Spengler on Militant Religiosity

“The present can only accomplish its purification by the erasure of its past.”

Below is the third of Thomas Bertonneau’s three-essay sequence on the crisis of modernity.

Spengler on Militant Religiosity

by Thomas F. Bertonneau

Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), the German historian and philosopher, devotes a suite of three chapters (VII, VIII, and IX) in his Decline of the West, Volume II (1922), to what he calls “The Problems of the Arabian Culture.” The third of these chapters, “Pythagoras, Mohammed, Cromwell,” explores the parallelisms that, in Spengler’s view, and in his use of the word, make these figures “contemporary” with one another. The same chapter also contains Spengler’s analysis of Puritanism, but not strictly in the sense of Calvinist doctrine, although he includes Calvinism in his discussion. Spengler views Puritanism as an inevitable phase of religion, one of doctrinal hardening and literalism in which a totalitarian impulse predominates. Puritanism has manifested itself in all the Great Cultures, as Spengler calls them, such as the Chinese, the Classical, and the Gothic. By “The Problems of Arabian Culture” Spengler does not mean to confine himself to a history of Monophysitism or Islam, although these come under his three-chapter remit. Spengler subsumes “Arabian Culture” under the larger category of “Magian Culture,” which embraces both Arabia Felix and Arabia Deserta but reaches far beyond them to aspects of the late Persian and Syriac societies, to the Hellenism of Alexandria, and even to the Iconoclastic centuries of Byzantium. The term Magian also reaches back in time to the late stages of Mesopotamian society. For Spengler, St. Augustine shares rather more with Islamic theology than he does, say, with St. Thomas and the Scholastics. For Spengler, the Hagia Sophia of Constantinople anticipates the mosque. To understand the chapter-sequence on “The Problems of Arabian Culture,” however, requires that Spengler’s often shocking and sometimes counter-intuitive pronouncements, like the ones just mentioned, take their place among the over-arching assumptions of The Decline.

Spengler’s opus impresses the first-time reader as a colossal improvisation. Its erudition and seeming formlessness put off many would-be explorers. Spengler’s basic propositions nevertheless lend themselves to summary. Spengler rejects the idea of a universal history. He recognizes no singular history but a number of histories in the plural, each one peculiar to its own Great Culture. Thus the Classical or Mediterranean Culture begins with the palace kingdoms of Mycenaean Greece and ends with the Severan Dynasty of the Late Second and Early Third Centuries. Indian Culture begins with the Vedas and ends with Buddhism. Western or “Faustian” Culture has its earliest glimmerings in the Eighth Century but really only leaps into being after the year 1000. Western Culture preserves a profound awareness of Classical Culture but this awareness implies, for Spengler, no actual continuity. Each Great Culture constitutes itself hermetically as an organic whole without debt to adjacent or precursor cultures. Borrowings are never essential, but only ornamental. Spengler emphasizes the organic character of culture. He regards each Great Culture as a living entity, whose mortality impends as soon as it comes to birth. Each Great Culture follows the same seasonal life-course — a vivacious and creative spring, a productive summer, a crisis-afflicted fall, and an increasingly inflexible winter. Spengler also makes a distinction between culture, as such, and civilization. Culture flourishes as the vital phase; civilization takes over as the mechanical phase, becoming more and more rigid until the machine stops.

Each Great Culture first expresses itself in a springtime outburst of religion. The Classical pantheon and associated cults already existed in late Mycenaean times; Homer and Hesiod signify a literate transformation of a long existing Apollonian worldview, as Spengler calls it. By the time of Septimius Severus (reigned 193-211), the Classical religion has become a syncretic henotheism, with one god in numerous guises, complete with a church-structure wedded to the state. Whereas the springtime paganism knew nothing of prejudice, the syncretic henotheism has codified itself as a set of compulsory dogmas. Spengler distinguishes between a Magian and a Gothic Christianity, which have little or nothing to do with one another. The latter appears with the building of the Lady Churches and with the blazing out of sacred polyphony. By the time of the Baroque, however, Catholicism has become the counterpart of syncretic henotheism. A living entity no longer, the Church distinguishes itself hardly at all from the array of explicitly secular institutions. As for Magian Christianity, Spengler classifies it as one of many apocalyptic movements that participate in the same mundial vision. These dispensations show themselves initially around the time of Alexander’s campaigns. Spengler writes in Vol. II, Chapter VIII, how “the world, as spread out for the Magian waking-consciousness, possesses a kind of extension that may be called cavern-like.” A “primary dualism” governs the world-cavern of this revelation: “The light shines through the cavern and battles the darkness.” The Magian Culture reaches its final, ossified phase when Mohammed issues his unalterable Koran and commences his coercive mission.

If social, spiritual, and intellectual rigor mortis belonged to the autumnal and hibernal chapters of the cultural life-course, this would not mean that earlier chapters exhibited no forecast of rigidification. Spasms of Puritanism occur in the vernal and estival chapters but show themselves as liable to suppression by the still-vivacious environments where they arise. The first name in the title of Spengler’s third of three chapters on “The Problems of Arabian Culture” is that of Pythagoras, whose person will be familiar to most readers through its association with the theorem of the right triangle. The lifetime of Pythagoras spans most of the Sixth Century BC, with scholarship locating his birth around 570 and his death around 495. The prevailing myth treats Pythagoras in an anodyne way: Philosopher, mystic, mathematician, vegetarian, discoverer of the cosmic harmony, and champion of animals. Pythagoras invited veneration from the Florentine Humanists and again from the French Symbolists as an idealist and altruist. The truth puts Pythagoras in quite a different light. “Pythagoras was not a philosopher,” Spengler writes; but rather, “he was a saint, prophet and founder of a fanatically religious society that forced its truths upon the people around it by every political and military means.” Croton, the Greek colony in Southern Italy where Pythagoras took up residence in middle life, raised an army under his regime that “in the bitter earnest of [its] gospel of duty duly wrecked gay Sybaris and branded it forever a city without morals.” What was that “gospel”? It consists of the “enthusiasms of a sober spirit, cold intensities, dry mysticism, [and] pedantic ecstasy.”

Pythagoreanism belongs under the category of Puritanism. Spengler defines Puritanism as a symptom of dour old-age: “It lacks the smile that had illumined the religion of the Spring… the moments of profound joy in life, the humour of life.” The destruction of Sybaris, around 510 BC, finds affirmation in both history and archaeology; the city suffered such violence that its survivors had to abandon it and take up residence elsewhere, as in Thurii. The wrath unleashed against Sybaris has lodged in the collective memory, Spengler speculates, “because it was the climax of a wild religious war… an explosion of the same hate that saw in Charles I and his gay Cavaliers not merely doctrinal error, but also worldly disposition as something that must be destroyed root and branch.” Furthermore, “A myth purified and conceptually fortified, combined with rigorous ethical precepts, imbued the Pythagoreans with the conviction that they would attain salvation before all other men.” The South-Italian cities that had come under the sway of the collective enthusiasm eventually found the furor too much to bear. Inspired by Spengler, the scholar Kurt von Fritz issued his book Pythagorean Politics in Southern Italy in 1940. Von Fritz pieces together a simultaneous multi-city uprising that in the space of a few days wreaked vengeance on the Pythagorean committees, burned down their lodges, and suppressed the fanatical portion of their following. Spengler notes that the Pythagorean writings, such as the Golden Tablets, make the promise to loyal adherents of elevation to godhood. That degree of self-satisfaction and self-righteousness could only — and soon — draw forth condign reaction.

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The ADL’s “Task Force on Middle East Minorities”: A Con Job?

Below is David Boyajian’s latest report on the persistent animosity of the Anti-Defamation League towards Armenians.

The ADL’s “Task Force on Middle East Minorities”: A Con Job?

by David Boyajian
June 19, 2020

Hardly anyone — Jewish or otherwise — believes that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) genuinely cares about the welfare of Christian, Muslim, and other non-Jewish minorities in the Middle East.

After all, contrary to its claim to be a civil/human rights champion and “secure… fair treatment for all,” the ADL is essentially a political organization.

So when it launched its so-called Task Force on Middle East Minorities (TFOMEM) in late 2018, I suspected a political con job.

TFOMEM says it will spotlight “human rights offenses committed against minority communities in the Middle East.”

That sounds bizarre, given that the ADL has itself committed human rights offenses against minorities and others right here in America.

Spying on Minorities

In 1992-3, police raided ADL offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The ADL had a “private spy operation that authorities alleged crossed the line into illegal territory,” reported the L.A. Times.

ADL operatives were surveilling hundreds of minority, civil rights, labor, and media organizations and associated individuals. Among the targeted minority groups: NAACP, Asian Law Caucus, Latin American Support Committee, Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Filipino Organization Committee, and Young Koreans United.

ADL spy Tom Gerard was a rogue San Francisco police officer linked to Latin American death squads. He and his undercover ADL sidekick, Roy Bullock, called themselves “the kings of garbage” for scouring people’s trash for private material.

ADL agents spied on American opponents of Apartheid in South Africa and passed information to its government — hardly the conduct of a civil/human rights organization.

Narrowly escaping indictment by the San Francisco D.A. — who was reportedly under political pressure — the ADL still had to pay $50,000 to the city.

The ADL also settled civil rights lawsuits brought by victims of its snooping.

ADL Genocide Hypocrisy

In friendlier days, Israel and Turkey recruited the ADL and organizations such as the American Jewish Committee to deny/diminish the Armenian Genocide committed by Turkey from 1915-23.

These Jewish organizations and Israel also colluded with Turkey to defeat Armenian Genocide resolutions in the U.S. Congress.

Disgusted by the ADL’s genocide/Holocaust hypocrisy, in 2007-8 a dozen Massachusetts cities and the umbrella Massachusetts Municipal Association expelled the ADL’s sanctimoniously-named No Place for Hate program. This made national and international headlines.

The ADL has never apologized to Armenians. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt’s 2016 acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide came in a mere blog post and only after decades of deceit.

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The Treaty of Trianon, One Hundred Years Later


Suleiman

The Treaty of Trianon, which dismembered the state of Hungary after the Great War, came into force exactly one hundred years ago today. Hungary and the Western Allies signed the instrument at the Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles; hence its name.

Hungary ended up losing two-thirds of its territory under the terms of the treaty, which stranded more than 40% of its population outside the borders of Hungary without anyone having to move.

Our Hungarian correspondent CrossWare has translated the following essay about the Treaty of Trianon, which relates Trianon to the earlier Muslim invasion, from the conservative portal PestiSracok.hu:

Suleiman was also present at the Trianon execution attempt

by László Kovács Vésey
May 25, 2020

Like when a man is beaten down with bat, so was the Trianon peace dictatorship: he falls to his knees, the world spins around him, and he doesn’t even understand what happened to him. To date, we have not recovered from it, either as a country or as a people. Those who demand that we at last leave this Trianon problem behind us and deal instead with the future do not take note of reality, because the past cannot be left behind unfinished. Trianon itself is a good example of this, as it has not fallen into our head without antecedents. Even a hundred years ago, the unprocessed past, our own omissions, and the fruits of the trickery of our enemies ripened together.

In today’s eyes it is almost inconceivable that Hungary came to the end of the Middle Ages as a sparingly stable and unified country, one of the leading powers in Europe. Even if the nobles and lords intervened at times in the king’s affairs and were able to stir up internal strife, no one could question the existence of a unified royal power. The kingdom had serious reserves of power, and was rich in precious metals, ores, and salt, not to mention food. Hungary had one and a half times as many inhabitants as England or Poland, two and a half times as many as the Czech Republic, and we had a decisive influence on the life of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. There was no mention of a united Germany and Italy at that time; France was working on the creation of a centralized kingdom, just as a similar process took place in Spain after the success of the Reconquista. Besides ourselves, the latter two states were real military powers in that era.

It may even be considered a vagary of fate that in the immediate vicinity of this Hungary, which was a great power in all respects, the Ottoman Empire, which surpassed the strength of all European countries, had arisen. To this day there is no consensus among historians as to whether we would have been able to defend ourselves, but if we had, it would have required unparalleled self-discipline and conscious unity for two centuries from the king, nobles, and serfs. We lost the inevitable clash, but the Turks did not have enough strength to swallow our entire country. Thus, we did not sink into the Balkans (Transylvania, Partium and the South, after Trianon), but in terms of population, nothing worse could have happened to us. For two centuries our country became a battleground, with marches of the ever-increasing Ottoman, Habsburg, and Transylvanian armies regularly passing through our territory, requisitioning the peasantry that remained after taxation and double taxation. And if only they had just taken the taxes!

We Have Suffered a Disastrous Destruction

The Ottoman looting of the rural populations was accompanied by a significant extinction of the population and the destruction of the settlement structure. The whole countryside was depopulated, and many villages disappeared forever. If we look at the map of present-day Hungary, we can see that there are still only rare settlements in the Great Plain. During the uncertain period of occupation, instead of defenseless villages, people concentrated in a few swollen market towns and settled on large-scale animal husbandry, which was more sustainable in terms of possible escape, rather than farming. For this reason, there are settlements with a larger population and sparsely populated areas in the Great Plain, and the instances of single standalone farms are also rooted in this fact. But the Hungarian population remained at least partially here.


Hungary’s settlement density — the footprint of the Ottoman Turks is still visible today (source: terport.hu)

Muslim conquerors killed a large number of people and drove the enslaved Hungarians in endless columns to Istanbul and then sold them to various corners of the empire. During the Turkish conquest of 1521-1568, the Fifteen Years’ War of 1591-1606, the Austro-Turkish War of 1663-1664, and the expulsion of the Turks between 1683 and 1699, we suffered immeasurable horrors, probably the most brutal genocide in Europe in the last thousand years. At that time the Hungarians of Szerémség disappeared from the Hungarian majority of Temesköz, but by the end of the Turkish expulsion, the Hungarian population of Baranya, Tolna, Somogy counties and Partium had largely disappeared. These flat areas were the main terrain of the movements, so their populations became extinct, which in the vast majority of cases meant the Hungarian population.

Our Numbers Were Dwindling, While Everybody Else Was Thriving

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The PVV on the Expropriation of Jewish Property in the Netherlands During World War Two

Below are written Parliamentary questions from Gidi Markuszower MP and Geert Wilders MP (both PVV Party for Freedom, Partij voor de Vrijheid) to the Ministers of Education, Culture and Science; of Health, Welfare and Sport; of the Interior and Kingdom Relations; of Finance; and of Justice and Security, about the article that four out of five municipalities do not know whether “during the Second World War, Jewish real estate was expropriated and resold, while that did happen in their municipality”*:

1.   Are you familiar with the article and the research?
2.   Are you prepared to map all the stolen property of Jews, in cooperation with the Dutch municipalities? Including the real estate that was expropriated during the war but was not resold? And also, for example, commercial real estate that was stolen by “verwalters” appointed by the Nazis?
3.   Did the Dutch government, central and local, own and/or take possession of real estate for which the Jewish owners or their relatives were murdered? If so, do you not believe that these properties should be returned to the Jewish Community?
4.   What efforts did Jews, who survived the Shoah, have to make after the war, and what costs did they have to incur, to get their looted property back?
5.   Does the Minister believe that the State of the Netherlands is liable for the actions of wrong notaries; after all, they formed a crucial link in the robbery of the Jewish looted real estate in and after the war?
6.   Are you familiar with the fact that with every sale of stolen Jewish property, the Tax Authorities collected a 5% “registration fee”? If so, are you willing to refund these fees?
7.   Was the restitution of the looted Jewish real estate part of the settlement made by the government with the Jewish Community in 2000?
8.   Which municipalities have imposed leasehold, street tax and other levies on returning Jews?
9.   Do you share our opinion that the time has come to find out which governmental irregularities in WWII can still be rectified? Such as collected fines and taxes, Jewish star fees, transport costs paid by or on behalf of those transported away?
10.   Are you aware that much information about the stolen Jewish property is in the archives of the Dutch Management Institute? Don’t you think it is time to make all these archives digitally accessible and freely available?
*   Research by Follow The Money en Pointer
 

It Has Nothing of Value

What are all these people referring to?

It Has Nothing of Value

Compiled by Michael Copeland

Originally published 11 July 2017 at LibertyGB

It has nothing of value to bring.
— Pat Condell, YouTube commentator

It makes life barren and empty. It encourages a savage pride and cruelty. It makes men tyrants or slaves, women puppets…
— James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) [top picture], American theologian

…a state of permanent hostility…
— Karl Marx

…it is the principal cause of decadence so visible in [their] world today…
— Alexis de Tocqueville

…morally rancid ideology… that brings nothing good whatsoever.
— Fahrenheit211 (website)

…it has violated all ten of the Ten Commandments.
— Nonie Darwish

[It] will never become a part of liberal secularism.
— Mazin Abdul Adhim, imam in Canada

…totally incompatible with Western democracy.
— Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Canada

It is an Arab war pitting an ideology of slavery, violence and submission against an ideology of freedom, humanity, civility and respect for life.
— Dov Berrol (commenter, Jihad Watch)

[It]… never brings wealth anywhere it comes.
— ‘Mike’ (commenter, Jihad Watch)

…building a future where the living envy the dead.
— ‘the thought offender’ (commenter, Gates of Vienna)

For previous essays by Michael Copeland, see the Michael Copeland Archives.

Italy: Is Coronavirus Paving the Way for Dictatorial Powers?

Ashraf Ramelah, the president of Voice of the Copts, sends a coronaskeptic’s view of the situation in Italy and elsewhere in the West.

Italy: Is Coronavirus paving the way for dictatorial powers?

by Ashraf Ramelah

For years I have focused on the cruel and needless suffering of the Christian Copts of Egypt. Religiously inspired laws and the dictates of a regime governing the Islamic state has always been the enemy of the Egyptian Copts. Long ago a barbaric Islamic army invaded and occupied the Pharaoh’s land, for centuries ruling with severity the native Christians. Islam ruled with barbarity and deception.

Is the rest of the world seeing a modern-day version of this right now? There seems to be rule by deception and the top-down dictates that stem from it — the same formula. The World Health Organization (WHO) along with its agents who head nation states and act as official authority over a “new disease” force us into charts and graphs and experts to lock us down under house arrest, distance us from each other and muzzle our mouths with masks. Like the fierce Islamic warriors who cut out the tongues of the native Copts of the mid-7th century, dissent is silenced. Our current warlords are worldwide authorities riding a pandemic high, most likely one they created.

Just like our unfortunate friends across the world in Egypt our sacrifice seems not so much for the health and welfare of mankind as it is to succumb to the control of a certain ruling class. Bio-weapon or not, manmade or natural, the Covid-19 and its vultures have swept down and made the best of very controversial data for a power grab. Like the useful Shariah, the “facts” are given and the solution is provided. Let us be grateful.

By imposing harsh measures that contradict scientific experts and lead to the deterioration of health and limit our God-given rights and freedoms, the Western warlords have gotten us to beg for our punishment so the “curve can be flattened.” We enter their program and wait, watch and listen for the next dreaded word spoken from a podium.

But their death charts are already debunked. Who cares? Just go along. Get through it. But, alas, we won’t ever get done with it. The joke is on us. The good people of the United States know this already from the 9-11 event and its aftermath, receiving the Patriot Act and universal surveillance. Now we are all Copts of Egypt.

Fear and political gain

Only one official source of information exists, which is scripted and distributed over the airwaves via mainstream media just like Egypt’s age-old state-owned broadcasts. It is alarmist and creates fear and panic. This leads to loss of common sense in the citizenry and contributes to irrational beliefs. At the same time there are many highly educated scientists and doctors disagreeing with the official assessment and solutions. We listen but are not able to adopt their sensible course of actions — it’s too late. The forces of the one worldwide alliance own all the science worthy of conveying, and humanity has already paid dearly for it. We now have all we need to know. We are guilty. We are killing our neighbors and even our families.

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The Fourth Coronareich

The five videos below illustrate various aspects of the authoritarian (if not totalitarian) dystopia that Germany has become under the regime imposed to deal with the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translations, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling.

Video #1: Beatrix Von Storch on the treatment of Christians in Germany

Beatrix von Storch is a deputy leader of the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany) and a member of the Bundestag. In this video she discusses the discrepancy between the legal rules imposed on Christians during the coronavirus lockdown, and the far more lenient standards applied to Muslims:

Video #2: Doctors protest the Corona lockdown

The second video shows physicians in the city of Schwerin gathering to protest the lockdown:

Video #3: Displaying the Basic Law is forbidden

The Grundgesetz is the Basic Law (also known as the Constitution) of the Federal Republic of Germany. In the following video a policeman tells a young lady that she must remove her copy of the Grundgesetz from public view. Furthermore, he asserts that she does not have the right to express a political opinion in public:

Video #4: Brutal arrests at a Corona demo in Berlin

The fourth video shows the very rough treatment meted out by police in Berlin when arresting protesters during a coronavirus demonstration. Pay particular attention to the way one officer handles a very diminutive young lady who does not want to accompany him:

Video #5: A mandatory vaccine?

In the final video, a lawyer in Cologne describes a proposed law that would impose a mandatory vaccine on all Germans. Citizens will be required to have proof of immunity before they can travel freely and exercise other basic civil liberties:

Video transcript #1:

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The News From Spain

The videos below provide two small snapshots of the cultural enrichment of Spain.

The first is a clip that was put together by the populist anti-immigration party Vox. It compares and contrasts the treatment of Muslims and Christians under the Wuhan Coronavirus restrictions. The former were allowed the pray on the street without enforcement of social distancing. Meanwhile, a mass being celebrated in Granada Cathedral was raided by the police.

Many thanks to Pampasnasturtium for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

In the second video, Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska talks about his determination to deport 600 illegal Tunisian immigrants who managed to get into Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North Africa.

Many thanks to FouseSquawk for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript #1:

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Easy Guide to Sharia Law

Here’s a useful summary of sharia in verse form.

Easy Guide to Sharia Law

by Michael Copeland

Stoning, flogging, amputation,
Schoolgirl genital mutilation,
Shootings in public, and hangings too,
The slitting of captives’ throats to view.

No freedom of conscience or freedom of speech,
Beheading for blasphemy happens for each.
Those who defect may be openly killed
By anyone else, and the law is fulfilled.

No tolerance ever for other faiths’ mission:
Killing enforces this strict prohibition.
Same-sex partners the law says slay,
Anyone freely can make it this way.

A father should kill his erring daughter,
Control is supreme: the sanction — slaughter.
Child brides of six, consummation at nine,
Sex-play with infants or beasts — all fine.

Short term marriage in exchange for rent,
Usable boys — no age of consent.
A man may marry four wives at a time,
And divorce them simply by quoting a rhyme.

A wife is a chattel to buy, beat, and use,
Obliged to submit, not allowed to refuse.
She may not go out of the house alone,
Or talk to a man who is not of her own.

Though a woman may testify all that she can
Her witness is rated half that of a man.
She’s only entitled to half the share
That a man will inherit if he is co-heir.

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Quiz: Who is Being Referred To?

Quiz: Who is Being Referred To?

Compiled by Michael Copeland

No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. — Winston Churchill

…utterly incompatible with civilised society. — David Hume

…they beat out each other’s brains from generation to generation. — John Wesley

It is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in [their] world — Alexis de Tocqueville

…undistinguishing and exterminating war… against all the rest of mankind. The essence of his doctrine was violence and lust: to exalt the brutal over the spiritual part of human nature. — John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States

…ferociously intolerant. — George Bernard Shaw

…the most fatal enemies of Civilization, Liberty, and Truth, which the world has yet known. — Sir William Muir

…the enemies of civilization. — Theodore Roosevelt

…unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of the world. —Bertrand Russell

It has always been about hate. It has always been about violence… a militant cult that is based on violence — Amil Imani

[They] refuse our culture and try to impose their culture on us. — Oriana Fallaci

There never was such scum as these people. — Lord Weidenfeld

…their systematic criminalization of free speech; their suppression of inquiry and creativity; and their unending intertribal fights — are the reasons their people have remained in the seventh century. — Uzay Bulut, Turkish journalist

…a unified message of triumphalism, otherworldliness, and religious hatred — Sam Harris

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“I Renounced Islam”

The following article is an updated version of one that was published by LibertyGB in 2014.


Amal Farah

“I Renounced Islam”

by Michael Copeland

I renounced Islam, so my family think I should die” is the heading of the article in the Telegraph by Harriet Alexander. The article illustrates the way readers’ thoughts can be subtly steered towards desired conclusions. Both the journalist and the featured ex-muslim woman she quotes have an interest in not directing the spotlight too strongly on Islam. They both know that this can be the excuse for “repercussions”.

Straight away in the heading there are two influences at work. First the spotlight is put on “my family”, influencing the reader away from supposing that the matter might have something to do with Islam — it is a family thing, you see. This is a standard deflection, often used. Secondly, the wording says, “I should die”. That is a slightly vague and open statement, a whole lot less dramatic than “I should be killed”.

Keeping attention on her family, the article goes on to say,“her family felt she deserved to die.” There you are: it was what they “felt”. The Western reader is inclined to consider that with some loving kind encouragement the family could be influenced to change their feelings. First feelings, then beliefs: “They believe you deserve to die”: the family “believe” this is what she deserves. Silently it is left open to the reader to hope that with the right pastoral care the family could be brought round to more charitable and humane beliefs. Nothing is offered to rule this out.

The pressure is on, though: we next learn that not just the family, but the community shares the same belief about leaving Islam: “within my community, that’s a capital offence,” she said. “They believe you deserve to die.” This is more demanding: there will have to be much more persuasion work done with the whole community to help them modify their beliefs. Steady! There is more detail: “In the eyes of the deeply-conservative Somali community… renouncing Islam was an act potentially punishable by death.” Now we know: it is the “deeply-conservative Somali” community. That is better: we can breathe a sigh of relief: it evidently does not include the presumed modern, fashionable part of the Somali community. Besides, look again, renouncing Islam is only “potentially” punishable by death. More sighs of relief: that really takes the pressure off, doesn’t it? “She is adamant that it is not a problem with Islam…” There you are: of course, it is not Islam: she is adamant. It is that deeply-conservative Somali community with its feelings and beliefs. The only snag is that the phrase “it is not a problem with Islam” has the ring of being a standard untrue disclaimer. As we shall see, this matter is indeed very much “a problem with Islam”.

Now that the pressure is removed we can be fed some handy distractions: “If you look at the Old Testament, there are some shocking things there.” This is another standard technique — “You lot do it, too” — known by its Latin name tu quoque, “you also”. Two observations are called for: firstly, just because certain other people may do the same does not alter the moral unacceptability of the action: it simply means there are others just as reprehensible: no difference is made to the objection. Secondly, in this specific case there is a flaw: the parallel fails to be a parallel. The Old Testament contains many old laws and accounts of killings. To adduce it as evidence is fatuous: it does not form part of British law. The Koran, in complete contrast, is ALL part of Islamic Law, which specifies the death penalty for denying any verse (Manual of Islamic Law o8.7(7)). Every command in the Koran has legal status. Similarly, every speech and action by Mohammed, as recorded in the traditions accepted as reliable, has legal status.

“But Jewish society realises that it’s no longer acceptable to stone someone to death, or to cut out their eyes, or enslave them. And the vast majority of Muslims realise that too.”

This puts the Western reader at ease, but it is another of those we’ve-heard-them-all-before excuses, putting Islam on a par with Judaism. The vast majority of Muslims may have good qualities, but what they realise makes no difference to Islam. Islam is not defined by what the vast majority of Muslims realise. Its teachings are derived from the Koran and the traditions, the Hadith, of what Mohammed did and said. As it happens, stonings, eye-gouging, and enslavements, all of which Mohammed took part in or commanded, do, indeed, continue in the Islamic world. Although not normally reported by the mainstream media, they can be found on the internet. Sometimes, as with the schoolgirls in Nigeria, slave-taking receives some publicity.

Actually, in the reality of Islamic law, there IS a problem with Islam. As the article itself mentions, Muhammad said, “Whoever changes his religion kill him.” His word is Islamic law. As a result the one who has renounced Islam, the “apostate”, has to be killed. This is not something that muslims may opt to “believe” or not. That question does not arise in Islam, which has no freedom of religion. Muslims cannot choose: they are instructed. “It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision”, says Koran 33:36. Islamic Law indeed commands death for anyone who leaves Islam. “Leaving Islam is the ugliest form of unbelief (kufr) and the worst”, says the Manual of Islamic Law (o8.0): “When a person… voluntarily apostatizes from Islam he deserves to be killed” (o8.1).

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“It’s Their Interpretation of Islam”

“It’s Their Interpretation of Islam”

by Michael Copeland

“Ah, but it’s their interpretation of Islam”, we are assured by smooth-talking muslim speakers. Journalists have picked this up, and dutifully write about “an extremist interpretation” that lies behind the latest atrocity. This assurance about interpretation is surprisingly successful. It is designed to make us doubt what Islam’s source texts mean, including — and this is the crafty part — those whose meaning is clear and obvious. We can easily be taken in by this appealing and fair-sounding assertion. It puts us off the scent. That is the idea.

First, it is necessary to clarify what is meant by an “interpretation”. If an instruction says “give away one tenth of your income to charity”, that does not require an interpretation. The meaning is quite clear, and the instruction can be exactly followed. An “interpretation” is different. Say a politician repeatedly evades an interviewer’s question with some bland generalisation. Eventually the interviewer says, “I’ll take that as a ‘No’”. That is an interpretation. It is quite a different matter from the straightforward following of what a text says.

Bearing in mind that the Koran — all of it — forms part of Islam’s law, how does the “interpretation” allegation stand up to the test?

Let us see. We can take commands and instructions from the Koran and Hadith and compare them with what muslim leaders and speakers say.

Hatred

Koran 60:4 praises the “excellent pattern” shown by Ibrahim when he said (to the Jews):

“Between us and you enmity and hatred forever….”.

How do the spokesmen treat that?

  • Osama bin Laden: “Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us.”
  • Osama bin Laden: “Battle, animosity, and hatred — from the Muslim to the infidel — is the foundation of our religion.”
  • islamqa.com: “Muslims in the West must have … enmity and hatred of the kaffirs.”
  • Alminbar.com: “You should hate them, disown them and their religion.”
  • Abu Usama, Birmingham: “No one loves the kuffaar. We hate kuffaar.”
  • Anjem Choudary: “As a muslim I must have hatred for everything non-Islam.”
  • Yousuf Makharzah, muslim cleric: “Animosity towards the Jews is an obligatory religious duty, and one of the signs of the believers.”

Killing

The Koran commands:

  • “Kill the non-muslims wherever you find them” 9:5
  • “Kill them wherever you overtake them, and expel them from wherever they have expelled you….” 2:191

What do the clerics say?

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The Peaceful, Tolerant Muslims of India

The two videos below provide snapshots of Islamic ideology in India. They are particularly apropos today, given the recent violent Muslim riots in Delhi, in which dozens of people were killed. (See these articles from Struggle for Hindu Existence for detailed information on events in Delhi: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3)

Many thanks to Janya for the translations, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling.

The first video shows the communal response planned for a man who “insulted Islam”:

The second video is a more generalized death threat against Hindu political leaders in India:

Video transcript #1:

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