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Glen T. Winstein

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Basics  Page 4


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    6. Some things about the first century Jews and early Christians that were
              agreeable to assimilation
    7. Some things that happened later among the Jews and Christians that
              weren't agreeable to assimilation

    8. Some things about the Muslims that were agreeable to assimilation
    9. Some things that happened later among the Muslims that weren't agreeable
              to assimilation
              a. Sharia
              b. Orthodox, conservative, and liberal Islam
              c. Islamophobia and terrorism
              d. Claims of divine prerogative to justify killing or hurting for God
              e. Why don't the reform and progressive Muslims do more to
                        change the Orthodox, conservative, and liberal Muslims?

   10. Muslim Conquests, Crusades, persecution, Inquisition, religious war, the
               myth of the Dark Ages, and the founding of Israel
   11. Middle East antisemitism and homophobia
         Isaeli anti-Arabism

  Some topical information may need to be updated since I wrote this, but I
would still recommend my basic outlooks for it.

  6. Some things about the first century Jews and early Christians that were
            agreeable to assimilation

  Many of the Jews assimilated into Greek culture--became Hellenized--into the
2nd century AD, and there have been movements to assimilate into the Western
world since the late 1700's against conservatism about older stipulations about
Jewish identity from within and sometimes brutal forces of antisemitism from

  The first century Jews made capital punishment rhetorical.  "According to the
Talmud forty years before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE
(i.e. in 30 CE) the Sanhedrin effectively abolished capital punishment."

  Christianity came from a culture in which the Jews hoped the Messiah would re-
turn them to the land of Israel.  Ethically arbitrary test of abidance rules
about clothes, food, etc., had set the believers off from others.  Outsiders
were unclean and contact with one could make a believer unclean.

  Jesus to doubting Thomas: "Blessed are they who did not see, and yet be-
lieved." (John 20:29)  This is one of my basics (see page 1): faith understood
as a choice to hope or not in a possible God beyond the known things--faith un-
derstood as such.  Accordingly, of the major Abrahamic religion founders, Jesus
and followers never put two syllables together asking for a country with the re-
ligion as law of the land with a military to defend it.  This suits the idea of
what we now call separation of church and state.

  For things wrong in the OT (ANE cosmology) and Mosaic law punishments dropped
in the NT, a possible progressive/reform stance is that God only brought Mosaic
law followers along so far (expanding on similar comments by Jesus on marriage,
Matt.19:8, and as shown by monotheism only being popularly established in the
days of Isaiah, etc.).

  Ethically arbitrary test of abidance rules about circumcision,clothes, food,
etc., and the concern that you're Jewish if you had a Jewish mother as a stipu-
lation for being a Christian, were dropped. (Acts 10,11,15; Rom.14; 1 Cor.8-10)

  As Thomas Sowell showed with his 1981 book "Ethnic America: A History," in
most, if not all, cases of ethnic groups being 'centric, sticking together for
survival, when they first arrived in the US, the ethnic group went through a
period of high unemployment, crime, drunkenness, etc, distrust of outsiders and
bigotry against them from outsiders, till they assimilated better.  So my stance
is that dropping ethically unnecessary "test of abidance" food and clothes and
racial rules which needlessly set the followers off from others was for the bet-

  Paul advised followers to go among Jews and Gentiles without giving offense,
sacrificing of themselves to gain others to God.  (I Cor.10:32-11:1)

  Christianity in the NT seems informed by a need to guide followers living with
faith understood as such, drops the need for religion as law of the land with a
military to defend it, drops ethically arbitrary food and clothes rules which
just set believers off in a 'centric way, etc.  Among the original source mater-
ials for the three main Abrahamic religions, it's the best at indicating that if
you're going to go there (short of us all given a divine intervention that God
requires extra stipulations), that's basically the way to go.

  I won't force the choice about pacifism or justifiable defense.

  Judaism allows a minimum of violence for self-defense.

  A minority of churches require pacifism--most leave it as a personal con-
science issue.

  If it's agreed the NT forbids killing in offense, it's debated whether it re-
quires pacifism in all circumstances.  Jesus told followers to not respond in
kind, "eye for eye," to mild rebukes like slaps, which doesn't clearly express
that they shouldn't use at least enough justifiable defense enough to ward off
the most serious physical attacks, which wouldn't be "taking an eye for an eye
taken" but preventing someone else from taking your eye.

  Verses about loving enemies don't preclude defense since you can love someone
but not something they say or do, and love "enemies" more than shown by the
common practice of his culture to brand "unclean" outsiders as "enemies."  You
could advise to not to give offense as you go among Jews and Gentiles, to sacri-
fice by joining their culture enough to gain them to God (1 Cor.10:32-11:1),
without it making a clear case to take serious physical offense uncontestedly.

  Jesus wanted cooperation for his one-time sacrifice to happen without resist-
ance.  Since it was a distinctive circumstance, did it extend to how to handle
all circumstances?  Your decision depends on how you interpret certain verses
and weigh them against each other, and reasonable people may disagree.  See the
articles at the links below.

  Without forcing another's choice in the debate, I don't put defense--protect-
ing one's self or another under serious physical attack--on the same moral plane
as murder--killing for whatever selfish reason beyond that.  If translation and
interpretation is debated, I wouldn't decide in favor of pacifism because it's
better on secular terms.

  I don't see the moral superiority of pacifism.  Someone may seem self-sacri-
ficing in not resisting attack, but it can also seem needlessly masochistic.
It's a method of handling situations that could be used for a good or bad cause,
so the question is about the method.  It happened to work for Ghandi in certain
situations, but it could also allow bad behavior, like organized crime, which
isn't as concerned with seeming/being rightful to the general public as the
British Army was, to flourish.

  And for someone to stand by saving their skin while another is being assaulted
to me looks more like selfishness than being admirably self-sacrificing and mor-
al.  Would you use force to stop someone from doing something cruel or stand by
and philosophize?  If I were the victim, I'd want a person nearby who at least
used enough justifiable defense to protect me and live to read their books of
philosophy later.

  Since I don't want harm over basic belief or non-belief in God, it makes sense
to me to take Jesus' pacifism verses in regard to at least matters of faith.
Since defense is debated otherwise (Rom.13, etc.), I'd choose defense as a last
resort for secular matters otherwise.  Your mileage may vary.

  7. Some things that happened later among the Jews and Christians that weren't
            agreeable to assimilation

  The Mishnah and Talmud (70-200 AD) introduced streams of Orthodox Judaism with
varying degrees of acceptance for secular participation.

  Christianity was made law of the land for the Roman Empire by Theodosius in
380 AD (despite Apostle Paul calling for Christians to go among Jews and Gen-
tiles, all kinds of people, without giving offense, sacrificing of themselves to
gain others to God, 1 Cor.10:32-11:1).  Since there was no divine intervention
of God requiring it for everyone who had to abide by it (something claimed for
the Ark of the Covenant to justify religion as law of the land), it was an ethi-
cal and theological dilemma.  (More on this in section 10)

  Jewish leaders, and some Christian leaders outside the mainstream, reintro-
duced ethically arbitrary rules about food, clothes, maternal descendance, and
'centric stances about outsiders.

  Some Christians were antisemitic and even persecuted Jews.

  8. Some things about the Muslims that were agreeable to assimilation

  "The Qur'an and Muhammad talked about racial equality and justice as in the
The Farewell Sermon.  Tribal and nationalistic differences were discouraged.

  "Verse (ayah) 256 of Al-Baqara is one of the most quoted verses in the Islamic
holy scripture, the Qur'an.  It famously notes that 'there is no compulsion in

  Religion wasn't compulsary (yet outspoken sane apostates could be executed).

  Islam as law of the land was discriminatory (jizya poll tax, etc) if not as
harsh to non-Muslims living in an Islamic state, dhimmi, as some politicized
Christian leaders were to non-Christians (although, again, outspoken sane apos-
tates could be executed).

  "The dhimmi communities had their own chiefs and judges, with their own fami-
ly, personal and religious laws,and 'generally speaking, Muslim tolerance of un-
believers was far better than anything available in Christendom, until the rise
of secularism in the 17th century.'"

  9. Some things that happened later among the Muslims that weren't agreeable to

  This should be easy.  All I have to do to eliminate problems of assimilation
with Islam is show that the historical evidence better indicates that Muhammad
was in favor of separation of church and state, abolitionism, and equal rights
for women and homosexuals.  If I simplify Abrahamic religion to conservative and
liberal, I just need to show the liberal prevalance in a group about 90% Ortho-
dox.  All the while I should take into account that most Muslims believe you
shouldn't edit the Qur'an because the writing of it is the one miracle claimed
for Islam, and disrespect for that could provoke a hostile fatwa, even one call-
ing for the death penalty.

  Goodnight.  (Speaker hurries offstage--is dragged back to the podium.)  Al-
right, alright, alright.  (Long pause--speaker looks at fingernails, around the
room, etc.  He begins to speak, waves it off, and just stares sullenly again.)

  I know--let's ask a Muslim person.  "Aasif Mandvi?"  (Speaker looks to either
side.)  We don't have a Muslim person.  (Speaker rolls his eyes skyward while
sucking his left cheek into his mouth in a cynical expression.)

  OK.  The main snag here is that Islam, the second most popular Abrahamic reli-
gion, has the biggest percentage of followers who go against my ground rules.
In the terms of the description of those rules I gave at the start of this arti-
cle, it has the biggest percentage of followers who are orthodox/conservative
in wanting to preserve their perceived integrity for their old texts and are un-
willing to bring their God concept up to date regarding the advancement of known
things made in the nearly 1,400 years since the Qur'an was written--be progres-

  See the article at the next link.  Just as there's some wiggle room for Moses
(take it allegorically, how well did J, E, P, and D render his stances, Jesus
indicating earlier followers were only taken so far from their habits, some
things represent the understanding of people of that time and not what God would
know, contextual interpretation, etc.) and Jesus (how well did others render his
stances, contextual interpretation, etc.), some Muslim and non-Muslim scholars
question how the Qur'an was written and how accurately it represents Muhammad's
stances.  But there's less willingness among Muslims to concede that the Qur'an
could be anything other than Allah's word via Gabriel via Muhammad via writers
taking dictation.  For them, it's all or nothing--reject a phrase of the Qur'an
and there goes the whole religion.

  Currently, the biggest religious problem of hurting and killing in the name of
a major Abrahamic religion, Islamist terrorism aside, comes from the orthodox
and conservative followers of the Abrahamic religion with the highest percentage
of orthodox and conservative followers--Islam.  The most conservative interpre-
tations have caused people to be hurt or killed for apostasy, homosexuality, go-
ing beyond unequal limitations set for women, etc., and even people made slaves
with the slave owners claiming justification from the Qur'an though slavery is
now illegal in all countries.  Many Muslims in Muslim majority countries live
where there are bad human rights records.  This is the longest section of this

  Again, my stance is that faith in God is a hope for a God beyond the known
proven things.  It can be a deeply meaningful thing to a person--can give them
spiritual nourishment, spiritual beverages, some spiritual nummy snacks.  But
they should understand faith as such--keep up to speed about the known things
and there isn't any substantiation in the known proven things for anyone to be
hurt or killed over it.

  Neither the belief nor non-belief stance should be law of the land--either
would be institutionalized 'centric intolerance and people would be hurt or
killed over something nobody should be hurt or killed about.

  The only exception for the belief stance is if everyone who's supposed to ac-
cept it is shown divine intervention that God wants it.  (The type of proof of
God claimed in the early OT: everyone involved knows He's parting the sea for
them, etc., and the choice is just whether to agree with Him or not.)  Other-
wise, it creates the theological and ethical problem of hurting and killing for
an arbitrary reason--sadism and murder, and that can only be guaranteed as borne
of a human origin, which, if there is a God, He doesn't give people the preroga-
tive for.

  You don't need to prove there's a God regarding faith understood as such that
nobody should be hurt or killed for, but you need to prove there's a God if you
want it to justify having anyone hurt or killed for it.  Spreading bigotry about
a group of people, even if you don't intend to physically harm them or fine them
a nickel, is a form of harm that causes stigma and discrimination.

  The stances of mine I've explained up to this point should cause you to expect
me to find problems in adapting most followers of Islam to them.  It's relative-
ly easy for me to do a progressive/reform spin on Judaism or Christianity.  (You
can believe in God and not be a bigot about women, homosexuals, evolutionists,
non-believers--mission accomplished.)

  In the days of Mosaic law of the land in the OT, the signs that God wanted the
belief as law of the land is alleged to have been God parting the sea, etc., for
the Exodus, and that He was always available for consultation via the Ark of the
Covenant.  It's a matter of faith that something (on a smaller scale) like the
Exodus happened and the Ark existed as claimed, and it disappeared by 587-586
BC.  For Christians, Mosaic law ended with the crucifixion and no Christians in
the NT asked for their religion to be law of the land.

  You can also do progressive/reform spins on the old texts--that they represent
the culture of the believer and not God (Ancient Near East cosmology, Lev.18
regarding homosexuality, etc.).

  Even Mosaic law history (religion law of the land with proof of God) can be
seen as a glamorization of how monotheism arose from Canaanite culture (God
among the gods in Psalms becoming God was alone in creating everything in Isai-
ah) with some aspects indicating the culture of the time and not God's views
(slavery not only endured but law of the land, homosexuals executed, etc.).

  See sections above for progressive/reform Jewish and Christian stances on
equality for women and homosexuals, on slavery, etc.

  On those points, I'm defining progressive/reform as meaning respect for the
God concept more than for old texts so keeping up to speed with the known
things, so seeing old texts as allegorical (creation, flood, etc.), representing
the culture of the time and not what God would know (Lev.18, etc.), etc., as
needed.  What I mean by orthodox/conservative stances on those points are those
that revere the old texts even if they conflict with what's known and cause peo-
ple to spread misinformation or even harm in the name of God.  If there is a
God, I don't think He'd be honored by that.

  In the case of Islam, for which many Muslims still want punishments, even
executions, if anything is alleged to be a miracle from Allah it's the Qur'an,
and most would add their selections of the Sunnah, which are still available to

  To adapt the Qur'an for a progressive/reform stance I'd need to edit out rules
not only to be pragmatic about other's slavery rules but encouraging it by let-
ting the male slave owners have sex with willing female slaves and be forgiven
for setting them free (still going strong though illegal in all countries),

  edit out rules that homosexuals are abominations to be punished (hadiths say
by human hands up to and including death--4,000 executed in Iran since 1979
alone as of 2012),

  rewrite the Qur'an to exclude not only a requirement for male/female compli-
mentarianism but the possibility of it being taken to describe when to hit
wives, and,_34

  exclude any possibility of interpretation that those who create "mischief" in
the land for Allah and his Prophet could be outspoken deniars of his prophesy
claim, critics of any obligation to his religious opinions, or outspoken apos-
tates, who could be executed, etc.'an,_Hadith_and_Scholars:Mischief

  I'd need to bring Muhammad up to speed regarding separation of church and
state and, especially in light of the bigotry, hurting, and murder described
above, not have his Prophet claim or religious opinions as law of the land.

  Mosaic law makes a better thing to regard as an old text--an early expression
of a growing monotheistic faith.  But of all the religious things to emulate,
Muhammad had to play a variation of Moses complete with some degree of religion
as law of the land without proof of God, slavery, roles for men and women, and
bigotry about homosexuals.

  A common orthodox/conservative Islamic stance It's sort of like a literalist
fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible if it had Moses initiate Mosaic law
(without any of us having proof of God) and you edited out the rest of the book,
claimed the book was proof of God, and practically all the followers are unwill-
ing to edit the book because they hold it as being like the Ark of the Covenant.

  Various hadiths would have to be ruled out, and so would sections of the
Qur'an.  But if most Muslims claim a miraculous proof of God for Islam, it's the
writing of the Qur'an and probably the guidance of some of those hadiths.  Most
agree Muhammad initiated, to some degree or another, his religious opinions as

  The only spin on it I can imagine that would remove the slavery and bigotry
about women, homosexuals, and the bigotry of religion as law of the land without
proof of God, would be something like a progressive/reform take on the early OT.
The most sympthetic portayal of Moses might be to imagine a better Moses who got
lost in J,E,P, and D source additions and rewrites by people that God only took
along so far from their traditions.  You'd have to dismiss sections of the
Qur'an and hadiths as examples of Muhammad misrepresenting God or, if you prefer
to preserve the image of Muhammad, as cases of misrepresentations of Muhammad.

  A progressive/reform Jew or Christian may have a faith they understand as such
in a claim of a miracle in a Tanakh or Bible, which they may see as infallible
in faith matters but not inerrant books.  They keep up to speed regarding things
like separation of church and state, evolution, feminism, homosexuality, slav-
ery, no literal great flood, etc.

  But if one thing in Islam is alleged to be a miracle, it's the writing of the
Qur'an.  Even most of the small percent of Muslims who are mostly liberal, Qur-
anists, just reject the hadiths.  To make a progressive/reform spin of it and
bring it up to speed ethically you have to say it isn't even inerrant, but to
most Muslims this would be to deny the most important thing at the core of their
religion, not to mention you could cause a hostile fatwa to be leveled against
you for your trouble depending on how outspoken you were and where and when.

  When people wonder why the moderates don't do more to change the conserva-
tives, that's why.  When the news reports trouble over the burning or disre-
spectful treatment of the Qur'an--that's why.

  I don't want to force the point, there are Muslims with a progressive reform-
ist stance, but most Muslims see it as only credibly meant the orthodox or con-
servative way.  It's the Abrahamic religion with the highest percentage of those
who would rather revere the old text than keep their idea of God from being at
odds with reality.  And as the second most popular religion, it's produced the
most people with that outlook.

  In Islam, 80-90% are Sunni--Orthodox.  Most of the rest are Orthodox and Con-
servative Shia, 19-24%, and most of the little percent that are liberal are the
mostly liberal Quranists: they reject the hadiths but not the Qur'an.  To con-
form Islam to my ground rules, you'd need to go beyond that and edit the Qur'an,
consider parts of it as representing the culture of followers not God, etc, as
many reform/progresssive Jews and Christians regard parts of their old texts,
which is an uncommon progressive reformist stance in Islam.

  But to go by my ground rules, you'd make the unlikely assertion that Muhammad
was an advocate of separation of church and state, feminism, gay rights, and
abolitionism.  You'd have something ethical but not a credible research source.
Muhammad seems to have intended that you take him orthodox/conservative or take
it on the road.

    "Liberal movements within Islam

    "Muslim liberals often reject traditional interpretations of Islamic law,
  which allows Ma malakat aymanukum and Slavery.  They say that Slavery opposed
  Islamic principles which they believe to be based on justice and equality and
  verses relating to slavery or 'Ma malakat aymanukum' now can not be applied
  due to the fact that the world has changed.

    "Within the framework of justice and equality for all, Muslim liberals in-
  clude gay rights as a human right.

    "Some liberal Muslims favor the idea of modern secular democracy with separ-
  ation of church and state, and thus oppose Islam as a political movement.

    "The existence or applicability of Islamic law is questioned by many liber-
  als.  Their argument often involves variants of the Mu'tazili theory that the
  Qur'an was created by God for the particular circumstances of the early Muslim
  community, and reason must be used to apply it to new contexts."

  Groups which believe in progressive Islam

  Agree with me or not, at least know that my main motive throughout this arti-
cle isn't to argue against the possibility of God or discourage faith understood
as such but to minimize people being hurt or killed over belief or non-beief
choices.  I consider spreading bigotry a form of spreading harm even if nobody
raises a hand to hurt someone or fines them a nickel since it creates a stigma
and discrimination for the accused.  I don't think I'm an authority figure or
know-it-all, I'm just another person who can research this stuff at the library
or on the Internet and try to understand it.  Maybe some progressive reformist
Muslims know some angles on how to explain their stance that I haven't thought
of, but this is what I have on it so far.

  a. Sharia

  Muhammad created a religion with Islamic law, Sharia, in its infancy as law of
the land.  It seems to have been his revision of the OT incorporating some local
pagan religious ideas and his own--for example, the Mosaic law rules for resi-
dent aliens to live under Mosaic law changed to taxing Christians and Jews to
live among the Muslims under government by Sharia.

  Again, whether you choose to have faith it happened or not, the story of Mo-
saic law has it that God used divine intervention to make Himself known to the
ones who were to abide by the law (parting the sea, etc., to lead the followers
to the promised land, then via the Ark of the Covenant).  Having people hurt or
killed for such reasons otherwise is to do it for arbitrary reasons, an ethical
and theological dilemma--what people or God would consider sadism and murder.

  Though Muhammad and some of his successors had penalties, even the death pen-
alty, for breaking purely religious rules, such as about apostasy or homosexual-
ity (according to most Islamic scholars interpretaton of the Qur'an and hadiths,
etc.), rules one would need divine intervention to justify as other than sadism
and murder, the mainstream Islamic stance is that the only signs of Allah pro-
vided were the writings of the words and deeds of Muhammad, which were compiled
as the Qur'an and hadiths, etc., after his death.

    "Before launching an attack the ruler would offer them three choices-–con-
  version, payment of a tribute, or to fight by the sword.  If they did not
  choose conversion a treaty was concluded, either instead of battle or after
  it, which established the conditions of surrender for the Christians and
  Jews--the only non-Muslims allowed to retain their religion at this time.  The
  terms of these treaties were similar and imposed on the dhimmi, the people
  ‘protected’ by Islam, certain obligations."

    "Some scholars, such as Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Mahmoud Mohamed Taha and Kamil
  Husain have tried to re-visit the Quran and Sunnah and apply a pacifist under-
  tone.  Taha managed this by arguing that the Medinan suras of the Quran, the
  only ones dealing with warfare and legalism, were valid only pertaining to the
  Prophet himself, and the Meccan suras were the only ones intended to guide fu-
  ture generations."

  Muslims disagree on which hadiths to use and which interpretations to use for
them and the Qur'an, on whether a punishment was instituted by Muhammad or af-
terward, etc.

  I appreciate that a small progressive/reform minority in Islam question how
the Qur'an was complied, interpret certain verses as leter additions or as Mu-
hammad's earlier Mecca statements to determine which later Medina statements to
accept or how to interpret them--that this minority may have outlooks I think
are nice and ethical about non-Muslims, apostasy, homosexuality, slavery, roles
for men and women, etc.  I'm not convinced, and apparently the orthodox/conser-
vative majority in Islam aren't convinced, they have the more solid case histor-

  I can also imagine, by the same evidence, since Muhammad claimed not just to
be a man of faith but a prophet like Moses, that once his prophet claim was of-
ficially declared by the charter of Medina, he established his version of Mosaic
law with punishments.  No compulsion in religion could mean except for various
things covered below.

  We can imagine that quiet apostates weren't executed, but there was a death
penalty for an apostate who created mischief in the land for Allah and his pro-
phet.  What constitutes creating "mischief"?  Would unrepentantly declaring
there was no proof of God or that Muhammad was a prophet, that some of his rules
were bad, and that his religious opinions therefore shouldn't be law of the
land, constitute creating mischief in the land for Allah and his prophet?'an,_Hadith_and_Scholars:Mischief

  I don't want to force points about who initiated the religious punishments so
I'll make it easy for my reader: I don't care.  With all due respect to faith
understood as such, hurting and killing over it calls for proof of God and that
He wants it.  I mean proof like Him waving to all of us so we all know He's
there, telling us He talked to this guy and to kill that guy, and the only
choice is do you want to agree with Him or not.

  I don't know anyone with that kind of proof.  So whoever caused punishments
and executions for religious reasons (apostasy, etc.--I count punishment for
homosexuality as a purely conservative Abrahamic religious bigotry with no
merit), Muhammad or afterward, without that kind of proof caused it arbitrarilly
therefore caused sadism and murder.

  Islamists commonly offer the Qur'an as more than a book of faith--they offer
it as proof of a miracle supporting Islam and meant to give the punishments an
"Ark of the Covenant"-type divine prerogative, so I analyze this claim below.  I
don't want to force points about the early history of punishments and execu-
tions, and I'm not referring to all Muslims as Islamists who want punishments
for breaking religious rules--just whomever the shoe fits.

  "Muslims believe that Qur'an is miraculous by its nature in being a revealed
text from God, and that similar texts cannot be written by human endeavor."

  "The Qur'an itself gives an open challenge for anyone who denies its claimed
divine origin to produce a text like it."

  "According to Muslims, Sharia law is founded on the words of Allah as revealed
in the Qur'an, and traditions gathered from the life of the Prophet Muhammad."

  In 622 CE, Muhammad was asked, as an impartial observer, to rule Medina and
settle conflicts.  He drafted the Medina Charter, which made him the leader and
proclaimed him to be the Prophet of Allah.  It united various tribes and Muslim
emigrants from Mecca, and established relative religious freedom, if assigning
taxes for the right of residence, for non-Muslims--dhimmi: Jews, Christians, and
pagans, who had fewer legal and social rights (which today would be considered
discriminatory).  It established lesser rights of women, criminality of homo-
sexuals, a judicial system for resolving disputes, and regulated payment of
blood money (the payment between families or tribes for the slaying of an indi-
vidual in lieu of lex talionis--an eye for an eye).

  I start looking from between my fingers when the account tells us the charter
made his prophet claim the law.  You need proof of God, and that God needs it,
for punishments and executions for violating that to not be arbitrary, therefore
not be sadism and murder.

  Muhammad became popular, formed an army, and spread his rule through the Arab-
ian peninsula through a combination of diplomacy and military conquest.

  Islamism, according to Wikipedia, is generally the desire for Sharia as law
for "Muslims; of pan-Islamic political unity; and of the elimination of non-Mus-
lim, particularly western military, economic, political, social, or cultural in-
fluences in the Muslim world, which they believe to be incompatible with Islam.
Some observers suggest Islamism's tenets are less strict and can be defined as a
form of identity politics or 'support for [Muslim] identity, authenticity,
broader regionalism, revivalism, [and] revitalization of the community.'"

    "Islamists claim that the origins of Islam as a political movement are to be
  found in the life and times of Islam's prophet, Muhammad and his successors,
  (depending on the Islamist).  In 622 CE, in recognition of his claims to pro-
  phethood, Muhammad was invited to rule the city of Medina.  At the time the
  local Arab tribes of Aus and Khazraj dominated the city, and were in constant
  conflict.  Medinans saw in Muhammad an impartial outsider who could resolve
  the conflict.

    "Muhammad and his followers thus moved to Medina, where Muhammad drafted the
  Medina Charter.  This document made Muhammad the ruler, and recognized him as
  the Prophet of Allah.  The laws Muhammad established during his rule, based on
  the revelations of the Quran and doing of Muhammad, are considered by Muslims
  to be Sharia or Islamic law, which Islamic movements seek to replicate in the
  present day.  Muhammad gained a widespread following and an army, and his rule
  expanded first to the city of Mecca and then spread through the Arabian penin-
  sula through a combination of diplomacy and military conquest."

  According to Wikipedia:

    "Most Muslims believe Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic
  law: the precepts set forth in the Qur'an, and the example set by the Islamic
  Prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah."

    "In most interpretations of Sharia, conversion by Muslims to other religions
  or becoming non-religious, is strictly forbidden and is termed apostasy.  Non-
  Muslims, however, are allowed to convert into Islam.  Muslim theology equates
  apostasy to treason, and in most interpretations of Sharia, the penalty for
  apostasy is death.  During the time of Muhammad, treason and apostasy were
  considered one and the same; nowadays, many scholars differentiate between
  treason and apostasy, believing that the punishment for apostasy is not death,
  while the punishment for treason is death.
    "The accusation of apostasy may be used against non-conventional interpreta-
  tions of the Qur'an.  The severe persecution of the famous expert in Arabic
  literature, Nasr Abu Zayd, is an example of this.  Similar accusations and
  persecutions were famously leveled against the author Salman Rushdie.

    "Traditionalists believe that the law of the state should be based on the
  traditional legal schools.  However, traditional legal views are considered
  unacceptable by some modern Muslims, especially in areas like women's rights
  or slavery.

    "Secularists believe that the law of the state should be based on secular
  principles, not on Islamic legal doctrines.

    "Reformers believe that new Islamic legal theories can produce modernized
  Islamic law and lead to acceptable opinions in areas such as women's rights.
  However, traditionalists believe that any departure from the legal teachings
  of the Qur'an as explained by the Prophet Muhammad and put into practice by
  him is an alien concept that cannot properly be attributed to 'Islam.'"

  At times during his latter days of religious/political upheaval, Muhammad
called for the use of the death penalty for apostates (people who accepted his
religious ideas then outspokenly and unrepentantly criticized them).

  Among things the Islamic death penalty is most commonly applied to is apos-
tasy--those of Muhammad's religion who made conversion from it known or criti-
cized it without repenting.  "There is no Compulsion in religion" [Qur'an 2:256]
is taken in such cases to refer to conversion to Islam, not from it.  Homosex-
uality is a crime in most Muslim majority countries, sometimes bringing the
death penalty.  See Wikipedia "Apostasy in Islam" and "LGBT topics and Islam."

    "In the Hadith the death penalty is mentioned in several passages. For exam-

    "Narrated 'Abdullah: Allah's Apostle said, 'The blood of a Muslim who con-
  fesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His
  Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married
  person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Is-
  lam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.'"
   "—Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:83:17
    "Other examples include Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:52:260, Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:84:
  57, Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:84:58 and Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:89:271."

  Among the punishments considered Hudud--fixed by God--in Islam are:

  false accusation (lack of
      four male witnesses) of
      adultery against a
      married person                       eighty stripes                               Qur'an 24.4
  drinking wine                               eighty stripes                              Hadiths
  fornication (zina)                         a hundred stripes                        Qur'an 24.2-5
  adultery                                       whipping                                     Qur'an 24.2
                                                      stoning                                        Hadiths
  theft                                             cut off the right hand                  Qur'an 5:38-39 Hadiths
  simple robbery
      on the highway                        the loss of hands and feet          Quran 5:33,38
  robbery with murder                    death by the sword or by
                                                          crucifixion                                Quran 5:33,34
  apostasy                                      death                                           Hadiths Sahih al-

  Quran 16:106: "But whosoever accepts disbelief willingly, he incurs God's
Wrath, and there is severe torment for all such people."

  Qur'an 9:12: "But if they break their oaths after making compacts and taunt"
(or "assail") "you for your faith, you should fight with these ringleaders of
disbelief because their oaths are not trustworthy: it may be that the sword
alone will restrain them."

  Qur'an 5:32,33: "Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that
whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it
is as if he had slain mankind entirely.  And whoever saves one - it is as if he
had saved mankind entirely.  And our messengers had certainly come to them with
clear proofs.  Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land,
were transgressors.

  "Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and
strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or cruci-
fied or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be
exiled from the land.  That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in
the Hereafter is a great punishment.  Except for those who return [repenting] be-
fore you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."

  Another translation:

  "Therefore We ordained for the Children of Israel that he who slays a soul un-
less it be (in punishment) for murder or for spreading mischief on earth shall be
as if he had slain all mankind; and he who saves a life shall be as if he had
given life to all mankind.  And indeed again and again did Our Messengers come to
them with clear directives; yet many of them continued to commit excesses on

  "Those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and go about the earth
spreading mischief -indeed their recompense is that they either be done to death,
or be crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off from the opposite sides or
be banished from the land.  Such shall be their degradation in this world; and a
mighty chastisement lies in store for them in the World to Come."

  Qur’an 5:33: "The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and His Pro-
phet and make mischief in the land, is to murder them, crucify them, or cut off
a hand and foot on opposite sides...their doom is dreadful. They will not escape
the fire, suffering constantly."'an,_Hadith_and_Scholars:Mischief

  "The four Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence, as well as Shi'a scholars,
agree that a sane adult male apostate (if he doesn't repent) must be executed.
A female apostate may be put to death, according to the majority view, or im-
prisoned until she repents, according to others."

  The Qur'an may be said to only recommend punishment in the afterlife for apos-
tates who merely cease to be Islamic and are unrepentant.  But the death penalty
is among recommended possibilities if the apostate creates mischief or trouble
for the Islamic faith--wages war against Allah and his Prophet--denounces Islam
or Islamic law.  This is reaffirmed in subsequent Islamic writings.  The popular
choices for hadiths interpret that the death penalty is to be used for such
apostasy.  Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:83:17, Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:52: 260,
Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:84:57, Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:84:58 and Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:89:


  "In the early 20th century (post World War I) slavery was gradually outlawed
and suppressed in Muslim lands, largely due to pressure exerted by Western na-
tions such as Britain and France. However, slavery claiming the sanction of Is-
lam is documented presently in the African republics of Chad, Mauritania, Niger,
Mali and Sudan."

  "GENEVA — The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that the United States
would use all the tools of American diplomacy, including the potent enticement
of foreign aid, to promote gay rights around the world."

    "The Qu'ran asserts that after Itmam al-hujjah" (religious truth has been
  completely clarified by a Messenger of Allah and made available to a people,
  who are considered to have no excuse to deny it) "has been attained, those re-
  jecting the religious truth have no excuse and are punished by Allah.  This
  punishment is considered to occur both in this world and the next world.  The
  judgment in this world is considered a rehearsal for the ultimate punishment
  or reward on the Day of Judgement."

    "Punishment through natural disaster

    "Punishment comes through natural calamities, if the Messenger has very few
  companions and no place to migrate.  Examples in the Qur’an are the nations of
  Noah, Lot, Saleh, and Shoaib along with some other nations of Messengers,
  which were punished in the form of raging storms, cyclones and other calami-
  ties, which completely destroyed them.  A notable exception would be the 'Peo-
  ple of the Book,' who as monotheists were not destroyed but reduced to a sub-
  jugated status.  The Israelites are considered punished by 'constant subjuga-
  tion to the followers of Jesus till the Day of Judgement.'  The Qur'an ex-
  plains this in following verse:

    "Remember when Allah said: ‘O Jesus! I will terminate [your period] and
  raise you to Myself and cleanse you from those who have denied you; I will
  make those who follow you superior to those who reject faith till the Day of
  Resurrection. [Qur'an 3:55]

    "Punishment through human hands

    "Punishment comes through human hands, if the Messenger has migrated from
  his people to another place, where he has achieved political sovereignty and a
  considerable number of followers.  The Messenger consolidates his power and
  trains his followers and prepares them for battle, so that he is able to root
  out the disbelievers and establish the supremacy of his religion.

    "According to Ghamidi, the chief example in the Qur'an is Muhammad himself,
  who after having conquered Mecca and given the Arabian polytheists a respite
  of four months, ordered his followers to fight and kill them until they had
  embraced Islam.  The Qur'an says:

    "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans
  wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for
  them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular
  prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is
  Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. [Qur'an 9:5]

    "According to Ghamidi, another verse reiterates and also deals with the pun-
  ishment of Jews and Christians, who as monotheists are not threatened with
  death but merely subjugated to the status of dhimmis:.

    "Fight those who believe not in Allah or the Last Day, nor hold that forbid-
  den which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the
  Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jiz-
  yah with willing submission and are subdued. [Qur'an 9:29]

    "Muslims also cite Moses as an example, especially his punishment of those
  worshipping the Golden calf."


    "Islam and capital punishment

    "Islam on the whole accepts capital punishment.

    "'...Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice
  and law. Thus does He command you, so that you may learn wisdom.' Qur'an

    "But even though the death penalty is allowed, forgiveness is preferable.
  Forgiveness, together with peace, is a predominant Qur'anic theme.

    "Muslims believe that capital punishment is a most severe sentence but
  one that may be commanded by a court for crimes of suitable severity. While
  there may be more profound punishment at the hands of God, there is also
  room for an earthly punishment.

    "Methods of execution in Islamic countries vary and can include beheading,
  firing squad, hanging and stoning. In some countries public executions are
  carried out to heighten the element of deterrence.

    "Each case is regarded individually and with extreme care and the court
  is fully able to impose more lenient sentences as and when they see fit.

    "Islamic countries that practise a very strict Sharia law are associated
  with the use of capital punishment as retribution for the largest variety of

    "At the other end of the spectrum are countries such as Albania and Bosnia,
  which still retain the death penalty as part of their penal system, but are
  abolitionist in practice.

    "In Islamic law, the death penalty is appropriate for two groups of crime:

    "Intentional murder: In these cases the victim's family is given the option
  as to whether or not to insist on a punishment of this severity.

    "Fasad fil-ardh ('spreading mischief in the land'): Islam permits the death
  penalty for anyone who threatens to undermine authority or destabilise the

    "What constitutes the crime of 'spreading mischief in the land' is open to
  interpretation, but the following crimes are usually included:

    "Treason/apostasy (when one leaves the faith and turns against it)
    "Piracy of any kind
    "Homosexual activity

    "Whilst Islam remains firmly retentionist, there is a small but growing
  abolitionist Islamic view. Their argument is as follows:

    "The Ulamas (those who are learned in Islamic Law, constitution and theo-
  logy) do not always agree on the interpretation or authenticity of the sacred
  texts. Neither do they agree on the social context in which these texts
  should be applied.

    "Sharia law is often used by repressive powers that attack women and the

    "There are incidences of these states summarily executing those who are
  accused whilst denying them access to a lawyer. These acts are totally con-
  tradictory to the concept of Islamic justice.

    "In Geneva, on 28th April 2005, there was a call for a moratorium on cor-
  poral punishment, stoning and death penalty. This was, however, rejected by
  the Legal Research Commission of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the
  world's leading Islamic learning centre."

  Islamic jurists subsequent to Muhammad have made blasphemy (criticizing Allah,
Muhammad, the Qur'an, Islam, depicting Muhammad physically, expressing atheism,
etc.--see the article at the next link for the long list) an offense punishable
by fines, imprisonment, flogging, amputation, hanging, or beheading.  Muslim
clerics may call for the punishment of an alleged blasphemer by issuing a fatwa
(a ruling by a Muslim which may find this or that degree of agreement from other

  "The methodology of reform can be classified into two groups, one depending on
re-interpreting the traditional texts which constitutes Islamic law.  This
varies widely from little deviation from the traditional interpretation, to the
more liberal which considers only the meaning of Qur'an as a divine inspiration,
while the wording is believed to be from the prophet Muhammad intended by him to
suit his time and situation, therefore interpreting the problematic verses in
modern times allegorically or even not considering them.

  "The second is questioning the authentic status applied to texts by the Tradi-
tional Islamic Scholars, resulting in the most liberal case as of the Qur'an
Alone Muslims in rejecting the Islamic narratives of the sayings and practises
of Prophet Muhammad, namely the Hadith completely."

  Qur'an 24.4: "Those that defame honourable women and cannot produce four wit-
nesses shall be given eighty lashes."  Only men can be witnesses.'an,_Hadith_and_Scholars:Punishments#Drinking_Alcohol

  Quran 7:80-84: Homosexuality is defined as an abomination.  Ibn al-Jawzi and
the Hadith collection Sunan al-Tirmidhi Jami (al-Tirmidhi) report that Muhammad
called for the death penalty.

  (For examples of believers' and non-believers' actual abominations, including
the millions killed in the Mideast slave trade and Muslim Conquest of India, see
the sites at the next links.  They give no listing of homosexuals getting to-
gether to do anything like them.)

    "Most international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch
  and Amnesty International, condemn Islamic laws that make homosexual relations
  between consenting adults a crime.  Since 1994 the United Nations Human Rights
  Committee has also ruled that such laws violated the right to privacy guaran-
  teed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Cove-
  nant on Civil and Political Rights."

  Even most Islamic liberals have to admit the Koran defines homosexuality as a
crime, and it's prescribed a harsh punishment in the hadiths (the best attested-
to hadiths prescribe the death penalty, and the second best attested-to choice
is corporal punishment and jail).  But according to biology, sociology, psycho-
logy, etc., whatever secular or scientific source unbiased by a religious
stance, homosexuality is a matter of a small percentage of animals and people
being born that way and can be part of a mutually desired relationship--it isn't
unethical or unnatural.  A wisest imaginable being would have this overview.
Conservative Abrahamic prejudice against homosexuals originated with those of
the majority sexual orientation making too much of how it would be unnatural for
them to use the minority orientation.

  The Qur'an 4:34 and hadith An-Nisa 34 are debated by the Imans and clerics re-
garding beating wives this way or that way.  Wife beating in the Qur'an is reaf-
firmed by the hadiths beyond An-Nisa 34--see the articles at the next links:,_34

    "Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the
  other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them.  Good women are
  obedient.  They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them.  As for
  those whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart
  and beat them.  Then if they obey you, take no further action against them.
  Surely God is most high."  Qur'an 4:34, also see Qur'an 38:41-44

    "As for Surah 4:34 of the Qur'an, which has been used to justify wife-beat-
  ing, many Islamic feminists claim it was never meant to do so.  In 2007 Laleh
  Bakhtiar published a translation of the Qur'an, with her translation of Surah
  4:34 substituting 'go away' for 'beat' (they are the same word in Classical

    "Muslim feminist writer Asra Q. Nomani has argued:

    "'Indeed, Muslim scholars and leaders have long been doing what I call "the
  4:34 dance"--they reject outright violence against women but accept a level of
  aggression that fits contemporary definitions of domestic violence.'",_34

  My take on it is similar to how I'd regard the use of a curse or insult that
can mean something else ("bitch" can refer to a female dog, "fag" can refer to a
cigarette in the UK, "jerk" can refer to a single quick motion, etc.) in a sen-
tence in which it not only isn't clear I meant the innocent definition but would
likely be taken by some in the insulting way I didn't mean.  Not wanting anyone
to even wonder about it, I wouldn't use it in those circumstances.

  The apologists who want to create the nicest modern secular depiction of Mu-
hammad define "mischief" (execution for apostates who create "mischief" in the
land for Allah and his Prophet) as physically hurting or killing Muslims, and
"hit" (the action to take for a wife who'd been disobedient and is unrepentant)
as with a folded handkerchief.  Like many Muslims, I doubt Muhammad meant them
that way.'an,_Hadith_and_Scholars:Mischief,_34


  According to the Muwatta, which "is an early collection of hadith comprising
the subjects of Muslim law, compiled and edited by the Imam, Malik ibn Anas" and
"Malik's best-known work" which "was the first legal work to incorporate and
join hadith and fiqh together" and was "received with wide praise": "In a tradi-
tion found in the Sunni hadith book, al-Muwatta, Muhammad states that the com-
pany of dogs voids a portion of a Muslim's good deeds."  Most Sunni and Shi'a
Muslim jurists judge dogs to be ritually unclean.  Most practicing Muslims don't
have dogs as pets though dogs are allowed for guarding residences or hunting.
Beyond that, individual Islamic fatawa--rulings--declare that dogs should be
treated kindly or be freed.

  I think Muhammad's puppa dogs had bugs.  At the church/temple/mosque gymnasium
where they're having a meeting of Glen, we stay on the edge of puppa dog care
technology.  You could lose a share of your reward if you don't take good care
of puppa dogs who depend on you to take care of them.

  You just have to know how to take care of them.  You have to get their nails
cut, teeth cleaned, give them baths, good food, a warm place to sleep, don't be
too harsh with discipline, and a puppa dog will love you the rest of its life.

  Muhammad reintroduced ethically arbitrary rules about food, clothes, and 'cen-
tric stances about outsiders.


  - Traditionalists believe that the law of the state should be based on the
traditional legal schools.  However, traditional legal views are considered un-
acceptable by some modern Muslims, especially in areas like women's rights or

  - Secularists believe that the law of the state should be based on secular
principles, not on Islamic legal doctrines.

  - Reformers believe that new Islamic legal theories can produce modernized Is-
lamic law and lead to acceptable opinions in areas such as women's rights.  How-
ever, traditionalists believe that any departure from the legal teachings of the
Qur'an as explained by the Prophet Muhammad and put into practice by him is an
alien concept that cannot properly be attributed to "Islam."

  See the map at the next link.

  Islamism by country

  The list above isn't an exhaustive list of what the majority of Muslims accept
as Muhammad's word on Allah's rules that call for having people hurt or killed
who disobeyed them, but it's enough to establish that, though providing terms by
which the disunified group of Muhammad's contemporaries could live together, in-
cluded terms that were unjustly discriminatory and harsh.

  His plan to allow different religious groups to live together may be admirable
in going somewhat toward separation of church and state, but various things fall
short of that: taxing non-Muslims for residence is discriminatory, executing
Muslims who became "apostate" without showing divine intervention to give it a
divine prerogative (and a mainstream Muslim view is that only the writing of the
Qur'an is alleged to do that), and branding homosexuals as abominations to be
executed or beaten and put in prison, are purely religious excesses.

  b. Orthodox, conservative, and liberal Islam

  There are Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews, and you can basically break
down Christians into three similar categories.  Islamic people aren't all of the
same opinion on everything, either, but not only most but the vast lion's share
are orthodox or conservative.

  Muslim majority countries

  80-90% of Muslims are Sunni (orthodox).  10-20% are Shia (believe Ali to be
the last rightful Caliph and second in importance to Muhammad) and orthodox or
conservative.  (Most Shia Muslims live in Iran, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Turkey,
Yemen, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Nigeria, Lebanon, Tanzania,
and Kuwait.)  Both use the Qur'an and Hadiths.

    "Islamic fundamentalism's push for sharia and an Islamic State has come into
  conflict with conceptions of the secular, democratic state, such as the inter-
  nationally supported Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Anthony J. Dennis
  notes that 'Western and Islamic visions of the state, the individual and soci-
  ety are not only divergent, they are often totally at odds.'  Among human
  rights disputed by fundamentalist Muslims are:

  - Freedom from religious police
  - Equality issues between men and women
  - Separation of religion and state
  - Freedom of speech
  - Freedom of religion-–Muslims who leave Islam, 'should be executed' after
  meeting certain requirements--i.e. presence of a Khalifah to propagate the
  punishment while the right of non-Muslims to convert to Islam is celebrated."

  A small percent are neither Sunni nor Shia but are Quranists, mostly liberal
and prominent among the most liberal Muslims, who don't use the Hadiths and sup-
port western-value human rights and promote reinterpreting Islam as "a belief
system committed to the liberal values of a democratic world" under narrow
Hudud (fixed God-given rules from the Qur'an).

  Among the ways they differ from the orthodoxy are in rejecting:

  - the death penalty for apostates as this punishment is absent in the Quran
and discouraged in suras such as 2:256 or 18:29.

  - stoning for adultery.  Instead, Quranists follow the quran's prescribed pun-
ishment of 100 lashings as the Quran does not differentiate between fornicators
or adulterers in this punishment, by use of the word 'Zina' in surah 24:2.  The
orthodox Shariah law applies lashings only to fornicators as per the Quran, but
stoning to adulterers as per Sunnah.

  - the requirement that the four witnesses of zina must have seen clear pene-
tration during the coitus (though this stringent requirement is rarely applied
in practice), as the Quran only requires four witnesses to zina.

  - the death penalty of homosexuals.  Since the punishment for homosexuality in
the Quran is a punishment which God administers to prophet Lut's community,
Quranists tend to view homosexuality as a sin that is only punishable by God in
the afterlife.

  - the death penalty for practitioners of witchcraft or sorcerers.

  Several outlooks are generally accepted among the moderates/liberals:

  - The right of the individual to interpret the Qur'an and Hadith.  More liber-
al trends include rejecting Hadiths completely (like Qur'an Alone Muslims) or
partially, including hadiths considered authentic--Sahih--by traditionalists
(like Gamal Al-Banna).

  - A variety of critical examinations of the religious texts and traditional
Islamic precedents.

  - Complete gender equality--this includes ritual prayer and observance.

  - Being more open to customs, dress, and common practices of modern culture.
Men and women still use certain rules on modesty due to the injunction against
immodest dress of the Qur'an.

  - Encouragement of the individual use of ijtihad (interpretation) and fitrah
(natural sense of right and wrong).

  Mainstream (orthodox/conservative) Islamic critics of Quranism point out that,
although the Qur'an describes itself as complete (Qur'an 6:11-116; 7:52), it
can't be followed without secondary sources.

    "There are cases where the Qur'an gives a clearly defined and concrete an-
  swer on how to deal with different issues.  This includes how to perform the
  ritual purification (Arabic: wudu) before the obligatory daily prayers (Arab-
  ic: salat).  On other issues, the Qur'an alone is not enough to make things
  clear.  For example, the Qur'an states one needs to engage in daily prayers
  (Arabic: salat) and fast (Arabic: sawm) during the month of Ramadan, however,
  it does not define how to perform these duties.  The details about these is-
  sues can be found in the traditions of Islamic prophet Muhammad (Arabic: Sun-
  nah).  This is true for most detailed issues, thus the Qur'an and Sunnah are
  the basis for the Islamic Divine Law (Arabic: Shariah)."

  About 95% of the people of the Middle East are Muslims and most Muslims in the
world want to live by Islamic Law (Sharia).  Modernity is sometimes accepted if
it doesn't indicate Westernism--democracy and modernity in the Middle East are
commonly associated with imposing Western secular beliefs.

    "The legal system of Saudi Arabia is based on Sharia, Islamic law
  derived from the Qu'ran and the Sunnah (the traditions) of the Prophet
  Muhammad.  The sources of Sharia also include Islamic scholarly consen-
  sus developed after Muhammad's death and analogical reasoning by Muslim
  judges.  Its interpretation by judges in Saudi Arabia is influenced by
  the medieval texts of the literalist Hanbali school of Islamic jurispru-
  dence.  Uniquely in the Muslim world, Sharia has been adopted by Saudi
  Arabia in an uncodified form.  This, and the lack of judicial precedent,
  has resulted in considerable uncertainty in the scope and content of the
  country's laws. The government therefore announced its intention to codi-
  fy Sharia in 2010. Sharia has also been supplemented by regulations is-
  sued by royal decree covering modern issues such as intellectual property
  and corporate law.  Nevertheless, Sharia remains the primary source of
  law, especially in areas such as criminal, family, commercial and con-
  tract law, and the Qu'ran and the Sunnah are declared to be the country's

    "Criminal law punishments in Saudi Arabia include public beheading,
  stoning, amputation and lashing.  Serious criminal offences include not
  only internationally recognized crimes such as murder, rape, theft and
  robbery, but also apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery.  In addi-
  tion to the regular police force, Saudi Arabia has a secret police, the
  Mubahith, and 'religious' police, the Mutawa. The latter enforces Islamic
  social and moral norms.  Western-based human rights organizations, such
  as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have criticized the ac-
  tivities of both the Mubahith and the Mutawa, as well as a number of
  other aspects of human rights in Saudi Arabia.  These include the number
  of executions, the range of offences which are subject to the death pen-
  alty, the lack of safeguards for the accused in the criminal justice sys-
  tem, the treatment of homosexuals, the use of torture, the lack of reli-
  gious freedom and the highly disadvantaged position of women."

  Turkey is the most notable country of modernizing Islam.  "In 2008 its Depart-
ment of Religious Affairs launched a review of all the hadiths, the sayings of
Mohammed upon which most of Islamic law is based The School of Theology at An-
kara University undertook this forensic examination with the intent of removing
centuries of often conservative cultural baggage and rediscovering the spirit of
reason in the original message of Islam.

    "For almost 1,400 years, the punishment for apostasy has been death. Only
  recently has this been challenged, mainly by Islamic apologists in the West.
  A Pew poll released on December 2, 2010, found that even today 'The majority
  of Muslims would favor changing current laws in their countries to “allow
  stoning as punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft, and death for
  those who convert from Islam as their religion."'

    "To give you an idea of the kind of figures we're dealing with, we'll use
  Pakistan as an example; the 2010 poll found that 76% of Pakistanis agree apos-
  tates are to be killed. In a country with a population of 172,800,000 (96% of
  whom are Muslim) that would be 126,074,880 individuals in a single country.
  Conversely only a mere 13% of Muslims opposed killing apostates.  If we are to
  assume the politically-correct position that, Muslims who espouse such views
  are extremists who misunderstand the 'peaceful' teachings of Islam, then we
  must also concede the fact that the majority of Muslims in the world are ex-
  tremists.  They are not simply a 'fringe group.'"

  The Mutaween are the religious police of Saudi Arabia.

    "Salafis view the first three generations of Muslims—the Sahabah, or Compan-
  ions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and the two succeeding generations after
  them, the Tabi‘un and the Tabi‘ al-Tabi‘in—as an eternal model for all suc-
  ceeding Muslim generations, especially in their beliefs and methodology of un-
  derstanding the texts, but also in their method of worship, mannerisms, moral-
  ity, piety and conduct.

    "Salafism differs from the earlier contemporary Islamic revival movements of
  the 1970s and 1980s commonly referred to as Islamism, in that (at least many)
  Salafis reject not only Western ideologies such as Socialism and Capitalism,
  but also common Western concepts like economics, constitutions, political par-
  ties and revolution."

    "Salafis promote that the Sharia (Islamic law) takes precedence over civil
  or state law," if not breaking those laws.

    "According to observers such as Gilles Kepel, Wahhabism gained considerable
  influence in the Islamic world following a tripling in the price of oil in the
  mid-1970s and the progressive takeover of Saudi Aramco in the 1974-1980 peri-
  od.  The Saudi government began to spend tens of billions of dollars through-
  out the Islamic world to promote Wahhabism, which was sometimes referred to as
  'petro-Islam.' According to the documentary called The Qur'an aired in the UK,
  presenter Antony Thomas suggested the figure may be 'upward of $100 billion.'

    "Its largess funded an estimated '90% of the expenses of the entire faith,'
  throughout the Muslim world, according to journalist Dawood al-Shirian. The
  funds supported children's madrasas, high-level scholarship, mosque construc-
  tion ('more than 1500 mosques were built from Saudi public funds over the last
  50 years') were paid for and operation and many other activities. It rewarded
  journalists and academics, who followed it and built satellite campuses around
  Egypt for Al Azhar, the oldest and most influential Islamic university.

    "This financial power has done much to overwhelm less strict local interpre-
  tations of Islam, according to observers like Dawood al-Shirian and Lee Kuan
  Yew, and has caused the Saudi interpretation to be perceived as the correct
  interpretation in many Muslims' minds."

    "The Society of the Muslim Brothers" "often simply 'The Brotherhood' or
  'MB,' is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is
  the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states."  "Its most
  famous slogan, used worldwide, is 'Islam is the solution.'  The Brotherhood's
  stated goal is to instill the Qur'an and Sunnah as the 'sole reference point
  for...ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community...and

    "The Brotherhood's credo was and is, 'God is our objective; the Quran is our
  constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the
  sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.' The Brotherhood's English lan-
  guage website describes the 'principles of the Muslim Brotherhood' as includ-
  ing firstly the introduction of the Islamic Shari`ah as 'the basis controlling
  the affairs of state and society;' and secondly work to unify 'Islamic coun-
  tries and states, mainly among the Arab states, and liberating them from for-
  eign imperialism.'"

  Although there have been hadiths supportive of separation of religion and
science, and there have been secular countries in the history of Islam, most
Muslims regard secularism as an offense to Islam.

  Islam in the United States

  Some things about Islam, especially conservative Islam, that remind me of the
Jehovah's Witnesses leaders' teachings and policies, which are conservative:

  inerrant Bible..........................the writing of the Qur'an was a miracle
  own version of the Bible.......own version of the Bible
  conservative............................most are orthodox, most of the rest conservative
  Governing Body.......................Islamic Jurists--Ulama
  Spokespeople of Michael......Spokespeople of Muhammad spokesperson for Gabriel
  created Jesus.........................ordinary man Jesus
  reform will bring shunning...reform may bring a takfir or Shia fatwa
  Shunning of apostates.........debated but most think outspoken apostates are
.........................................................referred to in the Qur'an as those who create
........................................................ mischief in the land for Allah and his Prophet
........................................................ and hadiths call for execution
  mainly Western world...........mainly Middle East
  door to door.............................Islamic proselytism
  avoid "worldliness"................avoid Western culture/politics "worldliness"
  only JWs in new world...........Muslims who claim Islam will take over the world

  dress modestly.......................dress modestly
  male/female roles..................Conservative male/female complimentarianism--
  ...................................................Qur'an 4:34 debated about hitting a wife,_34
  homosexuality a sin...............homosexuality an abomination to be punished
    conservative Christian..............Qur'an (hadiths prescribe punishment by human
    stance...........................................hands up to and including execution)
  blood rule--...............................Islam--
    altered Mosic law......................replaced Mosaic law
  Suicide for blood rule.............suicide for Islam extremist jihad
    (most JWs approve)................(most Muslims disapprove)
  Clayton Woodworth................wrong part of human body given as creating semen
  ........................................................camel urine w/camel milk as medicine
    (Golden Age)...............
  Watchtower science................Bucailleism
  Intelligent design.....................Theistic evolution or intelligent design: conser-
  .........................................................vative stance


  c. Islamophobia and terrorism

  Rick Steves' Iran Personal Impressions

  Living on Zionist Time--1999 Darwin Awards Winner

  In making criticisms about Muhammad, Islamophobia should be avoided: to think
all Islamic people have the same opinions, that none of them share any good
values found in the West, that all criticisms they have about the West should be
rejected, that everything Islamic is extremist, irrational, sexist, and hostile,
that all Islamic people have a political ideology that supports terrorism, that
you should discriminate to excude them from society, and that it's natural to be
hostile to all Muslims for all those things.

  We should avoid criticizing Muhammad by the method used in 2011 by Pastor Ter-
ry Jones, a controversial type of conservative Christian.  I agree with his
statement that we should have separation of church and state, but I'm against
Jones' homophobia.  While I'm against state propaganda control, such as by col-
lecting everyone's copy of a book and destroying it (or as found in the Sharia-
directed media of some Muslim majority countries), I don't see any ethical dif-
ference between someone burning a copy of a book they own and using their old
newspapers or magazines to start the logs burning in their fireplace.  I don't
know what his opinions about the Qur'an are other than that he judged against it
in a mock trial, but I would have encouraged Terry Jones to make his case
against Islamic extremists verbally and not burn his copy of the Qur'an only be-
cause burning it could provoke some of those extremists to murder people.

  There are guarantees of people being hurt or killed over destroying a copy of
the Qur'an to show dislike of it beyond what you could expect from even most
conservative interpreters of the Bible or Tanach regarding someone destroying
their copy of it:

    "The term "Qur'an desecration" is defined as insulting the Qur'an by defil-
  ing or defacing it.  Most traditional schools of Islamic law require wudu be-
  fore a Muslim may touch the Qur'an, which is regarded as the literal word of
  God in its untranslated Arabic form.  Muslims must always treat the book with
  reverence, and are forbidden, for instance, to pulp, recycle, or simply dis-
  card worn-out copies of the text; instead, burning or burying the worn-out
  copies in a respectful manner is required.  Respect for the written text of
  the Qur'an is an important element of religious faith in Islam.  Intentionally
  insulting the Qur'an is regarded as a form of blasphemy.  Desecrating a copy
  of the Qur'an is punishable by imprisonment in some countries (life imprison-
  ment in Pakistan, according to Article 295-B of the Penal Code) and has been
  punishable by death in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

  The penalties are for people who burn the Qur'an to demonstrate their dislike
of it (Muhammad's stance on apostates, homosexuals, etc.), not for burning it
per se.  After a standardized version of the Qur'an was compiled in 650 AD, "The
other copies already in the hands of Muslims in other areas were collected and
sent to Medina where, on orders of the Caliph, they were destroyed by burning or

  The most extreme flip side of prejudice against Muslims (aside from sometimes
brutal Muslim homophobia) is Islamic terrorism, which most Muslims disapprove
of.  It involves suicide attacks, hijackings, kidnapping, executions, and Inter-
net recruiting.  According to a Gallup poll of "tens of thousands of hour-long,
face-to-face interviews with residents of more than 35 predominantly Muslim
countries between 2001 and 2007," less than 10% of Muslims are in favor of it.

    "Transnational Islamist ideology, specifically of the militant Islamists,
  assert that Western polities and society are actively anti-Islamic, or as it
  is sometimes described, waging a 'war against Islam.'  Islamists often iden-
  tify what they see as a historical struggle between Christianity and Islam,
  dating back as far as the Crusades, among other historical conflicts between
  practitioners of the two respective religions.  Osama bin Laden, for example,
  almost invariably describes his enemy as aggressive and his call for action
  against them as defensive.  Defensive jihad differs from offensive jihad in
  being 'fard al-ayn,' or a personal obligation of all Muslim, rather than 'fard
  al-kifaya,' a communal obligation, which if some Muslims perform it is not re-
  quired from others.  Hence, framing a fight as defensive has the advantage
  both of appearing to be a victim rather than aggressor, and of giving your
  struggle the very highest religious priority for all good Muslims.

    "In addition, Islamist militants, scholars, and leaders opposed Western so-
  ciety for what they see as immoral secularism.  Islamists have claimed that
  such unrestricted free speech has led to the proliferation of pornography,
  immorality, secularism, homosexuality, feminism, and many other ideas that
  Islamists often oppose."

    "The Muslim world has been afflicted with economic stagnation for many cen-
  turies.  Most Muslim countries are not knowledge-based economies, not based on
  research and development, manufacturing or industry.  In 2011, U.S. President
  Barack Obama himself stated that apart from crude oil, the exports of the en-
  tire Greater Middle East with its 400 million population roughly equals that
  of Switzerland.  It has also been estimated that the exports of Finland, a
  European country of only five million, exceeded those of the entire 260 mil-
  lion-strong Arab world, excluding oil revenue.  This economic stagnation is
  argued to have commenced with the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924,
  with trade networks being disrupted and societies torn apart with the creation
  of new nation states; prior to this, the Middle East had a diverse and growing
  economy and more general prosperity."

  Opinion polls--what percentage of Muslims....?

  According to a "Gallop Poll" between 2001 and 2007:

    "Gallup conducted tens of thousands of hour-long, face-to-face interviews
  with residents of more than 35 predominantly Muslim countries between 2001
  and 2007.  It found that--contrary to the prevailing perception in the west
  that the actions of al-Qaeda enjoy wide support in the Muslim world--more
  than 90% of respondents condemned the killing of non-combatants on religious
  and humanitarian grounds."

  If over 90% of Muslims disapprove of terrorism, of 1.57 billion, only upwards
of 10%, 157 millon (about the combined pop. of California, Texas, New York,
Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan as of 2010), favor that type
of murder.  The percentage of Muslims who favor punishment, even capital punish-
ment, for apostasy, homosexuality, etc., is much higher, esp. in Muslim majority
countries with Islamic law.

  According to an ABC News/BBC/NHK poll (date?  No more recent than 2009):

    "In Iraq, people of all persuasions unanimously reject the terror tactics
  of 'al-Qaida in Mesopotamia'. An ABC News/BBC/NHK poll revealed that all of
  those surveyed - Sunni and Shi'a alike--found al-Qaida attacks on Iraqi
  civilians 'unacceptable'; 98% rejected the militants' attempts to gain con-
  trol over areas in which they operated; and 97% opposed their attempts to
  recruit foreign fighters and bring them to Iraq."

  According to the "Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life," May, 2013:

    "Some 48 percent of Muslims in America say most or all of their close
  friends are Muslim, compared with a 95 percent global median level, among 39
  nations encompassed by the Pew Forum’s survey.

    "Nearly two-thirds of US Muslims, 63 percent, say there is no inherent ten-
  sion between being devout and living in a modern society. A nearly identical
  proportion of American Christians, 64 percent, feel that way. But fewer Mus-
  lims around the world share that view (the median in the Pew survey was 54
  percent) – even though the US is more “modern” in many ways than other na-
  tions in the survey, which span from Nigeria to Indonesia.
    "56 percent of US Muslims agree with the view that many religions can lead
  to heaven. That’s closer to the US average of 70 percent than it is to Islam
  globally, which had an 18 percent median in the Pew survey.

    "On the question of whether attacks on civilians such as suicide bombings
  are ever justified in defense of Islam, Muslims in America are strongly on
  the less-violent end of the global spectrum. In the US, 81 percent of Muslims
  say such violence is never justified, a slightly higher share than the sur-
  vey’s global median of 72 percent.
    "About 1 percent of US Muslims say violence is 'often' justified, versus 3
  percent globally. Although there is general disapproval of violence, a few
  nations such as Afghanistan and Egypt have much larger-than-average numbers–
  39 percent and 29 percent, respectively – who view attacks against civilians
  as often or sometimes justified."

  So we should avoid burning the Qur'an or making a depiction of Muhammad to
make a public show of rejection of them, at least to not provoke Islamic extrem-
ists to murder, and should avoid prejudice, judging without substantiation, when
expressing disagreement with Muhammad.  We should also realize the many Muslims
live under governments that haven't been at the forefront regarding the free
sharing of ideas or human rights.

  Honor killing

  Seeing women as property, to the point of seeing them as things you can des-
troy to solve problems, seems to be the main prejudice behind honor killing re-
gardless of religion.  And this seems to mainly come from countries with poor
human rights records and compromised education systems.  This can be improved
while leaving choice to believe in God or not intact and encouraging separation
of church and state.

  d. Claims of divine prerogative to justify killing or hurting for God

  Again, if the law of the land alleges that God requires punishments and execu-
tions for a religious reason, such as apostasy, it's an ethical and theological
dilemma unless all who are to live by this law are shown divine intervention,
explainable no other reasonable way, that God requires it.  It's currently a
matter of faith that the Ark of the Covenant was such a thing in Mosaic law.
The Ark was missing by 587-586 BC.

  Muhammad claimed to be more than a man of faith in a possible God.  He claimed
that he was a prophet getting messages from Allah via angel Gabriel to have his
words used for the writing of the Qur'an.  I'm particularly concerned in this
article to consider that, according to the Qur'an and the most popularly ac-
cepted Hadiths, etc., he used it to justify having people punished or killed--
that the Qur'an was his version of the Ark of the Covenant.

  The Ark of the Covenant isn't available for examination, but the Qur'an is.

  I won't force the point regarding different interpretations about who insti-
tuted the punishments or executions--Muhammad or subsequent Islamic leaders.  My
concern is that if and when the punishment or execution shoe fits, from Muhammad
to current leaders, their main evidence intended to give it the prerogative of
divine justification is the body of literature that became the Qur'an--possibly
related hadiths or such.

  If those writings of his words and deeds don't indicate, beyond arbitrary pos-
sibility, he had proof of divine justification for having anyone punished or put
to death for God, such as those he branded apostates for outspokenly and unre-
pentantly disagreeing with his religious opinions, or, worse, that those words
show errors uncharacteristic of an imaginable transendently wisest being, then
those killings, and any done since then for that reason, were and are murders.

  One stance on the creation of the Qur'an being miraculous is the claim that
Muhammad was illiterate.

  "However, the Arabic word translated here as 'illiterate' also means 'gentile'
and can also be translated as 'unlearned' in a general sense, such as 'unlet-
tered' is used in English, to refer to a person without extensive education, but
not necessarily illiterate."

  For example, Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad was illiterate, but accord-
ing to Wikipedia: "The Quran states that Muhammad was ummi, interpreted as il-
literate in Muslim tradition.  According to Watt, the meaning of the Quranic
term ummi is unscriptured rather than illiterate.

    "The earliest source of information for the life of Muhammad (ca. 570/571--
  June 8, 632 C.E.) is the Qur'an, which gives very little information, and is
  of questioned historicity itself.  Next in importance is the sira literature
  and Hadith, which survive in the historical works by writers of third and
  fourth century of the Muslim era (~900-1000 C.E.).  There are also a few non-
  Muslim sources which are valuable both in themselves and for comparison with
  the statements in the first two sources.

    "Attempts to distinguish between the historical elements and the unhistori-
  cal elements of many of the reports of Muhammad have not been very successful.
  A major source of difficulty in the quest for the historical Muhammad is the
  modern lack of knowledge about pre-Islamic Arabia.  Harald Motzki states:

    "At present, the study of Muhammad, the founder of the Muslim community, is
  obviously caught in a dilemma.  On the one hand, it is not possible to write a
  historical biography of the Prophet without being accused of using the sources
  uncritically, while on the other hand, when using the sources critically, it
  is simply not possible to write such a biography.

  "The Quran itself challenges any who disagree with its divine origin to pro-
duce a text of a miraculous nature.  Scholars of Islam believe that its poetic
form is unique and of a fashion that cannot be written by humans.  They also
claim it contains accurate prophecy and that no other book does."

  According to Wikipedia: "For example, some Islamic scholars believe that the
Qur'an had predicted the eventual defeat of the Persians by the Romans in the
620s.  Syed Abul Aala Maududi claims that this prophecy (30:1-4: "Alif. Lam.
 Mim. (1) The Romans have been defeated (2) In the nearer (lowest) land, and
they, after their defeat will be victorious (3) In a few (less than ten) -
Allah's is the command in the former case and in the latter - and in that day
believers will rejoice (4)") revealed in 615 AD, and within 6 to 7 years Romans
started overpowering the Persians."

  According to the site:

    "Problem #1: The Einstein Method guidelines are that the words be frozen on
  paper before the event occurs.  The "official" Qur'an was not recorded and
  collected onto paper until 653 CE (worst case).  The best case date for re-
  cording the Qur'an is 634 CE.  However, the event foretold believed to be ut-
  tered by Muhammad in 615 was completed by 627 CE (Romans would conquer the
  Persians).  Since the "official" Qur'an with this prophecy was written down in
  653 CE, the end event occurred 26 years before it was recorded.  (Even the
  best case of 634 CE for the original Qur'an being recorded and collected is 7
  years after the end event).  Was the prophecy changed to meet the perceived
  prediction after the event occurred?

    "Since the Qur’an was written after the event occurred, the scientific
  method does not permit analyses as a truly prophetic event. Separate from the
  scientific method, it takes 'blind faith' to accept this event as being from
  outside time-space.  Muslims view these Qur’anic verses as prophetic since
  they believe the verses were memorized and maybe they were written down before
  the event occurred. No one will ever know.

    "Problem #2: The Einstein Method guidelines require that the foretold event
  cannot occur during the lifetime of the prophet.  The scientific reason is
  simply that a so-called prophet can reason through the odds that an event
  could occur.  If the odds are good, then the prophecy is given.

    "Many Muslim scholars portray that it would have been difficult for Muhammad
  to perceive that the Romans would defeat the Persians.  However, the Romans
  (Byzantines) were the world power of Muhammad's day.  Therefore, most people
  would expect that the Romans would be able to defeat the Persians as time

    "Since we are using the Einstein Method to analyze religion, this Qur'anic
  prophecy has low credibility based on the two guidelines above.  The only po-
  tential evidence that the prophecy is real is that it would have been memor-
  ized and never changed.  This cannot be verified based on the evidence for
  when the Qur'an was published."

  Even worse for the case that the prophesy claim is a compelling indication of
divine intervention is that the traditional reading depends on the placement of
vowel marks, which make the difference between "they shall defeat" and "they
shall be defeated."  The vowel marks were added after the Qur'an was written and
could easily have been placed to suit the idea that Muhammad made a prophesy and
not a mistake.  See other reasons in the article at the next link: "Responses to
Understanding-Islam  Muhammad's False Prophecies by Sam Shamoun."

  So if the alleged prediction even happened as claimed, a political pundit
could have guessed the Roman Empire, the most powerful government in the world
at the time, would ultimately triumph over a group they lost some battles to
without it indicating anything miraculous.  And, as with fans of people claiming
extraordinary prediction abilities today, the fans would remember the successes
and forget whatever the predictor got wrong.  And the record of this example was
written down a good while after the fact.  I wouldn't kill anybody for alleged
apostasy over it.

  I won't force the point about a literal or figurative/allegorical interpreta-
tion for the following verses.  But since there are a lot of conservative Mus-
lims who interpret some of Muhammad's rules as calling for hurting or killing
people, and some conservatives even claim Muhammad must have been getting mes-
sages from Allah via Gabriel because the science that informed the Qur'an was so
far ahead of its time, here are some Qur'an verses about science.

  The mistaken idea for hundreds of years up to and including his time was that
semen comes from the place urine comes from--the kidneys.  Muhammad hedged his
bet and broadened the idea to include the organs between the backbone and ribs
and was still wrong (Qur'an 86:7).

      According to the "Letter to the International Journal of Cardiology"
    by Avijit Roy: "For example, in one verse of Qur’an it clearly declares
    that sperm originates between the back and the ribs (sura At-Tariq 86:
    6-7) i.e, it comes from the kidneys!  Note that Greek physician Hippo-
    crates theorized this wrong idea long before Muhammad that sperm passed
    through the kidneys into the penis.  For centuries this was an accepted
    (and incorrect) belief of the origins of sperm."

  Sperm doesn't come from the kidneys or any other organ that's between the
backbone and ribs.

      "Spermatozoa are produced in the seminiferous tubules of the testes in
    a process called spermatogenesis."

      "About 50-70% of the seminal fluid in humans originates from the sem-
    inal vesicles...."

      The prostrate provides "...20-30% of the volume of the semen along
    with spermatozoa and seminal vesicle fluid."

  Some interpreters, much later than Muhammad, imagine that certain verses of
the Qur'an imply that the gender of a child is determined by the sperm.  If so,
earlier sources thought so, too.

  He may have thought Allah used the sperm to determine the gender, but a hadith
by a Ibn Masud, a companion of Muhammad and a common source of hadiths, gives a
child's sex as determined 40 days after conception.'ud

      "Another even more obvious case of borrowing, is the tradition taken
    from Muslim, reported by Ibn Masud where Muhammad taught: When forty
    nights pass after the semen gets into the womb, Allah sends the angel
    and gives him the shape.  Then he creates his sense of hearing, sense of
    sight, his skin, his flesh, his bones, and then says: My Lord, would he
    be male or female?  And your Lord decides as he desires and the angel
    then puts down that also..." (No #6393, see also 6395).

      "As was noted, this Hadith is grossly wrong since the sex is deter-
    mined at the moment of conception according to whether the first cell
    contains two X chromosomes (female) or an X and Y chromosome (male),
    not forty days later.  Yet, we find Hippocrates teaching that it took
    30 days for the male genitals to form and 42 for the female. (Ibid.,
    p.329)  The similarities are obvious."

  As I wrote above, one of my basics is to keep up to speed with the known
proven things--belief in God is allowable as a hope for a possible God beyond
them.  So I wouldn't say the Earth is 6,000 years old or birds appeared before
land animals.  I wouldn't use the Ancient Near East cosmology (the sky is a hard
dome resting on a firmament, etc.) or the Mosaic Law death penalty for umpteen
things, etc.  One possible reform/progresssive Jewish or Christian view about
such OT things is to figure God only brought people along so far in those days.
But the major religions aren't having people put to death for violating purely
religious rules of Mosaic law as some are regarding Sharia.

  To Muhammad, who took the idea from some of the (presumably older) verses of
the OT which are informed by Ancient Near East cosmology, the Sun went down by
one end of a flat Earth (the view obscured by mountains) and rose near the other
side of it.  He indicates the various elements of the flat earth belief (see the
Wikipedia article at the next link) with mountains used as weights to minimize

  "One Day We shall remove the mountains, and thou wilt see the earth as a level
stretch, and We shall gather them, all together, nor shall We leave out any one
of them." (Qur'an 18:47)  "And He has set up on the earth mountains standing
firm, lest it should shake with you; and rivers and roads; that ye may guide
yourselves. (Qur'an 16:15)

  "Do they never reflect on the camels, and how they were created? The heaven,
how it was raised on high?  The mountains, how they were set down?  The earth,
how it was made flat? (88:17-20, Dawood)

  Muhammad said Zulqarnain (it's debated whether or not he was Alexander the
Great) travelled "Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set
in a spring of murky water.  Near it he found a People: We said: 'O Zul-qarnain!
(thou hast authority) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness."
(Qur’an 18:86).  "Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it ris-
ing on a people for whom We had provided no covering protection against the
sun." (Qur'an 18:90)

  "And the sun runneth on unto a resting-place for him.  That is the measuring
of the Mighty, the Wise." (Qur'an 36:38)

  Muhammad said the earth has seven heavens/firmaments, each above the other
(Qur’an 2:29; 37:6-7; 67:3; 71:15)--the sun and the stars are inside the lowest
heaven (37:6-7; 67:5; 78:12-13) and unseen heavens are above it.  "Seven heav-
ens" comes from older verses in the OT.  "Firmament," referring to a solid dome,
comes from the OT which takes it from Ancient Near East cosmology.  This is also
indicated by Qur’an 22:65: "He witholds the sky from falling on the earth except
by his leave: for Allah is most kind and most merciful to man."

  (Apostle Paul in the NT refers to a third heaven, which is to take three ideas
about heaven from the OT:
  1. the area over the earth in which birds fly--Gen.1:8,20,
  2. the setting for the sun, moon, and stars--Gen.1:14-16, and
  3. a spiritual area containing the angels and God--Gen.28:12, Deut.10:14, and 1
Kings 8:27.)

  As the older OT verses have the firmament separate the waters below from the
waters above, Muhammad had water on earth and above the seventh heaven.

  Also according to an idea of the sun, etc., moving within a hard dome, Muham-
mad indicated that the sun, moon, and stars take a rounded course around the
earth: "It is he who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon:
all (celestial bodies) swim along, each in it's rounded course." (Qur'an 21:33)

  Allah has "...set out constellations in the heavens... And moreover we have
guarded them from every accursed Satan.  But any that gains a hearing by
stealth, is pursued by a fiery comet..." (Qur'an 15:16-19; 37:6-7; 67:5).  The
Qur'an says evil spirits are attacked by comets.  If not taken metaphorically,
this could mean the safest place for evil spirits is around people since nobody
is known to have been hit by a comet.

  Considering that the idea of the Earth as a sphere, etc., had been growing in
popularity for hundreds of years by Muhammad's time (early 600's AD), he used a
pretty retro way to describe the cosmos.

  It veers farther from science when Muhammad says there are seven earths equal-
ly spaced apart.  According to Mishkat al-Masabih, Vol. IV, Chapter XLIII, Ha-
dith No. 33: "Then [Muhammad] said: 'Do you know what is under you?'  They said:
'Allah and His Messenger know better.'  He said: 'Indeed it is the earth.'  Then
he said: 'Do you know what is under that?' They said: 'Allah and His Messenger
know better.' He said: 'Verily, below it is another earth, between the two of
which is a distance of five-hundred years.'  Until he enumerated seven earths:
'Between every two earths is a distance of five-hundred years.'" 34:9)

  Assuming Muhammad didn't picture seven spherical Earths, equally spaced apart,
revolving together, he meant there were seven flat Earths, equally spaced apart,
around which the other bodies revolved.

  We are told that above the earth there are seven heavens/firmaments each above
the other (Qur’an 2:29; 37:6-7; 67:3; 71:15).  But we're also told that the sun
and the stars are inside the lowest heaven (37:6-7; 67:5; 78:12-13).

  The Qur’an says that the stars are very small and they're inside the sky or at
least the equivalent distance that the sun is from the earth.  The lowest heaven
means the closest part to the earth.

  Nevertheless, the Qur’an's reference to seven heavens has been hailed by some
Muslims as a scientific insight.  Harun Yahya is a popular Muslim apologist
known for his creationist, anti-evolution booklets and assertions that the
Qur’an contains miraculous scientific foreknowledge.  In "Miracles of the
Qur’an," he claims that the "seven heavens" refers to that the seven layers
(i.e., the stratosphere, ionosphere, exosphere, etc) of the atmosphere of the
Earth. However, he ignores that the Qur’an also says that stars are in the low-
est levels of our atmosphere!

  The Qur'an slao says that Allah "...set out constellations in the heavens...
And moreover we have guarded them from every accursed Satan.  But any that gains
a hearing by stealth, is pursued by a fiery comet..."  (Qur’an 15:16-19; see
also 37:6-7; 67:5).  The Qur’an says and comets chase evil spirits that mean to
cause man mischief.  You'd think such spirits could easily get out of the way of
those objects since they follow a predictable path, and one safe place the spir-
its could stay is on Earth.

  "The Bible, The Qur'an and Science" by Maurice Bucaille is a popular book of
pseudoscience meant to prove the perfect reconciliation of the Qur'an and
science and similar methods of apologetics meant to support the Qur'an and re-
buke mainstream stances of the Bible.  Bucaille's book misuses research material
like Jehovah's Witnesses leaders do for brochures about intelligent design or
against mainstream Christian stances.  Fans of Bucaille remind me of the JWs
leaders' followers repeating their leaders' claims without double-checking them
with related research.

  For the Qur'an sura 65, verse 12, Bucaille arbitrarily interprets the "seven"
for Earths and heavens as numerology for a great number, ignores Muhammad's ob-
vious effort to make a variation on Babylonian/Hindu/Mesopotamian myths, and de-
clares the Quran as accurately describing the existence of a great number of
exoplanets (earths) and galactic systems (heavens).  "Proof" of an all-knowing
being shouldn't be a multiple choice ("I dunno--is it one of these?").  Science
then or now didn't/doesn't prove those sevens literally and taken figuratively
(there's a lot of heaven and there are other planets) it's an easy enough human
guess to fall short of proving the existence of a divine being.  It's Muhammad
again giving his variation of an idea that was already kicking around.

  For example: "A tradition of seven heavens and seven earths was popular in the
Near East during the latter part of the first millennium B.C.E. and the first
millennium C.E."--Wayne Horowitz (Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography, 217).

   Far earlier than Muhammad--Hippolytus of Rome (170 – 235 AD): "The ordered
worlds are boundless and differ in size, and that in some there is neither sun
nor moon, but that in others, both are greater than with us, and yet with others
more in number.  And that the intervals between the ordered worlds are unequal,
here more and there less, and that some increase, others flourish and others
decay, and here they come into being and there they are eclipsed.  But that they
are destroyed by colliding with one another.  And that some ordered worlds are
bare of animals and plants and all water."

  If you should only kill someone when someone says God wants you to if there's
proof God wants you to, I don't think anyone should be hurt or killed over
"proofs" like that.  Like the JWs leaders' efforts to "prove" their distinctive
rules are proven by the best evidence and reasoning to be required by the Bible,
including the JWs leaders' distinctive ban on the medical use of blood/major
blood products, efforts like Bucaille's to "prove" the source materials for Is-
lam were informed be advanced scientific ideas, therefore Allah, carry with them
the effort to justify various punishments and bigotry.

  "Proof" that penguins are as intelligent as human beings is at the next links.

  Ashraf Salmawi (the site was at the next link which is now inactive) used
  Qur'an 22:47--1,000 human years for man equals 1 day for God (therefore
  365,000 years for man equals 365 days, one year, for God), and
  Qur'an 70:4--"the angels and the spirit ascend unto Him in a day, the measure
of which was fifty thousand years,"
  which he takes to mean how long ago the angels and Gabriel, called the spirit,
returned to God after creating the Universe.
  By his interpretations, the Qur'an gives the creation of the Universe as
365,000 x 50,000 = 18.25 billion years ago (for man).

  Here are the two verses plus 32:5:

  22:47 a day in the sight of your lord is like a 1,000 years of your reckoning.
  32:5 In the end will all affairs go up to Him in a day equal to 1,000 years of
your reckoning.
  70:4 The angels and the spirit ascend to Him in a day equal to 50,000 years of
your reckoning.

  Ashraf Salmawi used the 365,000 years for man/1 day for God of 22:47, substi-
tuted the 1 day for God with 365,000 years for man at 70:4, then, for some
reason only known to himself, multiplied it times 50,000 to get the number of
years for man though the verse plainly gives 50,000 as the years for man the 1
day for God lasted.

  I agree that Muhammad at 22:47 meant 1 day for God normally equals 1,000 years
for man.  But the context doesn't make Ashraf Salmawi's interpretation of 70:4
clear (see the site at the next link).  It's arbitrary, but if we look at it his
way, as referring to the time since the Universe was created, it means it was a
longer day for God, one that would be 50,000 years for man instead of 1,000
years for man, since God had Gabriel and the angels create the Universe.

  (The flexibility of a "day" for God is indicated by the common allegorical in-
terpretation of "day" at the start of Genesis--that it could refer to whatever
period of time other than 24 hours determined by context, as in "the day of my
distress," Gen.35:3.)

  Besides, his conclusion of billions of years involves extremely disproportion-
ately slower angels than mine, which has them travel in 50,000 years for man.
Even 50,000 years involves slow angels considering that Jami at-Tirmidhi said
that Muhammad explained that the Qur’an refers to the seven heavens as being
seven domes over the earth, and it's a five hundred year journey between each
and the next heaven.  Leaving one to get to the 6th beyond it should only take
500 x 6 = 3,000 years (or only 1,000 human years according to 32:5 if God needed
them in a hurry), so these angels were pausing to goof around to take 50,000

    "The age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.11 billion years (433.6 x 1015 seconds
  in SI units, or 13.75 Gigayears) within the Lambda-CDM concordance model.
  This is however only the estimated time since the Big Bang.  It is not known
  if something existed before the singularity that we call Big Bang, nor if time
  is linear, since the expansion estimated by Hubble's law assumed a linear ex-
  pansion, and later work indicates there may have been variations.  The esti-
  mated changes in expansion are calculated to be both positive and negative, so
  Hubble and later estimates broadly agree." (Wikipedia)

  Ashraf Salmawi's calculation was apparently unknown till modern times and it's
important to clearly establish what Muhammad meant to make a claim of proof of
prophecy success.  Salmawi's calculation is arbitrary numerology and it's about
18.25 divided by 13.75 = 132.72727272727275% too big, anyway--roughly nearly a
third as big again as the right amount, a mistake God wouldn't make.  If his in-
terpretation be insisted upon to defend belief in the Qur'an, it would be self-
defeating since it could be used as proof Muhammad was wrong about what Allah
would give as the length of time since the universe was created.

  If I were a Qur'an apologist, I'd give the verse as referring to Allah having
angels rise from the Earth 50,000 years earlier, although I'd leave the reason

  At the same site, Ashraf Salmawi gives the Big Bang as "very accurately des-
cribed" in the Qur'an at 21:30: "Do not the unbelievers see that the skies
(space) and the earth (matter) were joined together (as one unit of creation)
and we ripped them apart?"  ("We" refers to angels commanded by Allah.)

  Another translation: "Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heav-
ens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from wa-
ter every living thing?  Then will they not believe?"

  See above for the section of interpretations of the cosmology of the Qur'an:
Muhammad gave two sets of water: one set on Earth and the other set above the
seventh heaven.  With that in mind, see the start of the OT for an old source a
little more likely to have been Muhammad's concern than Gabriel explaining the
Big Bang to him in terms of the heavens and the planet Earth existing before the
Big Bang which separated them:

   Again, without exchanging new ideas for old words, Muhammad is just giving his
version of an old idea.  The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (circa 2100 BC): "when
the heavens had been separated from the earth, when the earth had been delimited
from the heavens" as a result of the separation of a sky God (An) from a earth
Goddess (Ki).  If you remove the pagan references you have the same story in the

  Gen.1:6 Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters,
and let it separate the waters from the waters." 7 God made the expanse, and
separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were
above the expanse; and it was so. 8 God called the expanse heaven.

  According to Bowman: "Looking at this first verse, the writers of this piece
clearly were communicating Biblical eschatology--and not any modern scientific
phenomenon such as the ‘big bang’ or evolution.

  "The verse preceding this is discussing Hell.

  "21.30 is simply an extension of 21.29, which further elaborates upon the dis-
believers not comprehending the end times in which Jesus opens the seals and
splits both heaven and earth--just as described in the Book of Revelation.

  "The mentioning of water here, as in numerous other areas of the Koran, refers
to the rebirth of mankind as a new creation in the death and resurrection of Je-
sus Christ." (link inactive)

  Surah 51:47 is given by many modern Islamic apologists as indicating the
Qur'an was informed by the idea of an expanding universe which wasn't known to
science until the 1920's-1930's: "The heaven" (or "Firmament"), "We have built
it with power.  Verily. We are expanding it."

  According to

  "Muslims acknowledge that only English translations of the Qur'an (in the late
20th century) use the word 'expanding.'  Earlier English translations of the
Qur'an didn't use the word 'expanding' in their rendition of Surah 51:47:

  "...With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who
create the vastness of pace.... " (Surah 51:47). Yusufali

  "...We have built the heaven with might, and We it is Who make the vast extent
(thereof).... " (Surah 51:47). Pickthal

  "...And the heaven, We raised it high with power, and most surely We are the
makers of things ample.... " (Surah 51:47). Shakir

  According to rogue06: "All of these earlier translations didn't use the word
expand and even Pangloss (2003) prefers 'we are the ones who enrich it' for the
last clause.  Only recently have Muslims started declaring that it means expand-
ing after they discovered that is what modern science thinks.

  It's a rough translation of Isaiah 42:5--"This is what God the Lord says--He
who created the heavens and stretched them out?"--according to rogue06.

    "Also, from what I have been able to determine the Arabaic word now being
  translated as to mean expanse, moosi-oon (plural form of the verb moosi), is
  an active participle that can mean 'stretch' similar to what we find in Isaiah
  and can also mean 'enrich.'  Elsewhere in the Qur'an when moosi is used it is
  translated as 'rich' or 'wealthy' but never as 'expand.'  The standard Arabic
  word for 'expanse' is noosi'u (or noo siu).

    "But even if moosi-oon were to mean 'expand' the verse still isn't saying
  that the universe is expanding because the word moosi-oon is preceded by the
  prefix la (la-moosi-oon) which indicates that it is actually a promise to do
  something in the future.

    "Finally, all of this overlooks the fact that the qur'an also describes the
  sky or heavens as being 'a canopy well guarded' (21:32) and that it was
  'raised' (um, no) upon invisible pillars (13:2), all of which directly con-
  tradicts the contention that the Qur'an teaches an expanding universe."

hammad, 1997, gives Surah 21:104 as showing the Qur'an is miraculously informed
about the Big Crunch idea of the end of the Universe:

  Surah 21:104; "The Day that We ROLL UP THE HEAVENS like a scroll rolled up
for books (completed),- even as We produced the first creation, so shall We pro-
duce a new one: a promise We have undertaken: truly shall We fulfil it."

  Actually, the modern model doesn't assume a collapse, only that it's among the
theories proposed.

    "Recent experimental evidence (namely the observation of distant supernova
  as standard candles, and the well-resolved mapping of the cosmic microwave
  background) have led to speculation that the expansion of the universe is not
  being slowed down by gravity but rather accelerating.  However, since the na-
  ture of the dark energy that drives the acceleration is unknown, it is still
  possible (though not observationally supported as of today) that it might
  eventually reverse sign and cause a collapse."  (Wikipedia)

  Since many religions have predictions of an end time, a new world to come,
etc., without the details of modern science, Surah 21:104 indicates Muhammad
followed the lead of others about it.  But the verse couldn't be used to prove
divine intervention was required to know the details of modern science, which
gives the Big Crunch idea as one of various theories, let alone that God meant
to distinguish Islam as the correct religion.

    "Many religions have an end-of-the-universe prediction.  The theological
  study of the ultimate fate of the universe and/or ultimate destiny of mankind
  is known as eschatology.  Some religions, such as Christianity, Islam and Zo-
  roastrianism, believe in a single universe-ending event; others, notably Hin-
  duism, Buddhism and Jainism, believe in an unending cycle of apocalyptic de-
  struction and recreation of the universe."

  Muhammad said God breaks the clouds into fragments to make rain fall (Qur’an
30:24).  Actully, clouds would be too heavy to be airborne if they were made of
unbroken collections of water instead of water vapor.  Clouds generally form
when rising air is cooled to the dew point--the temperature which humid air must
be cooled to, at constant barometric pressure, for water vapor to condense into
water--so the air becomes saturated.  The water vapor in clouds condenses by
coalescence.  Air turbulence causes droplets to collide and create larger drop-
lets.  The larger water droplets descend as coalescence continues so drops be-
come heavy enough to overcome air resistance and fall as rain.

  According to a hadith (Bukhari 1:234), Muhammad prescribed camel urine as med-

  Hadith 1:234 narrated Abu Qilaba: "Anas said, 'Some people of 'Ukl or 'Uraina
tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them.  So the Prophet ordered
them to go to the herd of (Milch) camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a
medicine).  So they went as directed and after they became healthy, they killed
the shepherd of the Prophet and drove away all the camels.  The news reached the
Prophet early in the morning and he sent (men) in their pursuit and they were
captured and brought at noon.  He then ordered to cut their hands and feet (and
it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron, They were
put in "Al-Harra" and when they asked for water, no water was given to them.'
Abu Qilaba said, 'Those people committed theft and murder, became infidels after
embracing Islam and fought against Allah and His Apostle.'"

  This reminds me of some of Clayton Woodworth's medical advice for the Jeho-
vah's Witnesses (see "Glenster's Guide to GTJ Brooklyn," p.11, "Blood transfu-
sions aren't the only things the Watchtower leaders have had distinctive medical
ideas or rules about.")  I wouldn't want to smell the stuff when I'm healthy let
alone drink it when I'm sick.  If there's a God, He might tell a sick person to
have a nice warm bowl of soup, but not Lipton's chunky cream of camel pee.

  According to Wikipedia, "There is no scientific evidence of a therapeutic use
for untreated urine."

  Other prophesy claims, including the pseudoscience of claims that the Qur'an
perfectly accurately anticipated modern scientific views, are covered at the
next links.

  e. Why don't the reform and progressive Muslims do more to
            change the Orthodox, conservative, and liberal Muslims?

  For one thing, take the issue of homosexuality as a litmus test:

  P = punish in this life
  S = sin punishable in the next life
  N = normal

  Orthodox and conservative Islam = P
  Orthodox and conservative Judaism/Orthodox and conservative Christianity/lib-
eral Quranist Islam = S
  Reform/progresssive/liberal Judaism/reform/progresssive/liberal Christianity/
reform Islam (edit Quran) = N

  As mentioned before, some of the reform Islamic Gay rights group that defends
the normalcy of homosexuality have been issued a fatwa calling for their execu-
tion.  How could conservative literalism (6,000 year old  Earth, etc.) get
worse?--if it's convinced it has to defend itself with arms and punish for pure-
ly conservative religious reasons.

  The way Muhammad set it up, trying to combine being a prophet and political/
military leader, the Qur'an has the unfortunate responsibility to be more than
an expression of faith but an Islamic Ark of the Covenant.  It's alleged to
avoid the ethical/theological dilemma of the arbitrariness of punishing or kill-
ing for God for religious reasons with a show of divine intervention, in this
case via an angel, in which it's alleged to prove God clearly expresses, ex-
plainable no other reasonable way, that He wants prejudice for homosexuals and
punishment and killing such as for outspoken critical ex-Muslim "mischief" mak-

  That's an important part of why most Islamic people won't tolerate editing the
Qur'an or consider the editors as part of proper Islam.  The Qur'an (sometimes
related tradtions) is defended as like the Islamic Ark of the Covenant as an
apologetic against the charge that Muhammad had killings done arbitrarilly--had
critics murdered.  And to correct Muhammad's and subsequent leader's stances on
homosexuality and apostates, you'd have to edit it.  A liberal editor might say
certain verses in the Qur'an weren't spoken by Muhammad and were later addi-

  To edit the Qur'an that way would be to deny it's an "Ark of the Covenant" re-
garding a need for it to be law of the land, including any tax or punishment or
killing for God or prejudice, to avoid denouncing the founder as being like the
Roman emperor Theodosius making Christianity the law of the land, without any
miraculous show that God needed it, in 380 AD. 

  This isn't as user-friendly as people having different favorites and dislikes
in music yet able to get along friendly with each other as in the analogy I made
with people who choose to have faith, understood as such, or not.  If people
claim God needs people to be punished or killed for religious reasons, that
raises the bar of responsibility.  That's why I spend so much time above analyz-
ing the credibility of the claim that the Qur'an is proof, not just an article
of faith, that God exists, is called Allah, and spoke to someone through an
angel, etc.

  Secondly, as is also mentioned above, in the section on terrorism, USA Presi-
dent Obama said that trade with the Mideast, aside from oil, is like that of
Switzerland.  This also suggests a relatively low degree of exchange of ideas
with many Muslims.

  Third, when you have a leader try to enforce an unreasonable idea (from the
JWs leaders and their ban on the medical use of blood/major blood fractions to
various government leaders and their persecutions), you probably have a leader
that uses propaganda.  See various quotes by the current (2011) head of Iran,
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, among examples of Islamists.

  Some reform Muslims will be inhibited by a possible threat of death by some
conservative Muslim leaders.  The solution is to increase ways to share ideas
with the people of the Mideast to get past the corrupt leaders, conservative
controllers, and propagandists.


  10. Muslim Conquests, Crusades, persecution, Inquisition, religious wars, the
              myth of the Dark Ages, and the founding of Israel

  Making a faith the law of the land and other 'centric intolerance led to the
Muslim conquests, Crusades, persecution of Jews, religious wars, and Inquisition
in Abrahamic religions.  See the articles at the next links.

  Christianity was made law of the land for the Roman Empire by Theodosius in
380 AD (despite Apostle Paul calling for Christians to go among Jews and Gen-
tiles, all kinds of people, without giving offense, sacrificing of themselves to
gain others to God, 1 Cor.10:32-11:1).

    "Between 389-391 he" Theodosius "emanated the infamous 'Theodosian decrees,'
  which establed a practical ban on paganism; visits to the temples were forbid-
  den, remaining Pagan holidays abolished, the eternal fire in the Temple of
  Vesta in the Roman Forum extinguished, the Vestal Virgins disbanded, auspices
  and witchcrafting punished.  Theodosian refused to restore the Altar of Vic-
  tory in the Senate House, as asked by Pagan Senators."

  In 622 CE, Muhammad was asked, as an impartial observer, to rule Medina and
settle conflicts.  He drafted the Medina Charter, which made him the leader and
recognized him as the Prophet of Allah.  It united various tribes and Muslim em-
igrants from Mecca, and established religious freedom, if assigning taxes for
the right of residence, for non-Muslims--dhimmi: Jews, Christians, and pagans,
who had fewer legal and social rights.  It established lesser rights of women,
criminality of homosexuals, a judicial system for resolving disputes, and regu-
lated payment of blood money (the payment between families or tribes for the
slaying of an individual in lieu of lex talionis--an eye for an eye).

  Muhammad became popular, formed an army, and spread his rule through the Arab-
ian peninsula through a combination of diplomacy and military conquest.  See
part 7 section a--Sharia.

  After the death of Huhammad, the subsequent Rashidun (The Rightly Guided Ca-
liphs--the first four Caliphs, Islamic leaders, after Muhammad died) Caliphate
(Islamic government) and Umayyad Caliphate unified their multitudes under one
Islamic effort: killing people to take their property.  Over about a century, in
what still stands as one of the most ambitious efforts under the banner of Is-
lam in history, they battled to take over lands from Spain to the border of
China to create the biggest pre-modern empire up to that time.

  Muslim Conquests went on into the 1800's, with the last three empires created
being the Ottoman Empire of the Middle East and Europe, the Safavid Empire of
Persia and Central Asia, and the Mughal Empire of India.

    "Muslim conquest in South Asia mainly took place from the 13th to the 16th
  centuries, though earlier Muslim conquests made limited inroads into the re-
  gion, beginning during the period of the ascendancy of the Rajput Kingdoms in
  North India, from the 7th century onwards.  Some historians contest it as the
  bloodiest chapter in Human history."

  "Why I Am Not Muslim," 1995, by ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq, whom some call polemical
in being critical of certain orthodox and conservative Islamic outlooks, in-
cludes coverage of the Muslim conquests.


    "The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy
  Land from Muslim rule and their campaigns were launched in response to a call
  from the leaders of the Byzantine Empire for help to fight the expansion of
  the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia."

    "The Crusades were a series of religiously sanctioned military campaigns,
  called by the pope and with the main goal of restoring Christian control of
  the Holy Land.  The crusaders came from all over western Europe. The main
  series of Crusades occured between 1095 and 1291."

    "The Crusades were fought mainly by Roman Catholics against Muslims, though
  some campaigns were diverted to fight Greek Orthodox Christians in Byzantium.
  Later campaigns were waged against pagan Slavs, pagan Balts, Mongols, and
  Christian heretics.  Orthodox Christians also took part in fighting against
  Islamic forces in some Crusades.  Crusaders took vows and were granted a
  plenary indulgence by the pope."

    "Over the course of 200 years, historians now estimate, some 2 million Euro-
  peans died in the Middle East crusades."


  See part 2: Don't be 'centric and intolerant.


  The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis (inquiry on heretical per-
versity), was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the
justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century,
with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy.  Inquisition
practices were used also on offences against canon law other than heresy.

  Before the 12th century, the Catholic Church already suppressed heresy, usual-
ly through a system of ecclesiastical proscription or imprisonment, but without
using torture and seldom resorting to executions.  Such punishments had a number
of ecclesiastical opponents, although some countries[which?] punished heresy
with the death penalty.

  In the 12th century, to counter the spread of Catharism, prosecution of here-
tics by secular governments became more frequent. The Church charged councils
composed of bishops and archbishops with establishing inquisitions (see Episco-
pal Inquisition). The first Inquisition was established in Languedoc (south of
France) in 1184.

  Roman Inquisition activity continued until the mid-19th century, notably in
the well-publicised Mortara Affair (1858–1870). In 1908 the name of the Congre-
gation became "The Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office", which in 1965 fur-
ther changed to "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith", as retained to the
present day[update]. The Pope appoints a cardinal to preside over the Congrega-
tion, which usually includes ten other cardinals, as well as a prelate and two
assistants, all chosen from the Dominican Order. The "Holy Office" also has an
international group of consultants, experienced scholars in theology and canon
law, who advise it on specific questions.

  Religious wars

  A religious war is a war caused by, or justified by, religious differences. It
can involve one state with an established religion against another state with a
different religion or a different sect within the same religion, or a religious-
ly motivated group attempting to spread its faith by violence, or to suppress
another group because of its religious beliefs or practices.  The Muslim con-
quests, the French Wars of Religion, the Crusades, and the Reconquista are fre-
quently cited historical examples, especially in history books.

  "In their Encyclopedia of Wars, authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod at-
tempt a comprehensive listing of wars in history.  They document 1763 wars over-
all, of which 123 (7%) have been classified to involve a religious conflict."
Obviously, this could be a big section, and I'm not attempting to write a com-
prehensive history of about 7% of all the wars in history, just how the reli-
gious source materials (mainly Abrahamic) and past precedents can be regarded in
the present, so I'll just provide some links for anyone who wants to follow it
through further.  Some (in the OT, the Muslim Coquests, the Crusades) are
covered in other sections.

  The myth of the Dark Ages

  The myth of the Dark Ages is that belief in God must include the sort of lit-
eralist conservative interpretation of old religious accounts that works against
the advancement of science, and that this, made law of the land, held back pro-
gress in science for centuries.  According to Wikipedia:

    "Films and novels often use the term 'Dark Age' with its implied meaning of
  a time of backwardness.  For instance, the popular movie Monty Python and the
  Holy Grail humorously portrays knights and chivalry, following in a tradition
  begun with Don Quixote. The 2007 television show The Dark Ages from The His-
  tory Channel called the Dark Ages '600 years of degenerate, godless, inhuman

    "The public idea of the Middle Ages as a supposed 'Dark Age' is also re-
  flected in misconceptions regarding the study of nature during this period.
  The contemporary historians of science David C. Lindberg and Ronald Numbers
  discuss the widespread popular belief that the Middle Ages were a 'time of ig-
  norance and superstition,' the blame for which is to be laid on the Christian
  Church for allegedly 'placing the word of religious authorities over personal
  experience and rational activity,' and emphasize that this view is essentially
  a caricature.

    "Contrary to common belief, Lindberg say that 'the late medieval scholar
  rarely experienced the coercive power of the church and would have regarded
  himself as free (particularly in the natural sciences) to follow reason and
  observation wherever they led.'  And Edward Grant, writes: 'If revolutionary
  rational thoughts were expressed in the Age of Reason [the 18th century], they
  were only made possible because of the long medieval tradition that estab-
  lished the use of reason as one of the most important of human activities.'

    "For instance, a claim that was first propagated in the 19th century and is
  still very common in popular culture is the supposition that all people in the
  Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat.  This claim is mistaken.  In
  fact, lectures in the medieval universities commonly advanced evidence in fa-
  vor of the idea that the Earth was a sphere.  Lindberg and Numbers write:
  'There was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not ac-
  knowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference.'

    "Misconceptions such as: 'the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections
  during the Middle Ages,' 'the rise of Christianity killed off ancient sci-
  ence,' and 'the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of natural
  philosophy,' are all cited by Numbers as examples of widely popular myths that
  still pass as historical truth, although they are not supported by current
  historical research."

  Gnarly Mummy Head Reveals Medieval Science

  The founding of Israel

  On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel declared itself as an independent nation
and was accepted by other nations except surrounding Arab states.  It provides a
(mostly) safe harbor for a long-persecuted people.'erit_ha-Pletah

  It has a generally good human rights record as the democracy of the region,
the only free country of the Middle East and North Africa, but a flawed democra-
cy.  There has been institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against
the country's Arab citizens.  There isn't civil marriage and divorce in Israel
for immigrants who aren't considered Jewish under rabbinical law.  Non-Jewish
holy sites don't have legal protection because the government doesn't recognize
the sites of Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Reform Jews, Christians, women, and
Bedouin as official holy places--all 137 of the recognized holy sites are Jew-
ish.  Israeli human rights organizations consider the Israeli asylum system to
be extremely flawed and unfair, and the recognition rate of refugees is consid-
erably lower than 1%.

  The US Department of State report on Israel stated that "de facto discrimina-
tion against persons with disabilities" exists in Israel.  The 2005 annual re-
port of ACRI found that "accelerated privatization" is damaging human rights--
"State economic policy, including cutting stipends, reducing housing assistance,
and constantly declining state participation in health-care and education costs,
are forcing more elderly, children and whole families into poverty and despair."

  The main flaw is the treatment of the Palestinian territories which have a
worse human rights record:

  The right to demonstrate for opponents of the PA regime or of PA policy has
become increasingly subject to police control and restriction and is a source of
concern for human rights groups.  Selling land to Jews is a crime punishable by
death.  During 2007 many Western and Christian targets were attacked in the West
Bank and Gaza.  Members of local gangs and terror cells blew up and destroyed
institutions linked to Western culture such as American schools, church librar-
ies and dozens of Internet cafes. These events were largely ignored by the me-
dia.  Joseph's Tomb in Nablus was a site of clashes between Jews and Palestini-
ans. The Israeli army turned control over to the Palestinian police who had
agreed to protect the site but instead stood by while mobs ransacked the site
and burned holy books.  Prominent members of the PA have denied that there is
any Jewish historical connection to many Jewish holy sites and PA Ministries
have embedded such ideas in their press releases.

  In December 2012, Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) released a report
that accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) of "inhumane practices and human
rights violations" against Palestinian civilians.  The AOHR alleges that from
2007-2011, the PA detained 13,271 Palestinians, and tortured 96% of them, re-
sulting in six deaths.  The Palestinian Authority has also been accused of using
civilians as human shields and civilian property such as houses as sites for
smuggling arms, launching sites for rockets, and factories to produce munitions,
thereby exposing them to harm from Israeli Defense Forces military operations.
Civilian deaths caused by these strikes are widely publicized in the media and
create favorable public opinion for the PA and negative public opinion against

  Moves by the Hamas-run Education Ministry to impose Islamist ideals onto the
educational system concern many Palestinians and outside observers.  Cases of
women being beaten are common in the Gaza strip.  Shaul Ganon of the Tel-Aviv
based gay rights group Agudah says Islamic law is the main justification for
mistreatment of homosexuals under the Palestinian Authority.

  The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, relationship with Iran, etc.

  The conflict isn't simply a conflict between "Jewish" and "Muslim," which is
too general.  It's more a case of Jewish allegiance to Israel, notably national-
ism, vs. Muslim againstness for Israel with the worst cases showing 'centric in-
tolerance to flare.

  I'm not nursing any superstitions about plots of land having magical proper-
ties or requirements of ownership for prophesy claims.  But the comparison for
me is between a group that was persecuted for thousands of years culminating in
large scale attempted genocide being given a small piece of land which they made
a democracy vs. a group that took a huge amount of land by conquest (the Indian
Conquest being given in lists of major abominations) to make religion law of the
land, which is still the case in most Muslim countries.  I also think of the
Jews as having a much higher percentage of those that see their old texts in a
progressive/reform way and are up to speed about human rights.

    "Quds Day, officially in Iran known as International Quds Day, is an
  annual event that began in Iran in 1979, that is commemorated on the last
  Friday of Ramadan, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people and
  opposing Zionism as well as Israel's control of Jerusalem.

    "Quds Day rallies were first introduced in Iran by the Ayatollah Khomeini
  in 1979, and the day's parades are sponsored and organized annually by the
  Iranian government there.  In recent years, only a marginal proportion of
  young Iranians have attended.

    "Quds Day is also commemorated in several countries in the Arab and Muslim
  world with protests against the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem.

    "2009 Quds Day

    "As he has done on previous such occasions, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the
  Holocaust, once more provoking intense criticism and condemnation from West-
  ern governments in particular.  He stated, 'The pretext (Holocaust) for the
  creation of the Zionist regime (Israel) is false...It is a lie based on an
  unprovable and mythical claim.'  His statements drew immediate condemnation
  from the governments of the United States, Russia, and the European Union."

  ^ Note: not condemnation from the predominantly Muslim, which is predominantly
orthodox, Middle East.

    "The tension is always highest in the narrow passages of the largely Pales-
  tinian Old City. So much so that the city’s police this year tried to route
  the column of youths — most singing patriotic and religious songs, a few
  chanting 'Death to the Arabs'-—away from the Arab Quarter. But in the end,
  the police proved powerless against tradition, and the original route was
  restored.  On Jerusalem Day, marching through the Arab Quarter is the whole

    "Some of the marchers chanted anti-Muslim epithets. Police arrested at
  least 10 Jewish marchers for racist chants and five Palestinians for throwing
  things at the marchers.

    "At the state ceremony marking Jerusalem Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Net-
  anyahu pledged never to divide Jerusalem.  'Israel without Jerusalem is like
  a body with a weak heart.  Never again will our heart be divided," he said.
  'A nation willing to sacrifice its heart would convince its enemies it has
  no desire to fight for anything.  Jewish history has changed forever. The
  divided city has been united and will stay that way.'

    "Meanwhile, a Palestinian man attempted to stab an Israeli soldier guard-
  ing a Jerusalem Day event.  The attack occurred Sunday morning at the Gush
  Etzion junction in the West Bank, where a bicycle trip was passing. The as-
  sailant was seriously injured during his capture."

  11. Middle East antisemitism and homophobia

  Reaction to the cheap anti-Muslim propaganda video "The Innocence of Muslims,"
2012, has included protests and even murders which are hugely hypocritical.

  We shouldn't be prejudiced in our opinions, even of things we criticize, and we
shouldn't gratuitously provoke harm.  But once people insist their religion is
proven, that it should be law of the land to the extent of requiring non-believ-
ers of their religion anywhere in the world to be punished for those believers'
definition of blasphemy/apostasy of that religion, don't expect continuity of

  The largest percent, not all, of ME Arabic Muslims are orthodox/conservative.
Many may claim that criticism or disrespect of Muhammad and the Qur'an is crimin-
al prejudice on one hand yet, on the other hand, are also antisemitic as in anti-
Jews/Israel and deny the Holocaust (which is self-defeating since those outlooks
have a lot to do with why it's there) and homophobic.  Their demands for censor-
ship of prejudiced material may be hypocritical.

  I don't mean to characterize all Muslims that way--there are progressive/reform
Muslims.  But the remainder of this page looks at those things since I found so
many in the world are that way and there's so much material about it.  Most of it
is Copied and Pasted from Wikipedia.

  The Obama administration asked YouTube to review whether to continue hosting
the video at all under the company's policies. YouTube said the video fell within
its guidelines as the video is against Islam, but not against Muslim people, and
thus not considered "hate speech".

  Yet in some of the Muslim countries where the outcry against the video has been
loudest, the notorious anti-Semitic libel known as "The Protocols of the Elders
of Zion" is freely sold and published.

  Mein Kampf is freely available, too.

    "In Mein Kampf, Hitler used the main thesis of "the Jewish peril", which
  speaks of an alleged Jewish conspiracy to gain world leadership.[6] The nar-
  rative describes the process by which he became increasingly anti-semitic and
  militaristic, especially during his years in Vienna. Yet, the deeper origins
  of his anti-semitism remain a mystery.  He speaks of not having met a Jew un-
  til he arrived in Vienna, and that at first his attitude was liberal and tol-
  erant. When he first encountered the anti-semitic press, he says, he dismissed
  it as unworthy of serious consideration.  Later he accepted the same anti-sem-
  itic views, which be- came crucial in his program of national reconstruction.
    "Mein Kampf has also been studied as a work on political theory. For exam-
  ple, Hitler announces his hatred of what he believed to be the world's twin
  evils: Communism and Judaism. The new territory that Germany needed to obtain
  would properly nurture the "historic destiny" of the German people; this goal,
  which Hitler referred to as Lebensraum (living space), explains why Hitler ag-
  gressively expanded Germany eastward, specifically the invasions of Czechoslo-
  vakia and Poland, before he launched his attack against Russia. In Mein Kampf
  Hitler openly states that the future of Germany "has to lie in the acquisition
  of land in the East at the expense of Russia."
    "In his work, Hitler blamed Germany’s chief woes on the parliament of the
  Weimar Republic, the Jews, and Social Democrats, as well as Marxists. He an-
  nounced that he wanted to completely destroy the parliamentary system, believ-
  ing it in principle to be corrupt, as those who reach power are inherent op-

  (At the site at the next link, countries are listed that restrict the sale of
it or have special circumstances in regard to it.  One ME country, Turkey, is
listed, and it isn't for restricting sales.)

  Turkey: It was widely available and growing in popularity, even to the point
where it became a bestseller, selling up to 100,000 copies in just two months in
2005. Analysts and commentators believe the popularity of the book to be related
to a rise in nationalism, anti-US and antisemitic sentiment "because of what is
happening in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian problem and the war in
Iraq".[24] Dogu Ergil, a political scientist at Ankara University, said both
left-wingers, the far-right and Islamists, had found common ground—"not on a com-
mon agenda for the future, but on their anxieties, fears and hate".

  Mein Kampf in the Arabic language

  The Quran

    "The Quran contains seven references to 'the people of Lut', the biblical
  Lot, but meaning the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah (references 7:80–84, 11:
  77–83, 21:74, 22:43, 26:165–175, 27:56–59, and 29:27–33), and their destruc-
  tion by Allah is associated explicitly with their sexual practices:

    "'And (We sent) Lot when he said to his people: What! do you commit an in-
  decency which any one in the world has not done before you? Most surely you
  come to males in lust besides females; nay you are an extravagant people. And
  the answer of his people was no other than that they said: Turn them out of
  your town, surely they are a people who seek to purify (themselves). So We de-
  livered him and his followers, except his wife; she was of those who remained
  behind. And We rained upon them a rain; consider then what was the end of the
  guilty.'[7:80–84 (Translated by Shakir)]

    "The sins of the people of Lot became proverbial, and the Arabic words for
  homosexual behaviour (liwat) and for a person who performs such acts (luti)
  both derive from his name.  There is, however, only one passage in the Qur'an
  which can be interpreted as prescribing a legal position towards homosexual

    "'And as for those who are guilty of an indecency from among your women,
  call to witnesses against them four (witnesses) from among you; then if they
  bear witness confine them to the houses until death takes them away or Allah
  opens some way for them. And as for the two who are guilty of indecency from
  among you, give them both a punishment; then if they repent and amend, turn
  aside from them; surely Allah is oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.”

    "The Hadith and Seerah

    "The hadith (sayings and actions of Muhammad) show that homosexuality was
  not unknown in Arabia.  Given that the Qur'an is vague regarding the punish-
  ment of homosexual sodomy, Islamic jurists turned to the collections of the
  hadith and seerah (accounts of Muhammad's life) to support their argument for
  Hudud punishment; these are perfectly clear but particularly harsh.

    "Ibn al-Jawzi[disambiguation needed] records Muhammad as cursing sodomites
  in several hadith, and recommending the death penalty for both the active and
  passive partners in same-sex acts."

  Islam and antisemitism

    "The words 'humility' and 'humiliation' occur frequently in the Quran and
  later Muslim literature in relation to Jews. According to Lewis, "This, in Is-
  lamic view, is their just punishment for their past rebelliousness, and is
  manifested in their present impotence between the mighty powers of Christendom
  and Islam."

    "The Quran associates Jews above all with rejection of God's prophets in-
  cluding Jesus and Muhammad, thus explaining their resistance to him persona-
  ly. (Cf.Surah 2:87–91; 5:59, 61, 70, and 82.) It states that they are, togeth-
  er with outright idolators, the worst and most inveterate enemies of Islam,
  and thus will not only suffer eternally in Hell but in this world will be the
  most degraded of the Peoples of the Book, below even Christians, everywhere.
  (Cf. Surah 5:82; 3:54–56.)

    "They listen for the sake of mendacity (Surah 5:41), twisting the truth, and
  practice forbidden usury, and therefore they will receive 'a painful doom'
  (Surah 4:161).

    "Mein Kampf has been published and, according to the Middle East Media Re-
  search Institute (MEMRI), was 6th on the Palestinian best-seller list in

  Antisemitism (defined as being anti-Jews) in the Arab world


    "The Egyptian government-run newspaper, Al-Akhbar, on April 29, 2002 pub-
  lished an editorial denying the Holocaust as a fraud. The next paragraph de-
  cries the  failure of the Holocaust to eliminate all of the Jews:

    "'With regard to the fraud of the Holocaust… Many French studies have proven
  that this is no more than a fabrication, a lie, and a fraud!!  That is, it is
  a 'scenario' the plot of which was carefully tailored, using several faked
  photos completely unconnected to the truth.  Yes, it is a film, no more and no
  less.  Hitler himself, whom they accuse of Nazism, is in my eyes no more than
  a modest 'pupil' in the world of murder and bloodshed.  He is completely in-
  nocent of the charge of frying them in the hell of his false Holocaust!!  The
  entire matter, as many French and British scientists and researchers have
  proven, is nothing more than a huge Israeli plot aimed at extorting the German
  government in particular and the European countries in general.  But I, per-
  sonally and in light of this imaginary tale, complain to Hitler, even saying
  to him from the bottom of my heart, 'If only you had done it, brother, if only
  it had really happened, so that the world could sigh in relief [without] their
  evil and sin.'

    "Cartoons appearing in the daily Al-Wafd in 2003 depict Jews as Satanic fig-
  ures with hooked noses and equates them with Nazis.

    "In an article in October 2000 columnist Adel Hammoda alleged in the state-
  owned Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram that Jews made Matza from the blood of (non-
  Jewish) children.  Mohammed Salmawy, editor of Al-Ahram Hebdo, 'defended the
  use of old European myths like the blood libel' in his newspapers.

    "Saudi Arabia

    "Saudi Arabian media often attacks Jews in books, news articles, at their
  Mosques and with what some describe as antisemitic satire. Saudi Arabian gov-
  ernment officials and state religious leaders often promote the idea that Jews
  are conspiring to take over the entire world; as proof of their claims they
  publish and frequently cite The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as factual.

    "One Saudi Arabian government newspaper suggested that hatred of all Jews is
  justifiable.  'Why are they (the Jews) hated by all the people which hosted
  them, such as Iraq and Egypt thousands years ago, and Germany, Spain, France
  and the UK, up to the days they gained of power over the capital and the
  press, in order to rewrite the history?'

    "Saudi textbooks vilify Jews (and Christians and non-Wahabi Muslims): ac-
  cording to The Washington Post, Saudi textbooks claimed by them to have been
  sanitized of anti-Semitism still call Jews apes (and Christians swine); demand
  that students avoid and not befriend Jews; claim that Jews worship the devil;
  and encourage Muslims to engage in Jihad to vanquish Jews.


    "On March 2, 1974, the bodies of four Syrian Jewish girls were discovered by
  border police in a cave in the Zabdani Mountains northwest of Damascus. Fara
  Zeibak 24, her sisters Lulu Zeibak 23, Mazal Zeibak 22 and their cousin Eva
  Saad 18, had contracted with a band of smugglers to flee Syrian to Lebanon and
  eventually to Israel. The girl’s bodies were found raped, murdered and muti-
  lated. The police also found the remains of two Jewish boys, Natan Shaya 18
  and Kassem Abadi 20, victims of an earlier massacre.  Syrian authorities de-
  posited the bodies of all six in sacks before the homes of their parents in
  the Jewish ghetto in Damascus.

    "In 1984 Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass published a book called The
  Matzah of Zion, which claimed that Jews had killed Christian children in Da-
  mascus to make Matzas (see Damascus affair).  His book inspired the Egyptian
  TV series Horseman Without a Horse (see below) and a spinoff, The Diaspora,
  which led to Hezbollah's al-Manar being banned in Europe for broadcasting it.

    "Arab newspapers

    "Many Arab newspapers, such as Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, the Palestinian Author-
  ity's official newspaper, often write that 'the Jews' control all the world's
  governments, and that 'the Jews' plan genocide on all the Arabs in the West
  Bank. Others write less sensational stories, and state that Jews have too much
  of an influence in the United States government. Often the leaders of other
  nations are said to be controlled by Jews. Articles in many official Arab
  government newspapers claim that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, reflects
  facts, and thus points to an international Jewish conspiracy to take over the


    "Mein Kampf was significant in 1925 because it was an open source for the
  presentation of Hitler's ideas about the state of the world. The book is sig-
  nificant in our time because a retrospective review of the text reveals the
  crystallisation of Hitler's decision to completely exterminate the Jewish
  presence in Europe. While historians diverge on the exact date Hitler decided
  to exterminate the Jewish people, few place the decision before the mid 1930s.
  First published in 1925, Mein Kampf shows the ideas that crafted Hitler's his-
  torical grievances and ambitions for creating a New Order.

    "The racial laws to which Hitler referred resonate directly with his ideas
  in Mein Kampf. In his first edition of Mein Kampf, Hitler stated that the de-
  struction of the weak and sick is far more humane than their protection. How-
  ever, apart from his allusion to humane treatment, Hitler saw a purpose in de-
  stroying 'the weak' in order to provide the proper space and purity for the

    "The idea of the Northern origins of the Aryans was particularly influential
  in Germany. It was widely believed that the 'Vedic Aryans' were ethnically
  identical to the Goths, Vandals and other ancient Germanic peoples of the
  Völkerwanderung.  This idea was often intertwined with antisemitic ideas. The
  distinctions between the 'Aryan' and 'Semitic' peoples were based on the
  aforementioned linguistic and ethnic history.

    "Semitic peoples came to be seen as a foreign presence within Aryan socie-
  ties, and the Semitic peoples were often pointed to as the cause of conversion
  and destruction of social order and values leading to culture and civiliza-
  tion's downfall by proto-Nazi and Nazi theorists such as Houston Stewart Cham-
  berlain and Alfred Rosenberg.

    "According to the adherents to Ariosophy, the Aryan was a 'master race' that
  built a civilization that dominated the world from Atlantis about 10,000 years
  ago. This alleged civilization declined when other parts of the world were
  colonized after the 8000 BC destruction of Atlantis because the inferior races
  mixed with the Aryans but it left traces of their civilization in Tibet (via
  Buddhism), and even in Central America, South America, and Ancient Egypt. (The
  date of 8000 BC for the destruction of Atlantis in Ariosophy is 2,000 years
  later than the date of 10,000 BC given for this event in Theosophy.) These
  theories affected the more esotericist strand of Nazism.

    "A complete, highly speculative theory of Aryan and anti-Semitic history can
  be found in Alfred Rosenberg's major work, The Myth of the Twentieth Century.
  Rosenberg's well-researched account of ancient history, melded with his racial
  speculations, proved to be very effective in spreading racialism among German
  intellectuals in the early twentieth century, especially after the First World

    "These and other ideas evolved into the Nazi use of the term 'Aryan race' to
  refer to what they saw as being a master race, which was narrowly defined by
  the Nazis as being identical with the Nordic race, followed by other sub-races
  of the Aryan race. They worked to maintain the purity of this race through
  eugenics programs (including anti-miscegenation legislation, compulsory ster-
  ilization of the mentally ill and the mentally deficient, the execution of the
  institutionalized mentally ill as part of a euthanasia program).

    "Heinrich Himmler (the Reichsführer of the SS), the person ordered by Adolf
  Hitler to implement the Final Solution, or The Holocaust, told his personal
  masseur Felix Kersten that he always carried with him a copy of the ancient
  Aryan scripture, the Bhagavad Gita because it relieved him of guilt about what
  he was doing – he felt that like the warrior Arjuna, he was simply doing his
  duty without attachment to his actions.

    "Himmler was also interested in Buddhism and his institute Ahnenerbe sought
  to mix some traditions from Hinduism and Buddhism – Gautama Buddha's original
  name for the religion we now call Buddhism was The Aryan Path. Himmler sent a
  1939 German expedition to Tibet as part of his research into Aryan origins.

    "In 1936 biologists Julian Huxley and Alfred Court Haddon famously ridiculed
  the Nazi idea of the superior Aryan race, writing:

    "'Thus our German neighbors have ascribed to themselves a Teutonic type that
  is fair, long-headed, tall, slender, unemotional, brave straightforward, gen-
  tle, and  virile. Let us make a composite picture of a typical Teuton from the
  most prominent of the exponents of this view. Let him be physically as blond
  and mentally as unemotional as Hitler, physically as long-headed and mentally
  as direct as Rosenberg, as tall and truthful as Goebbels, as slender and gen-
  tle as Goering, and as manly and straightforward as Streicher.'

    "—'We Europeanse' p. 171"

    "Nazism developed several theories concerning races. The Nazis claimed to
  scientifically measure a strict hierarchy of human race; the 'master race' was
  said to be the most pure stock of the Aryan race, which was narrowly defined
  by the Nazis as being identical with the Nordic race, followed by other sub-
  races of the Aryan race.

    "At the bottom of this hierarchy were 'parasitic' races (of non-"Aryan" ori-
  gin) or 'Untermenschen' ('sub-humans'), which were perceived to be dangerous
  to society. In Nazi literature, the term 'Untermensch' was applied to the
  Slavs (even though the Slavs had been normally regarded by non-Nazis as one of
  the sub-races of the Aryan race), especially including Russians, Serbs and
  ethnic Poles. Nazi ideology viewed Slavs as a racially inferior group, who
  were fit for enslavement, or even extermination. About 2 million non-Jewish
  Poles were killed by Nazi Germany. Lowest of all in the Nazi racial policy
  were Gypsies and Jews, who were both eventually deemed to be 'Lebensunwertes
  Leben' ('Life unworthy of life') and to be exterminated during the Holocaust
  (see Raul Hilberg's description of the various phases of the Holocaust). Not
  to be forgotten, Hitler did have people of Jewish descent working for him.
  Coined as mischling (or 'Part-Jews'), they were often employed in the Wehr-
  macht, although they were not allowed to be soldiers after 1940. One misch-
  ling, Werner Goldberg, was even called 'The Ideal German Soldier' by German

    "Ideology and scale
    "In other genocides, pragmatic considerations such as control of territory
  and resources were central to the genocide policy. Yehuda Bauer argues that:

    "The basic motivation [of the Holocaust] was purely ideological, rooted in
  an illusionary world of Nazi imagination, where an international Jewish con-
  spiracy to control the world was opposed to a parallel Aryan quest. No geno-
  cide to date had been based so completely on myths, on hallucinations, on ab-
  stract, nonpragmatic ideology – which was then executed by very rational,
  pragmatic means."

  Holocaust denial

    "Denials of the Holocaust have been regularly promoted by various Arab lead-
  ers and others and in Arab media throughout the Middle East.  According to As-
  sociated Press reports, Arab world attitudes towards the Holocaust range from
  total denial to a minimization of the extent of the genocide and holocaust de-
  nial is rife within Palestinian society and in the Palestinian territories.
  Prominent Arab figures from the Middle East have rarely made publicized visits
  to Auschwitz and individuals from the Syrian government, the Palestinian
  Authority, and a number of Palestinian groups have all engaged in various as-
  pects of Holocaust denial.  According to Robert Satloff writing in the Wash-
  ington Post, 'A respected Holocaust research institution recently reported
  that Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia all promote Holocaust denial and protect
  Holocaust deniers.'

    "According to Bernard Lewis, the three most common positions on the histori-
  city of the Holocaust are: 'it never happened; it was greatly exaggerated; the
  Jews deserved it anyway.  On the last point, some more enterprising writers
  add a rebuke to Hitler for not having finished the job.'

    "Holocaust denial has been practiced in schools and youth organisations.  A
  private English-language school in western Beirut censored excerpts of the di-
  ary of Anne Frank out of a school textbook after it caused uproar when Hezbol-
  lah learned the chapter was included in the textbook.  The United Nations body
  UNESCO stopped funding a children's magazine sponsored by the Palestinian
  Authority that commended Hitler's killing of Jews.  It deplored this publica-
  tion as contrary to its principles of building tolerance and respect for human
  rights and human dignity.
    "In a debate which aired on Al-Alam TV on May 5, 2010 (as translated by
  MEMRI), Ali Hatar of the Jordanian Association against Zionism and Racism
  stated that 'To this day, those who claim that [the Holocaust] did take place
  have been unable to provide any evidence whatsoever to that effect.'  He
  claimed that a report by the Red Cross in 1949 'refutes the claim that anyone
  was killed in these camps, during the so-called Holocaust.  It also mentions
  the self-management [of the camps] by the Jews.'"

    "In August, 2003, senior Hamas official Dr Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi wrote in
  the Hamas newspaper Al-Risala 'It is no longer a secret that the Zionists were
  behind the Nazis’ murder of many Jews, and agreed to it, with the aim of in-
  timidating them and forcing them to immigrate to Palestine.'
    "In August 2009, Hamas refused to allow Palestinian children to learn about
  the Holocaust, which it called "a lie invented by the Zionists" and referred
  to Holocaust education as a 'war crime.'"

  Nakoula Basseley, the maker of "The Innocence of Muslims":

  Nakoula was subsequently jailed, and as of September 28, 2012, he faces up to
three years in prison for lying to federal probation officials regarding his role
in the making of the video.

    "Following the violent reactions to the video, Nakoula and his family went
  into hiding, and the Cerritos home is listed for sale. His attorney has said
  he has received threats to his safety. On September 15, 2012, federal author-
  ities Nakoula in for an interview about possible probation violations related
  to the film's distribution on the Internet. On September 27, 2012, U.S. feder-
  al authorities arrested Nakoula in Los Angeles charging eight counts of proba-
  tion violation. Prosecutors stated that some of the violations included making
  false statements regarding his role in the film and his use of the alias "Sam
  Bacile". None of the charges relate to his use of the Internet. Following a
  hearing before a judge, Nakoula was ordered to jail without bail on September
  27, 2012, with the judge citing probation violations including lying to proba-
  tion officials, "danger to the community", and "lack of trust in the defend-
  ant". He faces up to three years in prison.

  Even if I wanted to make a case against Islamist extremism and the video the
furor is about appeared in my Email I'd click Spam and forget about it.  But in
the initial post, it's brought up that the threats and even murders of the hyper-
politicized Islamist protesters in reaction to it has tempered freedom of speech
concerns and led to judgments against the admittedly irreverent speaker.  Most
commentaries, even by our leaders, pass that point by without showing evidential-
ly that the hypocrisy of those reactionaries is immense, so I couldn't let it
pass by without showing research sources for it.

  Isaeli anti_Arabism

    "In 2006, a research institute poll reported that 41% of Israelis support
  Arab-Israeli segregation, 40% believed 'the state needs to support the emi-
  gration of Arab citizens', and 63% believed Arabs to be a 'security and demo-
  graphic threat' to Israel. The poll found that more than two thirds would
  not want to live in the same building as an Arab, 36% believed Arab culture
  to be inferior, and 18% felt hatred when they heard Arabic spoken.
    "In 2007, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel reported that anti-
  Arab views had doubled, and anti-Arab racist incidents had increased by 26%.
  The report quoted polls that suggested 50% of Jewish Israelis do not believe
  Arab citizens of Israel should have equal rights, 50% said they wanted the
  government to encourage Arab emigration from Israel, and 75% of Jewish youths
  said Arabs were less intelligent and less clean than Jews.

    "The Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel reported a ten-
  fold increase in racist incidents against Arabs in 2008. Jerusalem reported
  the highest number of incidents. The report blamed Israeli leaders for the
  violence, saying ;These attacks are not the hand of fate, but a direct result
  of incitement against the Arab citizens of this country by religious, public,
  and elected officials.

    "In June 2009, Haaretz reported on the phenomenon of Israeli Border Police
  forcing Palestinians to humiliate themselves on camera and then publishing
  the video on YouTube. Palestinians were made to sing songs with lyrics such
  as 'Let every Arab mother know that the fate of her children is in the hands
  of the Company'".

    "A March 2010 poll by Tel Aviv University found that 49.5% of Israeli Jewish
  high school students believe Israeli Arabs should not be entitled to the same
  rights as Jews in Israel. 56% believe Arabs should not be eligible to the
   Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
    "An October 2010 poll by the Dahaf polling agency found that 36% of Israeli
   Jews favor eliminating voting rights for non-Jews. In recent polling (2003–
   2009) between 42% and 56% of Israelis agreed that 'Israeli Arabs suffer from
   discrimination as opposed to Jewish citizens;' 80% of Israeli Arabs agreed
   with that statement in 2009.

    "On 7 Dec 2010, a group of 50 state-paid rabbis signed a letter instructing
  Orthodox Jews not to rent or sell houses to non-Jews. The letter was later en-
  dorsed by some 250 other Jewish religious figures. A hotline was opened for
  denouncing those Jews who did intend to rent out to Arabs.

    "In late 2010, the number of racist incidents against Arabs increased. The
  events were described by the Defense Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, as a
  'wave of racism.'  The most notable ones took place on 20 December 2010, when
  a group of five Arabs were driven from an apartment in Tel Aviv after their
  landlady was threatened with the torching of her home if she continued to rent
  out to Arabs, and on 21 December 2010, when a gang of Jewish youths was ar-
  rested in Jerusalem after carrying out a large number of attacks on Arabs. A
  girl aged 14 would lure Arab men to the Independence Park, where they were at-
  tacked with stones and bottles and severely beaten. The teens confessed to na-
  tionalistic motives. On 31 Oct 2010, a Jewish mob gathered outside of an Arab
  students' residence in Safed, chanted 'death to the Arabs,' hurled rocks and
  bottles at the building, shattering glass, and fired a shot at the building
  before dissassembling.
    'On May 2011, two Israeli border patrolmen were charged with physical abuse
  against an Arab minor who was carrying firecrackers. The incident took place
  in March 2010. The youth was punched, knocked to the floor, kicked, and had
  death threats thrown against him by the officers. At a police station, the 17-
  years-old male was tricked by a female police officer into believing he was
  going to die. After making the prisoner go down on his knees, she allegedly
  pointed her pistol at him at point-blank range. It was not loaded, but the
  minor did not know this because his eyes were covered. According to the
  charges, she counted to 10, with the teen begging her not to kill him. She
  allegedly pulled the trigger, saying 'Death to Arabs.'

    "Israel's Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law bars immigration by family
  reunification to couples of an Israeli citizen and a Palestinian resident of
  the Israeli-occupied territories. Amnesty International says this mostly af-
  fects Arabs. The law has been condemned by Amnesty International as 'racial
  discrimination'. The government says the law say it is aimed at preventing
  terrorist attacks. Some leaders of the Kadima party support the law in order
  to preserve the state's Jewish character. Mishael Cheshin, one of supreme
  court judges who upheld the law, wrote that 'at a time of war the state could
  prevent the entry of enemy subjects to its territory even if they were married
  to citizens of the state'".

    "Organizations such as Amnesty International, the Association for Civil
  Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Israeli government-appointed Or Commission, and
  the United States Department of State[35] have published reports that document
  racism and discrimination directed towards racial and ethnic groups in Israel.

    "According to a study commissioned by Israel's Courts administration and Is-
  rael Bar Association, Arab Israelis who have been charged with certain types
  of crime are more likely than their Jewish counterparts to be convicted, and
  once convicted they are more likely to be sent to prison. The study also found
  differences in lengths of prison sentences given, with the average prison sen-
  tence at nine and a half months for Jews and 14 months for Arabs.

    "Rights groups have said that anti-discrimination employment laws in Israel
  are rarely enforced. A coalition of nine Israeli rights groups has opposed a
  practice under which companies can advertise their policy to hire only Jewish
  Israelis, and no Arab Israelis. Companies advertising under a 'Hebrew labour'
  banner adhere to a segregated employment philosophy originally devised by Jew-
  ish immigrants in Palestine in the first half of the 20th century."