Enlarging on the response to the London bombs

Just don't call it war in The Spectator If we were Israelis, we would by now be doing a standard thing to that white semi-detached pebbledash house at 51 Colwyn Road, Beeston. Having given due warning, we would dispatch an American-built ground-assault helicopter and blow the place to bits. Then we would send in bulldozers to scrape over the remains, and we would do the same to all the other houses in the area thought to have been the temporary or permanent addresses of the suicide bombers and their families. After decades of deranged attacks the Israelis have come to the conclusion that this is the best way to deter Palestinian families from nurturing these vipers in their bosoms, and also the best way of explaining to the death-hungry narcissists that they may get the 72 black-eyed virgins of scripture, but their family gets the bulldozer. No doubt there are some people in Britain - I can think of at least one Daily Mail columnist - who would approve of such tactics; but we are not Israelis, and we are novices not just at dealing with suicide bombers, but with suicide bombers as British as the fish-and-chip shops in which they grew up. They were born in our NHS, these killers. They were coddled by our welfare state, they were fed on our butties and our Spangles, they played cricket on our glum and bemerded streets. They were washed by the rains and blessed by the suns of home. They have in their houses (or, perhaps, scattered in fragments at four London Transport crime scenes) documents in which Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs requests and requires that the bearer be given all the deference and precedence that is the due of a British national. They were not metics, or the second-class citizens of the Occupied Territories. We cannot build a wall against them, or erect turnstiles on the way into London, foul-smelling pissoirs of the kind that connect the West Bank and Israel. So we have to focus - in the way that only this kind of slaughter can make us focus - on what we should do now to stop people like them hating us so much that they want to kill us. Something so scorched these fools in their young male psyches that they were prepared - in at least one case - to leave wife and child, and to take their own lives and the lives of dozens of other Britons. In groping to understand, the pundits and the politicians have clutched first at Iraq, and the idea that this is 'blowback', the inevitable punishment for Britain's part in the Pentagon's fiasco. George Galloway began it in Parliament; he was followed by Sir Max Hastings, with the Lib Dems limping in the rear. It is difficult to deny that they have a point, the Told-You-So brigade. As the Butler report revealed, the Joint Intelligence Committee assessment in 2003 was that a war in Iraq would increase the terror threat to Britain. Anyone who has been to Iraq since the war would agree that the position is very far from ideal; and if any anti-Western mullah wanted a text with which to berate Britain and America for their callousness, it is amply provided by Fallujah, or the mere fact that Tony Blair cannot even tell you how many Iraqis have been killed since their liberation - only that the number is somewhere between ten and twenty thousand. Supporters of the war have retorted that Iraq cannot be said to be a whole and sufficient explanation for the existence of suicidal Islamic cells in the West, and they, too, have a point. The threat from Islamicist nutters preceded 9/11; they bombed the Paris Métro in the 1990s; and it is evident that the threat to British lives pre-dates the Iraq war, when you think that roughly the same number of Britons died in the World Trade Center as died in last week's bombings. In other words, the Iraq war did not create the problem of murderous Islamic fundamentalists, though the war has unquestionably sharpened the resentments felt by such people in this country, and given them a new pretext. The Iraq war did not introduce the poison into our bloodstream but, yes, the war did help to potentiate that poison. And whatever the defenders of the war may say, it has not solved the problem of Islamic terror, or even come close to providing the beginnings of a solution. You can't claim to be draining the swamp in the Middle East when the mosquitoes are breeding quite happily in Yorkshire. The question is what action we take now to solve the problem in our own country, and what language we should use to describe such action. The first step, as we swaddle London and Yorkshire with Police/Do Not Cross tape, is to ban the phrase 'war on terror', as repeatedly used by G.W. Bush, most recently on 7 July in Edinburgh, with Blair nodding beside him. There is nothing wrong in principle in waging war on an abstract noun; the British navy successfully waged a war on slavery, by which they meant a war on slavers. But if we continue to say that we are engaged in a war with these people, then we concede several points to the enemy, and set up a series of odious false equivalences. For 30 years we fought something called the Irish Republican Army, and it was always an axiom of our anti-terrorist strategy that we did not accept the self-description of these thugs as 'soldiers'. This wasn't a war, we said; this was murder. They weren't soldiers, these men whose apologists now draw parliamentary expenses (so showing an interesting partiality in our 'war on terror'). They were just killers, we said; not military figures, but criminals. So why do we now call it war? Why glorify the actions of these Yorkshire maniacs? Why do we hand them this right to be recognised as belligerents, when we do not even understand their war aims? At least the IRA had comprehensible geographical objectives: to reverse the partition of Ireland. What do these folks want? Do they really want British troops out of Iraq, when most people I met in Baghdad secretly or openly want them to stay and help fight the insurgency? Is it really the injustices of Palestine that get their goat? Is that what makes a young cricket-loving Beeston lad go and top himself? Is it the continued existence of the house of Saud? Or were they all so seriously maladjusted to modern Britain, and found it so hard to get girlfriends that they went down the Tube in search of the hur, the 72 black-eyed ones of paradise that some Islamic scholars believe to be correctly identified not with virgins but with raisins? If we are baffled by them, it may be that they find our own motives equally puzzling and suspicious, and that, too, is why it is a bad idea to talk of a general 'war on terror'. There are plenty of people in Iraq who think Britain did a wonderful thing in helping to get rid of Saddam Hussein, and it is still too early to reach a final verdict on the success of the Iraq war. But it was surely a mistake to continue, in spite of all the evidence, to present this invasion as part of the 'war on terror'. It became obvious to everyone that Saddam did not possess weapons of mass destruction, and it is easy to see why Muslims might suspect that there must be another explanation. To the paranoid Muslim mind, the evident bogusness of the 'war on terror' - in so far as it applied to Iraq - suggested that the war was really about something else: about oil, about humiliating and dominating the Islamic world; and because they make no separation between religion and politics, the bogus 'on terror' seemed to imply an undeclared war on Islam, and that was an impression that neither Bush nor Blair properly corrected. If the neocon project means democracy throughout the Middle East, and Starbucks, and women being able to drive, then I am an ardent neocon. Just don't call it war. There has been a fatal elision between the 'war on terror' and the campaign to democratise the Arab world, and many Muslims can be forgiven for thinking that this is really a war to democratise the Middle East in the interests of General Motors, evangelical Christianity, Hollywood and global pornography. No wonder they dislike it; and if we use the vocabulary of war, it gives the maniacs all the more excuse to wage war on us. When Bush said, 'If you are not with us, you are against us,' and then invaded Iraq on charges that were frankly trumped-up, he co-opted tens of millions of Muslims into the camp of his enemies, even though they might loathe Saddam. They had nowhere else to go. To keep talking of war plays on militant Muslim paranoia, and, incidentally, since it is a key point of Islamic theology that the suicide bomber may not be called a martyr, and therefore entitled to his ration of virgins/raisins, unless he dies in 'war', we are by our own vocabulary offering these people an incitement to murder and a laissez-passer to paradise. Above all, misplaced talk of 'war' is a distraction from the real disaster, which is that we have a serious and long-term security problem, not in Iraq but in this country, among young men who speak with Yorkshire accents. This is a cultural calamity that will take decades to correct. We - non-Muslims - cannot solve the problem; we cannot brainwash them out of their fundamentalist beliefs. The Islamicists last week horribly and irrefutably asserted the supreme importance of that faith, overriding all worldly considerations, and it will take a huge effort of courage and skill to win round the many thousands of British Muslims who are in a similar state of alienation, and to make them see that their faith must be compatible with British values and with loyalty to Britain. That means disposing of the first taboo, and accepting that the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem. To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia - fear of Islam - seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture - to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques - it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers. As the killer of Theo Van Gogh told his victim's mother this week in a Dutch courtroom, he could not care for her, could not sympathise, because she was not a Muslim. The trouble with this disgusting arrogance and condescension is that it is widely supported in Koranic texts, and we look in vain for the enlightened Islamic teachers and preachers who will begin the process of reform. What is going on in these mosques and madrasas? When is someone going to get 18th century on Islam's mediaeval ass? It is time that we started to insist that the Muslim Council of Great Britain, and all the preachers in all the mosques, extremist or moderate, began to acculturate themselves more closely to what we think of as British values. We can't force it on them, but we should begin to demand change in a way that is both friendly and outspoken, and by way of a first gesture the entire Muslim clergy might announce, loud and clear, for the benefit of all Bradford-born chipshop boys, that there is no eternal blessedness for the suicide bombers, there are no 72 virgins, and that the whole thing is a con and a fraud upon impressionable minds. That might be a first step towards what could be called the re-Britannification of Britain. There is much more to be done, not least in the treatment of women. But we should not call it a war, whether cultural or military. The language of a 'war on terror' may help the government to pass its illiberal measures, such as the ID cards that would have been of no assistance whatever against last week's bombs, but it is profoundly dishonest. Britain is not at war. Even if you include last week's fatalities, the number of deaths from terrorism is falling across the world; indeed, the world has seldom been more peaceful since the age of the Antonine emperors. The more we talk of war, the more we big up the terrorists, inflame suspicions across the Muslim world, and give power-crazed politicians the chance to force through some liberty-eroding measure. Last week's bombs were placed neither by martyrs nor by soldiers, but by criminals. It was not war, but terrorism, and to say otherwise is a mistake and a surrender.

137 thoughts on “Enlarging on the response to the London bombs”

  1. “There is much more to be done, not least in the treatment of women. But we should not call it a war, whether cultural or military”

    Yes Boris, I agree, it isn’t war and to call it such is stupid but I have two points:

    * if you had a band of trouble makers at a party you’d put up with so much then throw them out wouldn’t you? It’s not the first time England/Britain has done this and by the way – this is not a multi-faith country it is a christian country with it’s own religion and the queen is the head of that religion. It is merely tolerant of other religions.

    * All this talk about defending women sounds very laudable Boris and I should know, if you were paying attention which I think you were, you would have noticed the obvious. However, women fought long and hard for emancipation in this country and I think it was more powerful that we did so than someone else wading in and telling us all how to live. That, in my opinion is incredibly arrogant. You sound like a missionary wanting to save and educate the poor native americans when actually they were perfectly happy in tents thankyou very much and much healthier without our present of smallpox.

  2. (Comment replying to comment)

    Firsty, “jaq”, please learn how to use apostrophes, and secondly “this is not a multi-faith country it is a christian country with [its] own religion and the queen is the head of that religion. It is merely tolerant of other religions.”

    Speak for yourself. Move with the times. This IS a multi-faith country. Pieces of land don’t have religions, they have diverse people living on them.

  3. Sir,
    the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain issued the following Press Release, dated 26 January 2005

  4. Nicely said , and well argued Jaq. Excepting for one word , and that word is WAR. This does not , in every case, mean an armed state of belligerence. For years we have been waging ‘ War on want’. is this a misnomer? The word ‘War’ has a secondary meaning, which in my opinion , is of equal value:- a state of antagonism between two competing factions for ideals: for example ;a class or a disease. The word has its roots in mediaeval English , via a germanic origin, and basically has to do with confusion and strife. Not that this is of importance other than to say war does not automatically recall the Normandy Landings.
    We , as a Nation, need to root out those responsible for despoiling the landscape with bilious outbursts against the British ‘Infidel; the ‘beardless heretics ‘; the ‘Godless’ hosts to their poison. Weed out the preachers of hate, of whatever persuasion, and isolate them from the possibility of promulgating their messages. The Government must stop listening to the few PC fanatics , and start to listen to the voice of the majority.If this does not happen , another record will not be broken. They will have completely lost the confidence of their voters.

  5. Note: alleged bombers. Here in Britain we have this ancient tradition of “innocent until proved guilty”, no matter how much the current Government have tried to water it down.
    Have you seen pictures of anyone actually setting the switch on the bombs? I haven’t, I’ve seen grainy pictures of someone wearing a rucksack, that’s all.
    You, like the media (including the BBC) seem to have fallen into the propaganda that these men were “the bombers”. It makes a nice soundbite.

    But what if they aren’t? If they weren’t the bombers, but victims, then it means that the real bombers are still out there and laughing their arses off because no one is looking for them…

    Please don’t fall into the media trap. You’re better than that…

  6. Jaq and Zoe: You are both correct about this being (a) “a christian country with it’s own religion [with] the queen [as] the head of that religion” and (b) “a multi-faith country”.

    The Queen (by virtue of a messy divorce case nearly 500 years ago) is indeed the head of the church. We have un-elected bishops helping to make our laws, and we now have the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill going through parliament which will give the right of equal protection to all faiths and cults, but not I understand to non-believers. The government also have an active policy of supporting existing and new faith schools (of various religions) with large amounts of taxpayers’ money, despite the small number of people in Britain who are actually church (temple or mosque) goers.

  7. You have become the complete prat. You would not be worthy of the crumbs off Enoch Powell’s table. You have become the complee nonentity. If all conseritive MP’S are like you no wonder we lost the last election. DAVID TOLHURST FYLETTS MANOR HAWSTEAD BURY ST EDMUNDS IP29 %NP

  8. Chris C: are you saying that there were ‘alleged ‘dead at the scenes of these ‘alleged’ bombings, caused by ‘alleged’ bombers? The alleged bombers are dead, are they in a position to deny their implication? Have the forensic scientists involved in the case invented the evidence to connect the bombs with a specific bomblayer? DNA evidence is there in sufficient quantity and quality to tie these people to the crime. I would suggest that the evidence is overwhelmingly against the perpetrators; ergo ‘ alleged ‘ is no longer necessary.

    I do not believe , however , that these young men are the ones who should be designated to carry the burden of blame. The blame lies elsewhere.If this Government has the will, it will eventually be able to settle the blame on the heads of those ultimately culpable.

  9. CIVIL WAR is not far away. All UK forces must be brought home to deal with it. Time is runnining out. DAVID TOLHURST FYLETTS MANOR HAWSTEAD BURY ST EDMUNDS IP29 5NP 012842 388 355

  10. Zoe – don’t be so condescending and rude, try polite, reasoned argument and opinion.

    Simon – so true. [And what about the druids? Do they get much lottery money? How many people are bending over backwards for that minority?!]

    Mac – well corrected as ever Mac, totally agree, especially: “Weed out the preachers of hate, of whatever persuasion, and isolate them from the possibility of promulgating their messages. The Government must stop listening to the few PC fanatics”

  11. A good arguement, although I’m starting to question your motives. I’m slightly worried that immature right-wing anger is engulfing your mind, as indeed it pressures mine. (Dont worry, its definetely better than radical left-wing passion!)

    We ALL wish we could stop these nutters, be we muslim, jew, hindu, christian, jedi knight or atheist. But we will have to go the correct way about it, and not descend to similarly brutal and immature tactics.

    By the way, your site seems to have a *real* problem with what i assume are single quote characters (these: ””””’)

  12. Sorry Jaq. Apostophes just have a strange power over me. It’s not just you either.

    “We ALL wish we could stop these nutters, be we muslim, jew, hindu, christian, jedi knight or atheist. But we will have to go the correct way about it, and not descend to similarly brutal and immature tactics.”

    Love that comment.

  13. Dear Sir
    I have recently returned from an extended stay in the caves of Middle East and notice that that Tony Blair wishes me to have an identity card. I am in a quandry which identity should I use.
    Yours Osama

  14. No worries Zoe. But I still don’t know precisely what your critisism was, if you explain I’d be happy to learn.

    BTW: Your comment started with a typo “Firsty” and every time I log on I think of a glass of nicely chilled wine. I think it’s about that time – cheers everyone!

  15. Boris:

    “At least the IRA had comprehensible geographical objectives: to reverse the partition of Ireland”

    You over-simplify.

    The re-emergence of the IRA followed civil rights marches, if you recall. The civil rights marches were about blatant discrimination against Catholics — in jobs, in housing, and by a 100% Protestant police force — for decades.

    The British Government talked about this situation as a “security” problem for years. Just as Blair is talking “security” now. [And you should be aware that, up to the point of Direct Rule, the British Parliament, by a self-denying ordinance, could not debate the situation in Northern Ireland because security was delegated to Stormont and was not an imperial function.] I do not believe that one can deal with political problems by talking about security alone, and this was fully borne out in Northern Ireland.

    If Blair was to push vociferously for a Palestinian State, and the withdrawal of Israelis from the Occupied Territories — along with talking about his security measures — there might be some hope of lessening the injustice felt keenly by Muslims, be they British born or not.

    Meanwhile, allowing Putin to throw the situation in Chechnya into the general melting pot of the GWOT is also unjust. The fight for independence there, and the atrocities carried out by Russian troops (rape, murder and the levelling of towns) has not received anything like the publicity here that it deserves.

  16. Clarification:

    “The British Government talked about this situation [the whole Northern Ireland issue] as a “security” problem for years.”

  17. Take a terrorist – any terrorist – and it seems Nora comes rushign to their aid with an apology. Actually Nora, everything you said about discrimination against Catholics in the North, though true, could be said of Protestants in the south of Ireland who were also dsicriminated against. The only difference is that the Protestant population of the south fell by a factor of about ten whereas the North enjoyed a steady influx of Catholics looking for work – and Protestants did not try to bomb their way to equal treatment.

    I don’t know why Boris is so puzzled about the objectives of the Jihadist Muslims. Their ultimate objective is to have Islam dominate over literally the whole globe with only Jews and Christians allowed to survive as “dhimmis” -second class citizens. However, they are not stupid enough to think they are going to attain that objective overnight. So they have short term and medium term objectives.

    The short term objectives include removal of western troops from the lands of Islam – esp. the Middle East – and the overthrow of non-Islamist regimes. That will create a base from which they can resume the advance of Islam. A particular obsession of Al Queda and other Islamists is the need to reconquer Al Andalus i.e. Spain. I think once they had achieved their objective of securing their Middle East base they would certainly be looking for opportunities in Europe. But another priority might well be the developemnt of weapons of mass destruction which could provide a short cut to global Jihad victory. What could the USA – or indeed ourselves – do against nuclear “suitcase” bombs in its major cities? It would be virtually powerless.

    This is why the democracies of the world must unite and fight now wherever we can fight them. Iraq is a good battleground. Thousands of lethal Jihadists are being killed there rather than be left to create mayhem elsewhere and as along as we are in Iraq and Afghanistan Al Queda are unable to rest easy and lay plans for mass terror attacks in the West.

  18. Field: “Iraq is a good battleground. Thousands of lethal Jihadists are being killed there rather than be left to create mayhem elsewhere and as along as we are in Iraq and Afghanistan Al Queda are unable to rest easy and lay plans for mass terror attacks in the West.”

    A “good battlefield”? Did I really read this on the Boris-Johnson.com blog?

    First, al-Qaeda (not Al Queda) _are_ making mass terror attacks in the west. We have (probably) just had one.

    Second, many innocent Iraqis are currently being killed by insurgents. There is _nothing_ good about this.

    Iraq, which was at least closed to (non-state) terrorism under Saddam, has now become one of the most dangerous places in the world. This is why the US and UK are now planning to leave, despite all the Bush/Blair talk of resolution and seeing the job through.

    Far from being a place where terrorism is contained, Iraq is a place where terrorism has developed. Are the friends, relatives and neighbours of those melted to death by American MK77 (napalm) incendiary bombs in Fallujah going to embrace free trade, Hollywood sitcoms, and Coca Cola – or violent radicalism?

    Iraq has offered an opportunity to al-Qaeda and similar organizations to develop, in contrast to other Middle Eastern countries where they have been suppressed.

  19. Now matter how much is said and debated about religious hatred, it still does do change the fact that it will never go away. Christians are as bad as the Muslims, and indeed all other religions that believe in a so-called God.

    “We are right, and you are wrong, and if you dont accept our way then prepare to take the consequences!” seems to be the attitude of all religions.

    I am English, born in Britain, but I am refered to as a heretic, unbeliever, infidel, etc., because I am a Pagan.

    I have suffered threats, victimisation and abuse because of this. The surprise is that it comes from Christians mainly. If I try to put my point of view, then I am “put down”, but I am expected to listen to THEIR point of view.

    Fortunately I havent suffered from violence yet, although it has been promised. Like the Jews, most Pagans believe in “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”

    It seems to me that Christianity is based on “love thine enemy” (I question that!) and Islam says “kill thine enemy”.

  20. Did it? Sorry.

    I happen to have had an English teacher in my early school years who made everyone stand on the desks chanting “I-T-‘-S can only mean ‘it is'” (Which isn’t actually totally accurate, it can also mean ‘it has’ or any combination where the apostrophe is substitutuing for letters) but the point is ‘its’ when referring to belonging has no apostrophe because ‘it’ in this case is a pronoun and the equivalent of his or her.

    This is so not the place to be saying this stuff. Oh well.
    Sorry Boris, I’m crowding your blog with grammar rules. Hope you don’t mind. Think of it as discussing the education system.

  21. Sorry, just read the comment above mine^

    “most Pagans believe in “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth””

    WHAT???

    I am a Pagan and I most certainly do NOT believe that. Kindly speak for yourself and do not generalise. I’m with Ghandi on this one – “An eye for an eye and soon the world is blind”.

  22. oh. well the exercise obviously worked and hopefully you got a better view of the hockey field. We recited the times table and I can’t remember a one!

    Field/Mac/anyone > do you think there’s any similarities between here and now and immediately pre-Hitler?

  23. Jaq: see your point , but we are not that far down the road just yet.However if there is no drastic action taken to stop the possiblity of terrorism , I foresee an explosion in numbers of normally decent folk, who change their allegience to radical parties. The BNP is , as we speak, laughing up its sleeves. This muppet theatre we call a Government, has delivered the country , on way or another, to extemists of one sort or another.

    Someone , whose word I would not doubt,tells me that a large number of acquaintencies are talking of joining the ranks of the BNP, despite normally having moderate views . In view of the increasingly frequent revelations; as to what sort of hate spewing apostles are being allowed into this country; with the express intention to preach anti Democracy, allowed to enter Britain although banned from the countries of our allies :is it any wonder that peoples’ thoughts turn to other solutions to the problems we face? Eminent Mulim teachers are warming of much larger; n=more inhuman attacke on GB Inc. possibly using gas , or poisoning the water supplies. Wake up Blair.

  24. Jaq –

    I do see parallels with the pre-war appeasement period. Don’t forget as well that we have a v. successful economy – but what sorts of strains would be revealed if for some reason our economy went into freefall?

    I am disgusted by the Galloway Gang staging their agitprop travesty of a remembrance gathering. I was also disgusted to hear on Radio 5 the report – by a Muslim I hasten to add – on
    the state of Muslim opinion. There can be no doubt that a large minority and possibly a majority if not exactly supporting the bombings see a direct equivalence between them and our alleged misdeeds in Iraq. They constantly harp on about the fact that we are still in Iraq despite the fact that they marched against the war. They not to have a glimmer of understanding that they live in a democracy and whether we go to war is decided ultimately by parliament not by marches on the street or strongly held opinions.

    The so called condemnation of the bombings amounts to very little. It is clear the Muslim Council of Britain will not condemn in similar terms suicide bombings in Iraq but they do condemn the coalition forces being in Iraq. The logic then is inexorable. All Muslims are enjoined to help their brother Muslims if under attack and there is nothing against defending Muslims by taking the fight to the enemy – in this case the UK.

    The MCB can condemn the London bombings all they like but they are not being logical. It is the Jihadists who are being logical. If, as the MCB claim, the Iraqis are being subject to an unjust occupation then Muslims across the world have the right and duty under Islam to aid them in their struggle.

    Would the MCB have condemned a suicide bombing on a supply depot for our troops in Iraq? I’d certainly like to hear their view on that one. Unfortunately the UK media are pathetic at asking them the right questions.

  25. Perfectly excusable for a Sunday Mac! amazing you wrote anything at all

    Zoe – btw I like your precise grammar advice – KEEP IT COMING. For some reason I was terrible at school but now it really gets my goat if someone doesn’t try to observe language rules. One that has hit me recently is to practise and a practice – get it right – the verb is an ‘s’. Sorry – oh dear a bit of a tyrant on that obviously

  26. I agree very much with Boris’ comments. We do have to accept reality if we are ever to eliminate these murderous acts. I am profoundly worried by the influence of Islam in any of its forms on our way of life and on our freedoms. In the UK we have had a thousand years of mayhem provoked by Christianity, either internally between Catholic and Protestant or between Christians and other faiths. We have had witch hunts, wars and executions in the name of religion. Only in Northern Ireland do we have the last vestiges of such conflicts remaining. I believe that this country is so tolerant because few people outside of Islam have extreme commitments to Christianity or any other religion. We have allowed the importation of a religion which through disputes about interpretations of scriptures is likely to plunge us into another period of mayhem stoked by extreme perverted beliefs.

    What kind of religious doctrine can seek to persuade a 19 year old with all before him that the best thing he can do with his life is to end it in a murderous attack on innocent people. And Tony Blair, who on the one hand seeks to impose all kinds of restrictions on our freedoms and to give increased powers to the security services and the police, on the other, seeks to persuade us that few such young men exist in this country. In reality, he has no idea. Twenty four hours before his statement in the House of Commons he did not even know that there were four.

    It will not do for a collective of politicians to preach a softly, softly approach. There are serious forces for evil abroad in this country. We need to know who they are and what they are planning. Forget all the nonsense about ID cards and concentrate on the real threats.

  27. Islam is not the enemy – fundamentalism is, in whatever religion. GW Bush is a fundamentalist, responsible for the deaths of 100s of 1000s of innocent people on his “crusade” (he DID say it!).

    Religion also attracts the sad and lonely (this is not to say all people with religion are sad and lonely), ones whose minds are easily manipulated by others. It is quite likely that the bombers had no idea they were suicide bombers, but were fooled by some evil psychotic nutter. Bit like the electorate voting for Bliar again.

    The Government WILL try and use this to put more restrictions on fundamental freedoms (the non-religous use of ‘fundamental’ is fine!). Already there is talk about restricting access to certain political or religious websites. This would, effectively, stop anyone hearing “The Other Side Of The Story”.

    This country’s biggest enemy isn’t Islam…it’s New Labour. And they have already brainwashed the electorate into believing in their murderous schemes. (Iraq, War On Terror, Afghanistan, etc.)

    Hmm. I seem to be ranting. I’ll stop now.

    :o)

  28. Just to get away from the ranting and hotheadedness that has characterised this thread so far, let us all join together in congratulating the designers of this website on the new layout.
    Particularly fetching is the phallic symbol, which seems to be indicating “Hello, I’m Boris with the enormous Johnson”. That’ll teach ’em.

  29. Mac and Field – good points well made. You couldn’t put that into verse now could you Mac?

  30. This article is a cracker. It raises several key issues about our country’s outlook towards immigration and multi-culturalism. The fact that our country has nurtured our own suicide bombers is a point of shame, and the government must now start to look at ways of stopping further attacks on our country by these maniacs who claim to be British.

  31. Ron Ball: Our society, until recently, was big enough and tolerant enough to,” Accept and in some measure even welcome”, the exotic practices of religions, foreign to and different from, the mainstream Judeo-Christianity prevalent in these isles. Times change, and the term,” Fair Play”, long internationally acknowledged to stem from these same inhabitants, must be remembered. The majority of right thinking natives, of whatever race or creed, will, within reason, accept some change: but not a revolution.

    Life evolves through change, and refusal to accept one more additional change would be churlish.

    Since the thrust of my argument is, ” When in Rome, behave as a Roman “, those demanding, or even proposing change, must be aware that minorities have neither the legal right, nor indeed the moral power, to overrule the majority. The rules of polite social behaviour apply. Any attempt to bring about change by terrorist means, will be met with unswerving resistance.

    Since Rome has now found its way into the thread, I can, without apology, very freely paraphrase Shakespeare’s Julius C. here, in order to highlight the point.-

    Britain’s Indomitable Spirit, emerging hot from Hell, smarting from wounds but freshly made, shall, with Sovereign voice, cry, “Havoc”, and let slip the dogs of war.

  32. To catch and put the masterminds up in court is the greatest error we could commit. Israeli-style tactics are the only way of defeating terrorists keen on maiming and killing innocent women and children in London and other parts around the world.

    How dare terrorists demand more justice than they themselves handout to their innocent civilian victims. In the same way a workman on a scaffold may expect to slip and break his neck on a damp and windy day, terrorists have to expect to be hunted down and killed. It?s an occupational health hazard one has to live with, if one is not interested in dialogue, but bombing and killing instead.

    Anybody who thinks otherwise is clearly keen on clouding and appeasing the issue in much the same way many British people tried to appease such loonies as Hitler once upon a time in the 1930s.

  33. Alex: “To catch and put the masterminds up in court is the greatest error we could commit.”

    No, the rule of law is fundamental to our society.

    “Israeli-style tactics are the only way of defeating terrorists”

    Reprisals? Assassinations? Bombings? Rocket attacks? Land grabs? Annexations?

    “Anybody who thinks otherwise is clearly keen on clouding and appeasing the issue in much the same way many British people tried to appease such loonies as Hitler once upon a time in the 1930s.”

    No Alex, you are not a democrat. You are on the other side. You want to overturn our laws and devalue our society.
    And I see you are posting anonymously.

  34. Alex: If Israeli tactics are “the only way of defeating terrorists keen on maiming and killing innocent women and children in London and other parts around the world”, can i please point out that they DO NOT WORK? Israel STILL has a major terrorist problem, and one that is NOT getting better.

    Oh, and nice new site design…but what happened to the “Make poverty history” banner?

  35. Field,

    I have managed to get my threads mixed up.

    In the flag-thread below this, Ed Warren wrote: “… Jihad, which in a ‘peace-loving’ religion is not something to have written in your Holy Book.”

    and in response to him — and you — I posted this:

    Is the Bible a Holy Book?

    And what are Bush and Blair — *professed Christians* — doing, unleashing death and destruction on tens of thousands in Iraq?
    I am not an apologist for terrorists. I do not condone the blowing-up and burning to death of innocent people. WHOEVER DOES IT.

    BTW, I said in a message to FM 106 this morning that I would like to see a two-minute silence for the victims of the carnage in Iraq. Another caller replied that perhaps TWO HOURS would be more appropriate.

    ———-

    And if you can’t be bothered going to the links, which I have gone to some time and trouble to provide for you, it’s not worth my time responding to your remarks in future. But since you have described yourself already as an Islamophobe, I thought I would remind you that the definition of a phobia is, “an exaggerated, usually inexplicable and illogical, fear.”

    ———-

    Love the new site design! It’s a calm and peaceful colour scheme, and easier to read.
    But then, I’m not 20/20 any more. (Even if you add them together.)

  36. Just noticed, on this site, that links clicked on do not take you to the fresh page but to a cached page…resulting in being unable to see updates unless i manually “refresh” the page in question. VERY annoying, and a new feature that should be lost ASAP!!!

  37. I agreed with pretty much every word you said in your article. But you describe the Lib Dems as ‘limping in behind’ George Galloway. And then you go on to lay out exactly the same analysis of the situation as did Charles Kennedy in his speech – a quite different analysis to George Galloway I should add.
    I recognise that as as a Conservative MP, writing in a Conservative organ that it is par for the course to get in a political dig.
    But it is petty-mindedness to do so and then to ‘limp in’ behind the same analysis.
    Why I am here defending Kennedy I don’t know, but I get frustrated when I see little asides like that which are purely party political and distort what political opponents have actually said.

    Greg

  38. Scary stuff as religious bookshops in Sydney are selling ‘how to commit a suicide’ books:

    http://tinyurl.com/d5xzo

    PS: The new site has a rather posh almost royal touch to it despite Boris’ casual smile. I especially like the surboardish look (can I spy two horns coming out of the imaginary surfboard 😉 I also approve of the soft wave lines peppered throught the commentariat. Mac now has a task of composing two poems …

  39. Wibbler: The one from mainpage to this one, AND my shortcut to the mainpage. Maybe it’s just ‘cos it’s monday! lol

  40. One improvement to this website would be to have quotation marks print as quotations marks and as question marks.

    Interesting site otherwise.

  41. Alex “really?”

    hadn’t realised that quotation marks didn’t work – will investigate

  42. [Ed: inappropriate accusations deleted]… if none of my above comments are in the least way, shape or form what you suggested in your original criticism of my initial posting, I am sure you will not mind expanding your argument for our better understanding.

    Also, what is all this rubbish about myself good self posting anonymously? Surely, like any other person on these pages, I type my name, my email address with every post I wish to make and am therefore free to submit my views. Should there be another way of registering in a less anonymous manner, please do, for the benefit of all, explain how to go about it.

  43. “Legislation outlawing ‘acts preparatory to terrorism’ will make it a crime to plan or prepare for a terror act, including accessing terrorist websites. The offence would also cover people with intent to acquire chemicals or with instructions on how to produce a bomb. A further offence includes banning terrorist training and making it an offence to receive training in terror techniques in Britain or abroad.”

    Ho hum…and this is getting cross-party support? Whilst i can see what the intent is, i have to object to this. How are we supposed to understand our “enemy” if we are only allowed “approved” information? George Orwell must be laughing his poor dead head off. Furthermore, our armed services and other security forces need to know how the enemy is trained, otherwise how can we stop them? And what is to stop an ex-member of such services either using this knowledge or being prosecuted for having it?

    The lunacy has definitely started. Goodbye freedom, we are all to be drones now.

    Any ideas where i can escape to? Rockall is sounding good right now…

    :o(

  44. Alex,

    Please – you have made some relevant points – but please respect our friend Simon – who has made many relevant points – and who is a valued and longstanding supporter of ours.

    It would be appreciated – many thanks

  45. Hi Boris,

    Macarnie’s first post hit the nail on he proverbial head. To object to the use of the word ‘war’ is nit-picking, which spoils and otherwise good article.

  46. Dear Editor and dear Mellisa,

    Bit confused by the moderation of this site.

    Surely this site’s main purpose is to permit people to write their views freely. In Great Britain the concept of free speech has always had a great following and something of a profound tradition.

    Instead of editing, cutting and deleting my views from these pages, why not simply discuss by way of a reply.

    I am starting to see a problem here. For, clearly, nobody on these pages is willing to talk about solutions to the terrorist threat facing this great nation. And nobody is keen on being seen to be a little bit politically incorrect either.

    Since this blog, belonging to a democratically elected MP, must surely also stand for free-speech (why else would there be a public comments section), why then are only certain politically correct views permitted?

    The argument that Simon is a long standing member of this comments section and a good friend is much like insisting that the oldest member of parliament be automatically elected leader of the gang and that anything he says is policy of the day. What utter tripe!

    Clearly our great nation has succumb to the disease of the chattering classes that is so aptly called PC. It is for this very reason my mind is left boggling how anybody hopes to change the minds of British home-grown Islamist terrorists, if differing points of view are simply edited let alone deleted and moderated.

    A truly sad day for freedom of speech and democracy.

  47. Alex,

    A sad day for someone who is not prepared to be reasoned and circumspect in his expression.

    We do have unwritten rules about expression and if any language is gratuitously insulting then we retain the freedom to delete : that is the nature and foundation of thinking in the blog. We need a good and challenging shop window that emanates a positive intellectual aura.

    We do not accept involuntary ejections of speech if they are abusive or plainly unhelpful: it is not what the blog is about. By all means express yourself freely but be mindful of your words so they contribute to a positive debate: not one that spirals down to the lowest common denominator in accusation and vituperous counter-accusation.

    By all means feel free to express your views elegantly and we would welcome them – but descend to abuse and blame and alas we may find them unacceptable.

  48. Dear Melissa,

    Exactly which parts of my comments were unfit for printing? Whom did I abuse and blame and which parts were gratuitously insulting?

    Surely any debate is positive as long as it leads somewhere without violence or people throwing bombs all over the shop. I am missing any signs of a debate as to a solution to terrorism on these pages.

    Please point me in the right direction, in case I have been missing these solutions somewhere along the lines.

  49. Alex – if you remember your greeting (first line)then it was not exactly very helpful from line 1. The rest was criticism/accusation that we do not really wish to see repeated.

    You now seem to addressing these issues perfectly reasonably and we would welcome more of you in this vein.

    Thank you for your reply.

  50. Dear Melissa,

    Actually, come to think of it, I have addressed absolutely nothing at all since being edited, moderated and deleted on these pages.

    It is exactly this apathy that makes me wonder exactly what anyone on these pages thinks should be done as to the situation Britain and the West as a whole is facing.

    Tittle-tattle and linguistic niceties are not really going to impress or stop suicide bombers me thinks?.

  51. Dear Alex,

    You misquote people, you try and put words in their mouths, you make false accusations, yet, when caught, you pretend innocence?

    Grow a backbone, dear boy.

    And stop picking on Melissa, or i’ll be forced to fill your bed with the fleas of one thousand camels!

    ;o)

    (Wanted: 1000 flea infested camels…good money paid!)

  52. ******PSIMON******

    lol – lost my composure for a while

    Who’s the coolest then, Psimon? what an that amazing post. We need some ships of the desert, eh?

    *warm gratitude and hug winging its way across the blogosphere*

    ps buy you a drink on constituency soil one day!

  53. Psimon: since when was the purpose of this Government to allow any of us drones to impregnate the glorious Queen Bee . He is a law unto himself, and will not allow others; lesser hive members; to even see his portfolio of preferred ways to muddy the political waters. His increasingly idiosyncratic manner of oratory is symptomatic of this, three words; long pause- – – three words long pause : he allows those, who hear what he says, to believe that they understand the direction in which his speech is going; then he veers in the opposite direction.

    “Drone “: another meaning of the word drone :- a type of windsock; towed, at a safe distance, behind an aircraft, for the purposes of A.A. target practice. Are we to be exposed to target practice from ultra extreme Muslim preachers? Get real Blair.

  54. Interesting, interesting, very interesting?.

    So let me get this right. When I allegedly accuse people who have no backbone and claim to know it all, I get edited, moderated and deleted.

    When somebody does the same to my posts, this person gets cheered and congratulated.

    A.) I did not pick on Melissa
    B.) I am sure Melissa can speak for herself
    C.) If the wish of fleas of a thousand camels is not an insult and a malicious threat, then I don?t know what it is.

    Dear Editor, should you fail to caution and moderate all commentators equally, including Psimon, you will show your true colours of totally lacking fairness and decency. Indeed, you will stand there a hypocrite, which would be a little unfortunate.

    Is it any wonder we again lost the last election with rhetoric of Psimon?s quality.

    Psimon, if you wish to be insulting, please, try a little harder will you?

  55. I don’t agree Adam. Let’s get something straight here, which quiet a few are forgetting.

    First, terroists don’t go and step into mosques. Why? Cause they very well know that’s where first spy intelligence are gonna be and listen, and detect trouble.

    Now, if you was a terroist, are you gonna be dumb enough to go to a mosque, or anywhere near Muslims? Doubt that mate. They’d be far away, mingling with crowd and they wont be wearing beards, and they sure wont be so stupid to keep their ID’s with them.

    Remember, terroists of 911. They were detected drinking in pubs etc. That’s against Islam for a start, so they wont be so rightous and so, they wont be sitting in mosques attracting attention for starters.

    Secondly, looks like the bombs were planned for the G8 Summit, which means, these bombs were a retailation to the war on Iraq etc. Remember what Osama said:

    “You bomb us, we’re gonna bomb you!”

    Which brings us to two question;

    1. Osma is not in Iraq and there were no WMD in Iraq, so why the big chase when they could have concentrated efforts to get Osama?

    2. Did you know, Osama was funded by USA to fight Russia? And did you know USA, teh BUSH family have links with Osama family? Apparently not.

  56. And before someone steps in , I am perfectly aware thae a towed targer is a DROGUE, but that didn’t fit into the conversation, so I lied.

  57. Dear Alex,

    How very unfortunate you see my comments that way. I read your postings before they were deleted, and you were quite happy making up things that no one had said. Melissa (bless her) very kindly stopped you being slanderous (or is it libelous on a forum?).

    In response to your bullet points:
    A. It looked like it to me.
    B. I KNOW Melissa can speak for herself…and far more eloquently than you or I. I was merely indicating my support.
    C. Diddums! You are right about one thing, though…those poor itchy camels!!!

    And finally, unlike yourself, I was not being insulting. Not intentionally, anyway! Might I suggest that you are taking things far too seriously? Hasn’t anyone told you that Life is far too serious to take seriously?

    May your days be as interesting as you need them to be.

    ;o)

  58. Gawd….

    People such as yourselves ought to have the right to vote revoked immediately!

    Hypocrites the lots of you and to think that Boris got your vote. It all makes sense now and his election look all the less surprising.

    Instead of a bit of Let Us Go Forward Together, you hapless bunch seem to be content flaunting your loony views to each other.

    Good that the fait of Britania is not left to you.

    Oh, and by the way. Life ain?t as hard as you try and make it out to be (at least not for myself). So tough, if you are gnawing rags for breakfast instead of freshly baked croissants.

  59. Who said life was hard, Alex? You making things up again?

    Tsk!

    Boris had my vote, yes. And deservedly. He is an excellent constituency MP, and one who is actually making a real difference round here. I’m so very sorry that you don’t approve…you have no idea what you are missing!

    Interesting that you think that anyone who doesn’t agree with you should lose their vote. Mugabe would be proud of you!

    Keep smiling!

    ~;o)

  60. There was a point Alex , when I began to side with you, at least in some parts of what you had said; but your last essay into group insult took that spark of sympathy and extinguished it. To quote Destouches,” Les absents ont toujours tort.” The absent are always wrong.

  61. Psimon and Mac

    Hear! hear! let’s lighten up a bit, for as you say life is too short and not worth getting too bogged down about in any shape or form.

    Have just seen the satirical play ‘Who’s the Daddy’ depicting life in the Spectator. Am I glad I’m not there….too many peccadilloes for my liking though I must admit it was very entertaining as in Blunky Spunky: “Love – such exquisite torture…Kimberly my angel, where are you?” Kimberly: “Our relationship is over, period”. The playwrights hope to write more political satires, perhaps involving Blair and Brown – one to watch out for, though whether they really make it big time remains to be seen.

  62. Mr. Boris, I am disgusted by your extremist views and vicious, ignorant attacks on Islam so let me make afew points to enlighten your one track mind:
    1. Your claim that the ‘Islamists’ last week horribly asserted the importance of that faith overiding all worldly considerations is unfair;when our beloved Prime Minister decided to put thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children to death by bombing them, without agreement from the U.N, thereby, ‘overriding all worldly considerations’, did the Muslims refer or Bush or any of their followers as Christianists or Jewists????! The reason why we don’t invent terminology like you is because we are sensible and broad minded enough to realise that their actions do not reflect the teachings of Christianity or Judaism anymore than the actions of these terrorist bombers of london should reflect teachings of Islam.

    2. Islam is the problem? A religion which is the fastest growing religion in the world cannot be what you have summed it up to be!The real problem are the MISCONCEPTIONS which you and people like you have, concerning Islam, the root word of which means peace.

    3. Your mention of the statement made by the killer of Theo Van is again unfair because you have cherry picked the views and actions of an extremist whose actions are ANTI-ISLAMIC! No where does the Quran say that we are to kill others simply because they are non-Muslims.Our role model is the Prophet of God(peace be upon him)-not murderers! It is self evident that you have no knowledge of the life of the Prophet and his message of peace and tolerance to the non Moslims who lived in Arabia during his times.

    4. When you ask what is going on in mosques, why don’t you care to find out for yourself? Non muslims are always invited!

    5. You call Islam medieval. Excuse me, most religions including Christianity and Judaism came long before Islam; Islam has prevailed because of the preservation of the Quran- every letter, every dot remains the same as it were 1400 years ago; whatsmore, it is practical and contains 1000 verses referring to scientific concepts which were only discovered centuries later.(e.g. the big bang theory,the shape of the earth and more!). Islam has prevailed because it was created by God Himself!

    6.’There is no blessedness for the suicide bombers’. You don’t have to tell us Muslims;we already know. There is no mention of suicide bombings in the Quran and nor was it done at the times of the Prophet.What is the ultimate evidence that it was carried out by Muslims? Yes, it is done in Palestine- you probably would too if you had your children killed, your house bulldozed and your land taken by brutal force.

    7.”There is much to be done, not least in the treatment of women”. I am a woman. I am a Muslim women. How come I don’t feel “oppressed”. Infact, through my head dress and covering, I feel quite liberated! I don’t go strutting about exposing myself for the likes of men and fashion. Hear this, Mr. Boris: I personally know 15 women converts and they all testify that Islam brought them respect, dignity and honour, unlike the way women’s bodies are used as commercial commodities in the west!Yyvonne Ridley converted after meeting the Taliban!!! She was impressed by their chivalry and was broad minded enough to read what the Quran had to offer. Saudia does not allow women to drive;this is not an ‘Islamic’ policy. It is a (wrong) decision made by leaders of that country.Don’t paint us all with the same brush.

    8. “Indeed the world has seldom been more peaceful..” What about Palestine? Kashmir? Chechnya? Iraq? Is Iran to follow next? Oh, wake up Mr. Boris!

    9. Ah, at last we can agree on something in your article!!! i.e. ‘ last weeks bombs were placed by criminals.’ A verse from the Quran comes to my mind,” He who takes one innocent life, it is as if he has killed the whole of mankind and he who saves a life, it is as if he has saved the whole of mankind.

    Mr. Boris, THE ONLY VIOLENCE ACCEPTABLE IN ISLAM IS WAR FOR SELF DEFENCE. Even then, there r rules. read up to find out more.Don’t make your own conclusions!

  63. Bravo, Sarah. Strong words, well said!

    As a devout atheist i’ll have to disagree with you on the entire “God” concept, but i admire and respect your faith.

    May you always prosper.

  64. No, Boris. Islam is NOT the problem. You can no more sift through the Qur’an for quotes that illustrate the British Muslim mindset than you could claim Zeus’s sexual exploits illustrated Ancient Greek sexual incontinence.

    The Qur’an is a book of poetry with layers of meaning, its beauty best evoked in recital. Most of it is a guide to the spiritually perplexed, and nowhere does it pretend to be the French civic code with scimitars.

    If your journalism about British parliamentary politics was as ill-informed and pejorative as this article is about Islam, you’d be lucky to get copy onto the back page of the Freebie weekly I use for the cat litter.

  65. Melissa’s description of the said play left my lateral thinking all agog. There are so many possibilities for double entendre there ; the mind boggles. Unfortunately , none of those possibilities had anything to do with the actual event, ie , bombing.

  66. Sarah – YOur post is shot through with intentional or unintentional untruths.

    The root word of Islam may be peace but its primary meaning is submission i.e. it calls men to submit to the will of God.

    You are being very selective when you say that nowhere in the Koran does it say that someone like Theo Van Gogh should be killed because they are a non-Muslim. That is in itself debatable since parts of the Koran call for non-believers to be killed. But in any case the revered Hadith (traditions of the Prophet) make it clear that
    it is acceptable to kill people, including Non-Muslims for mocking the Prophet or Islam.

    Islam does not offer peace and tolerance to Jews and Christians. It offers second class citizneship. Jews and Christians have to pay a special discriminatory tax under Islam. They must also show deference to Muslims and for instance not have Churches that are taller than teh highest Mosque. I presume you know all this. A Christian man may not marry a Muslim woman but a Muslim man may marry a Christian woman. I presume you know that as well.

    You seem incapable of constructing a rational argument. One moment you are praising the whacky Yvonne Ridley for liking the Taleban the next you are criticsing teh Saudis for being unIslamic in not letting women drive. But the Taleban wouldn’t let a female go to school let alone drive! So by your logic Yvonne Ridley was impressed by people who were acting very unIslamically!!!

    The fastest growing religion cannot be Islam as the Jedhi religion went from 0 to about 125,000 in the recent census. 95% of Islam’s growth is accounted for by its birth rate.

    By the way would you like to quote THE WHOLE of the verse about saving a life AND the following verse?

    While we are on the subject of Islam, do you defend:

    1. Mohammed’s approval of the use of women slaves for sex.

    2. Mohammed’s marriage to a six year old, which he consummated when she was aged 9.

    3. The Koranic injunction of division of loot with I think if memory serves 10% going to the Prophet?

    4. Mohammed’s decision to slaughter prisoners of war?

  67. Yakoub –

    If as you claim the Koran is purely a book of poetry and spiritual edification, then why does it include passages concerning splitting up war booty and specific (and very convenient for Mohammed) instructions on who one may marry and also whether a slave can be the subject of the prohibition on adultery (of course the answer is a rousing no).

  68. To Keith – you contrast ‘love thine enemy’ with ‘kill thine enemy’. Qu’ran 41:34 – ‘The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with that which is better, then indeed he between you and whom was enmity, may become as a close friend.’

    To Zoe – you rightly ask for people not to brand all followers of a religion with the same brush by making gross generalisations. I completely agree. Now you know how Muslims feel, not least after reading most of tht posts on this strand – esp. Field.

    Jaq – would you like to throw me out with the rest of the Muslim ‘troublemakers’? I was born here, my parents were born here, my grandparents were born here, my grandfather fought in WWII flying bombers, my parents are doctors. I am Muslim. How about it? I’ll give you my address, you’re welcome any time. We can have a cup of tea while I pack my bags. Maybe we’ll watch the Ashes together. Are you a fan? We’ve been a bit patchy this morning, but at least we’ve taken one wicket. Oh, make that two . . .

  69. Dear Mr. Johnson,

    I am generally an admirer of your work and your committed contribution to public life, but I was very disappointed and angered by your recent article, ‘Just Don’t Call It War.’

    Your incoherent and incredible generalisations about Islamic scripture, theology and current thinking only reveal your sad lack of knowledge and reflection. You plead for a closer union of Muslim thinking and British values – in itself a good point – at the same time as vilifying Islam as paranoid, medieval and arrogant.

    Has it not occurred to you that by informing Muslims that their faith as it is practised is not compatible with British life, you are actually contributing to the very problem of alienation you claim to be addressing?

    Imagine some extremist whispering in the ear of a young British Muslim, impressionable maybe, someone feeling confused about their faith and their place in society – ‘These people don’t want, you they hate your faith, they think Islam is stupid.’ I’d say he could do worse than to pull out your article as evidence.

    The central problem with your article – as with almost all the pontification promulgated in the mdeia – is that you don’t know what you’re talking about. ‘Key points of Islamic theology’? Please. ‘Islam is the problem’ – could you even define what exactly you mean by ‘Islam’? Any world religion has so many strands, so many manifestations, so many potentialities that such a statement is just meaningless.

    Of course, you are entitled to your opinion, but to garb it in the language of some sort of expert qualified to make the generalisations you do is wrong and counter-productive. It adds nothing to genuine dialouge because it’s evident you are not listening – only telling Muslims what their religion ‘really’ is and what they have to do. Even with a brain as big as yours, you have no right to pretend you have comprehended 1400 years of history and civilisation on the basis of – what? – a flick thorugh the Qu’ran, maybe a couple of Daily Mail articles and some rambling conversations in the Union as an undergrad, or in your club?

    Two particular points in your article do not stand up to any scrutiny. You ask, ‘where are the enlightened Islamic teachers and preachers who will begin the process of reform?’ There are many, you just haven’t had the time or inclination to look for them. Here’s one – Tariq Ramadan. But what’s this? The Sun wants him banned and the US has already done so. It would be laughable it wasn’t so tragic. You demand ‘Muslim reformers’, then you refuse to hear the ones that exist!

    And don’t give me any half-remembered and ill-informed guff about how he justifies sucide bombers blah, blah, blah until you have actually read any of his books – you could start with ‘To Be A European Muslim,’ then you could move on to his recent interviews calling for a moratorium on all hudud (capital/corporal) punishments.

    He is just one of many such thinkers working right now, not to mention many, many thinkers of the past you have emphasised tolerance and religious/cultural pluralism.

    Second is your bizarre assertion that Islam is ‘the most viciously sectarian of all religions.’ Where can I even begin? Of course some Muslims thinkers have been very sectarian in their thinking, as in any religion. I would agree with you if you had idetified those specific thinkers as as problem, and one we all need to combat. But instead you tar all Muslims will the same brush .

    My parents aren’t Muslim, and neither are many of my friends. I do not hate them or beleive thet are going to Hell just because of that. It is much more compex and subtle than that. Or have I misunderstoord? Would like to correct me and explain what Islam ‘really’ says?

    Here are some points from the Qu’ran (NB not Koran, please – are we still living in the 1950s, for God’s sake? It just reinforces the impression of your igorance) just as food for thought. I don’t have time to go into this with the depth it deserves. Hoggard’s just taken the first wicket at Lord’s and I want to watch.

    “Indeed, those who believe, those you are Jews and Christians and Sabians, whosoever believes in God and the Last Day, and does good deeds, shall have their reward with their Lord, and on them shall be no fear, and nor shall they grieve.” (Q 2:62)

    “Say: O people of Revelation [i.e. Jews, Christians etc], come to a word that is shared equally between all of us, that we worhsip none but God, and that we associate none with him, and that none of us shall tkae lords other than God.” (Q3: 64)

    “And there are certainly among the people of Revelation [i.e. Jews, Christians etc], those who believe in God, those who believe in what was revelaed to you and what was revealed to them, humbling themselves before God. They do not sell the signs of God for a little price, for them is a reward with their Lord.” (Q 3:199)

    “Surely, those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabians and the Christians – whoever believed in God and the Last Day, and worked good deeds, on them shall be no fear, and nor chall they grieve.” (Q 5:69)

    “Truly God will admit those who believe and do good righteous deeds to Gardens underneath which rivers flow. Certainly God does as He wishes.” (Q 22:14)

    “To you [non-Muslims] be your religion and to me [the Muslim] my religion.” (Q 109:6)

    Yours sincerely,

    James Abdulaziz Brown

  70. Ah, religion. Always good for an argument.

    The bible says “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. It also says “turn the other cheek” and “walk the extra mile”. The qu’ran also has similar contradictory phrases.

    Personally, i prefer Ghandi’s take on this: “An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind”.

    It comes down to this: If you promote hatred and intolerance you deserve really BAD things to happen to you. Simple, isn’t it?

    Peace and love, man!

    ;o)

  71. Psimon – “If you promote hatred and intolerance you deserve really BAD things to happen to you.”

    Isn’t that another way of saying an eye for an eye?

  72. And I most certainly WASN’T suggesting that any person cause harm to others!!

    Hippy stuff aside, the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a pretty good rule to live by. If you foster hate, you will be hated.

    It’s just a shame that those truly responsible for slaughter hide behind the innocents – like the cowardly curs they truly are. Our PM and GW Bush included.

    At night, I cry for the innocents.

    :o(

  73. JAB –

    Your extreme sensitivity is absurd but quite normal it seems for “moderate” Muslims. Koran is simply a variant spelling. We can cope with the French calling our capital Londres. But for you it seems variant spelling is a cause of “alienation” that leads possibly to suicide bombing.

    I agree with Boris that British Muslims will simply have to lighten up and realise they are living in a free society which isn’t afraid to criticise religion.

    As for your quotes from the Koran, they are of course selective. I know from experience that most Muslims don’t like to debate but perhaps you can enlighten us as to whether it is true Mohammed consummated his marriage with a nine year old girl, owned slaves, fought battles and took his share of war booty? And also whether Muslims consider him a “perfect example” to all humanity.

  74. I would just like to say that we should love an embrace all races equally. Wether Muslim, Christian (blessed be our Lord Jesus), Jew or whatever else there is by way of races and creeds on this ghastly planet we call earth. Life is so terrible that we should cease to fight each other where ever we can. The cost in human life is simply too high. It might be as simple as saying sorry and everything will be forgiven by our good Sheppard in Heaven.

    Amen

    Let us praise Him

  75. I just like to say your article proves beyond reasonable doubt your are Zionist Extremist, if your friend Hitler was alive, he would have given you a Gold medal for Racist Zionist Views. Traitors like you supported the killing of British Nationals by Zionist Terrorists, than your evil friends do the bombing and you blame it on Muslims!

  76. Hold your horses Dara Miah…

    P-SIMON

    I’m walking the extra mile – let’s have a sponsored walk… like a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

    And Peace and Love to you too. I am sure that Vicus Scurra would wholeheeartedly agree. (very sixties flower power – luv rules)

  77. Field – you see, this is what I’m talking about. What exactly are you getting at? Is it your opinion that Islam is simply completely wrong and in fact an irredeemably negative influence on the world? That seems to be the general thrust of where you are going.

    If that is the case, just say so, so we all know where we stand. And if it is the case, why should you expect any Muslim to listen to what you have to say? It is beneath the dignity of any human being to have someone tell them their fundamental beliefs are wrong and evil, and then be expected to gratefully lap up whatever alternative is proffered by their critic. It is simply not a productive starting point for constructive debate, which is what we need right now.

    If, on the other hand, your intention is sincerely to engage in debate where each side wants really to understand the other, and find the common ground between them in order to move forward together – then that is a different matter, and I welcome it.

    But sadly, from your consistently patronising and narrow-minded comments, it appears it is not. If you are serious about helping this country in this area, you are going utterly the wrong way about it. The people you want to convince will not listen to a word you say, because they will not listen to something based on contempt.

    An example – ‘British Muslims have to realise they are living in a free society.’ Just get over yourself Field. My grand-dad flew bomber planes over Germany for our free society. How many Indian troops died – Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs – in WWI and WWII to protect our free society? So just get over yourself. That type of exclusionary, divisive and ill-informed comment just adds to the impression you are point scoring, not actually seeking any metting point for British people of all backgrounds to move forward to together.

    The Qu’ran/Koran spelling is another example of what I mean. Fine, they are just variant spellings, although since you seem to know so much about Islam you will have to agree with me that the former is a much better transliteration of the Arabic.

    My point is that ‘Koran’ is anachronistic and has certain overtones, in particular of anti-Muslim and fundamentally ill-informed Orientalist scholarship. Not for a simply arbitrary reason, but because it’s just not very accurate. It’s like saying ‘Moslem’, or ‘Hindoo’ or ‘Tanganyika’ or pronouncing Kenya ‘Keen-ya’ or saying Bombay for Mumbai. It is not like Londres/London because that variation is not caught up with the whole ugly history of imperialism and colonial subjugation. It has overtones whether you regard it simply as a variant spelling or not.

    What I am saying is that using ‘Koran’ is just one more little thing that adds to an overall impression of a lack of respect for the people you’re (apparently) talking to. By urging you to use the other spelling, I am trying to help create a framework for constructive, mutually respectful debate. Although, judging by the tone of the rest of your comments, it will need a lot more than that.

    Now to your specific points, if you are fact interested in hearing how a Muslim understands them. If not, skip the next bit and continue to rage away in your box about how Muhammad was a greedy, warmongering, paedohile. It all depends on whether you actually acknowledge the fact Muslims are a part of British society, or whether you’d really just prefer they would all go back to where they came from (Wood Green in my case, though I suppose I could go to my ancestral lands of Kent.)

    Let me preface this by saying my understanding of Islam is my own. Also by asking you Field, what exactly is your point about me quoting selectively from the Qu’ran? You want me to post the whole thing? Should I have posted the ‘violent bits’? Are they the ‘real Islam’ that the bits I quoted are just camouflaging in a big dastardly plot? There are verses in the Qu’ran legitimising war, no doubt – but they must be understood in the context of the whole. Just as the verses I quoted must be understood in the context of them. Basically it’s a version of just war, drawing a middle path between never resorting to war unless absolutely necessary, and in all other respects doing all you can by other means to promote friendship and mutual respect.

    So, Muhammad, God bless him, and Aisha, likewise. It is possible that they were married when Aisha was very young, although some people believe that the reports of this are unreliable and she was in fact older. If, however, she was that young it is important to bear in mind several points.

    First, Muhammad married women of many different ages, including widows and those older than him. Most of these needed protection in some way in the society in which they lived at that time. He did not marry any other women while his first wife was still alive. He was also well-known (indeed shocked his companions by) being a scrupulous husband who helped with all the housework, never, ever used violence against his wives, and listened to their opnions respectfully. So there are many aspects to consider when looking to Muhammad as an example in marital affairs.

    Second, it may be important to remember that customs change, and that it was quite common in ancient societies and modern trible socieities for women to be married as soon as reaching puberty, for the obvious reasons of shorter life span, need to produce children for the group, etc. This was not something particularly unusual or infamous in some way.

    In this respect, it is important to remember that Muhammad is considered by Muslims as a model for behaviour, but this does not necessarily mean his behaviour should be copied absolutely. It is the spirit and intention that is important. Thus most Muslims today would consider marriage at puberty too young, bearing in mind changed life expectancies etc

    Slavery – yes, it’s true that that people held slaves with the Prophet’s knowledge. However, he urged the freeing of slaves at every opportunity and desribed as a very high form of good deed.

    This is an example of the Prophet’s gradualism, i.e. there was an ingrained custom in the society (slavery) which it was very difficult to end overnight. Instead Muhammad used persuasion to convince people that it was a very bad thing. The fact that Muslims since and even now still hold slaves and use the example of the Prophet’s time is, in my opinion, a complete misunderstanding of the Prophet’s intentions.

    Incidentally, some people consider that polygamy is another similar example of this gradualism, i.e. by restricting the practice of taking as many wives as possible to four, and putting severe restrictions on that, the Prophet may have intended us to later phase out polygamy altogether. Some believe it was allowed, however, as a means to provide familial structures in times when men are few, e.g. war, enforced migration etc.

    As a another aside, this type of gradualism is an exmple of why violent terrorist attacks are completely against the spirit of Islam and must be rooted out from our community. Sudden violence changes nothing and destroys the rights of every other individual to life, regardless of religion or ethnicity; gradual persuaion by example is much more effective and does not have any of these terrible side-effects. This part of the lesson of the Prophet’s life.

    Yes, Muhammad fought battles – see above. What’s your point?

    Yes, Muhammad took part of the ‘war booty’ as you quaintly call it. He did not fight for personal gain (see above again), as is manifest from the fact that he was a very poor man who gave away all he had constantly, to help others in charity. Sometimes even his own family complained about him giving away more than they could afford. So his share of material goods was a byproduct of the wars he fought. He encouraged all his followers to do likewise with whatever they owned.

    Finally, yes Muslims believe Muhammad is a perfect example for us to try and imitate. His life contains many wonderful and inspiring lessons. Exactly how to interpret everything that happened in his life is not an easy thing, however, and has generated so much thought and interpretation I can’t do justice to one-millionth of it here.

    So Field, if you are genuinely interested in having a debate with Muslims about where we can take British society together, on the basis of the values we all share, I suggest we communicate directly instead of clogging up this message board.

    If you are intersted in just scoring points to ‘prove’ how bad Islam is, then shut up, because you are not helping anyone.

    Yours etc

  78. This message is to fIELD: You are again speaking out of ignorance;you are taking examples without understanding the “CONTEXT” of verses of the Quran as well as critisizing the Prophet of God without understanding the cultures of the people of Arabia at the time. You say that the Taliban would not allow WOMEN TO GO TO SCHOOL: This does not mean that Islam does not allow it; You don’t seem to understand that Islam gives women EQUAL rights such as being allowed to work, study, etc. etc. but God has created women DIFFERENT to men so our responsibilities and duties are not necessarily identical to a man’s (which is what women have strived for in the west but have only resulted in the breakdown of family life!).
    1. Your claim that the Prophet allowed slaves to be used as sex workers is misinterpreted.Women captured in the preislamic era were subjected to inhumane treatment;after Islam these women were allowed to be kept and taken care of and treated in a respectable manner as one would treat a wife. Now, the human intelligence may think, that this is wrong,etc. but God ordained this because leaving women to roam free only encourages prostitution and this ‘sex trade’ is abhorent to Islam.

    2. Yes, I’m proud to say that Muslim women are not allowed to marry non Muslims;Mr. Field, your human mind can only understand so much; broaden your senses and try to grasp why Islam puts down certain rules. Women are more adaptable than men and often try to please their partners; if women were allowed to marry from other faiths, then there would be a serious threat of God’s religion being diluted ; mothers are their children’s teachers.

    3. Prophet (PBUH) was married to Hadrat Ayesha when she was nine; she was very mature for her age;she loved the Prophet and became a great scholar and ambassador for the rights of women.Infact, the wives of the Prophet were given the right to divorce but they refused to do so; a verse from the Quran is evidence for this. If the Prophet was the man you are trying to depict, they would have divorced him.
    4. Your claim that Jews and Christians were treated as second class citizens is absurd. The Prophet’s uncle was a pagan worshipper, yet he loved him dearly;His wife’s uncle was a Christian. The Prophet was once asked “who amongst women are the best of creation?” and the reply was three women, one of whom was “Mariam (Mary) mother of Jesus.” At another time, the Prophet stood up out of respect for the funeral of a Jew. When asked why, he replied,”Did this man not have a soul?”
    5. Give evidence for your claims before you make them. War booty was distributed amongst the Muslims but don’t forget that they led simple and luxury free lives. The booty was used for the needs of the poor and most of the Muslims were poor since they had left their homes and goods in Makkah when they migrated to Medina. NO, THE PROPHET DID NOT TAKE WAR BOOTY FOR HIS PERSONAL USE.If he had done so, then he should not have led a life of poverty;sometimes, he had no food except for dried dates and water.As for the captives, they were not allowed to be tied up but treated well and then set free- many of whom converted.
    6. I am not contradicting myself. There is no ruling that women should not drive;Yvonne was impressed by one aspect of the Taleban but that does not mean that they were 100% following Islam. The Prophet’s hadith for men and women: seek knowledge even if you have to go to China for it.” My advice to you, is similar. You make up your own understanding and assumptions.
    7. Islam is from the same God who sent Christianity and Judaism. Mary, wore a hijab and covered herself just as we Muslim women do, yet when we do it,we are opressed! Jesus had a beard, Jesus prostrated(as written in th bible) when he prayed;he ordered us not to eat the flesh of the swine- also a verse in the bible. We Muslims, are more Christian than the Christians themselves!At least Islam gives women the right to wed,and inherit unlike nuns!

    8. The final address of the Prophet spoke of human rights;no Arab is superior to a non Arab, no black oover white (and vice versa)- this was said 1400 years ago; blacks have only recently started to enjoy their rights in the late sixties. Oh, yes, who started the slave trade????Muslims? Who imposed their imperialism for centuries? The Red Indians have been mercileessily wiped out- by WHO??? Who has attacked and bombed innocent lives in other countries in the name of democracy? Does Abu Ghraib and Guatanomo represent the actions and beliefs of Christians or Jews?

    9. When I SAID THAT ISLAM IS THE FASTEST GROWING RELIGION, I WAS NOT REFERRING TO THE POPULATION SIZE; I WAS REFERRING TO TO NUMBER OF CONVERTS;
    THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE COMING INTO ISLAM THAN THERE ARE IN ANY OTHER FAITH.

    10. What are your evidences for the Prophet slaughtering the prisoners of war? The Prophet always fought in self defence. The Muslims were always attacked first; there were many rules during war, such as no harm to children, women, the old and no cutting of trees.

    11. Again, I will emphasize that you take things out of context from the Quran. When you read a verse, ask a scolar its meaning (but you probably wouldn’t do that cos you WANT to follow blindly all those who try to scandalise the image of Islam). The Quran does say , Do not opress’ but also tells us not to be oppressed.
    I don’t know which verse you were referring to when you claimed that it tells us to kill Christians and Jews.Can you give me your evidence please?

    12. You say that Muslims don’t like to debate-UNTRUE but there is a limit to everything- even in debating!
    The QURAN DOES SAY TO THE NON BELIEVERS: “Unto you, your religion and unto me, mine” (Surah Kafiroun). This surah, implies that after a discussion, we leave in peace; I shall continue to believe what I want believe what I want, and you may continue to believe what you want. Is that not giving the non Muslims the freedom of thought?

    13. Conclusion: your views show your ignorance and lack of tolerance towards Islam and a man who is the best example to humanity.

  79. Well done James Abdul Aziz! A brilliant piece!

    Just one note to Field: YES, THE PROPHET, PEACE BE UPON HIM, IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE BEST EXAMPLE FOR MANKIND. You are ignorant and judgemental. Get your facts right before you decide to spread rumours and scandalous gossip about our beloved Prophet. Your remarks do not do any good to Britain cos you are spreading Islamophobia through your narrow minded attacks. This country needs unity, peace and tolerance so if you have nothing positive to say, then keep it shut.

  80. Sarah:

    You ask who started the slave trade, and implied that it was us.

    The Romans had a slave trade LONG before us. There is evidence that slavery pre-dates them too. I understand that the pyramids were built by a nation (the Israelites) in bondage. Slavery. And slavery still exists in some countries to this day, including Arabic ones.

    We were the first country to BAN slavery, and bring in laws to rescue and protect those who had been taken as slaves.

    James: I have only spent a few months in Kenya, but the locals all pronounced it as “keen-ya”. “Ken-ya” is a much more modern pronunciation derived from the name of their president (Kenyatta), and seems limited to tourists.

    But it is possible the nation was wrong, and that you are right.

    I must now check out your other “facts” to see how false they might be….you’ve raised doubts on the validity of your arguments in my mind, but i’m always happy to add to my knowledge. Thank you for giving me the opportunity!!

    In the mean time, let’s all try and be nice to each other…it makes the world a more joyful place!!

    ;o)

  81. Another incident in London today, a man shot! Another example of the kind of thing brought about by the actions of adherents of an alleged, “All Loving” , theistic idea? Another attempt to cow the inhabitants of these Islands into surrendering to an ideology ; totally foreign to these climes? We may never know the exact answer to that, but one thing is certain, the more the irritation , the harder will be the scratching to remove that irritation.

    I shall never experience Nirvana: Paradise; or the Garden of Eden; name it how you will. This is a statement of fact as seen by yours truly, because; what I had and lost was for me, perfection: or as near to that state as is possible.

    Four years ago. I lost whatever vestigial remains of any belief in any Deity, which may have remained from my childhood teachings. Although I was always marginally cynical, a propos superhuman, “Godlike”, happenings, due to the above senseless and cruel happening , cynicism was replaced by the absolute certainty that a Deity; supposedly all loving and forgiving; who was capable of doling out such quantities of dolour and misery, did not, and could not exist.

    Since that time, I have been a confirmed and committed atheist, despite siren attempts to lure me back onto the Lorelei Rock of organised religion, by misguided, albeit well meaning friends. My counter argument, if there were an all loving; all understanding supreme Omnipresence; then all mankind would be singing from the same hymn sheet. What we have, instead, are a million shards of religious differences: a veritable kaleidoscope; with each shard in the tube coloured to suit the jealous arguments; and indeed pockets; of the seemingly numberless “Prophets”. Each of these multitudinous prophets has sought, or is still seeking a monopoly of power, (using whatever tactic they think is acceptable and necessary), in the name of his/her brand of “The one True Religion”.

    There would have been none of the numerous wars, nominally to claim sole stewardship of The Almighty, had there been the universal brotherly love as preached by the organised religions, since all would have the same aim. What we are experiencing today seems to me to surpass the excesses of Torquemada and his Spanish Inquisition. At least there were no suicide bombers, each one of which having been promised a seat on the right hand of The Almighty.

    Where there is no conflict of interest, there is per se no conflict…….Full stop. Religions, of whatever calling, promise a future life of milk and honey, whilst at the same time delivering piss and vinegar for current consumption. The dignitaries of these religions lie in the lap of relative abundance, whilst leeching the widow’s mite from adherents taught to fear the Wrath of The Almighty, if they do not support that particular brand of Fire and Brimstone.

    Despite my having been a dedicated, and indeed some said, able ,choirboy, those many years ago, I fear that the choir practice; the cassock; the surplice and high starch collar, were mere trappings in the telling of grown-up fairy tales. I confess: I am a dyed-in-the-wool cynic, so help me.

  82. Psimon, you may be right about Kenya, it was an example off the top of my head to illustrate my point about ‘Koran’/Qu’ran, which I think still stands. It’s a minor point, as I said, it’s just indicative is all.

    You’re more than welcome to check everything else I wrote. I’m not saying I’m ‘right’ just saying the debates need to be conducted with a general respect for the fact that other people have sincerely held and constructive opinions, rather than throwing around generalisations about Islam (or the slave trade for example).

    Also more than welcome to keep encouraging everyone to be nice, which is completely right. Was it Bernard Shaw who said before he died, ‘Everyone should just be a little bit nicer to each other’?

    It’s just hard when some people on this post are talking about Zionist conspiracies on the one hand, and deporting Muslims on the other (see jaq’s allusions to the expulsion of the Jews – in the Middle Ages!!).

    But thanks for injecting that note.

  83. On the subject of pronunciation (an aside, if you will), I’ve always wondered why we (the British) pronounce the name of every place in France by the French pronunciation…EXCEPT for their capital city.

    Most odd!

  84. I advise all of you to go and actually research Islam before agreeing with Boris Johnson’s racist comments.

    Islam is not the “problem,” the British governments foreign policy is. It’s hypocrisy and historical meddling. “Nobody attacks civilization-they attack oppression.”

    Islam has always given rights to women, the rights the West denied for centuries. Islam was the religion that stopped female infanticide. Islam does not say women cannot drive. That is a policy of Saudi Arabia’s which it is now reveiwing. Islam says it is a duty of every single Muslim to be educated, that includes women.

    Something which may also be of interest to you is that Islam considers the type of Jihad that the media is so keen to publicise as “LESSER Jihad,” meaning it is of less importance. Of more importance is the daily struggle to overcome the temptation to carry out bad deeds.

    Furthermore, Islam lays down strict conditions which must be adhered to when carrying out a holy war. One example of this is that innocent civillians must not be killed and neither should plants. Therefore, nuclear and chemical weapons (which Bush has used on innocent Iraqis) are forbidden. Hardly a religion of violence.

    Islam in no way permits suicide under any circumstances, so then how can people be “Muslim suicide bombers?” And where has this “72 virgins” come from?

    Furthermore, I would like someone to explain to me exactly what “British values” are because I constantly hear this term and yet no-one seems to be able to explain it to me.

  85. Sarah, I am worried for you, you remind me of the lady that I see at the supermarket that wears tights in the roman summer and tells the cashier that she is to made up and pretty and will ruin marriages…, she is an integralist (and batty) Catholic. I mean: “leaving women to roam free only encourages prostitution and this ‘sex trade’ is abhorrent to Islam.”. I roam free, and I shall not be part of the 72 raisins, in fact quite a few years have passed from that time, and, horrors, I am not married! I am a prostitute? I do not flaunt my body, but I do like my legs and tend to show them off when I have the chance, but not to expose myself and make man drool (chance would be a fine thing). I dress sensibly and have never been unduly pestered, now and again I have received some nice compliments and never denounced anybody to the sexual harassment. My parents are separated, a family broken down, but they are much nicer persons at the moment and I am happy for them. I am not married and not living in sin, but I do not feel that I am on the shelf, if the right person comes along I shall give him a chance, but I want a partner that walks next to me, not ten paces in front or ten paces behind. I respect your beliefs, if they make you happy, but you having all these prejudices against me because I live like a modern western woman makes me quite irritated. I do not need the safety of a religion, I only need my independence, my culture and my chances in life. If that makes me a prostitute or a sad and pathetic creature is your opinion, but thank goodness, not mine.

  86. I would remind the readers of these comments, of whatever persuasion; belief; creed; subsect ; colour, or educational ability, that those quoting religious texts, are quoting words uttered and recorded, by mere humans. A supreme being did not write anything by hand.

    It is equally wrong for some secular interpretation of a particular phrase or verse , from any of the so-called Holy writings, to be preferred over someone else’s interpretation opf the same passage. The scholars of all religions argue today; as they have always argued; since the booke were there to read; about every word; every piece of grammatical difference; every nuance of meaning ; and will , in all probability ,continue to do so until time is no more. Let us try to co-exist in peace; let religion stay where it belongs; in the hearts and heades of its adherents. It does not belong on the streets, its arguments are not any more potent in the gaseous explosion of a bomb. He / she who needs to resort to violence to prove a point, has a poor argument.

  87. Some comments/questions from above answered stright from the Qur’an and Hadith:

    ———————-

    Comment 1: “Islam has always given rights to women”

    Answer 1: I think not. “As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, Admonish them, refuse to share their beds, beat them,…” – Qur’an 4:34. “Your wives are as a tilth (a field to be ploughed) unto you, so approach your tilth
    when or how ye will.” – Qur’an 2:223.

    ———————-

    Question 2: “And where has this “72 virgins” come from?”

    Answer 2: Hadith Al-Tirmidhi in the Book of Suna, volume IV, chapter 21 (but note that the meaning is disputed)

    ———————-

    Question 3: I don’t know which verse you were referring to when you claimed that it tells us to kill Christians and Jews. Can you give me your evidence please?

    Answer 3: “Fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war.)” – Qur’an 9:5. That do? See also 9:29 below.

    ———————-

    Question 4: What are your evidences for the Prophet slaughtering the prisoners of war?

    Answer 4: I don’t know of any such evidence. Closest to that is “It is not for a prophet that he should have prisoners of war (and free them with ransom) until he had made a great slaugher (among his enemies) in the land.” – Qur’an 8;67. So this is approval for randomed kidnappings, but not murder of prisoners of war. It is not stated what to do if ranson is not paid.

    ———————-

    Comment 5: “Your claim that Jews and Christians were treated as second class citizens is absurd”

    Answer 5: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day… Nor acknowledge the religion of truth, (even if they are) of the people of the Book, until they pay the Jizya (taxes) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” Qur’an 9:29. I’d say that covers it, wouldn’t you?

  88. From above: “YES, THE PROPHET, PEACE BE UPON HIM, IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE BEST EXAMPLE FOR MANKIND. You are ignorant and judgemental. Get your facts right before you decide to spread rumours and scandalous gossip about our beloved Prophet.”

    I suppose the Hadith writers were ignorant and judgemental too, were they?

    Bukhari:V4B52N50 “Muhammad said, ‘A single endeavor of fighting in Allah’s Cause is better than the world and whatever is in it.'”

    Bukhari:V4B52N220 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been made victorious with terror. The treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.'”

    Bukhari:V4B52N260 “The Prophet said, ‘If a Muslim discards his religion, kill him.'”

    Ishaq’s Sira speaks of the murder of poet Asma bint Marwan. She spoke critically of Muhammad, telling her tribe to be wary of him. Ishaq: 676: “‘You obey a stranger who encourages you to murder for booty. You are greedy men. Is there no honor among you?’ Upon hearing those lines Muhammad said, ‘Will no one rid me of this woman?’ Umayr, a zealous Muslim, decided to execute the Prophet’s wishes. That very night he crept into the writer’s home while she lay sleeping surrounded by her young children. There was one at her breast. Umayr removed the suckling babe and then plunged his sword into the poet. The next morning in the mosque, Muhammad, who was aware of the assassination, said, ‘You have helped Allah and His Apostle.’ Umayr said, ‘She had five sons; should I feel guilty?’ ‘No,’ the Prophet answered. ‘Killing her was as meaningless as two goats butting heads.'”

    Ishaq: 308 “Halfway to Medina, Ocba was called out to be executed.” Since the other prisoners were being held for ransom, Ocba asked Muhammad why he was being treated more harshly than the other captives. “The Prophet said, ‘Because of your enmity to Allah and to his Prophet.’ ‘And my little girl,’ cried Ocba in bitterness, ‘who will take care of her?’ ‘Hell Fire,’ Muhammad responded. At that moment he was decapitated. ‘Wretch that you were, [Muhammad eulogized] you scoffed at me and claimed that your stories were better than mine. I give thanks that Allah has slain you and comforted me.'”

    Best example for mankind. Yeah right………

    (and that’s an example of killing prisoners of war that I couldn’t find above)

  89. vanessa, You don’t need to worry about me; you see, my views are not borne out of prejudice as you might think ; I did not say that EVERY woman who roams free will turn to prostitution but there are greater chances of a woman falling into trouble- be it prostitution, be it getting into an adulterous relationship (or whatever) if she displays her beauty and wanders freely as compared to one who maintains her dignity and covers up.You might not want to accept or admit that but statistics will tell you that in todays society there is far more promiscuity (in the name of freedom, by the way) than ever before. I have no intentions of hurting anyone so I apologise if you felt offended but we Muslims are always getting the stick from so called “liberalists” and I, being a Muslim and a woman feel it is unfair, unjust and biased. People often confuse Islam with cultures of certain regions. Islam has given women many rights; I have been married for nine years and I can honestly say that my husband and I have NEVER argued,never sworn at each other, etc. etc.and NO- you’re wrong-I walk side by side with my husband- not ten paces behind him! Oh yes, the shocking part is that he has never raised his hand to hit me!! (I mean isn’t that supposed to happen in a Muslim household??!!) We are happily married because we have made a consious effort to go by the rules of Islam.One great part about being a Muslim woman is that he has to provide for me and our children but whatever I earn is Islamically my own right, ie. I can spend it all on myself.He respects me, loves me, IS FAITHFUL to me and always discusses issues with me; we seek advice from each other. This was examplified by the Prophet of God (PBUH). You are clearly irritated by my comments; yet I, and other Muslims have to put up with prejudices against Islam which are based on a lack of deeper understanding of Islam- on a daily basis! You see, all religions are against adultery, premarital sex, prostitution etc. but Islam takes matters one step further by giving us practical guidance on how to avoid these problems and if that means rules and self restraint then let it be! It is for the betterment of society. I presume you have never walked into an average secondary school and observed the behaviour and moral conduct of teenagers; your wonderful ideology on so called ‘freedom’ is prevalent amongst them and if you can’t stomach the point that I am trying to make, let me give you some quotes taken from the Daily Mail (may 27 2005):

    Schoolgirl Baby Boom: “Pregnancies have soared among girls under 16: the legal age of consent. More than 2000 a year have not even reached the age of 14.” “Figures showed that among girls under 18 in England and Wales, the number of conceptins went up, not down. In 2003, there were 42,183 such pregnancies in the year. For girls under 16, the picture was even worse.7,875 in 2002 to 8,076 in 2003.More than a quarter, 2,261 were among girls of 14 and under.

    Vanessa, I could go on and on with more statistics but I don’t have the time to do so. The fact is that many aspects of so called “women’s liberalisation” do not do any favours to women. Islam simply recognises that God created women in a beautiful form and it is up to our individual selves to safe guard our own bodies. The Quran says, “Verily, We have created man weak.”

    To all those who have the guts to enlighten themselves and remove myths and misconceptions which they may harbour on Islam, please tune into Islam Channel (836 – Sky) or log onto http://www.islamchannel.tv

  90. This is to Frank; you are typical of the nonbeliever who takes the ‘superficial’ understanding of the Quran. This verse that you have quoted does not at all indicate that women are illtreated in Islam- ALTHOUGH TO SOMEONE WHO IS NOT AWARE OF THE DEEPER MEANINGS AND BACKGROUND OF THIS AYAAT, IT MAY APPEAR SO.

    Although pages upon pages can be written to give a deeper explanation of any one ayaat, I will give a summary in the minimal amount of time that I have. The ayaat with the grace of Allah is: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands) and guard in the husbands absence what Allah orders them to guard (eg. their chastity and their husbands property). as to those women on whose part you see ill conduct, admonish them (first), (next)refuse to share their beds (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.

    1. Islam recognises and rejoices that God has created men and women differently, not only in bodily form but psychologically, emotionally,and mentally, (etc.) we are different. Since men are physically stronger, God has ordained them to be the protectors of their wives; it is their duty to earn and provide for her. This does not mean that women are not allowed to work- they are but the husband’s earning are his wife’s whereas a woman’s earning are her own. (though she may spend it on her family if she so wishes).

    2. The family in Islam is the most important functional unit of society. Problems always leak out into society when there are problems at home. Although divorce is allowed, every effort is made to avoid this since it can cause long lasting psychological trauma, especially where children are involved. This beautiful ayyat gives a step by step guidance to a man having problems in his marital life. In an offce, although all employees are deemed equal, there would be chaos if no one listened to the boss. An Islamic home thrives on similar principles.

    3. Since it is a duty upon a man to provide for his wife, obviously that means, him leaving the house and going to work. If a woman decides that she does not want to work, but wants to stay at home alone, then it is her duty to guard her chastity (which unfortunately is not the case in many western households (note: I said ‘many’ – not ‘all’).That does not infer that men have no restrictions. One verse from the Quran springs to my mind:”and ask the believing men to lower their gaze.”

    4.What would you do if you suddenly found that your wife was having an extra marrital affair behind your back whilst you were slaving away all day at work to provide for her and the kids?
    Give this a serious thought. Many men probably would out of rage, lash out OR PROBABLY KICK HER OUT! The Quran gives a step by step approach. FIRST ADMONISH HER. This means, discuss, talk, reason, and warn.

    5. If in time, admonishing proves to be futile, and the wife is still adherent to her sinful weys, then refuse to share her bed. This is not meant to be a punishment but a remedy; absence from each others company and abstinence of sexual relations for a while can make the heart fonder (for each other). And, it is meant to provide a ‘cooling off’ period for each other so they both have time to think and contemplate whether their relationship is worth saving. All this, under one roof! Often, in the west, one partner is either kicked out or storms out!It must be mentioned that whilst a man and woman are in this “separate bed” phase, the man has no right to hit his wife or mistreat her.

    6. The last step does say “beat them.” Now this statement has to be analysed. All scholars agree that it does not mean “viciously” beating. Infact, this part of the verse has been expanded upon by a hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) when he said, “Do not hit a woman, even with a flower”. This may seem to be contradictory to critics but a lot of the Quran is understood by taking examples from the life of the Prophet and by understanding the context. Did he ever hit his wives? NO, NEVER. So, it is preferable and recommended not to hit. This part of the verse is understood to mean that only in extreme cases,where a woman is constantly, extremely quarrelsome and sinful, where all the previous steps have failed, the last resort may be raising the hand – not to cause any hurt and as our beloved Prophet said, not to leave any mark – but merely to cause a psychological, shock- enough for her to realise that she has stepped out of bounds. This raising of the hand according to the saying of the Prophet should be as low as one would raise the hand with a book squeazed under the arm pit and the stick (if there is one) should be as thin as a twig! I again emphasise, that Islam is against domestic violence. There are undoubtedly so called “Muslims’ out there who carry out unjustfully this dreadful act (as there are in every society)but they will be answerable to Allah for their evil deeds. This final step too is simply a last resort to save a marriage.

    7. I can sense that many non believers would question why a woman is not allowed to strike a man. The reason goes in favour of women:i.e. to protect the woman because men are physically stronger and most women(though not in every household) would be beaten to pulp if there was a battle between husband and wife. There is a case when the Prophet told a woman to hit her husband back because she came to him complaining of his violence. But, later a revelation from God came to him, stating that women should not hit and this ruling is seen to be for the protection of women.

    8. Lastly, this one ayaat which required sentence upon sentence of deeper expanation, asks men to treat their wives well once they have reconciliated.(“but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance” Quran). If a husband and wife have fallen out in the past, the husband should not constantly repeat or remind her of it. He should not constantly cause annoyance by arguing. Leave the past and move on together.

    9. Finally, your quoting of the verse, “Fight and slay the Pagans…..” is out of context. It takes a lot of writing and time to explain a single verse that I cannot do justice to any verse via the internet. In a nutshell, I will say that this does not refer to peaceful times and do not generalise verses of the Quran. We all agree that every society and every individual has the right to self defence. When the pagans attacked the ‘weaker’ Muslims of Medina, they outnumbered them in number, horsepower, arms, etc. Don’t forget that they marched from Makkah to attack the Muslims (who were minding their own business) in Medina. The shear number and apparant strength of the Pagans frightened the new community of Muslims. This verse was revealed by the angal Gabriel to the Prophet (pbuh) as an order to fight- not run and be slain! Your comments are quite hypocritical: the west is allowed to bomb innocent civilians in Iraq although they were not a threat to the west yet you find a quote from the Quran which asks Muslims to fight and slay in self defence; had they not done so, they would have been slain. You try to present your own understanding of the Quran which is incorrect and superficial. Your quotes of incidents of the life of the Prophet and hadith are again superficial, out of context and debatable, However, I’m not going to because there would be no end to your nonsense and it is not possible for me to give so many lenghthy explanations. My advice is to you to get out of your dark shell and genuinely seek knowledge from scholars OR TUNE INTO ISLAM CHANNEL (SKY 836) OR leave us alone!

  91. This is to Frank; you are typical of the nonbeliever who takes the ‘superficial’ understanding of the Quran. This verse that you have quoted does not at all indicate that women are illtreated in Islam- ALTHOUGH TO SOMEONE WHO IS NOT AWARE OF THE DEEPER MEANINGS AND BACKGROUND OF THIS AYAAT, IT MAY APPEAR SO.

    Although pages upon pages can be written to give a deeper explanation of any one ayaat, I will give a summary in the minimal amount of time that I have. The ayaat with the grace of Allah is: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands) and guard in the husbands absence what Allah orders them to guard (eg. their chastity and their husbands property). as to those women on whose part you see ill conduct, admonish them (first), (next)refuse to share their beds (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.

    1. Islam recognises and rejoices that God has created men and women differently, not only in bodily form but psychologically, emotionally,and mentally, (etc.) we are different. Since men are physically stronger, God has ordained them to be the protectors of their wives; it is their duty to earn and provide for her. This does not mean that women are not allowed to work- they are but the husband’s earning are his wife’s whereas a woman’s earning are her own. (though she may spend it on her family if she so wishes).

    2. The family in Islam is the most important functional unit of society. Problems always leak out into society when there are problems at home. Although divorce is allowed, every effort is made to avoid this since it can cause long lasting psychological trauma, especially where children are involved. This beautiful ayyat gives a step by step guidance to a man having problems in his marital life. In an offce, although all employees are deemed equal, there would be chaos if no one listened to the boss. An Islamic home thrives on similar principles.

    3. Since it is a duty upon a man to provide for his wife, obviously that means, him leaving the house and going to work. If a woman decides that she does not want to work, but wants to stay at home alone, then it is her duty to guard her chastity (which unfortunately is not the case in many western households (note: I said ‘many’ – not ‘all’).That does not infer that men have no restrictions. One verse from the Quran springs to my mind:”and ask the believing men to lower their gaze.”

    4.What would you do if you suddenly found that your wife was having an extra marrital affair behind your back whilst you were slaving away all day at work to provide for her and the kids?
    Give this a serious thought. Many men probably would out of rage, lash out OR PROBABLY KICK HER OUT! The Quran gives a step by step approach. FIRST ADMONISH HER. This means, discuss, talk, reason, and warn.

    5. If in time, admonishing proves to be futile, and the wife is still adherent to her sinful weys, then refuse to share her bed. This is not meant to be a punishment but a remedy; absence from each others company and abstinence of sexual relations for a while can make the heart fonder (for each other). And, it is meant to provide a ‘cooling off’ period for each other so they both have time to think and contemplate whether their relationship is worth saving. All this, under one roof! Often, in the west, one partner is either kicked out or storms out!It must be mentioned that whilst a man and woman are in this “separate bed” phase, the man has no right to hit his wife or mistreat her.

    6. The last step does say “beat them.” Now this statement has to be analysed. All scholars agree that it does not mean “viciously” beating. Infact, this part of the verse has been expanded upon by a hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) when he said, “Do not hit a woman, even with a flower”. This may seem to be contradictory to critics but a lot of the Quran is understood by taking examples from the life of the Prophet and by understanding the context. Did he ever hit his wives? NO, NEVER. So, it is preferable and recommended not to hit. This part of the verse is understood to mean that only in extreme cases,where a woman is constantly, extremely quarrelsome and sinful, where all the previous steps have failed, the last resort may be raising the hand – not to cause any hurt and as our beloved Prophet said, not to leave any mark – but merely to cause a psychological, shock- enough for her to realise that she has stepped out of bounds. This raising of the hand according to the saying of the Prophet should be as low as one would raise the hand with a book squeazed under the arm pit and the stick (if there is one) should be as thin as a twig! I again emphasise, that Islam is against domestic violence. There are undoubtedly so called “Muslims’ out there who carry out unjustfully this dreadful act (as there are in every society)but they will be answerable to Allah for their evil deeds. This final step too is simply a last resort to save a marriage.

    7. I can sense that many non believers would question why a woman is not allowed to strike a man. The reason goes in favour of women:i.e. to protect the woman because men are physically stronger and most women(though not in every household) would be beaten to pulp if there was a battle between husband and wife. There is a case when the Prophet told a woman to hit her husband back because she came to him complaining of his violence. But, later a revelation from God came to him, stating that women should not hit and this ruling is seen to be for the protection of women.

    8. Lastly, this one ayaat which required sentence upon sentence of deeper expanation, asks men to treat their wives well once they have reconciliated.(“but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance” Quran). If a husband and wife have fallen out in the past, the husband should not constantly repeat or remind her of it. He should not constantly cause annoyance by arguing. Leave the past and move on together.

    9. Finally, your quoting of the verse, “Fight and slay the Pagans…..” is out of context. It takes a lot of writing and time to explain a single verse that I cannot do justice to any verse via the internet. In a nutshell, I will say that this does not refer to peaceful times and do not generalise verses of the Quran. We all agree that every society and every individual has the right to self defence. When the pagans attacked the ‘weaker’ Muslims of Medina, they outnumbered them in number, horsepower, arms, etc. Don’t forget that they marched from Makkah to attack the Muslims (who were minding their own business) in Medina. The shear number and apparant strength of the Pagans frightened the new community of Muslims. This verse was revealed by the angal Gabriel to the Prophet (pbuh) as an order to fight- not run and be slain! Your comments are quite hypocritical: the west is allowed to bomb innocent civilians in Iraq although they were not a threat to the west yet you find a quote from the Quran which asks Muslims to fight and slay in self defence; had they not done so, they would have been slain. You try to present your own understanding of the Quran which is incorrect and superficial. Your quotes of incidents of the life of the Prophet and hadith are again superficial, out of context and debatable, However, I’m not going to because there would be no end to your nonsense and it is not possible for me to give so many lenghthy explanations. My advice is to you to get out of your shell and genuinely seek knowledge from scholars OR TUNE INTO ISLAM CHANNEL (SKY 836) OR leave us alone!

  92. A note to Maccarnie,

    I really apreciate your statements since, unlike others, you seem more rational, neutral and non judgemental. I just felt the need to comment on your statement that God did not write a book by hand. That is exactly the point that Muslims make when we talk of the Quran as being the word of God; He did not write the Quran but He did reveal it.This was done by God by sending His verses through the Angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad. This is why we often say that the Quran was revealed through the heart (it was inspired). Muhammad (PBUH) was the “mouthpiece” of God’s verses. Just think; he was illiterate!How could an illiterate man have come up with such verses? Up to the age of 40, he was not known as a statesman, a preacher or an orator. He was never seen discussing the principles of metaphysics, ethics, law, politics, economics or sociology. He possessed an excellent character, charming manners and was highly cultured. But when he came out of Cave Hira , with a new message, he was completely transformed. Is it possible for such a person to turn all of a sudden into ‘an imposter’ and claim to be the prophet of God and risk the rage of his own people? For what reason did he suffer all these hardships? His people offered to accept him as their King and to lay all the riches of the land at his feet if only he would stop preaching. But he chose to go on preaching in the face of insults, social boycott and even physical assault by his own people! Furthermore, had he come with a design of rivalry with the Christians and Jews, why should he have made belief in Jesus Christ and Moses and other Prophets of GOD, A BASIC REQUIREMENT OF FAITH WITHOUT WHICH NO ONE CAN BE A mUSLIM? Inspite of being unlettered and having led a normal and quiet life for forty years, when he began preaching his message, all of Arabia stood in awe and wonderat his eloquence and oratory.Only one who can read the Arabic text of the Quran can realise the intensity of its eloquence. And above all, how could he then pronounce truths of scientific nature contained in the Quran that no other human being could possibly have developed at that time. There are 1000 verses which are scientific truths (discovered centuries later) in the Quran; I am tempted to name just afew: the Quran mentions that the sun too is in movement, the light of the moon is reflected- not its own whereas that of the sun is its own, various embryonic stages are mentioned such as the “chewed up clump” which refers to the somites of an embryo, that the universe is expanding, that even plants have a male and female, that the shape of the earth is spherical yet flatter at both poles and the list goes on and on!

    Finally, why did he lead a hard life even after gaining power and authority?

    I quote: If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations,empires,peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the alters, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls.his forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after his death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm convictionwhich gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was two fold: the unity of God and the immateriality of God.
    Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images, the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad.

    Quote taken from Lamartine: Historie dela Turqie, Paris 1854, Vol 11,pp(276-77)

    Also, Michael H.Hart chose Muhammad(PBUH) amongst one of the most influential persons in history (1978). There is so much more but not enough time!

  93. Sarah : whilst still remaining on neutral territory, I take up your point,”How can an illiterate man have come up with such verses?”
    There were , and in all probability still are , in any community, men ,learned in letters , usually coming from an aesthetic background; known as scribes, who would write down; from simple dictation; what even the most ignorant of peasants might have to convey to a distant relative or liege lord . Illiterate means precisely what it says , without letters, ( which you , yourself, wrote elsewhere): it neither impinges upon, nor denigrates, the mental ability or logical processes of a person, whose capacity for thought and analysis of a situation are totally independent of the ability to write or read a script.

    Ergo, I put it to you , that the word was not personally written; but rather dictated by Muhammad.

    It is a petty argument, but one which I felt needed addressing.

  94. Macarnie,

    Your mention of scribes writing down whatever unlettered men have dictated does not prove anything; he did not dictate whilst others sat writing! Quite often verses were revealed unexpectedly and spontaniously (because, like other Prophets, the verses came from outside- not from within his mind). There are several books which explain in depth the various evidences of why it is not logical to suggest that his speech (during revelation) were other than divine; the scholar, Ahmad Deedat has given logical debates and reasons why he is proven to be the Prophet of God. Do go out to any Muslim bookshop and read his booklets because the reasons are innumerable that I cannot write them all down. There are testimonies by the people of his times who saw the physical’effect’ on the Prophet when the Archangel came to him with a revelation such as his sudden and profuse sweating and ‘heaviness’ of his limbs. Furthermore, there are verses of the Quran which address him and point out to him his shortcomings. I’ll give one example; the Prophet was busy preaching to the Makkan chiefs for he thought that if he gained their support, it would make his mission easier. A blind man came to the Prophet asking about his message; the Prophet, being a human was irritated by this sudden interuption and frowned and ignored this blind man. Thereafter, a revelation came upon him (Surat Abasa, part 30):
    1. (he) frowned and turned away
    2. Because there came to him the blind man (Abdullah bin Umm Maktoum)
    3.And how can you know that he might become pure? (from sins- this is God asking Muhammad PBUH)
    4.Or he might receive admonition and the admonition might profit him?
    5. As for him who thinks himself self sufficient (i.e. the leaders of Makkah)
    To him you attend.

    This surah does not stop here but I can’t post all of it. If you haven’t yet got the gist of what I am saying, either the Prophet was insane (Astaghfarullah) by preaching against his own actions- in public, where critics were always ready to attack his authenticity (as they do today) or he was not only a great orator, poet, etc but also a great actor!Afew more points to make are that he too was given his share of miracles (As the previous Prophets were) such as when he pointed to the moon and by the will of God, it split and rejoined. However, as Muslims we do take these past miracles as ultimate evidence if his prophethood since we were not there to witness it and the non believing witnesses at the time, opposed him even more and accused him of witchcraft! Ou ultimate proof is the Quran (and his prophecies, some of which have come true- the rest will too.). It is difficult for a non believer to appreciate the Quran’s authenticity without reading the Arabic text. It is the only sacred text which has been preserved in it’s entirety, 1400 years on- in it’s original language; every word, every squiggle remains as it were 1400 years ago and that in itself is a miracle (from God)!.If scribes and dictation had anything to do with it, there surely would have been changes and flaws!

    Final point, how did the Prophet know about the 1000 signs mentioned in the Quran which science has proven centuries later?

    I haven’t and can’t give all evidences.
    Please, do me a favour. Read up on it so I don’t have to constantly sit at this computer with my baby on my lap! Take care!

  95. Maccarnie, please note my grammatical mistake:
    second para, sixth sentence: As Muslims, we do NOT take these past miracles as the ultimate evidence…

  96. Sarah –

    I am on my hols and so unable to reference everything I need to but I must say that your post to me was incredibly and knowingly dishonest. You claim Aisha was mature at 9 – without defining what you mean by that. But you know that when her mother called her away the
    to have her marriage consummated by the Prophet she hazd been playing on a swing with her friends! So much for maturity. You msut have read that. \

    The slaughter of the Jewish tribe POWs is well attested in authenticated Hadith. He had the boys inspected. Those with mature hair growth were slaughtered along with the men. Charming.

  97. Sarah:

    You said to me: “you are typical of the nonbeliever who takes the ‘superficial’ understanding of the Quran”.

    You are wrong, but for the sake of discussion, let’s assume for a moment that you are right.

    I want to ask you one important question:

    What views will the BELIEVER who takes a similarly “superficial” view of the Qur’an have?

    The answer is obvious. They’ll see it the same as I do. But while, as a nonbeliever, I am disgusted and repulsed by what I read in the Qur’an and Hadith, such a believer will try to follow it.

    Such a “superficial” believer will be a supporter of armed jihad against all who reject Islam, criticise Islam, or in some other (subjectively-judged) way stand against the global spread of radical political Islam.

    Because on the face of it, that’s exactly what the Qur’an and Hadith teach.

    Now, if you really believe that a “deeper” view should hold sway, then the onus is on you, and all so-called “moderate Muslims”, to fight that ideological battle. Because the extremists don’t care at all for what I say. I’m just kufr – filthy infidel pig! – what I say has no value to them. So over to you!

    Oh, just one other thing. Can you please explain to me why so many thousands of senior Islamic “scholars” – those who openly support suicide bombings, praise 9/11 etc – share my “superficial” understanding?

    (And when you answer, please realise that I understand the notion of al-Taqiyya, and can usually spot it a mile off.)

  98. I think I’ll deal now with your vacuous assertions that women are highly regarded in Islam. Again, straight from the Qur’an and Hadith…

    Tabari IX:113 “Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain, they have the right to food and clothing. Treat women well for they are like domestic animals and they possess nothing themselves. Allah has made the enjoyment of their bodies lawful in his Qur

  99. The debate between Frank and Sarah is fascinating in its specificity, quoting chapter & verse.

    Howver, can’t help commenting again with a broad sweeping brush that The Book (whether Qu’ran, Bible or Torah) becomes the root of evil when it is taken literally and used to justify attitudes which are not merely illiberal but practically medieval.

    Give me the rule of law over The Book any day. I’ve the greatest respect and admiration for our judges, who judge and are in turn judged and sometimes overruled by a higher court.(Judge Not Lest Ye May Be Judged). If only all priests and mullahs and rabbis exercised the same responsibility and rigour in their pronuncements.

    And of course the judiciary are now the Unofficial Opposition, viz the House of Lords slapping down the Home Secretary (Blunkett/Clark) over human rights.

    But I never had the Latin for the judging…

  100. Kevin B:

    Your observation on the Qur’an vs. the Bible, Torah etc made me wish that I had kept to the jihad topic and not allowed myself to be distracted into gender issues – on which the Bible and Torah could indeed be said to have similarly eyebrow-raising content.

    Islam is completely unique in that a “superficial” reading of its books justifies spreading the religion by force. This can be said of no other religion.

    I take no pleasure in being so contentious. But the evidence is overwhelming. There are hundreds more Qur’an and Hadith verses similar in character to those below:

    Qur

  101. Just a note to Frank and others.
    With respect to the verses of the Qu’ran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, you have to realise firstly that it takes a number of requirments before anyone can simply dish out such sayings and verses and interpret them as one wishes- as I understand it, years of studying the classical Arabic lanugage, pre-islamic Arabic literature, Arabic rhetoric, eloquence and grammar (all subjects in themsleves)amongst other things before directly interpreting sayings and verses.

    Fair enough, not everyone has the capacity or desire to travel the road of Islamic scholarship, but one should at least appreciate the original language that these lines that have been lifted from and that they are translations (and probably very loosely at that) of classical arabic- which is a very rich language.
    I myself who has studied to some level classical language – Latin and is currently studying modern standard Arabic language has only a sense of this richness.

    To interpret such sayings without understanding the Arabic and its eloquence and its context is an erroneous path.

    Perhaps that is the point you were trying to make, but I am emphasising the caution which non/muslims alike ought to be aware of.

    In addition many of the saying of the prophet have different levels of reliability, and a sophisticated system was created when they were compiled in the 7th century that classified these sayings (or hadith) as being sound/ strong /weak etc based on the chain of narrations.

    It is in effect a science and should not be taken lightly.

    As muslims see the Qur’an as the word of God, it could be argued to be an insult to one’s creator to feel onself so superior as to assume that their interpretation is a valid one without proper understanding.

    As for the word Jihad- it comes from the wor “Jahada, YuJahido” which means to struggle.
    My humble and lowly dare I stress unscholarly understanding of which is to Struggle for a just cause, against oppression, injustice etc for the sake of God.

    That would therefore entail many different levels of struggle, indeed a military sense is included but so is and perhaps the most important is the struggle against one own self.
    Indeed the Prophet, peace be upon him said
    “speak out against injustice even if it is against your own self”

    There are in addition my understanding is that there are certaing requirements of Jihad that would need to be fulfilled and also ettiquetes associated with the practice of Jihad in a military sense.

    Which again in my very very very humble opinion one could argue has been flouted in the wars and acts of terrorism that have taken place probably since in the past century or at the least since WW2.

    p.s. please excuse my spelling and grammatical mistakes as I have noticed I might have made a few.

  102. Ginger Sams:

    In arguing that a scholarly approach is required to understand the Qur’an, you contradict the Qur’an itself, which quite clearly – and repeatedly – states the exact opposite:

    Qur’an 54:17 (and verses 22, 32, 40)
    “And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember…”

    You are right in saying that the various Hadith are not always accorded the same weight, but I have taken the above straight from the Qur’an – considered by all Muslims to be the inerrant word of Allah. There is no room for debate here.

    Now, put the expression “easy to understand” in the appropriate historical context and I think you might begin to see why I cannot agree with your assertion that the meaning of the Qur’an can only be revealed through what you call “a science not to be taken lightly”.

    Also, that the meaning is completely obscured unless one understands “the Arabic and its eloquence and context” is a complete red herring! Here’s a challenge for you:

    Choose for yourself any one of the Qur’an verses I cited in my earlier posts. I quoted verses relating to jihad, the subservient “dhimmi” status of Christians and Jews and gender inequality. I don’t mind which you target. The choise is entirely yours.

    Now, the challenge. However poetic and eloquent the original Arabic for your chosen verse is, perhaps you could explain how it actually has a meaning completely opposite to the way it is rendered in English?

  103. Sarah said: “It [the Qur’an] is the only sacred text which has been preserved in it’s entirety, 1400 years on- in it’s original language; every word, every squiggle remains as it were 1400 years ago and that in itself is a miracle (from God)!.If scribes and dictation had anything to do with it, there surely would have been changes and flaws!”

    Sorry, not so. Muslims blindly deny the existence of old manuscripts that vary from the current version. But such variations do exist.

    See, for example:
    http://www.derafsh-kaviyani.com/english/quran1.html

  104. The Israelis have had 25,000 (yes, the decimal point is in the right place) terrorist attacks launched against them since the year 2000.

    160 suicide bombings since 1993.

    ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY. They’ve lost the population equivalent of 10,000 British citizens. Case in point, 29 people died when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a Passover celebration on March 27, 2002. This would be the equivalent of 290 Brits dying.

    Our response to terrorism?

    We’ve be involved in the invasions of two countries, much as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks which were not directed specifically against us.

    So which is the harsher response to terrorism? Flattening a few houses or bombing a couple of countries?

    You ignorant buffoon.

  105. Yes us Brits are far too sophisticated for mere house demolition.

    We simply shoot innocent Brazilians, oh and invade a couple of countries at the whim of the U.S. But hey, everyone loves a dig at the Israelis so what the hell!

    ————-
    Mark Steyn – IT’S WAR! If you don’t know you’re in one, it’s hard to win it

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php?id=6422&issue=2005-07-30

    The distinction between coarse blundering Israelis and subtle sophisticated Britons depends where you�re standing. If you happen to be the late Jean Charles de Menezes, for example, you might wish fate had selected you instead to be the Palestinian suicide bomber interrupted en route to Tel Aviv that same Friday. The Euro-reviled IDF managed to disarm the Fatah terrorist of his explosives belt, packed with nails, without harming a hair on his pretty little suicide-bomber head. If the demented anti-Zionism of the British and Continental media these last four years ever had a point, it doesn�t now, when you�re in the early stages of the Israelification of Europe � and, in one of fate�s better jests, in this scenario you�re the Jews.
    ————-

  106. Firstly, i suggest Boris, gets off his lazy ass and trys to do some extended reaserch of his own, instead of listening to rumours,and propogating what he ‘thinks’ he knows.Islam does NOT accecpt the killing of ‘non-muslims’, if he has actually read the quran he will know that it is said ,that if a person takes the life of another person, it is like he killed the whole of mankind’it does not say ‘muslim’, it says person meaning someones LIFE, so how anyone can say that islam agrees with these ‘alleged bombers’ just shows their ignorance in education.Boris, every society, religion and race has their share of people who are the bad apples, so why did u not point out that cathlocism also were misrepresented by the IRA.similarly Islam has their share of bad apples, but let it be reminded their motive was also political, and you of all people should understand how parties have bad apples, because just like that your party has you, a bad apple who should be there to represent the conservatives, but it is now understandable why they have not won any recent elections with members like you.Yes, by invading Iraq, and being slave followers of America, Britian has definitely increased their chances by 99% of being attacked, but i think it came as a shock that these ‘alleged bombers’ were of British nationality,but dont brand us all with the same colour,the majority of muslims are nothing but Law abiding people, and i suggest you all take a step back and leave the muslims alone, because with you all constantly targeting muslims in this country, it will not be suprising if the coccasian community gain a few more enemys.

  107. I think that Jasmin has overstepped the mark by calling Boris a bad apple.

    The whole purpose of these commentaries and resultant replies, is to promote a better understanding between the various peoples who inhabit this land.

    Insults and personal jibes are neither asked for, nor are they welcome. Every contributor here , excepting perhaps for those who do not wish to understand the above conditions , has the right to state whatever their case might be, in order to further the discussion and promote that better understanding.

    According to her use of the word ,” alleged”, it is obvious that she, along with some others, including some radical Muslim Clerics, still does not believe that they were terrorists, acting in the name of the Muslim community, who perpetrated these bombings. Who does she suggest did it, if the ones who died did not?

    As for the failed bombing attempts,at least one of those suspected is fighting attempts to have him returned to the UK to face charges of terrorism. Not the actions of an innocent man, I would have said.

    After the 7.7 bombings, there was forensic evidence, of an irrefutble nature, in abundance, available to the Police forensic scientists ,which tells a damning story , (or is there a sub plot here, about which we know nothing?)

    “Alleged” is therefore, no longer the apposite description.

    She should accept that there are, as she called them ,” bad apples”, and throw them out of her collective storeroom, before they spoil all her supplies.

    As for the veiled threat which she undoubtedly made at the end of her contribution: it would be laughable, were it not for its sinister undertones , particularly in the face of her self confessed wish for peace.

  108. Jasmin:
    what on earth is a “coccasian”? Is it just terrible spelling, or a word i have never heard? If the former, are you saying that caucasians are not allowed to be Muslim?

    Someone better tell them!!!

    :oP

  109. I listened to a Muslim Cleric on Radio 4 this morning, who likened Tony Blair to Hitler.

    His reasons for citing Hitler’s preoccupation with the, ” Jewish Question”, were totally spurious , in that he hinted that the newly heralded emergency measures to exclude; deport, or jail anyone stirring up racial or religious hatred were purely against Muslims. His views on this matter are hardly surprising, because he is still in denial of the fact that the bombers were Muslims, by insisting that the only evidence available is circumstantial. It is twisted logic such as this which causes the apparent gulf in understanding between religions.

    These proposed measures, according to Miss Blears yesterday, are to be applied to EACH and EVERY person found guilty of promulgating religious / racial hate, regardless of creed or place of birth. And high time too. Still, better late than never.

  110. Browsing this and associated blogs I come across a number of proud claims to be “a Pagan”. Often this is alongside a denounciation of (usually) Christians as being wicked and/or silly. Before I say any more could any of you Pagans explain (briefly) what a Pagan believes in, possibly with some references to Great Pagans in history?

  111. Taken from the web site of Pagans:-

    Pagans may be trained in particular traditions or they may follow their own inspiration. Paganism is not dogmatic. Pagans pursue their own vision of the Divine as a direct and personal experience.

    Some authors see the emergence of Paganism in the twentieth century as a revival of an older Pagan religion and describe all the above traditions as Neo-Pagan. Pagans are not necessarily recognized, due to the diversity of those claiming to be of a Pagan disposition: Wiccanism and Druidism are only two of the so-called, ” isms”, recognized as Pagans.

    Historically, pagans built Stonehenge, and other great Henges.

    My paternal Grandfather was a follower of Druidism , in fact, highly placed in Druidical circles in the last century.. He believed , if I am not falsely informed , in the prescience of Nature,in its manifold magnificence, and who will prove that his beliefs were wrong?

  112. Monotheism, per se, is a non paganistic trait. Dogmatism is a non pagan trait. I suspect that the answer to your question Jack, is simply to belong to a recognised religion, and practise it.
    Normally on this , or related subjects , I am a fence sitter: the personification of the three monkeys, or perhaps the Yorkshire guy who says :-

    ‘ear all see all, say nowt

    Ate all , sup all, pay nowt;

    an’ if ever tha’ does owt fer nowt,

    allus do it fer thisen.

  113. I didn’t have a chance before to back up my recollection with a quote to show that Sarah was misleading people here with her paraphrase.

    The quote is set out below. It will be seen firstly that the “saving one life” injunction relates to the “children of Israel and is not specifically directed to Muslims. Be that as it may it is the following verse which prescribes punishments in relation to those who create “mischief in the land” that are the eye openers. It’s crucifixion, limb amputation and death.

    Even “moderate Muslims” believe that the democracies are engaged in an illegitimate war in Iraq which is part of teh land of the Muslims. Even if it is held that 5.33 refers only to persons living in the land of Muslims, it is clear such punishments would on that reading apply to the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government.

    Sarah has tried, like all Muslim apologists, to pull the wool over people’s eyes. I’m sure most people are sensible enough to see what the message of the Koran is from this quote.

    HERE IS THE QUOTE FROM CHAPTER 5 OF THE KORAN

    “For this reason did We prescribed to the children of Israel that whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men; and certainly Our apostles came to them with clear arguments, but even after that many of them certainly act extravagantly in the land.
    [5.33] The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be [killed] or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement,”

  114. I notice that a lot of defence of using the Koran as your guide to life depends on you being pretty sophisticated in interpretation, as well as knowing which interpretation suits which day of the week.

    Anyway as a miserable (non-fundamenatist) atheist I’m not so much interested as being told what to think and do as learning how to think and working out what to do. My non-fundamentalist friends of a variety of religions seem to have the same attitude. As my ignorance of other religions is overwhelming, please forgive me for noting that most of the 10 commandments offer a reasonably coherent set of rules for a framework in which the free will that the Christian God gives can be used by responsible people. The Old Testament minute sayings and doings of the prophet Donald in the ancient Middle East seem less useful somehow.

    Come on guys of all religions (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Marxism, Fascism, the BBC is always right, etc. etc.) Think a bit – you have nothing to lose but your fundamentals!

  115. According to a Channel 4 report,and various other sources; relatives of the Brazilian man; Jean C De Menezes; shot dead by anti-terror police on a London Tube train ,want the perpetators to be charged with murder …

    The lawyer for the de Menezes family,Harriet Wistrich, said they were distressed at newly publicicized revelations, calling them ‘shocking and terrifying’ and adding that it raises serious questions about the shoot-to-kill policy of the Metropolitan Police; and has called for a public inquiry into the death of the electrician.

    The Met’s Police Commisioner, Sir Ian Blair , made an explanatory statement at the time, and this could cause him considerable embarrassment, since subsequent reports are at odds with it.

  116. well done boris . its about time some body stood up against these murdering terroists. your doing a fine job. keep up the good work..

  117. Well Sarah, your post interested me, you may have many fooled, you certainly spun a pretty picture but lets look at what you said and what Islamic literature actually says….

    1 “Your claim that the Prophet allowed slaves to be used as sex workers is misinterpreted. Women captured in the pre-Islamic era were subjected to inhumane treatment; after Islam these women were allowed to be kept and taken care of and treated in a respectable manner as one would treat a wife. Now, the human intelligence may think, that this is wronged. but God ordained this because leaving women to roam free only encourages prostitution and this ‘sex trade’ is abhorent to Islam.”

    I will respond to that comment with a hadith:-
    sahih Muslim
    1)Book 008, Number 3371:
    Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa’id al Khadri (Allah he pleased with him): 0 Abu Sa’id, did you hear Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-‘azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing ‘azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid-conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.

    your prophet

  118. In the light of the latest piece of videotape evidence; this time from beyond the grave; confirming, beyond doubt, that we have / had, in our midst, some (hopefully a miniscule minority) radical Muslims who are prepared to commit mayhem, involving innocent civilian bystanders,of whatever creedor colour,
    in the mistaken belief that the average Brit is a monster, intent on destroying Islam.

    This morning, on radio 4, John Humphries interviewed a leading Muslim Cleric, whose insistence that there is, and was, no proof that Muslims were involved in the 7 / 7 bombings was, to say the least, bizarre.

    Is this the state of affairs we wish to be in the ascendancy, when all sections of Society are in danger, to a greater or lesser degree, by as yet unknown atrocities?

    It must be approaching the time for a further definitive declaration of solidarity from the spokesmen of the Muslim community, (the majority of whom are against terrorism, in any and all its forms), denouncing all those participating in terrorism, of whatever beliefs and political associations.

    This country, foremost in Europe, has a liberal attitude towards minorities, but this tolerant attitude could change if controversial

    Preachers are allowed to rubbish incontrovertible evidence. This morning’s example cited possible image manipulation, in order to prove Muslim involvement, as an explanation for the above mentioned tape.

Comments are closed.