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Archive for April, 2011

Is it Racist to Criticize Islam?

Posted by paulipoldie on April 29, 2011

Is Ayaan Hirsi Ali a racist? She was born in Somalia, from which she escaped to avoid an arranged marriage, and she eventually became a member of Parliament in the Netherlands.

She helped produce a film with Theo Van Gogh which criticized Islam’s treatment of women. Van Gogh was shot to death by a Muslim in retaliation, and a note was pinned to his chest with a knife — a note that threatened Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

She made her way to the United States, and has since written two books critical of Islam: Infidel and Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations.

Is Wafa Sultan a racist? She was born and raised in Syria, and was trained as a psychiatrist.

On February 21, 2006, she took part in an Al Jazeera discussion program, arguing with the hosts about Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations theory. A six-minute composite video of her response was widely circulated on blogs and through email. The New York Times estimated it was seen at least one million times. In the video she criticized Muslims for treating non-Muslims differently, and for not recognizing the accomplishments of Jews and other non-Muslims. The video was the most-discussed video of all time with over 260,000 comments on YouTube.

Is Ibn Warraq a racist? Warraq was born in India to Muslim parents who migrated to Pakistan after the partitioning of British Indian Empire.

Warraq founded the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society. He is a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry, focusing on Quranic criticism.

Warraq is the author of seven books, including Why I Am Not a Muslim and Leaving Islam. He has spoken at the United Nations “Victims of Jihad” conference organized by the International Humanist and Ethical Union alongside speakers such as Bat Ye’or, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Simon Deng.

Is Tapan Ghosh a racist? The president of Hindu Samhati, he speaks all over India and the United States about the ongoing Islamic invasion of West Bengal.

In an article about him, a correspondent wrote, “A life of 25 years of relentless service has strengthened the resolve of Tapan Ghosh to unite Hindu masses to fight against injustice and the oppressive attitude of the authorities in the face of ever-increasing Islamist aggression.”

Ghosh said, “As someone who has suffered enormously from the Islamist onslaught in eastern India, both after the partition of India as well as the partition of erstwhile Pakistan to form Bangladesh, Islamic terrorism has deeply affected my life and the life of millions in the Indian subcontinent. The horrific events of 1971 where nearly 3 million Bengalis, mostly Hindus were exterminated by the Pakistani military regime left an everlasting impression on me. Since then, I have worked relentlessly for the service and upliftment of people reeling under the scourge of radical Islam.”

Is Seyran Ates a racist? Born in Turkey of Kurdish parents, and now working as a lawyer in Germany, Atest is highly critical of an immigrant Muslim society that is often more orthodox than its counterpart in Turkey, and her criticisms have put her at risk.

Her book, “Islam Needs a Sexual Revolution,” was scheduled for publication in Germany in 2009. In an interview in January 2008 on National Public Radio, Ates stated that she was in hiding and would not be working on Muslim women’s behalf publicly (including in court) due to the threats against her.

Ates is the author of the article, Human Rights Before Religion: Have we forgotten to protect women in our bid to accommodate practices carried out in the name of Islam?

Is Francis Bok a racist? Francis Piol Bol Bok, born in Sudan, was a slave for ten years but is now an abolitionist and author living in the United States.

On May 15, 1986, Bok was captured and enslaved at age seven during an Islamic militia raid on the village of Nymlal. Slavery is a standard feature of orthodox Islam. Bok lived in bondage for ten years before escaping imprisonment in Kurdufan, followed by a journey to the United States by way of Cairo, Egypt. Read more of his story here.

Bok’s autobiography, Escape from Slavery, chronicles his life from his early youth and his years in captivity, to his work in the United States as an abolitionist.

Is Nonie Darwish a racist? Now an American, she grew up a Muslim in Egypt, the daughter of an Egyptian general whose family was part of President Nasser’s inner circle.

Darwish founded Former Muslims United with Ibn Warraq, an organization dedicated, in part, to helping Muslims reject the inherent intolerance, violence, and supremacism in their doctrine.

Darwish is the author of two books critical of Islam, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, and Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror.

And she is an outspoken critic of Sharia law.

Is Brigitte Gabriel a racist? She’s an Arab, born in Lebanon. Gabriel watched her country become an Islamic state. Lebanon was a Christian country and “the jewel of the Middle East” when she was young. But the Muslims in Lebanon, supported by Syria and Iran, slowly became more militant until they turned the country into a war zone.

She made her way to America only to find, to her horror, the Muslim Brotherhood here in her newly adopted country, going down the same road. She decided to warn her fellow Americans about the dire results you can expect from appeasing orthodox Muslims, so she founded ACT! for America, a grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about Islam’s prime directive.

Gabriel is the author of two books, They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It, and Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America.

Is Mark Gabriel a racist? Born in Egypt, he became an Islamic scholar in the Muslim world’s most prestigious university. Early fears by relatives that Gabriel would grow up a Christian because he had been breastfed by a Christian woman resulted in him being given a thorough Islamic education. So he grew up immersed in Islamic culture and was sent to Al Azhar school at the age of six.

By the time Gabriel was twelve years old he had memorized the Quran completely. After graduating from Al-Azhar University with a Master’s degree, he was offered a position as a lecturer at the university. During his research, which involved travel to Eastern and Western countries, Gabriel became more distant from Islam, finding its history, “from its commencement to date, to be filled with violence and bloodshed without any worthwhile ideology or sense of decency. I asked myself ‘What religion would condone such destruction of human life?’ Based on that, I began to see that the Muslim people and their leaders were perpetrators of violence.”

On hearing that Gabriel had “forsaken Islamic teachings” the authorities of Al Azhar expelled him from the University on 17 December, 1991 and asked for him to be released from the post of Imam in the mosque of Amas Ebn Malek in Giza city. The Egyptian secret police then seized Gabriel and placed him in a cell without food and water for three days, after which he was tortured and interrogated for four days before being transferred to Calipha prison in Cairo and released without charge a week later. He escaped Egypt and has since written several books, including, Islam and Terrorism.

Is Walid Shoebat a racist? He’s a Palestinian immigrant to the United States and a former PLO militant. Shoebat was born in Bethlehem, the grandson of the Mukhtar of Beit Sahour, an associate of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. In 1993, Shoebat converted to Christianity after studying the Jewish Bible for six months in response to a challenge from his wife, initially trying to persuade her to convert to Islam.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Shoebat began to criticize Islam publicly. He has appeared on mainstream media around the world and has been an expert witness on a number of documentaries on orthodox Islam.

Shoebat argues that parallels exist between radical Islam and Nazism. He says, “Secular dogma like Nazism is less dangerous than Islamofascism that we see today…because Islamofascism has a religious twist to it; it says ‘God the Almighty ordered you to do this’…It is trying to grow itself in fifty-five Muslim states. So potentially, you could have a success rate of several Nazi Germanys, if these people get their way.”

Is Simon Deng a racist? He was born in southern Sudan. His village of Tonga was a peaceful farming community, despite frequent raids by the Islamic Sudanese army where they burned huts and scattered livestock. “One of the first things I was told as a child — if the Arab men come, just run for your life,” Deng recalls. The history of Arab colonization of Africa is one of Islamization, wholesale slave trading, and genocide. One day the Muslims came, and Deng was captured and enslaved.

At the age of 12, he noticed a man from his village due to the man’s “shilluk” — a series of raised welts across the forehead. It’s a tribal marking Deng has also. The man summoned a distant relative of Deng’s who happened to be nearby. With his kinsman’s help, the boy was able to escape.

Having escaped slavery and emigrated to the United States, Deng travels the country addressing audiences which range from the United Nations to middle school students. His speeches focus on education and the anti-slavery movement. Deng is now a warner of the horrors of unchecked Islam and Sharia. “I was victimized in the name of Islam,” he says.

Is Babu Suseelan a racist? Born in India, Professor Babu Suseelan is a Hindu leader, a human rights activist, a university professor, and a psychologist. He is also the Director of Indian American Intellectuals Forum, New York.

Suseelan is the author of several published articles on jihadi terrorism and cognitive psychology. He has been an invited speaker at international conferences on Islamic militancy.

He speaks around the world, trying to educate people about orthodox Islam and the danger it poses to the free world.

Is Walid Phares a racist? Phares was born in Lebanon, where he earned degrees in law, political science and sociology. He then earned a Master’s degree in International Law from the Université de Lyon in France and a Ph.D. in international relations and strategic studies from the University of Miami. He emigrated to the United States in 1990.

Phares has testified before committees of the U.S. State, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security Departments, the United States Congress, the European Parliament, the United Nations Security Council.

His writings expose the political nature embedded in Islamic doctrine, and seeks to find solutions to the problems that presents the West. His books include, The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad, and The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy.

Is Zeyno Baran a racist? Baran is a Turkish-American scholar and Director of the Center for Eurasian Policy.

One of Baran’s key areas of specialization is countering the spread of radical Turkish Islamist ideology in Europe and Eurasia.

Baran has criticized European and American governments for working too closely with groups or individuals that espouse an Islamist ideology. She argues that such engagement actually works against U.S. and European interests.

Baran recently wrote an article for The Weekly Standard on this very subject. In it, she advocates a kind of “litmus test” for deciding who and what type of Muslim groups the U.S. government should engage with. Baran argues that “the deciding factor must be ideology: Is the group Islamist or not?” She believes that the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizbullah, and Hizb ut-Tahrir fail her test.

Is M. Zuhdi Jasser a racist? He’s the President and Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. A devout Muslim, Jasser founded AIFD in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Consitution, liberty and freedom, and the separation of mosque and state.

A former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy, Jasser served 11 years as a medical officer. He is a nationally recognized expert in the contest of ideas against Political Islam and American Islamist organizations. On October 1, 2009, Jasser briefed members of Congress on the threat of Political Islam. He regularly briefs members of the House and Senate congressional anti-terror caucuses.

Is Magdi Allam a racist? Allam was born in Egypt and raised by Muslim parents. His mother Safeya was a believing and practicing Muslim, whereas his father Muhammad was “completely secular.” He became a journalist and outspoken critic of “Islamic extremism.”

In 2005, Allam published an article calling for a ban on building mosques in Italy. In a piece accusing mosques of fostering hate, he claimed Italy is suffering from “mosque-mania.”

In a public letter to the editor, Allam stated that Islam was inseparable from Islamic extremism. Criticising Islam itself, rather than Islamic extremism, Allam argued: “I asked myself how it was possible that those who, like me, sincerely and boldly called for a ‘moderate Islam,’ assuming the responsibility of exposing themselves in the first person in denouncing Islamic extremism and terrorism, ended up being sentenced to death in the name of Islam on the basis of the Quran. I was forced to see that, beyond the contingency of the phenomenon of Islamic extremism and terrorism that has appeared on a global level, the root of evil is inherent in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictive.”

Is Farshad Kholghi a racist? Born in Iran, he remembers the time before the Islamic Revolution, when Shah Reza Palahvi reigned supreme and the country was on a staunch Western direction, with extensive developments in infrastructure, industry, education, and health care.

Farshad Kholghi is a well known figure from public debates in Denmark. As is the case for most everyone debating Islam, he has been accused of racism (which, given his ethnicity, is ironic), and of presenting “right-wing” political views. Farshad rhetorically inquired: “Is it ‘right-wing’ to stand for womens’ rights? Is it ‘right-wing’ to criticize religion? Is it ‘right-wing’ to defend freedom of expression? Is it ‘right-wing’ to defend the right of the individual over that of the ideology? If so, then yes, I present right-wing political views.”

Farshad strongly encourages participating in public debate, to not fear religious fanaticism, but rather to ridicule them and their abuse of power through the application of the best of Western values, including open discussion, scrutiny of Islamic organizations and the healthy tradition of satire and ridicule of hypocritical, corrupt and exploitative religious leaders.

Is Bassam Tibi a racist? Born in Syria, Tibi is now a German citizen. He is a Muslim and a political scientist and Professor of International Relations. Tibi is a staunch critic of Islamism and an advocate of reforming Islam itself. In academia, he is known for his analysis of international relations and the introduction of Islam to the study of international conflict and of civilization.

Tibi had eighteen visiting professorships in all continents. Tibi was visiting senior fellow at Yale University when he retired in 2009. The same year, he published his life’s work, a book entitled, Islam’s Predicament with Cultural Modernity.

Is Khaled Abu Toameh a racist? Toameh was born in the West Bank in 1963 to an Israeli Arab father and a Palestinian Arab mother. He received his BA in English Literature from the Hebrew University and lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.

Toameh was formerly a senior reporter for The Jerusalem Report, and a correspondent for Al-Fajr, which he describes as a mouthpiece for the PLO. He has produced several documentaries on the Palestinians for the BBC, Channel 4, Australian, Danish and Swedish TV, including ones that exposed the connection between Arafat and payments to the armed wing of Fatah, as well as the financial corruption within the Palestinian Authority.

He was the first journalist to report about the sex scandal that rocked the Palestinian Authority in early 2010 and which led to the firing of Rafiq Husseini, Chief of Staff for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The scandal was revealed by former Palestinian intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh in an exclusive interview with Toameh in The Jerusalem Post. One of Toameh’s more famous articles is, Where Are the Voices of “Moderate” Muslims?

Is Tawfik Hamid a racist? He was born in Egypt and became a member of the militant Islamic organization, al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya. After a change of heart, Hamid started to preach in mosques to promote a message of peace, which made him a target of Islamic militants who threatened his life. Hamid then migrated to the West where he has lectured at UCLA, Stanford University, University of Miami and Georgetown University against Islamic fundamentalism.

In a 2009 Wall Street Journal article, Hamid said that Islam should prove it’s a religion of peace, and called Islamic scholars and clerics, “to produce a Shariah book that will be accepted in the Islamic world and that teaches that Jews are not pigs and monkeys, that declaring war to spread Islam is unacceptable, and that killing apostates is a crime.”

Hamid has written opinion pieces for The Wall Street Journal, including Islam Needs To Prove It’s A Religion Of Peace, How to End Islamophobia and The Trouble with Islam.

This list of prominent criticizers of Islam could go on indefinitely. If you think criticizing Islam is racist, can you tell me exactly what race they are all criticizing? Of course not. Calling criticism of Islam “racist” is a manipulative, underhanded slander. The accurate name is “critic.” All the people above are engaged in religious criticism, criticism of an ideology, and political commentary, all of which are desirable, necessary, vital components of a free society.

Some people who criticize Islam are racists. That does not mean criticizing Islam is racism. It’s also true that some people who criticize Islam are socialists, but it would be foolish to say criticizing Islam is socialism.

Islam is not a race. There are Muslims of every race. The largest Muslim country is Indonesia. There are more non-Arab Muslims than Arab Muslims. Criticism of Islam is not racism.

Most people trying to silence criticism of Islam know full well Islam is not a race. But the slander is effective in the free world. The mere implication can ruin a political career or get someone fired. So while it’s not true — and most people saying it know it’s not true — it is an effective weapon of censorship nontheless.

I hope this list, once and for all, will make anyone who says “criticizing Islam is racist” look ridiculous. I hope this removes that absurd slur from public conversation forevermore. Am I hoping for too much? Every time you read or hear anyone using “racism” to silence criticism of Islam, respond with this list and see what happens.

Source: Citizen Warrior

Posted in ACT! for America, Islam, Islamkritik, Must Read | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sharia Silliness

Posted by paulipoldie on April 25, 2011

Sharia Silliness

April 22, 2011
Now that Sharia law is getting more attention, Islam is rolling out its defenses to defuse and confuse the thinking and the not-so-thinking public. If you are a watcher or connoisseur of Islamic politics, it is fascinating to see how similar the different arguments are. Read one apologist for Islam and you have read all of the apologists.

Argument 1:

• Sharia is not static; it changes and evolves.

This promises the hope of reformation over time if Islam becomes more moderate. Islam is the doctrine found in the Koran and the Sunna of Mohammed. Mohammed is the perfect Muslim and his every act and word is to be imitated by all Muslims. The Sunna of Mohammed is found in the Hadith (his traditions) and the Sira (his actions). The complete Islamic doctrine is Allah and Mohammed, or Koran, Sira and Hadith.

Sharia is the interpretation of the doctrine of Islam. Of course, the interpretations change, but they keep being drawn from the same 1400 year old texts. The Sharia circles the sun of Allah and Mohammed, so the evolution of Sharia turns out to be an orbit. The Sharia becomes looser and tighter over the course of history, but it is still the same Sharia and still obeys all of the fundamentals found in the texts of Koran, Sira and Hadith.

One of the biggest fundamental principles of Islam is the Kafir, the non-Muslim. No matter how the Sharia changes, Kafirs are still the same Allah-cursed creature that Mohammed annihilated whenever possible. No amount of adaptation can change the cruel place that the Kafir has in Islam and the Sharia.

Argument 2:

• There is no one thing called Sharia. There is no official document called the Sharia.

See the above. Since Sharia is the practical application of interpretation of the doctrine of Islam found in the Koran, Sira and Hadith, there will be different schools of thought on issues. But the principles never change. All of the versions of the Sharia subjugate and demean the Kafir.

Argument 3:

• Sharia is overwhelming about religion and is not in conflict with national laws.

It is true that a standard table-top book of Sharia such as The Reliance of the Traveller starts off with a large section devoted to religious material, such as prayer and the charity tax. But after the religious beginning, the Sharia winds up with definition of crimes, punishment, business law, family law and the usual legal matters.

There is no problem with the so-called religious Sharia, but a there is a problem with the political Sharia that deals with the Kafir. The political Sharia is evil, since it oppresses the Kafir. Jihad is part of the Sharia and jihad against the Kafir is evil.

The Kafir cares that “only” 1% of a Sharia text is devoted to jihad; that is not acceptable. When it comes to oppression and cruel treatment of Kafirs, any amount of evil is intolerable.

The number of pages in a Sharia text devoted to jihad may be small, but it cannot be removed. Sharia is the interpretation of the perfect Koran and the eternal Sunna and since jihad is a major doctrine it cannot be removed from the Sharia. Sharia can not be reformed.

The Sharia not only has disgusting doctrines such as Kafir and jihad, but also polygamy and wife-beating. It does not matter that Mohammed and Allah are good with polygamy and beating the wife; it has no place in our civilization.

There is no amount of Sharia that is defensible if it makes any political impact on our citizens and nation. Keep praying those Muslim prayers and washing those Muslim feet, but keep every single aspect of political Sharia out of our civilization.

Bill Warner, Director, Center for the Study of Political Islam
Permalink http://www.politicalislam.com/blog/sharia-silliness/
copyright (c) CBSX, LLC, politicalislam.com

Posted in Islam, Sharia | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Wrong People on Trial

Posted by paulipoldie on April 25, 2011

Guest post by Caesar

For Dutch people who watched American television series about lawyers with delight, there is now a spectacular show going on at the Dutch court-district of Amsterdam. The political trial of Geert Wilders has all the ingredients to have one glued to the computer-screen, where you can watch it with a live-stream. There is a place in history for this trial, in the same set of trials such as the historic trial of Galileo. Just as with the Galileo trial, a perfectly innocent man is prosecuted. Not precisely for his views, but more because he can have dramatic impact on Dutch politics and must therefor be stopped (as the multiculturalists believe). There is a believe among some experts, that the trial aims to accomplish what has been done to the Belgium Party Het Vlaams Blok, which had to change its name into Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interests) due to repeated political trials.

The trial of Wilders is now centering about a much discussed dinner, that took place on May 3, 2010. Of course this is my opinion, so understand that what I write about it is not “officially confirmed”: A very silly judge of the Court of Amsterdam (that’s a court of appeal, located on a canal) who co-wrote the order to prosecute Wilders, tried to influence a key-witness for Wilders, the famous Arabist Jansen to stop aiding the courageous freedom-fighter. This corrupt judge, who is not allowed by Dutch law to influence witnesses, was helped by one of the most notorious Israel and America haters: Bertus Hendriks. Though Hendriks now has a respectable position at the Clingendael Institute, he was for years part of the Palestine Committee, an organization that helped many anti-Israel activists get their framework of lies put together. Now, Hendriks had facilitated the dinner, that gave the opportunity to the corrupt judge to influence Jansen and he even gave false testimony about the event just a week ago to cover for the criminal behavior of the judge. Of course Moszkowicz sees right through the veil that these gentlemen have put up and this excellent lawyer of Wilders has accused Hendriks of perjury. Since the district-court of Amsterdam (located outside the old part of Amsterdam) doesn’t agree with Moszkowicz’ accusation of perjury, the following situation developed: Wilders and his lawyer asked for the dismissal of the judges. A special panel of judges from the town of Haarlem (to appear neutral) was brought in to rule whether the judges in the trial of Wilders had lost their appearance of being neutral, but sadly they didn’t rule to dismiss. Now, last Wednesday, Wilders has gone to the police to report Hendriks for perjury.

The trial however will continue as planned, though we now know that the judges are biased: they already gave ample evidence to that. It’s not just the Hendriks incident, but probably the fact that they want to lead this trial at all. What judge would want to play the role of the bad guy in such a historic trial of false accusations against innocence? Of course, people of character would refuse to put on their toga (law prescribes this dress for magistrates in Holland) in this political game.

To make one thing very clear: Mr. Jansen is of course not influenced by the attempts of the corrupt judge. He has testified already about the facts that are so uncomfortable to the opponents of Wilders in this trial. He pointed out to the court where in the quran it says that man can beat their wives etcetera. He himself thought that beginning academic students of Arabic language and culture could do the job of pointing out where all the hate for women, Jews and Christians in the islamic scriptures could be found, but Moszkowicz put him in his rightful place: it’s the defense that decides which people are called upon to testify on their behalf. And of course the name of Arabist Jansen puts more weight in the balance!

Amsterdam, April 21 – 2011

Posted in Freedom of Speech/Redefreiheit, Geert Wilders, Islam | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Muslimisches Gebet in Rom… zu Ostern!

Posted by paulipoldie on April 24, 2011

Danke an SOS Heimat

Bilder von betende Moslems auf Straßen kennt man aus Frankreich oder vor kurzem aus Frankfurt, wenn Islamisten dazu aufrufen.
Just am Karfreitag versammelten sich erstmals im (einst) heiligem Rom auf der Piazza Venezia Muslime zu ihrem Freitagsgebet!
Unser befreundeter Blog Dolomitengeist berichtet:

Auf einem großen blauen Plane zugewandt Richtung  Mekka, beteten  etwa hundert Muslime, darunter viele Mitglieder der Bengali Cultural Association der römischen Dhuumcatu, in den Gärten der Piazza San Marco, nur einige Meter entfernt von der  Piazza Venezia.
Der Imam, Mizanur Rahman, sang den Ruf zum Gebet, das nach dem Ritual der Waschung am Freitag begann.
Dies war das erste Gebet  im „öffentlichen“ islamischen Rom  von  etwa 50 Männer und Frauen getrennt. (So wie auch Frauen und Männer in Moscheen beim Gebet getrennt werden.)

Die Initiative der Muslime hatte ein Ziel:
zum  gewährleisten der Freiheit ihrer Relgionsausübung, einer wirtschaftlichen Unterstützung, die  Stromrechnung für die Gebetsräume  soll die Stadt übernehmen, einen Friedhof für die Muslime, und die Anerkenung von muslimischen Feiertagen und Ferien nach den
islamischen Kalender.

Also wieder ihre üblichen Forderungen – es ist nur mehr eine Frage der Zeit, bis Muslime auch auf den Straßen Wiens oder Graz,…. ihre Teppiche auspacken werden!

Hier nun ein Video von gestern aus Rom:


Posted in Christenverfolgung, Dhimmitude, Islam, Islamisierung, Videos | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by paulipoldie on April 23, 2011

Da – überall, im weiten, dunklen Raum –
Glühwürmchen gleich, entfachen sich die Feuer.
Die Flammen lodern hoch, ich stehe wie im Traum
Und Osterfeuer siegen über dunkle Ungeheuer.

Bis weit zum Lappwald hin, soweit die Augen sehn
Brennen die Osterfeuer in der Heimat Runde
Und von den hohen Feuerstößen wehn
Die Schwaden voller Rauch und geben Siegeskunde.

Das ist der Sieg des Lichtes über Dunkelheit
Der Feuer Flammen sprühen auf und zischen.
Ich steh am Waldesrand gedenkend meiner Kinderzeit
Und fern und weit der Jugend Spuren sich verwischen.

Heinz-Bruno Krieger

Danke an SOS Heimat

Posted in Österreich | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

On the Background for Easter Eggs

Posted by paulipoldie on April 23, 2011

The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see
The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.

Christmas is a festival celebrating the birth of Jesus, but many of our current practices, such as giving Christmas presents, are of a relatively recent date. Although a specifically Christian celebration, like many other European ideas it has been adopted in other parts of the world as a kind of secular holiday, somewhat to the dismay of devout Christians. Even non-Christian countries like Japan have adopted certain of its traditions, for instance Santa Claus, gift-giving, decorations and Christmas trees. The same is true of China, Thailand and other places where Christians are a minority. It also contains traces of pre-Christian practices in Europe.

Christmas tree, 18th century Germany
Pagan Scandinavians in late December, around the time of the winter solstice, celebrated a festival called Yule. Present-day Scandinavians still call the Christmas season jul. The Christmas tree, an evergreen tree decorated with lights (originally candles) and ornaments, may also partly have older, pre-Christian roots. While its history is not entirely clear, the custom may possibly be traced back to the Baltic region, one of the last areas in Europe to be Christianized, to late medieval Estonia and Latvia and then to northern Germany from the sixteenth century on. The first use of candles on such trees is recorded in the early 1600s. The custom of creating Christmas trees remained confined to the upper Rhineland for generations, before it spread beyond the Protestant regions of Germany to the rest of Europe and the world.

In the Celtic religion, trees were seen as sacred objects, and the oak tree enjoyed a particular prominence. The name “druid,” referring to members of the learned class of priests among the Celts, originally meant “oak-knower.” The oak was the sacred tree of Zeus in ancient Greece. It was also often associated with the world tree in Slavic mythology while Yggdrasil, the huge world tree supporting the universe in Norse mythology, is usually identified as an ash tree. In the Völuspá, Ask was the first human man and Embla the first human woman, created by the gods from tree trunks. The meaning of Embla is uncertain, but Ask clearly means “ash tree.”

Professor Mary W. Helms reflects on the cultural significance of certain materials. The seagoing Dover Bronze Age Boat from England in the sixteenth century BC, for instance, was primarily constructed from oak and yew. Obviously, there are practical issues to consider such as the material properties of durability, elastic strength and resistance to rot (oak wood has great strength), but it is worth recalling that both the oak and the yew were widely recognized as cosmologically special species of trees, even sacred trees, in ancient European lore.

Taxus baccata (the common yew)The common yew — Taxus baccata — grows across much of the European continent. Ironically, it was simultaneously related to death (its leaves and seeds are toxic to humans and to livestock, though not to game) and to immortality since it is a very long-lived evergreen. Incredibly, the Llangernyw Yew, which grows in a churchyard in Llangernyw village in northern Wales, is thought to be more than four thousand years old, making it one of the world’s oldest living organisms. As for the oak, in the modern world it is often associated with the construction of fine furniture or the production of alcoholic beverages, for instance oak barrels for maturing wine, whiskey or cognac. In Celtic and Germanic cultures, that mighty tree was recognized as a cosmic axis mundi linking people with the sky and the gods:

Such an august association was probably very ancient. For example, Bronze Age northern Europe often utilised the oak as a coffin. Harding comments on the symbolic significance of such an interment, relating the oak tree-trunk coffin to house construction (also predominantly of oak in temperate Europe) and noting the relationship between houses and tombs both in Neolithic and Bronze Age contexts. He mentions, too, the ancient and long-lasting association of yews with graveyards (and churchyards) and the general connection of trees like ash, oak, and yew with longevity or eternal life; burial within a tree carrying the obvious connotation of a return to the source of life.

Pashka iconLike Christmas, Easter consists of a mix of Christian and older, pagan symbols such as spring fertility rites. Many European languages use variations over the name of the Jewish festival Passover, called Pesach in Hebrew. In Italian, it’s Pasqua; in French, Pâques; in Spanish, Pascua; in Scandinavian languages Påsk or Påske; in Dutch, Pasen; and in Russian, Paskha, borrowed from the Greek via Old Church Slavonic. However, in German it’s called Ostern. The English Easter probably stems from Eostre, a Germanic goddess of spring and fertility.

Easter is the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was crucified in Jerusalem on Good Friday and was, according to believers, resurrected from the dead on the third day, having died for the sins and salvation of all mankind. This belief constitutes the very essence of the Christian religion. The date for Easter was settled during the First Council of Nicaea, presided over in person by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325. It also adopted the Nicene Creed, which is accepted as authoritative by all major branches of Christianity and affirms the divinity of Jesus and the Trinity of God the creator as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Easter is a moveable feast taking place after the Full Moon following the spring equinox, or at some point between March 22 and April 25 in the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Christianity of the Orthodox Churches continues to base its calculations on the older Julian calendar, which means that the dates of their Christian holidays currently differ from the Western ones.

In the Western Church, Easter was preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting (excluding Sundays). In early Christian thought, gluttony (overeating) had been defined as one of the Seven Deadly Sins along with wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust and envy. This was an era of scarcity. Lent is a partial fast where you abstain from certain types of food such as cheese, meat and eggs. This is very different from the fasting done by Muslims during Ramadan, who abstain completely from food and drink during the day for an entire month, including water in very hot countries, and then eat lots of cakes and watch TV during the night. Some types of fasting can have beneficial health effects, but this latter variety is not healthy for the body.

The island of LofotenThe Roman Catholic Church imposed fasting during Lent. There were certain “lean days” when it was forbidden to eat “fat” food. Meat-eating was forbidden on almost 180 days — nearly half the year — but fish came to be regarded as suitable food for fast days. This meant that trade in fish could be quite profitable. Lofoten, the scenic Norwegian island group just north of the Arctic Circle, enjoys a climate that is technically classified as “temperate” due to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream that heat northwestern Europe. Since the Viking Age, if not before, stockfish — cod hung on wooden racks to be air-dried by the Sun and the salt breeze from the sea — has been made here. It has a long storage life. By medieval times it was exported via the port city of Bergen and the trading network of the Hanseatic League to Continental Western Europe. Salted cod (bacalao) is still popular in Portugal, Spain and Italy.

Crucifixion by Theophanes of CreteLent ends with the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, when Christ is said to have given the ceremony of communion to his followers, the Twelve Disciples: “Take of this bread and eat of it, for it is my body. Take of this wine and drink of it, for it is my blood.” One of them, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Jesus and sold him out to Roman authorities for thirty pieces of silver:

The next day, Good Friday, is the deepest day of mourning in the Christian religion because it is the day Christ was crucified (on a cross made of olive wood), died, and was buried. On Easter Sunday, Christians believe that Christ rose again and ascended into heaven. Eggs were forbidden during Lent, but were used heavily in ritual foods when fast was broken on Easter Sunday. They were in special egg breads like Ukrainian paska or Russian saffron-scented kulich. Sometimes the bread is decorated with dyed hard-boiled eggs or shaped into a cross. For Easter dinner, traditional foods depend on geography. In the Mediterranean, it is lamb; in Northern Europe, ham; in England, beef. The custom of giving painted eggs for Easter dates to the later Middle Ages. Baskets to hold the eggs represent birds’ nest. The Easter Bunny with his basket of painted eggs came to America with German immigrants in the nineteenth century.

Family of Easter bunniesThe Easter lamb here refers to Jesus himself, as Christ was seen as “the Lamb of God.” To Christians they constitute a symbol of the Resurrection, but eggs are a self-evident symbol of creation and rebirth. The use of painted and decorated Easter eggs was first recorded in the Late Middle Ages.

The only possible ancient parallel is found among the Jews, the soup with hardboiled eggs of Passover, served after the Seder ceremony. There are no references earlier than the fifteenth century which mention the distribution of eggs at Easter, but from the sixteenth century on there are plenty. A tradition that eggs are brought by a hare or bunny is found in German lands, but it goes no farther back than the seventeenth century. It was the subject of a medical dissertation at Heidelberg in 1682, where it was announced as a novelty:

In some parts of Germany, instead of a hare, a bird or a fox brings eggs, or eggs may fall from the sky, together with church bells returning from a trip to Rome to be blessed. This started as a popular rather than a genuine folk custom of the South of France in the mid-nineteenth century, and was encouraged if not actually suggested by the clergy in an effort to make Easter celebrations more religious. Confectioners have spread the idea to all other countries, eggs and bells being an excellent way to market chocolate. Decorated eggs are not by any means all meant to be kept; most are eaten. However, in Romania and the Ukraine the shells are saved to be thrown in the river (an ancient gesture with various different kinds of significance). The shells go down into the other world to tell the dead to be of good cheer: Christ is risen, and all at home are rejoicing.

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“Wouldn’t it be Better to Support the Peaceful Muslims (than to Criticize the Violent Ones)?”

Posted by paulipoldie on April 7, 2011

“Wouldn’t it be Better to Support the Peaceful Muslims (than to Criticize the Violent Ones)?”

Posted: 04 Apr 2011 11:11 PM PDT

EVEN IF the number of Muslims who believe in the basic political objective of Islam and are willing to vote in that direction (and take other actions) are as small a minority as people hope they are — this small minority is, by definition, more politically active and more committed than the “peaceful majority of Muslims.”

If the majority is largely silent and politically-inactive, then it doesn’t really matter what they think. They are having no influence on the public sphere.

In other words, the idea of stopping the Islamization of the West by strengthening, encouraging, and supporting politically-apathetic Muslims is a fool’s errand. This approach will do nothing. It will not stop the politically-active Muslims, and it will have very little impact on the apathetic Muslims, since they don’t really care much about politics or religion anyway, and they just want to live a normal life in peace.

As a matter of fact, supporting politically-apathetic Muslims may even strengthen the recruiting efforts of the jihadists because they will correctly see it as “attacking Islam,” since Islam strictly forbids apathy and commands active political participation from every Muslim.

It seems very encouraging when people say, “The vast majority of Muslims are not fanatics about their religion’s political goals.” But I think the author of Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant made a persuasive point when he wrote that totalitarian ideologies do not need a majority to take over, and they never have. A small number of committed fanatics can easily dominate a larger number of people who just want to go about their lives in peace.

So let’s try to answer this question: Which approach would work better? Option number one: Educating non-Muslims about Islam’s prime directive so enough of us have enough knowledge to vote for policies that will stop the Islamization of the West? Or, option number two: Focus on supporting the peaceful Muslims.

How would we even “support the peaceful Muslims,” anyway? Give them more of a voice in newspapers, radio, and on television? That may actually make our situation worse, because almost no peaceful Muslims are publicly honest (or they are ignorant) about Islam’s doctrine. So if they spoke their minds more freely in the media, even more people would think Islam really is peaceful and loving, and they’d be even more likely to be fooled by the politically active orthodox Muslims, and thus more likely to continue to yield to Islam’s relentless encroachment, giving away concessions to these “peace-loving” people.

No, supporting the peaceful Muslims will not solve the problem. The answer is to educate non-Muslims about Islam, so they know what’s going on, so they stop being duped and deluded, and so they will help stop orthodox Islam’s destruction of the free world.

Posted in Islam, Islam - What can we do? Was können wir tun? | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

God Does Not Speak Arabic! — Part 1

Posted by paulipoldie on April 5, 2011

From Gates of Vienna

Our guest-essayist El Cid returns with the first installment of a three-part account of the linguistic origins of the Koran. According to his analysis, not only is the Koran not quite what everybody thinks it is, but it is also written in a different language than is commonly assumed.

Bismi-llāhi r-rahmāni r-rahīm #2
God Does Not Speak Arabic!
The Evolution and Origin of the Language of the Koran

Part One: Love Me Because I Am Arab

By El Cid

I remember many years ago, when I started to learn Arabic at university, our professor wrote on the blackboard this famous Hadith, attributed to Mohammed the Prophet of Islam. It was one of the first phrases I learned to read and write in Arabic, and my first encounter with Muslim attitudes of supremacy, linguistic dominance, and the crucial link between the purity of Arabic and the claim of a superior origin for Islam.

احبوا العرب لثلاث، لاني عربي، ولان القران عربي، وكلام اهل الجنة عربي

“Love the Arabs for three reasons:
because I am Arab,
because the Qur’an is in Arabic
and because the inhabitants of Paradise speak Arabic.”

This Hadith, collected by the esteemed Islamic Scholar Al-Tabrizi, neatly expresses the roots of Arab supremacy. To Muslims, Islam is a gift in the form of a revelation from God’s lips, that commands non-believers to love and submit. No other faith is so intertwined with a sacred language. No other faith is so linked to a holy book in just one tongue. No other faith rests so much authority upon linking its language to the a claim that it is the language of God.

Koranic Arabic is the cement that holds Islam together, and is both its strength and its fatal weakness. A weakness, because according to Christoph Luxenberg, once the flaws and inconsistencies of the strange Arabic of the Koran are revealed, the Muslims’ false claim that it is God’s perfect and incorruptible language is exposed to reveal the truth that it is not. Not only is it not perfect, it is of human and not divine origin. The overwhelming evidence suggests that it is not even pure Arabic, but a “patois” or a mixture of Aramaic and the Arabic dialect of Mecca!

I have several copies of the Koran in my library, a few in English, some in Spanish, but most in Arabic. One very ornate Koran with the following words on its cover written in a complicated enigmatic Arabic script boldly and confidently proclaims that it is “The Guidance for Mankind.”

For Muslims the Koran is truly an enigma, and when read in prayer the rhythm and cadence of its words have a narcotic effect on their senses and mind. A recitation of the Koran rolls off one’s tongue with the rhythmic simplicity of modern a day “rap” song. For millions of Muslims who have no clue about its language and memorize it word for word, this is all they have. Its narcotic affect permeates the believer in much the same way a child is comforted with repetitive and familiar sounds he does not understand.

The first line of the Koran is a good example of this. This and hundreds of other lines are read over and over again by young Muslims who don’t even understand their meaning, and many of whom are illiterate in their own native tongues. Such is the grip that these so-called “God words” have on a quarter of humanity.

Bismi-llāhi r-rahmāni r-rahīm #1

bismi-llāhi r-rahmāni r-rahīm

“In the name of Allah (the Muslim God) the most gracious the most kind”
The reliance upon simple rhythmic cadence and the intimate effect it has on Muslim ears indicates that the Koran was conceived as oratory, meant to be heard first and explained later. This was the oratory that Mohammed recited to his followers. This is also the reason why even in his lifetime there was great confusion about what was said and how to recite it. So much reverence for something of such dubious pedigree and murky origin!

Islamic scholars cannot show with clarity its origin and evolution. For most of its history they have not even cared to ask the most basic questions. Where did it come from? When was it written? These are things that Muslims cannot explain. The standard answer is that it is the literal word of God in his language, pure and uncontaminated by man, and any further questions will be settled by my sword.

To find out in the language in which it was first uttered and later written, there is no better source than the pages of the Koran itself. Clues are everywhere; they are embedded in the very words and language of the Koran, even in the signs of error and mistranslation. They point conclusively not to some supposed pure proto-Arabic from the time of the Islamic Prophet, but instead amazingly to the language of the conquered Aramaic speaking “peoples of the Book.” These same people helped Muslims gain legitimacy with a book of their own and gave the then illiterate and nomadic faith an existing language in which to settle.

Traces of these first Aramaic scribes are present only as a ghostly layer of etymology and meaning. They hint of a Koran less violent then the one we know today. This Aramaic Koran is at times very different from what Muslims venerate. Unlocking this true Koran can liberate millions of Muslims from the worst of their faith and give the Counterjihad a powerful new tool with which to fight. In his erudite and bold book The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A contribution to the decoding of the language of the Koran, Christoph Luxenberg shatters the myth of Koranic purity and reveals what we know as the Koran to be a book fraught with linguistic confusion and errors.

Muslims have preached since the beginning of their faith that their holy book is written/spoken/recited in the actual words of God, and that he communicated them through the Angel Gabriel to his Prophet Mohammed in God’s only language, Arabic. They further claim that the Koran can not be understood in any other language but Arabic. They tell us confidently that it is “God’s final communication to mankind.”

No other religious book, especially one that makes such grandiose declarations, has received so little scrutiny and critical study until now. Considering the fear of violent retribution, this is understandable. This has been the norm in the Muslim world for most of its history, and except for a brief period of analysis and critical thought by a few Greek-influenced Koranic Scholars in the first centuries of the Muslim epoch, no one has dared state the obvious: much of the Koran makes no sense! If one accepts that the Koran is the literal word of God, as most Muslims do, then reading Mr. Luxenberg’s book will convince all but the strongest believers in Islamic Dogma that this God of the Koran does not speak pure Arabic, but a confused speech permeated with Aramaic words instead.

Until recently few have put their scholarly expertise behind an open and critical analysis of the legitimacy and origins of the Koran. Mr. Luxenberg, an expert in both ancient Arabic and Aramaic, has done just that. He has scrutinized the Arabic texts of the Koran itself and compared its words and grammatical structure with the only existing common language in universal use among Semitic speakers — including Jews, Christians and the then-illiterate Arab tribes — of the time. This lingua franca was the Aramaic language. He found that the confused language of the Koran with its garbled words, nonsensical sentences, and strange non-Arabic verbs suddenly became clear and understandable when read with the knowledge of Aramaic. This is clear proof that much of what Muslims accept as their holy book was either put into written form by Aramaic-speaking scribes, or that a text originally written in a kind of Aramaic-Arabic hybrid was later transcribed into the accepted Koran that Muslims blindly venerate today.

Mr. Luxenberg published his book under a pen name for fear that the Islamic world would seek his death. His legitimate concerns for the potential of violence seem prophetic, and even more so since his great work appeared just one year before 9-11. No other work has such a potential to demolish the accepted Islamic belief about the purity of the Koran’s language. It has left many renowned Muslim scholars dumbfounded and still struggling to find a way to refute it. It has the potential to shake Islam to its very foundations by exposing with conclusive evidence that much of the Koran is not in Arabic, and much of it is incomprehensible, not because it contains some deep inscrutable meaning, but because it simply is written in a language other then pure Arabic.

This knowledge together with an analysis and forensic study of two ancient copies of the Koran, one found by an archeologist in the Sana’a mosque, allows the myths and origins of the Koran to finally be exposed.

If, according to Muslim belief and the Koran, God communicated to Mohammed his words in Arabic, then why is this message partially written in Aramaic? If, as Arabs believe, God only speaks Arabic, then why are the majority of the words in the Koran non-Arabic words? According to professor Luxenberg, up to 70% of the words are from an Syriac-Aramaic lexicon and are close to the language of the Christian Palestinians from the times of the Islamic conquest.

As a student of Arabic, one of the first things that I encountered when I began my studies was the variety and types of Arabic one could learn. When I asked which was the real version of Arabic, the Arabic found in the Koran, the Arabic taught in school and used for educated writing and speech, or the Amiya or local Arabic in actual use by people in their daily lives, I was told to look at the Koran. It is amazing that even Rosetta Stone uses a version of Koranic Arabic, not Basic Standard, in the Arabic version of its popular software. In daily life Arabs must speak three languages, the language of everyday life, the language of the academy, and the one in the Koran.

In most world languages the gap between the language of everyday use and the language of the academy is small. Learning book Spanish with a little effort, for instance, perfectly allows one to understand the language of the street.

Not so with Arabic! In addition to Modern Standard Arabic, a student must learn one of over a dozen different local dialects. The distance between the so-called dialects and Modern Standard is large, but the distance between them and Koranic Arabic is even greater. While early on in my studies I was told by my professors that the roots of proper Arabic are in the Koran, I soon came to realize the this Arabic was the most inconsistent of them all. Luxenberg explains that Arabic linguists have been aware of the odd Arabic in the Koran since the Koran took its present form, with its current cursive script, sometime in 10th century.

“Generations of renowned Koran scholars have devoted their lives to the meritorious exercise of clarifying the text of the Koran grammatically and semantically, word for word. In spite of all these efforts one would not be far from the truth if one were to estimate the proportion of the Koran that is still considered unexplained today at about a quarter.”

But what is so odd about the Arabic in the Koran? What are the words and phrases that cannot be explained, and why in spite of its inconsistent spellings and grammar do many Arabic linguists still insist that it is the fountainhead of pure Arabic? The Muslim world believes that it is the first book written in Arabic — the Arabic that the Angel Gabriel forced Mohammed to recite. Islamic Arabic scholars believe it is where the language of Allah was preserved. It exists in heaven in a pure state, and its words cannot be altered under the pain of death. If this is to be believed then one can understand their sensitivity to any thought that its language is flawed, as indeed it is.

Upon discovery of the one of the oldest copies of the Koran in a Mosque in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, H.-C. Graf von Bothmer, one of the scholars studying the text, said, “So many Muslims have this belief that everything between the two covers of the Koran is just God’s unaltered word. They like to quote the textual work that shows that the Bible has a history and did not fall straight out of the sky, but until now the Koran has been out of this discussion. The only way to break through this wall is to prove that the Koran has a history, too”

Where did written Arabic come from? Arabian culture in the time of Mohammed was illiterate. No written forms of Arabic existed except for a few grave markers in the Nabatean script. Not only could Mohammed not read or write in his own Qurays dialect spoken by his clan from Mecca, but Arab society as whole could not either; it relied on an oral tradition of storytelling and recitations. For this reason there exists not one book or testimony in written form from the Islamic conquest. Arabic literacy would have to wait two hundred years or more for its alphabet to be invented and grammars to be fixed.

According to Muslim traditions, the prophet of Islam knew the Koran by heart, hundreds and hundreds of suras (chapters). He could recite them in his own language, the Arabic dialect of his tribe. The Koran tells as much. Sura 14:41: “We have never sent an apostle except in the language of his people.” Of course, this means that since God sent an angel only to the Qurays tribe of Mohammed and not any other group, then God could only communicate in the language they spoke.

This was very lucky indeed for Mohammed, but what if his tribe did not speak proper Arabic but a variant heavy influenced by Aramaic? Could the messenger of Allah still be able to receive the sacred message?

Nicholas Ostler, who studied at Oxford and has a PhD in Linguistics, says, “This caused some philological problems, since Mohammed’s dialect of Arabic was slightly nonstandard : it lacked the (all-important) glottal stop known as the Hamza.” The Hamza is an important consonant in the Arabic alphabet and key to the comprehension of words. It is common in Arabic but less so in Aramaic, which is interesting, considering that the city of Mecca may have been founded by Aramaic speakers based on the linguistic origin of its name — the word “Mecca” comes from the Syro-Aramaic root “ma-ch-ta”( low-lying area or valley). If, as Mr. Luxenberg contends, the people of Mecca spoke a language that was a hybrid of Aramaic and Arabic, perhaps it was more than “slightly nonstandard.” Whatever it was, it was not what even modern-day Arabic scholars would call pure Arabic. While Arabs may not have been literate in their own language — more properly dialects of Arabic — living among them were many settled peoples, both Jews and Christians, who were. These same Arabs were surrounded by other literate peoples, most of whom spoke the related Semitic language and lingua franca of its day, Syro-Aramaic.

Muslims explain the origin of the Koran in this fashion: Allah sent the Angel Gabriel to command Mohammed to speak or recite the words with which Allah had filled his head. Not all at once, but over a span of twenty-two years in dribs and drabs of one sura after another. These groups of suras (chapters) remained in his memory throughout his life. Different pieces of this “Koran” were also memorized and written down by his companions.

What language would they have been written in? Muslims don’t say, but since written Arabic did not exist yet, they must have been written in one of the existing languages of the day. Of these, the closest would have been Aramaic, which happened to be the most popular written language in Arabia. In addition to what they claim was written down on many pieces of paper, bone and parchments, many of the companions also memorized portions of it. Eventually the Caliph Uthman gathered all of this and had Christian and Jewish scribes write it down. It was he who would decide what would be accepted as the true Koran.

It is assumed by most Arabs that Mohammed spoke something close to the language that is contained in the Koran. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mohammed is known to have spoken a dialect of Arabic, that of his ancestral home, the city of Mecca. Did a standard form of Arabic exist at the dawn of the Islamic age in the Hijaz — the group of settlements along central Arabian coast facing the Red Sea? Considering that the Arab tribes of the area lived independently of one another with no written language or cultural base to fix a set of standard rules, it is not surprising that in fact there were many types of Arabic, all with common characteristics, but with widely varying pronunciations and grammars.

Even in Mohammed’s lifetime there was disagreement about over the correct way to write the Koran. Al-Tabrizi reveals the level of disagreement about how to recite the Koran among the Companions. Mohammed’s strange and aloof approach to resolving these disputes and differences in reading is highlighted in this Hadith by Al-Tabrizi:

Ubayy and two other companions approached Mohammed with this argument.

“Prophet of God, we are in disagreement over a verse in the Koran and each of us maintains that you taught us to read it so and so. ”

Whereupon he spoke to one of them:

“Read it out to me,” and this one read it out to him. Whereupon the Prophet of God said; “Correct!”

Then he asked the other to read it out to him, and this one read it out differently than his friend had read it out. To this the Prophet said: “Correct!”

Then he spoke to Ubayy : “Read it out yourself as well,” and Ubayy read it out differently than both. Yet to him too the Prophet said; “Correct!”

Ubayy reported : “This gave rise to such a doubt in me with regard to the messenger of God as that of heathens!” And he continued : “However, because the messenger of God noticed from my face what was occurring in me, he raised his hand and struck me on the breast and said: ‘Pray to God for protection from the accursed Satan!’” At this Ubayy broke into a sweat.

This rather confused response by the Prophet is understandable if one considers that as a merchant who had traveled to Syria he may have spoken several dialects of Arabic as well as Aramaic. The three different interpretations would have been correct if one concludes that Mohammed had spoken to each man not in God’s language but in the individual varieties that they spoke. Oral preservation of the Koranic recitations by his companions would have been in their native variety of Arabic, and a source of the disagreement.

These disagreements over how to recite the Koran were clearly evident even in Mohammed’s lifetime. There was considerable confusion about the different meanings of the different recitations. The Muslim claim of a perfect oral conservation of Allah’s words is flawed indeed. No doubt the different followers of Islam, speaking not one standard Arabic, but many different variants of Arabic, would come into conflict, as the Prophet’s words would have different meanings and pronunciations for people who may have had difficulty understanding among themselves. The Hadiths tell of seven different readings that the Caliph Uthman shrewdly consolidated into one. Fear that the new faith, without scriptures or a book of its own, would descend into civil war over the reciting of Allah’s words motivated Uthman to fix the Koran in writing.

Between the revelation in the desert by the Angel Gabriel to the claim of guidance to mankind is the strange evolutionary path of the Koran. Scholars can prove the following forensic trail: Mecca and Medina were Aramaic settlements with a mixed population of Arabs, Jews, and a few Christians. Mecca’s language, the language of the Qureshy, Mohammed’s tribe, was a mixture of an Aramaic and an Arabic tongue. The surrounding Bedouin Arab tribes from which the companions came spoke various different types of Arabic, and their memories of the prophet Mohammed’s revelations would have been preserved in the Aramaic script, the only means of writing at the time. All these varied sources would have been combined by the third Caliph and again written with Aramaic characters in a combination of Arabic dialects.

The reform of the Muslim world, the liberation of its people, especially its women, and the start of the path towards prosperity for the Middle East, can only begin when Muslims realize that there are errors in the Koran. Scattered among the incomprehensible words, mistranslations, and errors is much truth. Commingled with the war verses and opportunistic revelations uttered by the Prophet of Islam is a message of peace from the sacred texts of Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians.

The Aramaic-speaking scribes who were commanded by the third Caliph Uthman, years after Mohammed’s death, to give his new faith legitimacy and respect among the more literate conquered peoples, added to the prophet’s words an earlier message of peace from the pages of the Old and New testaments.

Perhaps Muslims have been right all along in their assertion that they share much with the traditions and beliefs of Jews and Christians, except with one tremendous error: they are the ones who have confused the message. In reality the messenger of Allah was the one who received the wrong transmission, and it is the Koran that has mistranslated the truth out of sheer ignorance, and because of the Arab people’s initial inability to read and write.

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