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Islam Again

On occasions in the past I have defended Islam against attacks from Christians because I considered it was hypocritical criticising one religion when the religion of the critic is, or has been, just as bad. There is no doubt that Christianity has been responsible in the past for atrocities which were just as bad as anything done in the name of Islam today (look at my blog post “You Want Immortality?” from 2010-01-25). But that was in the past and maybe it’s time to forget about that and look at the facts of the present.

So here’s fact one: whenever I see a headline announcing a violent atrocity I assume it was some Islamic group or individual which was responsible and in just about every case I am right.

Here’s another: every time I hear of an example of denial of basic rights, extreme misogyny, or a primitive and draconian political or legal system I assume an Islamic state is involved and I am almost always right.

And what about this: when I hear of a group demanding that it be treated with respect or that it should be given special rights for no good reason I think there’s a good chance that is an Islamic group and I am rarely wrong.

There are exceptions, I know, but the trend is clear. It is Islam which is the cause of many of the world’s biggest problems today. It’s totally true that Christianity was in exactly the same position hundreds of years ago (violent atrocities, stifling freedom, demanding special rights) but that ended when the church’s power was broken and its influence has declined ever since.

So the defence that other religions are as bad is clearly untrue and the related excuse, that they were as bad in the past, is mostly irrelevant. But what about the excuse that Islam is fundamentally good and a religion of peace and that all the bad examples are just where people have misinterpreted the religion’s real meaning? And related to this, what about the excuse that extremist groups are fundamentally motivated by politics, not religion?

Well these claims have some validity but they don’t really stand up to much scrutiny. There are clear messages in both the Koran and Hadith which incite violence and repression. Not everyone chooses to interpret these messages literally, or act on them, but many do. And those who take the messages seriously could be considered more genuine followers than those who conveniently ignore them. And the connection between religion and politics in Islam is impossible to ignore. Sure, politics is involved, but it is politics based on the teachings of the religion.

While researching this blog post I came across a web site called The Religion of Peace (http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ – an ironic name, I think) which lists atrocities linked with Islam since the attacks of 9/11. In total there are 26,796 attacks involving 174,806 deaths and 249,731 injuries. I checked a few and they seem to be genuine, and the site claims that the list has been checked by the BBC and found to be underestimating the truth by a significant amount.

So let’s have a look at some of the “highlights” from just the first page of this list…

Syria, 2015-05-29: A captive is forced to dig his own grave before being beheaded to shouts of ‘Allah Akbar’. By any reasonable standard this is disgusting and evil. And how can anyone claim there is no link to Islam when the phrase Allah Akbar is used (from what I understand it should be “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “our god is greater” or something similar).

Nigeria, 2015-06-23: Boko Haram burn homes, shoot children and cut the throats of women in a night-long rampage across two villages that leaves forty dead. What possible process could lead someone to shoot children? Clearly only sociopathy, or the certainty given by an extreme religious/political ideology could lead to anything so hideous.

Iraq, 2015-06-26: A physician is dragged from his hospital and executed by religious radicals. It doesn’t matter how good a person’s intentions might be or how much they make an effort to help the community, they are all fair targets to a group with irrational beliefs.

Kuwait, 2015-06-26: Sunni radicals stage a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque, calling it the ‘temple of the rejectionists’ and leave over two dozen dead (27 dead, 227 injured). Is it better or worse when people start murdering members of their own religion who just happen to have some minor differences in belief? I know that this is a partly political thing and that Christians were also involved in similar activities not that long ago (Ireland, for example) but does that really mean that Islam isn’t the primary cause?

OK, that’s 4 down, 26,792 to go, but if you aren’t sickened by this already then there is little point in continuing.

A question to Muslims: if Islam is a religion of peace and these attacks are against its teaching why hasn’t Allah intervened? For example, why hasn’t he sent someone to clarify the message in the Koran? Oh, I forgot, Mohammed was the final prophet – well that hasn’t worked out too well, has it?

If moderate Muslims don’t want to be labelled along with these extremists there is a very simple answer. Give up Islam! It’s not that hard. By following a more moderate form of the religion they effectively support the extremists.

Looking at the main page of the BBC news web site I see two major recent atrocities listed, and guess who was responsible for both? No surprises, it was Islam again!

  1. sofia
    June 29, 2015 at 2:06 am

    Now after writing all this, what’s your solution to the problem ?
    Stating facts isn’t effective anymore.

  2. sofia
    June 29, 2015 at 2:11 am

    After writing all this, what’s your solution to the problem ?
    Stating facts isn’t effective anymore.

  3. OJB
    June 29, 2015 at 2:16 am

    Well the first step is to realize what the problem is instead of pretending that Islam is OK. Once we accept that we can move on to a solution.

  4. sofia
    June 29, 2015 at 2:36 am

    Alright. But do you honestly believe that muslims will just accept that their religion is a problem, and will just change it as you stated ?
    Or by realizing the problem, you meant other communities that should stop defending Islam just like you did ?

    • OJB
      June 29, 2015 at 2:55 am

      I don’t realistically expect Muslims to change their mind just like I don’t expect fundamentalist Christians to change their mind about evolution and other things they are wrong about. If non-Muslims stopped excusing this behaviour it would be progress, at least. To be quite honest I don’t know if there is a solution because, as the Buddhists say, change has to come form within!

  5. sofia
    June 29, 2015 at 3:31 am

    Well this is where the confusion starts. Whether to stop excusing behaviours of muslim “terrorists” ( which I can’t see people approving them unless they’re one of them ) or just stop defending this religion as a whole.
    Now it’s impossible to witness a change from within, as those extremists like ISIS or Boko haram or Taliban savour their dictatorship and enjoy being feared by everybody.

    • OJB
      June 29, 2015 at 3:53 am

      I think there is always a problem when people have irrational beliefs. It stops them from acting reasonably and based on reality rather than some crazy hope for world dominance or happiness in the afterlife. Religion is fine, as long as you don’t take it seriously. Most Muslims take it ‘way too seriously!

  6. sofia
    June 29, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Well religion exists so that it would be taken seriously. And all religious people only have one goal, it’s “heaven”. That’s why they tend to pray and do good and be faithful. That’s how it should be normally. But everyone have their own way of “being faithful”.

  7. sofia
    June 29, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Now I honestly don’t think religion is a problem itself but how it can become a problem when some people exploit situations to endoctrinate wrong ideas, to a point where the listener is just dazzled. And you can find those people in every religion.

  8. sofia
    June 29, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    indoctrinate* sorry

  9. OJB
    June 29, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    I think religion itself is a problem because it encourages people to believe things that aren’t true and not to think for themselves. For example, most people who object to gay marriage do so because of some religious belief. They try to suppress other people’s freedom because of a myth written in an old book. Is that a good thing?

    I do realise that some good things come from religion too. For example, some people are guided towards better behaviour and for many people it is important as a social center for their lives, but on balance I think religion is just fundamentally a problem – but only when taken too seriously!

  10. sofia
    June 30, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    I can’t approve but I can’t disapprove neither. In all cases there’s no concrete proof ( about whether it’s a myth or not ).
    I believe in freedom of expression. Some people are free to be gay and other people are free to object gay marriage . They may object it BUT they should respect them and respect their choice ( regardless of what they are) because they’re humans.
    And religion has nothing to do with respect, it’s all about education.

  11. OJB
    July 1, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Well there is no real doubt that all the world’s religions are basically untrue. Look at the evidence for any of these stories and its very weak. There might be a few historical events that the stories are based on but the idea that religious texts are the word of god (when there is zero good evidence that a god even exists) is just dangerous.

    People have the right to express their opinion but when that opinion is based on superstitious, primitive nonsense I think we (and politicians, law makers, etc) have the right to ignore them.

    So if someone says “We should reject same sex marriage because the Bible disapproves of it” I say “Sorry your opinion is worthless. The Bible is a book of old myths written by bronze age desert nomads. It has very little relevance to life today”.

    Or if someone says “We need to teach creationism in science class” (or ID or whatever other nonsense they are currently espousing) I say “Go away. You’re a moron!”

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