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Holy war

As I've said before, I am not a Christian. I consider myself a "born-again Agnostic," with no hostility towards Christianity that shackles a great many non-believers -- I respect it, it just doesn't work for me. But that gives me what I consider an unbiased perspective towards matters when religions clash.

The story of Abdul Rahman, the Afghani currently facing death for the sin of apostasy -- renouncing his Islamic faith -- is a prime example. Under Shariah law (which I discussed a little while ago), any Muslim who leaves the faith is condemned to death. Period. It matters not if they become a Christian, as Mr. Rahman did, a Hindu, a Buddhist, an Athiest, or join The Church Of The Second Coming Of The Great Prophet Zarquon -- once they say they are no longer a Muslim, they are to be killed.

That's what's going on in Afghanistan right now. Abdul Rahman, after years of hiding his faith, has admitted that he converted to Christianity over a decade ago, and no longer follows the tenets of Islam. This, to many Muslims, including many who hold the reins of temporal power, is a grave insult to their God and can only be punished by death.

Some have started looking into loopholes, into ways Rahman might be spared. One possible dodge is to declare him insane, since Shariah law forbids executing crazies, and instead exiling him.

For his sake, I hope that works. And while I would like to have as dispassionate and reasoning head on my shoulders as the inestimable Dafydd Ab Hugh (who is also a damned good novelist), I think there's a deeper issue here, one that could undo years of work towards bringing Islam out of the dark ages.

What is being said by mainstream Muslims in Afghanistan (and around the world) is that Islam is infinitely superior to all other faiths. That anyone who could accept Islam and then later renounce it has only two possible motives: they are evil and must be killed, or they are insane. They cannot and will not accept the possibility that a person, not inspired by evil or madness, could find Islam lacking -- and the threat to their temporal power such an action would be is so great as to merit the ultimate sanction.

The death sentence of Mr. Rahman is the actions of a religion of cowardice. It symbolizes their utter terror at losing control, and their sense of inferiority to other faiths. They see no other way to maintain their dominance over their followers but at the point of the sword. They fear that they cannot win through appeals to reason, or spirituality, or human kindness -- only force will keep the flock in line.

And it is a grave insult to every other faith in the world. It is saying to them that Islam is the only true faith, and those who reject it are ignorant, evil, or insane. And once people have been "exposed" to Islam, the ignorant excuse is no longer acceptable. It is a declaration of theological war.

But will it be fought? And how?

I don't know.


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Comments (28)

I suggested this on my blog... (Below threshold)

I suggested this on my blog, though I have not had time to fully flesh out the details and implications, but my belief is that the Abdul Rahman trial could be devastating for efforts at bridging the differences between the Islamic world and everyone else, particularly the US. The American people's thorough disgust with Islam, partialy as a direct result of the Islamic world's response to the Danish cartoons, manisfested itself as a force in the Dubai Ports controversy. But this trial is something else, something far worse. If the American people start to believe that Islam itself (as opposed to Islamism or Islamofascism) is the problem, and that it represents a grave threat to them, then the annihilation of the Islamic world by the US becomes a possibility. This trial, aftwer all we've done for Afghanistan, suggests the threat is Islam itself, probably better than anything we've seen so far. This trial pushes us further down that road.

Wasn't it Jefferson who sai... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Wasn't it Jefferson who said the people get the government they deserve? I am beginning to wonder now if even Afghanistan was worth it? I suppose to these pre-medieval mullahs, the Inquisition the only period of Christian history they respect..What an ally for Bush to launch his 'freedom of religion' crusade! and as Ab Hugh says there is precious little we can do.. but watch in horror.

Bush is trying Plan A, civi... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Bush is trying Plan A, civilizing them. If that fails then we only have Plan B. Destroy them before they destroy us.

He didn't 'admit' to his re... (Below threshold)

He didn't 'admit' to his religion.

It was revealed by his wife in some kind of legal dispute.

This is another example of Imams hyping something to further what they consider the 'righteous' path of Islam.

I have to agree with cubanbob and 'Plan B' is fast becoming our only option.

Hmmm.Frankly it fo... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Frankly it follows the same principle that Islam applies to land. Once a piece of land falls under the control of muslims it must be muslim forever. If muslims lose control then they must eventually regain it.

It's really a colonizing principle both in physical terms and in spiritual ones.

What is being said by ma... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

What is being said by mainstream Muslims in Afghanistan (and around the world) is that Islam is infinitely superior to all other faiths. That anyone who could accept Islam and then later renounce it has only two possible motives: they are evil and must be killed, or they are insane. They cannot and will not accept the possibility that a person, not inspired by evil or madness, could find Islam lacking -- and the threat to their temporal power such an action would be is so great as to merit the ultimate sanction.

Declaring him insane and exiling him is the politically easy short term solution. The problem is that there is no way for outsiders to alter this course of events. Only Abdul Rahman can take that option off the table. It's his decision whether or not to stand up for his new Faith at the further the risk of his life or run. I wouldn't hold it against him if he ran, especially if he has family. But ultimately the ball in Mr. Rahman's court now.

If Islam is or ever was a r... (Below threshold)

If Islam is or ever was a religion of peace and tolerance, where are the mainstream Muslims who are fighting against those who have hijacked their faith? Where are the articles, the ad campaigns, the missionaries who are out there going toe to toe with the nutjobs who are supposedly twisting Islam into something that it's not?

Christians are quick to slam Fred Phelps and his ilk, and some have gone to Uganda to help the victims of the "Lord's Resistance Army." Other Christians are financing that work. In other words, we do our best to police our own.

Is it that Muslims are not doing this, or is it that the MSM isn't reporting it?

Is it me or is Islam soundi... (Below threshold)
BChoinski:

Is it me or is Islam sounding more and more like one of those mind-washing cults of the 80's (like the Moonies) where you give all your money to the grand-poo-bah for his 15 limos?

I didn't know much about the religion before 9/11, and despite Farakan's (sp?) mouthings I still had a pretty much neutral opinion on it. I'm very much like Jay in that regard...being agnostic in outlook, I feel I can be fairly objective. I may not believe in any of the world religions, but I also didn't go out of my way to insult those who did, and would actually ask questions of some to get a better idea of the hows and whys of certain beliefs or behaviors.

But with all the ranting and raving of the "visible" (to us, via the media) muslim population, and the chirping of crickets when it comes to the supposed "moderates" in coming out against this stone-age lunacy, the ship of respect for Islam has had a lot of hits and is taking on water fast.

The world can't afford barbarians with modern-day weaponry, and unless the religion of Islam grows up damn fast and joins the 21st century it's going the way of the cargo-cults of the late 40's.

Islam is an ultimatum relig... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Islam is an ultimatum religion that in so many words has said: "Either you are with us, or you are against us." as also stated by W, who at the time may not have realized the prophesy of his words.

I am also a "born-again Agnostic" and live in the heart of the Bible Belt. I have no ill will towards anyone who is religious but then there is the religion of Islam. Even the hard ankle Baptists around here will not kill you because you aren't one of their flock.

In the clearest self definition of the Islamic religion yet the mullah's have stated they will kill apostates and none believers.

Personally, I see the implementation of Plan B in the near future.

I'm starting to think that ... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

I'm starting to think that our ancestors might have been on to something:

CIVILIZE 'EM WITH A KRAG!(*)

ProCynic is right: if the majority of Americans start to identify islam as a threat, the consequences to the muslim world may well be bloody and severe. I hope that cooler heads - on both sides - take steps to see that we don't reach that point.

(*) http://www.fortdesoto.com/images/pool/im_krag_00026_a.jpg

That sentiment will be a re... (Below threshold)

That sentiment will be a reality after the next attack.

If 'cooler heads' prevail in reaction to that - then it will take another one.

At some point it will be US vs THEM.

We can win or lose.

Nobody is going to tell me I can't eat pork chops.

I was raised catholic, I di... (Below threshold)
twocents:

I was raised catholic, I didn't say I am catholic, hence you can sense I don't adhere to the doctine as I did in my elementary and JR high school days. I did something that my catholic school nun principle would have used the dreaded ruler on me for, I asked questions. Apon learning that the ring on the nuns finger meant " I am married to Jesus,My initial impulse was to think.. WOW He has a lot of wifes, innocent comments like this from a child were met with anger and dissapointment. Now to hear of a religion that condems people to death to leave it, YEECH.. scary. Reminds me of the inquisition, where they would burn witches unless they confessed and repented.

Religions as a whole were originally formed to help people understand the why about things. The answer was often broken down to the will of the gods.. even starwars refered to it as the will of the force. Yet the problem is that people are still people, even the enlightened ones. People who can feel secure in their sense of the world and don't want to challenge it. Often because no one likes being wrong. So you have to make sure there is no doubt to what you believe. Even if you must destroy the doubters to protect the true believers and not offend our deities.

I read once that History was the will of god, the answer was to that.. which god,

Religion was supposed to be a source of strength and faith to hold onto when our reason was not developed enough. Using it to motivate people to attack and destroy others just because those in power are threatened by it is just sad.

There's far too much baggag... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

There's far too much baggage associated with Islam for any de-programming to be effective. I've HEARD that due to spurious genealogies, 1 in 4 muslims consider themselves directly descended from the Prophet himself. That's heavy baggage indeed for such a traditional and practically static culture. So it doesn't matter that the Koran declares that the sun sets in a murky pool of water, or that the poison from the wing of a fly can only be cured by the other wing; or the fact that Mohammed was a classic shaman, from the hairy mole on his back to the incapacitating fits, or that "Allah" pre-dates Islam and was the god of the moon, because WE'RE "ALL MUSLIMS", too( only rebellious ones for not bowing down to that meteorite in Mecca.) Interestingly, Muslims here are not shy about debating the merits of their religion as long as it is focused on non-muslim sources, yet even these well-educated muslims are CONVINCED that the Scriptures (Ours) say things they don't, because, IN THEIR MIND all things MUST CONFORM with the Koran. Hence my use of the word -Programming.

I think Jay Tea said it bes... (Below threshold)

I think Jay Tea said it best here:
"Do we have the right to not obey Islamic law?"

Every time the multi-cultis and Islamists demand that we show respect, honor, or whatever word they're currently using in lieu of obeisance, we need to ask that question. It's a quick and easy way to cut to the chase and establish where people stand.

Although I agree with ... (Below threshold)
ztp:

Although I agree with the common statements that Orthodox Islamism preaches hate and is not compatible with the modern world of integration and as Thomas Friedman would put it "flattening" (although, I find his newest book lacking any new ideas) The talk of a war between the world (non Islamic) and Islam seems to say that there is no other solution than war.

Although I agree that war is necessary when there is a threat that is on the doorstep, so to speak, or when the war will bring about greater good than the evil and suffering that is caused by the actual conflict, is it not the socialization and education of the (Islamic fascists) that creates such a weak mind that allows these charismatic but (in my opinion) somewhat insane people to invade their minds. Although some regimes will not allow any other form of education and openness (Iran) some of the same forces that are forcing the biggest and most powerful closed nation (China) to lose grip could also be employed in these nations in order to educate the population and produce an opening of the media and education systems.

I believe that when people speak of Iraq as the "wrong" war because there were no WMD's they miss the point that by creating this democratic regime in the middle east, it can broadcast and open up the rest of the middle east to the ideas that the rest of the world have already embraced. (including China and (soon to come, I feel inevitably) Russia).

The backlash of Iran, rather than those that say it is playing on power because the US military is overstretched (it has surrounded Iran, actually) can be seen as a sign of panic, looking at those close countries of the Ukraine and now Belarus. If Iraq succeeds, Iran is sure to be unable to keep its (did anyone see Ahkmadinajad's Revolution Day Speech?) psychotic and nonsensical rhetoric from being discounted by its population.

Further, In looking at the state of Afghanistan and the current capital trial of an apostate, (although did anyone see the Afghani congress Woman who spoke out against Yale?) the big moral/legal/ethical/etc.. question seems to me to be, if a democratic government elects a regime that does not advocate freedom or democracy, opening up to the world or updating the education system, is democracy the best way to deal with this situation. After all, if the people at Waco Texas voted, they may well have voted to burn themselves and their children alive.

It's amazing that God is so... (Below threshold)
JG:

It's amazing that God is so helpless. The same God that built this world & everything in it can't take care of his own problems. Why do men have to step in & handle God's problems? IF God isn't doing something about maybe he isn't OFFENDED.

I take that to mean that go... (Below threshold)
ztp:

I take that to mean that god isnt offended that people are murdered for apostacy? Maybe so. Maybe this is gods plan after all, to make the world think that peace is the way, and then punish the ignorant who did not realize death and punishment, sharia and islam were the only way to avoid the ultimate punishment of hellfire and an eternity not having virgins and bliss.

That sucks. And frankly, if that is what you are saying, Its time to kick ass and chew some bubble gum. (Sorry for the reference and pardon my french (and are we even calling it french anymore?) Are you sure you are not Russian Intelligensia? (And feel free to call me DoD or CIA (Even a Rummy)National Spy.

Whenever Islam has been in ... (Below threshold)
John:

Whenever Islam has been in power the result is the brutality and barbarism we are seeing now in Afghaniststan. No exceptions in 1500 years. Christiandom had the wisdom to drive Muslims back to their traditional homelands in times past. Does the West still have the will, and better yet, the moral clarity, to do likewise?

Mr.Bush's statements that the Middle East can be domoncratized now look like pie in the sky; Mulsims ae the Other, the foe of all we belive in.

After examining my own writ... (Below threshold)
ztp:

After examining my own writings I have found that I have committed a sin of my own, I have taken for granted something that I should not have. I said previously that maybe god has peace as his goal and etc...

In writing I hope that people who read this do not blow me off and say "he is an idiot" to discredit me forever. I am not a writer. But now, as I am writing, I look above and see that this is posted

"Whenever Islam has been in power the result is the brutality and barbarism we are seeing now in Afghanis Stan. No exceptions in 1500 years. Christiandom had the wisdom to drive Muslims back to their traditional homelands in times past. Does the West still have the will, and better yet, the moral clarity, to do likewise?


Is this not the same provocation as that that the quaida in Iraq would have you believe, only reverse. The hate that is propagated from the middle east IS the quada, and you can tell that quada is losing when you look at not only the way they transmit, but the message (although, I admit he is not queda, but Crazy.


Hmmm.The problem w... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

The problem we are having now in both the Islamic world and the West, where many muslims now live, is that there's no clear definition of what a "moderate" muslim actually is. It's nearly impossible to come up with a clear definition that doesn't at some point also include individuals who are very clearly NOT "moderate" in either outlook, views, opinions or actions.

The struggle over this definition is one I've taken to a number of blogs, including this one, and I have yet to get a good answer. So far the best answer happens to be so vague to be useless"

*A "moderate" muslim is someone who is either too busy, lazy or a coward to fully and personally participate in oppressing or killing me.*

This is hardly a good definition, but there doesn't seem to be a better one available. It's this that worries me the most. I've outlined a number of scenarios that could end extremely badly. To avoid this what's needed is a mobilization of "moderate" muslims to combat this tendency to the extremes that Islam seems to have. But without a clear definition there's no real way to determine just who to support, and who to avoid.

And the Cartoon War plus this incident over a man converted to Christianity shows that perhaps the real reason why the definition of a "moderate" muslim is so difficult is because they really don't exist. Or that they do exist but instead of being the mainstream, they are the edge. The lunatic fringe while the Islamicists are actually the mainstream of Islamic thought.

A real ass-kicker there.

Loophole? I don't think so.... (Below threshold)
Fred Z:

Loophole? I don't think so.

Nuke the whole place until it's glass. Then drill a hole through the glass and pour pig piss in it. That's the only acceptable hole, loop or otherwise.

Why have we wasted our money and blood on those non-humans? The day the charges were laid against that poor man is the day we should have left the country, apologized to the Russians, offered to help them re-start their war and carry it on with them.

It is a difficult situation... (Below threshold)
ztp:

It is a difficult situation, as any would be in the same circumstance. Do not dismiss the news as a passing media concern. It seems to me that the left wing liberals would like to make Iraq a Bosnia, lets do what we can but try not to cause too much attention. Lets get real, do we want the greater middle east in Islamic fascist socialist whatever they want to call it totalitarianism, or do we want to have some say in the way the region is run? Especially if I want to go to Hong Kong to learn (whatever, IP Law, I know, Ha Ha ) is it really in our interest to have a country laughing at us at the same time we are saying, "Hey, IP is the way, and if you dont follow it, you are ok, because we cant piss you off, otherwise you may kill an apostate. Welcome to Y2K ( or Y 500 K depending on which religion you follow)

Jay, thanks for getting Rah... (Below threshold)
Aubrey:

Jay, thanks for getting Rahman's offense right. He's being prosecuted for apostacy, not persecuted for being a Chrisitian, as many have assumed. Although I suspect the religion he converted to made it an "aggravated" crime.

I'm no apologist for Islam, just a redneck Southern Methodist, but I think showing intolerance toward someone else's religion because it is intolerant a little strange. Jumping to mass murder is plain nuts. Anyway, if the left figures out this is a serious threat, they will start looking around for someone to surrender to.

For those who are interested in finding out a little about Islam, as I did after 9/11, I recommend the work of Bernard Lewis, particularly "What Went Wrong" and "The Crisis of Islam."

The question raised by seve... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The question raised by several people posting to this topic is "what's a moderate Muslim?" Given Islam doesn't tolerate conversions, moderate Muslims are people who were raised Muslim, but then lost any faith they may have had. Several people have said that, while raised Christian, they are now Agnostic, Atheist, of something else. Had they been raised Muslim and lived where Islamic law was practiced, these people would likely be moderate Muslims. It's then evident why moderate Muslims are not willing to stand up to fundamentalist Muslims; they simply don't care much about Islam, so why risk becoming a target themselves.

Stuck in a society that doesn't let them out of Islam, they go along to get along. If they need to riot in the streets over cartoons to keep their cover, then that's what they do. On the other hand, most moderate Muslims identify politically with the Muslim cause, just as most people in this country identify with the American cause regardless of their religion or lack of religion. That political support means moderate Muslims give money and cover to radical Muslims in their struggle with the west, then go home and watch western films on their satellite TV. Many moderate Muslims are educated in the west and long for the freedoms we enjoy, but they won't take on the fundamentalist over a religion they care nothing about. It may very well be that moderate Muslims make up the majority of people in most Islamic countries.

The only way to get moderate Muslims to act against fundamentalists may be to threaten all Muslims within a nation for the acts of the fundamentalists in their midst. Maybe the surgical war practiced by the U.S. is too weak a threat to motivate moderate Muslims to take some risks to restrain the fundamentalists. Maybe we have to threaten them with the Trinitite option to supply them with the needed motivation to become civilized.

FWIW-I believe the... (Below threshold)

FWIW-

I believe there is no such thing as a 'moderate muslim'. There's the crazies, and there's all the rest that fear losing their heads for speaking out against the crazies.

There will be no "Islamic Reformation", no muslim Martin Luther.

Islam, from what I've read, is a religion of conquest. It commands its followers to make believers out of the 'infidel'; and it authorizes the slaughter of non-believers.

I support the President's efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they are doomed to fail. This is because democracy and enlightened liberal thought are anathema to Islam and Arab culture.

Radical violent Islam cannot be bargained with or negotiated with. It will have to be defeated with extreme prejudice. But America no longer fights wars the way this one will have to be fought.

The future looks ugly.

Hmmmm.Anybody else... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

Anybody else bothered with this legal precedent that equates Christianity with insanity?

In truth; it is not suprisi... (Below threshold)
BigCatGirl:

In truth; it is not suprising that this Christian in Afganistan has been threatened with death. The Muslim world is fearful of the reality that the Christian faith is growing and gaining strength in the global south. They know that this same global south is sending missionaries not only to the west needs these missionaries the most, but over time to the Muslim countries. So do not be suprised that we are seeing extreme measures against any Muslim who becomes Christian.

you are the shit!!!!!!!!!! ... (Below threshold)
Brandon:

you are the shit!!!!!!!!!! i am an agnostic but had a hard way of putting it "born-again agnostic" that sums it up right there




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