Monday, October 24, 2005

“You Do It, Too, and Besides, You Can’t Spell”

An email arrived today from someone who reads Gates but declines to set up a blogger account in order to be able to comment.

Here are her/his —the email is signed “A.B.” — complaints about my post, “Egypt and the Copts: Kith and Kin." Accompanying his fisking is my response.

Dymphna: “what is it about praying that makes Muslim blood boil against the infidel? This is the Religion of Peace, right?”

A.B.: “What is it about Christianity that made Christians slaughter jews and have inquisitions? Bernard Lewis once made the point that (roughly paraphrased) ‘When Christianity was roughly 1400 years old, it had its inquisitions and then its reformation. Islam today is roughly 1400 years old. Let us hope they have a reformation one day as well.’ I think the above statement of yours is rather ignorant, all things considered.”

So I’m ignorant, A.B. Do you use ad hominem arguments often? No one is holding a gun to your head, forcing you to stop by and read my post. Feel free to move along. Your tu quoque arguments about what Jews and Christians did six hundred years ago aren’t germane to what is going on today with the Copts…or in Pakistan or Iran or Thailand, or Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia or Turkey or Indonesia or parts of Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia, etc. Not to mention the compound down the road from my house, where reside adherents of a jihad against infidels by bloody cleansing. As an infidel, that makes me a target.

And what Jews and Christians did six hundred years ago would be germane were they still performing those atrocities. But they aren't. What is past tense for the Jews and Christians is current orthodoxy for Muslims.

The history of Islam from its very bloody beginnings — i.e., from the first attack of that caravan by Mohammed and his gang, from his first betrayal of the agreement he made with the Jews in Medina — makes its claim to be the ROP risible. Aside from the remnants of hunter tribes in South America, Muslims are the group least likely to be termed “plays well with others.” Meanwhile, Bernard Lewis’ hope that Islam might have a Reformation one day is based on wishful thinking. The Muslims can’t even get along with one another, how can they reform from within? “Religion of Peace” has got to be one of the most blatant examples of cultural denial extant.

Next fisking and reply:

Dymphna: “If you check your Koran, you know that this is a huge no-no. Christians may meet in private, if no one in authority knows about it, but they certainly are not permitted — koranically, anyway — to just up and build a church”

A.B.: Just as a heads up (though I imagine you do it in an attempt to be insulting or old fashioned?) “Koran” is a very old fashioned transcription, and doesn’t really make sense given the Arabic letters involved. I would be glad to further explain if you would like. Qur’an is pretty much the standard (and most logical) transcription in use today.

Oh, dear. Now we have to be authentic and up-to-the-moment? Well, sweets, what if it’s still Leningrad to me? Do you think people will understand my reference? What about Peking? Being “a very old fashioned” kind of girl I don’t mind not being up to date. And I’ve used “Qu’ran” on occasion — it is immaterial to me. Irrelevant. Beside the point.

Your notion that I employed the form “Koran” instead of your preference because I wanted to be insulting is your problem, one for you and your therapist to work out. When I intend to insult, it is direct and clear — as in my suggestion re what you might do with your need to impugn others’ motives.

A.B.: “ Oh right, and my main point--I would love to see the reference in the Qur’an that has what you claim it has in it. Got anything for me?”

Good Lord — where would one begin? The destruction by Muslims of churches in the Middle East since the 8th century is so well-documented that your question is stunning. And it continues in Allah’s name. Have you read the newspaper lately?

Here are some few excerpts of Mohammed’s on the subject on infidels and how they are to be treated.

Those who reject the proofs, are accursed of Allah. 2:159

Those who die disbelievers, are cursed by Allah, angels, and men. 2:161

They will not emerge from the Fire. 2:167

Disbelievers will be deaf, dumb, and blind. 2:171

Those who hide the Scripture will have their bellies eaten with fire. Theirs will be a painful doom. 2:174

Don't take Jews or Christians for friends. If you do, then Allah will consider you to be one of them. 5:51

Jews and Christians are losers. 5:53

Don't choose Jews, Christians, or disbelievers as guardians. 5:57

Jews and Christians are evil-livers. 5:59

Evil is the handiwork of the rabbis and priests. 5:63

Christians will be burned in the Fire. 5:72

Christians are wrong about the Trinity. For that they will have a painful doom. 5:73

Disbelievers will be owners of hell-fire. 5:86

The Religion of Peace, where it exists in Muslim-dominated countries, does not permit any other religious practice. Saudi Arabia funds the construction and maintenance of thousands of mosques in Christian lands, but there is not one church or synagogue in the Land of Saud. In fact, being a Christian there means no citizenship for you, boy.

Next fisk:

Dymphna: “So why did the Coptic Christians survive in Egypt when so many other Christian sects in the Middle East were erased as though they had never existed?”

A.B. “Good question? Though you are aware I’m sure that conversion was very rarely forced (though there to be sure ARE examples otherwise, far more rare than in Christian Europe however. In addition, there were, and are still today (though in the past 150 years many have left to go to Europe, South America, and America for largely economic reasons) large “indigenous” Christian and Jewish populations throughout the Middle East. There’s no evidence to support any ‘erasing.’”

Also, just an interesting point, Coptic was actually used in some governing capacity (with posts traditionally filled by Copts) until the 19th century.

Of course conversion wasn’t “forced.” You had two choices when the Muslims arrived, provided you had survived their coming: you could convert to Islam or you could refuse. Refusal to submit made you a dhimmi and subject to strictures of dress, occupation, diminished legal standing, taxation, and on occasion, the handing over of your children. Ever hear of the Janissaries? In order to keep their children, Christian families deliberately injured and deformed boys who might be considered candidates.

As for the Christians and Jews leaving the Middle East for “largely economic reasons” — why don’t you talk to the Copts in New Jersey? See what they might have to say about your incredible contention. There are exactly three Jews left in Iraq - or is it down to two now? Those who weren’t killed outright have escaped. Just last week a group of Anglican Iraqis were murdered. The Assyrian Christians, the Jews who fled from Yemen (once the oldest Jewish community in the world), the Christians of Darfur who are routinely raped, tortured, and murdered by their Muslim betters — all of them might have some problems with your argument. Even the UN has finally decided to label what is happening in Darfur as genocide. Islam is about genocide. As Mohammed said: Jews and Christians are losers (5:53).

And the continued use of the Copts in Egypt? Islam also used other Christian sects and Jews when it was convenient. That doesn’t mean they didn’t continue to persecute them. Your point proves nothing except that the Muslims aren’t stupid, and I never claimed they were. My dispute with them is that they’re literally the most bloody-minded religion going.

Moving on to the next point:

Dymphna: “The Religion of Peace is not a Religion of History except as it records Muslim conquests. Never self-reflective and not allowed to exhibit curiosity, its theology is confined to minutiae regarding behavior rather than to moral development.”

A.B. “I would strenuously disagree with some of these statements as well. Islamicate civilizations are full of histories, innovative histories, and wide ranging histories. I will say no more than to read about Ibn Khaldun’s Muqadimmah (roughly, an Introduction to World History). One of the most influential historians in history, period.”

And I would suggest you begin with Will Durant’s many volumes of world history. As Durant said, Islam has the bloodiest history of all religions. As to whether your historian is “one of the most influential historians in history, period” — there are many millions who might argue with your choice. Personally, I prefer Gibbon. To each his own, hmmm?

Islam is hampered by its own holy book, which permits of no alteration or deviation. That’s why there have to be so many people employed in interpreting it down to the smallest detail. In a long list of misdeeds, the worst thing about Islam is that it kills curiosity, of which desire is a subset. The requirement that desire can be channeled only in one narrow way -- to make the whole world into its own image — is reflected in Islam's ongoing bloody battles. Islam is the Religion of Warriors and the world in which it was formed has ceased to exist. Unless it can get past that, Islam is doomed.

And if Muslims think they are ascendant and invincible, wait until they become a threat to the Chinese. Compared to China’s history, Mohammed’s warriors are wimps.

I used to be a “tolerant” person, A.B. I believed in “live-and-let-live; in fact, I still do in those cases where such a point of view is reciprocated. But infiltrating my country are people who do not see tolerance as a virtue and who see my Christianity as proof that I am an infidel, a “loser” — as Mohammed says — and worthy only of damnation. They view atheists, agnostics, Wiccans,and Unitarians the same way-- we're merely undifferentiated infidels. They want to do things like crash planes into tall buildings or set off bombs in public places. They consider taqiyyah a cogent moral position.

Seeing that the desire to survive is hard-wired, I’m bound to do all that I can to stop the further formation of the Ummah. And so I shall. That’s why this blog is called Gates of Vienna and not, say, View from Medina .

Get your own blog, A.B., and pontificate —or rather, imamate — from there.


airforcewife said...

That was a great, great reply. Very good points, and well documented.

I do have to ask, though, why I am being held accountable for what Christians did 600 years ago... And why Muslims aren't held to that same standard.

Yaakov Kirschen said...

What a wonderful post.
Incredible that the long rebuttal is needed. Thanks for doing it.
Dry Bones

truepeers said...

A.B. “I would strenuously disagree with some of these statements as well. Islamicate civilizations are full of histories, innovative histories, and wide ranging histories. I will say no more than to read about Ibn Khaldun’s Muqadimmah (roughly, an Introduction to World History). One of the most influential historians in history, period.”

-all people tell stories and take them very seriously, but I think it is silly to suggest that islam has a historiographical tradition as diverse as the west's. The primary reason for this is that Islam emerged as a reaction to the narrative monotheism, the belief in a progressive revelation of God's will that is received over the course of history, that is inherent to Judaism and Christianity. Mohammed offered, instead, the eternal and uncreated text.

With this legacy, there is an inherent tendency in Islamic history writing to build pictures of traditional or traditionalist pasts, of leaders who kept to the word of god and were rewarded with historical success accordingly. The biograpies and chronicles tell of states and leaders who are able to sustain Islamic traditions are return their followers to them.

Ibn Khaldun is famous for his identification of societies as organic units that go through a process of growth, decadence, and decline. In his view, wealth and power necessarily corrupts over time; it encourages people to fall away from the true and eternal word that is known best by those who have to struggle to survive on the margins of society - in the deserts beyond the towns. For him, the most scientific policies are also those of god. And the true believer, the man of faith who has nothing but faith, is the one who finds them.

So Khaldun tells of an eternal cycle where the corrupt and decadent are replaced by tribesmen from the hills who come down and take over in an endless reformation, a decline, fall, and renewal, of Islamic society (guess where OBL sees himself). It is a historical cycle in which few great changes happen, other than a continual circulation of the personnel in charge. And it provides little evidence to believe that Islam will have a reformation like that of the CHristian world over the last 500 years. We can only hope but they've already had many reformations, and so far haven't seriously broken out of the return to tradition cycle.

So it strikes me as queer to suggest that Islam provides great material for the historian or for historiography. Formal innovations in the writing of history cannot emerge just because someone wants them to. Form has to emerge from and transcend content. And since the content of Islamic history or society has not changed a great deal in 1400 years, in comparison to all the changes in the west in the last 500 years, there simply isn't the basis for radical revolutions in the writing of history about Islamic societies, imho.

I would like to hear more about what A.B. thinks she is talking about. Because if there is real originality in Islamic narratives, i would really like to know about it and correct my ignorant ways.

Evanston2 said...

Great original posts, great reader comments, great weblog!