Tag Archives: Koran

Alan Henning and Violence In The Name of God


Alan Henning was moved to try and make a difference. He gave up Christmas with his family that he might take supplies to help people suffering in Syria. Yesterday it was reported that ISIS carried out their threat to execute him.

On Eid Mubarak they sacrificed a man that had dedicated himself to humanitarianism. He is not the first, nor it seems will he be the last. Militarily this is a tactic to reduce aid to besieged people. ISIS make great play that they can provide for people in their terroritry. How much easier to make cities fall to them, because aid agencies dare not operate?

That we are being taunted, manipulated and terrorised by ISIS is unmistakable. Their desire to have the international community turn on them to rally people to their cause is not the only thing. They want Muslims and non Muslims to turn on each other. The reason for a caliphate to be made stronger by us turning on the wrong people.

I will not let such evil people treat me like a puppet on a string. Yet when discussing such matters on twitter it was clear people wanted to say Islam was bad. Unlike Christianity. The Koran promoted violence against infidels. The bible does not.

Well …

We then have such articles like the review of Karen Armstrong’s new book “Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong, book review: Neo-cons, prepare to get angry

The review in The Telegraph had this quote I mentioned in a tweet, which missed what Jesus is supposed to have said:

Related article: The Truth About Religion and Extremism

The problem is the reader taking from “their Book” the permission to do violence, slavery, and rape. While these verses remain, evil people will use them as stated, out of context or not in relation to other commandments and commentary, to carry out religious zealotry.

The Spanish Inquisition was religious. The belief that they were saving souls by consuming the flesh with fire, or purifying via torture was not a cover for psychopaths and sadists. They believed it. For the sufferings on earth were nothing compared to the eternal torment of everlasting hellfire. (I have not read Aaronovitch’s review but suspect he makes a similar point from his tweet).

Just as Karen Armstrong makes light of the religious aspect then, she and others are doing so with ISIS now. Some will be doing this to prevent the hatred and persecution they fear Muslims would suffer in the UK. Others that religion is always peaceful, and violence when committed has nothing to do with it. That it is a smokescreen for other motives.

A nuanced position recognises that the chicken or the egg debate to the scripture/violence link misses that both feed into each other in their own ways. Breaking the cycle matters more than blame games, apologetics, and false statements as I debunked above.

ISIS really do believe they are fulfilling a religious edict to create a caliphate and that their means are sanctioned by defensive Jihad. A counter narrative is useful, but do not for one second think they are insincere about this. They are in deadly earnest.

What helps is seeing the bigger picture. Religious extremism is on the rise. Together we have to tackle it. Let us start by being accurate about the problem.

Do not give in to terror. In memory of Alan Henning remember that compassion can also move humanity.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou: For Feminism Religious Should Start Again


Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou interviewed about “Are atheists ‘truer’ feminists?” states on the bible:

The biblical texts are the products of ancient societies in which the notion of gender equality was unknown. Despite claims at various points in the Bible that women, men and children are all valued by God, men and women are consistently portrayed differently – and unequally – in their perceived value as religious and social beings.

Regarding Islam:

Islam has inherited the male-centredness of the ancient religions and cultures from which it emerged …

… a pervasive religious preference not only to treat men and women differently, but to distance and segregate women from men: they are (usually) to pray separately, and they are to dress differently …

Women’s bodies:

Women’s bodies were deemed problematically different – too different – from those of men. And in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, they continue to be: whether the issue is veiling, male circumcision, segregated worship or women bishops, all three religions attest to the on-going problematizing of women’s bodies.

Conclusion on religion and feminism:

For the religiously-inclined, it would be better to rip up the old blueprints and start again.

I hope these quotes (deliberately cut short in post for copyright reasons) wet your appetite to read the full article here.

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Fitna Revisted and Critiqued

I challenge anybody to watch Fitna and find something questionable in it. The only problem with Fitna was the motive behind the production of the movie. And Dawkins’ ignorance of the context surrounding Fitna is the only thing he is guilty of. Dawkins asserted several times that he knew nothing of Wilders and solely based his opinion of the movie in total isolation from any context. [Source: Skeptic Ink – On Owen Jones Fallacy Filled Accusation that Dawkins is a Bigot]

Challenge accepted.

In a previous post I mentioned that Richard Dawkins was at a meeting in 2008 which discussed issues with Geert Wilders film “Fitna” that some founding members of the Council for Ex Muslims of Britain had. So much so that they showed “Fitna Remade” which had dubbed audio and inserted captions over the original footage. In that post I give the full quotes of Dawkins on the dawkins.net thread in 2010, the video “Fitna Remade”, and invite anyone that only knows about Geert Wilder watching “Fitna” to read the thread and check him out on google.

As “Fitna Remade” made clear to the audience in 2008 what objections there are to “Fitna”:


The main issues with the original film was that it gave the impression that all Muslims were part of political Islam, rather than the main victims of it, and that it dealt with terrorist attacks in the West rather than the decades of theocratic state suppression in the Middle East and North Africa where those heads of states were the most bloody handed in this – though welcome at the United Nations.

Two years later in 2010 Dawkins watched the original “Fitna” and forgot that these things were brought up at the 2008 meeting. I can even mention that as his dog was ill that day he was not perhaps paying attention. Yet just watching the original movie the main issues should be clear – that Muslims are portrayed as political Islamists because of the Koran, and the number of Muslims in Europe should therefore alarm us. The claim for ignorance has to be replaced with forgetfulness at best and viewer suppression of what the film maker must be trying to communicate to you.

The aim of “Fitna” is to have you agree with Wilders that the Koran should be banned as a terrorist manual, mosques should not be voting stations, and all immigration from Muslim dominated countries be stopped.

Maryam Namazie was involved in the production of “Fitna Remade”. Commenting on “Fitna” and Geert Wilders during a Secular TV broadcast she stated the following in 2008:

Firstly, the attacks on the west pale in comparison to the attacks on the people of the Middle East and North Africa yet he only cares to focus on these. He also blames the rising political Islamic movement in Europe to so-called Muslim immigration and shows a rise in numbers coming to the Netherlands. What he fails to see is that a lot of these people who are fleeing to Europe are actually fleeing from political Islam and want nothing to do with this movement. Yet he like many on the Right view masses of people as one and the same with their oppressors. To say that this ‘teeming hordes’ of so-called Muslim immigrants – many of them atheists, socialists, freedom fighters, secularists, and of course also those who consider themselves Muslims – are one and the same with the very movement that has been slaughtering them and that they have been at the forefront of opposing is nothing short of outrageous. [Source: Maryam Namazie Blog]

In the discussion mentioning the difference between anti-Muslim and anti-Islam, she mentions those Dutch citizens who are going onto the Internet to apologise about the film Fitna:

Maryam Namazie: … So don’t apologise, but instead organise and stand up to anti-immigrant legislation and parties, defend universal and citizenship rights for everybody but also stand up and challenge political Islam. Don’t let the Islamists walk over universal values and rights in Europe or the Middle East and elsewhere. And stand in solidarity with the people of the Middle East and North Africa who have been doing so for a long time vis-à-vis this movement. That’s what we need to do rather than apologising for Wilder’s film.

Fariborz Pooya: Can you not see that the Islamic movement is using this film as an excuse to advance its policies.

Maryam Namazie: They are using it and we will use it. Civilised humanity will use it to advance its progressive stance, its defence of universal rights, its defence of secularism, its defence of asylum seekers and immigrants and its uncompromising opposition to political Islam and US militarism – both of which are part and parcel of the same new world order – feeding off of each other. Okay this film is out there. Let’s use it as one more excuse to stand up to those who are trying to take advantage of the situation. We can also take advantage of the situation and bring a human stance to it – one that the world desperately needs.

This is not about trying to bring Dawkins down with guilt by association with Wilders. It is important to make clear what is objectionable about the film “Fitna” and the importance of facing down the far right that use our anti-religion and anti-extremism stance for their xenophobic and anti-secular policies.

As Namazie says stand in solidarity with those suffering because of theocracy and terror. Support secularism, human rights, asylum, immigration and religious freedom.

Challenge the hate and fear mongers of the far right that distort our message for their own ends.

That is the bigger picture than Richard Dawkins or Owen Jones.

Related post: Islamism and the Scapegoating of Muslims

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Abdul Qadir Jilani: anyone may kill apostates

Possibly overshadowed by the deportation of Abu Qatada, another person hit the headlines, one Abdul Qadir Jilani.

Mr Jilani, who is based in Walthamstow, east London, said in the offending [DM Digital] programme: “The matter of insulting the prophet does not fall in the category of terrorism.

“Those who cannot kill such men have no faith.

“It is your duty, the duty of those who recite the holy verse, to kill those who insult Prophet Mohammed.

“Under the guidance from Islamic texts it is evident that if a Muslim apostatises, then it is not right to wait for the authorised courts; anyone may kill him.

“An apostate deserves to be killed and any man may kill him.”[Daily Telegraph]

Incitement to kill, not just hatred. The public good threatened via our airwaves. A clear breach of free speech. So we can expect he is under arrest, not least as a clear signal that EU guidelines will be upheld on freedom of religion and belief.

Accept all that has so far happened is £105,000 fine of DM Digital by Ofcom.

Excuse me? Let me get this straight: a tweet joke about an airport being closed due to snow had better be sorted out or they will bomb it produces a court case, but someone that incites muslims to kill those that have left the Islamic faith is still at liberty in London.

Dr Malik the chief executive of DM Digital explains why even just the fine was going too far for him:

Dr Malik said that he was dissatisfied with Ofcom’s ruling because there were cultural differences that Ofcom does not understand. He said that the regulator’s adjudicating committee should have members picked from the Muslim community.[Source]

This is no defence – it is a clear breach of universal human rights that people may chose their own faith, and change it, without fear or coercion.

Home Secretary will you kindly now ask the Crown Prosecution Service to examine this with a view to prosecution. Uphold our human rights and treaty obligations not to have our ex Muslim citizens murdered for supposed cultural and religious reasons, or threatened with.

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Buffet Style Religion – cherry picking

Literalist interpretations of sacred texts are a rarity in serious discourse in the United Kingdom. Bible bashing would be a sign of no serious argument as much as resorting to ad hominem ignoring what the discussion is about.

Video above from “The West Wing” a great bible rant about the need to cherry pick for a humanist religion

President Josiah Bartlett may have been in the back of the mind as Neal Donald Walsch’s article Buffet-Style Bible Believers about reactions to Boy Scouts of America decision on allowing membership to openly gay youths. He uses different bible quotes regarding killing rebellious offspring, killing brides that have no virginity, women avoiding the groin in a fight, the stoning of adulterers and homosexuals.

So with respect, I ask you to excuse me, Pastor Reed, if I am not totally convinced that humanity’s infallible answers will be found in the Bible. You may not agree with all of the above verses, either. But if we are going to be Buffet Bible Believers, rather than a Literal Word of God Believer, than might you please tell us which verses of the Bible we are advised to ignore, and which we should apply to the letter?

Thank you, sir. That would be very helpful. We would not want to be called hypocrites for citing some verses of God’s Word when they support our personal prejudices, and ignoring others when they do not, now would we?


In my post about Islam I mentioned concern with cherry picking verses in Koran and Hadiths – not because I and others may be misrepresenting the true nature of Islam as believers live their faith – but because extreme radical Islamic political ideologues use those same verses to legitimise their wanton acts of coercion either through the state or by means of terror.

That is a different thing to respond to. Spin those verses were for a particular context that do not exist today, that they were one off commandments not applicable now, other verses make clear not right thing to act on in the way they do.

Tied down by parchment, the need for revisionism and winning with your interpretation becomes the battleground of ideas. Over a millennium later it really is a matter of life and death how Iron Age texts are read. That private belief can be enforced on the populace to deny their own pursuit to happiness while living a good life.

Whether you believe in God or not, this is a rather sorry state of affairs for humanity to still find itself in.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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