Far from being repentant of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey, under the leadership of Prime Minister Erdogan, is again targeting Armenians; is again causing their
death and dislocation.
In the early morning hours of March 21, al-Qaeda linked Islamic jihadis crossed into Syrian territory from the Turkish border and launched a jihad on the Christian/Armenian town of Kessab. Among other thing, “Snipers targeted the civilian population and launched mortar attacks on the town and the surrounding villages.” Reportedly eighty people were killed.
The jihadis later made a video touring the devastated town. No translation is needed, as the main phrase shouted throughout is Islam’s triumphant war cry, “Allahu Akbar” (or, according to Sen. John McCain’s translation, “thank God”).
At a time when terrorism committed in the name of Islam is rampant, we are continuously being assured—especially by three major institutions that play a dominant role in forming the Western mindset, namely, mainstream media,
academia, and government—that the sort of Islam embraced by “radicals,” “jihadis,” and so forth, has nothing to do with “real” Islam.
“True” Islam, so the narrative goes, is intrinsically free of anything “bad.” It’s the nut-jobs who hijack it for their own agenda that are to blame.
More specifically, we are told that there exists a “moderate” Islam and an “extremist” Islam—the former good and true, embraced by a Muslim majority, the latter a perverse sacrilege practiced by an exploitative minority.
But what do these dual adjectives—“moderate” and “extremist”—ultimately mean in the context of Islam? Are they both equal and viable alternatives insofar as to how Islam is understood? Are they both theologically legitimate? This last question is particularly important, since Islam is first and foremost a religious way of life centered around the words of a deity (Allah) and his prophet (Muhammad)—the significance of Continue reading “Why ‘Moderate Islam’ is an Oxymoron”→
A jihadi group occupying the Syrian town of Raqqa recently gave Christian minorities living there three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) remain Christian
but pay tribute and accept third-class subject status, or 3) die by the sword.
According to the BBC, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria issued a directive
citing the Islamic concept of “dhimma”, [which] requires Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety. It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public. Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS (also known as ISIL) on their daily lives. The statement said the group had met Christian representatives and offered them three choices—they could convert to Islam, accept ISIS’ conditions, or reject their control and risk being killed. “If they reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword,” the statement said.
Because several Western media outlets uncharacteristically reported on this latest atrocity against Syrian Christians, many Westerners are shocked—amazed to hear of such draconian conditions.
For three centuries the West built up enormous economic, cultural, and military capital that dwarfs and dominates that of the rest of the world. Other countries may hate and resent Europe and the United States, but they still have to imitate, adapt, or steal the technology, financial systems, and even popular culture of the West. Yet this dominance has come at a price for Westerners, one that contains the seeds of our decline.
One baleful effect of this achievement has been the erosion of the virtues and ideals that created Western dominance in the first place, a phenomenon long recognized as the cost of national success. Two thousand years ago the Roman historian Livy, surveying the wreckage of the Roman Republic, invited his reader to contemplate the “life and manners” of his ancestors that led to their dominance, and “then, as discipline gradually declined, let him follow in his thoughts their morals, at first as slightly giving way, next how they sunk more and more, then began to fall headlong, until he reaches the present times, when we can neither endure our vices, nor their remedies.” Livy specifically linked this decline to the vast increase of wealth that followed the success of Rome, and that “introduced avarice, and a longing for excessive pleasures, amidst luxury and a passion for ruining ourselves and destroying every thing else.”
Clichés, one might say, but no less true for that. The astonishing wealth of the West, more widely distributed than in any other civilization, the abandonment of religion as the foundation of morals and virtues, the transformation of political freedom into self-centered license, and the commodification of hedonism that makes available to everyman luxuries and behaviors once reserved for a tiny elite, have made self-indulgence and the present more important than self-sacrifice and the future. Declining birthrates, a preference for Continue reading “Western Arrogance and Decline”→
While other scriptures contain contradictions, the Koran is the only holy book whose commentators have evolved a doctrine to account for the very visible shifts which occur from one injunction to another. No careful reader will remain unaware of the many contradictory verses in the Koran, most specifically the way in which peaceful and tolerant verses lie almost side by side with violent and intolerant ones. The ulema were initially baffled as to which verses to codify into the Shari’a worldview—the one that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims till they either convert, or at least submit, to Islam (8:39, 9:5, 9:29). To get out of this quandary, the commentators developed the doctrine of abrogation, which essentially maintains that verses revealed later in Muhammad’s career take precedence over earlier ones whenever there is a discrepancy. In order to document which verses abrogated which, a religious science devoted to the chronology of the Koran’s verses evolved (known as an-Nasikh wa’l Mansukh, the abrogater and the abrogated). Continue reading “Islamic Jihad and the Doctrine of Abrogation”→
Last November Raymond Ibrahim was interviewed by Egyptian reporter Sherif Awad. The interview appeared in several Egyptian magazines and websites, as well as American ones, such as the Westchester Guardian. The interview follows:
Awad: Can you tell us about your family and their profession and how and why they decided to migrate to the US? Tell us about your childhood and the intercultural elements that shaped it until you decided to select your profession.
Ibrahim: My father and mother, both Copts, one from Cairo the other Alexandria, left Egypt in the late 1960s for America, where I was born. They left Egypt for a better life. I grew up speaking both Arabic and English and visited Egypt with my parents often when I was young. It was natural, then, for me formally to study the region, its languages (primarily Arabic, which I already spoke), its history and conflicts, in college. Growing up in Egypt in the 1940s-1960s, my parents experienced little by way of direct persecution, but they did experience religious discrimination, and that was one of the reasons they came to America, for better opportunities.
Awad: In regards to your MA thesis and book about the Battle of Yarmuk, can you compare its events to the happenings that led to the ending of Islamic rule in Andalusia? Do you consider researching the Islamic empire in Andalusia? About the Crusades? Continue reading “The Past and the Future”→
Religion,” Pew lists 24 countries—20 of which are Islamic and precisely where the overwhelming majority of “the world’s” Christians are actually being persecuted.)
The reason for this ubiquitous phenomenon of Muslim persecution of Christians is threefold:
Christianity is the largest religion in the world. There are Christians practically everywhere around the globe, including in much of the Muslim world. Moreover, because much of the land that Islam seized was originally Christian—including the Middle East and North Africa, the region that is today known as the “Arab world”—Muslims everywhere are still confronted with vestiges of Christianity, for example, in Syria, where many ancient churches and monasteries are currently being destroyed by Continue reading “Why Are Christians the World’s Most Persecuted Group?”→
A new video of the twelve Christian nuns kidnapped in Syria recently appeared. In it, the nuns are taped sitting in a room and being questioned by an unseen man, presumably a member of the kidnappers. He asks them how they are, if they’ve been mistreated, etc.
They respond that they are being treated fine, that they very much look forward to being returned to their convent, that they heartily thank the world for its concern, and that they continually pray that God grant peace to all nations.
Their words say one thing, their expressions and demeanor another. Put differently, as female captives of Islamic jihadis, what else could they say but what they were told to say? (See, for example, how the nun in glasses had to be forced to face the camera at 1:46.) Even if one of them dared to Continue reading “Kidnapped Nuns No Longer Bear the Cross”→
This new relaxation of rules for Muslims comes at a time when the FBI is tracking more than 100 suspected jihadi-infiltrators of the U.S. military. Just last month, Craig Benedict Baxam, a former Army soldier and convert to Islam, was sentenced to seven years in prison due to his al-Qaeda/jihadi activities. Also last month, Mozaffar Khazaee, an Iranian-American working for the Defense Department, was arrested for sending secret documents to America’s enemy, Iran. Continue reading “The Pentagon’s Bow to Islamic Extremism”→