviously.

    The same strategy is being followed in India by these Christian Missionaries. In India a former CM of Andhra and his family kept Hindu Names. This is to fool the masses who think they are Hindus and vote for them. Mr Rahul Gandhi is actually a christian though they are deliberately vague about their religious affiliations. In the Christian dominated N.E of India most of the militant organizations are Christian organizations fighting under tribal names. the idea is to separate the christian NE from India.

  4. Javed Agha says:

    A good analysis. Keep it up. Awaiting continuation.

  5. markjuliansmith says:

    You do not have to destroy another culture by storming the walls, this can just as effectively be achieved once you are inside the gates. Your argument is an understandable psychological device we all utilise only in your case the consequence of your belief so widespread not only in the Muslim community but in Others as well is enabling the Muslim genocide construct of Other which is exactly the same as in Mein Kampf to continue to deliver – only ever a lull in proceedings.

    ‘The Act of Killing’: Genocide re-enacted The film focuses on the Indonesian killings of 1965–1966, an anti-communist purge in which more than 500,000 people were killed.

    There were no Muslim acts of terror against Other at all prior to this in Indonesia?

  6. markjuliansmith says:

    “Only crackpots will read or understand them otherwise. And 99.9999 per cent of Muslims are not crackpots.”

    I suggest you revise your figure.

    Multicultural speak: The ‘Few’? The .0001% Lie.
    “..a majority of Turkish Muslims, who comprise 98% of the population, say suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are never justified (58%).”
    The Turkish people don’t look favorably upon the U.S., or any other country, really BY JACOB POUSHTER PEW


    Therefore a significant proportion 42% of Turkish Muslims think what is justified?
    Do any of these Muslims regard themselves as Liberal/Moderate?
    Could anyone rationally determine such a percentage 42% of a population determining ‘suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified’ constitute just a ‘few’ radicals?

    Not all of these 42% involve themselves directly in violence but they provide the support base from which such acts are justified and authorised by the Islamic construct of Other, Can you claim such views are in no way responsible for the terror Islam informs? How can it be claimed these significant 42% supporting such ethics are not existent within the Islamic behavioral variance?

    There are invariably no more than a ‘few’ altruistic cultural enforcers, to claim the notion of a ‘few’ excuses the rest of a culture denies the fact they could not exist without initially being imbued with a cultural justification and authorisation for their actions and could not subsequently survive once they take on the role of altruistic enforcers without cultural assistance from those not directly on the front line.

    Face it Cultures Justify and Authorise Terror the individual adherent ‘few’ deliver it.

    So because in essence all of the Islamic cultural codex is sourced from the seventh century you can determine can you not therefore all of the text should be ignored surely or are there more crackpots than you first thought.

    You really believe just because you have assumed a Western ethical construct yourself the rest of your Muslim brothers and sisters will surely also see sense and ignore the Islamic schema regards Other clearly set out in the Islamic codex determined as sacred since the seventh century. Maybe you should go through the Quran deleting the bits you think too ‘seventh century’ and see what happens to you. As you and I know there is a schema already set in the Islamic codex for dealing with such persons – very seventh century – you really believe just saying it is so removes you culpability for enabling this construct to be passed to the next generation? Look at your hands are they really that clean or are you still ignoring the caked blood.

  7. Look at your hands have the blood caked hands been cleansed or is it still fresh from today’s Muslim atrocities? So being one of the so called 99.9999% has its perks deniability yet if it was even true the existence of the 99.9999% must by thier very existence enable what to keep occurring?

    The ridiculous comment we always hear as an excuse for Muslim draconian actions against each other in this case Muslim women or Other who can even be fellow Muslims is “This is not what the Quran says or this has no support whatsoever by Islamic/Muslim culture.”.

    It is ridiculous because Cultures as social psychology has clearly proven, in this case Islam, informs outcomes, not individuals or groups of individuals who simply grasp ethical constructs from thin air.

    Firstly humans interact with the world via analogies, “a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject (the analogue or source – cultural textual codex and exemplar (messianic) templates) to another particular subject (the target – in this case Muslim women).

    In the human world nothing I repeat nothing is set down in concrete so that on each of us perceiving the same entity, it is only by mere chance we can as individuals give exactly the same minute description of the entities characteristics or attributes. And importantly it is through an analogy process that lead us by linking what we already know and the extent to which we already know to be able to link a multitude of percepts derived and influenced by context to categorise and situate the entity in an interlinked network of strong to diminishing ‘like’. This process it is very important to note is not split from emotion in terms of defining the relative importance of what we are perceiving and reflecting upon.

    What is the context we find ourselves in?

    Our individual behavioural variance is determined by three factors our genetic makeup, our psychological experience, and culture. Culture the codex framing our relationships, embedded hierarchy, etc. invariably informs to a large degree our psychological experience.

    Culture is in essence our externalised genetic code which informs certain beliefs, ethics, and values and subsequent informed behaviour bounded by those cultural beliefs, ethics, and values. In otherword a consistent constant cultural behavoral variance. You should have already worked out a cultural behavoral variance will necessarily exist.

    Culture uses artifacts, rituals and text to develop and reinforce a shared sense of identity among members. It is the filter through which we see and understand our current reality (Edgar, 1980). These are the structures of identity that help people organise and make sense of everyday life (Wark, 1997). They also establish boundaries between groups (Oyserman & Lee, 2007)
    Psychology Burton, Western, Kowalski, 2012

    What does this all prove?

    I believe I have given you enough information to work out why “The ridiculous comment”.

    Though I will leave you with a rather less, as it may appear on the surface, scientific response to Not Islam.

    The paradox even dare I say insanity of holding such a notion of Is-Islam and Not-Islam, is because it is exactly the same logic as determining Is-Bull Elephant, Not-Bull Elephant without firstly explaining how an animal initially determined as one entity could suddenly be determined as two distinct entities comprised of diametrically opposed elements without any proof whatsoever as to where this schism between Is and Not .occurs and nor provide justification as to why completely against the laws of nature (social psychology) such a condition has been enabled to occur in the first place.

    Of critical importance when dealing with a culture, is which part of the behavioural variance radical-liberal-moderate-very dedicated/Pious-radical will in the end come to dominate, to attain the political space and associated systems reflective of the normative cultural belief and values. Not who we as Other wish would dominate, the radical-Liberal-moderate in part in relative degrees reflecting back Others own core ethical values, but who in reality in time will and does invariably set the cultural agenda.

    Which end of the Bull Islam will determine direction the Bull sh.. end or the Bull trunk end? One can infer from the nature of the question, given the evidence, the answer to this question is Crystal Clear, beyond doubt, except for the most dedicated delusionalist. Which is why the current Western cultural gatekeepers in charge of policy and outcomes in Western Public Squares are so dangerous to their own cultures survival.

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