Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Post excerpted from David Thompson -- exposing the lying propaganda about Islam that emanates from a famous and popular British religious commentator. See the original for links

In my review of Robert Spencer's The Truth About Muhammad, I wrote: "In his book, Islam and the West, the historian Bernard Lewis argued: 'We live in a time when. governments and religious movements are busy rewriting history as they would wish it to have been, as they would like their followers to believe that it was.' This urge to sanitise unflattering facts is nowhere more obvious than in biographies of Muhammad, of which, Karen Armstrong's ubiquitous contributions are perhaps the least reliable." I've since received a number of emails asking me to clarify why Armstrong is unreliable in this regard. To that end, here's a brief catalogue of Ms Armstrong's errors and distortions, a version of which was first published by Butterflies & Wheels. Some of her rhetorical airbrushing is, I think, quite spectacular.

Karen Armstrong has been described as "one of the world's most provocative and inclusive thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world." Armstrong's efforts to be "inclusive" are certainly "provocative", though generally for reasons that are less than edifying. In 1999, the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Los Angeles gave Armstrong an award for media "fairness." What follows might cast light on how warranted that recognition is, and on how the MPAC chooses to define fairness.

In one of her baffling Guardian columns, Armstrong argues that, "It is important to know who our enemies are. By making the disciplined effort to name our enemies correctly, we will learn more about them, and come one step nearer, perhaps, to solving the. problems of our divided world." Yet elsewhere in the same piece, Armstrong maintains that Islamic terrorism must not be referred to as such. "Jihad", we were told, "is a cherished spiritual value that, for most Muslims, has no connection with violence."

Well, the word `jihad' has multiple meanings depending on the context, and it's hard to determine the particulars of what "most Muslims" think in this regard. Doubtless countless Muslims would recoil from connotations of violence and coercion. But it's safe to say the Qur'an and Sunnah are of great importance to Muslims generally, and most references to jihad found in the Qur'an and Sunnah occur in a military or paramilitary context. Aggressive conceptions of jihad are found in every major school of Islamic jurisprudence, with fairly minor variations. The notion of jihad as warfare against unbelievers is affirmed by Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi and Shafi'i traditions, to which the majority of Muslims belong. And Muhammad's own celebration of military jihad and homicidal `martyrdom' makes for interesting reading.....

In another Guardian column, Armstrong insists that, "until the 20th century, anti-Semitism was not part of Islamic culture" and that anti-Semitism is purely a Western invention, spread by Westerners. The sheer wrong-headedness of this assertion is hard to put into words, but one might note how, once again, the evil imperialist West is depicted as boundlessly capable of spreading corruption wherever it goes, while the Islamic world is portrayed as passive, devoid of agency and thereby virtuous by default.

According to Armstrong, Muhammad was, above all, a "peacemaker" who "respected" Jews and other non-Muslims. Yet nowhere in the Qur'an and Sunnah does Muhammad refer to non-Muslims as in any way deserving of respect as equals. Quite the opposite, in fact. Apparently, we are to ignore over 13 centuries of Islamic history contradicting Armstrong's view, and to ignore the contents of the Qur'an and the explicitly anti-Semitic `revelations' of Islam's founder. One therefore wonders whether Armstrong has read Ibn Ishaq's canonical, quasi-sacred biography of Muhammad. Has she not read the Hadith, most notably Bukhari? Does she not know of the massacre of the Banu Qurayza and the opportunist raids against the Bani Quainuqa, Bani Nadir, Bani Isra'il and other Jewish tribes? Does she not know how these events were justified as a divine duty, one which formed the theological basis of the Great Jihad of Abu Bakr, setting in motion one of the most formidable military expansions in Islamic history? Does she really not know how these theological ideas established the subordinate legal status of Jews and Christians throughout much of the Islamic world for hundreds of years?

In her latest offering, Armstrong is again given free rein to mislead Guardian readers and, again, rewrite history. Armstrong asserts that, "until recently, no Muslim thinker had ever claimed [violent jihad] was a central tenet of Islam." In fact, contemporary jihadists pointedly draw upon theological traditions reaching back to Muhammad's own example. The Fifteenth Century historian and philosopher, Ibn Khaldun, summarised the consensus of five centuries of prior Sunni theology regarding jihad in his book, The Muqudimmah: "In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the. mission to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations." Shiite jurisprudence concurred with this consensus, as seen in al-Amili's manual of Shia law, Jami-i-Abbasi: "Islamic holy war against followers of other religions, such as Jews, is required unless they convert to Islam."

Given that Armstrong is regularly described as a "respected scholar" and an "expert on Islam", she must surely know of Khaldun and his sources, and must surely know how Muhammad conceived jihad primarily as an expansionist military endeavour. Armstrong must also be aware of the jihad campaigns of religious `cleansing' throughout the Arab Peninsula, in accord with Muhammad's purported death bed words. Likewise, the five centuries of jihad campaigns in India, during which tens of millions of Hindus and Buddhists were slaughtered or enslaved, along with similar campaigns in Egypt, Palestine, Armenia, Africa, Spain, etc. These campaigns are thoroughly - often triumphantly - documented by Islamic sources of the period and are available to any serious scholar.



NYT lies about abortion in El Salvador: "The uproar over the New York Times refusing to correct itself on a story replete with falsehoods over abortion in El Salvador last month, continues. The most recent development is that the Times has refused to publish a corrective op-ed from the Salvadoran group "Yes to Life" which points out that the major newspaper in El Salvador has uncovered numerous additional errors in the New York Times piece on abortion in El Salvador".

Experts dispute Jesus tomb film: "Oscar-winning director James Cameron is attempting to challenge fundamental tenets of Christianity by suggesting that Jesus may have been a father whose body was buried far from the Jerusalem tomb where believers say he rose from the dead. In a documentary set to air in the US on Sunday, Cameron and his team contend that they've produced new evidence that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and fathered a son named Judah. Biblical experts and archaeologists who are familiar with the central evidence instantly discounted the claim, which Discovery Channel has touted as possibly "the greatest archaeological find in history," as an ill-informed, recycled publicity grab. The chances that the findings in "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" are real "are more than remote," Israel Museum curator David Mevorah said. "They are closer to fantasy." [The Anchoress has more. As Donald Sensing notes, how odd it is that Christians are not rioting and beheading people over such an attack on their faith]

United Europe? "A grand statement - the Berlin declaration - is planned next month to commemorate the founding in 1957 of what is now the EU, but the 27 member states are increasingly divided about what to celebrate. Luxembourg is pushing for a prominent mention of the euro as one of Europe's greatest achievements. But this will not go down well in Britain and Denmark, where the single currency was rejected. Poland and Italy want to emphasise Europe's Christian values but are opposed by the French, who prefer to keep religion out of politics. The Czechs and Poles want a strong statement on security, but the French and Germans are worried this will aggravate the Russians. Germany and Spain are keen to look ahead to a revived constitutional treaty, which is upsetting the Dutch and British."



"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".

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