The Myths of Islam

July 12, 2008

The Myths of Islam


Muslims often complain of the popular “misconceptions” about their religion in the West.

We took a hard look, however, and found that the most deeply held myths of Islam are the ones generated by Muslims and Western apologists.  The only glaring exception to this is the misconception that all Muslims are alike (they aren’t), but even Muslims fall into this trap as well, as evidenced by the various contrary factions insisting that they are the true Muslims, while others are either infidels, hijackers, or hypocrites.

Don’t be fooled!  Hear the myths, but know the truth.

Islam Means ‘Peace’

Islam respects Women as Equals

Jihad Means ‘Inner Struggle’

Islam is a Religion of Peace

Islam is Tolerant of Other Religions

Islam Facilitated a ‘Golden Age’ of Scientific Discovery

Islam is Opposed to Slavery

Islam is Incompatible with Terrorism

Islam is a Democracy

The Qur’an is the Muslim Counterpart to the Bible

Islam Means ‘Peace’

The Myth:

Lesser educated Muslims sometimes claim that the root word of Islam is “al-Salaam,” which is “peace” in Arabic.

The Truth:

The root word for Islam is “al-Silm,” which means “submission” or “surrender.”  There is no controversy about this among Islamic scholars.

Submission and peace can be very different concepts, even if a form of peace is often brought about through forcing others into submission.  As the modern-day Islamic scholar, Ibrahim Sulaiman, puts it, “Jihad is not inhumane, despite its necessary violence and bloodshed, its ultimate desire is peace which is protected and enhanced by the rule of law.”

In truth, the Qur’an not only calls Muslims to submit to Allah, it also commands them to subdue people of other religions until they are in a full state of submission to Islamic rule.  This has inspired the aggressive history of Islam and its success in conquering other cultures.

Islam Respects Women as Equals

The Myth:

The Qur’an places men and women on equal foundation before Allah.  Each person is judged according to his or her own deeds.  Women have equal rights under Islamic law.

The Truth:

Merely stating that individuals will be judged as such by Allah does not mean that they have equal rights and roles, or that they are judged by the same standards.  In fact, Sura 37:22-23 implies that women will be punished on Judgment Day for sins committed by their husbands.

There is no ambiguity in the Qur’an, the life of Muhammad, or Islamic law as to the inferiority of women to men, despite the efforts of modern-day apologists to salvage Western-style feminism from scraps and fragments of verses that have historically held no such progressive interpretation.

After military conquests, Muhammad would dole out captured women as war prizes to his men.  In at least one case, he advocated that they be raped in front of their husbands.  Captured women were made into sex slaves by the very men who killed their husbands and brothers.  There are at least three Qur’anic verses in which Allah makes it clear that a Muslim master has full sexual access to his female slaves, yet there is not one that prohibits rape.

The Qur’an gives Muslim men permission to beat their wives for disobedience.  It plainly says that husbands are “a degree above” wives.  The Hadith says that women are intellectually inferior, and that they comprise the majority of Hell’s occupants.

Under Islamic law, a man may divorce his wife at the drop of a hat.  If he does this twice, then wishes to remarry her, then she must first have sex with another man.  Men are exempt from such degradations.

Muslim women are not free to marry whomever they please, as are Muslim men.  Their husband may bring other wives into the marriage bed.  She must be sexually available to him at all times (as a field ready to be “tilled,” according to the holy book of Islam).

Muslim women do not inherit property in equal portions to males.  Their testimony in court is considered to be worth only half that of a man’s.  Unlike a man, she must cover her head and often her face.

If a woman wants to prove that she was raped, then there must be four male witnesses to corroborate her account.  Otherwise she will be jailed or stoned to death for confessing to “adultery.”

Given all of this, it is quite a stretch to say that men and women have “equality under Islam” based on obscure theological analogies or comparisons.  This is an entirely new stratagem that is designed to appeal to modern tastes, but is in sharp disagreement with the reality of Islamic law and history.

Further Reading from the Qur’an:

Veils
Women Worth Less than Men
Proving Rape under Islamic Law
Wife-Beating
Divorce – A Man’s Prerogative
Remarriage
Men in Charge of Women
Polygamy


Jihad Means ‘Inner Struggle’

The Myth:

Islam’s Western apologists sometimes claim that since the Arabic word, Jihad, literally means “fight” or “struggle,” it refers to an “inner struggle” rather than holy war.

The Truth:

This is extremely difficult to reconcile with the Qur’an, which, for example, exempted the disabled and elderly from Jihad (4:95).  This would make no sense if the word is being used merely within the context of spiritual struggle.  It is also unclear why Muhammad would use graphic language, such as smiting fingers and heads from the hands and necks of unbelievers if he were speaking merely of character development.

With this in mind, Muslims themselves usually admit that there are two meanings to the word, but insist that “inner struggle” is the “greater Jihad,” whereas “holy war” is the “lesser.”  In fact, this misconception is based only on an a single hadith that is extremely weak and unreliable.

By contrast, the most reliable of all Hadith is that of Bukhari.  The word, Jihad, is mentioned over 200 times in reference to the words of Muhammad and each one is a clear connotation to holy war.  By contrast, Bukhari does not contain a single reference to Jihad within the context of “personal struggle.”

Further Reading:

The Greater-Lesser Jihad Myth (from a Muslim Source)

Islam is a Religion of Peace

The Myth:

Muhammad was a peaceful man who taught his followers to be the same.  Muslims lived peacefully for centuries, only fighting in self-defense when it was necessary.  True Muslims would never act aggressively.

The Truth:

Muhammad organized 65 military campaigns in the last ten years of his life and personally led 27 of them.  The more power that he attained, the smaller the excuse needed to go to battle, until finally he began attacking tribes merely because they were not part of his growing empire.

After Muhammad’s death, his most faithful followers and even his own family turned on each other almost immediately.  There were four Caliphs (leaders) in the first twenty-five years.  Three of the four were murdered.  The third Caliph was murdered by the son of the first.  The fourth Caliph was murdered by the fifth, who left a 100-year dynasty that was ended in a gruesome, widespread bloodbath by descendents of Muhammad’s uncle.

Muhammad’s own daughter, Fatima, and his son-in-law, Ali, who both survived the pagan hardship during the Meccan years safe and sound, did not survive Islam after the death of Muhammad.  Fatima died of stress from persecution within three months, and Ali was later assassinated.  Their son (Muhammad’s grandson) was killed in battle with the faction that became today’s Sunnis.  His people became Shias.  The relatives and personal friends of Muhammad were mixed into both warring groups, which then fractured further into hostile sub-divisions as Islam grew.

Muhammad left his men with instructions to take the battle against the Christians, Persians, Jews and polytheists (which came to include millions of unfortunate Hindus).  For the next four centuries, Muslim armies steamrolled over unsuspecting neighbors, plundering them of loot and slaves, and forcing the survivors to either convert or pay tribute at the point of a sword.

Companions of Muhammad lived to see Islam declare war on every major religion in the world in just the first few decades following his death – pressing the Jihad against Hindus, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Buddhists.

By the time of the Crusades (when the Europeans began fighting back), Muslims had conquered two-thirds of the Christian world by the sword, from Spain to Syria, and across North Africa.  The Arab slave-trading routes would stay open for 1300 years, until pressure from Christian-based countries forced Islamic nations to declare the practice illegal (in theory).

Today, there is not another religion in the world that consistently produces terrorism in the name of religion as does Islam.  The most dangerous Muslims are nearly always those who interpret the Qur’an most transparently.  They are the fundamentalists or purists of the faith, and believe in Muhammad’s mandate to spread Islamic rule by the sword, putting to death those who will not submit.

The holy texts of Islam are saturated with verses of violence and hatred toward those outside the faith.  In sharp contrast to the Bible, which generally moves from relatively violent passages to far more peaceful ones, the Qur’an travels the exact opposite path.  The handful of earlier verses that speak of tolerance are overwhelmed by an avalanche of later ones that carry a much different message.  While Old Testament verses of blood and guts are generally bound by historical context within the text itself, Qur’anic imperatives to violence usually appear open-ended.

By any objective measure, the “Religion of Peace” has been the harshest, bloodiest religion the world has ever known.

Further Reading:

The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth
Muslim Terror from 9/11 through 2003
Muslim Terror in 2004
Muslim Terror in 2005
Muslim Terror in 2006
Muslim Terror in 2007
In the Name of Allah

Islam is Tolerant of Other Religions

The Myth:

Religious minorities have flourished under Islam.  Muslims are commanded to protect Jew and Christians (the People of the Book) and to do them no harm.

The Truth:

Religious minorities have not “flourished” under Islam.  In fact, they have dwindled to mere shadows after centuries of persecution and discrimination.  Some were converted from their native religion by brute force, others under the agonizing strain of dhimmitude.

What Muslims call “tolerance,” others correctly identify as institutionalized discrimination.  The consignment of Jews and Christians to dhimmis under Islamic rule means that they are not allowed the same religious rights and freedoms as Muslims.  They cannot share their faith, for example, or build houses of worship without permission.

Historically, dhimmis have often had to wear distinguishing clothing or cut their hair in a particular manner that indicates their position of inferiority and humiliation.  They do not share the same legal rights as Muslims, and must even pay a poll tax (the jizya).  They are to be killed or have their children taken from them if they cannot satisfy the tax collector’s requirements.

For hundreds of years, the Christian population in occupied Europe had their sons taken away and forcibly converted into Muslim warriors (known as Jannisaries) by the Ottoman Turks.

It is under this burden of discrimination and third-class status that so many converted to Islam over the centuries.  Those who didn’t often faced economic and social hardships that persist to this day and are appalling by Western standards of true religious tolerance and pluralism.

For those who are not “the People of the Book,” such as Hindus and atheists, there is very little tolerance to be found once Islam establishes political superiority.  The Qur’an tells Muslims to “fight in the way of Allah” until “religion is only for Allah.”  The conquered populations face death if they do not establish regular prayer and charity in the Islamic tradition (ie. the pillars of Islam).

Tamerlane and other Muslim warriors slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Hindus and Buddhists, as well as displacing or forcibly converting millions more over the last thousand years.

At best, Islam has a dual personality toward other religions.  In some places they are explicitly cursed by Allah, in others there appears to be a measure of tolerance shown.  There are about 500 verses in the Qur’an that speak of Allah’s hatred for non-Muslims and the punishment that he has prepared for their unbelief.  There is also a tiny handful that say otherwise, but these are mostly earlier verses that many scholars consider to be abrogated by the later, more violent ones.

If tolerance simply means discouraging the mass slaughter of those of a different faith, then today’s Islam generally meets this standard more often than not.  But, if tolerance means allowing people of other faiths the same religious liberties that Muslims enjoy, then Islam is fundamentally the most intolerant religion under the sun.

Islam and the “Golden Age” of Scientific Discovery

The Myth:

Muslims often claim that their religion fostered a rich heritage of scientific discovery, “paving the way” for modern advances in technology and medicine.  On this topic, they usually refer to the period between the 7th and 13th centuries, when Europe was experiencing its “Dark Ages” and the Muslim world was conquering new populations and culture.

The Truth:

Although there is no arguing that the Muslim world was more advanced during this period than the “Christian” world, the reasons for this have absolutely nothing to do with the Islamic religion (other than its mandate for military expansion).  In fact, the religion actively discourages knowledge outside of itself, which is why the greatest Muslim scholars throughout history tend to be students of religion rather than science.

First, the Muslim world benefited greatly from the Greek sciences, which were translated for them by Christians and Jews.  To their credit, Muslims did a better job of preserving Greek text than did the Europeans of the time, and this became the foundation for their own knowledge.  (One large reason for this, however, was that access by Christians to this part of their world was cut off by the Muslim slave ships and coastal raids that dominated the Mediterranean during this period).

Secondly, many of the scientific advances credited to Islam were actually “borrowed” from other cultures conquered by the Muslims.  The algebraic concept of “zero”, for example, is erroneously attributed to Islam, but it was, in fact, created by the Hindus and merely introduced to the West by Muslims – along with the products of other cultures that were found to be useful to their new rulers.

In fact, conquered populations contributed greatly to the history of “Muslim science” until gradually being decimated by conversion to Islam (under the pressures of dhimmitude).  The Muslim concentration within a population is directly proportional to the decline of scientific achievement.  It is no accident that the Muslim world has had little to show for itself in the last 600 years or so, since running out of new civilizations to cannibalize.

Third, even the great Muslim scientists and icons were often considered heretics in their time, sometimes for good reason.  One of the greatest achievers to come out of the Muslim world was the Iranian scientist and philosopher, al-Razi.  His impressive works are often held up today as “proof” of Muslim accomplishment.  But what the apologists often leave out is that al-Razi was denounced as a blasphemer, since he followed his own religious beliefs – which were in obvious contradiction to traditional Islam.

Fourth, even the contributions that are attributed to Islam (often inaccurately) are not terribly dramatic.  There is the invention of certain words, such as alchemy and elixir, but not much else that survives in modern technology that is of any practical significance.  Neither is there any reason to believe that such discoveries would not have easily been made by the West following the cultural awakening triggered by the Reformation.

As an example of this, consider that Muslims claim credit for coffee, since the beans were discovered in Africa (at the time, an important source for Islamic slave trading) and first processed in the Middle East.  While this is true, it is also true that the red dye used in many food products, from cranberry juice to candy, comes from the abdomen of a particular female beetle found in South America.  It is extremely unlikely that the West would not have stumbled across coffee by now (although, to be fair, coffee probably expedited subsequent discoveries).

In fact, the litany of “Muslim” achievement often takes the form of rhapsody, in which the true origins of these discoveries are omitted – along with their comparative significance to Western achievement.  Scientific, medical and technological accomplishments are not something over which Muslim apologists want to get into a pissing contest with the Christian world.  Today’s Islamic innovators are known merely for turning Western technology, such as cell phones and airplanes, into instruments of mass murder.

To sum up, although the Islamic religion is not entirely hostile to science, neither should it be confused as a facilitator.  The great achievements that are said to have come out of the Islamic world were made either by non-Muslims who happened to be under Islamic rule, or by heretics who usually had little interest in Islam.  Scientific discovery tapers off dramatically as Islam asserts dominance, until it eventually peters out altogether.

Islam is Opposed to Slavery

The Myth:

Islam is intolerant of enslaving human beings.  The religion eradicated the institution of slavery thanks to the principles set in motion by Muhammad, who was an abolitionist.

The Truth:

There is not the least bit of intolerance for slavery anywhere in the Qur’an.  In fact, the “holy” book of Islam explicitly gives slave-owners the freedom to sexually exploit their slaves – not just in one place, but in at least four separate Suras.  Islamic law is littered with rules concerning the treatment of slaves, some of which are relatively humane, but none that prohibit the actual practice by any stretch.

The very presence of these rules condones and legitimizes the institution of slavery.  Adding to this is the fact that Muhammad was an avid slave trader.  After providing ample evidence of his activities according to the most reliable Muslim biographers, the Center of the Study of Political Islam summarizes their findings:

Muhammad captured slaves, sold slaves, bought slaves as gifts of pleasure, received slaves as gifts, and used slaves for work.  The Sira is exquisitely clear on the issue of slavery. (Muhammad and the Unbelievers: a Political Life)

As such, this deeply dehumanizing horror has been a ubiquitous tradition of Islam since the days of Muhammad to the current plight of non-Muslims in the Sudan, Mali, Niger and Mauritania, as well as other parts of the Muslim world.

There has never been an abolitionary movement within Islam (just as the religion produces no organized resistance to present-day enslavement).  The abolition of slavery was imposed on the Islamic world by European countries, along with other political pressures that were entirely unrelated to Islamic law.

Although horrible abuses of slaves in the Muslim world were recorded, there has been little inclination toward the documentation and earnest contrition that one finds in the West.  The absence of a guilty conscience often leads to the mistaken impression that slavery was not as bad under Islam… when it is actually indicative of the tolerance that the religion has for the practice

So narcissistic is the effect of Islam on the devoted, that to this day many Muslims believe in their hearts that the women and children carried off in battle, and their surviving men folk, were actually done a favor by the Muslim warriors who plucked them from their fields and homes and relegated them to lives of demeaning servitude.

Shame and apology, no matter how appropriate, are almost never to be found in Dar al-Islam.  Caliphs, the religious equivalent of popes, maintained harems of hundreds, sometimes thousands of young girls and women captured from lands as far away as Europe and consigned to sexual slavery.  Hungarians were hunted like animals by the Turks, who carried 3 million into slavery over a 150 year period.

African slaves were often castrated by their Muslim masters.  Few survived to reproduce, which is why there are not many people of African descent living in the Middle East, even though more slaves were taken out of Africa in the 1300 years of Arab slave trading than in the 300 years of European slavery.  The 400,000 slaves brought to America, for example, have now become a community of 30 million, with a much higher standard of living than their African peers.

There is no William Wilberforce or Bartoleme de las Casas in Islamic history as there is in Christianity.  When asked to produce the name of a Muslim abolitionist, apologists sometimes meekly suggest Muhammad himself.  But, if a slave owner and trader, who commanded the capture and sexual exploitation of slaves, and left a 13-century legacy of religiously-based slavery, is the best that Islam can offer, then no amount of sophistry will be enough to convince any but the most ignorant.

Further Reading:

Slavery in Islam (TROP)
Slavery in Islam (Answering Islam site)

Islam is Completely Incompatible with Terrorism

The Myth:

Islam is completely incompatible with acts of terrorism.  It is against Islam to kill innocent people.

The Truth:

Even though many Muslims earnestly believe that their religion prohibits the killing of innocent people by acts of terrorism, the truth is certainly more complicated.  This is why the Jihadis and their detractors are both able to point fingers at the other, while confidently insisting that they are the true Muslims.

In fact, the definition of an “innocent person” is far more ambiguous in Islam than Muslim apologists will lead others to believe.  So, also, is the definition of terrorism.

First, consider that anyone who rejects Muhammad is not considered to be innocent under Islamic law.  The most protected and respected of all non-Muslims are the dhimma, the “people of the book.”  These would specifically be Jews and Christians who agree to Islamic rule and pay the jizya (tribute to Muslims).  Yet, the word “dhimmi” comes from the Arabic root meaning “guilt” or “blame.”  [“…the dhimmi parent and sister words mean both ‘to blame’ as well as safeguards that can be extended to protect the blameworthy” Amitav Ghosh, In an Antique Land]

So, if even the dhimma have a measure of guilt attached to their status (by virtue of having rejected Allah’s full truth), then how can non-Muslims who oppose Islamic rule or refuse to pay the jizya be considered “innocent?”

Within the Islamic community itself there is a category of Muslims who are also said to bear guilt – greater even than the average non-believer.  These are the hypocrites, or “Munafiqin,” whom Muhammad referred to in the most derogatory terms.  A hypocrite is considered to be a Muslim in name only.  They are distinguished either by an unwillingness to wage holy war or by an intention to corrupt the community of believers.

When Muslims kill Muslims in the name of Allah (which occurs quite frequently), they usually do so believing that their victims are Munafiqin or kafir (unbelievers).  This is actually a part of Islamic Law known as takfir, in which Muslims are declared apostates and then executed.  (A true Muslim would go to paradise anyway, in which case he or she could hardly be expected to nurse a grudge amidst the orgy of sex and wine).

In addition to the murky definition of innocence, there is also the problem of distinguishing terrorism from holy war.  Islamic terrorists never refer to themselves as terrorists, but always as holy warriors (Mujahideen, Shahid, or Fedayeen).  They consider their acts to be a form of Jihad.

Holy war is something that Muhammad commanded in the Qur’an and Hadith.  In Sura 9:29, he establishes the principle that unbelievers should be fought until they either convert to Islam or accept a state of humiliation under Islamic subjugation.  This is confirmed in the Hadith by both Sahih Muslim and Bukhari.

In many places, the prophet of Islam says that Jihad is the ideal path for a Muslim, and that believers should “fight in the way of Allah.”  There are dozens of open-ended passages in the Qur’an that exhort killing and fighting – far more than ones of peace and tolerance.  It is somewhat naïve to think that their inclusion in this “eternal discourse between God and Man” was of historical value only and not intended to be relevant to present-day believers, particularly when there is little to nothing within the text that distinguishes them in such fashion.

Combine the Qur’anic exhortation to holy war with the ambiguity of innocence, and a monumental problem develops that cannot be covered over by mere semantics.  Not only is there a deep tolerance for violence in Islam, but also a sharp disagreement and lack of clarity over the conditions that justify this violence… and just whom the targets may be.

Even many Muslims who claim to be against terrorism still support the “insurgency” in Iraq, for example, and often entertain the allegation that there is a broader “war against Islam.”  Although the Americans in Iraq are trying to protect innocent life and help the country rebuild, Muslims around the world and in the West believe that it is legitimate for Sunnis to try and kill them.

Enjoying the sanction of holy war, the Mujahid reasons that it is permissible to attack fellow Iraqis – the ones helping the Americans… even if they are part of a democratically-elected Iraqi government.  These non-combatants and combatants alike are believed to be the “Munafiqin” assisting the enemy “Crusaders.”

Although we use Iraq as an example here, this is the same rationale that is ultimately behind all Islamic terror, from the Philippines to Thailand.  Wherever the religion of Islam is a minority, there are always radicals who believe that violence is justified in bringing it to dominance – just as Muhammad taught by example in places like Mecca and the land of al-Harith.

And what of the so-called “innocents” who suffer from the bombings and shootings?  Even in Muhammad’s time they were unavoidable.  The much-touted hadith in which Muhammad forbade the killing of women also indicates that there were such casualties in his conflicts.

If there is any doubt that he believed that the forbidden is sometimes necessary, it should be put to rest by an incident in which Muhammad’s men warned him that a planned night raid against an enemy camp would mean that women and children would be killed.  He merely replied “they are of them,” meaning the men.

This is the slippery slope that is opened by the sanction of holy war.  What starts out as the perception of a noble cause of self-defense against a supposed threat gradually devolves into a “let Allah sort them out” campaign through a series of logical steps that are ultimately justified by the sublime goal of Islamic rule.

Islam is not intended to co-exist as an equal with other religions. It is to be the dominant religion, with Sharia as the supreme law.  Islamic rule is to be extended to the ends of the earth, and resistance is to be dealt with by any means necessary.

Apologists in the West often shrug off the Qur’an’s many verses of violence by saying that they are only relevant in a “time of war.”

To this, Islamic terrorists would agree.  They are at war.

Islam is a Democracy

The Myth:

Islam is compatible with democratic principles.  The religion itself is a democracy.

The Truth:

A democracy is a system in which all people are judged as equals before the law, regardless of race, religion or gender.  The vote of every individual counts as much as the vote of any other.  The collective will of the people then determines the rules of society.

Under Islamic law, only Muslim males enjoy full rights.  The standing of a woman is often half that of a man’s – sometimes even less.  Non-Muslims have no standing with a Muslim.

The Islamic state is guided by Islamic law, derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah.  A body of clerics interprets the law and applies it to all circumstances social, cultural and political.  The people are never to be placed above the Qur’an and Sunnah any more than man should be above Allah.

It is somewhat debatable as to whether there are any states in the Muslim world that qualify as actual democracies.  There is no denying, however, that the tiny handful that are often held up as democratic nations are ones in which deep tension exists between the government and religious leaders, as the later often complain that it is an idolatrous system imposed on them.

Islam does not facilitate democracy.

Further Reading:

Democracy and Islam
Loyalty to a Non-Muslim Government


Establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran & The Present Situation For Women – Parvin Darabi

July 12, 2008

http://www.homa.org

When the Islamic Republic was established in Iran in 1979, the country experienced a dramatic return to the dark ages. Women were the first victims of the regression. More than 130 years of struggle was repudiated by the medieval religious rulers.

In March 1979, Khomeini employed the hijab as a symbol of struggle against imperialism and corruption. He declared that “women should not enter the ministries of the Islamic Republic bare-headed. They may keep on working provided that they wear the hijab.”

In 1980, Khomeini declared that, “from now on women have no right to be present in the governmental administration NAKED. They can carry on their tasks, provided they use Islamic dress.”

Women did not remain silent. They launched campaigns in the major cities of the country. In the Summer 1981, however, wearing the Islamic outfit in the government offices and ministries became mandatory.

Once more, women marched in protest. This time, however, the Islamic Republic was well established and the media were fully under its control. The Revolutionary Council threatened those women who ignored the Islamic outfit with dismissal.

Dress Code
In 1981, women’s “Freedom of Dress” of 1926 was declared as null and void. Based on the writings of Koran, the Sura of Lights, God apparently told Prophet Mohammed that, “Prophet, tell your wives (he had somewhere between 16 to 25 wives most of them forty plus years his junior), daughters, and other women who believe in me to conceal their eyes and their treasures from the sight of strangers”.

The problem in the Islamic world, however, is to know how far a woman should be dressed to conceal her treasures. According to the Mullah’s, “the limit has also been set by God. Therefore, the Litham should rise to the chin and only the outline of the face may be seen. The body should be covered to the wrists. Thus Chador is a perfect outfit.”

For most women, especially the professional ones, however this kind of treasures concealing is quite cumbersome and uncomfortable. Women who do not conceal their hair or expose their feet and those who seem to be wearing a veil but actually do so negligently, should be severely punished, per order of the present government.

The government of clergy believes that, “women who do not comply with the strict rules of hijab promote a contemptuous attitude towards themselves becoming mere objects for men’s pleasure. Moreover, such conduct causes a drop in the marriage rate. A woman with a pleasant appearance hinders other girls from finding a husband. It also makes the selection difficult for men.They will constantly think of a model who is beyond everybody.”

The Ministry of Education specifies the color and the style of the suited clothing for the girl students (black, straight and covered from head to toe for children as young as 6 years of age). And the Ministry of Guidance sets the rules of clothing for older women (only black, brown and dark blue -Islamic colors- are allowed. Bright colors, especially red are prohibited).

It has been reported that on August 15, 1991, the Prosecutor-General, Abolfazl Musavi-Tabrizi, said that “anyone who rejects the principle of hijab in Iran is an apostate and the punishment for an apostate under Islamic-law is death.”

To suppress the refractory women, the government set up special units. Revolutionary Guards patrol the streets and arrest any woman not observing the Islamic hijab.

Education
“The specific task of women in this society is to marry and bear children. They will be discouraged from entering legislative, judicial, or what ever careers which may require decision making, as women lack the intellectual ability and discerning judgment required for theses careers.” Ayatollah Mutahari,(one of the principal ideologues of the Islamic Republic of Iran).

The Islamic Law bans women from becoming judges. In Article 163 of The Islamic Constitution where the qualifications for becoming a judge is decided according to the religious measures, women have been specified as unqualified for the job.

Women are banned from studies such as engineering, agriculture, archaeology, restoration of the historic monuments and handicrafts, and many other fields.

Khomeini was stressing over and over that, “All our societies’ miseries come from universities.” He also has said that “Economy is a matter of donkeys” and “War is a blessing”.

Marriage
Under the Islamic Rules, the family protection law has been abrogated. The Islamic Republic resolutely supports the practice of polygamy.

Under the Islamic Republic, provisional marriage was sanctioned. Consequently, a man may marry “four Permanent” and as many “Provisional” wives as he desires.

The marriage age for girls was reduced to 13 and with the father’s consent, a girl may marry at the age of nine. No restriction on the age of the man. In recent years the marriage age for women has been reduced to 9 years of age.

“The most suitable time for a girl to get married is the time when the girl can have her first menstrual period in her husband’s house rather than her father’s.” Ayatollah Khomeini.

Iranian women are prevented to marry foreigners unless they obtain a written permission from the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Interior’s Director General for the Affairs of Foreign Citizens and Immigrants, Ahmad Hosseini, stated on 30 March 1991: “Marriages between Iranian women and foreign men will create many problems for these women and their children in future, because the marriages are not legally recognized. Religious registrations of such marriages will not be considered as sufficient documentation to provide legal services to these families.”

Divorce
The Unilateral rights to divorce was re-established. Therefore, a husband may divorce his wife without her knowledge. It is absolutely lawful for a woman to receive her divorce deed with no prior consultation.

According to the Islamic Republic’s Canon Law, divorce is an indisputable right of men, unless otherwise is stated in the act of marriage.

Custody of Children
Women can not have the custody of their children unless there is no male relative in the father’s family. In case of dissolution of marriage, a mother’s right of custody over her children is limited to the son up to 2 years of age and to the daughter under 7 years, even when the father has died. At the end of this “legal” period the child should be returned to the father with no visitation rights for the mother. If the father is dead, the children must be handed over to the father’s family.

The Law of Retribution
According to clauses 33 and 91 of the law in respect, Qasas (The Islamic Retribution Bill) and its boundaries, the value of woman witness is considered only half as much as of a man.

According to the Islamic Penal Law which is being practiced by the present regime of Iran, “a woman is worth half of a man.”

According to the old Islamic laws, practiced by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the worth of a man’s life is equal to100 camels or 200 cows and that of a woman is equal to half of the man’s, 50 camels or 100 cows.

The clause number 6 regarding the Dieh (cash value of the fine) states that the cash fine for murdering a woman intentionally or unintentionally is half as much as for a man. The same clause adds that if a man intentionally murders a woman and the guardian of the woman himself is not able to pay half of the Dieh (the value of 50 camels or 100 cows, the difference between the value of a man to that of a woman’s life) to the murderer the murderer will be exempted from retribution.

Personal Rights
Women inherit only half as much as their male siblings.

In accordance with a draft resolution presented to the Majlis (The Islamic Parliament ) in May 1991, unmarried women and girls will not be allowed to leave the country. Although at present there is no law forbidding girls from leaving the country, authorities, in practice, create many obstacles for those who wish to leave. The authorities are allegedly in particular severe with those unmarried women and girls who have won scholarships to study abroad.

A married woman cannot travel, work, join organizations, go to college, even visit her friends and relatives without her husband’s permission. Married women are not allowed to travel abroad without presenting a written permission from their husbands to the authorities.

A woman should dwell where her husband desires.

A married woman should always and unconditionally be ready to meet her husband’s sexual needs and if she refuses, she loses all rights of shelter, food, clothing etc.

“A married woman should endure any violence or torture imposed on her by her husband for she is fully at his disposal. Without his permission she may not leave her house even for a good action (such as charitable work). Otherwise her prayers and devotions will not be accepted by God and curses of heaven and earth will fall upon her.” Hojatoleslam Imani, Religious Leader.

Punishment
A couple of weeks following Dr. Homa Darabi’s self-immolation, a young woman was stoned to death in the city of Qom in front of her husband and her two small children. Her guilt was adultery, even though no man was found to have had a relation with her. She did not receive any trial and was not allowed to have an attorney. A Mullah convicted her in less than sixty seconds and the stoning took place the next day. Her head was shaven and she was buried in mod up to her shoulders. Reported by Iranian Radio News.

Stoning
According to the article 115 of Penal laws in the Islamic Republic on stoning, if the person condemned to stoning flees from the hole where he or she has been buried in, down to the waist, he or she should be returned and the punishment should be carried out. But if the person confesses to the fornication and the escape takes place after the first stone was thrown, the person must be left alone unharmed.

Article 116 of Penal laws in the Islamic Republic on stoning, says that the stones used in stoning should neither be big as to kill the convict at the first or second blow, nor as small as a pebble.

Female Political Prisoners
Under the Islamic Republic, most of the female political prisoners are charged with waging war against God. Thus, according to the Islamic Officials they are war prisoners and may be considered as the slaves of the Islamic Warriors. Consequently, the guardians of the revolution, namely the Pasdars, may treat them as they like. Each woman in the prison belongs to one guard. He may lawfully consider his slave as a concubine and force her into sexual intercourse or inflict other tortures on her.

In his 1992 report, the United Nations Special Representative, Commission on Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, writes that, “requests made by the victims from their parents to supply them with contraceptives and the silence of the Islamic officials who have refused to deny the above charges are alarming clues which confirm such allegations.”

Girls condemned to death may not undergo the sentence as long as they are virgins. Thus they are systematically raped before the sentence is executed.

To rape women prisoners, especially virgin girls, who are accused of being against the regime, is a normal and daily practice in the Islamic Republic’s prisons, and by doing so, the clergies declare that they adhere to the merits of the Islamic principles and laws, preventing a virgin girl to go to heaven. Mullahs believe that these are ungodly creatures and they do not deserve the heaven, therefore they are raped to make sure that they will end up in hell.

Despite the fact that all Conventions and agreed covenants of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights have to be strictly observed by the member states, the Islamic republic of Iran’s Constitution mentions nothing about the equality of men and women. The Article 19 of the Islamic Constitution concerning the equality of people is quite silent where the sex is concerned.

Female Executions
The latest reports published by various international organizations such as Amnesty International and the United Nation’s Human Rights Commission give a clear picture of the circumstances that Iranian women are suffering under. They are denied the most basic human rights.

Thousands and thousands of women have been imprisoned, raped, flogged, shot, hanged, or stoned to death, mostly under false accusations and all has been done under the name of God and apparently in accordance with the Islamic judicial system.

According to the report published by the Organization of Women Against Execution in Iran, the number of women executed from 1981 through1990, exceeds a few thousands. The Organization has been able to prepare a list containing 1428 names. Some of the data were gathered through the official channels and some from the relatives of the victims. According to this report out of 1428 women executed, 187 were under the age of 18, with 9 girls under the age of 13, 32 women were pregnant, and 14 were between the ages of 45 to 72 at the time of their execution. The youngest girl executed was 10 years and the oldest was 70 years of age.

On his last visit to Iran, in 1991, Professor Reynaldo Galinde Pohl, Special Representative of the United Nation’s Human Rights Commission, interviewed the Islamic Republic’s Minister of Justice, Mr. Hojatolislam Esmail Shoushtari:

“Referring to the penalties of amputation and stoning, he (The Minister) indicated that Iran’s system of government was Islamic, thus Islamic laws were enforced and some penalties could not be changed. Murder, for example, was punished by the death penalty, and that rule could not be changed; however, judges were empowered to negotiate with the victims’ relatives to replace the death penalty by another, and that did happen in 95 per cent of cases. Theft was punished by amputation, and adultery by stoning (to death). Those penalties could not be changed, because they were punishments especially established under Islam.”

All the authoritative international documentation and testimony gathered in the last 17 years of the life of the Islamic Regime in Iran is full of unceasing, systematic brutality, and oppression of masses, especially women.

Professional Aspirations
Women are also denied any political, spiritual or leadership aspirations in Iran. Article 115 of the Islamic Constitution clearly states that the president of the country should be elected a Man out of all God-fearing and dedicated men. This brings the conception that a woman can neither be president nor possess the rank of Valiat-e-Faghih (the religious spiritual leader) or the position of leader of a Shi’i-Muslim nation.

Marching Backward
With the establishment of the Islamic Republic Iranian women have lost all the ‘Rights’ they had fought for and achieved in the past 130 years. They are socially segregated, and reduced to lower individuals and second-rank citizens.

Hashemi Rafsanjani, President of the Islamic Republic, of Iran recently discovered the difference between men and women. In his quote, he says:

“Equality does not take precedence over justice. Justice does not mean that all laws must be the same for men and women. One of the mistakes the Westerners make is to forget this. The difference in the stature, vitality, voice, development, muscular quality and physical strength of men and women show that men are stronger and more capable in all fields. Men’s brain is bigger so men are more inclined to fight and women are more excitable. Men are inclined to reasoning and rationalism, while women have a fundamental tendency to be emotional. The tendency to protect is stronger in men, where as most women like to be protected. Such differences affect the delegation of responsibilities, duties and rights.”


Today in Iran – Parvin Darabi

July 12, 2008
http://www.homa.org/
The marriage age for girls has been reduced to 9 years of age.
“The most suitable time for a girl to get married is the time when the girl can have her first menstrual period in her husband’s house rather than her father’s.” – Ayatollah Khomeini

“The specific task of women in this society is to marry and bear children. They will be discouraged from entering legislative, judicial, or what ever careers which may require decision making, as women lack the intellectual ability and discerning judgment required for theses careers.” – Ayatollah Mutahari

Men sit in the front of the bus while women sit in the back. Married couples are not allowed to sit together in the public transportation.

Men and women are not allowed to swim, ski, play tennis, or perform any sports together, even if they are related to each other.

Married couples, brothers and sisters, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons and other kin related must have the proof of kinship at all times.

Single women are not allowed to rent a car, hotel room, travel alone or marry foreigners without the permission of the governmental officials.

Women are only to see female doctors and dentists and are to be tought by female teachers and professors. In a country that education is denied for women, it be difficult to find female of any profession. This only proves that the Islamic Republic has no respect for women and their lives.

Men cannot study gynecology and obstetrics. Men are not allowed to examine the reproductive part of women.

Women who slightly break the rules of hijab are given a document to sign which requires them to admit to prostitution and for this they are flagellated 150 times.

People are not allowed to have music, dancing, parties or any other social gathering even in the privacy of their own homes.

The only thing married couples are allowed to do together is to bread and they have been quite successful at it. In the past 16 years the population of Iran has doubled from 35 million to nearly 70 million with approximately five million living abroad.

The only things the Islamic Republic has brought to the Iranian people are poverty, pain and misery. We, the freedom loving Iranian people, condemn the barbaric Government of Islamic Republic and ask for helping hands from all freedom fighters all over the globe in order to separate church and state in Iran, to establish the Universal Human Rights as declared by the United Nations 1948 General Assembly, to bring about the equality between men and women of Iran and to abolish the sexual apartheid.

Parvin Darabi
___________

Dr. Homa Darabi Foundation, a non profit organization independent from all political and religious factions in Iran, is looking for your full support including financial to support the Iranian population in fighting the above barbaric laws and to educate women about their rights and how to stand for them.


Penal Code, Islamic Republic of Iran

July 12, 2008

http://www.homa.org/Details.asp?ContentID=2137352827&TOCID=2083225444

Learn the Law you can represent yourself in any Islamic court

Offense against Islam, prophet and the Imams

Article 513, The punishment for insulting or criticizing, Islam, the Prophet Mohammed, his entire family, or his representatives known as Imams is death by hanging in public.

Article 514, The punishment for insulting or criticizing, Imam Khomeini, the Islamic Republic or the leader of the Islamic Republic will be from 6 months to two years in jail.

Article 515, The punishment for insulting or criticizing the leaders of the three branches of the government of Islamic Republic is from 6 months to 10 years imprisonment.

Note: Article 513 is the main reason Islamic countries have stayed in the dark ages. When one cannot criticize a religion, a culture or a way of life there will be no room for progress. All human progress has been the result of searching for a solution to a problem. If there is no problem there cannot be a solution. Muslims believe there is nothing wrong with their religion, their prophet and their way of life, therefore why should they change anything. So they continue to live in the dark ages.

Article 297 Retribution for Murder

The compensation for murdering a Muslim man to his family is as follows.
The murderer has the right to choose one of the following.

1- 100 healthy camels not considered very thin.
2- 200 healthy cows not considered very thin
3- 1000 healthy sheep not considered very thin.
4- 200 set of new suits made from Yemeni fabric (heleh)gold
5- 1000 Dinar where ever Dinar is equal to one Mesghal 18 carrot gold
6- 10,000 Derham, where every Derham is equal to 12/6 Nokhod Silver

If the murder occurs in the four forbidden Islamic months of Rajab, Zighadeh, Zihajeh and Moharam, the above compensation for murder will increase by 1/3.

The retribution for murdering a Muslim woman is 1/2 of the Muslim man.
There is no retribution for murdering a non-Muslim or a Kafir.

The murderer will be give one year to compensate the family of victim if the murder was premeditated. Two years if it was manslaughter.

Note: Muslims always praise the Islamic laws for making things so simple.
Kill a man and all you have to do is to pay his family 100 healthy camels or 200 cows, or 1000 sheep. How does one define a healthy camel not very thin?
I suppose the victims family can take them to a vet and have them tested.

After the September 11th disaster I read in Newsweek Magazine what a difficult time the people in charge were having in determining the compensation each family was to receive. At such occasion the Muslims will say: “see how wonderful Islam is? How simply we can determine the amount of compensation?” Since this was a premeditated murder the families will be compensated by either the price of 200 cows or 1000 sheep for every man and half of that for every woman who died on that horrific day. All the families would have been compensated in less than one week and there would be some left over money to use for other disasters. There is no need to consider the victim¹s profession, his or her earning potential, their education or their age or family structure. And by Islamic laws the families can wait for an entire year before they could be paid. Islam certainly makes everything so simple.

Article 480, Compensation for injury to the face

1- If the injury is only to the skin and there was no blood, one camel
2- If the injury is through the skin with some blood, two camels
3- If the injury is deep, but is above the bone membrane, three camels
4- If the injury is deep and has cut the bone membrane, four camels.

And so on and so forth.

Article 494, retribution for crimes against a corpse.

1- Removing the head 100 Dinar
2- Removal of both hands or both feet 100 Dinar
3- Removal of one hand or one foot 50 Dinar
4 Removal of one finger 10 Dinar

This compensation will not be given to the heir of the dead but will be used for the dead person to pay his debts or to pay for charity on his behalf.

Note: So if a person dies and has a lot of unpaid deaths lets cut him up and collect enough compensation to pay all his debts and/or make a large contribution to the Islamic Mosque.


The Magnitude of Muslim Atrocities (Ghazanavi to Amir Timur)

July 11, 2008

The world famous historian, Will Durant has written in his Story of Civilisation that “the Mohammedan conquest of India was probably the bloodiest story in history”.

India before the advent of Islamic imperialism was not exactly a zone of peace. There were plenty of wars fought by Hindu princes. But in all their wars, the Hindus had observed some time-honoured conventions sanctioned by the Sastras. The Brahmins and the Bhikshus were never molested. The cows were never killed. The temples were never touched. The chastity of women was never violated. The non-combatants were never killed or captured. A human habitation was never attacked unless it was a fort. The civil population was never plundered. War booty was an unknown item in the calculations of conquerors. The martial classes who clashed, mostly in open spaces, had a code of honor. Sacrifice of honor for victory or material gain was deemed as worse than death.

Islamic imperialism came with a different code–the Sunnah of the Prophet. It required its warriors to fall upon the helpless civil population after a decisive victory had been won on the battlefield. It required them to sack and burn down villages and towns after the defenders had died fighting or had fled. The cows, the Brahmins, and the Bhikshus invited their special attention in mass murders of non-combatants. The temples and monasteries were their special targets in an orgy of pillage and arson. Those whom they did not kill, they captured and sold as slaves. The magnitude of the booty looted even from the bodies of the dead, was a measure of the success of a military mission. And they did all this as mujahids (holy warriors) and ghazls (kafir-killers) in the service of Allah and his Last Prophet.

Hindus found it very hard to understand the psychology of this new invader. For the first time in their history, Hindus were witnessing a scene which was described by Kanhadade Prabandha (1456 AD) in the following words:

“The conquering army burnt villages, devastated the land, plundered people’s wealth, took Brahmins and children and women of all classes captive, flogged with thongs of raw hide, carried a moving prison with it, and converted the prisoners into obsequious Turks.”

That was written in remembrance of Alauddin Khalji’s invasion of Gujarat in the year l298 AD. But the gruesome game had started three centuries earlier when Mahmud Ghaznavi had vowed to invade India every year in order to destroy idolatry, kill the kafirs, capture prisoners of war, and plunder vast wealth for which India was well-known.
Read the rest of this entry »


Culturecide of the Islamic Republic of Iran

June 28, 2008

By: Amil Imani

The intolerant monolithic Islamists are on the march, lashing out with fury at non-Islamic people and cultures. This cult of violence and death spares neither the living nor the non-living heritage of humanity: wherever and whenever it can it commits culturecide—wiping out other people’s precious cultural treasures. Not long ago, the Islamists’ destruction of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan shocked the world and exposed the savage nature of this cult of violence depravity. Yet, much more destruction on a broad range is taking place in Iran under the direction of the Islamist theocrats.
The Islamist zealots ruling Iran for the past 30 years have undertaken a systematic campaign of endangering and destroying the cultural sites of pre-Islamic Iran, ignoring the numerous petitions and pleas of the Iranian people.

For one, blatantly rejecting the repeated appeals of individuals and organizations such as the International Committee to Save the Archeological Sites of Pasargad, the Islamic Republic proceeded with the construction of the Sivand Dam which went into operation on April 2007 by the order of the ruling Islamists’ point man, President Ahmadinejad.

What many experts have warned and feared has already come to pass. The inevitable elevation of humidity from the Sivand Dam has given rise to massive invasion of Cyrus the Great Mausoleum by lichen and fungi. Cracks have started to appear on the stonework of tomb of King Cyrus, humanity’s first author of the charter of human rights.

The building of the Sivand Dam by the Islamist government was launched under the pretext that it would be a boon for the farmers. Impartial experts, including expert geologists from the University of Shiraz, have countered with evidence to the exact opposite outcome. Farmers in the area had worked diligently for centuries and habilitated the originally salty soil. Water from the new dam is bound to make it the farmers’ bane by returning the soil to salinity once again, experts warned.

In order to discredit those who protested against constructing the ruinous dam, the Islamic Republic’s Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, who ironically heads the state culture and heritage organization, has claimed that groups “opposing the Islamic Republic” are behind the protests.

Mr. Rahim-Mashai who was appointed as the director of ICHTHO after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was “elected” as the regime’s new President said in a press conference in March 2006 that he had never heard of the Sivand Dam or the Bolaghi Valley. The Pasargad Heritage Foundation has filed a complaint against Mr. Mashai for a hearing on his intentional systematic endeavor to destroy ancient cultural treasures of the Iranian people.

The destructive effects of the Dam is also impacted the air quality of the area. According to Amir-Teimur Khosravi the Mayor of Pasargadae, “the level of humidity near the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great is so high that none of the Pasargadae’s residents have ever experienced it before. There is constant flow of damp and humidity smells in the Pasargadae plains that are coming from Bolaghi Gorge. In the Southwest section of the mausoleum, which is considered the entrance to the archaeological site, the subterranean waters have surfaced and caused cracks to appear on the stonework.”

Khosravi continued, “Pasargadae has always been renowned for its clean and pleasant weather, but now, as a result of high levels of humidity produced from [the artificial lake behind] the Sivand dam, the area suffers from a sultry condition.”

Referring to the gorge, “it is far from here,” said one of the government’s functionaries at the dam site, which is slowly filling up. “There will be no damage.” People in the provincial capital Shiraz—renowned as being the capital of poets and beautiful roses, as well as for its imperial Persian ruins—have a different opinion. They say the project may increase humidity in the arid area near the city of Shiraz, which they believe could damage the limestone mausoleum of Cyrus the Great.

From its inception, the Islamic Republic has waged a systematic campaign of wiping out any and all cultural heritage and even joyous pre-Islamic festivals of the Iranian people: replacing Iranian’s traditional happy celebratory events such as Nowruz , Yalda, and many more with endless death-centered Islamic mourning. The Islamists aim to obliterate the Persian antiquities as well as any vestiges of the pre-Islamic Iran. They have put in charge inept puppets as archeology experts so that it would justify their terrorist action against Persian antiquities.

The illegitimate government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a quisling foreign entity that has betrayed Iranian people, its tradition, its glorious pre-Islamic achievements, and is incessantly working against Iran’s national interest. Iran, under the stranglehold and machinations of these parasites, has been transformed, in less than three decades, to the lead perpetrator of all that is abhorrent to humanity.

Although the Islamic Republic’s record speaks dismally for itself, there are numerous reasons for its relentless campaign of cultural genocide. The Islamic regime’s decision to slowly destroy Cyrus the Great tomb is in part motivated by the realization that the people revere King Cyrus for the just laws he instituted as well as his emancipation of the Jews some 2500 years ago. Hence, this benevolent king is despised by the Islamists for symbolizing what are truly Iranian and anathema to Islamic credo, as well as keeping the love of non-Islamic nationalism alive in the heart of the populace.

Under the guise of development, the Islamic Republic has launched a comprehensive program of obliterating any physical traces of Iran’s rich archeological sites. A partial list of these acts is listed below.

* Sahand Dam in East Azerbaijan which will submerge the 6000-year-old Kul Tepe site. Archaeologists agree that over ten ancient sites in the region, some from the fifth millennium B.C. will be buried under the water, according to an official of the East Azerbaijan Province Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department.

*Alborz Dam in Mazandaran province, which caused irreversible damage to the cultural heritage of the eastern part of Mazandaran province.

*Karun Dam in Khuzestan province is submerging the ancient sites of the Izeh region.

* Mulla Sadra Dam to Drown 7000 Years of History. “Mehr Ali Farsi is one of the most important archeological sites of Fars province. Archeological excavations in this historical site could reveal many unknown facts about the pre-historic period of Fars province. “Despite the fact that this historical site had been identified before the inundation of Mulla Sadra Dam, the authorities of the dam have neglected the necessity for carrying out excavations in this area and started the flooding of the dam in a very short time,” according to Azizollah Rezayi, head of archeology team in Mehr Ali Farsi historical site.

*Salman-e Farsi Dam was inundated in 2007, without the CHTHO’s permission. It flooded a 350-hectare Sassanid city, which had been inhabited since the pre-Achaemenid era.

*Destruction of one of the biggest historical sites in the Chahar-Mahal Bakhtiari province by the Islamic Republic Ministry of Road and Transportation. A local archaeologist who wished to remain anonymous for his safety said: “Israel should not be worried about the [Islamic] regime’s threat of wiping it off from the map; it is we [Iranians] who should be worried, as the regime is determined to wipe us off of the map.”

He added “everyday this anti-Iranian regime is coming up with a new plot to destroy our heritage. One day our heritage is being threatened by dam projects, the next it’s road constructions. They claim these are development projects, but if this is the case why is our heritage being destroyed in the darkness of night and in secret – and why don’t they sit down with the cultural authorities to find a solution to carry out their so-called development projects, and at the same time safeguard our national heritage?”

*45,000 years old Paleolithic site of Kaftarkhun, located in Iran’s Isfahan province, has been completely annihilated to build a horse racing course while the eastern parts of this ancient site have seen irreversible damage due to quarry blasting.

*1000-hectare area of a historical site belonging to Parthian dynastic era (248 BCE-224CE) in Khuzestan province has also fallen victim to developmental constructions of the Islamic regime’s Hamidieh Azad University in Hamidieh city.

* Tomb of Firuzan (Abu-Lu’lu’ah) in Kashan destroyed, in part to placate the Sunni Arabs. This Persian hero killed the Islam’s third Caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattāb, avenging the death on thousands of Iranian by Omar’s Islamic aggressors.

The inanimate historical sites of the world are indeed living schools where invaluable lessons are held in their repositories. Preserving, exploring and studying these sites tell a great deal about humanity’s past, its triumphs and defeat.

Destroying these sites, no matter where they are in the world is tantamount to the burning of libraries. Only truly barbarians such as the bigoted Islamists fail to appreciate these treasures that belong to the entire human family. It is the Islamists’ belief that any and all information, ideals and practices that fall outside of Islam are void and must be eliminated.

It is the imperative duty of all enlightened people to steadfastly counter the relentless monolithic Islamic culturcide taking place in Iran or wherever in the world the scourge of Islamism invades.


Remembering the Assassination of Farag Foda

June 28, 2008

Jacob Thomas

On Sunday, 8 June, 2008, the daily online Elaph published an article commemorating the assassination of a liberal Egyptian writer, Farag Foda. He was gunned down on 8 June, 1992, by an Islamist group known as al-Jama’at al-Islamiyyat. They entered his office in Cairo to execute a sentence for blasphemy that was issued against him, by a group of teachers at al-Azhar University. Their argument was that since the government had not done its duty, it was their responsibility to apply the Shari’ah Law against Dr. Foda!

The following are excerpts from the article, followed by my analysis and comments.

“The 8th of June reminds us of the assassination of Dr. Farag Foda. He was murdered for his liberal thoughts, and his endeavors to enlighten his compatriots who have been led astray by the Islamist radicals. He was an outspoken advocate of civil government that separates religion from politics, and a leader for Egyptian national unity under the well-known banner of “Al-Deenu li-Lahi, wal watanu l’l Jamee'” Religion is to God, and the Country is for All.” [A slogan that became popular in the aftermath of WWI, when both Christians and Muslims united together in their fight against European imperialism.]

“During the 1980s, he stood for elections in a community that was populated mostly by Christians. He failed in his bid, due to the interference of the authorities. One of his last public activities was his defense of the cause of “civil government’ during the 1992 Book Expo in Cairo.

“Dr. Farag Foda was assassinated on 8 June, 1992, an event that is remembered every year at the Center for Enlightenment (Al-Markaz al-Tanwiri) that he had founded. Several modernizing intellectuals join in this commemoration, calling for the liberation of religious thought from the rigidity of traditionalism.

“Farag Foda was not the only Egyptian who was declared a kafir during the 1990s. Several other intellectuals and authors were regarded as “unbelievers,” which allowed the authorities to confiscate their writings. Others met with different types of persecution as in the case of a writer who was declared a kafir and was thus ordered to divorce his wife; since now, as a non-Muslim man, he could not be married to a Muslim woman!

“Here are some questions Dr. Farag Foda put forth in his book, ‘The Absent Truth among Those calling for a Religious State.’

“We face problems of great magnitude, so how can they be resolved by the application of Shari’ah Law, since these problems did not exist in the early centuries of Islam? How would Shari’ah, for example, deal with the problems of housing, indebtedness, famine, and unemployment?

“We seem to be excessively interested and preoccupied with matters of worship; does that relieve us from our responsibility to get involved in the great scientific and technological advancements of our times? We are equally busy with fatwas that deal with such topics as marriage, how to relieve ourselves when we happen to be in the countryside, and the like!

“What are the benefits that come from the imposition of the hijab on Muslim women?

“What good has come out of the practice of the so-called ‘prophetic healing’ of the sick, as based on spurious Hadiths, when at the same time, we witness the astronomically growing number of the sick? And what about the latest charlatanry of those ‘experts’ who claim that healing may be found in the flies’ wings, as well as in the camels’ urine?!

“Near the end of his book, ‘The Absent Truth,’ Farag Foda drew attention to the fact that Islam came as a religion; but Muslims are still doing a terrible thing to it. They consider those who differ from them in opinion, or who attempt to work for renewal and reform, as Kuffar (plural of Kafir)! What a wonderful thing it would have been, if tafkir (reasoning) took precedence over takfir (declaring someone to be an unbeliever!) [In Arabic, fikr means thought or reasoning, while kifr means unbelief]

Analysis

The assassination of Farag Foda on 8 June, 1992, provided the author with the opportunity to reflect on the tremendous harm being done to Egypt, by the Islamists who are calling for the establishment of an Islamic state.

Comments

It was good for the author of the article to remind us of the terrible crime that was committed by the Islamists when they silenced an outspoken Egyptian intellectual. This brings to our mind other cases where other intellectuals and activists in the cause of human rights have been persecuted by the state for their alleged crimes, such as the case of Saad El-Din Ibrahim, who is professor of political sociology at the American University in Cairo, and Director of the Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development.

The questions posed by the late Farag Foda should remind all Muslims that there is no magic in the Shari’a Law, since it was promulgated for days that are utterly different from ours. The slogan, “Al-Islam Huwa al-Hall” (Islam has the Solution) may fool millions of Muslims, but remains a vapid statement.

My basic problem with this otherwise good article is that the writer tried to distinguish between Islam and what Muslims have done with Islam. Let me quote that sentence:

“Near the end of his book, ‘The Absent Truth,’ Farag Foda drew attention to the fact that Islam came as a religion; but Muslims are still doing a terrible thing to it.” But may we fault Muslims for taking the teachings of their Holy Book, the Hadiths, and the Sunna seriously? Islam has been saddled, from its earliest days, with an ideology that merges religion with politics. The early caliphs were the “successors” of Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah. Later on, they claimed to be “Allah’s Shadow on Earth.” While the way they conducted the business of the Islamic Ummah may have been thoroughly secular, nevertheless, they always clothed their actions and decisions, with the mantle of religion. Their speeches would begin with the “Basmalah” (Bismi-Llahi al-Rahman, al Raheem, In the name of the Merciful and Compassionate Allah.)

During the 9th century, when the Mu’tazilites propounded the doctrine of the createdness of the Qur’an, it was an Abbasid caliph who enforced that teaching, over-ruling the objection of Imam Hanbal. So, as long as Muslims cling to the absolute authority of their sacred book, and the infallibility of the Prophet in all his acts and sayings, they must deal with the hard and harsh statements of their tradition. Are they bold enough to declare that certain parts of the Qur’an (i.e. those ‘revealed’ in Medina) are no longer normative for our times?

In this connection, I would like to quote my op-ed Reformation in Islam: “Islam of Mecca” versus “Islam of Medina”, that was posted on the FFI website on Thursday,

22, June, 2006:

“While the goal of these reformists is laudable, unfortunately it is simply a shot in the dark. Islam is firmly entrenched in the entire Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sunna. Neither these authoritative texts, nor the way they have been expounded during the last fourteen centuries, allow for any disjunction between the teachings of the “Meccan Surahs” and the “Medinan Surahs” of the Qur’an. The orthodox doctrine regarding the text of the Qur’an is its uncreatedness. Imam Hanbal, one of the founders of the Four Schools for the interpretation of the Shari’a, went to prison during the 9th century, rather than compromise on this point. He fought and eventually, he won the battle for the Qur’an being qadeem, i.e., having always existed in heaven. So, there can be no pick and choose between the revelations that descended in Mecca, and the revelations that came later on in Medina.

Unfortunately for Muslim reformers, they do not have the same tradition vis-à-vis the Qur’an as Christians have regarding the Bible. What I mean is that in the Christian tradition, the teachings of the Old Testaments must be interpreted in the light of the New Testament. Thus, since the New Testament clearly teaches two distinct and separate realms: the realm of God, and the realm of “Caesar,” it leaves no room for the establishment of a theocracy in areas of the world where Christians dominate. Furthermore, such parts of the Old Testament that dealt with the conquest of the Promised Land, and the various aspects of the Mosaic law, excepting the Ten Commandments, are regarded as pertaining to a specific temporary era, and thus, are not normative for the present.

What I mean is that the Christian Scriptures themselves describe two phases of revelation, the first being temporary and preparatory for the second phase, which is final. As mentioned above, it is the New Testament itself that authoritatively endorses this view, and is not a later addition to the Christian tradition. It is true that after the conversion of Emperor Constantine, the lines of demarcation separating Church and State became blurred. And after the fall of Rome, the Western Church began to interfere in the affairs of the State. However, such changes were contrary to the teachings of the Bible. So the Reformers of the 16th Century simply called for a return to the Biblical teachings, not only regarding spiritual matters, but equally in connection with the affairs of the state.

Muslim scholars today, interested in some kind of reform, don’t have the “luxury” that Luther, Calvin, and Knox had, almost five hundred years ago. Their Holy Book doesn’t allow for such a radical hermeneutic as called-for by the author of the article I referred to at the beginning of my essay. I cannot solve their dilemma. It is intractable; as they find themselves [boxed] within a closed circle. I wonder how many other would-be reformers will join the call for making the Meccan Qur’an, the only standard for politics in Islam!