July 15, 2006

Another Question of the Day

Please take this question in the totally impartial manner in which it was written...

Do you believe Islamic terrorism would exist today if Israel had not been re-established in 1948?

Feel free to elaborate on your opinion if you feel so inclined.

Posted by Andy at July 15, 2006 12:01 AM to the Politics category

Yes, I think Islamic terrorism would still exist.

The elimination of the Caliphate in 1924 left Islam without a clear leader. The exact line of inheritance and exact juristiction of the Prophet has been under dispute...well since he died - thus the whole argument between the Sunni, Shi'a, and Ibadi Muslims.

My theory is that if extermist Muslim terrorists would not be attacking the West, they certainly would be attacking one another.

Just look at the Mumbai train bombings, that has nothing to do with Israel that I can see more of the dispute between the possession of Kashmir between India, Pakistan, Hindu and Islam.

Regardless of the re-establishment of Israel, the military Jihad concept against infidels existed since, I believe, the first crusade. With or without Israel, how many Muslims would choose to read 18 suras that exist in the the Qur'an as a license to kill or convert infidels where ever they may find them?

Examples via wikipedia:

"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." (9:29)

"But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."(9:5)

"Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): 'I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.'" (8:12)

"Exempt those who join a people with whom you have concluded a peace treaty, and those who come to you with hearts unwilling to fight you, nor to fight their relatives. Had God willed, he could have placed them in power over you and they would have made war on you. Therefore, if they leave you alone, refrain from fighting you, and offer you peace, then God gives you no way to go against them." (4:90)

Posted by: Mei at July 16, 2006 04:42 PM

They are attacking one another. Good points all.

Another related question... I just finished reading the Torah, and there are a great many similar passages within those 5 books. What made the Jewish people give up the ancient ways when Muslims have not? I know why Christians have given them up, but not Jews.

Posted by: Andy at July 16, 2006 05:17 PM

For example...

Posted by: Mei at July 16, 2006 09:33 PM

Examples of verses? Hard for me to do this kind of thing, but I'll do what I can...

This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee.

Deuteronomy 2:25

If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.
If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.

Deuteronomy 13:6-16

If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

Deuteronomy 22:23-24

When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets:
Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.

Deuteronomy 25:11-12

If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Deuteronomy 32:41-43

Ok, this took me over an hour and I'm exhausted. That's just Deuteronomy, and I carefully avoided passages that pertained specifically to the conquering of the promised land.

I get the impression that the Qur'an is more open-ended regarding the use of violence against unbelievers, whereas the Bible tends to direct things to the promised land specifically or to regions within Israel's own borders. Having not read a single line of the Qur'an, however, I don't feel like I can make a judgment like that. Context is everything.

Posted by: Andy at July 16, 2006 11:02 PM

Methinks that Jewish law is more complicated than
you realize. The kind of punishment called for in Deuteronomy was in today's eyes very barbaric.

Was Deuteronomy written in response to things that occured during those nasty forty years when the people of Israel were lost in the desert? If so, it makes it more understandable that punishments are harsh since imprisonment would not be an option while a nation is on the move.

Going to comment on stuff based on the context you provided.

2nd verse: There are no other competing gods out there the way that there were at the time Deuteronomy was written, i.e. people don't burn their children alive to worship the god Molech, or at least one hopes not.

3rd verse: Actually I remembered hearing that Jewish law at least in the time of Jesus needed two witnesses to convict of adultery. Good luck with that today.

4th verse: Women can't be used to fight dirty during a wrestling match (if I read that correctly). When is the last time you saw something like that happen?

I'm totally out of context on verse 1 & 5.

I'm pretty sure I didn't answer your question at all, but it's a start.

Posted by: Mei at July 17, 2006 02:38 PM

You essentially just supported it. Context is hugely important. The rules of a nomadic culture must be very different than those we have today. Add that to the hardship in the desert and the uphill battle faced by the Israelites just to survive and thrive in the region, and you have a very different picture than one would gain by imposing our modern understanding of rules and culture on Biblical interpretations.

So what is the context of the passages you found from the Qur'an? I don't think it's enough to mention that it was written roughly 2000 years after the equivalent Jewish texts, thus making it far more barbaric and extreme. It is important to consider that the region circa 600/700 AD was tribal and at least partly nomadic, and that tribal warfare was commonplace.

The question we do need to ask is, "why do some Muslims today still hold onto those same principles that Jews abandoned centuries ago," and perhaps even more importantly, "why doesn't the rest of Islam marginalize such interpretations out of hand?"

I have plenty of theories, some more extreme than others. The most extreme: Could the Qu'ran be inspired by Satan in a way so ingenious that even questioning anything contained therein amounts to blasphemy in the eyes of believers? The least extreme: Is the current conflict truly religious at all, or has it simply be warped into a religious context despite economic or political roots?

Posted by: Andy at July 17, 2006 03:19 PM
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