The importance of Moses

August 15, 2013

529px-Moses_Pleading_with_Israel_(crop)

It is difficult to over exaggerate the importance of Moses to the narratives of the three major religions. The Talmud refers to the Pentateuch as the ‘Book of Moses’. Jesus mentions Moses’ supposed Prophecy if the Gospels are to be believed. The Qur’an speaks of the exodus as if historical fact, with Moses (Musa) being a key Prophet for the faith. All three rely on his existence, and his deeds. All three rely on the story of the Exodus. If the stories of Moses & the exodus fall down, all three major faiths fall down with it.

It is of course obvious, that the first five books of the Bible contain massive inconsistencies and errors. This in itself is not enough to dismiss the entire text, given that it isn’t considered the exact word of God (as the Qur’an is) but it is enough to question the legitimacy of the claim that the first five books were penned by one man; Moses. It has been the opinion of most scholars for around the past century, that the first five books were written by multiple authors. There has been disagreement over how many authors there may have been, when they were composed, when they were edited and put together. Despite the disagreements, it is generally accepted that multiple hands are at work with the first five books.

The Yahwist source (known as Source J, and named so because it refers to God as ‘Yahweh’ – Jehovah – some argue that this source was produced in the 6th Century BCE as a prologue to Deuteronomistic history covering Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings) places Moses as someone only able to stop God’s plagues upon Egypt. God is solely responsible. Moses, the intermediary. Whereas, the Elohim source (Source E, named so because it refers to God as ‘Elohim’) suggests that Moses was someone who openly threatened Pharaoh, and was himself responsible for bringing about the plagues. Both sources were written centuries after Moses supposedly lived.

The contradictions begin right at the start of Genesis, and proceed from there. The contradictions are actually two versions of the same story. For example, the order of creation in Genesis 1 is: plants, animals, man & woman together. Whereas, the order of creation in Genesis 2 is: man, plants, animals, woman.

So, if we can discount one Jewish/Christian myth of Moses, what about the others? Well, the most notable story is the Exodus out of Egypt. It is this story that places Moses at epicentre of Judaism, and therefore Christianity, and later, Islam. Without this, Judaism falls to the ground, Jesus’ mention of Moses in the Gospels, is irrelevant, and the Qur’an appears as nothing but a plagiarised version of the other two.

The supernatural elements of the claims about Moses certainly have no evidence. There is no evidence to suggest that a large amount of Israelites crossed a parted Red Sea, no Egyptian source that ever mentions Israelites enslaved in Egypt who later escaped. In fact, no Egyptian source mentions an enslaved Israelite population at all. There is also absolutely nothing to suggest the plagues took place. No evidence of the mass genocide of first born Egyptian sons.

We can of course accept that the supernatural elements were invented to give divine aspect, thus solidifying a story for the purpose of group solidarity and power, in much the same way as the later – more creative – stories of the Prophet Muhammad developed in order to solidify a new Arab Empire.

On a side note, one of the supernatural elements of the story – that of the genocide of first born Egyptian sons commonly known as Passover – always seemed to me to be a particularly vile ‘celebration’. There seems to be an odd obsession with linking death, to salvation within Christianity and Judaism. I have never been able to understand why Jesus needed to die, in order to absorb the sins of humanity. Where is the connection between the two? Why must Egyptian children be murdered, in order to free Israelites? I am delighted that Passover isn’t based on historical fact

The situation though, seems to suggest that even the more historically ‘believable’ aspects of the story lack any sort of evidence. Archaeologists have all but given up searching for evidence of a mass exodus of Israelites out of Egypt. There is nothing that even slightly suggests it ever happened. Ze’ev Hertzog, an Israeli archaeologist says:

“The Israelites never were in Egypt. They never came from abroad. This whole chain is broken. It is not a historical one. It is a later legendary reconstruction—made in the seventh century [BCE]—of a history that never happened.”

Similarly, renowned archaeologist Israel Finkelstein says:

“Modern archaeological techniques are quite capable of tracing the very meager remains of hunter-gatherers and pastoral nomads all over the world…repeated archaeological surveys in all regions of the Sinai peninsula…yielded only negative evidence, not even a single shred , no structure, not a single house, no trace of an ancient encampment…there is simply no evidence at the supposed time of the Exodus.”

The traditional date set for the exodus at 1450bc (set, due to the mention in Kings of 480 years before the founding of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem) conflicts with Biblical description of just how the Israelites were put to work years before the exodus, here:

Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
– Exodus 1:11

– The name Rameses was used by Egyptian Pharaohs, though the first to use these conflicts with the dates given for the supposed building of the city of Raamses. As Kenneth Kitchen points out:

The first of these, Ramesses I, reigned only sixteen months and built no cities. None of the rest founded major cities either, with but one exception. He was Ramesses II, grandson of I, who was the builder of the vast city Pi-Ramesse A-nakhtu, “Domain of Ramesses II, Great in Victory,” suitably abbreviated to the distinctive and essential element “Ra(a)mses” in Hebrew.

Ramesses II reigned from 1279–1213 BC. Two hundred years after the exodus, and even longer after the Bible suggests the Israelite slaves built the city. Ramesses II’s body was buried in the Valley of the Kings, but is now in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum…. not at the bottom of the ocean after the parted Red Sea engulfed him.

The site “Islamic Awareness” also comes to the conclusion – through Qur’anic inquiry – that the Pharaoh of the exodus (as well as at the time of Moses’ birth) was Ramesses:

“In conclusion, the Qur’anic presentation of the Pharaoh of the Exodus is internally consistent and fits well with the extant egyptological data. This is also in line with the earlier studies by Hamidullah[87] and Fatoohi et al.[88] who have arrived at similar conclusions, albeit using less exhaustive and sometimes shaky evidence, that the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt before the birth of Moses until the Exodus and his (i.e., Pharaoh’s) death was Ramesses II.”

– And despite their thorough discrediting of the traditional Biblical narrative, “Islamic Awareness” offer no evidence for an exodus during the time of Ramesses. They also do not mention how Ramesses II actually died; at the ripe old age of 90, with terrible arthritis and hardened arteries… not drowned at sea, as the Qur’an claims.

The exodus would have been perhaps the most calamitous moment in Egyptian history (with the exception of Augustus’ annexation) The Biblical narrative states that:

37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside women and children.
38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
– Exodus 12:37-38

– To put this into perspective, the English city of Manchester has a population under 600,000. Less people live in Manchester than the population of Israelite men (not including women & children) supposedly breaking away from Egypt. When we include women and children, we can guess of a number higher than 1,000,000. At around the time of the exodus, Egypt’s population hit around 3 million people. This means, that around 33% of the population of Egypt escaped from a state of captivity, without any record of them ever existing.

The Amarna letters dated to the mid-1300s bc, make no mention of any huge slave revolt or inevitable economic meltdown that a 1,000,000+ slave revolt would have caused. The Amarna letters are unique, in that they are 382 diplomatic correspondence on clay tablets from that very specific period of Egyptian history. Fourteen correspondence with the Babylonians, more to the Syrians, Hatti, and Lebanon. None mention Israelite slaves or a mass revolt.

The website “Answers in Genesis” tries to argue that the Israelites didn’t just build Pi-Ramesses, but also built the Pyramids. David Down, the author of the article, and apparent archaeologist says:

“When we take the history and chronology of the Bible as written, we find that it makes eminent sense of the archaeological evidence. The pyramid builders were not people who had evolved from animals over millions of years. Rather, they were once part of an advanced civilization which built an imposing tower that soared over the plains of Babylon (Genesis 11), a people descended from a family that disembarked from the 15,000-ton ocean-going Ark (Genesis 6–8). We still do not know exactly how they accomplished all their engineering feats in ancient Egypt, but we can be sure that a people who were less than 30 generations from Adam had incredible intellectual skills.”

– It is difficult to know where to begin on such a ridiculous paragraph, but what strikes me as being at the heart of this piece, is that Down takes for granted the idea that the Pyramids were built by slaves. This is a myth. It is handed to us by Greek historian Herodotus, who claimed the Pyramid builders were slaves originally, but modern archaeology tells us that the Pyramid builders were in fact, paid labourers. Ex-director of Berlin’s Egyptian Museum, Dieter Wildung says:

“The myth of the slaves building pyramids is only the stuff of tabloids and Hollywood.”

– Many of the workers who died during the construction of the Pyramids, were buried with honour, by the site, something that would not have been offered to slaves. Slaves did not build the Pyramids. Israelite slaves, descended from a family on an ark, certainly didn’t build the Pyramids.

The ‘Torah’ relies on the story of Moses for credibility with regard its laws, handed down by God, to Moses. If Moses did not pen these laws, and if multiple sources over time penned these laws, then it stands to reason that they came from already established systems of law. Around 3200BC there existed a tribe of people who lived in Egypt called the Kemet. They seem to have been a civilisation who lived a rather advanced existence, just slightly before the Early Dynastic period, and so predating Pharaoh Narmer who is identified as the man responsible for uniting the different tribes of Egypt, thus becoming known as the first Pharaoh of Egypt. The unified Egypt incorporated ideas and beliefs from the tribes that it unified, one of which was the Kemet concept of “Ma’at“. Ma’at was the principle used as a guide on law, morality, truth, and spirituality that was needed to help unify Egypt. The principle was depicted as a Goddess – also called Ma’at – who was said to be in control of the stars, the sky, law, and men. They deified the concept of Ma’at. She was essentially the main God. The guiding principles of Ma’at were set out in what is known as the 42 Declarations of Purity. Of those, 10 of which can be found in the Commandments handed to Moses. Or, possibly, given that Egypt had long been a force in Canaan and the surrounding area, by the 20th century BCE, the influence of those basic principles enshrined in Ma’at; principles that lived on in Ancient Egypt, reached the Israelites, who simply appropriated much of it for themselves.

Judaism relies on the story of the exodus for its origins. Christianity relies on the historicity of Moses for the very fact that Jesus himself mentions Moses as if a historically accurate figure from the Old Testament:

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.”
Matthew 19:8

Indeed, if the first five books of the Bible are not written by Moses, then Jesus is completely wrong:

45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.
47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

– Christianity, and the claim of Jesus as a fulfilled Prophecy from Deuteronomy 18:15-22 among others, relies solely on not only the existence of Moses, but his penning at least some of either Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, if not all of it. And yet, we now know that those five books were penned by different authors, at vastly different times.

Similarly, the Qur’an, a book supposedly the exact, uncompromising, completely accurate word of Allah mentions the story of Moses, as if historical truth:

Then we sent after them (the messengers) Moses with Our signs to Pharaoh and his chiefs, but they disbelieved in them; so see what the end of the corrupters was (7.103). Moses said: “O Pharaoh! I am a messenger from the Lord of all peoples (7.104). It is a duty on me to say nothing about Allah but the truth; I have come to you with clear proof from your Lord, therefore send with me the Children of Israel” (7.105).
Sura Al-A’raf

– This suggests that either Moses’ people escaped from Egypt, left absolutely no trace, and their captors wrote nothing of them, or even acknowledged their existence until God mentions it to Muhammad thousands of years later. Or, the Qur’an is not the word of God, and was instead used as a way to anchor the new Arab empire to a religion that was strengthened by the name of already established mythical names and events. Indeed, later Hadith tell us that Muhammad upon his Night Journey visited heaven, and met Moses. The reliability of both the Qur’an and Hadith, and so, Islam’s claim on Jerusalem, whither away to nothingness, if the story of the exodus is false, which is appears to be.

There seems to be very little reason to believe Moses achieved what the Holy books claim he achieved. It is as good as certain that there was no vast exodus out of Egypt; the underpinnings of Judaism, Christianity and Islam fall at their most basic hurdle. If the exodus didn’t happen, then Christianity stole it from Judaism and fabricated the words of Jesus in an attempt to confirm the Prophecies of Moses. Similarly, if the exodus didn’t happen, early Muslims must have appropriated the story for themselves, added a few bits, subtracted a few bits, but ultimately the point remains the same. Therefore, the first five books of the Bible – written by different people, at different times, for different purposes – are the most important aspects of the three major religions.

Collective enslavement of Israelites in Egypt, and their subsequent break from bondage, appears not to have ever occurred. The supernatural elements of the story can therefore be equally as dismissed as fantasy. It is more likely that Canaan slowly became Israel, incorporating Semites from Egypt, with stories of their own, crafting a new narrative for a new people. All civilisations have their creation myths. Moses was a key name to this, much like Romulus was a key name to the mythical creation of Rome. Whether Moses existed historically, may never be determined, but what is becoming increasingly obvious is that the stories attributed to Moses from the Torah, the Bible and the Qur’an, are all fabrications.


Islam & Patriarchy

July 27, 2013

I was recently introduced to the idea of ‘masculinism’. It’s an odd little term to me; sort of like those who demand a ‘white history month’ or a ‘straight pride’ celebration. A way to show the World that you do not understand the progression of Western history by those who have always controlled it (white, straight, men). The rules were devised by the very groups whose offspring now insist are the ones oppressed by it.

Masculinism, whilst woefully uninformed, seems to be an attempt to break down Patriarchal structures that have become a hindrance to men also. Perhaps when Patriarchal religious societies begin to notice that men too are damaged by Patriarchy, they may start to fight it. But as of yet, religious societies seek the opposite; to uphold the Patriarchal order by any means necessary. This article will focus on Islam, whilst the next will focus on Christianity.

Earlier this year, the Muslim Brotherhood declared that a UN declaration calling for an end to violence against women, would lead to the end of civilised society as we know it. It was of course a predictable response from a group obsessed with controlling women, but also a rather ironic statement from a group whose Islamist tendencies tend to destroy everything it touches. The Brotherhood said:

“This declaration, if ratified, would lead to complete disintegration of society, and would certainly be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve cohesion of Islamic societies.”

– Of course, seeking to reduce every conflict – including those that seek to promote the rights of those oppressed by male dominated Islamic regimes – down to Western imperialism has been a rhetorical tactic for centuries, in trying to induce post-colonial guilt upon the West in the hope that they might back off and allow regressive Islamist regimes to flourish. It transfers the argument from the misdeeds and the misogyny of a group like the Muslim Brotherhood (who are apparently convinced that society is held together by some sort of natural male dominance), and attempts to ensure we’re all focused on ‘Western imperialism’. It’s a cow they just wont stop milking. And yet, ironically, Patriarchal religions in the 21st century, are the most imperial and dictatorial of them all. They seek to have full control, both physically and mentally, over women.

patri
– In other words, don’t think for yourself. Thinking for yourself leads to rejecting archaic “principles” that have no reasonable justification, but to empower controlling men.

1
– An interesting statement on many levels. A thinly veiled declaration of his in-built desire to control women. If one uses faith as an excuse, individual tendencies toward Patriarchy are excused as cultural. He believes that he gets to define the term ‘modest’ and apply it to every woman on the planet. To this misogynist, it is impossible for a woman to be at modest, without being covered from head to toe. If you are not covered from head to toe, you lack all decency. What an insult to billions of women across the World.

On a second level, the idea extends only to the appearance of women. The character, personality, nature of an individual woman is irrelevant to Islamists. You could have the most wonderful character, but if you ever have the nerve to sunbathe with a bikini on a beach, you’re indecent and deserve to be told so, by those “modest” few who ironically, feel the need to tell everyone how modest they are, at every given opportunity. Feel free to look over this guy’s tweets. His obsession with controlling women is incredibly unnerving.

On a third level, his comment only applies to women. Humility and decency apparently do not apply to the covering up of men. Only women. Men are judged by deeds. Women are judged by what they choose to wear.

On a fourth level, the usual reason given to women covering up, is to protect them from the sex-obsessed glare of men. The implication being that men are inherently prone to viewing women as an object, unable to control our sexual desires, and that it is women who need to change their behaviour in order for men to cope. This reflects badly on the self restraint of Muslim men, apparently unable to contain their sexual rage unless a woman is fully covered (you should be in prison, not lecturing people on how to dress). Islamists believe it is women who must change their behaviour to stop men treating women like sexualised objects, rather than educating men away from the objectification of women (which would naturally require the abandoning of Holy texts altogether). This is protecting a few sex crazed men, not women. And secondly, by forcing women into this mode of ‘modesty’ it simply solidifies the notion that women are naturally sex objects, unless they are covered.

This does not mean that I think women shouldn’t wear the hijab. A person should be free to wear whatever they feel most comfortable wearing. I do not claim that the hijab oppresses the individual who chooses to wear it. But the symbol of ‘modesty’ and the victim-blaming mentality toward those who don’t wear it along with the idea that women are simply sex-objects without it, is oppressive to both men and women. It simply means the values that the hijab represent, repulses me. It is the symbol of misogynistic indoctrination on so many levels.

The Qur’an and the words and deeds of the Prophet are not an attack on Patriarchy. Much the opposite. They uphold and promote Patriarchy.

This blatant repression of gender equality, and sexual expression, is reflected in the very fact that Islamic countries tend to have the highest percentage of people searching for sex terms on the internet. Pakistan is number one in the World for searching “rape videos”, and “teen anal sex”. Sexual repression, rather than sexual education and the breaking down of Patriarchal barriers, does more to uphold Patriarchal, female-objectification, than any other. It fails to identify the root of the problem; archaic faiths made by men, for men.

One cannot fail to note the irony in a faith claiming to protect women, when its leader sold women as sex slaves, invented a Holy Book full of promises of women for himself, and married a young child. Though, Islamic denial tends to be rather strong on this. Hakeem Muhammad is under the particularly odd impression that:

“Far from being a “tool of patriarchal oppression,” the Qu’ran quite simply is a book that is a critique of tyranny and oppression.”

– Denial is the key to upholding much of society’s inequalities. White supremacists refuse to accept that they have been the beneficiary of white privilege. Heterosexual, homophobic men are convinced that withholding a gay couple’s right to marry is not a “rights issue”. Similarly, Patriarchal religious folk are under the rather odd delusion that their faith is in fact, a beacon of equality and progress. The argument from Hakeem, seems to be that Muhammad improved upon the terrible conditions facing women in pre-Islamic Arabia. Great. That’s great. But it’s also flawed. The Qur’an is supposed to transcend the context of time, and so it has no room itself to be improved upon when it comes to women’s rights. Women must be, as the Qur’an deems, for the rest of history. It isn’t claiming progress. It is claiming an end to history when it comes to women’s rights. All progress toward gender equality, must end at the Qur’an. Therefore, we must focus purely on that end claim, rather than anything that came before it, or Europe dealt with women’s rights at the time (shockingly, but then, Europe was under the power of another horrifically Patriarchal faith).
The Qur’an institutionalises inequality, for all time, between the sexes in many passages, including when it comes to law. Sura 2:228:

“And let two men from among you bear witness to all such documents [contracts of loans without interest]. But if two men be not available, there should be one man and two women to bear witness so that if one of the women forgets (anything), the other may remind her.”

– If we are in any doubt exactly what this means, the Prophet Muhammad gives us this little gem of unsupported, completely unscientific, regressive explanation:

“The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.'”

– What deficiency is this? What deficiency affects a woman so much so that she is less reliable in a court, than a man? Well, the Prophet doesn’t elaborate. Patriarchal religious rules tend not to have a rational base.
We of course, shouldn’t be surprised, given that the Qur’an – which could spend time telling us about the wonders of the universe, the event horizon, the beauty of time, the extraordinary tale of evolution – spends an incredibly suspicious amount of time discussing how many women the Prophet is allowed to control:

“O Prophet, We have made lawful to you those of your wives, whose dowers you have paid, and those women who come into your possession out of the slave—girls granted by Allah, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and aunts, and of your maternal uncles and aunts, who have migrated with you, and the believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet may desire her. This privilege is for you only, not for the other believers .”

– The women of course, have no choice in this. Hakeem, is insistent. This is a book that critiques Patriarchy and oppression. Seriously.

Female children don’t fare much better either. This passage gives instruction on how a Muslim man is to go about divorcing his young bride:

“65:1 O Prophet, when you divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed waiting—period and count the waiting—period accurately . . . 4 And if you are in doubt about those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, (you should know that) their waiting period is three months, and the same applies to those who have not menstruated as yet.”

– Now, if we are in any doubt as to what this means, Abul A’la Maududi explains:

“Therefore, making mention of the waiting—period for girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl at this age but it is permissible for the husband to consummate marriage with her. Now, obviously no Muslim has the right to forbid a thing which the Qur’an has held as permissible.”

– Here we see tacit acknowledgement, that precedents given in the Qur’an (universal rules, remember) are naturally used to oppress and develop and maintain Patriarchal structures in which women and children are objects (the hijab doesn’t protect them at all), that lead to situations that we currently see shaping Muslim countries in response to the Syrian female refugee crises. Abu Sanad, a father in the Za’artari refugee camp in north Jordan, said:

“People from Jordan, from Saudi Arabia, from Qatar, they come and ask: ‘Do you want to give your daughters for marriage? What do they see us as? A market place for selling? Like selling sheep.They see we don’t have money. They want to exploit us. Give me your daughter for 200,000 lira or 100,000 lira. ”

– If Allah didn’t realise that condoning child marriage isn’t only abuse in itself, but may also foster horrific abuse of children in the future, he is woefully inadequate. But even if that’s not enough, then we have the delightful Sheikh Mohammad Al-Arefe to expand on why children are to blame for their fathers sexually abusing them:

“Oh, people, some girls are youthful and have beautiful figures, and decide to wear tight clothing, or tight trousers, and short tops and wear them in front of their fathers. She needs to realise that her father is also a youth! He may feel sexually attracted to his daughter, we seek refuge in God, and when he shakes her hand or kisses her or hugs her, the devil might push him to act upon his desires. So I urge this girl and other girls, if they are young, not to wear bad clothes in front of her father, or reveal her chest or anything like that, just because he’s her father, fact is that father is still a man.”

– Sheikh Mohammad Al-Arefe has attempted to justify paedophilia as well as incest. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Arefe should not be allowed near children.

To solidify this notion of dominance/subordination, the Qur’an forever institutionalises the male natural right, to his wife sexually. He is in control of their sexual relationship:

“Your wives are a place of sowing of seed for you, so come to your place of cultivation however you wish and put forth [righteousness] for yourselves”

– If she refuses to be used as a “place of sowing seed” for her domineering husband demanding sex, according to Muhammad, expressed through Bukhari, she is cursed:

“If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning.”

– If this isn’t evidence of Islam created by men, for men, I’m not sure what is.

In case women still aren’t sure of their place, Sura An-Nisa 4:34 clarifies:

“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.”

– Women, if you don’t obey your husband, he has the right to beat you. Because, you know, he’s “in charge” of you.

The point is, by suggesting that the Qur’an, and the Prophet progressed women’s rights is meaningless if that which replaced it claims to be universal, and yet still contains passages upholding, and institutionalising Patriarchy. Getting rid of some forms of oppression, but maintaining or expanding on others, is not good enough for a universal, time-transcending Holy book. Which is exactly what the Qur’an, and the words of Muhammad do. If your universal guide for humanity includes passages on how to treat female slaves, rather than calling for the complete abolition of slavery; if it includes passages on how to sexually dominate your wife rather than calling for sexual equality; if it contains passages on when is the right time to beat your wife, rather than insisting that there is never a right time to beat your wife; If it includes passages on marrying female children rather than protecting them from sexual abuse; if it includes passages on covering women from head to toe, but not men….. then it isn’t a book dedicated to fighting Patriarchy and oppression. It isn’t a mistranslation. Islam was created by men, for power, and for the sexual benefit of men. Islam, is Patriarchy.


The Myth of the Unchanged Qur’an & Muhammad as a role model.

February 20, 2013

Quran_cover There appear to be two often repeated key romantic ideas used to add credit to the Islamic faith. The first, concerns highlighting the Prophet Muhammad as an ideal role model for humanity, and the second is the notion that the Qur’an, throughout its history, is the perfect, unchanged word of God. That whilst Christian and Jewish texts have been revised, and rewritten throughout history (this is true), the Qur’an has remained the pure, and perfect word of God and that it is so wonderfully written, no one could repeat the perfection of it. This myth is cemented into the minds of children at a very young age. It is unquestioned. It is provided as fact, and yet, it seems anything but fact when examined.

This is a long article, so I have tried to break it down into two parts, though they are just rough guides to the proceeding paragraphs.

Muhammad, Revelation, and Hadith:

We are told that Muhammad received the word of God, through sporadic revelations throughout his life. He used scribes, we are told, to write some revelation down, and others memorised parts. Nevertheless, we have no documented evidence of this or anything relating to the Qur’an from that time period, other than hear say (some will point to the odd parchment here and there, that definitely aren’t verified, nor have any strong claim to be of value. I once saw a museum in Istanbul claim to have a piece of the cross that Jesus was crucified on, and the staff of Moses, I dismiss that for the same reason). This is entirely based on trust. We must trust that the Qur’an we have today, is word for word, that which Muhammad received. There is no evidence for this, other than tradition and sentiment. Muslims are very good at repeating the phrase… “The Prophet said this….” without actually providing falsifiable evidence that what they are saying, was in fact something spoken by the Prophet, rather than something someone made up years later.

The reason written versions are largely irrelevant, is because firstly, Muhammad and his followers were for the most part, illiterate, and the ones that could write, only had at their disposal a defective (incomplete) script, leading to questions of pronunciation. It had to be memorised, to preserve its integrity. It strikes me as incredibly bad planning on the part of the Islamic God, to reveal his demands and divine plan for mankind, to illiterate people with no complete script (other civilisations at the time, did have complete scripts), spoken by very few people, whose best hope of preserving it, was through memory…. of which, many forgot:

The Hadith suggests that some of those claiming to have memorised it, at times forgot:

We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bara’at. I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it:” If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust.” And we used to recite a surah which resembled one of the surahs of Musabbihat, and I have forgotten it, but remember (this much) out of it:” Oh people who believe, why do you say that which you do not practise” (lxi 2.) and “that is recorded in your necks as a witness (against you) and you would be asked about it on the Day of Resurrection”

– Whole Sura’s have been forgotten! And therefore, those who were entrusted to remember it, cannot be trusted. They could recount wrong, they could change words, they could just invent whatever they wish. And again, it shows complete lack of planning on the part of Allah.

But don’t worry! If you do forget a verse, a new vaguely similar verse will be handed to you.

“We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Qur’an 2:106”

– I shall come back to Muhammad inventing new revelations when it suited him later in the article. The idea of losing a verse, and replacing it is not unique to Islam. Joseph Smith of Mormon fame, when his manuscript was stolen, and asked to match it word for word, if it truly were the divine, unchanging word of God…. he said he didn’t have to, because the old version was now tainted with the Devil, and so he would receive a new and similar revelation, but not word for word, conveniently. It is of course, ridiculous. And in both Muhammad’s and Smith’s case; the resulting revelations include power over others and unique sexual ‘rights’ for the ‘Prophet’.

Secondly, Muhammad was illiterate. God has chosen to give his message to someone who is illiterate, whilst proscribing war knowing those who memorise it might be wiped out? If He wishes his religion to spread, revealing it to an illiterate in the hope that he might memorise it, doesn’t seem too wise, and will inevitably lead to people not accepting it.

Remember, revelation is only revelation to the person receiving it. To everyone else, it is hear say, there is no reason to believe what another tells you as fact, especially when it lacks all evidence. We have no reason to believe that Muhammad didn’t just make it up. We also have no way to know that the words written down, were the words of Muhammad; he was dead by the time the words were written. We have no way to know that the writers didn’t just make it up. There is no surviving written Qur’anic text for almost 100 years after the death of Mohammad. Again, to believe the Qur’an is the perfect, unchanged word of God, Muslims have to place their trust in 100 years of passing down words, followed by over 1000 years of interpretations and copies of the text.
The belief, is based solely on trust.

Muhammad himself seems capable of having ‘revelations’ whenever he wished. And then replacing them with new ‘revelations’ for new reasons.. We know that in order to appease Polytheists who didn’t seem receptive to the idea of Muhammad as their new self assigned Prophet, Muhammad claimed that he had a revelation, insisting that under his new religion, the Polytheist Gods: Allāt, al-‘Uzzā and Manāt whom previously he had said weren’t allowed, were actually all real, and could be worshipped! HURRAH! But then, Muhammad decided that they weren’t real afterall. For this, he blamed Satan. Hence, the Satanic Verses. And there is the answer to “no one can produce anything like it”. Well, Satan did apparently.

There are then curious moments in the life and revelations of the Prophet, that certain things he desires, suddenly become divine revelations:

The Prophet prayed facing Bait-ulMaqdis (Jerusalem) for sixteen or seventeen months but he wished that his Qibla would be the Ka’ba (at Mecca). So Allah Revealed (2.144) and he offered ‘Asr prayers (in his Mosque facing Ka’ba at Mecca) and some people prayed with him. … (Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 60, no. 13, Khan)

– Muhammad originally prays facing Jerusalem, but “wishes” he could pray toward Mecca. Suddenly, he gets a call from Allah, telling him he can now pray toward Mecca. Convenient.

It seems that Allah didn’t actually wish women to be veiled originally. But Muhammad’s friend Umar ‘wishes’ it, and suddenly Muhammad gets another call from Allah, and women are to be veiled for the most mundane reason:

And as regards the (verse of) the veiling of the women, I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I wish you ordered your wives to cover themselves from the men because good and bad ones talk to them.” So the verse of the veiling of the women was revealed. (Qur’an 24:31)

And one need not even wonder where this nasty little verse, offering special sexual privileges to Muhammad came from:

Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave-girls whom Allah had given you as booty; the daughters of your paternal and maternal uncles and of your paternal and maternal aunts who fled with you; and any believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to take in marriage. The privilege is yours alone, being granted to no other believer. (Qur’an 33:50, Dawood)

In the Hadith we see further changes to revelation, to suit Muhammad or his friends. Ibn Umm Maktum was a blind man, who later in life converts to Islam and becomes a friend of Muhammad. He takes exception to the idea that Muslims who sit at home rather than fight for their religion are not equals. And so, Bukhari tells us:

“When the Verse: “Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home)” (4.95) was revealed, Allah’s Apostle called for Zaid who wrote it. In the meantime Ibn Um Maktum came and complained of his blindness, so Allah revealed: “Except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame…” etc.) (4.95) (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 6, Book 60, Number 117)

– How convenient! And also, how weak of a God to not consider exceptions in the first place. He needs them pointing out to him?
Judging by certain revelations, that Muhammad received at times when it suited his own ‘wishes’ or those of his male friends, it is reasonable to suggest that the alternative to Muhammad as a Prophet, is that he concocted the entire thing, for purely selfish, misogynistic reasons. There are too many ‘revelations’ that are concerned with Muhammad’s personal life to be ignored or played off as a God that wished to offer a divine guide for the entire human race. This God is far too pre-occupied with satisfying Muhammad’s lust for women and power.

Here is a God that could be describing the wonder of Dinosaurs, or the mysterious beauty of the Event Horizon, or evolution through natural selection and random mutation, or the curvature of space time when a great mass is involved, or the spectacular insights offered by quantum physics. Instead, he chooses to spend much of his time, telling his Prophet who he personally is allowed to sleep with; turns out, it’s whomever he wishes at the time. Which is convenient.

We cannot reconcile the horrifying genocide of the 600 – 900 Bani Qurayza men who Muhammad personally demanded beheading, and in fact, helped to behead; with a ‘peaceful’ interpretation of Islam. What happened to the poor women of the tribe, whose husbands had now been so viciously slaughtered by such a violent warlord? According to “The Life of Muhammad” by Ibn Ishaq:

“Then the apostle sent Sa’d bin Zayd Al-Ansari brother of bin Abdul Ashhal with some of the captive women of Bani Qurayza to Najd, and he sold them for horses and weapons.”

– Sold into slavery. A Prophet of God, making money, out of selling captured women of men he has just slaughtered, into slavery…. and no intervention or revelation from ‘Allah’ saying “don’t do that”. Extremism is not a fringe element of Islam, or a misinterpretation… it is inbuilt into this ideology itself.

Muhammad is a contradictory character; he is entirely different in Medina, to his life in Mecca. He becomes violent, dictatorial, sex obsessed, polygamous and his words become forceful and threatening. When in Medina, noticing the Jews living there did not accept him as some new wondrous Prophet, he turns vicious, the Jewish population, understandably, are not exactly happy with the subtle threats:

The apostle assembled them in their market and addressed them as follows: “O Jews, beware lest God bring upon you the vengeance that He brought upon Quraysh and become Muslims. You know that I am a prophet who has been sent – you will find that in your scriptures and God’s covenant with you.” They replied, “O Muhammad, you seem to think that we are your people. Do not deceive yourself because you encountered a people with no knowledge of war and got the better of them; for by God if we fight you, you will find that we are real men!” (Ibn Ishaq, 545)

Suddenly, and predictably, Muhammad gets ANOTHER call from God.

Say to those who disbelieve: “You will be vanquished and gathered to Hell, an evil resting place. You have already had a sign in the two forces which met”; i.e. the apostle’s companions at Badr and the Quraysh. “One force fought in the way of God; the other, disbelievers, thought they saw double their own force with their very eyes. God strengthens with His help whom He will. Verily in that is an example for the discerning.” (Ibn Ishaq, 545; Qur’an, 3:12-13)

He then finds a wonderfully convenient way to explain why Allah suddenly decides to change or replace verses in the Qur’an, when people start questioning Muhammad’s divine messages, suggesting he may in fact be a fraud:

“When We substitute one revelation for another – and God knows best what He reveals (in stages), – they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not. Surah 16.101″

– Basically; don’t question. Allah knows best. The Qur’an has changed…. because Allah himself (at moments that were convenient to Muhammad’s current situation in life) decides to change passages, apparently deciding the original ones weren’t right afterall. Surely a perfect being would get it right the first time? Surely, if you’re preparing to release the most important message in history, to the whole of mankind, you plan a little better than this?

But we should not be surprised by the violence. As well as threats, and death for apostasy… Muhammad manages to demand his message start spreading, by force, from childhood:

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Command a boy to pray when he reaches the age of seven years. When he becomes ten years old, then beat him for prayer.” Abu Dawud 2:494

At the time, certain Jewish Medina citizens did not take kindly to this new violent man threatening and murdering his way through their mist. Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf, a poet, began mocking Muhammad and satirising him. And like a modern crime family Mafia Don, Muhammad gathers a few of his followers, and says:

“Who will kill Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf? He had maligned Allah, and His Messenger.”

– Ka’b bin Ashraf is then murdered; for insulting the delusions of the Prophet. And he wasn’t the only one to meet this fate, simply for disagreeing with the violent Prophet of Islam. Ibn an-Nawwahah was a rival Prophet. Muhammad, feeling threatened by a rival reacted badly, as is explained in a Hadith:

“I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: Were it not that you were not a messenger, I would behead you. But today you are not a messenger. He then ordered Qarazah ibn Ka’b (to kill him). He beheaded him in the market.”

A lovely little story recounts the tail of Uqba bin Abu Mu’ayt, a man who absolutely despised Muhammad. He wrote against him, he mocked, and he tried to fight the murderous advances of the Prophet. Eventually, Muhammad gets overly annoyed and orders his death, whilst Uqba begs for his life, and for his children. The heartless Muhammad, does not care.

When the apostle ordered him to be killed, Uqba said, “But who will look after my children, O Muhammad?” [Muhammad’s reply] “Hell.” The man was put to death. (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 458)

– So we see, the condemnation and murder of anyone who dares to mock, or even criticise this religion is not new, it didn’t begin with the death threats against Salman Rushdie nor the Danish Cartoonists. It is an inbuilt trait of the religion itself. It began with the Prophet. The enemy of free expression. This was not a peaceful man. He may indeed have been a great military leader and conqueror placed in the context of the time period, but this does not make him a great spiritual leader. And even if we place Muhammad in the context of the time period… which undoubtedly was a violent time, this ‘great’ Prophet did not rise above it as might be expected for a Prophet of the all-loving and all-knowing bringing a message of peace; no, he became a part of it. He spread his message, through fear and violence. This is not to be admired.

The sex life of Muhammad is a key theme for the Qur’an:

“O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her– specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; ”

– Basically, Muhammad, you’re free to sleep with whomever you want. Apparently this was a necessary revelation, from the overlord of the Universe. If this isn’t a key indication that the Qur’an was invented by a human man, i’m not sure what is. The point here, in relation to the Qur’an never changing, is that Muhammad simply invented revelations, when it suited him. Revelations pertaining to his sexual desires were delivered whenever he required it. If this is the basis of ‘morality’, it is truly horrifying.

The historical context is irrelevant, because for Muslims, the man in question is in contact with an angel of God. He is capable of receiving ‘revelation’ that changes the ‘context’ of the time period quite significantly, leading to a brand new empire based on a brand new religion. His life is dedicated to changing the ‘context of the time’, and yet God doesn’t see fit to reveal to him that having sex with a 9 year old girl is wrong, or that it might lead to Islamic Patriarchal societies in the future using this to justify lowering the age of consent? Saudi Arabia is not just a ‘Patriarchal’ society. Islam is a Patriarchal religion, clearly invented by men, for men.

The ‘place it in the context’ of the time period argument, is a failure. It is a weak attempt to defend a man who cannot be defended. If Muhammad can receive divine command that changes the context of the time, then Allah has no problem with 50 year old men having sex with 9 year old girls. It just isn’t on his list of cares. He seems more concerned with acquiescing to Muhammad’s request to pray facing Mecca. Allah dedicates an extraordinary amount of time to Muhammad’s sex life. If however, Muhammad isn’t divine. Then yes, he can be placed within the context of the time period, and we cannot judge him by today’s standards in that respect. The moment you accept that he is a Prophet who can receive divine revelation, that negates the ‘context of the time’ argument.

Muslims tend to trust the infallibility of the Hadith. Many will quote what the Prophet ‘said’, during debates with non-believers to add support to their argument or the way they choose to live. Their stories and explanations become intricate, and detailed. But let’s not be fooled by people acting as experts for something so ambiguous. Because Muhammad al-Bukhari, one of the most trusted collectors of the sayings of the Prophet, whose Hadiths are held up as a key component of Islam, was born in 810ad. Two centuries after Muhammad. It takes a lot of trust to accept that a man writing two centuries later, hearing stories passed down over many generations, knew the exact words that the Prophet had uttered. The Hadith are supremely important to Islam, and so if there is doubt over even one Hadith, then they must all be questionable, and the writers cannot therefore be completely trusted. Well, a book written by liberal Muslim Jamal al-Banna, brother of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2008 published a book entitled: “The Cleansing of Bukhari and Muslim from useless Hadiths“. In it, he claims that 653 of the Hadith are wrong, and should be discarded. Even within the Muslim World, they do not agree on the authenticity. And who can blame them?

In fact, the first full account of Muhammad’s life was not only written a century after his death by Ibn Ishaq, all based on oral traditions, it has since been lost, and was rewritten under the authority of Ibn Hisham, even later. Again, this is not something we are compelled to believe is ‘truth’. This is ambiguity at its best. Believers have their work cut out for them, if they are to convince me that this is quite obviously the truth.

Muhammad was a war lord. A very violent man. He was not simply a peaceful type who wished to convey personal faith, and let others know what he believed. He wished to spread his religion, by the sword, crushing anyone who disagreed or disobeyed, and indoctrinating children along the way through violence. And there’s no doubt about what Muhammad achieved. As a military leader and conqueror, he was undoubtedly spectacular. One of the greatest of all time. But not as a spiritual leader. His power also extended to his sex life, inventing verses when it suited him, for his own personal desires and those of his friends. Muhammad was not a good man, and the example he set, is the very reason the religion of Islam has a very intolerant sect of fanatics wishing to replicate what Muhammad achieved. When Nasser al-Bahri (or Abu Jandal) was arrested for his links to al-Qaeda, his reasons for extremism were not primarily American “imperialism” or anything of the sort. His motivation, was certain Hadith that states quite openly, that those who carry the Black Flag, will fight and be victorious for the ownership of Jerusalem. That is the goal of Islamic fanaticism. And it is directly related to the Hadith; the supposed words of the Prophet, not to the actions of America or Europe or any other global power. It is an autonomous ideology, it isn’t a mistranslation of Holy texts, and we must stop making excuses for it.

This religion and this Prophet, are not inherently peaceful (note; I do not claim individual Muslims are not peaceful, this would be incredibly short sighted of me), nor do they lend themselves well to secular values, regardless of how much we delude ourselves into desperately trying to believe otherwise.

The Qur’an and its changes:

Perhaps in Arabic, The Qur’an is written far more wonderfully than the version I have in English, which is really quite ordinary and frankly, the narrative is all over the place. I wondered why Muslims often ask people to create something as ‘wonderful’ as the Qur’an, where did that demand come from? Much like Christians use Biblical verses in a show of circular reasoning to attempt evidence for the existence of God (usually “A fool has said in his heart, there is no God”) it seems that Muslims use a Qur’anic verse, to insist that no one can write something as wonderful as the Qur’an:

“If the mankind and the jinns were together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another.” [Qur’an 17:88]

– This is a fallacy. You cannot use the words in a book, to prove that book is true. It must have substance. The substance in the above is empty. The beauty of a text is of course very subjective. Having read the Qur’an, I was not impressed, and in fact, found it to be anything but well written.

We then find that there is no agreement over who actually gave the order to write the Qur’an. Whilst some claim it was Ali, most claim it was Uthman that gave the order to have a standard, written copy of the Qur’an. This presents problems, because Uthman’s motive for the written Qur’an seem to be down to the fact that around the Islamic Empire at the time, different regions had their own versions of the Qur’an with different ways of reciting, and different styles. There was not one standard version from the time of Muhammad, which you’d expect, if it was the perfect, unchangeable word of Allah. To deal with this, Uthman standardises the Qur’an (in much the same was as early Christian dictators decided what deserved to be called the correct version of the Bible) and had his new version sent around the Empire. This is one man’s attempts to define a system of belief. Let us also not forget that Arabic itself, was not standardised until centuries later (the 9th Century). And so the interpretations, even of a standardised text, was interpreted and repeated far differently, depending on where in the Empire you happened to be from. It seems an awful time to send revelation. Why would a God not offer his revelation to a literate group, with a standardised system of writing? It is an astounding show of incompetence.

The Hadith themselves tell us that certain Qur’anic verses were just discarded at times. Maybe Allah had a change of mind.

“Narrated Anas bin Malik: … There was revealed about those who were killed at Bi’r-Ma’una a Qur’anic Verse we used to recite, but it was cancelled later on. The verse was: ‘Inform our people that we have met our Lord. He is pleased with us and He has made us pleased.’” Bukhari vol.4:69 p.53. See also the History of al-Tabari vol.7 p.156.

The Uthman Qur’an, considered by some Muslims to be the actual Qur’an of Uthman, currently residing in Tashkent, Uzbekistan also has its issues. The script itself is its major weakness. The Uthman Qur’an is written in Kufic script. This script was a form of writing that did not appear until decades after Uthman’s death. There is no reason to accept that the Qur’an in question, belonged to Uthman. It is likely an 8th Century version. Still old, and valuable, just not what it being suggested of it.

In Yemen in 1972, a set of parchments were found. The Sana’a manuscript is thought to be the oldest written Qur’anic manuscript, dating to around twenty years after the death of Muhammad. It has two layers, the top layer seems to collaborate the fact that the Qur’an was put together during Uthman’s era, as it reflects the Qur’an today in large parts. However, the bottom layer has vast differences between it, and the standard Qur’an of today. Much of the bottom layer had been erased, but not fully, so we still actually see the lower text due to the materials in the ink that turns the ink light brown over the years. Due to carbon 14 dating, we know that there is a 75% chance that the lower text was written before 650ad, which means it was erased some time later. Which means it was erased, because it didn’t agree with the new standardised version. Which means Uthman (or maybe someone else) decided words spoken by God, to the Prophet Muhammad, were not ‘right’ for his new version. It also means that there have absolutely been variations in content of the Qur’an right from the beginning. There has never been agreement.

The Sana’a manuscript is not just important because it shows the differences in the wording of the Qur’an which Muslims tend to suggest has never happened; it is important because of where it was found. The Great Mosque of Sana’a was, according to Muslim tradition, a Mosque that had design help from the Prophet himself, and became a centre of Islamic learning. Archaeological evidence appears to back up the claim that the Mosque was built during the Prophet’s life time. The manuscript therefore, is important. And so with that, we must look at the differences.

From the Standard text of the Qur’an today:

sanaa2
The translation of this from the Sahih International is:

‘… if they turn away, Allah will punish them with a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And there will not be for them on earth any protector or helper.”

However, the Sana’a manuscript appears to be missing words:

sanaa3
The translation here, is:

“… if they turn away, Allah will punish them in this world. And there will not be for them on earth any protector or helper.”

– There is no talk of the ‘hereafter’ nor do we need the adjective ‘painful’. But more tellingly, when Muslims insist that not one word has changed since it was first received by Muhammad; they are wrong.

We cannot even claim that Uthman’s version is the version we know today. The Qur’an we know today, includes many changes. Some of which come to us from the early Islamic teacher, and Governor of Iraq, Al-Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf Al-Thakafi. He didn’t entirely agree with Uthman’s Qur’an and so made changes himself. In Surat Yunus 10:22 he decides to take it upon himself to change “yanshorokom”, which means “spread you,” to “yousayerokom”, which means “makes you to go on.” In Surat Al-Hadid 57:7, the word “wataqu”, which means “feared Allah,” becomes “Wa-anfaqu”, which means “spend in charity.” The Qur’an we have today, is a mesh of what different Islamic rulers thought necessary to include, to omit, to change, based on revelations that Muhammad was conveniently, and changed, when it suited his and his friends needs. There is no compelling reason to belief any of it.

Verses also appear to have been changed around. Many Muslims note that Sura 5:3 is the final revelation. This causes a problem for both the unmatchable ‘beauty’ of the Qur’an and the idea that it is unchanged from Muhammad to today. Because, oddly, the apparent last revelation, doesn’t appear at the conclusion of the text of the Qur’an. It appears close to the beginning of the Qur’an:

“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. ”

– It cannot be a perfected religion, or a completion of favour, if there are still the majority of revelations to come. And given that this Sura is not at the end of the text, it suggests the Qur’an was not compiled in order, which is a huge continuity and structual deficiency for any book, especially one claiming to be unmatched in beauty, and certainly contradicts the idea that it was passed down exactly as it was recited to Muhammad.

Certain parts of the Qur’an were said to be irretrievably lost. Abdullah ibn Umar, son of the second Caliph wrote:

“It is reported from Ismail ibn Ibrahim from Ayyub from Naafi from Ibn Umar who said: “Let none of you say ‘I have acquired the whole of the Qur’an’. How does he know what all of it is when much of the Qur’an has disappeared? Rather let him say ‘I have acquired what has survived.”

– This constitutes a ‘change’ to the Qur’an we have today, from the one apparently spoken to Muhammad. With missing parts (parts that Allah doesn’t appear to have reissued, to someone else, as one would expect, given that they are his rules for life), means an incomplete religion, and an incomplete Holy Book.

Of course, to even suggest the Qur’an has changed, usually brings with it death threats and brands of apostasy from the incredibly insecure faithful. Dr Nasr Abu Zaid, ex-lecturer in Koranic Studies at Cairo University questioned the idea that the Qur’an was unchanged, back in 1990. The Egyptian courts ruled that he was apostate, and forced him to divorce his wife. He then fled to Holland to escape the increasing hostility and death threats.

The Qur’an cannot objectively be described as a book that has never changed. It quite obviously has and it was quite obviously used to fulfil the desires of Muhammad and his male friends. But even if you trust that Muhammad memorised the entire book, did not change one word for himself or his friends, that his followers memorised the entire book, that they passed it on, word for word, without any omissions or glitches of any sort to the next generation, and that it was written down perfectly; even if you trust the absurdity of that, and even if you can somehow rationalise in your head love for a Prophet who spent much of his time ordering executions and slaughter for very little reason; you cannot get away from the fact that there have been variations of the Qur’an since Muhammad’s life time, that he changed ‘revelation’ at certain points, used it to justify violence when it suited him, and that the variations across the Empire were enough that they caused Uthman to standardise the book, in a language that itself was not yet standardised, and that the standard Qur’an today, differs from the manuscript found at Sana’a. There is no perfect, direct line from the Qur’an as given to Muhammad, to today’s standard version. There is simply hazy recollection to forgetting Sura’s entirely, replaced revelations by the Prophet to suit himself, hear say, arguments over which was right, suppression of unauthorised versions by the leading Patriarchs of Islamic society, and disagreements between today’s version, and ancient versions.

But even if you are willing to overlook all the obvious discrepancies with the traditional story that the Qur’an is unchanged…… that doesn’t imply that the Qur’an is divine. An unchanged book can easily survive for centuries, and not imply divinity or truth. To the cause of divinity, the question of the Qur’an being unchanged, is irrelevant.

It is simply incoherent, ignorant, and disingenuous to claim that the Qur’an as it is today, is the exact, unchanged word that was handed down to Muhammad in a cave, in the 7th Century. The history of both Muhammad and the Qur’an are shrouded in ambiguity. Nothing is clear. The overwhelming evidence quite clearly points to changes to the Qur’an all along the way.

The very idea of forced belief (which is what it is, when punishment and reward enter into the equation, as is the case with Islam and Christianity); God will hand down a very dubious list of demands, surrounded by very ambiguous circumstances, and questionable characters instead of irrefutable proof, which if you simply do not believe, will have you roasting in hell for eternity, is a concept that repulses me. We should all feel threatened by anyone who claims they have divine permission to tell you how to dress, how to act, how to talk. Or anyone who demands unquestioning respect and an end to all mocking of their faith, whilst they themselves demand the right to tell you that your ways are wrong and destined for eternal punishment. It must be resisted.

To believe it, is to suspend all reason, and all critical faculties, and replace it with sentiment.


The burden of proof

February 22, 2011

It seems apparent from early on in the history of the Church, that the existence of a Christian God was not disputed. The arguments and the philosophical debate seemed irrelevant. It simply gave many people who were already becoming suspicious of the Polytheistic system forced upon them by Rome, a chance to reassert control over their lives, and a way to escape and hide in a World of their own. A sense of individuality apart from Rome.

Doctrine became more important than spirituality and truth. Bishop Victor of Rome, around 190ad decided when Easter would be celebrated. He came up against opposition from a sect called the Quatrodecimens who insisted on celebrating Easter on Jewish passover. Victor demanded uniformity. The Catholic Church was becoming powerful very early on, and any descent from its ranks, was met with swift punishment and calls of heresy. Many gnostic groups felt the full force of the Catholic Church’s iron fist. The truth was that many different Christian sects existed. Some didn’t even acknowledge the resurrection. Many didn’t believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. There could only be one sect that reigned victorious; not because of any divine power, but because it had friends in very high and rich places. The Catholic Church spread its message violently and with threat of severe punishment, for centuries proceeding the early years of the Church. Islam is experiencing much the same attempts to monopolise knowledge and debate in Eastern Nations now. If you dare to question the tenets of Islam in a Nation like Iran, you better run for your life. That is the only reason organised religion is perpetuated. The existence of God and the philosophical arguments surrounding his supposed transcendental nature, were not explored pre-Enlightenment, through fear alone, not reason.

Anyway, today I had a short discussion with a Muslim guy who told me that as an Atheist, I could not disprove the existence of a God.

There were two problems I can see instantly with this statement.

Firstly, this is entering the realms of Deism. It is true, I cannot disprove a creator. But a creator has no attributes, and so it takes a rather large leap to get from a creator, to the Christian or Islamic God. A creator could be anything; an infinitely good creator, an infinitely evil creator, two creators, a creator whose final act before dying, was to create the universe, a creator that created the universe but then stepped back. This is entirely different from a God of religion. To prove a religion is worthy of public power, it must first prove a creator who is infinitely good, infinitely knowledgeable. And so we are given the old cosmological argument provided by Aquinas, and currently being used constantly by William Lane Craig in every debate he has:
1. Every thing has either been caused to exist by something else or else exists uncaused.
2. Not every thing has been caused to exist by something else.
3. Therefore, at least one thing is itself uncaused.
The problem being, that point two is conjecture, rather than truth. Aquinas’ logic is limited by time itself. If existence is infinite, then everything that exists has indeed been caused by that which came before. Fortunately for those of us who languish in unbelief; not everything that exists, has a cause. On the subatomic level, protons appear spontaneously and cease to exist just as quickly. The entire study of Quantum Mechanics backs this up. Both Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss attest to this.

Even if Aquinas’ logic is applied to the existence of a God, it is impossible to assign the logic to the existence of a God of organised religion, because Aquinas’ God could have been the first cause, but has had nothing to do with existence ever since. Perhaps it was more than one first cause. But obviously this is irrelevant because no philosopher would take the old cosmological argument seriously any more.

There is a more rounded version and a more modern version of the cosmological argument that is early Islamic in origin, though taken from earlier traditions. But even this argument, is weak. The Kalam Argument as it is known states that:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
It is weak because of how it is worded. The language is its downfall. “Everything that begins to exist has a cause“. This places a limit to “everything“. Everything…. that begins to exist. Which automatically excludes the idea of something that doesn’t begin to exist, i.e – a God. It is trying to prove God, by just presuming God already exists as something that didn’t begin to exist, and just existed any way. The Islamic Kalam argument does not point out where the evidence is for that which did not begin to exist. It is trying to persuade the reader that God is already a known. He is transcendental and so already exists. Almost clever, but not actually.

It is also limited by the constraints of time. Something cannot ‘begin’ unless time exists. Since time sprang into existence at the point of the big bang, there is no ’cause’ before. Because before doesn’t exist. The entire chain of cause and effect began at the point of the big bang. So, the premise of the Kalam argument is wrong. It follows then, that the rest of it, is wrong.

On the cosmological argument, the Muslim guy tried to suggest to me, that the Koran offers evidence that science has only just managed to discover. He quoted the Koran:

Then He turned to the sky, when it was still gas, and said to it, and to the earth, “Come into existence, willingly or unwillingly.” They said, “We come willingly.”

Quite how this relates to science is beyond me. As far as I can discern, a God looked at some Gas and said “make the Earth”. I’m pretty sure that isn’t what Stephan Hawking is trying to suggest. It is not a very persuasive argument to say the very very least. Even then, the Koran is saying nothing new. Even for the time period. The Ancient Greeks, 1000 years before the Koran, were theorising about atoms, gas particles and even evolution. The Greeks had guessed that the atom was the building block of everything, long before Islam sprang into existence. It would be wholly arrogant for Islam to take credit for knowledge that pre-dates it, by about a millennium. That being said, the Koran doesn’t mention atoms. It mentions gas (doesn’t go into much detail, unsurprisingly for a Religious text). And so, is wrong. Scientists would be ashamed to call this verse scientific in any way whatsoever.

The cosmological argument, in every way, fails.
Even if it didn’t fail, the cosmological argument does not imply a personal God of any sort. That is problem number one with the statement “Prove God doesn’t exist“.

The second problem and most important, is the burden of proof.
As an Atheist, I did not start by saying “God doesn’t exist“. I simply hear a religious person say “God does exist” and I reject the notion, based on the lack of evidence to support the assertion that the religious person has made.

The burden of proof is not on me to disprove the existence of a God, because it is logically impossible to do so. It would be equally as impossible to ask a religious person to prove that there isn’t a monkey sitting on my head, that turns invisible whenever someone else looks at me. They would not logically be able to disprove it, because it is an assertion that I have made without the use of evidence. The burden of proof is lodged firmly with me. If I am to make an extraordinary claim, and use it to justify horrendous abuses and prejudices (the appalling and frankly moronic and dangerous way religious people treat homosexuality), then they MUST provide extraordinary evidence.

Proof against an assertion with no characteristics or evidence, is logically impossible. I should not be expected to provide evidence for denying an assertion. The person making the assertion should provide the evidence.
So the burden of proof is not on Atheists, it is on the believers. And none of them can offer any proof whatsoever. It comes back round to the original cosmological argument, especially with reference to the Kalam argument. A God that cannot be seen or heard or have any kind of human attributes attached to it, and was the first cause so must exist outside of the realm that He created (if I make a cup, I am not part of the cup, I am apart from the cup), cannot be disproved as such. I cannot possibly, as an Atheist summon up enough arrogance to presume I can disprove something that according to those who make the assertion, exists beyond the realm of human knowledge. We are all subject to the limitations of time and space and we cannot transcend that. That goes for religious people also.

And so it stands, the burden of proof is not on me, it is on the religious person.
Needless to say, the Muslim guy I was speaking to briefly, didn’t answer.


Darwin is greater than Jesus and Muhammad

November 15, 2010

A couple of my Muslim friends wont let me touch their Koran. They think that because I don’t believe in their silly little fairy tale, I am somehow unworthy of touching their book of nonsense. It is sacred apparently. I have therefore took it upon myself to ban all my religious friends from touching my copy of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. I do this, because in the book, Darwin applies logic and evidence to come up with the greatest revelation the World has ever known. This revelation wasn’t given by a vicious dictatorial God/Allah in some obscure corner of a desert to a man from a nation of angry warring illiterate tribes who were convinced for centuries that the Earth was the centre of the universe and executed people for heresy if they thought otherwise. This revelation was given by nature, as pure fact. Fact is something both the Bible and the Koran seem to be lacking, and so I ban them from touching my copy of the Origin of Species, because they are unworthy of reading anything other than pure fiction. They are though, more than welcome to read my copy of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. Although I fear they may take it literally and start ordering the immediate deaths of anyone who says a bad word against Aslan.

It is interesting what people find sacred. Religious books, I prefer to laugh at. They are pointless, archaic, and worthy of ridicule. They should not be taken seriously, and people in a position of power should not have to swear on them, when they take office. It is apparently all about devotion to God.

God, or Allah, or whatever name he has to go by (Apollo, Yahweh, El) is to be obeyed at all times. Prayed too constantly, sang about, worshipped endlessly, feared, loved, and never disobeyed on fear of burning for eternity in utter pain (but he loves you, remember that). God is a dictator. Pretty fucking evil at that.

The painter Caravaggio, one of my favourite painters of all time, paints a beautiful baroque style piece depicting Abraham on the verge of sacrificing his son Isaac by the word of God, as an angel appears to stop him, revealing it was all just a test to see how devoted Abraham was to God. The contrast of light and dark is beautifully striking in the painting. But the subject of the painting is clearly Isaac. Which is great, because Christians tend to ignore the importance of Isaac in this story. This story doesn’t portray God as all loving, or Abraham as a great devoted Prophet of God. It portrays God as a dictatorial maniac, and Abraham as insane.
In the painting, as in my mind, Abraham has absolutely no emotion on his face. He is a man possessed. By contrast, Isaac is terrified. His dad has bound his hands behind his back, is holding him face down on a stone alter, and is about to gut him…. because God demanded it. When I have children, if I am told to kidnap my child, tie him/her to a stone alter and stab him/her to death, for God, I will happily tell you, no matter how sacred your God may be, he is a despicable cunt.

Child sacrifice is prominent throughout the Old Testament. The king of Moab sends a burnt offering of his dead son up to God. It works too, because his nemesis is swiftly dealt with:

Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt-offering upon the wall. And there came great wrath upon Israel; and they departed from him, and returned to their own land.

God appears to endorse child murder. As long as it’s in his name. The book of Exodus seems to confirm God’s need for people to kill their children as a sign of devotion to him:

“You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The first-born of your sons you shall give to me.”

Less brutal, but just as despicable is both Judaism and Islam’s use of circumcision. I wont refer to it as circumcision for the remainder of this blog, it shall henceforth be known as child genital mutilation. According to Jewish law, a child should be genitally mutilated soon after birth. It is non-negotiable. The child has no say. He hasn’t even decided if he believes the bullshit his parents are forcing on him, before he is mutilated. It strikes me as utterly abhorrent, and worthy of prison (if I were to go out, and cut a bit off a kid’s penis, I am pretty sure i’d be thrown in prison and Daily Mail readers would call for the death penalty to be bought back for monsters like me), but instead, child genital mutilation is entirely legal purely because the cult that practices it, has quite a few members. No evidence for their logic, just strength in numbers. A logical fallacy if ever I saw one.

Islam is the largest group of people in the World that practice genital mutilation. The BBC website says:

Some Muslims see circumcision as a preventive measure against infection and diseases.

A better preventative measure against infection and disease, would be to recognise that the entire study and practice of modern medicine and biology, is based entirely and necessarily on Evolutionary theory, not on out dated, unnecessary, dirty, despicable rituals. Now, people who actively and happily mutilate babies, both Jewish and Muslim, are not bad people. Which suggests that their blind obedience to fairy tales leads them to make utterly absurd decisions. They are influenced by the illogical and the dangerous.

But that’s what happens when as a divine being, you spend 98,000 years of human existence ignoring them, and pop up in the last 2000 years, with a book of ridiculous rules. A book that you don’t bother giving to a society that has advanced to the stage where its population are largely literate and educated (China), but instead, you give it to crazed uneducated, illiterate tribesman in the middle of the fucking desert. God massively misjudged his original audience.

On the website Bible.ca, they have a page called “Darwin was wrong”. I read the first two paragraphs and sat wondering how anyone could be so ignorant and ridiculous. Then I noticed they were religious Americans. So I put 2 and 2 together.
Their website says:

If a fair maiden kisses a frog which instantly changes into a handsome prince, we would call it a fairy tale. But if the frog takes 40 million years to turn into a prince, we call it evolution. Time is the evolutionist’s magic wand. Fairy tales come in many forms!

– Apparently a talking snake in a magical garden of a man made out of dust and a woman made out of a rib of the man does not come under the whole idea of ‘fairy tale’. How ironic. Secondly. That isn’t what evolution says at all. No one has ever suggested a frog can become a human. A frog is just as evolved today, as you or I. A frog has adapted to its surroundings, and thus survived, and evolved to deal with change. 99% of all species throughout time have not been as lucky. I would happily start believing in God if a frog suddenly became a man. Stop misrepresenting Darwin, you absolute cretins.

Darwin’s theory of evolution says that over millions of years simple life forms (one celled creatures) slowly evolved into complex life forms (fish), and that one kind of animal evolved into another kind (ape to man)

No one has ever said a chimp suddenly became a businessman or politician (although George Bush exists, so I might be wrong). Man has simply adapted to changes in surroundings and climate over the millions of years of time on Earth, to situations and to the necessity of survival. We have evolved both biologically and socially over many millions of years. We are descended from the ape family, but we did not suddenly become human from ape, in the same way that your great grandad did not suddenly become you.

It isn’t even a debate any more. It is fact. Evolution is a fact. Natural Selection is the theory, the model behind Evolution. But Evolution itself is fact. Religion should be neglected; pushed aside as dangerous dogma and outdated superstition that has no place in the modern World.

I am taking quite a swipe at religion today. Most people on here know I hate religion and all it stands for. I hate its divisive nature. I hate its indoctrination of children. I hate that it has held science and discovery and human advancement back centuries. I hate its power. I hate when its members start getting violent and demanding special attention. I hate that I will get death threats to my email if I say “Isn’t God/Allah absolutely inhumane and a little bit shit“. I hate that I am supposed to respect religion. I don’t. It disgusts me. I say this, because both the books of Christianity and Islam condemn me, for being Atheist.

I was actually quite reassured when I read this verse in the Koran:

You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.

On the surface, this seems like the most important, and logical verse, in any religious book anywhere. It seems to be suggesting that you are your own person, free from the influence of others. Think for yourself. Come to your own conclusions. Don’t be dictated too. Almost Atheist thinking right there in the Koran.
So, following that rule, I have verified for myself, after reading the Bible in its entirety, and much of the Koran, as well as The Origin of Species, God is not Great, The Selfish Gene, and knowing that my dog is the result of mixed breeding, and that I am losing my hair at 24 years old, just like my dad did…. that the Koran and the Bible are both entirely nonsensical, and Evolution outranks them both. Great. I used my own evidence. I did what the Koran told me too. Allah must love me for this.

” If you encounter those who disbelieve, you may strike the necks.”
– Koran 47:4

“Lo! the worst of beasts in Allah’s sight are the ungrateful who will not believe”
– Koran 8:55

“That (is the award), so taste it, and (know) that for disbelievers is the torment of the Fire.”
– Koran 8:14

“But as for those who disbelieve, for them is fire of hell; it taketh not complete effect upon them so that they can die, nor is its torment lightened for them. Thus We punish every ingrate. And they cry for help there, (saying): Our Lord! Release us; we will do right, not (the wrong) that we used to do. … Now taste (the flavour of your deeds), for evil-doers have no helper.”
– Koran 35:36-37

Oh….erm…… okay. So, what the verse about thinking for yourself actually meant was: Think about it, but then agree with Islam, otherwise you’re going to burn in hell, tortuously for eternity, after my followers kill you. Whilst burning in hell, we will then cry for help, from the very entity that condemned us in the first place.

The Bible isn’t much easier on us evil non-believers (by non-believers, I mean, intelligent people). Deuteronomy suggests that not only should those who don’t believe in the Christian God be put to death, but the entire town in which an Atheist (or believer in another Faith) lives, should be exterminated.

Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock.
– Deuteronomy 13:13-19

They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
– 2 Chronicles 15:12-13

Forgive me if I fail to respect religions that condemn me to the worst kind of punishment possible. I am clearly their enemy. So fuck them.

God/Allah/Hitler (they are all very similar) demands complete obedience. Which begs the question, what the fuck is the point of life? I despise these doctrines, and yet I’m supposed to follow them avidly or be eternally punished? What a horrible life. Atheism does not demand anything of the sort. We do not claim that you have to be moral because you might be punished in an afterlife if you aren’t. We say morality is based on social evolution and the need to survive.

We as a species are incredible. Morality comes from us, and nothing else. We do not need a vengeful lunatic fairy in the sky to make us perform good deeds. We do it for the sake of good, not for the sake of God. We do not need silly superstitions and rituals in an attempt to please a vindictive bastard in the sky, in the hope that we might go to a nice place when we die. Humanity is great. The discovery that Darwin made, is far more stunning and awe-inspiring (as well as truthful) than anything religion has ever had to offer. The name “Darwin” should be taught to children and heard in classrooms across the World, years before the names “Jesus” and “Muhammad” are uttered.

I would like to see Temple Mount in Jerusalem destroyed and replaced with a statue of Darwin, because Darwin makes the prophets of the two warring religions, look like amateurs in comparison.


My favourite Bible stories

September 7, 2010

A line in a wedding ceremony I recently attended, read by the Priest was: “God loves those who fear him“. This made me feel a little uneasy. It is from Psalms, and it is a little unnerving. It suggests in order to be in favour with this maniacal overlord, you must be fearful of him. You must be frightened. God wants your love, through fear, God Corleone is probably a more apt name.

Opening any page of the Old Testament seldom produces anything other than shock and disgust from those of us who are not indoctrinated by its bullshit. The God of the Old Testament is merely a dictator of the most evil variety, with a number of genocides that would make Polpot stand in awe. A Stalin-esque figure demanding nothing but intense loyalty and the unquestioning acquiescence of ‘his’ people. A figure who wishes you to obey his every command, NEVER question him, and is even in control of the way you think. He demands you put all morality to one side, and put him above it. If you have no problem with homosexuality, and just wish that you should be happy with whomever you fall in love with; tough. God says it’s wrong, if you disagree, you’re going to burn in the pits of hell for an eternity of pain and torture……. but he loves you.

A totalitarian dictator, straight out of Orwell’s 1984, who, not content with inventing the concept of ‘sin’, and forcing upon an entire planet, even as innocents at birth; He decided that the only way to cleanse the World of a concept that He created in the first place, was to have His ‘son’ brutally murdered. The logic is ridiculous. An Ancient logic that deserves no sympathy or credence in 2010.

The idea that this God gave us all the gift of Free Will is inevitably problematic for the believer. Usually they worm their way out of an explanation, by inventing reasons why the situation regarding Free Will is as it is. They offer no proof, but then Organised Religion, and evidence don’t exactly mix very well anyway. Take the story of Abraham. In Genesis 17, we find Abraham at 99 years old, being told by God that he shall have a Son. Abraham had no choice in this. Nor does he have the freedom to call God an absolute maniacal despot when God tells Abraham that he is to cut the skin off of the penises of all who live in Abraham’s house, when they have reached 8 days old. Those children don’t have a choice. They haven’t asked for this. Why is it even necessary? Why can’t they just swear an oath, if God is really that paranoid that they might not believe in his laws? It is senseless. It is the work of an evil ruler, not an all loving God. The suggesting that God demands all of this because he loves us, is eerily familiar to when a wife cries and claims that her husband beats her, because he loves her. It is a mental illness. If a ruler today told all his people that in order to prove their loyalty, they must cut a bit of skin off their cock, surely he would be seen as a little over tyrannical? In any case, the idea that God gave His people Free Will whilst at the same time demanding innocent children be mutilated, and given no choice in the situation, is a little bit of a contradiction. No doubt Christians will find a way to squirm out of it.

Abraham is then told to kill his son. He doesn’t argue. He doesn’t say “Hang on a minute, i’ve chopped half his cock off, why do I have to kill him?” He just goes along with it. But our sneaky God doesn’t REALLY want Abraham to kill Isaac. So when Abraham has lured his son on a fake hunting trip, tied his son down to a stone, and held a knife above him, about to kill him, an angel stops him. God only wanted to test Abraham. He was perfectly happy to put Isaac through one of the worst ordeals he’s ever likely to face, by making him believe his dad is about to stab him to death on a stone block, just to prove to his rather paranoid and jealous self, that Abraham is willing to go that far to glorify this fickle dictatorial lunatic in the sky. This lovely little story features just after the story of Lot’s daughters who get Lot drunk and fuck him, because he’s all alone, after God, in an act of pure genocide, wipes out Lot’s entire city.

Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha. The Festival of Sacrifice. A celebration of the fact that Abraham was willing to kill his son. Now, in this modern age, if a man were to lure his son to an opening in a desert, struggle with him, fight with him, in order to subdue him and tie him down whilst he doubtless screams for his life, and the man then attempts to kill the boy, but stops at the final seconds because he claims an angel told him to; he’d be judged insane, he’d be thrown in prison. The child would be scarred mentally for his entire life. We’d celebrate the fact that the child survived such an horrific ordeal at the hands of a monster. Why isn’t Abraham, or God for that matter, considered a monster? I consider them both to be horrendous monsters. The same God, who, instead of fighting against child molestation, or poverty, or appalling disease and malnutrition, instead instructs his followers to build temples in which they can worship him and his oversized narcissism. This is not a God I want anything to do with.

It all appears in Genesis. Way before God gives Moses a bunch of pointless commandments and a few obvious commandments. Not that we needed to know not to murder people. We managed to get through thousands and thousands of years without destroying ourselves. In fact, the most violent section of the history of man, must be after Christianity is founded, and usually, due entirely to Christianity. The first few commandments, are all about trying to appease a jealous God. Do not have any other Gods. (That free will thing is slowly eroding again). Don’t make false idols. Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Keep the Sabbath day holy. What a waste of commandments. Why not, Do not rape. Do not molest children. Do not keep slaves. Do not exploit people for money. Vindictive, jealous, dictatorial and monstrous – the God of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Jesus supposedly died to save us. Firstly, why did he have to die? Why did God, who is in control of everything, feel it necessary to brutally murder someone, simply to rescue humanity? What kind of sadistic mind comes up with that idea? And secondly, what did he save? From Jesus’ death until now, we have had countless religious wars, atom bombs, genocide far worse than anything in the Ancient World. Perhaps God was a little premature in sending us his Son. All Jesus’ death managed to create, was a far worse World than before, thanks entirely to the very fact that he was born in the first place. Did God not foresee the problems it might cause, creating this religion called Christianity? He is solely responsible for the mess Religion has created. For the people who have burnt to death for believing something different, for the limits placed on scientific advancement, for the religious wars. God is responsible entirely. And you can’t blame people. God knew people were flawed and full of Sin, not only that be he knows all; the past, the present and the future, and so knew exactly what was about to happen. God, is evil. Although, this of cause, is all conjecture… because God doesn’t actually exist. A fairy tale, to indoctrinate those less intelligent and easily suggestible section of humanity, who cannot think for themselves. A relic from an archaic time. Nothing more.

People who chose to believe in this God, or have been brought up in the faith, are not free. They have a need to be controlled. They need to be told what is right and wrong, rather than using their own intuition. They need a dictator full of rage and anger, and call it ‘love’. America is a country that prides itself on freedom, and yet paradoxically it is one of the most Christian nations on the Planet. Lives are ruled by a book written four thousands years ago, and with absolutely no evidence. They live their lives on fear and subordination.

I cannot, and will not ever submit myself to such an evil and vicious concept, as that of Organised Religion.


“The surest way to corrupt a youth…”

April 6, 2010

Yesterday evening I had a pretty in-depth discussion with Ash about my personal insecurities, which allowed them to surface quite unexpectedly. It overwhelmed me, and actually quite upset me. It made me feel fairly angry at both myself and the system that had developed this rather cancerous conditioning, and continues to do so with children across the Country.

I’ve always placed myself in between two types of mind. On the one hand, there is the creative mind of humanity, that effortlessly sways away from the material World and places an almost spiritual sense of self manifestation through art and poetry and photography and creative writing, above material needs. Sylvia Plath could turn ineffable feelings into beautiful poetry. Diane Arbus could take a photo that ran deeper than it first appeared.

On the other hand, there is the business mind, which seeks profit above all else, so poor that all they own is money, the material mind, which may not in all honesty be driven by what it sees as pure greed or an institutionalised perpetuating inequality, but nonetheless contributes to it every day. I place myself inbetween the two. Always have. I wish I had the creativity to be able to turn feelings into words, or inject my sense of self onto a photo, but I can’t. I wish I could produce a photo that lives on through posterity and everyone sees and says “that’s incredible“. I do not care for the material wealth it may bring, I just wish I could leave my mark creatively and not be simply forgotten when I die.

I have never considered anything I have achieved creatively, as being of any worth whatsoever. It frustrates me to even write about it now. If I take a photo, and people tell me that they like it, I immediately think I must have manipulated them somehow into the assumption that my photos are any good. It must be my fault. I must have forced them to believe what they are seeing is of any worth. If an essay achieves a high mark, I automatically assume that there has been a mistake, or that perhaps my lecturer just likes me because I say hi to him most mornings. I don’t doubt their sincerity. I accept that what they are saying as a compliment, is perhaps true in their eyes, but I automatically assume that I have clouded their vision somehow, and I don’t know how to stop it. This feeling of a lack of creative self worth does not affect me consciously, but subconsciously, I’m discovering, it has quite an enormous affect.

I blame school.

When I was younger, a teenager, I grew up surrounded by friends that I didn’t really have all that much in common with. I made excuses as to why I couldn’t go out with them. I had no desire to spend my days getting stoned and drunk constantly, or talking about fights and graffiti, it just never suited me. I always had a rebellious mind. Those kids who were quite clearly rebelling against their parents, or their school, or any kind of established rules, wanted to stick two fingers up to that establishment. I on the other hand, wanted to rebel against the established rules (as I still do), and also against the kids who in their quest for individuality had inadvertently become simply one big group of sheep. They appeared to have attacked the old “rules” and instead become victim to a new set of rules, aimed at destroying all individuality in much the same way as the old rules did. You got drunk, and stoned simply to fit in. You smashed windows and had fights, simply to impress. You spouted racist bullshit and talked about who you’d shagged, after spraying inane, illegible curse words on any walling you could find, simply to appear the alpha-male, like a group of mindless dogs. It never appealed to me. Drugs, burnt out stolen cars, joy riding, shouting in the streets at 3am, fireworks, fighting. It fucking disgusted me more than anything else. It wasn’t a “lifestyle” choice though. Neither was it teenage rebellion. It was expected. It was social conditioning. Kids were made to believe they were useless, and had no real future. Their parents lived in rented council houses (we rent our house) and lived on the dole, because they themselves came from broken homes and didn’t understand any different. They were called lazy because they weren’t top of the class in Maths. They were told “you should have worked harder in school“. The system then directed funds and investment away from those poorer areas and toward the more attractive areas, with the better schools, and so the cycle continued, from one generation to the next. The system wasn’t blamed by politicians or by businessmen, the people were blamed. They were “useless” and “lazy“. You’re simultaneously taught that ambition is pointless, but if you don’t try hard enough to attempt to obtain that which is unobtainable, you’re lazy.

And whilst it never appealed, it meant that I felt kind of detached, constantly, from the way of life around the area that I lived. I could never understand to the best of my ability, why the kids who were famous on our estates for stealing, or street fighting, or spray painting, or generally being little shits, were the popular kids, whilst the kids who could write music or paint a picture beyond the normal capibility of kids our age, were simply ignored at best and bullied at worst.

A teenage life of drugs and drink and fighting and lack of ambition and lack of knowledge and aimless, soulless “living” frequented the area where I lived, and so inevitably I was always going to fall into that way of life, if I wasn’t careful. So I resisted. And whilst it has meant cutting certain friends out of my life, i’m proud of myself for doing it. For years, I felt I was having to pretend to be something that I just wasn’t. I wasn’t the kind who wanted to fight, and drink constantly, and smash a bus stop to pieces. I suspect, the majority of people I knew felt the same as me, but just felt they had to take the plunge, to “fit in“.

On my old school’s website, it reads:

“Our aim is to ensure that all students reach the highest level of achievement, that all students reach their full potential and succeed.”

I feel this quote is horrendously misleading.
School merely perpetuated the problem. I had written down on my “choices for GCSE courses” application sheet, that I wanted to take History. I have always loved history. They wrote to me to tell me that History was full up, and they had instead put me on a business studies course. What the hell do I want to take a business studies course for? I do not have a mind for business, I’m appalling at maths, and most importantly, it isn’t History. Our school didn’t have the widest of choices for GCSE courses. I have always loved Religion, History, Politics and Philosophy. I studied Maths, English, Religious Education, Science, Business, French and Graphics. I had no interest in any of those subjects other than Religious Education…….. which I got an A in. A diverse curriculum costs too much, and is far too problematic to engage. And so, a limited curriculum where a limited few are appeased whilst the majority are uninterested, is the way we do things in England. We then tell the unhappy majority that they just aren’t good enough. We don’t encourage them to find out what it is that interests them. That would create rebels!

We were placed in a hierarchical system within moments of starting this new school. We were told that these next two years would be the most important of our lives. The pressure was quite immense. Those people who loved Maths were placed in “Top set“. Those of us who enjoyed other subjects other than Maths were placed in “Bottom set” for Maths. The linguistic phrasing of top and bottom is a hard thing for a kid to take. It has an impact. We all associate top with the best, and bottom with the very worst. If you are unlucky enough to be placed in the bottom set, you soon realise what it is to mean for you, over the next two years;

You are, within seconds of starting a new school, not good enough. You’re constantly told that you can expect a D or a C at best, but nothing more. You are shoved in a class with disruptive kids, and teachers who really aren’t that bothered with you. You’re never going to achieve anything, and so you’re almost forgotten. The top set kids mingle with the other top set kids, and the bottom set kids mingle with the other bottom set kids. The system is so fundamentally wrong. Yet, I am positive that if we studied History and Philosophy ahead of Science and French, my teachers would not have made me feel like I was useless and incapable of achieving anything beyond a D grade.
Exams were never about accumulated knowledge, or the ability to theorise, or explain, or expand on theories. Exams were all about what language you had remembered, and what equations you had memorised. You didn’t need to understand, just regurgitate what you had read from a text book. You may aswell have just taken the textbook into the examination with you.

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

We were taught not to question. We were taught that if you failed at Maths or Science or French, that you would fail in life in general. There was nothing beyond the four walls of that very limited scope of subjects. Take everything the teacher said as fact. Don’t bother investigating for yourself. Those of us in Business Studies were force fed economic theory as fact. We weren’t to question, just learn certain business “laws” that were highly subjective and open to a lot of questioning, and just memorise them for exam time. We weren’t to question anything, because that would take up too much time. Just acquiesce to everything we were being told.

The Country was therefore filled, half with people who were amazing at remembering equations for Maths exams and specialised language for Science exams, who would come out of school with top grades, and half with those who did not find Maths or Science the least bit interesting or mentally stimulating, and left with mediocre to crap GCSE results. I was, quite unapologetically nowadays, in the latter. How different would the marketplace and the Country in general look today, if everyone’s interests were catered too? If you were not simply shoved into an education that acted not to educate you in what interested you but simply to create good little workers? The worst thing is, I was told I could not go on to further education to study Philosophy unless I achieved a high enough grade in Maths and Science. I also got a school report from my English teacher when I was fourteen explaining to my parents that I’d never be someone who reads, or understands the significance of literary classics, or writes anything of any worth when it comes to creative writing. Ten years later, I read at least two books a month, I write constantly on here, and my personal bookshelf looks like it’s about to collapse under the weight of my books. I am well read in Roman history, I can tell you about the Presidency of George Washington, I can recite elements of the speeches of Abraham Lincoln at the time of the Douglas debates, I adore reading about the reign of King Edward VI, i’m currently reading a book on the historical importance of Muhammad, and my next book will be The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici. Bukowski enthralls me with his detached sentiment, Plath intrigues me with her unique ability to turn feelings into language, Camus has transformed my World view and Vonnegut stuns me with his masterly grasp of simple prose. In short, “Mrs English” (that was her real name) can go and fuck herself. She genuinely made me believe that when it came to English language and literature, I was utterly useless.

I went back to college when I was 20, and when I was old enough to understand the horrendous hypocrisies and general bullshit spouted by the education system, and the good little workforce it aimed to produce. I had to travel an hour to college and an hour home again every day, because that was the closest college offering courses I enjoyed. I studied for my A-Levels; 16th Century History, Philosophy, Politics, and English Language and Literature. I left college with A,A,A,B.

I myself, would like to be a teacher. I worry that the institutionalised inequality of the teaching service would simply mean I would be keeping alive the inequalities that I hate so much. I do not want to be a teacher who makes children who aren’t too keen on Maths, think that they are useless. I want to be able to tell a child that they don’t have to be good at Maths. I want to tell the child who is obsessed with Photography but has had no chance to study it, that he can throw his Maths homework in the fireplace, and go and take some fucking amazing photos instead. I want to tell the little lad who feels pressured into taking drugs and getting into fights, that having to prove your masculinity to a group of thugs, should be pitied and vocalised with a simply “awww, bless them, the little idiots” more than anything.

When you have spent most of your years being made to believe that you are below average, and will never match up to the clever kids, and never produce anything of any worth, it comes as quite the shock when someone praises your work. I love Photography, I love to write, and I love expanding my knowledge. My school did not educate me, my school held me back. I learnt last night, that subconsciously, I feel utterly worthless. It is an insecurity that is rooted in childhood. I will now work to correct it.


The Abstraction

March 31, 2010

Around the year of Muhammad’s birth, the Arabians within the central penninsula were actively resisting the Byzantines and the Persians, and in fact organised religion and empire in general. They did not however, escape the pull and the “meaning” that comes with abstract concepts invented by humanity, plaguing the West at the time. The Arabians instead practiced the concept of “Muruwwah”. This idea stressed the importance of courage and patience, endurance and honour. It kept the tribes going. It was a concept that penetrated every aspect of their lives. They were taught that society would fall apart without it. And yet, when logic prevails, Muruwwah doesn’t actually exist. It’s a subjective man made concept.

Man has always confined itself to abstractions. The problem with abstractions, and in particular abstract philosophies and concepts, is that whilst they attempt to provide dogmatic objectivity, they are by nature, massively subjective.

Humans have always placed an unattainable goal ahead of us, a goal that throughout our lives sucks up our hopes, our desires, our dreams, our human decency, like a sponge. The concept of Heaven, which is largely derived from the concept of an eternal World of Plato and other Greeks, tells us that this life is going to be a bit of a disappointment, but your dreams are going to come true in Heaven. Heaven acts as a sponge for positivity whilst the World we live in is a reflection of negativity. There is no Capitalism in heaven. There is no poverty in heaven. There is no climate change in heaven. And yet, the majority of us do not care to see our fantasy of a Heavenly World reflected on Earth. Why is that? Heaven is a man made fantasy ideal, and yet we place it in a box labelled “other“.

The Nation State is a product of colonialism. The Europeans carved up Africa into Nation States as a way of control. We could control the labour force, we could control slavery, we could control information, we could control the movement of capital. Nation borders are meaningless. They always have been. They are meaningless, because they exist in the collective mind of humanity only. The Nation State did not exist before humanity, it did not exist for the majority of the time humanity has been on the planet, it will not exist after humanity, and it does not exist to anything else other than humanity. And so therefore, it is meaningless, because it doesn’t exist. Like organised religion, the Nation State was used as a method of control by humanity over humanity.

As Capitalism took hold, Nation States no longer had the control over labour, slavery and capital that they once had. Nation States are entirely at odds with Capitalism. In fact, Nation States only really work when an economy is entirely protectionist, and Empires exist. Nation States were never about race, or identity, or culture, or anything of the sort. They have always been about control. Control previously lay at the feet of the Monarch. The State, was the Monarchy. Man and State were the same thing.
Israeli historian Martin Van Creveld says:

“What made the state unique was that it replaced the ruler with an abstract, anonymous, mechanism.”

Nationalism by logic then, is less than 500 years old. Racism grew with colonialism, and whilst the cancer of racism has largely been destroyed, remnants still remain and people are still quite unapologetically racist, with no actual reasons for their racism. Nationalism is an “other”. It is something we think is larger than ourselves, it is largely pathological because before human beings, and after human beings, England will not exist. A land mass that we once inhabited will exist. But England, and it’s abstractions that work simply to disassociate ourselves with the rest of humanity in the same way as Christianity and Islam and America and Pakistan and sexuality does.

Corporations today have more rules, more regulations, more limits on information, labour and capital than any Nation has. Corporations and their laws are just as abstract and nonsensical as Nation States. Corporations are the modern day Nation States. You all look a certain way, talk a certain way, waste your life trying to obtain this subjective and abstract concept of “success”. We are now governed by Capitalism or a form thereof. It tells us if we work hard enough, we can achieve anything we wish. But that simply isn’t true. Capitalism is the dome that we are living under, and it’s promise of ‘everything’ is in the same box as Heaven…. “other”. It is religion.

Catholicism, Protestantism, Capitalism, Democracy, Fascism, Communism, Materialism; they are do not exist. They are ideals that soak up hopes and dreams and say “YOU CAN HAVE THEM IF YOU……. work hard enough/are white/keep buying shit you don’t need/own nothing because the State owns it for your benefit………. but eventually you’ll be the perfect happiness.” They are the “other“. The concept of Heaven is very similar. The concept of Plato’s eternal realm is very similar. Abstractions that don’t actually exist in anything other than man’s mind, are used to control man. The men who create these concepts have created them for the purpose of control. Feudalism was a system of control. Capitalism is not much different. There are still Lords who suck up the majority of the wealth at the behest of the many. The U.S Constitution protects a certain class of person. The USSR protected a certain class of person. Whether or not it was designed with that specific goal in mind is debatable, but perhaps subconsciously a certain class of people always assume they are best placed to rule.

The Catholic Church was set up to spread the word of Jesus, yet ended up being perhaps one of the wealthiest institutions on the planet. In the 16th Century, instead of helping the poor that Christianity swears to do, the Catholic Church took money off of the poor, to finance St Peters. They found ridiculous ways to justify the selling of indulgences because the abstract concept they were attempting to spread, which they had inevitably corrupted, demanded obedience, even though the entire doctrine was based on conjecture, dodgy history and man made abstractions.

Catholicism created a culture of idol worship with the creation of Saints. We in the modern era have took that idol worship that the Bible strictly forbids, and our new idols are National pride, pop stars, sports stars, TV presenters, authors. They are also in the realm of “other“. Their public success is largely fatuous, worthless, and offers very little in the sense of the progress of humanity, but they’re worshipped as idols. We salute a flag that we invented, We wear the clothes that the stars wear, we recite their words, we want our bodies to look like theirs, we concentrate far too much energy on being like them, than being like ourselves. Why is that? Is that natural? Perhaps so. Humans have always created an abstraction that we place above ourselves, perhaps because we cannot cope with the notion that we as a species are the height of intelligence. And yet, we are. We created God. We created Nations. We created all other abstractions, the very same abstractions that today hold us all back and group us together into ridiculous categories.

To break away from these abstractions, and concentrate on reality, is in a sense Anarchism. Libertarianism evolves from the idea that we must break away from abstractions, and whilst I think Libertarianism goes too far to the right, I understand it’s principles. But then Anarchism itself, is dogmatic, and an abstraction……and…………… ARGGGH!!!! I don’t know how to end this blog.


Islam and Christianity

March 17, 2010

I have wanted to write this blog for a while, but didn’t particularly know how to start it. A lot of this writing comes from the knowledge I gained reading Henry Chadwick, Karen Armstrong, and Voltaire. But I still didn’t have a beginning. Today provided me with that beginning.

Today is St Patrick’s day. As I was wandering through Leicester city centre, through swarms of happy people with tall green hats and pints of Guinness, I happened across an Irish pub. Outside the pub were six or seven people dancing to Irish music. Pleasingly, dancing side by side, arm in arm, were two men; An old grey haired Irish man with a huge smile across his face as he swayed, dancing quite comically with a young Muslim man also with a huge smile across his bearded (a bit of a failed attempt at beard growth actually) face whilst his friend filmed the entire scenario on his mobile phone. I was struck by the apparent lack of culture barrier between the two. They were just two men, enjoying themselves.

Meanwhile, in Sheffield, the “English Defence League” plan a march, against Islam. I wondered if this seemingly polarised contrast of values has always existed between the west and Islam? I’d argue that it has. I’d argue that the irrational fear that the contemporary western World seems to have of anything Islamic has been a linear progression since around 900ad.

During the 10th Century, in Al Andalus (Muslim controlled Spain), Islam was becoming amazingly ahead of it’s time. Cordova especially. Under Muslim control, Christians, Jews and Muslims were allowed to live side by side in peace, as long as respect was shown for each other. The Christians and Muslims shared poetry, literature, and philosophy. It was a golden age for the history of Spain. Typical Christian States at this time, were not allowing such integration to exist, because Jews and Muslims were considered heretics, who should be killed rather than accepted.

A Spanish Christian outside of Cordova, whom would undoubtedly be a member of the EDL today, once spoke out against this arrangement, arguing that Cordovan Christians had become corrupted by Islam. Paul Alvaro stated:

The Christians love to read the poems and the romances of the Arabs. Not to refute them, but to form an elegant Arabic. Alas! All young Christians read and study with enthusiasm the Arab books”

This was an attack on the Christians of Cordova. Christian layman reacted viciously, and started to burn Islamic books and writings in the centre of Cordova. One man in particular, named Perfectus, began to denounce Muhammad publicly. As this began, the Muslim supreme judge known as the Qadi did not pass the death sentence (to insult Christianity, in Christian lands, would have almost certainly resulted in a rather nasty death penalty) because he considered the Christian to have been provoked by both the writings of people like Alvaro, and angry Muslims, so he released Perfectus. But, Perfectus continued attacking the name of Mohammad. And so, without any other option, given the social and historical context of the time, Perfectus was executed by the order of the Qadi under the control of Abd ar-Rahman II. This martyrdom started a fresh wave of anti-Islamic sentiment. Known as the “Cordova Martyrs“, they began to publicly condemn Muslims for being heretics, and did not cease until they were executed. The Muslim court was reluctant to execute people for two reasons. Firstly, they believed it to be wrong to execute people for believing something different. Heresy did not exist for Islam. Disrespect for the Prophet did exist. But heresy, was not a concept Islam understood. Islam expanded at a time of religious plurality in the near East, and so they were used to different beliefs, and did not execute people on that basis. Secondly, they did not want to create a cult surrounding these martyrs. The martyrs were quickly being recognised as soldiers of Christianity. Islam did not provoke nor want a religious war. Christian bishops in Cordova, did not want a religious war. In fact, many Christian bishops and scholars denounced the martyrs as simply out to cause trouble where it was not needed. Slowly, successive Popes started to ban anything slightly Islamic. Koran’s were banned. As was recitation from memory of verses. In contrast, Islamic nations allowed Christian bibles, and Christian debates and discussions, even propaganda from Christians, providing it did not insult Muhammad. Islam, was generations ahead of Christianity both morally and spiritually.

We can then follow that insecurity, and irrational attacking of Islam or anything that was slightly different, almost directly to Pope Urban II and his attacks on Jerusalem. Perhaps this wasn’t necessarily an all out attack against Islam, but more Papal imperialism. Spreading the power of the West. Using Muhammad and the “heretics” as a predicate for war. As if Urban II was protecting Christianity rather than extending his own power, dominance and wealth. The Jews across the Rhine Valley were victims of Pope Urban attempting to kill off any non-Christians across the known World. Islam and Judaism have a lot more in common then they have differences.

For the next couple of centuries, false legends were propogated across Europe surrounding Islam and their Prophet. He was the anti-christ, a child molester (which is rich, coming from Catholicism), out to destroy Christianity, Satan himself.

As the reformation swept through Europe in the 15th and 16th Centuries, it became apparent that Christian ignorance would not go away. Catholics attacked Islam by linking it to Protestantism. They were a breakaway sect of Christianity that denied the Pope’s authority. Similarly, Protestants began attacking Islam by linking it to Catholicism. They worshiped false idols and didn’t believe in faith alone. Even Luther, the hero of the reformation wrote how he considered Europe at risk from being engulfed by Islam; and so the continued irrational fear spread miserably for another century. By 16th Century, the modern historian Norman Daniel points out that Islam was now used as a dirty word. The illiterate European population had no idea what Islam was; had never read the Koran; had never even spoken to a Muslim, but they had all decided through relentless Catholic and Protestant propaganda that Islam was never to be tolerated, purely because Islam held that Jesus was not the chosen Prophet of God.

In fact, it was not until Voltaire wrote his account of Muhammad, as being a great philosopher and Islam as being far more progressive than Christianity, that anything positive from the West was being written about Islam. Francois Rene de Chateaubriand, the French imperialist writer stated that:

Christianity is the most favourable to freedom.”

And that Islamic nations were:

A Family without a father

The Western imperialist powers, were apparently that “father“.
And then rose the British Empire.
The “us VS them” mentality continued. The Empire marched into Muslim lands and proclaimed that those who lived their, were barbarians who needed the British Empire to improve their lives. Algiers, Aden, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya; all came under imperialist power, and we were horrendously evil in our dealings with our new colonies.

The writer Boaudricourt of France at the time, wrote what he had known of the British and French expeditions to Africa and our treatment of Islam:

“About 18,000 trees had been burnt; Women, children and old men had been killed. The unfortunate women particularly excited cupidity by wearing silver ear rings, leg rings, and arm rings. These rings have no catch like French bracelets. To get them off, our soldiers used to cut off their limbs and leave them alive in a mutilated condition”

And we had the nerve to refer to Islam as barbaric?

The fear and violence continues right up until today. George Bush in 2004, run his re-election campaigned claiming to have been sent by God, and that America shouldn’t change commander-in-chief during a war. Christian and Western arrogance propagating fear all over again.
After 9/11, Muslims were viewed with unprecedented fear. As if they were all terrorists who simply “hated our freedom”. The same propaganda that was being used 1000 years ago, was being used again. Screening young muslim men at airports, always telling us that our terrorist threat level was at critical. And yet, the majority of terrorist attacks on U.S soil over the past twenty-years, has been by Christian fanatics. Burnt and bombed abortion clinics, the KKK, the murders of abortion doctors, the Olympic bombing in 1996; all Christian extremists. Why aren’t Christians given the same, if not more level of suspicion given their rather disgraceful past?

It was inevitably that eventually a generation of disenfranchised Islamic lunatics with delusions of hatred and an irrational bloodlust for Americans and the West was going to arise. When one mad man kills a few people, that’s a psychological issue. When a hundreds of men become radicalised, there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. You cannot simply blame Islam for “hating our freedom”. It simply isn’t true. It’s an ignorant, racist concoction used to feed our arrogance because the West, and Christianity, has always had this delusional sense of superiority.

Not today. Today, the Irish man and the Muslim man proved that multiculturalism and tolerance work. The linear progression from the Cordova Martyrs, to the English Defence League and the War on Terror, has not prevailed. It is clear that the anti-Islamic prejudice is slowly dying out, on a scale never before seen. This is a fantastic thing.