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The Bible’s Prescriptive, Open-Ended, and Universal Commandments to Wage Holy War and Enslave Infidels (II)

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2011 by loonwatch

In his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), Robert Spencer claims that the violent verses in the Bible are only “descriptive” whereas those in the Quran are supposedly “prescriptive, open-ended, and universal.”  However, this argument is simply not supported by the facts on the ground, as we explained on page I.  There are many violent verses in the Bible that are “prescriptive, open-ended, and universal”–at least using the same standards that Spencer so mirthfully employs against the Quran.

The Battle Psalms

The Book of Psalms is amongst the most commonly read and recited part of the Bible by both Jews and Christians.  “Throughout the world many Jews recite the Book of Psalms each week or each month.” “The Psalms are some of the most widely read portions of the Old Testament. They have a long history of popularity in the Christian tradition, so much so that often the Book of Psalms has been bound with the New Testament in pocket editions.”

The Psalms are attributed to King David, who waged violent holy war against heathens and committed atrocities that can only be described as genocide (see part 3 of this Series).  Many of the Psalms are war poems, glorifying holy war against heathens.  No wonder then that even today “when Israel is at war, Jews gather to recite Psalms” and “many Yeshivot and synagogues recite Psalms (especially Psalms 20, 83, 121, 130, 142 …) daily for the protection of Jews in Israel from terrorism.”(Certainly, ethnic cleansing–which is called for in this particular selection of Psalms–is one vengefully satisfying, albeit ineffective, way of dealing with terrorism.)  Christian soldiers in the U.S. military routinely recall and recite the Psalms as they sustain their illegal occupations in the lands of the Saracen heathens.

The Bible proclaims:

Psalms 149:5 Let godly people triumph in glory. Let them sing for joy on their beds.

149:6 Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a two-edged sword in their hands,

149:7 to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishment on the people,

149:8 to bind their kings with chains, and their leaders with iron shackles.

Using Spencer’s own standards, this is a “prescriptive, open-ended, and universal” proclamation of holy war against “the heathen”.  Far from letting “God handle the unbelievers”, this Biblical passage empowers men to do God’s bidding–with the sharp edges of a sword no less.  After all, Psalm 18:34 says of God: “He teaches my hands to war” and 144:1 says: “Praise be to the LORD, who is my rock, who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight.”

Other verses more graphically depict how the Jewish and/or Christian believers will themselves “see vengeance” and exult in bloodletting:

58:10 The righteous will be glad when they see vengeance, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.

The believers pray to God: “Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked” (3:7), “Strike them with terror” (9:20), “let death seize my enemies” (55:15), “trample our enemies” (60:120), “destroy them!” (74:11), “terrify them” (83:15), and “let them perish in disgrace” (83:17).

It cannot be claimed that these verses ask for the intervention of God without any human action.  Rather, the Psalms are calling for divine support to aid human soldiers on the battlefield.  This becomes abundantly clear from numerous passages contained therein:

18:29 With [God’s] help I can advance against a troop [of soldiers]; with my God I can scale [an enemy] wall.

18:30 God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

18:31 For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?

18:32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.

18:33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.

18:34 He teaches my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by my arms.

18:35 You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great.

18:36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.

18:37 I will pursue my enemies and overtake them; I will not turn back till they are destroyed.

18:38 I will smite them through, so that they shall not be able to rise: They shall fall under my feet.

18:39 You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet.

18:40 You have also given me the necks of my enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.

God’s aid is certainly sought, but it is the human who will become God’s agent of vengeance.  It can almost be considered that God was thought of as another fighter on the battlefield:

108:11 Have you rejected us, O God? Will you no longer march with our armies?

108:12 Oh grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!

108:13 With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.

Psalm 83 is one of the most commonly recited parts of the Bible and is in fact read “daily” by many pro-Israeli Jewish congregations.  This psalm calls for God to do to the enemies of Israel what was done to the people of Midian.  As we read earlier, the Israelites killed every Midianite man, and enslaved their women and children.  The passage also lists other peoples who were defeated and destroyed by the Israelites.  This prayer in the Book of Psalms reads:

83:9 Do to them as you did to Midian, as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,

83:10 who perished at Endor and became like dung for the ground.

83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,

83;12 who said, “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.

83:13 Make them like tumbleweed, O my God, like chaff before the wind.

83:14 As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,

83:15 so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm.

83:16 Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O LORD.

83:17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace.

Far from rejecting the wars and genocides of Moses, this prayer in the Bible–recited by Jews (and Christians) worldwide–hopes for similar treatment of other infidels, especially those who have the unfortunate fate of being deemed enemies to Israel.

Editor’s Note: Due to the length of this article, it will be split into four parts, the next part to be published tomorrow.

Update I: Page 3 is now available here.

The Bible’s Prescriptive, Open-Ended, and Universal Commandments to Wage Holy War and Enslave Infidels (I)

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2011 by loonwatch

This article is part 6 of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series. Please read my “disclaimer”, which explains my intentions behind writing this article: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

In his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), anti-Muslim Catholic apologist Robert Spencer calls the Quran a “book of war” that is “violent and intransigent.”  In contrast, he argues, “there is nothing in the Bible that rivals the Qur’an’s exhortations to violence.”  This view is held by the general public as well; in the words of Prof. Philip Jenkins:

In the minds of ordinary Christians – and Jews – the Koran teaches savagery and warfare, while the Bible offers a message of love, forgiveness, and charity.

This viewpoint is used to promote bigotry against Muslims and Islam, and to fan the flames of Islamophobia.  Fortunately, we’ve “utterly destroyed” this viewpoint (see parts 1234, and 5 of this Series), and have categorically shown that the Bible is far more violent than the Quran.  As Prof. Jenkins puts it:

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.

The Bible sanctions genocide, something that one simply cannot find any equivalent of in the Quran.  In the Bible are verses calling for the slaughter of civilians, with explicit calls for the butchering of women, children, and even babies.  Even the most violent-sounding passages in the Quran do not come close to saying this.

The “Descriptive vs. Prescriptive” Defense

Keenly aware of the fact that the horribly violent verses in the Bible sound far worse than anything in the Quran, Robert Spencer and other anti-Muslim ideologues have to explain why these Biblical passages “don’t count” (whereas the violent sounding Quranic verses always “count”).  This follows an important rule of thumb employed by Islamophobes, as we explained in a previous article:

All violence in the Quran “counts” whereas whatever is peaceful in the Quran “doesn’t count”, and whatever is violent in the Bible “doesn’t count” and whatever is peaceful in the Bible “counts”.  Heads I win, tails you lose.

Islamophobes argue that the violent passages in the Bible “don’t count” because “the Biblical verses are merely descriptive, not prescriptive like in the Quran.”  In other words, the Bible only records anddescribes the violence committed by Judeo-Christian prophets, without prescribing believers of today to carry these acts out.

According to this view, the God of the Bible only commands war against the people of the Seven Nations, who simply do not exist any more.  Since they don’t exist any more, those Biblical verses are effectively dead letters. This is how the pro-Christian argument goes anyways.

The ultra-conservative Catholic organization The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property summarizes Spencer’s argument in a sympathetic review of his book:

Biblical references record God’s commands to specific people to wage war against certain groups for a particular purpose and a limited time period. These passages are a historic account of God’s dealings with His people. Conversely, the Koran’s more numerous violent passages call upon Muslims of all times to fight unbelievers with impunity and spread Islam with the sword.

And in Robert Spencer’s own words (found on pp.28-31 of his book):

Islamic apologists more often tend to focus on several Old Testament passages:

* “When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you.  And when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them.  You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2)

* “When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace.  If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you.  However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.  When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword.  Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you.  Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes” (Deuteronomy 20:10-17).

* “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately.  But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves” (Numbers 31:17-18).

Strong stuff, right?  Just as bad as “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them” (Qur’an 9:5) and “Therefore, when ye meet the unbelievers in fight, smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly on them” (Quran 47:4) and all the rest, right?

Wrong.  Unless you happen to be a Hittite, Girgashite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, or Jebusite, [the Seven Nations] these Biblical passages simply do not apply to you.  The Qur’an exhorts believers to fight unbelievers without specifying anywhere in the text that only certain unbelievers are to be fought, or only for a certain period of time, or some other distinction.  Taking the texts at face value, the command to make war against unbelievers is open-ended and universal.  The Old Testament, in contrast, records God’s commands to the Israelites to make war against particular people only.  This is jarring to modern sensibilities, to be sure, but it does not amount to the same thing.

Robert Spencer reproduces Biblical verses to prove his claim when in actuality these verses are all the proof needed to refute his claim.  One does not need to go further than his own page in his own book to see how fallacious his basic argument is!

The first passage is Deuteronomy 7:1-2, which orders the believers to “utterly destroy” the people of the Seven Nations:

When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you.  And when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them.  You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2)

The believers are forbidden to sign a peace treaty with the people of the Seven Nations (“you shall make no covenant with them”), and they must be ethnically cleansed (“you shall utterly destroy them”).

The next passage Spencer cites explains what to do with all nations other than the Seven Nations:

When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace.  If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you.  However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.  When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword.  Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you.  Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations nearby. Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. (Deuteronomy 20:10-17).

In his book, Robert Spencer completely omitted the verse in red above. Notice how the words in red (Deuteronomy 20:15) simply do not appear in Spencer’s rendition of the passage.  Take a look for yourself (click on the image to view):

This time, Spencer didn’t even bother using those ever so strategic ellipses to manipulate the meaning of a passage.  One wonders at the convenient omission of Deuteronomy 20:15 and whether or not this is a mistake or deception.  It is certainly a very helpful “mistake”.

Furthermore, Spencer didn’t reproduce 20:17 either:

20:17 But you shall utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD your God has commanded you.

Whatever the case, the Biblical passage (the one that Robert Spencer uses as a proof) is actuallysaying that the general rule is that heathens are to be offered terms of “peace”, which entails being reduced to “forced labor” (perpetual servitude).  (This is the Bible’s version of “peace”, and the same type of world “peace” that Jesus, the “Prince of Peace”, will bring during his Second Coming.)  If the heathens reject these terms of “peace”, then in that case they are to be attacked and every single man (including non-combatants) is to be killed.  Meanwhile, the women and the children are to be enslaved, and the animals and all property are to be taken as booty.

After stating this general rule, the God of the Bible clarifies that this does not apply to the people of the Seven Nations, who must be “utterly destroy[ed]“.  The women and children cannot be taken as slaves because the believers “shall not leave alive anything that breathes.”  In other words, Spencer’s rationalization could be applied to Deuteronomy 20:16-17 (the genocidal verses advocating “utter destruction”) but not to Deuteronomy 20:10-15 (the verses advocating perpetual servitude of heathens).

The Bible thus advocates genocide against heathen residing inside the Promised Land, andperpetual servitude of heathen outside of it.  Genocide is the rule for the Seven Nations (Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites), whereas perpetual servitude is the rule for all heathens other than this.  The enforcement of this Biblical rule (genocide inside the Promised Land and slavery outside of it) can be seen in the story of Gibeon.  As infidels, the Gibeonites were forced to choose between genocide and slavery (both options requiring forced conversion); we explain this story here [pdf document].

The Battle Psalms

Above have we refuted the argument that the Bible calls for holy war against the Seven Nations exclusively.  But the juiciest Biblical verses are actually found in the Book of Psalms, including this doozie:

Psalms 149:5 Let godly people triumph in glory. Let them sing for joy on their beds.

149:6 Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a two-edged sword in their hands,

149:7 to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishment on the people,

149:8 to bind their kings with chains, and their leaders with iron shackles.

There’s much more in the Book of Psalms, and that’s up next…

Editor’s Note: Due to the length of this article, it will be split into four pages, the next page to be published tomorrow.

Update I: Page 2 is now available here.

Update II: Page 3 is now available here.

Donald Trump Says Something in Koran Teaches a ‘Very Negative Vibe’

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , on April 25, 2011 by loonwatch

Donald Trump is at again. First with Obama’s birth certificate, and now this.

Donald Trump Says Something in Koran Teaches a ‘Very Negative Vibe’

In an exclusive interview with The Brody File, Donald Trump expresses concern about the teachings of the Koran saying, “There’s something there that teaches some very negative vibe.”

Watch below. The transcription is below as well.

http://downloads.cbn.com/cbnnewsplayer/cbnPlayer.swf?aid=22330

I spoke with Trump in New York a few days ago. My full six-minute piece aired across the country on “The 700 Club” this morning. If you missed it, you can watch it again tonight at 11 p.m. on the ABC Family Channel or here anytime of day.

Trump will also be the sole focus of this week’s 30-minute Brody File Show where you can see a lot more of the interview. (The show will be released Wednesday morning along with more, never-before-seen clips)

Transcription:

David Brody: Radical Islam: to Evangelicals, this is a bread and butter issue. You said there’s a Muslim problem in this country. What do you mean by that exactly?

Donald Trump: Bill O’Reilly asked me is there a Muslim problem? And I said absolutely, yes. In fact I went a step further. I said I didn’t see Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center. It was very interesting. I thought that was going to be a controversial statement and somebody, I think it was Dennis Miller introduced me, he was doing like an analysis of me, he said, I love it.

The guy said what the truth is. He didn’t mince his words. He didn’t say, ‘Oh, gee, no there’s not a Muslim problem, everybody’s wonderful.’ And by the way, many, many, most Muslims are wonderful people, but is there a Muslim problem? Look what’s happening. Look what happened right here in my city with the World Trade Center and lots of other places.

So I said it and I thought it was going to be very controversial but actually it was very well received. I think people want the truth. I think they’re tired of politicians. They’re tired of politically correct stuff.

I mean I could have said, ‘Oh absolutely not Bill, there’s no Muslim problem, everything is wonderful, just forget about the World Trade Center.’ But you have to speak the truth. We’re so politically correct that this country is falling apart.

Brody: With some evangelicals there are some problems with the teachings of the Koran. Do you have concerns about the Koran?”

Trump: Well, I’ll tell you what. The Koran is very interesting. A lot of people say it teaches love and there is a very big group of people who really understand the Koran far better than I do. I’m certainly not an expert, to put it mildly. But there’s something there that teaches some very negative vibe.

I mean things are happening, when you look at people blowing up all over the streets that are in some of the countries over in the Middle East, just blowing up a super market with not even soldiers, just people, when 250 people die in a super market that are shopping, where people die in a store or in a street. There’s a lot of hatred there that’s some place.

Now I don’t know if that’s from the Koran. I don’t know if that’s from some place else. But there’s tremendous hatred out there that I’ve never seen anything like it.

So, you have two views. You have the view that the Koran is all about love and then you have the view that the Koran is, that there’s a lot of hate in the Koran.

Jesus Loves His Enemies…and Then Kills Them All

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2011 by loonwatch

This article is part 5 of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series. Please read my “disclaimer”, which explains my intentions behind writing this article: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

Anti-Muslim demagoguery relies on the demonization of the Prophet Muhammad, who is characterized as being especially violent and warlike.  This idea has certainly gained currency in the “Judeo-Christian West”.  When it is pointed out that the Biblical prophets–including MosesJoshua,SamsonSaulDavid, among many others–were far more violent and warlike (and even engaged inreligiously sanctioned genocide), anti-Muslim pro-Christian ideologues will respond by disregarding or downplaying the Old Testament and will instead focus on the personality of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

Didn’t Jesus preach nonviolence and “loving one’s enemies”?  The anti-Muslim ideologues use this idea to assault the religion of Islam with.  For example, the Catholic apologist Robert Spencer compares Islam to Christianity by juxtaposing carefully selected quotes from Jesus to Islamic texts.  In his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), Spencer includes a “Muhammad vs Jesus” section.  He cites the following sayings of Jesus in the Bible:

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

“If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”

“Blessed are the peacemakers”

“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy”

“But love your enemies, and do good”

These “peaceful” verses of the Bible are compared to select violent-sounding Quranic verses.  The violent verses of the Bible “don’t count” and are craftily excluded from the comparison (“that’s just the Old Testament!”).  To tighten the noose, peaceful verses of the Quran are also excluded from the heavily biased analysis: these “don’t count” since they are supposedly from when Muhammad was still in Mecca.

To understand the last point, one needs to have a basic understanding of the Prophet Muhammad’s biography: he first declared his prophethood in the city of Mecca.  Only a very small segment of society accepted him (mostly the weak and poor), whereas the masses–especially the powerful leaders of the city–not only rejected him but actively persecuted him.  The chapters of the Quran that were revealed during this period are known as the Meccan chapters.  Eventually, Muhammad fled to the city of Medina, whose people accepted him as their ruler.  He went from persecuted prophet to ruler and commander-in-chief of a fledgling city-state.

The anti-Muslim ideologues claim that the peaceful and tolerant verses of the Quran come from when Muhammad was weak and persecuted in Mecca.  These verses are “canceled”, they argue, by the violent-sounding verses in the Medinan chapters.  Robert Spencer writes in  his book:

Islamic theology divides the Qur’an into “Meccan” and “Medinan” suras [chapters]. The Meccan ones come from the first segment of Muhammad’s career as a prophet, when he simply called the Meccans to Islam.  Later, after he fled to Medina, his positions hardened.  The Medinan suras [are]…filled with matters of law and ritual–and exhortations to jihad warfare against unbelievers.  The relatively tolerant verses quoted above and others like them generally date from the Meccan period, while those with a more violent and intolerant edge are mostly from Medina. [1]

The Islamophobes portray Muhammad as opportunistic: when he was weak and under the rule of the pagans, he called for peace.  Without being in a position of authority, Muhammad was hardly in a position to do otherwise.  As soon as he came to power, however, he waged “jihad warfare” (what a strange phrase!) against them. This is why, they argue, the peaceful verses of the Quran simply “don’t count”.

The merits of Spencer’s claims about the Prophet Muhammad will be critiqued in a future article of this Series.  For now, however, we will demonstrate that, using such logic, it is equally possible to invalidate the “peaceful” sayings of Jesus Christ.  While he was a persecuted prophet, Jesus advocated nonviolence and peaceful resistance.  He was hardly in a position to do otherwise, right?  Once in power, however, this changes dramatically and violent warfare becomes the new modus operandi.

The Messiah

Just as Muhammad’s biography can be divided into a Meccan and Medinan period, so too can Jesus’s lifestory be divided into a First and Second Coming.  (Likewise can Moses’ lifestory be divided into pre- and post-Exodus: prior to Exodus, Moses was largely peaceful, but after Exodus, Moses became the leader of the emerging Jewish state–and subsequently engaged in holy wars and even genocide against other nations.)  In the First Coming of Christ, only a small segment of society (mostly from the weak and poor) accepted Jesus, whereas the leaders and authorities persecuted him.  During this time period, Jesus advised his followers to engage in nonviolent resistance only, perhaps even pacifism.  Jesus advised his followers to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  According to the Bible, this didn’t stop his Jewish and Roman persecutors from crucifying him.

Yet, the Second Coming of Christ is a central theological belief of Christianity.  When Jesus returns to earth, the gloves will be off: no longer will he practice nonviolence or pacifism.  Enemies will be mercilessly killed, not loved.  In this manner, Jesus will fulfill the messianic prophecies found in the Bible–both in the Old and New Testaments.  To Christians, Jesus is the Messiah (the Greek word “Christ” has the same meaning as the Hebrew word “Messiah”)–the same Messiah that the Jews had been in anticipation of.

It is important to understand how the concept of Messiah developed.  According to the Bible, Moses and his followers fled persecution in Egypt to find refuge in the land of Canaan.  They believed that God had bequeathed this land to them, which would come to be known as Israel. Unfortunately, there were already peoples who lived in Canaan, a problem that Moses and his followers rectified via military might.  The native Canaanites were subsequently occupied, exterminated, or run off their ancestral lands.  When the natives fought back, the Israelites attributed this to their innate and infernal hatred of the Jewish people.

After ruling the “promised land” for a time, the Israelites were themselves conquered by outsiders.  The Babylonian Empire captured the Kingdom of Judah and expelled the Jews.  Though the Israelites felt no remorse over occupying, slaughtering, and running off the native inhabitants of Canaan, they were mortified when they received similar (albeit milder) treatment.  In exile, the Jews prayed for vengeance, as recorded in a divine prayer in the Bible:

Psalm 137:8 O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us.

137:9 Blessed is the one who grabs your babies and smashes them against a rock.

(We can hardly imagine the glee that an Islamophobe would feel had such a violent passage, one that blesses those who smash infidel babies against rocks, been found in the Quran instead of the Bible.)

It was during the time of exile that the Jewish concept of Messiah was first born.  Dutch historianJona Lendering writes:

The word Messiah renders the Aramaic word mešîhâ’, which in turn renders the Hebrew mâšîah. In Antiquity, these words were usually translated into Greek asChristos and into Latin as Christus, hence the English word Christ. All these words mean simply ‘anointed one’, anointment being a way to show that a Jewish leader had received God’s personal help.

It was believed that the Messiah (the Anointed One) would receive God’s personal help against the enemies of Israel; the Messiah would defeat the Babylonians and reestablish the Jewish state of Israel.  Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, fulfilled this role by conquering Babylon and releasing the Jews from exile.  Israel Smith Clare writes:

After Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, had conquered Babylon, he issued an edict permitting the Jews to return to their own country and to rebuild the city and Temple of Jerusalem. [2]

Prof. Martin Bernal of Cornell University writes:

The first Messiah in the Bible was Cyrus, the king of Persia who released the Jews–at least those who wanted to leave–from Exile in Babylon. [3]

As for this passage in the Bible:

Psalm 137:8 O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us.

137:9 Blessed is the one who grabs your babies and smashes them against a rock.

Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible comments on this verse:

This was Cyrus, who was chosen of God to do this work, and is therefore called happy, as being God’s agent in its destruction.

The Jews thereby returned to the promised land and rebuilt their nation.  According to Jewish tradition, however, this did not last long: the Roman Empire conquered the land, destroyed the Temple, and exiled the Jews once again.  As a result, as Lendering puts it, “the old prophecies [about Messiah] became relevant again.”  Although in Jewish tradition there is a messiah for each generation, there is also the Messiah, which is what is commonly thought of when we hear the word.  The Messiah would fulfill the task of destroying all of Israel’s enemies.

JewFaq.org says of the Messiah, which they spell as mashiach (emphasis is ours):

The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The mashiach is often referred to as “mashiach ben David” (mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15).

KosherJudaism.org states:

The Messiah will defeat and conquer the enemies surrounding Israel.

The Second Coming of Christ

Around 4 B.C., a prophet by the name of Jesus was born.  He claimed to be the Messiah, and some Jews followed him.  The followers of Christ eventually split into numerous sects, and eventually one triumphed over all others.  These became what are today known as Christians.  As for the majority of Jews, they rejected Jesus.  Why? The Jews rejected (and continue to reject) Jesus because he did not fulfill the prophecies pertaining to the Messiah.  How could Jesus be the Messiah when he not only did not defeat or conquer Israel’s enemies, but he never even led an army into a single war?  On the contrary, didn’t Jesus preach nonviolence and “loving one’s enemies”?

Instead of rejecting these militaristic aspects of the Messiah, Christians attribute them to Jesus during his Second Coming.  No longer will Jesus be a weak and persecuted prophet.  Instead, he will hold governmental authority, and is depicted as powerful and mighty.  This Jesus will certainly not love his enemies or turn the other cheek to them. In fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus will wage violent warfare against his enemies, and he will mercilessly kill them all.

Many Christians talk about how Jesus Christ will bring peace to the world, once and for all.  But they often neglect to mention how this world “peace” is obtained.  It is only after slaughtering his opponents and subduing “the nations” (the entire world?) under the foot of the global Christian empire that the world will have “peace”.  Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains:

There shall be no more war; horses and chariots shall be no more used in a hostile way; but there shall be perfect peace, all enemies being destroyed, which agrees with Micah 2:3 Zechariah 9:10.

In other words, there will be peace for the simple reason that there will be nobody left to fight, all opponents having been slaughtered or subdued.   This world “peace” is the same “peace” that any conqueror dreams of: after utterly defeating and conquering all of one’s neighbors and enemies, what is there left but “peace”, insofar as the non-existence of violence?  In the accidentally insightful words of the Evangelist Wayne Blank: “Put another way, humans aren’t going to have anything left to fight about.”  Following conquest, a foreign occupier would obviously want the occupied peoples to be peaceful, as this would eliminate the nuisance of having to fight off freedom-fighters.  The absence of violence would allow the conquering force to effortlessly sustain its occupation.

The events of the Second Coming of Christ are found in the Bible, including the Book of Revelation–which is the last book in the New Testament.  Jesus will “judge and wage war” (Rev. 19:11), his robe will be “dipped in blood” (19:13), and he will be accompanied by “armies” (19:14) with which he will “strike down the nations” (19:15), including “the Gentiles” in general and “the nations that were opposed to him” in specific.  This will result in the “utter destruction of all his enemies”. Furthermore: “in his second coming[,] he will complete their destruction, when he shall put down all opposing rule, principality, and power.”

Once he conquers the infidels, Jesus “will rule them with an iron rod” (19:15).  Wayne Blank writes:

The good news is that The Return Of Jesus Christ is going to happen. The even better news is that this time He’s not coming to be sacrificed by the world, but to rule it, along with those who have been faithful and obedient to Him. The world is going to know true peace, and genuine justice, in a way that it has never known before…

How Will World Peace Happen?

…[This will] not [be] by pleading and debate, but with a rod of iron. Those who choose to love and obey Him will be loved, while those who choose to rebel and hate Him will know His wrath.

Jesus will “will release the fierce wrath of God” (19:15) on them, and “he shall execute the severest judgment on the opposers of his truth”.   Because of this, “every tribe on earth will mourn because of him” (Rev. 1:7), and they will “express the inward terror and horror of their minds, at his appearing; they will fear his resentment”.  Just as the people of Canaan were terrified by the Israelite war machine, so too would the unbelievers “look with trembling upon [Jesus]”.  This is repeated in the Gospels, that “the Son of man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn” (Matthew 24:30).  “All the nations of the world shall wail when he comes to judgment” and the enemies of Jesus “shall mourn at the great calamities coming upon them”.

Far from the meek prophet of the First Coming, Jesus on his return will command a very strong military force that will “destroy[] every ruler, authority, and power”.  Not only is this consistent with the legacy of conquests by the Biblical prophets, it is actually a fulfillment or completion of the task that Moses initiated: holy war and conquest in the name of God.  In First Corinthians (part of the New Testament) it is prophesied that instead of loving his enemies, Christ will subdue and humble them under his feet:

1 Corinthians 15:24 [Jesus] will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power.

15:25 For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet.

Pastor and Biblical scholar Ron Teed explains that Jesus Christ brought “comfort and salvation at His first coming” but will bring “vengeance on God’s enemies” during his Second Coming.  There are thus “two comings of Christ, the first to save, the second to judge”–yet in debates with Muslims it seems that Christians play up the First Coming and completely ignore the Second.  The popular Teed Commentaries explains how “vengeance” is for Christ’s enemies (the “unbelievers”) and “comfort” only for his followers (the believers):

The Messiah will bring both comfort and vengeance. He will take vengeance on God’s enemies and bring comfort to His people. This is a summary of the mission of Christ. He brought comfort and salvation at His first coming during His earthly ministry according to Luke…

However, He said nothing of taking vengeance on God’s enemies at that time, for that part of his mission will not be fulfilled till He returns triumphant…

[There are] two comings of Christ, the first to save, the second to judge.

In His First coming He did the things mentioned in Isaiah 61:1-2; in His Second Coming He will do the things in verses 2-3. When He returns He will bring judgment on unbelievers. This will be the day of God’s “vengeance.”

The ever popular Evangelical site GotQuestions.org sums it up nicely:

Jesus’ second coming will be exceedingly violent. Revelation 19:11-21 describes the ultimate war with Christ, the conquering commander who judges and makes war “with justice” (v. 11). It’s going to be bloody (v. 13) and gory. The birds will eat the flesh of all those who oppose Him (v. 17-18). He has no compassion upon His enemies, whom He will conquer completely and consign to a “fiery lake of burning sulfur” (v. 20).

It is an error to say that God never supports a war. Jesus is not a pacifist.

Will the Real Messiah Please Stand Up?

Whereas the Second Coming of Christ is curiously forgotten in debates with Muslims, it is conveniently remembered during debates with Jews.  One of the primary (if not the primary) functions of the promised messiah in the Judeo-Christian tradition is, after all, vengeance against Israel’s enemies and global dominance.  Indeed, the entire concept of Messiah emerged following the conquest of Jewish lands with the subjugation and exile of its inhabitants.  The Messiah stood as hope for the redemption of Israel as well as revenge against her enemies.

Jewish polemical tracts against Christians reveal to us how militarism is a fundamental characteristic of the Messiah.  The Christian response in turn reveal how Jesus Christ will indeed be militaristic (during his Second Coming).  David Klinghoffer, an Orthodox Jewish author, writes in his book Why the Jews Rejected Jesus:

There were certainly those among [Jesus’] followers who saw him as the promised Messiah.  This was natural.  The first century produced messiahs the way our own time produces movie stars.  There was always a hot new candidate for the role emerging from obscurity, whose glory faded either as he was slaughtered by the Romans or as his followers lost interest when he failed to produce the goods promised by the prophets. [4]

“The goods” refer to the military conquest of Israel’s enemies and world domination.  The fact that Jesus failed to produce these “goods” proves that he is not the promised messiah.  Klinghoffer continues:

Let him do what the “son of man,” the promised Messiah, had been advertised as being destined to do from Daniel back through Ezekiel and Isaiah and the rest of the prophets.  Let him rule as a monarch, his kingship extending over “all peoples, nations, and languages.”  Let him return the exiles and build the Temple and defeat the oppressors and establish universal peace, as the prophets also said…

Let Jesus come up with the real messianic goods–visible to all rather than requiring us to accept someone’s assurance that, for example, he was born in Bethlehem–and then we’ll take him seriously. [5]

This point is reiterated in his book numerous times:

Hearing Jesus preach, a Jew might reasonably have crossed his arms upon his chest and muttered, “Hm, intriguing, but let’s see what happens.”  After all, the scriptures themselves common-sensically defined a false prophet as someone whose prophecies fail to come true.  According to Deuteronomy, this was the chief test of a prophet. [6]

Klinghoffer writes elsewhere:

The Hebrew prophets describe the elements of a messianic scenario that could not easily be overlooked: an ingathering of the Jewish exiles, the reign of a messianic king, a new covenant with the Jews based on a restored commitment to observance of the commandments, a new Temple, the recognition of God by the world’s peoples.  The future Davidic king was expected to radically change the world. [7]

The “radical change” involves the “subjugation” of the nations:

The Messiah would be a military and political leader. Philo, whose views have sometimes been taken as foreshadowing Christian teachings, is clear on this: “For ‘there shall come forth a man’ (Num. 24:7), says the oracle, and leading his host of war he will subdue great and populous nations.”

The Gospel writers thus faced the challenge that Jesus never raised an army, fought the Romans, returned any Jewish exiles, ruled over any population, or did anything else a king messiah would do. [8]

The subjugated nations would then “prostrate” themselves to the Messiah and “serve” him (perpetual servitude?):

The promised royal scion of David, the Messiah, would surely inspire veneration and awe beyond that accorded even to David himself…The nations will “prostrate” themselves before God, says one psalm; but so will they “prostrate” themselves (same Hebrew verb) before the Davidic king, says another psalm…As Daniel puts it…“[The Messiah] was given dominion, honor, kingship, so that all peoples, nations, and languages would serve him.” [9]

Klinghoffer defines the Messiah as he “who conquers and rules the nations and liberates the Jews” and describes him as a mighty warrior”.  He rhetorically asks:

Was there in Jewish tradition any room for a dead Messiah?  Didn’t Jesus’s death tend to cast doubt on his ability to accomplish all the world-transforming things the Messiah was supposed to do? [10]

Again, the “world-transforming things” include violent holy war against the heathen nations and their subjugation under his rule.  Klinghoffer answers his own question:

But was Jesus a ruler over Israel?  On the contrary, the younger Kimchi pointed out, “He did not govern Israel but they governed him.” [11]

Christians reply by arguing that Jesus will fulfill these prophecies, just during his Second Coming.  The Good News, a Christian magazine with a readership of nearly half a million subscribers, responds to the Jewish criticism by arguing that Jesus returns “a second time” as a “conquering King” who will “slay the great armies of those who opposed Him”.  Jesus will be “the promised Messiah whom the prophets claimed would rule all nations ‘with a rod of iron’” and “all nations would come under His rule”.

Klinghoffer, our Orthodox Jewish interlocutor, cries foul:

Christians respond by saying that “the famously unfulfilled prophecies (for instance, that the messianic era will be one of peace) apply to the second and final act in Jesus’s career, when he returns to earth.  This is a convenient and necessary dodge: The Bible itself never speaks of a two-act messianic drama. [11]

The interesting dynamic is thus established: Jews accuse Jesus of not being militaristic enough, and Christian apologists respond by eagerly proving the militaristic nature of Jesus during his Second Coming.

Christians Affirm Militant Old Testament Prophecies

Far from saying “it’s just the Old Testament!”, Christians routinely–and as a matter of accepted fundamental theology–use the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah to validate their belief in Jesus–prophecies that have militaristic overtones.  The Book of Isaiah, for example, has numerous prophecies in it that Christians routinely attribute to Jesus Christ.  For example:

Isaiah 35:4 Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Matthew Henry’s commentary of this verse says:

Assurance is given of the approach of Messiah, to take vengeance on the powers of darkness, to recompense with abundant comforts those that mourn in Zion; He will come and save. He will come again at the end of time, to punish those who have troubled his people; and to give those who were troubled such rest as will be a full reward for all their troubles.

This will be “a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause” (34:8) against the “nations at enmity with the church” and “those found opposing the church of Christ”, which will result in “the destruction of [the church’s] enemies.” Likewise do Christians claim that the Book of Micah foretells the Second Coming of Christ:

Micah 15:5 I will execute vengeance in anger and fury on the heathen, such as they have not heard.

One Biblical commentary helpfully explains this verse:

Christ will give his Son either the hearts or necks of his enemies, and make them either his friends or his footstool.

[NassirH, a reader of our website, astutely commented: I suppose this is what JihadWatch writer Roland Shirk meant when he said “Islam is a religion of fear and force, and its adherents can only be at your feet or at your throat.”]

Another Biblical commentary notes: “Here no mention is made of Mercy, but only of executing vengeance; and that, with wrath and fury.”  Yet another states that this is “a prophecy of the final overthrow of all the enemies of pure and undefiled religion” and that this is “a threatening of vengeance to the Heathens”.

When we published articles comparing the Judeo-Christian prophets of the Hebrew Bible to the Prophet Muhammad, an anti-Muslim bigot by the name of Percey (formerly known as Cassidy) claimed that the genocides of the Old Testament were “not supported by Christ’s teachings.”  This hardly seems the case, however, when we consider that Jesus will bring to a climax the holy war first initiated by Moses against the enemies of Israel.  Jesus will fulfill, not repudiate, Old Testament holy wars against Israel’s foes.  In fact, the war will be expanded to heathen nations in general, or at least those that reject Jesus.

Conclusion

We could reproduce violent Christian texts ad nauseum…What is clear is that the Christian conception of Jesus can very easily be characterized as violent.  Prof. Melancthon W. Jacobus writes in A Standard Bible Dictionary:

[Jesus] excluded from the Messiah’s character the main elements of the popular ideal, i.e. that of a conquering hero, who would exalt Israel above the heathen, and through such exclusion He seemed to fail to realize the older Scriptural conception.  The failure, however, was only apparent and temporary.  For in the second coming in glory He was to achieve this work. Accordingly, His disciples recognized a twofoldness in His Messiahship: (1) They saw realized in His past life the ideal Servant of Jehovah, the spiritual Messiah, the Christ who teaches and suffers for the people, and (2) they looked forward to the realization of the Davidic and conquering Messiah in His second coming in power and glory to conquer the nations and reign over them. [12]

How then do we reconcile the seemingly peaceful and pacifist sayings of Jesus with the violent and warlike Second Coming of Christ?  There are numerous ways to do this, but perhaps the most convincing is that Jesus’ peaceful and pacifist sayings were directed towards a resident’s personal and local enemies–usually (but not always) referring to fellow co-religionists.  It did not refer to a government’s foreign adversaries, certainly not to heathen nations.  Prof. Richard A. Horsley of the University of Michigan argues:

The cluster of sayings keynoted by “love your enemies” pertains neither to external, political enemies nor to the question of nonviolence or nonresistance…The content of nearly all the sayings indicates a context of local interaction with personal enemies, not of relations with foreign or political foes…

“Love your enemies” and the related sayings apparently were understood by [Jesus’] followers…to refer to local social-economic relations, largely within the village community, which was still probably coextensive with the religious community in most cases…[although sometimes referring] to persecutors outside the religious community but still in the local residential community—and certainly not the national or political enemies. [13]

This is consistent with the ruling given by the Evangelical site GotQuestions.org, which permits governments to wage war whilst forbidding individuals from “personal vendettas”:

God has allowed for just wars throughout the history of His people. From Abraham to Deborah to David, God’s people have fought as instruments of judgment from a righteous and holy God. Romans 13:1-4 tells us to submit ourselves to government authorities and that nations have the right to bear the sword against evildoers, both foreign and domestic.

Violence occurs, but we must recognize the difference between holy judgment on sin and our own personal vendettas against those we dislike, which is the inevitable outcome of pride (Psalm 73:6).

As for the “turning the other cheek” passage, it is known that the slap on the cheek that was being referred to here was in that particular culture understood as an insult, not as assault.  The passage itself has to do with a person responding to a personal insult, and has nothing to do with pacifism.  In any case, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary clarifies:  “Of course, He applied this to personal insults, not to groups or nations.” [14]

Some Christians maintain that fighting the enemies on the battlefield does not exclude loving them.  This begs the question: how absolutely irrelevant is this strange form of “love” for enemies that does not proscribe killing them?

Whatever the reason for the contradiction between loving enemies on the one hand and killing them on the other, the point is that the comparison between a supposedly peaceful Jesus and violent Muhammad is not just a vapid oversimplification but pure falsity.  It is only through a very selective and biased analysis–a carefully crafted comparison between the most peaceful sounding verses of the New Testament (a handful of quotes from Jesus that constitute a small fraction of the Bible overall) with the most violent sounding verses of the Quran (those too out of context, as we shall see in future parts of this Series).

Anything that doesn’t fit this agenda simply “doesn’t count” (and indeed, the anti-Muslim pro-Christian readers will furiously rack their brains to figure out ways to make the violent Jesus verses “not count”).  The Islamophobic logic is thus: If we exclude all violent verses from the Bible and all the peaceful verses from the Quran, then aha!  See how much more violent the Quran is compared to the Bible! Anti-Muslim Christians scoff at Islam and exalt their religion by informing Muslims of how Jesus, unlike Muhammad, loved his enemies.  Let the Muslims reply back ever so wryly: Jesus loved them so much that he kills them.

Addendum I:

Anti-Muslim Christians often chant “Muhammad was a prophet of war, whereas Jesus was the Prince of Peace”.  A few points about this are worthy of being mentioned: first, Muhammad never used the title “prophet of war” nor is this mentioned in the Quran or anywhere else.  In fact, one of the most common epithets used for Muhammad, one found in the Quran no less, was “A Mercy to All Humanity”.  (More on this in a later part of the Series.)  Jesus, on the other hand, will be a “Warrior King” and a “Conquering King.”  Should it then be “Muhammad is A Mercy to All Humanity, whereas Jesus is the Warrior King”?

As for Jesus being the Prince of Peace, this epithet comes from Isaiah 9:6:

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen.

One Christian website paraphrases this succinctly: “Israel’s enemies will be destroyed. Peace will flow to the four corners of the earth, as the Prince of Peace rules and reigns.”  Again, this is the “peace” that conquerers dream of.  Jesus is the Prince of Peace because he declares war, slaughters and subjugates all possible enemies to the point where nobody is left to fight, and voila!there is peace!

This brings us to the commonly quoted (and oft-debated) verse of the Bible, in which Jesus says:

Matthew 10:34 Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Most debates focus on whether or not the word “sword” here is metaphorical or not.  Leaving aside the fact that even if this is a metaphor it is certainly a very violent sounding one, it would actually behoove us to focus on the word “peace” in this verse.  Jesus told the Jews: “do not think I have come to bring peace on earth” as a way to explain his failure to produce “the goods”: “the Jews believed that when the Messiah comes, there would be a time of world peace.”  Naturally, this world “peace” would be brought about through war.  Of course, in his Second Coming will Jesus bring this “peace on earth” (and by “peace”, what is meant is war, slaughter, and subjugation).  As we can see, this verse confirms the militant nature of the Messiah (and thus Jesus), regardless of if it is metaphorical or not.

Addendum II:

Here is another hotly debated verse, in which Jesus says:

Luke 19:27 But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.

Robert Spencer dismisses this verse, saying: “These are the words of a king in a parable.”  Yes, this was a parable that Jesus told his disciples.  But what was his intention in narrating this parable?  Gill’s Explanation to the Entire Bible explains that it was to explain what will happen to the Jews “when Christ shall come a second time”:  Jesus will “destroy the Jewish nation” for rejecting him “and then all other enemies will be slain and destroyed” as well.  Death and destruction will be the fate of whoever does not accept Jesus’ reign as Warrior King.

This was hardly an innocuous story.  It reminds us of a scene in the movie Gladiator when the evil Roman emperor Commodus tells his nephew a story about an “emperor” who was betrayed by his sister (“his own blood”) and how he “struck down” her son as revenge.  (Watch it here.)  The story was a thinly veiled threat, as was Jesus’ parable.

One can only hardly imagine how Islamophobes like Robert Spencer would react had it been the Prophet Muhammad who had used such a violent parable, threatening to return to earth in order to “slay” anyone who “did not want me to reign over them”!  This would certainly “count” since all violence in the Quran “counts” whereas whatever is peaceful in the Quran “doesn’t count”, and whatever is violent in the Bible “doesn’t count” and whatever is peaceful in the Bible “counts”.  Heads I win, tails you lose.

Footnotes

refer back to article 1. Spencer, Robert. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). Washington, DC: Regnery Pub., 2005. 24. Print.

refer back to article 2. Clare, Israel S. The Centennial Universal History: A Clear and Concise History of All Nations. P. W. Ziegler, 1876. 33. Print.

refer back to article 3. Bernal, Martin. Black Athena. Vol. 1. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ., 1996. 125. Print.

refer back to article 4. Klinghoffer, David. Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: the Turning Point in Western History. New York: Three Leaves/Doubleday, 2006. 61. Print.

refer back to article 5. Ibid., p.71

refer back to article 6. Ibid., p.64

refer back to article 7. Ibid., p.62

refer back to article 8. Ibid., p.63

refer back to article 9. Ibid., p.69

refer back to article 10. Ibid., p.161

refer back to article 11. Ibid., p.204

refer back to article 12. Jacobus, Melancthon Williams., Edward E. Nourse, and Andrew C. Zenos. A Standard Bible Dictionary. New York & London, 1909. 543. Print.

refer back to article 13. Swartley, Willard M. “Ethics and Exegesis: ‘Love Your Enemies’ and the Doctrine of Nonviolence.” The Love of Enemy and Nonretaliation in the New Testament. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1992. Print.

refer back to article 14. Wiersbe, Warren W. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2007. 21. Print.

Burning the myths about Islam

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2011 by loonwatch

What Pastor Terry Jones did was uncalled for, and what the people in Afghanistan did was uncalled for, but in no way can we equate one’s reaction as more barbaric as the other. Terry Jones is living in his little heaven up in Gainseville, Fla. compared to how the people in Afghanistan are living: facing a war, oppression, deep poverty, etc.

Burning the myths about Islam

The ‘Arab Spring’ shows that the Quran burning riot in Afghanistan had little to do with Islam itself.

by: Anas Altikriti, from AlJazeera

“]The complete apathy of the ‘Arab spring’ in regards to the burning of a Quran reveals how anger-fuelled riots are borne from suppression of freedom, not the allegedly violent qualities of Islam [REUTERS

The recent violent protests in Afghanistan – a reaction to the burning of the Quran by a small church in the United States last month – recalled an inescapable reality.

Extremists on all sides – whether in free, democratic America, or in corrupt, occupied Afghanistan – create havoc and chaos, demonstrating the danger brought about by a deadly cocktail of ignorance and idiocy. Ultimately, they cause the deaths of innocent people.

Some cite the difference between the two acts: one saw the burning of a book, while the other claimed human lives.

This is of course true, but what exactly did the mastermind of this foolish and hate-filled act expect, other than a reaction somewhere on the Muslim side?

His bark worse than his bite

Pastor Terry Jones, of the formerly obscure Dove World Outreach Church in Florida – a parish of no more than a few dozen weekly followers – has been enjoying fame and possibly even fortune since calling for a ‘Burn the Quran’ day last September.

He was dissuaded from carrying out his act following a worldwide outcry from Christians and denunciation from American political, religious and community leaders.

But it seems that Jones had an itch that simply had to be scratched, and in March, he and some of his comrades burnt a copy of the Quran.

Strangely though, whilst last year’s threat resulted in outrage throughout the Muslim world and mass protests in most Arab countries, the act itself – once carried out – brought almost no reaction from the streets of those same countries, apart from the ones in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of thousands hit the streets of Cairo, Damascus, Amman, Sanaa and many other Arab cities last summer denouncing Jones, burning effigies and flags and calling for a global campaign to ‘protect the Quran’.

I recall receiving hundreds of emails and texts messages expressing outrage, and calling for immediate action in protest against this heinous act.

Yet now that Jones has actually carried out his threat, not one single demonstration was held, no mass protest was called for, no texts or email messages criss-crossed the ether, and no days of anger were organised.

Recapturing a people’s dignity

One would have expected such protests to come easily to the masses already camping on the streets of Cairo, Tunis, Damascus, Sanaa and Benghazi. Logistically, the scene was set; all would have been ready for such action, but nothing of the sort came to light.

There is no suggestion that those masses revere the Quran any less, or that they see the act carried out by Jones as any less repugnant. So why the apparent inaction? Because the ‘Arab spring’ has elevated minds as well as aspirations, a trend absent still in the contexts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries where corruption is still riding a wave.

One cannot say for sure whether it was the upheavals in the region that had the Arab nations looking elsewhere to exert their collective energies, but it is without a shadow of a doubt that the absence of ‘anti-Terry Jones’ protests was not due to a lack of energy or of ability.

For several years, those studying the Arab world through the mobility and narrative of the masses have emphasised that the number one priority for the Arab people (and Muslims by extension) is the pursuit of freedom and the recapture of their long-lost dignity.

Manifestations of religious, ideological, and cultural extremist behaviour were essentially a reaction to stagnant political climates imposed by despotic regimes, lack of human rights and absence of any hope in a better future.

Thus those people – who considered it their ultimate objective a few months ago to demonstrate anger and outrage for the threat to burn the Quran – today were in no doubt whatsoever that today their priority was to remove those regimes that have ruled them so inhumanely for so long.

Defying political models

Therein lies an important message for those Westerners who make a living from counter-terrorism and eradicating extremism: Supporting despotic regimes and dictators for short-term political and economic gains begets extremism that takes shape in a religious, social, political, ideological or cultural format.

The claim that removing or compromising regimes, such as that of Mubarak, Ben Ali, Saleh, Gaddafi or Assad will inevitably bring an extremist element to government is baseless, as demonstrated by events unfolding before us.

In all of the examples of the nations that revolted against their tyrants, rather than witnessing violence, the world saw protesters insisting on peaceful means despite them being confronted hired thugs and armed security forces.

Those same nations exemplified the meaning of national unity in practise rather than words. Muslims and Christians protected each other, came to each other’s aid and guarded each others’ holy places of worship against the threat of arson and vandalism by elements who had an interest in anarchy and division breaking out.

As soon as the opportunity emerged, those who had lived their lives merely dreaming of living under a democracy someday turned out to be brilliant democrats in practise.

What remains to be seen is whether the West will adapt to the new terrain and change its ways too.

The mood for change

Travelling the region extensively and conversing with people from all walks of life, one cannot miss the the new air of confidence about the Arab citizen.

Whether in Egypt where the revolution is in full swing and some significant fruits have been borne, or in other countries where no mass protests have been reported, there is no doubt that the mood is one for change and transformation.

Conversations in the Arab street are much more bold, brazen and uncaring about who might be eavesdropping. It’s simply a matter of time, but change is certainly now a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.

Once free, the Arab and Muslim nations will not resort to violence, extremism and isolationist practises, as some would like the world to think.

Once free, those nations will see the act of Terry Jones as the petty and foolish gesture that it undoubtedly was, and will realise that it brings more damage upon him and his reputation than upon the object of his deranged hatred.

Anas Altikriti is president and founder of the Cordoba Foundation.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

What the Quran-bashers Don’t Want You to Know About the Bible

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by loonwatch

This article is part 4 of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series. Please read my “disclaimer”, which explains my intentions behind writing this article: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

What the Quran-bashers don’t want you to know is that the Bible is far more violent than the Quran.  In fact, the Bible–unlike the Quran–glorifies genocide; we’ve documented some of these genocide-glorifying passages in our earlier articles: see part 1part 2, and part 3.

The anti-Muslim bigots–such as the extremist Jewish Zionist Pamela Geller and the fervent, zealous Catholic polemicist Robert Spencerespecially don’t want you to know about the Biblical passages regarding King Saul.  The reason they don’t want you to read these passages is that it would make the Islamic literature look quite tame by comparison, and well, that wouldn’t be too good for the anti-Muslim business, now would it?

It is of course getting tedious, redundant, and a bit boring to document all the God-sanctioned genocides of the Bible; there are too many of them, so they seem to mesh together.  Having said that, Saul’s genocide of the Amalekites warrants special attention, so it would behoove our readers to suffer through one last article on this topic.   It should be noted, however, that our collection of violent Biblical verses is non-exhaustive, limited only by our own boredom.

So, who was Saul?  He was the first king of the United Kingdom of Israel, divinely appointed to this position by the Jewish prophet Samuel.  His first task as king was to ethnically cleanse the land of the Amalekite peoples:

1 Samuel 15:1 Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people, over Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord.

15:2 This is what the Almighty Lord says: ‘I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

15:3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and utterly destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

Notice that it was God Himself who ordered Saul to slaughter the Amalekites.  And so King Saul led the Israelites in war against the Amalekites.  Per God’s directives, Saul “put to death men and women, children and infants.”  He killed every human being with the lone exception of the Amalekite king; he also spared some animals.  By sparing King Agag’s life, Saul failed to complete the mitzvah(the religious obligation) of genocide–something which was completely unacceptable to the God of the Bible:

15:7 Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt.

15:8 He took Agag, king of the Amalekites, alive, and all his people he utterly destroyed with the sword.

15:9 But Saul and the army spared [King] Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.

15:10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel:

15:11 “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.

Saul tried to defend himself, but God stripped him of his kingship:

15:13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”

15:14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”

15:15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”

15:16 “Stop!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”

“Tell me,” Saul replied.

15:17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel.

15:18 And he [the Lord] sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.’

15:19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”

15:20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag, their king.

15:21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

15:22 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

15:23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

15:24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.

15:25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.”

15:26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”

Saul repeatedly repented for his “failure”:

15:30 Saul replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.”

And God was sad that He had chosen such a sissy to be king:

15:35 The Lord repented that He had made Saul king over Israel.

Saul was stripped of his kingship, which was given to David–who was frankly just much better at killing civilians.  In fact, all the Israelite chicks fawned over David for being a more proficient killer; all the girls wanted him and all the guys (including Saul himself) wanted to be him:

18:6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes.

18:7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

18:8 Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”

18:9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

Certainly, killing thousands just doesn’t cut it.  The mass murderer field is just so saturated, that you really need to kill tens of thousands to be considered competitive for Heaven University.  No wonder Samuel felt like an absolute idiot for sending a sissy to do a man’s job; realizing this, he cleaned up Saul’s mess:

15:33 Samuel put Agag to death before the Lord at Gilgal.

King Agag was not the only one who was killed: God was so upset over the whole not killing everybody thing that He killed Saul and his three sons.  The prophet Samuel explained to Saul why this was his fate:

28:18 Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today.

[Using the emotive language of Pamela Geller, would this be a case of the mafioso Jewish god offing one of his goons for failing to carry out a hit–or in this case, a hit against thousands of people?]

According to the Jewish texts (as reproduced on p.76 of Vol.11 of The Jewish Encyclopedia), Saul had protested the commandment to “utterly destroy” the Amalekites, saying:

For one found slain the Torah requires a sin offering [Deuteronomy 21:1-9]; and here so many shall be slain.  If the old have sinned, why should the young suffer; and if men have been guilty, why should the cattle be destroyed?

What Saul didn’t realize was that obeying the Lord’s commandment–in this case to kill women and children–was more important than anything else.  The Bible explains the reason for Saul’s demise:

1 Chronicles 10:13 Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD.  He failed to obey the LORD’s command

A well-renowned Biblical commentary explains:

Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord–in having spared the king of the Amalekites and taken the flocks of the people as spoils [1Sa 15:9],

Today, Jews and Christians revere David over Saul, emphasizing the fact that David was more obedient to God than Saul.  For example, ministry founder Tom Bushnell asks:

When faced with difficult decisions, should we act like King David or King Saul?

…King David and King Saul are as antithetical as any two people in the Bible. If we look at some of the defining moments in their lives, we see two men with drastically different outlooks on life.

When faced with a decision, Saul’s first thought was, “Is this pleasing to me?”

King David’s first thought usually was, “Is my choice pleasing to the Lord?”

Bushnell then gives this specific example to illustrate:

Saul was disobedient when he spared king Agag and the best of the livestock of the Amalekites. (Partial obedience is disobedience).

David was careful to follow the commands of the Lord, even during battle.

One can only imagine the reaction of the Islamophobes–Spencer, Geller, et al.–had the Quran glorified genocide in this way.  In fact, they can never cite verses in the Quran that promote, sanction, or justify genocide–because they simply do not exist.  Indeed, there are explicit statements of the Prophet Muhammad forbidding the killing of women and children.

So next time anti-Muslim bigots troll the net by copying and pasting a litany of Quranic quotes in order to bash Muslims, we encourage readers to link this article about Saul (as well as our earlier articles about MosesJoshuaSamson, and David)  Reproducing these genocidal verses from the Bible is a good way to serve the Islamophobes a steaming hot platter of STFU, our absolute favorite dish.

Addendum I:

Perhaps the tone of voice in this article is a bit too aggressive, and as always with such topics I have my regrets.  Yet, in the spirit of International Judge a Koran Day, I think a healthy dose of STFU is necessary.  If you want to judge the Quran, then let’s also be sure to judge some Bible.  I’ll see your jihad and raise you a herem.

Terry Jones Actually Burns a Qur’an and No One Notices

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2011 by loonwatch

Crazy old Terry Jones went ahead with his Qur’an burning which he dubbed as an “International judge the Koran Day” after he said he wouldn’t “burn a Koran.” 30 people showed up and they burnt one Koran…and then…everyone went home.

Koran burnt in Florida church

GAINESVILLE, Florida — A controversial US evangelical preacher oversaw the burning of a copy of the Koran in a small Florida church after finding the Muslim holy book “guilty” of crimes.

The burning was carried out by pastor Wayne Sapp under the supervision of Terry Jones, who last September drew sweeping condemnation over his plan to ignite a pile of Korans on the anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks.

Sunday’s event was presented as a trial of the book in which the Koran was found “guilty” and “executed.”

The jury deliberated for about eight minutes. The book, which had been soaking for an hour in kerosene, was put in a metal tray in the center of the church, and Sapp started the fire with a barbecue lighter.

The book burned for around 10 minutes while some onlookers posed for photos.

Jones had drawn trenchant condemnation from many people, including US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, over his plan to burn the Muslim holy book in September.

He did not carry out his plan then and vowed he never would, saying he had made his point.

But this time, he said he had been “trying to give the Muslim world an opportunity to defend their book,” but did not receive any answer.

He said he felt that he couldn’t have a real trial without a real punishment.

The event was open to the public, but fewer than 30 people attended.

Life in the normally quiet city of Gainesville is centered around the University of Florida. And while there were public protests against Jones’ 9/11 activities, this event was largely ignored.

Jadwiga Schatz, who came to show support for Jones, expressed concern that Islam was growing in Europe.

“These people, for me, are like monsters,” she said. “I hate these people.”

Jones said he considered this event a success.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said.

The Suicide Bomber Prophet

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2011 by loonwatch

This article is part 3 of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series. Please read my “disclaimer”, which explains my intentions behind writing this article: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

As we noted in an earlier article:

A recent Pew Research poll found that almost half of U.S. adults think that the Islamic religion is more likely to encourage violence than other religions, a figure that has almost doubled since 2002.  A clear majority of conservative Republicans (66%), white Evangelicals (60%), and Tea Baggers (67%) believe Islam is more violent than other religions, with a plurality of whites (44%) and older folks (42-46%) also thinking this.  (Of note is that blacks, Hispanics, and liberal Democrats are significantly less bigoted towards Islam.)  The idea that Islam is more violent than other religions–held most strongly by old white conservatives–is a key pillar to the edifice of Islamophobia.

Prof. Philip Jenkins writes:

In the minds of ordinary Christians – and Jews – the Koran teaches savagery and warfare, while the Bible offers a message of love, forgiveness, and charity.

Worse, the Quran is said to be a book of terrorism.  It was in this vein that Bill O’Reilly invoked an analogy between the Quran and terrorism and Mein Kampf and Nazism.  It must be the Quran that compels these Islamic radicals to engage in suicide bombing and terrorism.

Prof. Jenkins responds:

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.

In part 1 of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series, we traced the violence of the Bible to the Jewish prophet Moses, who submitted heathen nations to what can only be described as genocide.  In part 2, we moved on to Moses’ divinely ordained successor, Joshua, who was arguably the most violent prophet in history.  But the holy killing did not stop there.

The Warrior Tribe

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites wondered who would carry on the God-sanctioned genocide and conquest of the promised land. They did not have to wait long for the answer. God passed down the sword of the faith to the tribe of Judah:

Judges 1:1 After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the LORD, “Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?”

1:2 The LORD answered, “Judah, for I have given them victory over the land.”

Judah heeded this call and continued the holy genocide against the unbelievers, culminating in the brutal conquest of Jerusalem:

1:8 The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire.

From there, the tribe of Judah vanquished the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills (1:9), Hebron, the Sheshai, Ahiman, Talmai (1:10), and Debir (1:11).  They destroyed Zephath:

1:17 [Judah] attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they utterly destroyed the city. Therefore it was called Hormah [Hormah means Destruction.]

Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron (1:18) fell to the Israelite nation, for “the Lord was with the men of Judah.” (1:19)

Judge, Jury, and Executioner

After the massacre of most of the inhabitants of Canaan, the God of the Bible was concerned with ensuring that Israel remain warlike:

3:1 These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan

3:2 It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.

The sword was then wielded by the judges of Israel, first with Othniel, then Ehud, then Shamgar, then Barak, then Gideon, then Jephthah, and then Samson. Each of these judges of God was involved in religiously motivated massacres. The Bible recounts the hundreds of thousands of people they collectively slaughtered. From the first Israelite judge:

3:10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war.

To the last of them:

1 Samuel 7:11 The men of Israel chased the Philistines from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car,slaughtering them all along the way.

Samson the Suicide Bomber Glorified in the Bible

One of the Israelite judges is worthy of special mention: the Jewish prophet Samson.  According to the Bible, Samson was responsible for killing thousands of Philistines (the indigenous population of southern Canaan).  Eventually, the Philistines successfully used a ruse to capture Samson, who was then taken to a temple where he was to be given as a sacrifice to one of the Philistine gods.  Instead, Samson leaned against the pillars of the temple, and brought the temple down, killing himself along with 3,000 men and women:

Judges 16:26 Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.”

16:27 Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.

16:28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

16:29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,

16:30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

Today, Samson is glorified as a hero by Israelis.  Far from being a dead letter, Samson’s deed has become part of Israel’s state policy.  The Samson Option is a doctrine adopted by the state of Israel, which states that should Israel’s existence ever be threatened, it will release a nuclear holocaust upon its enemies and other targets as well.  As Israeli military historian Prof. Martin van Creveld famously put it (as reproduced on p.119 of David Hirst’s The Gun and The Olive Branch):

We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them as targets in all directions…We have the capability to take the world down with us.  And I can assure you that that will happen, before Israel goes under.

Unfortunately, the temple Samson destroyed has now become entire countries or even the entire world.

David: Giant Slayer and Baby Killer

The militant sword of Israel was then passed from the judges to holy kings. The first king of the United Kingdom of Israel was Saul. His story is especially interesting, and one which we will return to. We will however focus now on David, who at that time was Saul’s appointed generalissimo. The Israelite ladies fawned over David, not only because he killed the Philistine Goliath but also because he massacred “tens of thousands”:

1 Samuel 18:6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes.

18:7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

It should be noted that by the end of David’s death, he ended up killing not tens of thousands, buthundreds of thousands. In any case, King Saul became jealous over the fact that David was credited with more kills than he was:

18:8 Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”

18:9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

But then the king’s daughter fell in love with David. It seems that David was interested in this proposal but thought he was too poor to offer an adequate dowry:

18:23 David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.”

King Saul reassured David that he accepted American Express penile foreskins:

18:25 Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’”

David was unfazed by this interesting request and brought back double the number of requested foreskins:

18:27 David and his men went out and killed two hundred Philistines. He brought their foreskins and presented the full number to the king so that he might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.

However, King Saul’s jealousy continued to grow and he unsuccessfully tried to kill his son-in-law. David found refuge in Ziklag (Philistine territory!) and raided other cities to stay financially afloat. Typical Biblical cruelty was added to these ghazwas raids:

18:8 Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites…

18:9 Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.

18:10 When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.”

18:11 He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory.

David massacred the Amalekites—men, women, and children:

30:17 David and his men rushed in among them and slaughtered them throughout that night and the entire next day until evening. None of the Amalekites escaped except 400 young men who fled on camels.

Eventually David became king of Israel and continued his string of conquests, subjugating heathens to Israelite rule:

2 Samuel 12:31 He also made slaves of the people of Rabbah and forced them to labor with saws, iron picks, and iron axes, and to work in the brick kilns. That is how he dealt with the people of all the Ammonite towns.

It should be noted that David’s slaughter of the Philistines was sanctioned by God:

1 Samuel 23:2 David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go and smite these Philistines?” And the LORD said unto David, “Go, and smite the Philistines…!”

God promised David:

23:4 “I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.”

As well as:

2 Samuel 5:19 So David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The Lord answered him, “Yes, go! For I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.”

And David did what God commanded him to do:

5:25 And David did so, as the Lord had commanded him, and smote the Philistines.

Although we will discuss the genocide of Amalekites in a later article, it is safe to say that virtually every Biblical authority agrees that this was God-ordained as well. In fact, God approved of everythingDavid did—all of his many killings—except for “in the case of Uriah the Hittite”:

1 Kings 15:5 David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.

Uriah was one of King David’s soldiers. David had an affair with Uriah’s wife and had Uriah killed, an act which earned God’s displeasure. God forgave David, but it was the one killing that God did not approve of.  The Geneva Study Bible commentary assures us that David “enterprised no war, but by God’s command.”

In fact, Jews and Christians today revere David’s “obedience to God” and even argue to become“more like David”.  Jewish and Christian children read about David in Sunday school.

Addendum I:

Muhammad’s wars will be discussed in a future part of this series.  But suffice to say, we have now set the groundwork to prove that several Jewish prophets–including MosesJoshua, Samson, and David–were far more violent and warlike than Muhammad.

The major difference between Muhammad and the others was with regard to targeting and killing civilians.  Samson killed 3,000 men and women in his suicide bomb attack, and David “did not leave a man or woman alive.” (1 Samuel 18:11) This stands in marked contrast with Muhammad who repeatedly “forbade the killing of women and children.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol.4, Book 52, #258)

Regardless of issues surrounding historicity,what is quite clear is that the Bible glorifies genocide and the killing of civilians, whereas the Quran does not.  Unlike the Bible, no single verse in the Quran talks about killing women, children, and babies.

Bill Maher and Keith Ellison Spar Over the Qur’an and Islam

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2011 by loonwatch

Bill Maher is anti-Religion, everyone knows that, well at least anyone who know who Bill Maher is, but as we have documented on our site Maher has a special bias against Islam, Muslims and Arabs. For Maher the Qur’an is a “hate filled Holy book,” and Islam presents a “unique” threat to us all as opposed to other religions which he says are merely “superstitious” nonsense but essentially not violent. He even had the temerity to say that the Bible has less violent passages than the Qur’an. A ridiculous claim that we have utterly debunked.

In this encounter, Bill flings these charges at Rep. Keith Ellison, who in my opinion did a pretty decent job in pushing back against Bill’s claims even though he could have done better:

For instance Rep. Ellison could have attacked the statement that the Qur’an is a “hate filled Holy Book” with more than just verses about peace and justice. But I understand that such a short time is really only good for soundbites and that real intellectual and thorough discussion requires a lot more time. He should have at the very least addressed the idea that Islam was somehow a “unique” threat because that is patently false.

Anti-Semitism = Islamophobia

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on March 14, 2011 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from The Accidental Theologist)

by: Lesley Hazleton

This past weekend, I spoke to a Hadassah meeting – the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.  The subject, of my choosing, was “What’s a ‘nice Jewish girl’ doing writing so much about Islam?”

The easy answer to the question I’d self-imposed was “Why not?”  A perfectly reasonable answer, perhaps, but not with bigots like Peter King about to begin his witch hunt this week in the form ofcongressional hearings on the alleged “radicalization” of American Muslims.

The real answer is that it’s precisely because I’m Jewish that I find myself writing so much about Islam these days.  Because as a Jew, I know the dangers of prejudice.  And I can smell it a mile off.  When I hear someone talk about “the Jewish mentality,” I know I’m listening to an anti-Semite.  How else stereotype millions of people that way?   Just as when I read someone like Ayaan Hirsi Alitalking about “the Muslim mentality,” I know — no matter how pretty she is, how soft-spoken, and how compelling her life story – that I am listening to an Islamophobe.

And I recognize that anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are two sides of the exact same coin:  the stereotyping of millions of people by the actions of a few.  That is, prejudice.

So it’s particularly painful, let alone absurd and self-defeating and dumb, to see that some Islamophobes are Jewish.  And equally painful – and absurd and self-defeating and dumb – to see that some Muslims are anti-Semitic.

I have no statistics to say what proportion of Jews are Islamophobic or what proportion of Muslims are anti-Semitic (though I could doubtless make some up and throw them out there with such an air of authority that they’d be repeated ad infinitum until they achieve the status of “fact”).   But the Muslim Brotherhood, for all the changes it has undergone, still distributes The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  And while anti-Zionism does not necessarily mean anti-Semitism, there is a clear overlap, with a venemous hatred finding its outlet in what is now the more acceptable form of anti-Zionism.

So we need to be clear.  We badly need it.

“Islam” did not attack the US on 9/11;  eighteen people with a particularly twisted and distorted idea of Islam did.  “The Jews” do not shoot Palestinian farmers in the West Bank;   Bible-spouting settlers with a particularly twisted and distorted idea of Judaism do.

The Quran is no more violent or misogynistic than the Bible.  In fact it’s less so.  If you insist, as Islamophobes do, on highlighting certain phrases, then you should turn around and do the same with the Bible, which you will find ten times worse, with repeated calls for the destruction of whole peoples.  Only the dumbest, most literal, hate-filled fundamentalist, Jewish or Muslim, takes the rules of ancient warfare as a guide to 21st-century life.

We have to stop this stereotyping.  Now.  All of us.

We have to recognize prejudice not only in others, but in ourselves, Jewish or Muslim.

We have to be able to see that the anti-Semitic trope of “the Jews” trying to take over the world is exactly the same as the Islamophobic one of “the Muslims” trying to take over the world.

We have to acknowledge that an Islamophobic Jew is thinking exactly like an anti-Semite.  And that an anti-Semitic Muslim is thinking exactly like an Islamophobe.

We have to realize that American Jews need to stand up with Muslims against Islamophobia just as American Muslims need to stand up with Jews against anti-Semitism.

Because Islamophobia is, in essence, another form of anti-Semitism, and vice versa.  And it’s in the direct interest of both Jews and Muslims — of all of us — to stand up and confront both forms of prejudice.

In the famous words of an anti-Nazi Protestant pastor during World War II:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Who was the Most Violent Prophet in History?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2011 by loonwatch

This article is part 2 of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series. Please read my “disclaimer” here, which explains my intentions behind writing this article: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

Who was the most violent prophet in history?

Most readers will immediately assume it was the Prophet Muhammad, thanks to a decades long wave of Islamophobia and a sustained campaign of anti-Muslim propaganda.   But here’s a tip: it wasn’t Muhammad.  Not by a long shot.  In fact, Moses had Muhammad beat by far.

But it wasn’t even Moses.  In fact, it was Joshua–a Jewish prophet of Israel.  Today, he is regarded by Jews as “a mighty warrior” of the faith, a victorious hero, and a righteous prophet after Moses:

Before he passed away, Moses was very disappointed that he couldn’t complete the ethnic cleansing of the land. He wanted to take part in the genocide of those living past the Jordan:

3:23 At that time I [Moses] pleaded with the Lord:

3:24 “O Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?

3:25 Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan—that fine hill country and Lebanon.”

God rejected Moses’ plea and declared:

3:28 “But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.”

And so, the job of genocide was divinely passed on from Moses to his successor, Joshua.

Joshua sought to complete the task that Moses had left undone.  It is recorded in the most sacred Jewish holy book, the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament of Christianity), that God Himself commanded Joshua to finish the genocide of the natives living on the other side of the Jordan River:

Joshua 1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide:

1:2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.

1:3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.

1:4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Great Sea on the west.

1:5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

1:6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.”

The city of Jericho stood between Joshua and the land he was to conquer.  As one city after another fell to the sword of Judaism, the people of Jericho feared for their fate.  Would they too be subjected to ethnic cleansing?

One of the natives of the city, a woman by the name of Rahab, was so fearful of the wild-eyed massacres that the God-chosen people were known for that she said:

Joshua 2:9 “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that your terror is fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are deathly afraid of you.

2:10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond the Jordan, unto Sihon and to Og, whom you utterly destroyed.

2:11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things.”

Rahab offered to hide Israelite spies, who were sent to engage in stealth jihad stealth herem. In exchange for her services, she begged the Israelites to spare her family from the brutal massacre that was sure to come after the conquest of her city.  Rahab implored:

2:12 “Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign

2:13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.”

The Israelites agreed, but warned her:

2:19 “If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible.”

In other words, every living thing in that city—except what was in her house—was to be utterly destroyed.  The entire city was to be smitten as a sacrifice to the Lord:

6:17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.

As a footnote clarifies, “devoted” to the Lord means: “The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the LORD, often by totally destroying them.”

[The illustration at the top of this article is of the Battle of Jericho.  Readers will notice the Jewishshofars, ram horns used in times of war.  The Israelites sounded these shofars prior to invading the city and slaughtering all of its inhabitants.  It is in this context that the anti-Muslim protesters in Orange County used them against Muslim-Americans in that now famous video.]

To their credit, the Israelite invaders fulfilled their promise, sparing those in Rahab’s house. They did, however, kill everyone else, women and children included:

6:21 They devoted the city to the Lord and utterly destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

However, the silver, gold, bronze, and iron were taken as plunder:

6:19 But all the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord, and must go into his treasury.

And the city was razed to the ground:

6:24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house.

After “utterly destroying” Jericho, Joshua and the believers turned their attention to the city of Ai:

8:1 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the kings of Ai, his people, his city and his land.

8:2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”

8:3 So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night

8:4 with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city…”

Joshua continued:

8:7 “You are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hand.

8:8 “When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what your Lord has commanded. See to it! You have my orders.”

As per their orders from God and his prophet, the city was razed:

8:19 They entered the city and captured it and quickly set it on fire.

When the men of Ai fought back, they were decimated by Israel:

8:22 Israel cut them down, leaving them neither survivors nor fugitives.

After cutting down the soldiers, the Israelites entered the city to kill off all the civilians (twelve thousand men and women altogether):

8:24 When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and the in the wilderness where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it.

8:25 Twelve thousand men and women were put to death that day—all the people of Ai.

8:26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai.

8:27 But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the Lord had instructed Joshua.

8:28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day.

The king’s body was then mutilated:

8:29 [Joshua] impaled the body of the king of Ai on a pole and left it there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take the body from the pole and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate.

And then the believers built a triumphal mosque triumphal synagogue:

8:30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal, an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel.

Terror and fear of the genocidal wrath of the believers spread far and wide, just as the God of the Bible promised. One such people who were struck with dread were the people of Gibeon, who offered themselves up as slaves in exchange for their lives.  The Gibeonites said to Joshua:

9:24 “We feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this.”

The Gibeonites were permitted to live so long as they “left idolatry” and lived under the “yolk of servitude”. They were consigned to the curse of perpetual servitude and permitted only to be “woodcutters and water carriers”, which were considered “very low and mean employment”:

9:23 “You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”

Joshua had thus destroyed Jericho and Ai, and neutralized Gibeon.  The neighboring five Amorite kingdoms became aware that the Israelites were headed for them next, and formed a coalition to defend themselves.  However, the Amorite coalition was soundly defeated by the Israelite army, and the five Amorite kings fled to a cave in Makkedah.  The Israelites captured the kings and Joshua had them humiliated and executed:

10:24 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.

10:25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.”

10:26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening.

10:27 At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding.

The Israelite vengeance was also savaged upon Makkedah (the city where the five kings had fled to), which was ethnically cleansed:

10:28 That same day Joshua captured and destroyed the town of Makkedah. He killed everyone in it, including the king, leaving no survivors. He destroyed them all.

The Israelite army then did the same to the southern cities, putting all to the sword—men, women, and children. First, the city of Libnah:

10:30 The city [of Libnah] and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there.

Then Lachish:

10:32 The Lord handed Lachish over to Israel, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah.

Then Eglon:

10:35 They captured [Eglon] that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish.

Then Hebron:

10:37 They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it.

Then Debir:

10:39 They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors.

The killing was thorough and complete:

10:40 So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded.

10:41 Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon.

10:42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the Lord,the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

After the decimation of the southern cities, the northern cities banded together to fight off Israel. The Israelites responded in the familiar way—killing every man, woman, and child:

11:11 The Israelites completely destroyed every living thing in the city, leaving no survivors. Not a single person was spared. And then Joshua burned the city.

11:12 Joshua slaughtered all the other kings and their people, completely destroying them, just as Moses, the servant of the LORD, had commanded.

11:13 But the Israelites did not burn any of the towns built on mounds except Hazor, which Joshua burned.

11:14 And the Israelites took all the plunder and livestock of the ravaged towns for themselves. But they killed all the people, leaving no survivors.

11:15 As the LORD had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua. And Joshua did as he was told, carefully obeying all the commands that the LORD had given to Moses.

Joshua then utterly destroyed the Anakites:

11:21 During this period Joshua destroyed all the Anakites…He killed them all and completely destroyed their towns.

11:22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive.

11:23 So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel…

After all this death and destruction…

11:23 … Then the land had rest from war.

By this time, Joshua was on his deathbed and gave parting instructions to his people.  He promised them that they would drive out the survivors from amongst the vanquished nations and usurp their land:

23:1 Now it came to pass, a long time after the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua was old, advanced in age

23:2 And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers, and said to them: “I am old, advanced in age.

23:2 You have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the LORD your God is He who has fought for you.

23:4 See, I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, as far as the Great Sea westward.

23:5 And the LORD your God will expel them from before you and drive them out of your sight. So you shall possess their land, as the LORD your God promised you.”

And so died Joshua, the most violent prophet in all of history.

Addendum I:

Aside from the sheer magnitude of Joshua’s killings, the major difference between Joshua and Muhammad is the issue of targeting civilians.  Joshua, like Moses, targeted and killed civilians–women, children, babies, and the infirm elderly.  The Bible states that Joshua “utterly destroyed with the sword every living thing in it–men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.”  (Joshua 6:21)  On the other hand, the Prophet Muhammad “forbade the killing of women and children.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol.4, Book 52, #258)

Addendum II:

The historicity of the Biblical account–of Moses, Joshua, and the Exodus/Conquest–is discussedhere.

Addendum III:

My intention in writing this article is not to bash Judaism or Christianity, but rather to refute a common argument raised by Islamophobes. To fully understand why I wrote this article, make sure you’ve read this: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

Update I:

I cannot reiterate enough how much I really, really didn’t want to write this article because I know it could offend Jewish and Christian readers–but I simply do not see how I can convincingly refute theIslamophobic argument without doing it this way.

The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2011 by loonwatch

Having been a very strong advocate of religious tolerance and pluralism, it is with great reservation in my heart that I publish the Understanding Jihad Series, which compares violence and war in the Judeo-Christian tradition to the jihad of Islam.  Certainly, the intention is not to target one particular faith or religious group.  Quite the contrary, the goal is to prevent religious majoritarianism, whereby the dominant religious and cultural group is able to target weaker, poorly represented minority populations.  These articles are meant to prevent a certain level of religious smugness that has become quite prevalent today.  In the words of Prof. Philip Jenkins, “Jews and Christians…so ignore their own scriptures that they become self-righteous” towards Muslims and Islam.

The aggressive way that anti-Muslim propagandists have pushed the Islamophobic idea–that Muhammad/Islam/Quran/Sharia/Allah are so uniquely violent and warlike–has made it almost impossible for me not to write such articles.  The data makes my case overwhelming: a recent Pew Research poll found that almost half of U.S. adults think that the Islamic religion is more likely to encourage violence than other religions, a figure that has almost doubled since 2002.  A clear majority of conservative Republicans (66%), white Evangelicals (60%), and Tea Baggers (67%) believe Islam is more violent than other religions, with a plurality of whites (44%) and older folks (42-46%) also thinking this.  (Of note is that blacks, Hispanics, and liberal Democrats are significantly less bigoted towards Islam.)  The idea that Islam is more violent than other religions–held most strongly by old white conservatives–is a key pillar to the edifice of Islamophobia.  The need for the Understanding Jihad Series seems self-evident.

Any time Islam is mentioned on the internet, pseudo-experts ferociously start copying and pasting a litany of Islamic texts to whack Muslims over the head with.   This anti-Muslim sentiment, fueled by profound ignorance (of both their own scriptures and Islamic), is no longer limited to fringe elements and has found its way into the mainstream.  Pro-Israeli hawks, in particular, have tried to transform this bigotry of Islam from a merely theological tussle into state policy.  It is hoped that pointing to Judeo-Christian scriptural sources that are far more violent than what is quoted from Islamic sources will instill in the extremist Zionists and Messianic Christians a level of religious humility.

My fear in so doing, of course, is of offending well-meaning Jews and Christians.  Indeed, while it is true that there is a definite link between Zionism and Islamophobia, it is also true that some of the most effective defenders of Muslims are in fact Jews.  These include such notable personalities as Glenn Greenwald, Richard Silverstein, Jon Stewart, Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Max Blumenthal, and–without naming names–even some writers of LoonWatch (gasp!).  To be absolutely clear, I do not think that Judaism and Christianity are violent religions.  What I am simply trying to prove is that just because certain Quranic verses seem violent, one cannot make sweeping statements of the religion based on this…no more so than showing certain violent Biblical verses would prove the inherent nature of Judaism or Christianity.  When people from the majority group realize that their own religious tradition also has “problematic” texts, they are usually more hesitant to rush to judgment about other faiths.

Although in the past I have compared Islam to Christianity–such as when I compared the traditional Islamic concept of “dhimmi” to the traditional Christian concept of “perpetual serf”–in the Understanding Jihad Series the comparison will more often be made with Judaism.  The reason for this is that it is much easier to compare Islam to Judaism because both are very similar in basic structure.  The Jewish Halacha is equivalent to the Islamic Sharia and the rabbinical tradition is analogous to the Islamic jurisprudential tradition.  The similarities between the two religions are actually quite uncanny. Therefore, it makes sense to invoke this comparison.

The reader should not think that I believe that a certain religion or another is violent.  Rather, there exist peaceful and violent interpretations of religion.  I reject the view held by religious orthodoxy that the human mind is simply an empty receptacle that unthinkingly “obeys” the divine plan.  Hundreds of years after their prophets have died, believers (of all faiths) are forced (by virtue of not having a divine interlocutor) to exert their own minds and ethics to give life to texts, to render 3D realities from 2D texts.  Such an elastic idea–that a religion is whatever its believers make it into–is certainly anathema to orthodox adherents who simply desire a step-by-step instruction manual to produce human automatons.  But the truth is that even these orthodox adherents necessarily inject into the religious texts their own backgrounds, beliefs, and biases.

One can see why I do not think that simply showing a Biblical verse here or there would prove that Judaism or Christianity are violent faiths. There is a long journey from what is on the page to what is understood and put into practice.  And once this reality is comprehended, it is hoped that Jews and Christians will gain a larger perspective when they approach Muslims and their religion.

It should be noted of course that not all Islamophobes are Jewish or Christian.  Many are ex-Muslims who feel that their former religious affiliation gives them a free pass to be bigoted.  This is hardly surprising, given that historically the worst oppressors of the Jewish minority in the Western world were actually ex-Jews converted to Christianity.  Though they think of themselves as truly special, there is nothing unique about apostates from a religion; they have existed throughout history, and it was not uncommon for their zeal for their new religion to convert into wholesale bigotry for what they left behind.

When I argued that Moses was more violent than Muhammad, one critic pointed out that atheists would condemn both.  Yet, one only needs to glance at anti-Muslim websites to see that these atheistic Islamophobes try to (and need to) prove that Muhammad/Islam/Quran/Sharia/Allah areuniquely violent.  Short of proving this uniqueness, their agenda fails.  Thus, it hardly matters to the effectiveness of my article whether or not one believes in Jewish or Christian prophets.  If we use the exact same standards applied to Islam to all religions and find them to be as violent or more violent than Islam, then what exactly is their point?  This question is what my articles force onto them, to which the “I am not a believer” excuse hardly suffices.

There will definitely be those militant atheists who genuinely can’t tolerate any religious faith.  These are the equal opportunity haters.  But because they do not single out Islam, I am less bothered by them.  Although many of their rantings are childish, they are not as destructive because they do not specifically target vulnerable minority populations.

Having thus expressed my general discomfort in writing these articles, I hope my readers can take into account context and intent.  If, for example, a white supremacist site compiled a list of all criminals that are black, this would be a clear case of bigotry.  An effective and appropriate way to counter this list would be to produce an even longer list of white criminals.  Even though the action is the same (producing lists of criminals of a particular race), it is the context and intent that are all important.  It is in a similar fashion that I am producing a “counter-list” of Biblical verses to counter the popular list of Quranic quotes that Islamophobes like to share.  LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series will categorically answer the question that an alarmingly high number of Americans answered incorrectly: is Islam more likely than other religions to encourage violence?

I would nonetheless strongly caution overzealous Muslim readers from using these articles to stir hatred against Jews and Christians, noting that Islam has no shortage of “problematic” texts.

Warrior Prophet: Moses or Muhammad?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2011 by loonwatch

This article is part 1 of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series.

 

The video of anti-Muslim bigots jeering at mosque-goers in Orange County has now gone viral.  Amongst those who sponsored the hateful event were two extremist Zionist Jews, namely Pamela Geller and Rabbi David Eliezrie.  It was also sponsored by ACT! for America, a fervently pro-Israeli group with heavy Christian Zionist overtones.  The link between Zionism and Islamophobia is well-established.

As can be seen from the video, one of the principal ways these “Israeli-firsters”  try to hurt Muslims is by insulting Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.  In particular, they criticize Muhammad as being warlike and violent.  The fact that their religious founder was belligerent explains why Muslims today are, or so the argument goes.

Yet, Moses–the prophet of Judaism and the principal figure of the religion–was far more warlike and violent than Muhammad.  We know this from the Hebrew Bible, which is considered Judaism’s most sacred scripture and respected by Christians as the Old Testament.  (The Biblical verses we will examine will also show us why the Bible is far more violent than the Quran.)  Could the violent nature of Moses explain the belligerence of the modern day state of Israel and its supporters?

According to the Bible, a Jewish prophet by the name of Moses arose in Egypt.  He liberated his people from bondage, and together they fled Egypt to the “promised land.”  The promised land was a place called Canaan (Palestine). This journey from Egypt to Canaan was known as the Exodus.

It might help to glance at a map:

So the Hebrews fled Egypt and traveled to Canaan.

But they hit a small snag. There were already people living in Canaan. These natives are referred to in the Bible as “The Seven Nations.” (Not to be a stickler, but there were actually more than seven nations.) Here is what the tribes looked like before the Israelites arrived:

To resolve this dilemma, God ordered the Israelites to exterminate all the inhabitants of Canaan (men, women, and children) and to take their land. The God of the Bible commanded Moses and his followers:

Deuteronomy 20:17 You must utterly destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the LORD your God has commanded you.

The God of the Bible threatened the people of Palestine/Canaan with catastrophe (nakba):

Exodus 15:14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestine.

15: 15 Then, the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the might men of Moab, trembling shall take hold on them, all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.

15:16 Terror and dread shall fall on them; by the greatness of your arm they shall be as still as a stone; till your people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which you have purchased.

15:17 You shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance.

In other words, God “purchased” the land that the natives lived on, and He would give it as “inheritance” to the Israelite conquerors. It should be clear that the words “all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away” refers to genocide, a point which we will subsequently be made clearer.

The Aradites were one group of peoples that inhabited Canaan, the land which the God of Israel had promised the Israelites. The Israelites marched towards them:

Numbers 33:40 At that time the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev in the land of Canaan, heard that the people of Israel were approaching his land.

One Biblical commentary explains that the Aradite king “heard of the coming of the children of Israel, towards the land of Canaan, in order to possess it, and he came out and fought with them.” The king had some initial success:

21:1 He attacked the Israelites and captured some of them.

Ancient Israel responded with even more brutality than the modern day state of Israel does:

21:2 Then Israel made this vow to the LORD: “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy their cities.”

21:3 The LORD heard the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites; then they utterly destroyed them and their cities. Thus the name of the place was called Hormah [Utter Destruction].

The word Hormah literally translates to “Ban”, because it means that there is a ban on all living things. As we shall see, the Israelites slaughtered men, women, children, cattle, sheep, donkeys, and anything that breathed. The word “Hormah” is often translated by Biblical commentators as “Utter Destruction.”

After annihilating the Aradites, Moses and the Israelites then turned their attention to the Amorites. The God of the Bible commanded the faithful to conquer the Amorite land of Heshbon:

Deuteronomy 2:24 Then the LORD said, “Now get moving! Cross the Arnon Gorge. Look, I will hand over to you Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and I will give you his land. Attack him and begin to occupy the land.

2:25 This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you.”

The Israelites requested King Sihon to pass through his land. Sihon naturally refused, as he had heard reports of what the Israelites had done to his neighbors. When Sihon refused the request, the order was given to attack him:

2:30 But Sihon king of Heshbon refused to let us pass through. For the Lord your God had made his spirit stubborn and his heart obstinate in order to give him into your hands, as he has now done.

2:31 The Lord said to me, “See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land.”

Of course, every nation-state has a right to deny entry of foreigners into its territory. If, for example, the Iranian army requested permission to pass through Israel, would Iran have justification to attack Israel if the request was refused? King Sihon’s denial of the request is all the more reasonable when we consider that (1) the king knew that the Israelites were bent on conquering his land, and (2) the peoples of that region had “hear[d] reports of you [Israelites]” that made them “tremble and be in anguish.”

In any case, after furnishing themselves with a moral justification to invade Heshbon, Moses and the Israelites proceeded to kill the king of Heshbon and all his people:

2:33 The Lord our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army.

2:34 At that time we took all his cities and completely destroyed them—men, women and children. We left no survivors.

2:35 But the livestock and the plunder from the towns we had captured we carried off for ourselves.

Multiple cities and their populations were completely annihilated:

2:36 From Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge, and from the city in the gorge, even as far as Gilead, not one city was too strong for us. The Lord our God gave us all of them.

King Sihon and his people, the Amorites of Heshbon, were ethnically cleansed. The Israelites then moved on to King Og and his people, the Amorites of Bashan. The God of the Bible commanded the Israelites to “do to him what you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites”, i.e. annihilate them:

Numbers 21:34 The LORD said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of Og, for I have handed him over to you, with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites who reigned in Heshbon.”

21:35 So they killed him and his sons and all his people, until there was none left to him alive, and they possessed his land.

Moses and the Israelites then massacred the inhabitants of sixty different cities:

Deuteronomy 3:3 So the Lord our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors.

3:4 At that time we took all his cities. There was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them—the whole region of Argob, Og’s kingdom in Bashan.

3:5 All these cities were fortified with high walls and with gates and bars, and there were also a great many unwalled villages.

3:6 We completely destroyed them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying every city—men, women and children.

3:7 But all the livestock and the plunder from their cities we carried off for ourselves.

In fact, the Bible repeatedly sanctions the genocide of natives:

20:16 In the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.

20:17 You must utterly destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the LORD your God has commanded you.

The next verse explains why “you must utterly destroy” them:

20:18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.

The Bible advocates genocide of the adherents of other religions, due to the fear that the believers may convert. This becomes very clear when we consider the way Moses and the God of the Bible deal with the Mobaites and Midianites. Some women from the Moabites and Midianites partook in consensual sexual relations with Israelite men. After cohabitating with idolatrous women, the Israelite men were affected by the Moabite and Midianite religion and culture. Eventually, these men started worshiping Ba’al Pe’or, the local god of the Moabites and Midianites. This earned the Israelites the wrath of God:

Numbers 25:1 While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women,

25:2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods.

25:3 So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.

God then sent a plague down upon the people of Israel, which was only lifted after one of the Israelites murdered a Midianite woman:

25:6 Then an Israelite man brought to his family a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

25:7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand

25:8 and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear through both of them—through the Israelite and into the woman’s body. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped;

25:9 but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.

25:10 The Lord said to Moses,

25:11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them, so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them.

25:12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him.

25:13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”

In verse 25:15, we learn that Cozbi was the name of the Midianite woman who was murdered. This “honor killing” placated God’s anger, and God blessed the killer and his descendants with “a covenant of lasting priesthood.” God did, however, command Moses and the Israelites to massacre the Midianites:

25:16 The Lord said to Moses,

25:17 “Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them,

25:18 because they treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the affair of Peor and their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, the woman who was killed when the plague came as a result of Peor.”

The above verse makes it clear why God commanded Moses and the Israelites to kill the Midianites: because of the “affair of Peor” (i.e. the idolatrous women having consensual sexual relations with the Israelite men and the subsequent idol worship) and Cozbi (the woman who had sexual relations with an Israelite man).

And so God commanded Moses to attack the Midianites:

31:1 The Lord said to Moses,

31:2 “Avenge the people of Israel of the Midianites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”

31:3 So Moses said to the people, “Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites and to carry out the Lord’s vengeance on them.

31:4 Send into battle a thousand men from each of the tribes of Israel.”

And:

31:7 They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man.

31:8 Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.

31:9 The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder.

31:10 They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps.

31:11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals,

31:12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest…

The Jewish followers of Moses killed every man, and took the women and children as slaves. They then returned to Moses, but he became upset at them for not killing the women and children as well. Only the young virgins fit to be sex slaves were to be kept alive:

31: 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

31:15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them.

31:16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people.

31:17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,

31:18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Then God discusses how to divide up the spoils of war:

31:25 The Lord said to Moses,

31:26: “You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads of the community are to count all the people and animals that were captured.

31:27 Divide the spoils between the soldiers who took part in the battle and the rest of the community.

31:28 From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the Lord one out of every five hundred, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep or goats.”

This last verse seems to justify human sacrifices to God “as tribute for the Lord.” The next few verses bear this out:

31:32 The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep,

31:33 72,000 cattle,

31:34 61,000 donkeys

31:35 and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man.

31:36 The half share of those who fought in the battle was: 337,500 sheep,

31:37 of which the tribute for the Lord was 675;

31:38 36,000 cattle, of which the tribute for the Lord was 72;

31:39 30,500 donkeys, of which the tribute for the Lord was 61;

31:40 16,000 people, of which the tribute for the Lord was 32.

As for the Moabites, they avoided the wrath of Israel for a short period of time before they were ultimately decimated. That task was carried out by David, one of Moses’ divinely chosen successors (and a prophet of Judaism in his own right). The faithful massacred two-thirds of the Moabites and took the remaining one-third as dhimmis perpetual serfs:

2 Samuel 8:2 David also conquered the land of Moab. He made the people lie down on the ground in a row, and he measured them off in groups with a length of rope. He measured off two groups to be executed for every one group to be spared. The Moabites who were spared became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money.

Some Biblical commentaries argue that two-thirds of the Moabite population was slaughtered while others argue that only the soldiers were. In any case, the Moabites were subjected to dhimmitudeperpetual serfdom and were forced to pay jizya tribute. But eventually the Moabites revolted against this tributary tax:

2 Kings 3:4 King Mesha of Moab was a sheep breeder. He used to pay the king of Israel an annual tribute of 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams.

3:5 But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

The Israelites, with the blessing of Elisha (another Jewish prophet), mobilized three large armies to stamp out the rebellion. The people of Moab attempted to defend themselves:

3:21 Now all the Moabites had heard that the three armies had come to fight against them; so every man, young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border.

The Moabites were vanquished and slaughtered:

3:24 The Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites.

3:25 They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only [the fortress of] Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it as well.

The Israelites then called off the siege with the result that a few Moabites survived. The Moabites were finally destroyed altogether in 2 Chronicles 20, although the actual narration is a bit difficult to follow.

The Biblical Moses was thus responsible for the massacre and genocide of several populations. These included the people of Arad, Heshbon (and her surrounding cities), Bashan (including at least sixty cities), and the Midianites. Before he passed away, Moses was very disappointed that he couldn’t complete the ethnic cleansing of the land. He wanted to take part in the genocide of those living past the Jordan:

3:23 At that time I [Moses] pleaded with the Lord:

3:24 “O Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?

3:25 Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan—that fine hill country and Lebanon.”

God rejected Moses’ plea and declared:

3:28 “But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.”

And so, the job of genocide was divinely passed on from Moses to his successor, Joshua.

Addendum I:

The wars of Muhammad will be addressed in a subsequent part of the Understanding Jihad Series, which will directly refute chapter 1 (Muhammad: Prophet of War) of Robert Spencer’s book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).

However, it would be helpful to point out the most striking difference between Moses and Muhammad in this regard. Moses targeted and killed civilians–women, children, babies, and the infirm elderly.  Moses ordered his soldiers: “Kill all the boys[,] and kill every woman” (Numbers 31:17), an order which is an oft-repeated imperative in the Bible.  Meanwhile, Muhammad explicitly forbade targeting civilians on numerous occasions, saying:  “Do not kill an infirm old man, an infant, a child, or a woman.” (Sunan Abu Dawood, book 14, #2608)

Addendum II:

It could be argued that the life and wars of Moses are of questionable historicity, and that secular scholarship would doubt the accuracy of Jewish scriptural sources.  Yet, this argument is nullified by the fact that the life and wars of Muhammad are similarly subject to questionable historicity.  The primary sources of Muhammad’s life and wars come almost exclusively from the Islamic scriptural sources and tradition, namely “(1) casual allusions in the Qur’an and (2) oral traditions”.  More neutral non-Muslim sources from the seventh century are scant, and at most confirm the existence of Muhammad and very basic data.  Writes Professor Solomon Alexander Nigosian on p.6 of Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices:

The attempt to separate the historical from the unhistorical elements in the available sources has yielded few, if any, positive results regarding the figure of Muhammad or the role he played in Islam. The predicament faced by modern scholars is perhaps best stated by Harald Motzki:

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

In order to construct narratives of Muhammad’s wars, one must rely on the Islamic scriptural sources and tradition (the same ones which Islamophobes use to criticize Islam).  It seems only reasonable and fair then to compare Muhammad with the Moses derived from the Jewish scriptural sources and tradition.  And in this light, Moses does not stack up well against Muhammad.

Addendum III:

Those who are familiar with my writing know very well that the intent here is not at all to “bash” Moses or Judaism, but rather to give the haters a taste of their own medicine in order that they realize the error in their ways.  In particular, the goal is to show that the absurd standard Islam is held to–or anything related to Islam (Muhammad, Allah, the Quran, Sharia, Muslims, Muslim-majority countries, etc.)–is unfair, a fact that becomes painfully obvious when applied in a similar way to a Jewish/Christian/ analogue.

Addendum IV:

Many of the counter-arguments raised by our opponents will be addressed in further editions of this series.  I initially had planned on releasing the entire Understanding Jihad Series as one mega-article.  Having realized that this would be well over one hundred pages long, I decided to heed the advice of LW readers who requested that my articles be split into parts so as to be easier to digest.  This decision comes with the regret that many of my responses to the trite counter-arguments I know the Islam-bashers are itching to use will be published at a later date.

 

Amarillo: Quran Burning Leader Wants to Run for Mayor

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2011 by loonwatch

This guy is wacko but does that mean he has no chance to win?

Quran Burning Leader Running For Amarillo Mayor

(Newschannel6)

A Texas man who tried to organize the burning of a Quran last September 11th is running for mayor of Amarillo.

David Grisham, leader of “Repent Amarillo,” filed his papers Monday.

Grisham says he wants to lead the city in a new direction.

“If the government authorities are to be ministers of God, then ministers of God need to be running for the offices of the governing authorities, makes sense to me,” Grisham said.

Grisham also made news for calling for the boycott of the city of Houston because it elected a homosexual mayor.

 

Gainesville pastor Terry Jones wants to put Quran on trial

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by loonwatch

Looks like Pastor Terry Jones is getting desperate for some attention once again. One wonders if he has ever bothered to read the Quran?

Gainesville pastor Terry Jones wants to put Quran on trial

GAINESVILLE —

The Gainesville pastor who ignited international outrage after announcing plans to burn the Quran now says he wants to put the holy book on trial.

Pastor Terry Jones wants to hold an event inside his Gainesville church and judge the Islamic holy book.

“My first reaction was, ‘Here we go again,’” said Imam Muhammad Musri, from the Islamic Society of Central Florida.

Musri played a big role in trying to help diffuse the dynamite Jones lit in September after announcing his plans for “International Burn a Quran Day.”

“What Terry Jones has done in the past, and is attempting to do again, is to incite violence,” said Musri.

It’s potential violence the Gainesville Police Department wants to be ready for, should the need arise.

A Gainesville police representative told News 13 they are “very aware” of Pastor Jones’ newest plans, and have sent officers to speak with him.

“He’s trying to stir a pot,” said Musri.

“The issue became a very political issue,” said Lawrence Walters, a First Amendment lawyer. “The media spotlight shined very brightly on Pastor Jones and his church.”

The media attention, according to Imam Musri, is what Jones wants the most.

Walters said it has perpetuated Jones’ actions.

“It’s caused a lot more people to pay attention to his speech, and has resulted in consequences and actions to the speech that otherwise would have never happened if the statements were not given the attention that the media provided,” he said.

“I think the media should deny him that attention, because there’s nothing good he’s trying to say,” said Musri. “He’s trying to create controversy.”

Musri said Jones’ freedom of speech comes with a high price: It hurts the U.S. image across the world.

In the News 13 newsroom, we have been engaged in extensive discussions on how to best cover Pastor Jones as we move forward.

As a media organization, we are certainly not in the business of censorship. But we are in the business of doing what’s responsible.

Ignoring what could become another event in Central Florida that ignites international outrage would not be responsible of us.

However, giving an open microphone to a religious leader whose views and actions advocate intolerance would not be responsible of us, either.

 

Asra Nomani can Learn a Thing or Two from Lesley Hazelton about the Quran

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2010 by loonwatch

Lesley Hazleton gave a very moving and profound speech about her three month extensive devotion to the study of the Quran at TEDx. What she learned deeply moved her and in sharing her experience she deeply moves the crowd.

It is a very interesting video in light of our recent article on Asra Nomani, an individual who was born a Muslim but advocates tearing out pages from the Quran and calling for verses of the Quran to “go up in smoke.”

 

Muslims and Christians Gather together in Iraq

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by loonwatch

Muslims and Christians hold their respective holy scriptures at a gathering to support peace amongst the various confessions in Iraq.

 

Dennis Prager at War with Muslims

Posted in Feature, Loon Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2010 by loonwatch

Dennis Prager is at war with leftists, secularists, labor unions, civil rights organizations, Big Government, academics, atheists, Europeans, internationalists, “moral relativists” — and Muslims. Nothing personal, it’s just his worldview — that and the fact that not one Muslim in the entire world is a moderate:

There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude?

Long before it was fashionable to burn Qu’rans, Prager, a Republican convert, began trash-talking them:

In 2006 he wrote that “America, not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on,” in taking great offense that the first Muslim elected to Congress had decided to take his oath of office on a Qu’ran and not on a Christian bible. The ADL noted the bigotry of Prager’s remarks and conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson pointed out the irony that “here we have a Jew pushing a Muslim to use the Christian Bible.”

In Moment Magazine, which features articles of contemporary Jewish interest, Prager awkwardly (and self-contradictorily) defended his views, even after it was pointed out that many politicians had sworn their oath of office on books other than the bible or on none at all:

America has no state religion, nor should it ever be allowed to have one. But it has always been a Judeo-Christian country. Jews—and America itself—will suffer if we cease to be one. Just ask the Jews of secular Europe how their secular societies treat them and Israel. For that matter, just think about how our secular universities have become anti-Israel hate centers.

On the one hand Prager says America should be secular. But on the other hand he says it should privilege Jews and Christians. This is vintage Prager — a new believer in Kulturkampf between Islam and the West.

Despite his own advanced case, Prager denies that Islamophobia actually exists. As the co-author of a book on anti-Semitism himself, Prager should know better, but he wrote:

The fact remains that the term “Islamophobia” has one purpose — to suppress any criticism, legitimate or not, of Islam. And given the cowardice of the Western media, and the collusion of the left in banning any such criticism (while piling it on Christianity and Christians), it is working.

When it comes to anti-Semitism, however, Prager rejects identical arguments and in fact argues that Zionism is part of Judaism — so any criticism of Israel or Jewry amounts to the same thing:

Among the many lies that permeate the modern world, none is greater — or easier to refute — than the claim that Zionism is not an integral part of Judaism or the claim that anti-Zionism is unrelated to anti-Semitism.

Thus, anyone who challenges Zionism — for example, Palestinians who are in conflict with Israel or the legions of academics, NGOs, international organizations, or human rights groups, even many Jews — is by definition an anti-Semite.

The Middle East conflict? Bah! That’s just anti-Semitism he writes in a piece, “The Middle East conflict is hard to solve but easy to explain:”

Those who deny this and ascribe the conflict to other reasons, such as “Israeli occupation,” “Jewish settlements,” a “cycle of violence,” “the Zionist lobby” and the like, do so despite the fact that Israel’s enemies regularly announce the reason for the conflict. The Iranian regime, Hizbollah, Hamas and the Palestinians — in their public opinion polls, in their anti-Semitic school curricula and media, in their election of Hamas, in their support for terror against Israeli civilians in pre-1967 borders — as well as their Muslim supporters around the world, all want the Jewish state annihilated.

Thus Prager completely dismisses any geopolitical causes or “trivial issues” like land theft or ethnic cleansing. No, there is just one reason for all this hostility and it can only be Islam. And it’s clear that Prager is not just talking about a few fanatical winguts when he lumps all of the world’s Muslims into this denunciation, in an article entitled “The Islamic threat is greater than German and Soviet threats were:”

A far larger number of people believe in Islamic authoritarianism than ever believed in Marxism. Virtually no one living in Marxist countries believed in Marxism or communism. Likewise, far fewer people believed in Nazism, an ideology confined largely to one country for less than one generation. This is one enormous difference between the radical Islamic threat to our civilization and the two previous ones. But there is yet a second difference that is at least as significant and at least as frightening: Nazis and Communists wanted to live and feared death; Islamic authoritarians love death and loathe life.

But in fact, for Prager, who participated in one of David Horowitz’s “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” events, “Islam is identical to “Islamofascism:

So once one acknowledges the obvious, that there is fascistic behavior among a core of Muslims — specifically, a cult of violence and the wanton use of physical force to impose an ideology on others — the term “Islamo-Fascism” is entirely appropriate.

Dennis Prager’s attitudes toward Muslims are echoed in his views on immigrants in America. A Tea Party supporter, Prager supports Arizona Law SB1070 and believes in American Exceptionalismor Judeo-Christian Dominionism. In this clip at a Tea Party event in Colorado, sitting next to Sarah Palin, Prager describes his revulsion for internationalism and European morality, praising something rather like an American version of Zionism. His is a world view common to the Tea Party, Likudniks, and neoconservatives.

As for Islamophobia — it’s just one of Prager’s many hobbies — but integral to this worldview.

 

Mufreesboro: “America Better Off Without Muslims”

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by loonwatch

I don’t want to saturate today’s posts with Murfreesboro nuttiness, but this one was too good to pass up. So essentially some witnesses in the Murfreesboro Mosque trial are also funding groups who are “educating the public on the dangers of Islam.” (hat tip: Eric Allen Bell)

These witnesses also believe America should get rid of Muslims and that if anyone is teaching from the Quran it is against the law because the law is to teach from the Bible!

Witnesses fund lawsuit against local mosque

By: CHRISTIAN GRANTHAM, Post Contributor
Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010 8:03 pm

A witness in the Murfreesboro mosque trial said she believed America would be better off without Muslims and pledged support to fight a proposed mosque in her community.

Murfreesboro resident Jeanetta Alford was called to the stand Thursday in an effort by plaintiffs to stop the construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Rutherford County.

“If anyone is teaching out of the Qur’an, then yes, you are breaking the law,” Alford told the court. “I believe we have to follow the Bible and respect our government.”

Alford went on to describe the dangers of Sharia law and her new found fear of Islam after studying publications and hearing from local mosque opponents. Read the rest

 

Dude, you HAVE no Koran!

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by loonwatch

Dude, you HAVE no Koran!

And the mandatory youtube remix: