Monday, December 17, 2007

Will the Real Islam Please Stand Up!

I have been thinking about Aqsa Parvez the last few days.

You remember she is the 16 year old Toronto girl whose father killed her over an argument about whether she should wear her Hijab (Headscarf) in public or not!

Now there are some people who told me they thought is was a religious matter, while others thought it might be social, and still more said it was just a violent father who got carried away.

Whatever the fact of the matter is, the religious angle has received all the attention and further ignited the fire over Islam and violence that occupies so much of the Western mind.

Whether Islam is truly a religion of violence is an academic question and actually beside the point at this stage of the game because it has developed an image in the media and population as being such.

In other words, Islam has one hell of a Public Relations problem here in the West.

I have been reading articles by some leading journalists over the last few days and although they are by varied individuals in both their background and beliefs, a common consensus is developing.

Let me first give a quick quote from my book The Plain Truth About God with a brief summation of the early days of Islam:

Where we run into a problem is that, as in the case of Jesus of Nazareth, there is no actual copy of the Koran that can be said to have come directly from the hands of Mohammad.

The earliest written record of the Koran (and the 45 scribes who supposedly documented it) was written in the biography of Mohammad by a certain Ibn Ishaq who wrote Sirat Rasul Allah, (The life of the Prophet of God) about 100 years after the death of the prophet Mohammad!

From this point on, it gets even hazier since there is no actual record of this document as well, but rather, it is extensively quoted in an even later work by al-Tabari who lived close to 200 years after the death of Ibn Ishaq.

Suddenly we have a space of 300 years (close to 1000 C.E.) that cannot be properly documented.

With this in mind we can look back to about 620 C.E. when Mohammad, (or someone like him,) started on a campaign of dominance.

Here in less than 100 years Arab tribesmen, riding on horseback, emerged out of the Arabian deserts to conquer Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and Spain.

Now the great question we have to ask here is whether the Arab armies were fuelled during their expansion by religious fever; or was the religion “spiced up” during the 350 years where it was not documented properly.

In other words, was this re-vamping of Islam the manipulations of a politically dominant group whose aim was to establish a religious justification for Arab Imperialism? Or was it based on a religion that advocated the expansion of its ideals by force?

Don’t forget, during the first 200 years of this great expansion Arab conquerors were a minority against a vast non-Muslim majority.

Then, once the Arabs had acquired a sizable empire—a coherent religion was necessary in order to hold that empire together. (Note: in the long run, over the centuries, the main purpose of any religion, once it had gone beyond the “sect” stage, was to perpetuate itself and also act as a glue to hold the empire together.)

So once again, was the religion in place and acting as the fuel for Arab hegemony, or was it the glue that was manufactured “after the fact” to hold the whole empire together.

This is a question that will never be properly answered - as it is now lost in the mists of time.

However, we can draw certain inferences from it.

One of the facts that we have to consider is that Islam was bound up in war and aggression from its very inception.
In spite of any history of Islam we wish to consider, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of Muslim Practitioners live a peaceful and quiet life that is not tainted by the fervor of the Conservative and Fundamentalist factions.

They, especially in the West, live a life much the same as their Christian brethren in that their daily lives are centered around family and friends and not dogma and zealousness.

However, because of the silence of this overwhelming majority on the atrocities of the fanatics, there has been a marked perception that all Muslims have at their heart a violent streak that is part of the very nature of this religion.

It is sad, mistaken and troubling, but unfortunately true.

Now, about that common consensus, I would like to quote two columnists who have expressed different but not contradictory opinions on the state of Islam in the West.

Although neither is an Apologist for Islam nor seeking to blatantly condemn it’s followers they have made some observations about Muslims that should be noted!

One is a right wing Christian and the other is a Muslim academic and here is what they have to say.

First the right wing Christian who comments on the killing of Aqsa Parvez and his thoughts on Islam. His name is Michael Coren and he is a broadcaster and writer:

Most Canadian Muslim leaders immediately condemned what had happened but it didn't take very long for the usual suspects to explain on radio and television that the tragedy had nothing to do with the Muslim faith and that all religions contain extremism.

Islam, we were told, is a religion of peace.

Which is probably just what the owner of a Christian bookstore in Gaza thought three months ago as he was murdered and his shop firebombed. Or Danny Pearl, shortly before the American journalist had his head cut off by Islamic terrorists -- who, naturally, filmed the whole thing and made sure their chants from the Koran were loud and clear.

Or the wretched gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia sentenced to 200 lashes for daring to be in a car at the time of the crime with a man to whom she was not married or related. Or the women stoned to death for adultery. Or the Iranian men hanged because they were homosexual. Or the women who lived and died under the Taliban. Or the Christians persecuted and killed in Pakistan, Egypt and Sudan. Or the young women in France, Britain and all over Europe killed by fathers and brothers for leaving Islam, dressing like other girls or dating non Muslims. Or the teacher who allowed a student to name a teddy bear Muhammad, or Salman Rushdie's translator whose throat was cut from ear to ear, or movie director Theo Van Gogh who was slaughtered like an animal in the middle of a Dutch street.

And on and on. On until the denial is sickening.

It's cultural, it's because of colonialism, it's because of Palestine, because of Iraq, because of misunderstanding. Because of anything other than Islamic Fundamentalists.

Only a bigot would argue that every Muslim was violent or opposed to Western freedom.

But only a coward or a liar would argue that there was not a profound and deeply worrying link between Conservative Fundamentalist Islam and myriad acts of terror, intolerance and hysterical anger.
And then these thoughts from Salim Mansur, who is a Muslim scholar, Professor at the University of Western Ontario here in London, and a Columnist for the Sun Media Group.

Professor Mansur has more of an insiders view of the situation and his thoughts will hopefully hit home to Muslims in the West and elsewhere.

The cold-blooded murder of 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez was not like any other crime that cuts across ethnic and faith boundaries, as Muslim apologists in Canada will do their best to characterize it.

The murder was prompted by an ideology of bigotry and terror masked as a faith-tradition -- an ideology of radical Islamism at war with the modern world of freedom and democracy.

The fear of this perverted ideology and its fanatical promoters silences most Muslims, regardless of their numbers in society, for they fear that speaking out against this ideology might place them in greater jeopardy within their community and with those who claim its leadership.

Then there are Muslim organizations -- such as the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) in free societies such as Canada.

Their deafening silence in condemning Muslim violence against Muslims and non-Muslims alike is revealing of their true nature.

These are front organizations for global radical Islamism making apologies for their ideological brethren, and directing polemics against the West for victimizing Muslims and undermining Islam.

Moreover, they are fraudulent in their claims of representing Muslims in general as the CIC does.

The fact is, on the contrary, most Muslims in Canada and elsewhere in the West left their native lands to escape from unmitigated cruelty, heartlessness and hypocrisy of Muslim rulers and religious leaders.

But these organizations are sinister in their objectives of taking full advantage of free societies and subverting their institutions for the purpose of undermining freedom and democracy.

For instance, Canadians have never heard from or witnessed Muslim organizations such as the CIC publicly mobilizing Canadian Muslims in denouncing suicide-bombings, honour killings of hapless women, genocide on display in Darfur and persecution of dissident Muslims in the Arab-Muslim world.

Instead, as fraudsters they have developed the swindler's art of blackmailing free societies as the CIC has done by filing complaints with the Human Rights Commissions (HRC) federally, and in Ontario and British Columbia, against Maclean's magazine and one of its contributors, Mark Steyn.

The complaints are frivolous, claiming Maclean's defamed Canadian Muslims by publishing some writings of Steyn as excerpts from his best-selling book, America Alone.

But the greater frivolity is the HRC's willingness to hear the complaint from an organization whose president, Mohamed Elmasry, is on public record in Canada for the suggestion -- though later retracted under duress -- that Israelis in general over the age of 18 are legitimate targets for Palestinian suicide-bombers.

The murder of Aqsa Parvez and of countless other women among Muslims will continue not merely because Muslims cower in silence in their fear of radical Islamists, but also for the apathy of the Western public and politicians supinely appeasing and accommodating Muslim organizations such as the CIC.
If nothing else we can surmise that both writers agree there is a problem and both agree that something has to be done about it!

Your humble author;
Allan W Janssen

Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God at and visit the blog "Perspective" at

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