Monday, January 28, 2013

Meet the First Muslim President

Why an adoring press crowns Obama with every honorary title – except this one

By David Kupelian

The craze started when Nobel-winning author Toni Morrison, writing in the New Yorker in 1998, described Bill Clinton as the “first black president.”

Everybody got it: “White skin notwithstanding,” explained Morrison, “this is our first black President. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime. After all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald’s-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas.”

Thus was born an enduring cultural idiom Atlantic Wire recently called the “first something president” – by which a president is labeled as part of a group with which, though not actually a member, he strongly identifies in terms of his experiences, loyalties and policies.

Once Barack Obama emerged onto the presidential scene – remember, he’s the guy who boasted in “The Audacity of Hope” that “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their views” – he became the “first everything president.”
OK, so let’s take stock: Obama is black, he’s white, he’s both male and female, he’s straight and gay, he’s Hispanic, Asian-American and American Indian. He’s Christian. He’s Jewish.

What’s missing?

‘My Muslim President Obama’

For a president whose policies over the past four years, both at home and abroad, have been passionately and relentlessly pro-Muslim, one wonders how the elite media could somehow have missed the camel in the living room: Barack Obama is the “first Muslim president.”

This is not breaking news. As American Muslim writer Asma Gull Hasan wrote in a widely read Forbes article titled “My Muslim President Obama”: “I know President Obama is not Muslim, but I am tempted nevertheless to think that he is, as are most Muslims I know. In a very unscientific oral poll, ranging from family members to Muslim acquaintances, many of us feel … that we have our first American Muslim president in Barack Hussein Obama.”

“Since Election Day,” Hasan confesses, “I have been part of more and more conversations with Muslims in which it was either offhandedly agreed that Obama is Muslim or enthusiastically blurted out. In commenting on our new president, ‘I have to support my fellow Muslim brother,’ would slip out of my mouth before I had a chance to think twice.”

But another aspect of having elected our “first Muslim president” is much more consequential, as veteran CIA officer and intelligence expert Clare Lopez chronicles. Under Obama, she writes:
“America’s involvement in the global jihad against Western civilization – on the side of the jihadis – is accelerating. Instead of standing firm as leader of the free world and defender of inalienable human rights, U.S. policy is shifting demonstrably to the defense of those who systematically deny such rights to their own people and seek to suppress them everywhere.”
Noting that since 2009, “U.S. foreign policy has backed al-Qaida and Muslim Brotherhood power plays in Libya, Egypt and now Syria, too,” Lopez reports that our State Department “is working closely with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, whose top objective is the criminalization of the criticism of Islam.”

Meanwhile, adds Lopez, here in the U.S. “the White House cultivates relationships with CAIR/Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leadership figures and associates,” while “instructors, trainers and any curriculum that would describe accurately the link between Islamic doctrine, law and scripture and Islamic terrorism have been methodically purged from U.S. government, intelligence and law enforcement classrooms.”

So, according to the established cultural norm of what constitutes a “first something president,” Obama qualifies as “Muslim” at least as much as Bill Clinton qualifies as “black.”

But let’s go a little further: How much literal truth might there be to this honorary title no one in the establishment press sees fit to confer on Barack Obama?

Respected Islam expert Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, has exhaustively documented “Obama’s Muslim childhood.” Here are just a few of the dozens of non-disputable evidentiary facts cited by Pipes:

  • “In Islam, the father passes his faith to the children; and when a Muslim male has children with a non-Muslim female, Islam considers the children Muslim. Obama’s grandfather and father having been Muslims – the extent of their piety matters not at all – means that, in Muslim eyes, Barack was born a Muslim.

  • “Arabic forenames based on the H-S-N trilateral root … (Husayn or Hussein, Hasan, Hassân, Hassanein, Ahsan, and others) are exclusively bestowed on Muslim babies. … Obama’s middle name, Hussein, explicitly proclaims him a born Muslim.

  • “Obama was registered at a Catholic school in Jakarta as ‘Barry Soetoro.’ A surviving document lists him as born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961; in addition, it lists him having Indonesian nationality and Muslim religion.

  • “He was also registered as Muslim at SD Besuki: Although Besuki … is a public school, Obama curiously refers to it in ‘The Audacity of Hope’ (p. 154) as ‘the Muslim school’ he attended in Jakarta. Its records have not survived, but several journalists (Haroon Siddiqui of the Toronto Star, Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times, David Maraniss of the Washington Post) have all confirmed that there too, he was registered as a Muslim.

  • “Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama’s younger half-sister, said her father (Barack’s stepfather) attended the mosque ‘for big communal events,’ and the Chicago Tribune’s foreign correspondent Kim Barker found that ‘Obama occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers.’

  • “Muslim clothing: Zulfin Adi, among Obama’s closest childhood friends, recalls about Obama, ‘I remember him wearing a sarong.’ Likewise, [the Washington Post’s] Maraniss found not only that ‘His classmates recalled that Barry wore a sarong’ but had written exchanges indicating that he continued to wear this garment in the United States. This fact has religious implications because, in Indonesian culture, only Muslims wear sarongs.

  • “Obama says that in Indonesia, he ‘didn’t practice [Islam],’ an assertion that inadvertently acknowledges his Muslim identity by implying he was a non-observant Muslim. But several of those who knew him contradict this recollection. Rony Amir describes Obama as ‘previously quite religious in Islam.’ A former teacher, Tine Hahiyary, quoted in the Kaltim Post, says the future president took part in advanced Islamic religious lessons: ‘I remember that he had studied mengaji.’ In the context of Southeast Asian Islam, mengaji Quran means to recite the Koran in Arabic, a difficult task denoting advanced study.”
“The record,” concludes Pipes, “points to Obama having been born a Muslim to a non-practicing Muslim father and having lived for four years in a fully Muslim milieu under the auspices of his Muslim Indonesian stepfather. For these reasons, those who knew Obama in Indonesia considered him a Muslim.”

All right, that was then. But what about today?

Even as president, observes Pipes:
“… when addressing Muslim audiences, Obama uses specifically Muslim phrases that recall his Muslim identity. He addressed audiences both in Cairo (in June 2009) and Jakarta (in November 2010) with ‘as-salaamu alaykum,’ a greeting that he, who went to Koran class, knows is reserved for one Muslim addressing another. In Cairo, he also deployed several other pious terms that signal to Muslims he is one of them:
  • “The Holy Koran” (a term mentioned five times): an exact translation from the standard Arabic reference to the Islamic scripture, al-Qur’an al-Karim.

  • “The right path”: a translation of the Arabic as-sirat al-mustaqim, which Muslims ask God to guide them along each time they pray.

  • “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed”: Non-Muslims do not refer to Islam as “revealed.”

  • “The story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed … joined in prayer”: This Koranic tale of a night journey establishes the leadership of Muhammad over all other holy figures, including Jesus.

  • “Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them”: a translation of the Arabic ‘alayhim as-salam, which pious Muslims say after mentioning the names of dead prophets other than Muhammad. (A different salutation, sall Allahu alayhi wa-sallam, “May God honor him and grant him peace,” properly follows Muhammad’s name, but this phrase is almost never said in English.)
Beyond all these things, what honest conclusion – other than that the president has a tremendous hidden attachment to Islam – could one possibly draw after reading Obama’s March 2007 interview with the New York Times’ Nicholas D. Kristof, who wrote:

“Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it’ll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as ‘one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.’”

’The grand jihad’

Ironically, none of Obama’s documented Islamic background may matter very much, since his demonstrated camaraderie with Islamists is typical of far-leftists and doesn’t require a personal Muslim upbringing such as Obama had.

In his bestselling book, “The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America,” former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy explains how and why hardcore leftists and radical Muslims – despite their obvious differences – work together.
“Like the neocommunist, the Islamist works to impose his version of ‘social justice.’ It is a very specific Islamic prescription, and elements of it diverge markedly from the neocommunist’s more amorphous utopia. But the essentials of their visions coalesce: They are totalitarian, collectivist, and antithetical to the core conceit of American constitutional democracy, individual liberty. Today’s left-leaning, Islamophilic Obamedia consciously ignores the convergence, but America’s 44th president and America’s enemies have a common dream.”
Thus, while there is no evidence Obama is today a practicing Muslim, what is far more important than his current religious affiliation is what his deep-down sympathies, affinities and loyalties truly are – and what sorts of policies those affinities lead him to pursue.

One final thought: Having lived through a tumultuous era in which the two biggest geopolitical challenges to America’s very existence as a free nation have been Marxism and Shariah Islam, it’s a testament to modern Americans’ advancing spiritual blindness that we have chosen – twice – a president in thrall to both.

There’s a perfect logic to the “grand jihad” uniting these two ungodly forces against the rare and exotic bloom of individual liberty. Both movements are based on rejection of Christianity, Judaism and the “Judeo-Christian values” that comprise the moral foundation of Western Civilization. Both are fixated to an ecstatic vision of a utopia that cannot exist in reality because it defies all the laws of God and man and human nature and common sense.

And, although superficially incompatible with each other, both are on the same side of the great war between good and evil, each intent on captivating as many free people as possible in the process of imposing a deluded paradise that never was, and never can be.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Obama is No Champion of Religious Freedom

By Tony Perkins

The president of the United States will declare Wednesday, January 16 “Religious Freedom Day.” It commemorates one of the great dates in American history, January 16, 1786, when the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, was enacted. That law was famous for declaring the freedom of religious choice and free exercise to be “natural rights of mankind.” Its adoption was a milestone in human history.

It is ironic for President Obama to make pronouncements extolling religious freedom when his administration has the worst record protecting religious liberty in American history. That is true both at home and abroad. Here are some examples.

At home, in January 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked the Obama administration in a 9-0 decision issued in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC. The case centered on an employment discrimination claim at a Lutheran school. The administration had argued that employment discrimination laws trumped the First Amendment’s religious freedom protections – even those concerning the choice of ministers. The Court rejected this extreme position observing, “We cannot accept the remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing to say about a religious organization’s freedom to select its own ministers.”

In 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that, pursuant to ObamaCare, employers would be required to provide sterilizations and contraceptives, including some that can cause abortions, with no co-pays. Churches would not be covered by the mandate. However, religious employers including universities, colleges, religious hospitals and soup kitchens would fall under the requirement. Private employers religiously opposed to the mandate would not be exempted either.

This mandate has now culminated in the litigation involving the retail chain Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby is privately owned by a Christian family, the Greens, who correctly believe that purchasing such insurance will force them to cooperate with the provision of embryo-destructive technologies – abortion-producing drugs. They refuse to do this. Hobby Lobby’s request for emergency relief has been denied and the company now faces potential ObamaCare penalties of approximately $1.3 million per day – yes, that is per day. The Greens refuse to comply, and the penalties are looming.

Thomas Jefferson would have considered this to be tyranny of the worst kind. Yet, President Obama will brook no conscientious objection to his diktat.

President Obama’s record of defending religious liberty overseas has been terrible as well. Most significant has been the administration’s behavior before and after the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, and more specifically, its support for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is a powerful, effective organization that reaches into numerous countries and promotes the adoption of Sharia-based government and the suppression of Western values. The Muslim Brotherhood now controls Egypt, the most populous Arab nation, and that has brought great fear to Coptic Christians and other religious minorities.

American obsequiousness to the Muslim Brotherhood displayed itself in late 2011 after the Egyptian army and government forces killed 28 Copts who were peacefully protesting in Cairo’s Maspero area. Many of the protestors were crushed when soldiers drove their vehicles directly into the crowds. Over 200 were injured.

Yet, as the Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea noted, the U.S. reaction was disturbingly muted. Our government’s statement on Maspero did not recognize that Coptic Christians had been killed nor did it indicate that they were protesting previous acts of religious intolerance and violence. Shea notes that these remarks stood in sharp contrast with the government’s pointed, forceful comments regarding two attacks on a mosque that took place in northern Israel at roughly the same time.

More recently in 2012 the State Department refused to declare Boko Haram, the vicious Al Qaeda-linked jihadist group operating primarily in Nigeria, to be a “foreign terrorist organization.” Boko Haram espouses the establishment of a Sharia-based government. According to the Nigerian army’s chief, Boko Haram has killed at least 3,000 Nigerians, mostly Christians, since 2009. Those on both the left and right are incredulous that the administration failed to take this step.

So it is, on this Religious Freedom Day, that we should cast a skeptical eye on President Obama’s professions of support for religious liberty and look to his actions to understand his relative lack of sympathy for the free exercise of religion. Our president needs to understand that religious liberty is often called our “first freedom” not simply because it is the first of the enumerated rights in the Bill of Rights, but because allegiance to God precedes allegiance to the state.

The Sharia Threat to America

By Fred Grandy

There is a great deal of misinformation circulating with regard to sharia and the threat it poses to America and Western Civilization.

Some misinformed observers and members of the Muslim Brotherhood liken concerns over sharia to prejudice and bigotry, but the facts say otherwise.

Terrorism experts in the law enforcement, military and intelligence communities have cited sharia as the Jihadists' enemy threat doctrine in an intensive study called "Shariah: The Threat to America," a scholarly, 352-page book based on authoritative sources of sharia, or Islamic law. While sharia does include "prayer and fasting" and "worship," sharia is also an all-encompassing legal and political code that covers aspects of life that have nothing to do with religion.

Perhaps most importantly, unlike other forms of religious law, such as canon law and Jewish law, sharia is the only form of religious law extant that is also meant to apply to people of other faiths, i.e. non-Muslims.

The threat from sharia has nothing to do with prejudice or bigotry. The threat from sharia is real and multifaceted.

Some claim that sharia is no threat to the American legal system, but research shows such a threat does exist. Just as sharia has gradually become embedded in the legal systems of many European nations over the past generation, it is beginning to be found in US court cases. An initial study by the Center for Security Policy entitled "Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases," examined 50 cases from 23 states that involved conflicts between sharia and American state law. The study's findings suggest that sharia has entered into state court decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy.

This incursion of sharia into US court systems usually manifests itself in the form of foreign law from nations such as Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Syria and other predominantly Islamic nations.  As a result, four states, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona and Kansas, have passed into law "American Laws for American Courts," legislation. Several more states are considering American Laws for American Courts. Unlike Oklahoma's infamous constitutional amendment, American Laws for American Courts does not ban sharia. American Laws for American Courts protects individual, fundamental constitutional rights by preventing courts from applying foreign law when the application of that foreign law in the case at hand would result in the violation of a fundamental constitutional right, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, due process and equal protection.

Among the organizations that are clouding the issue on sharia is the Saudi-backed Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator and revealed to be a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in the US v. Holy Land Foundation, the largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history.

ISNA was co-founded in 1981 by Sami Al-Arian, a man who is now in federal prison after having been convicted on terrorism charges as a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

According to two reports in the San Francisco Chronicle, the other co-founder of ISNA, Mahboob Khan, twice hosted Ayman al-Zawahiri on fundraising trips here in the USA.

In addition, a regional representative for ISNA, Abdurahman Alamoudi, was found to be a chief fundraiser for Al Qaeda here in the USA and was convicted on terrorism charges. Alamoudi founded the Islamic Society of Boston using ISNA's tax-exempt, non-profit status.

ISNA board member Muzammil Siddiqi told the San Francisco Chronicle in June 2001 that he "supported laws in countries where homosexuality is punishable by death."

Siraj Wahhaj, who served as vice president of ISNA, is on record as supporting all aspects of sharia, including its call for brutal punishments like the removal of one's hands as the penalty for theft, and death by stoning as the penalty for adultery. According to Wahhaj, such harsh measures are wholly justified by Islamic scripture as he preached in a May 1992 sermon: "I would cut off the hands of my own daughter [if she stole] because Allah stands for Justice." On another occasion, Wahhaj stated: "If Allah says 100 strikes, 100 strikes it is. If Allah says cut off their hand, you cut off their hand. If Allah says stone them to death, through the Prophet Muhammad, then you stone them to death, because it's the obedience of Allah and his messenger-nothing personal."

Islamic scholar Stephen Schwartz has described ISNA as "one of the chief conduits through which the radical Saudi form of Islam passes into the United States."

These hardly seem like the kind of people who should be leading interfaith outreach in the USA.

Apes, Pigs, and F-16s

When you arm Islamists, you become a willing participant in your own undoing

By Andrew C. McCarthy

When Mohamed Morsi dehumanizes Jews as “the descendants of apes and pigs,” there’s an elephant in the room. We find it here:
Those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil — these are many times worse in rank, and far more astray from the even Path!
You see, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood mahoff–turned–president did not conjure up the apes-and-pigs riff on his own. When Morsi fulminates that Muslims “must not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred towards those Zionists and Jews, and all those who support them,” he is taking his cues straight from the Koran. Or rather, from the Holy Koran, as “progressive” American politicians take pains to call it in the off hours from their campaign to drive every last vestige of Judeo-Christian culture from the public square.

The excerpt above is not from the Life and Times of Mohamed Morsi. It originates with that other Mohammed. Specifically, it is Sura 5:60 of the Koran, the tome Muslims take to be the immutable, verbatim commands of Allah, as revealed to the prophet. And as Andrew Bostom illustrates (with a disquieting amplitude of examples), the verse is not an outlier. It states an Islamic leitmotif.

Contrary to the fairy tale weaved by apologists for Islamists on both sides of America’s political aisle, Jew hatred is not a pathogen insidiously injected into Islam by the Nazis (with whom Middle Eastern Muslims enthusiastically aligned). Nor did the ummah come by it through exposure to other strains of anti-Semitism that blight the history of Christendom. Jew hatred is ingrained in Islamic doctrine. Consequently, despite the efforts of enlightened Muslim reformers, Jew hatred is — and will remain — a pillar of Islamist ideology.

You may recall hearing this little ditty from the Hamas charter — often echoed by ministers of the Palestinian Authority and in the preachments of Brotherhood jurist Yusuf al-Qaradawi, on whose every word millions hang weekly on al-Jazeera (or is it al-Gore?):  

The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Muslims make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: “Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!”
Again, these are not sentiments dreamt up by “violent extremists” waging a modern, purely political “resistance” against oppressive “Zionists.” The prophet’s admonition that Muslims will be spared the hellfire by killing Jews is repeated in numerous authoritative hadiths (see, e.g., Sahih Muslim Book 41, No. 6985; Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 56, No. 791). 

Hadiths, it is worth emphasizing, are the recorded actions and instructions of Mohammed, who is taken by Muslims to be the “perfect example” they are to emulate. And in case you suppose, after years of listening to Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama, that the prophet must ultimately have come around on the Jews, you might want to rethink that one. Another hadith, relating Mohammed’s dying words, recounts his final plea: “May Allah curse the Jews and the Christians.” (Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, No. 427.)

Now of course, none of this is to say that it is impossible for Islam to evolve beyond anti-Semitism. As individuals, millions of Muslims want no part of the ancient hatreds. As scholars and activists, a number of Muslim reformers admirably endeavor to erase this legacy by limiting it to its historical context, reducing it to allegory, or casting doubt on its provenance. Let’s hope these efforts eventually bear fruit. After all, as noted above, anti-Semitism stains the West’s legacy, too; and as discussed in this space before, the history of Christianity in America is a history of evolving beyond punishments and practices akin to those we today presume to look down our noses at as if we were total strangers to invidious discrimination and assaults on freedom of speech and conscience.

Egypt to Receive F-16s

State Department refuses to delay delivery to Muslim Brotherhood-run Egypt

By Adam Kredo

The State Department has refused to cancel or delay the delivery of several American-made F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, claiming that the arms deal serves America’s “regional security interests,” according to an official State Department document obtained by the Free Beacon.

The news that the Obama administration would uphold an aid package to Egypt that included the military hardware prompted concern on Capitol Hill from lawmakers who said the deal was not prudent given the political situation in Egypt, where Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi has clashed with democratic protestors.

“Sixteen F-16s and 200 Abrams tanks are to be given to the Egyptian government before the end of the year under a foreign aid deal signed in 2010 with then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak,” Fox News reported Tuesday.

“President Morsi has failed to promote promised democracy in his country and neglected to continue Egypt’s legacy of maintaining peace in the region,” said Senator James Inhofe (R., Okla.). “I am alarmed and disappointed in the Obama Administration’s decision to decline my request to delay delivery of F-16s for further consideration.”

The State Department maintained in a January 8 letter to Inhofe that the arming of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood serves the U.S.’s “regional security interests.”

“Delaying or cancelling deliveries of the F-16 aircraft would undermine our efforts to address our regional security interests through a more capable Egyptian military and send a damaging and lasting signal to Egypt’s civilian and military leadership as we work toward a democratic transition in the key Middle Eastern State,” the State Department said.

“Egypt is a strategic partner with whom we have a long history of close political-military relations that have benefited U.S. interest,” said the letter, which was authored by assistant secretary for legislative affairs David Adams. “For the past 30 years the F-16 aircraft has been a key component of the relationship between the United States military and the Egyptian Armed Forces.”

“Maintaining this relationship and assisting with the professionalization and the building of the Egyptian Armed Forces’ capabilities to secure its borders is one of our key interests in the region,” Adams wrote.

“Egypt continues to play an important role in the regional peace and stability,” according to the letter. “In all of our engagements with President Morsi and his staff, they have reaffirmed Egypt’s commitment to its international agreements, including its peace treaty with Israel.”

“Egypt was instrumental in negotiating the Gaza ceasefire, and continues to work with the parties involved to implement it and secure a more lasting peace,” the letter states.

Morsi was recently criticized for calling Jews the “descendants of apes and pigs.”

Observers on Capitol Hill said that it is dangerous to arm an unstable Islamist regime.

One senior GOP aide familiar with the deal said he is ”incredulous that a country that doesn’t have peace and stability within itself is playing ‘an important role in regional peace and stability’ as this letter claims.”

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Obey The Prophet, Even If He Tells You To Kill

By Raymond Ibrahim

Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi—one of the most influential Islamic clerics in the world, author of over 100 books on Muslim doctrine, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, and spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood—maintains that Muslims must obey the commands of Islam's prophet Muhammad, even unto murder. This would be the same Dr. Qaradawi that American academics like Georgetown professor John Esposito praise for engaging in a "reformist interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism, and human rights."

Missed in the West, Qaradawi made this declaration two years ago on his popular Arabic program, Al-Sharia wa Al-Haya ("Sharia and Life"), broadcast by al-Jazeera to an estimated audience of 60 million worldwide.

Towards the end of the show, the host asked Qaradawi what he thought about the fact that Sheikh Ahmad Hassoun, the grand mufti of Syria, had earlier said to an American delegation: "If [Muslim prophet] Muhammad asked me to reject Christianity or Judaism, I would have rejected him." Visibly agitated, Qaradawi erupted as follows:
No scholar of Islam or even average Muslim would ever say such words. If you believe that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, then you must obey him—for he does not command except that which is good. So, even if he tells you to kill, you must— … The story about our prophet Musa [Moses], when al-Khidr killed the boy and Musa said "you killed and you did!" But then he [Khidr] revealed why he killed the boy, and why he punctured the boat. So we cannot distort the facts in order to please the people. Let the people be satisfied with the Truth [Sharia teachings], not the false.
Syria's grand mufti said many other things concerning goodwill for Christians that roused Qaradawi's ire. For instance, before a large Christian gathering in Syria, where he was a guest speaker, he insisted that there were no differences between Christians and Muslims:
If Christianity is about believing in one God, so I believe in one God; if Christianity is about believing in Jesus, so I believe in Jesus; if Christianity is about believing in the New Testament, so I believe in the New Testament; if Christianity is about believing in the Old Testament, so I believe in the Old Testament; if Christianity is about believing that Mary was a pure virgin, so I believe she was a pure virgin, untouched by man; and if Christianity is about believing in the resurrection, so I believe in the resurrection—so what is the difference between me and Christians?
Qaradawi offered correct Muslim doctrine in response to this otherwise egalitarian talk, confirming that, yes, Islam believes all these things—but according to its own narratives, not the ones recorded in the Bible, which, as the Quran teaches, have been distorted. Hence, if Muslims believe all those things that the Syrian grand mufti mentioned, they do not believe in the fundamentals of Christianity—including the Trinity, Christ's divinity or resurrection, and atonement of sins—hence they reject Christianity, as understood and practiced by over a billion Christians.

As for believing in the Old and New Testaments, the Quran claims that, once upon a time there were "true" versions, but that the current texts which we possess—and which are many centuries older than the Quran itself—were "corrupted" (to include, for instance, the aforementioned fundamentals of Christianity). Thus the only "authentic" remnants of Christianity and Judaism are the ones Muhammad narrated in the Quran—where we meet many doppelgangers, like Isa, a very different "Jesus" who was never crucified and will return to break all Christian crucifixes and kill all pigs.

Indeed, it is this Muslim proclivity to create "parallel" characters based on biblical figures that explains Qaradawi's justification to murder people in blind obedience to the prophet. His reference to "Musa," based on the Hebrew Moses, is a reference to a story—possibly rooted in the 3rd century Alexander Romance and popularized by the 1970s martial arts movie, Circle of Iron—which, nonetheless, occurs in Quran, and so must be accepted literally.

According to the Quran's narrative (18:65-82), Musa seeks out al-Khidr—"the Green Man," who possesses powers of sight—and asks if he may follow and learn from him. Al-Khidr reluctantly agrees, on condition that Musa not question anything he, the Green Man, does, until such time as the latter chooses to reveal the significance of his actions.

However, the Green Man does strange things—randomly killing a young boy and destroying the boat of people who helped give them passage—to which Musa demands immediate answers. The Green Man eventually explains that he killed the boy because his parents were good Muslims, while the boy was an infidel who would have burdened them with his transgressions; and he destroyed the boat of the good people because a king was about to seize it anyway.

Such is the alternate worldview and value system of Islam. Just as Islam introduced parallel characters based on Christian and Jewish figures, so did it introduce a parallel system of ethics and morality—one not to be questioned, for, as the Quran's Green Man shows, who are we mortals to know what good these ostensibly bizarre or murderous actions will lead to? Only the prophet of Allah knows—hence why he must be blindly obeyed, even if he commands you to murder.

Which leads to another parallel, one lethal in its implications: Just as a Western general's orders—including to kill—are not open to question by his soldiers, in Islam, the orders of "general" Muhammad are not open to question by the world's 1 billion plus Muslims, all of whom become, according to top Islamic scholar Qaradawi, Islam's "soldiers," ever ready to kill for their prophet-general.

Are Judaism and Christianity as Violent as Islam?

By Raymond Ibrahim

Medieval times: The Crusades were violent and led to
atrocities by the modern world's standards under the
banner of the cross and in the name of Christianity.
But the Crusades were a counterattack on Islam.
Muslim invasions and atrocities against Christians
were on the rise in the decades before
the launch of the Crusades in 1096.
"There is far more violence in the Bible than in the Qur'an; the idea that Islam imposed itself by the sword is a Western fiction, fabricated during the time of the Crusades when, in fact, it was Western Christians who were fighting brutal holy wars against Islam."[1] So announces former nun and self-professed "freelance monotheist," Karen Armstrong. This quote sums up the single most influential argument currently serving to deflect the accusation that Islam is inherently violent and intolerant: All monotheistic religions, proponents of such an argument say, and not just Islam, have their fair share of violent and intolerant scriptures, as well as bloody histories. Thus, whenever Islam's sacred scriptures—the Qur'an first, followed by the reports on the words and deeds of Muhammad (the Hadith)—are highlighted as demonstrative of the religion's innate bellicosity, the immediate rejoinder is that other scriptures, specifically those of Judeo-Christianity, are as riddled with violent passages.

More often than not, this argument puts an end to any discussion regarding whether violence and intolerance are unique to Islam. Instead, the default answer becomes that it is not Islam per se but rather Muslim grievance and frustration—ever exacerbated by economic, political, and social factors—that lead to violence. That this view comports perfectly with the secular West's "materialistic" epistemology makes it all the more unquestioned.

Therefore, before condemning the Qur'an and the historical words and deeds of Islam's prophet Muhammad for inciting violence and intolerance, Jews are counseled to consider the historical atrocities committed by their Hebrew forefathers as recorded in their own scriptures; Christians are advised to consider the brutal cycle of violence their forbears have committed in the name of their faith against both non-Christians and fellow Christians. In other words, Jews and Christians are reminded that those who live in glass houses should not be hurling stones.

But is that really the case? Is the analogy with other scriptures legitimate? Does Hebrew violence in the ancient era, and Christian violence in the medieval era, compare to or explain away the tenacity of Muslim violence in the modern era?

Violence in Jewish and Christian History

Along with Armstrong, any number of prominent writers, historians, and theologians have championed this "relativist" view. For instance, John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, wonders,
How come we keep on asking the same question, [about violence in Islam,] and don't ask the same question about Christianity and Judaism? Jews and Christians have engaged in acts of violence. All of us have the transcendent and the dark side. … We have our own theology of hate. In mainstream Christianity and Judaism, we tend to be intolerant; we adhere to an exclusivist theology, of us versus them.[2]
An article by Pennsylvania State University humanities professor Philip Jenkins, "Dark Passages," delineates this position most fully. It aspires to show that the Bible is more violent than the Qur'an:
[I]n terms of ordering violence and bloodshed, any simplistic claim about the superiority of the Bible to the Koran would be wildly wrong. In fact, the Bible overflows with "texts of terror," to borrow a phrase coined by the American theologian Phyllis Trible. The Bible contains far more verses praising or urging bloodshed than does the Koran, and biblical violence is often far more extreme, and marked by more indiscriminate savagery. … If the founding text shapes the whole religion, then Judaism and Christianity deserve the utmost condemnation as religions of savagery.[3]
Several anecdotes from the Bible as well as from Judeo-Christian history illustrate Jenkins' point, but two in particular—one supposedly representative of Judaism, the other of Christianity—are regularly mentioned and therefore deserve closer examination.

The military conquest of the land of Canaan by the Hebrews in about 1200 B.C.E. is often characterized as "genocide" and has all but become emblematic of biblical violence and intolerance. God told Moses:
But of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them—the Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite—just as the Lord your God has commanded you, lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God.[4]

So Joshua [Moses' successor] conquered all the land: the mountain country and the South and the lowland and the wilderness slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord, God of Israel had commanded.[5]
As for Christianity, since it is impossible to find New Testament verses inciting violence, those who espouse the view that Christianity is as violent as Islam rely on historical events such as the Crusader wars waged by European Christians between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. The Crusades were in fact violent and led to atrocities by the modern world's standards under the banner of the cross and in the name of Christianity. After breaching the walls of Jerusalem in 1099, for example, the Crusaders reportedly slaughtered almost every inhabitant of the Holy City. According to the medieval chronicle, the Gesta Danorum, "the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles."[6]

In light of the above, as Armstrong, Esposito, Jenkins, and others argue, why should Jews and Christians point to the Qur'an as evidence of Islam's violence while ignoring their own scriptures and history?

Bible versus Qur'an

The answer lies in the fact that such observations confuse history and theology by conflating the temporal actions of men with what are understood to be the immutable words of God. The fundamental error is that Judeo-Christian history—which is violent—is being conflated with Islamic theology—which commands violence. Of course, the three major monotheistic religions have all had their share of violence and intolerance towards the "other." Whether this violence is ordained by God or whether warlike men merely wished it thus is the key question.

Old Testament violence is an interesting case in point. God clearly ordered the Hebrews to annihilate the Canaanites and surrounding peoples. Such violence is therefore an expression of God's will, for good or ill. Regardless, all the historic violence committed by the Hebrews and recorded in the Old Testament is just that—history. It happened; God commanded it. But it revolved around a specific time and place and was directed against a specific people. At no time did such violence go on to become standardized or codified into Jewish law. In short, biblical accounts of violence are descriptive, not prescriptive.

This is where Islamic violence is unique. Though similar to the violence of the Old Testament—commanded by God and manifested in history—certain aspects of Islamic violence and intolerance have become standardized in Islamic law and apply at all times. Thus, while the violence found in the Qur'an has a historical context, its ultimate significance is theological. Consider the following Qur'anic verses, better known as the "sword-verses":
Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way.[7]

Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day, and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden – such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book – until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.[8]
As with Old Testament verses where God commanded the Hebrews to attack and slay their neighbors, the sword-verses also have a historical context. God first issued these commandments after the Muslims under Muhammad's leadership had grown sufficiently strong to invade their Christian and pagan neighbors. But unlike the bellicose verses and anecdotes of the Old Testament, the sword-verses became fundamental to Islam's subsequent relationship to both the "people of the book" (i.e., Jews and Christians) and the "idolaters" (i.e., Hindus, Buddhists, animists, etc.) and, in fact, set off the Islamic conquests, which changed the face of the world forever. Based on Qur'an 9:5, for instance, Islamic law mandates that idolaters and polytheists must either convert to Islam or be killed; simultaneously, Qur'an 9:29 is the primary source of Islam's well-known discriminatory practices against conquered Christians and Jews living under Islamic suzerainty.

In fact, based on the sword-verses as well as countless other Qur'anic verses and oral traditions attributed to Muhammad, Islam's learned officials, sheikhs, muftis, and imams throughout the ages have all reached consensus—binding on the entire Muslim community—that Islam is to be at perpetual war with the non-Muslim world until the former subsumes the latter. Indeed, it is widely held by Muslim scholars that since the sword-verses are among the final revelations on the topic of Islam's relationship to non-Muslims, that they alone have abrogated some 200 of the Qur'an's earlier and more tolerant verses, such as "no compulsion is there in religion."[9] Famous Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) admired in the West for his "progressive" insights, also puts to rest the notion that jihad is defensive warfare:
In the Muslim community, the holy war [jihad] is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force ... The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense ... They are merely required to establish their religion among their own people. That is why the Israelites after Moses and Joshua remained unconcerned with royal authority [e.g., a caliphate]. Their only concern was to establish their religion [not spread it to the nations] … But Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.[10]
Modern authorities agree. The Encyclopaedia of Islam's entry for "jihad" by Emile Tyan states that the "spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general … Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam … Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad [warfare to spread Islam] can be eliminated." Iraqi jurist Majid Khaduri (1909-2007), after defining jihad as warfare, writes that "jihad … is regarded by all jurists, with almost no exception, as a collective obligation of the whole Muslim community."[11] And, of course, Muslim legal manuals written in Arabic are even more explicit.[12]

Qur'anic Language

When the Qur'an's violent verses are juxtaposed with their Old Testament counterparts, they are especially distinct for using language that transcends time and space, inciting believers to attack and slay nonbelievers today no less than yesterday. God commanded the Hebrews to kill Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—all specific peoples rooted to a specific time and place. At no time did God give an open-ended command for the Hebrews, and by extension their Jewish descendants, to fight and kill gentiles. On the other hand, though Islam's original enemies were, like Judaism's, historical (e.g., Christian Byzantines and Zoroastrian Persians), the Qur'an rarely singles them out by their proper names. Instead, Muslims were (and are) commanded to fight the people of the book—"until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled"[13] and to "slay the idolaters wherever you find them."[14]

The two Arabic conjunctions "until" (hata) and "wherever" (haythu) demonstrate the perpetual and ubiquitous nature of these commandments: There are still "people of the book" who have yet to be "utterly humbled" (especially in the Americas, Europe, and Israel) and "idolaters" to be slain "wherever" one looks (especially Asia and sub-Saharan Africa). In fact, the salient feature of almost all of the violent commandments in Islamic scriptures is their open-ended and generic nature: "Fight them [non-Muslims] until there is no persecution and the religion is God's entirely. [Emphasis added.]"[15] Also, in a well-attested tradition that appears in the hadith collections, Muhammad proclaims:
I have been commanded to wage war against mankind until they testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God; and that they establish prostration prayer, and pay the alms-tax [i.e., convert to Islam]. If they do so, their blood and property are protected. [Emphasis added.][16]
This linguistic aspect is crucial to understanding scriptural exegeses regarding violence. Again, it bears repeating that neither Jewish nor Christian scriptures—the Old and New Testaments, respectively—employ such perpetual, open-ended commandments. Despite all this, Jenkins laments that
Commands to kill, to commit ethnic cleansing, to institutionalize segregation, to hate and fear other races and religions … all are in the Bible, and occur with a far greater frequency than in the Qur'an. At every stage, we can argue what the passages in question mean, and certainly whether they should have any relevance for later ages. But the fact remains that the words are there, and their inclusion in the scripture means that they are, literally, canonized, no less than in the Muslim scripture.[17]
One wonders what Jenkins has in mind by the word "canonized." If by canonized he means that such verses are considered part of the canon of Judeo-Christian scripture, he is absolutely correct; conversely, if by canonized he means or is trying to connote that these verses have been implemented in the Judeo-Christian Weltanschauung, he is absolutely wrong.

Yet one need not rely on purely exegetical and philological arguments; both history and current events give the lie to Jenkins's relativism. Whereas first-century Christianity spread via the blood of martyrs, first-century Islam spread through violent conquest and bloodshed. Indeed, from day one to the present—whenever it could—Islam spread through conquest, as evinced by the fact that the majority of what is now known as the Islamic world, or dar al-Islam, was conquered by the sword of Islam. This is a historic fact, attested to by the most authoritative Islamic historians. Even the Arabian peninsula, the "home" of Islam, was subdued by great force and bloodshed, as evidenced by the Ridda wars following Muhammad's death when tens of thousands of Arabs were put to the sword by the first caliph Abu Bakr for abandoning Islam.

Muhammad's Role

Moreover, concerning the current default position which purports to explain away Islamic violence—that the latter is a product of Muslim frustration vis-à-vis political or economic oppression—one must ask: What about all the oppressed Christians and Jews, not to mention Hindus and Buddhists, of the world today? Where is their religiously-garbed violence? The fact remains: Even though the Islamic world has the lion's share of dramatic headlines—of violence, terrorism, suicide-attacks, decapitations—it is certainly not the only region in the world suffering under both internal and external pressures.

For instance, even though practically all of sub-Saharan Africa is currently riddled with political corruption, oppression and poverty, when it comes to violence, terrorism, and sheer chaos, Somalia—which also happens to be the only sub-Saharan country that is entirely Muslim—leads the pack. Moreover, those most responsible for Somali violence and the enforcement of intolerant, draconian, legal measures—the members of the jihadi group Al-Shabab (the youth)—articulate and justify all their actions through an Islamist paradigm.

In Sudan, too, a jihadi-genocide against the Christian and polytheistic peoples is currently being waged by Khartoum's Islamist government and has left nearly a million "infidels" and "apostates" dead. That the Organization of Islamic Conference has come to the defense of Sudanese president Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, is further telling of the Islamic body's approval of violence toward both non-Muslims and those deemed not Muslim enough.

Latin American and non-Muslim Asian countries also have their fair share of oppressive, authoritarian regimes, poverty, and all the rest that the Muslim world suffers. Yet, unlike the near daily headlines emanating from the Islamic world, there are no records of practicing Christians, Buddhists, or Hindus crashing explosives-laden vehicles into the buildings of oppressive (e.g., Cuban or Chinese communist) regimes, all the while waving their scriptures in hand and screaming, "Jesus [or Buddha or Vishnu] is great!" Why?

There is one final aspect that is often overlooked—either from ignorance or disingenuousness—by those who insist that violence and intolerance is equivalent across the board for all religions. Aside from the divine words of the Qur'an, Muhammad's pattern of behavior—his sunna or "example"—is an extremely important source of legislation in Islam. Muslims are exhorted to emulate Muhammad in all walks of life: "You have had a good example in God's Messenger."[18] And Muhammad's pattern of conduct toward non-Muslims is quite explicit.

Sarcastically arguing against the concept of moderate Islam, for example, terrorist Osama bin Laden, who enjoys half the Arab-Islamic world's support per an Al-Jazeera poll,[19] portrays the Prophet's sunna thusly:
"Moderation" is demonstrated by our prophet who did not remain more than three months in Medina without raiding or sending a raiding party into the lands of the infidels to beat down their strongholds and seize their possessions, their lives, and their women.[20]
In fact, based on both the Qur'an and Muhammad's sunna, pillaging and plundering infidels, enslaving their children, and placing their women in concubinage is well founded.[21] And the concept ofsunna—which is what 90 percent of the billion-plus Muslims, the Sunnis, are named after—essentially asserts that anything performed or approved by Muhammad, humanity's most perfect example, is applicable for Muslims today no less than yesterday. This, of course, does not mean that Muslims in mass live only to plunder and rape.

But it does mean that persons naturally inclined to such activities, and who also happen to be Muslim, can—and do—quite easily justify their actions by referring to the "Sunna of the Prophet"—the way Al-Qaeda, for example, justified its attacks on 9/11 where innocents including women and children were killed: Muhammad authorized his followers to use catapults during their siege of the town of Ta'if in 630 C.E.—townspeople had refused to submit—though he was aware that women and children were sheltered there. Also, when asked if it was permissible to launch night raids or set fire to the fortifications of the infidels if women and children were among them, the Prophet is said to have responded, "They [women and children] are from among them [infidels]."[22]

Jewish and Christian Ways

Though law-centric and possibly legalistic, Judaism has no such equivalent to the Sunna; the words and deeds of the patriarchs, though described in the Old Testament, never went on to prescribe Jewish law. Neither Abraham's "white-lies," nor Jacob's perfidy, nor Moses' short-fuse, nor David's adultery, nor Solomon's philandering ever went on to instruct Jews or Christians. They were understood as historical acts perpetrated by fallible men who were more often than not punished by God for their less than ideal behavior.

As for Christianity, much of the Old Testament law was abrogated or fulfilled—depending on one's perspective—by Jesus. "Eye for an eye" gave way to "turn the other cheek." Totally loving God and one's neighbor became supreme law.[23] Furthermore, Jesus' sunna—as in "What would Jesus do?"—is characterized by passivity and altruism. The New Testament contains absolutely no exhortations to violence.

Still, there are those who attempt to portray Jesus as having a similarly militant ethos as Muhammad by quoting the verse where the former—who "spoke to the multitudes in parables and without a parable spoke not"[24]—said, "I come not to bring peace but a sword."[25] But based on the context of this statement, it is clear that Jesus was not commanding violence against non-Christians but rather predicting that strife will exist between Christians and their environment—a prediction that was only too true as early Christians, far from taking up the sword, passively perished by the sword in martyrdom as too often they still do in the Muslim world. [26]

Others point to the violence predicted in the Book of Revelation while, again, failing to discern that the entire account is descriptive—not to mention clearly symbolic—and thus hardly prescriptive for Christians. At any rate, how can one conscionably compare this handful of New Testament verses that metaphorically mention the word "sword" to the literally hundreds of Qur'anic injunctions and statements by Muhammad that clearly command Muslims to take up a very real sword against non-Muslims?

Undeterred, Jenkins bemoans the fact that, in the New Testament, Jews "plan to stone Jesus, they plot to kill him; in turn, Jesus calls them liars, children of the Devil."[27] It still remains to be seen if being called "children of the Devil" is more offensive than being referred to as the descendents of apes and pigs—the Qur'an's appellation for Jews.[28] Name calling aside, however, what matters here is that, whereas the New Testament does not command Christians to treat Jews as "children of the Devil," based on the Qur'an, primarily 9:29, Islamic law obligates Muslims to subjugate Jews, indeed, all non-Muslims.

Does this mean that no self-professed Christian can be anti-Semitic? Of course not. But it does mean that Christian anti-Semites are living oxymorons—for the simple reason that textually and theologically, Christianity, far from teaching hatred or animosity, unambiguously stresses love and forgiveness. Whether or not all Christians follow such mandates is hardly the point; just as whether or not all Muslims uphold the obligation of jihad is hardly the point. The only question is, what do the religions command?

John Esposito is therefore right to assert that "Jews and Christians have engaged in acts of violence." He is wrong, however, to add, "We [Christians] have our own theology of hate." Nothing in the New Testament teaches hate—certainly nothing to compare with Qur'anic injunctions such as: "We [Muslims] disbelieve in you [non-Muslims], and between us and you enmity has shown itself, and hatred for ever until you believe in God alone."[29]

Reassessing the Crusades

And it is from here that one can best appreciate the historic Crusades—events that have been thoroughly distorted by Islam's many influential apologists. Karen Armstrong, for instance, has practically made a career for herself by misrepresenting the Crusades, writing, for example, that "the idea that Islam imposed itself by the sword is a Western fiction, fabricated during the time of the Crusades when, in fact, it was Western Christians who were fighting brutal holy wars against Islam."[30] That a former nun rabidly condemns the Crusades vis-à-vis anything Islam has done makes her critique all the more marketable. Yet statements such as this ignore the fact that from the beginnings of Islam, more than 400 years before the Crusades, Christians have noted that Islam was spread by the sword.[31] Indeed, authoritative Muslim historians writing centuries before the Crusades, such as Ahmad Ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri (d. 892) and Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (838-923), make it clear that Islam was spread by the sword.

The fact remains: The Crusades were a counterattack on Islam—not an unprovoked assault as Armstrong and other revisionist historians portray. Eminent historian Bernard Lewis puts it well,
Even the Christian crusade, often compared with the Muslim jihad, was itself a delayed and limited response to the jihad and in part also an imitation. But unlike the jihad, it was concerned primarily with the defense or reconquest of threatened or lost Christian territory. It was, with few exceptions, limited to the successful wars for the recovery of southwest Europe, and the unsuccessful wars to recover the Holy Land and to halt the Ottoman advance in the Balkans. The Muslim jihad, in contrast, was perceived as unlimited, as a religious obligation that would continue until all the world had either adopted the Muslim faith or submitted to Muslim rule. … The object of jihad is to bring the whole world under Islamic law.[32]
Moreover, Muslim invasions and atrocities against Christians were on the rise in the decades before the launch of the Crusades in 1096. The Fatimid caliph Abu 'Ali Mansur Tariqu'l-Hakim (r. 996-1021) desecrated and destroyed a number of important churches—such as the Church of St. Mark in Egypt and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem—and decreed even more oppressive than usual decrees against Christians and Jews. Then, in 1071, the Seljuk Turks crushed the Byzantines in the pivotal battle of Manzikert and, in effect, conquered a major chunk of Byzantine Anatolia presaging the way for the eventual capture of Constantinople centuries later.

It was against this backdrop that Pope Urban II (r. 1088-1099) called for the Crusades:
From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears, namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians [i.e., Muslim Turks] … has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire; it has led away a part of the captives into its own country, and a part it has destroyed by cruel tortures; it has either entirely destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of its own religion.[33]
Even though Urban II's description is historically accurate, the fact remains: However one interprets these wars—as offensive or defensive, just or unjust—it is evident that they were not based on the example of Jesus, who exhorted his followers to "love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."[34]Indeed, it took centuries of theological debate, from Augustine to Aquinas, to rationalize defensive war—articulated as "just war." Thus, it would seem that if anyone, it is the Crusaders—not the jihadists—who have been less than faithful to their scriptures (from a literal standpoint); or put conversely, it is the jihadists—not the Crusaders—who have faithfully fulfilled their scriptures (also from a literal stand point). Moreover, like the violent accounts of the Old Testament, the Crusades are historic in nature and not manifestations of any deeper scriptural truths.

In fact, far from suggesting anything intrinsic to Christianity, the Crusades ironically better help explain Islam. For what the Crusades demonstrated once and for all is that irrespective of religious teachings—indeed, in the case of these so-called Christian Crusades, despite them—man is often predisposed to violence. But this begs the question: If this is how Christians behaved—who are commanded to love, bless, and do good to their enemies who hate, curse, and persecute them—how much more can be expected of Muslims who, while sharing the same violent tendencies, are further commanded by the Deity to attack, kill, and plunder nonbelievers?

Friday, January 25, 2013

So who is Antichrist?

By Ellis Skolfield

Well, what was the purpose of John’s gospel and three epistles? Why was he inspired to write them at the very end of his life, circa 95 to 105 A.D.? What had happened to the Church during his lifetime?

Acts 20:29 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” 

Had the Apostle Paul’s prophecy of the church’s future already come to pass while John was alive? A few 1st and 2nd century heresies . . .. Dualism (two gods), Gnosticism (Jesus not flesh), Montanism (additional revelation), Judaism (legalism), Asceticism (monasticism), Nocolaitanism (false apostles), Balaamism (merchandising the Gospel).

Seeds of all appeared in the First Century. 

So it appears that John wrote when he did to expose false leaders and false doctrines that were already in the church. 

Confirmed by John 1:1-14, 2 Ti 3:6-8, Rev 2:2, 2:14-15, 2:20 

So who is Antichrist?

Did you know there are only 4 verses in Scripture that mention “antichrist" by name?

1 John 2:18, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last time.” (NAS)

1 John 2:22, “Who is a liar but the one that denies that Jesus is the Christ. He is the (Gr. definite article “te”) antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father.” (NAS)

1 John 4:3, “And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world.” (NAS)

2 John 7, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (NAS)

So do those verses say there’s going to be a future Antichrist, or is John just exposing another heresy? Look at what’s taught in the churches today. 

1. Antichrist will appear during the last 7 years of this era. 
2. Rule as good leader 3 ½ years. 
3. Rule as bad leader 3 ½ years. 
4. Help the Jews rebuild the temple. 
5. Reinstate animal sacrifices. 
6. Build a “talking” image on the temple mount. 
7. Stop sacrifices. 
8. Destroy the temple during his last 3 ½ years. 
9. Turn against the Jews. 
10. Persecute Christians during a “seven year” tribulation. 
11. Start Armageddon. 
12. Be Satan in human form.

Guess what? Not a single one of those popular end-time doctrines can be directly supported by the Bible. All are guesswork theology!

Dating Thessalonians

Most biblical historians believe the Thessalonians books were written by 52 A.D., but a couple of verses in 1 Thessalonians 2 make that view questionable.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” 

So to what “wrath” do you suppose Paul was referring? The “utmost” calamity that happened to the Jews in the 1st century was the destruction of their Temple in 70 A.D.. So both Thessalonian books may have been written later than 70 A.D..

But why is that important? Because during the Christian era, God’s Temple is not a physical building on Mount Moriah!

Location of the Temple of God During the Christian Era

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

2 Corinthians 6:16 “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 

Ephesians 2:22 “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

Satan Invades the Temple of God

2 Thessalonians 2:2-4 “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (Satan is called a “man” in Isaiah 14:16 and elsewhere in Scripture); Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called god (Satan and fallen angels do that), or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

So where is the temple of God during the Christian era? In the believer’s heart! So the “he” of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is not a human! He is a demon or Satan attacking the minds of Christians by masquerading as the Holy Spirit, 2 Cor 11:14 All because the spirits are not tested as commanded by 1 John 4:1-3.

The Command We Have Forgotten

1 John 4:1-3 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (Greek, δοiιμάζω, dok-im-ad’-zo: to test, try, discern or examine. This is a command, not just a suggestion.) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” 

The Lord already warned us, “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light,” 2 Cor 11:13. We forget it to our peril!

2 Thessalonians 2:5-8 “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let (i.e., “restrains will restrain”, NAS), until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked (spirit) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” 

Genesis 6:3 “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man.”

False Church During the End-Times

1 Timothy 4:1-2 “. . . in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron . . .”

2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.”

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