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Are you serious?

This is a work of satire, meant to amuse and start a discussion. I try not to take anything too seriously, and so shouldn’t you. If you disagree with this text or if you feel insulted, just ignore it (or explain why). Below I try to answer some questions that might arise; some answers forced me to go into considerable detail so I’m sorry if it looks a bit pedantic.

Contents:


Where did you get the idea to write this?

When I discovered the satirical website “thepeoplescube.com” I learned to laugh about the short-sightedness and political correctness that prevails in the Western world today. You reach more people with some humor and good cheer. The fantastic team of Commissars at the Kube and their “exalted leader”, Oleg Atbashian, were my inspiration for this update of the gospel.

What sources did you use? How do they differ between the religions?

Christian sources:

I selected some chapters from the Gospel, mainly according to Matthew.  The so called “Old Testament” contains a lot of violent stories, and this is often used as evidence of the violent nature of Christianity. I have not included texts from the “Old Testament” here for the following reasons:

1. …because it is not relevant in describing the life and actions of the religion’s founders and the example they set.

2 … because many catholic Christian religious scholars (like the famous Thomas of Aquinas) have argued that the laws of the Old Testament are no longer binding, and were replaced by the example of Jesus Christ (sometimes called “supersessionism”). A quote from pope pius XII in 1943:

By the death of our Redeemer, the New Testament took the place of the Old Law which had been abolished; then the Law of Christ together with its mysteries, enactments, institutions, and sacred rites was ratified for the whole world in the blood of Jesus Christ… [O]n the gibbet of His death Jesus made void the Law with its decrees fastened the handwriting of the Old Testament to the Cross, establishing the New Testament in His blood shed for the whole human race.

Some protestant communities hold the same opinion, and others set more store by the Old Testament and pre-Christian customs and laws. However, the example provided by Jesus Christ (a pacifist) is universally held to be of the greatest value in all christian communities of significant size.

3 … because of empirical evidence: the Old Testament is not used by Christians as inspiration to justify suicide bombings or religious intolerance in the modern world.

Canon law (the rules and jurisprudence of the Catholic Church) has always co-existed with secular laws and did never entirely replace those. It was not intended to be an all-encompassing judicial system and it certainly does not function as one today, therefore I have not included it here.

Islamic sources:

The Quran is of course the most holy text of Islam: it is a set of rules and stories for muslims to live by, created by direct interaction between God and Muhammed. It is commonly accepted by Islamic scholars that the last verses Muhammad received from God are more valuable than the first. In fact, in case of contradiction, the last verses cancel out the first: this is the principle of abrogation. The problem is that these last verses are also the most violent ones.


A Hadith (plural: Ahadith) is a report about something that happened during Muhammad’s life and that can guide faithful muslims towards leading a better life. The stories that are used in religious practice differ between some branches of Islam (e.g. Shiites set more store by certain Hadiths than Sunnis). Certain Hadiths are also considered to be unreliable reports by some. Most of the Hadiths in this book are considered to be authentic or reliable (“Sahih” or “Hasan”) by mainstream schools within Sunni islam (the largest Muslim denomination).

Islamic law is a series of more specific rules for daily life created by various prestigious religious institutions throughout history, based on Quran and Ahadith. Sharia is the divine basis of these laws (based on the Quran and Ahadith), and Fiqh is the process of human interpretation of the law (prone to error and correction). The human interpretation is made by independent scholars (Muftis) who make fatwa’s (interpretations of the law).

Islamic law differs considerably between schools and Islamic sects, but – sadly – the parts that are most incompatible with modern western life (rights of women, homosexuals, respect for freedom of speech, separation of church and state …) are quite universal.

There are four great ‘schools’ in Sunni islam: the Shafi’i school is the most important one in the horn of Africa and Indonesia. Turkey belongs largely to the Hanafi school and Saudi Arabia to the Hanbali school. The fourth and smallest school is Maliki. “Reliance of the traveller” is a book in wide use by the Shafi’i school of islamic jurisprudence, and is sometimes quoted in this book as an example of “islamic law”. This book is available on Amazon.com, but is very hard to find online.

It’s important to realise that the borders between secular and religious authority were non-existent in the early days of the muslim expansion (and are vague in many modern muslim- majority countries). This is in stark contrast to the early Christian laws and regulations that have always co-existed with secular jurisprudence.

What’s the order of the topics in this book?

I tried to group the stories of this “updated Gospel” into topical chapters, but this proved difficult at times. First of all, some bible verses contain multiple moral lessons, as do certain Quranic verses or Hadiths. Furthermore, certain bible verses proved to be great starting “scenes” to improvise from and add content from multiple Islamic sources. For these reasons, there will be some overlap in the subjects covered by the stories provided, even if they are presented per topic, and there are some recurrent themes. The sequence of topics as presented is not always related to their biblical chronology.

Where did you find the Islamic and Christian sources?

Most of the quotes from islamic texts below have been found on the website “TheReligion OfPeace.com (TROP)” and jihadwatch.org. I then cross-checked them with free online translations like http://hadithcollection.com and https://quran.com/. Because their summaries and interpretations are so sublime, I have sometimes quoted the websites above directly (and have mentioned whenever done so). If I forgot to give them (or others) credit for a piece of text, please let me know and I will correct it as soon as possible.

The bible verses come from the Free online open source translation, created by the wikimedia foundation.( https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Translation:Bible). This is a public domain document.

Are the examples in this book exhaustive?

Not at all. Many of the Islamic sources (especially the later parts of the Quran and the Hadiths concering Muhammad’s raids and wars) are true orgies of deceit, murder, rape and looting (Watching tv series like Game of Thrones(™) or Vikings(™) doesn’t even come close). I tried to add the most stunning examples of these events, but many more are to be found in the original sources. Feel free to look for yourself!

Is comparing the lives of Jesus and Muhammad relevant?

Muslims are told that their prophet Muhammad is the most “beautiful pattern of conduct” and “example” for mankind to follow (Quran 33:21), as well as the “exalted standard of character” (Quran 68:4). (with thanks to the TROP website).

Quran 33:21:

Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.”

In the gospel of John (2:6), Christians are told to live like Jesus, to “walk, even as he walked”

So when Christians or Muslims try to become more religious, they will inevitably follow the example of the religion’s founder. If this “noble example” is peaceful and humane, that’s a good thing. If the “noble example” happens to be a child-raping warlord, that’s not really a good thing (unless your ideas of good and bad are very different of course).

This does not mean that adherents of an ideology will always behave according to the basic tenets of said ideology (evidence: there are hundreds of millions of kind and peaceful muslims). But if there is a violent streak written in the “DNA” of a religion or political movement, sooner or later this may -obviously – lead to violent behaviour.

This makes a comparison of the respective founders (and examples) of Christianity and Islam relevant to us today. Many experts 181 believe that the overwhelming amount of Islamic terrorism we see in the world today has its roots in the core ideology of Islam, and not just in temporary cultural or economic imbalance as is often proclaimed by media pundits and politicians (among them Yahya Cholil Staquf, a “moderate” Islamic scholar from Indonesia).182

What about the regions where muslims and other faiths co-exist?

Muslims and non-muslims can coexist in the same region for centuries without open civil war. At some point however, when muslims are in a position of strength, there is a high risk that an extremist group will stop ignoring the immense amount of violent verses written in the holy texts (verses incompatible with modern, western values). These might then serve as inspiration for vile deeds or a complete “islamisation” of the “host” society.

Peaceful coexistence can abruptly change. Many so-called “religious moderate” countries like Indonesia and Malaysia have seen an upsurge in islamicist supremacism183 in recent years. The ancient Coptic Christian church of Egypt is being driven to extinction through daily harassment and regular terrorism.184 Atheists in Bangladesh are being stabbed to death in the streets. Satirical cartoonists in france are murdered in their offices. And on, and on and on….

But Christans and Hindus and Jews etc. have done evil things too right?

Absolutely. But this is beside the point. I’m sure that -throughout history – all religions have inspired both good deeds and bad deeds, and I leave the exact tally to historical experts. This booklet tries to answer another question: what example do we -as individuals – find in the lives of the founders of Islam and Christianity, and how can they influence behaviour in religious people today.

The website thereligionofpeace.com keeps track of religious terrorism throughout the world. Go check their archive for yourself: almost all cases of religious terrorism and violence in the past few decades were inspired by Islam. Saying that this is a coincidence is absurd. The fact that many of the Islamic terrorists are affluent proves that it’s not just about economic malaise either.

At least part of the problem is the fact that whenever fundamentalist muslims need to justify murder, theft or deceit, they can simply quote straight from their holy texts (and in fact, all Islamic terrorists do so). Most other religions can do no such thing. This turns muslim communities into “ticking timebombs”: it is inevitable that sooner or later some in their midst wil become fundamentalists (as happens -apparently – in every sizeable Islamic population). The first victims of this radicalisation are often decent and peaceful muslims who are seen as hypocrites or apostates by the terrorists.

Are you promoting Christianity?

I’m not trying to prove that Christianity is the “good” religion. (By the way: I’m not a “practicing Christian” myself.) There have been obvious moral mistakes made in the name of Christ throughout history (in my opinion), and I by no means want to downplay them.

However, many values, laws and institutions in the Western world have been influenced by Christianity, and denying this cultural fact accomplishes nothing. I believe that even atheists or agnostics should try to refrain from the common “bashing” of the church while ignoring the problems in the islamic world. It’s far easier to be non-observant (or anti-religious) in today’s Christian world than in many muslim majority countries.

In the words of the famous atheist (and notorious anti-Christian) Richard Dawkins (2010):

There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings, I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. … I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”

Science and secular humanism have not completely filled the gap left by the receding church in Western Europe. In church, communities were reminded about their moral obligations and the ethical implications of their actions on a weekly basis. Children were taught certain patterns of behaviour based on religious teachings. With all that gone, there is a risk that the vacuum will be filled by amoral materialism or – for those in search of spirituality – foreign religions like Islam.

That being said, I agree that all religions and ideologies can be used to encourage evil deeds or exaggerated moral conservatism. Some religions just appear to do this to a greater extent than others… and we should ask ourselves why.

Are all Muslims violent?

Of course they are not. Apparently most human beings – wherever they are from – try to live normal, happy lives, respecting their neighbours. They will wriggle in the “good parts” of their local religion or ideology into their way of life and just leave out the other more “civilisation incompatible” parts.

But in each and every society there’s a group of people that starts to examine religion in more detail, looking for guidance in daily life. These people tend to alter their behaviour according to what they read in holy texts or hear from clerics. Sometimes, they become true religious fanatics and will try to emulate the life of their religious examples completely.

If Muslims do this – they risk turning into exact copies of Muhammad or his early followers. Just read the “Islamic Sources” section of this book and form your own opinion on whether this is good or bad.

Do modern muslims really want to implement traditional Islamic law as it’s described in the Quran and Hadiths?

A 2013 PEW survey 185 (based on interviews of 38,000 Muslims) in 39 countries showed that a majority of Muslims in many of these countries support making sharia the law of the land:

Afghanistan (99%), Iraq (91%), Niger (86%), Malaysia (86%), Pakistan (84%), Morocco (83%), Bangladesh (82%), Egypt (74%), Indonesia (72%), Jordan (71%), Uganda (66%), Ethiopia (65%), Mali (63%), Ghana (58%), and Tunisia (56%).[130] In Muslim regions of Southern-Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the support is less than 50%: Russia (42%), Kyrgyzstan (35%), Tajikistan (27%), Kosovo (20%), Albania (12%), Turkey (12%), Kazakhstan (10%), Azerbaijan (8%). Regarding specific averages, in South Asia, Sharia had 84% favorability rating among the respondents; In Southeast Asia 77%; In the Middle-East/North Africa 74%; In Sub-Saharan Africa 64%; In Southern-Eastern Europe 18%; And in Central Asia 12%.

In many more secluded parts of the muslim world you’ll find functioning Sharia-based courts (e.g. the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan, for example, but also on the European continent in Kosovo). Some countries (like Saudi Arabia) have based most of their laws on the Sharia.186

But what about the moderate muslims?

What is a “moderate” muslim? All Muslims are supposed to believe in the divine and unchanging nature of the Quran. This means that they accept that a slave-raping warlord is a “noble example” to live by. I can hardly call that “moderate”. Maybe “moderate” as used in the mainstream media means: “shutting your eyes for the obvious faults in your ideology and ignoring all the things you don’t want to hear to avoid getting into trouble”. In that case I hope that publicly criticising this ideology will help to open the eyes of these “moderates” and encourage them to reform their religion from within.

When Islamic fundamentalists will try to exert control over a Western population through democratic or other means, the question remains with whom these “moderate muslims” will side. They might not be willing to do any killing themselves, but will still vote for political parties that will abolish freedom of speech, women’s rights and religious freedom (as happened in Egypt with the election of fundamentalist Mohammed Morsi in 2012, after the so called “Arab Spring”, or in Turkey with Erdogan). Sadly, in many Middle-Eastern countries, religious intolerance was only kept in check by secular dictators (Saddam, Mubarak, Ghadaffi, …).

The “Westernized” muslims who will fight for democracy and freedom of speech and all other liberties, and who completely ignore most of the traditional Islamic teachings, are -I’m afraid- a rather small minority. These people are often called hypocrites or apostates by the more “traditional” muslims.

But this friendly muslim on television says there’s no call to violence in the Quran?

Four options:

1. Ignorance: In the islamic world, it is not unknown for devout muslims to learn the Quran by heart in Arabic, without … speaking Arabic (!).197 A lot of muslims don’t really know their own religion.

2. Willing suspension of disbelief: For some people in the muslim world it might be impossible to accept that their holy texts are so full of values that are incompatible with their own. I imagine some of these people find it easier to ignore the “unpleasant truth” and just try to carry on and focus on the good parts of their religion and culture.

3. Fear: The punishment for apostasy and insulting Muhammad is death, remember? It takes a lot of guts to denounce your faith in the Islamic world.

4. Taqiyya (deceit to further the cause of Islam): Maybe this guy on television is just lying? It has happened before that muslim clerics talk virtuously about human rights on CNN or BBC only to say something completely different in Arabic at their mosque.187

But what about these Western experts who say we have nothing to fear from Islam?

1. Career apologists: some people make a lot of money in the “migration-industrial complex”. NGO employees, left- wing politicians, mainstream media figures, business owners that employ cheap foreign labour: they all depend in one way or another on the presence of a large, unadapted migrant population.

2. Useful idiots: Parroting the mainstream media narrative on virtuous social media outlets without thinking  has sadly become the norm for many low-information citizens in the western world.

3. Fear: Speaking the truth nowadays can be dangerous (lives and jobs have been lost because of criticising Islam). Some people find it easier to convince themselves that “everything will be alright after all” and do not find the courage to voice their real opinion.

4. Left-wing zealots: the extreme left and the Jihadis have te same goal: destroying Western civilisation and its institutions.

Image result for pim fortuyn quotes
Pim Fortuyn, an anti-mass immigration politician and outspoken homosexual, was murdered for his political views by left-wing fascist Volkert van der Graaf in 2002.

But what about all the good stuff in the Quran? 

The good stuff does not whitewash the bad stuff.

Don’t you take texts out of context?

Islamic apologists will sometimes say that all the violence and hate in the religious texts was only valid during the times of Muhammad. But why do all these oppressive Islamic theocracies and terrorist militias keep saying that they are the true believers? Because the Quran says something completely different:

“Quran (33:36) – “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.”

There is no “context” in Islam. The rules of the Hadiths and Quran are the unchangeable word of god, valid forever. There are (luckily) a lot of muslims who refuse to accept this. But (sadly) there are also many muslims who do. In other words: those who say Islam is a religion of peace are the ones taking quotes out of their context.

Another trick sometimes used by apologists is saying that the translation was not right, and that you need to speak Arabic to really understand the Quran. For example: the word Jihad would mean only “non – violent struggle”. Some Arabic-speaking experts -as well as 1400 years of history – strongly disagree with this statement.

This is what Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood (a very influential, Islamist organisation with branches all over the world) has to say about Jihad: “‘Jihad linguistically means to exert one’s utmost effort in word and action; in the Sharee’ah {Sharia — Islamic law} it is the fighting of the unbelievers, and involves all possible efforts that are necessary to dismantle the power of the enemies of Islam including beating them, plundering their wealth, destroying their places of worship and smashing their idols.”

Isn’t satire insulting?

As a proud product of the Western culture of debate and argumentation, I adore satire. It has been part of the public life in Europe and the USA since centuries. Everything has been mocked: Jesus, royalty, professions, science… . For me, it is one of the pillars of free speech.

And then Islam came and suddenly people started murdering cartoonists and journalists to avenge the insult of “satire”. My opinion: if you cannot handle being criticised, then stay out of Western countries. This opinion has been voiced most expertly by the Dutch comedian Hans Teeuwen (english subtitles provided):

 

It’ s funny by the way how muslims are so sensitive about satire. The Quran and Hadiths contain a lot of satire themselves… about Jesus! Some reliable Hadiths are stories about how Jesus was in fact a muslim and how he will come back on the day of judgement to abolish christianity (break the crosses) and will force all Christians to convert to Islam.

Some fundamentalist muslims still believe in the authenticity of the so called “Gospel of Barnabas”. In this text Jesus denies being the messias and mentions the name of Muhammad (this is pure satire, in a way). In fact, most experts agree it is a late medieval falsification of the Gospels to make it “comply” with the Islamic opinions about Jesus and his divinity.

 

But what about all the nice muslims I know?

This booklet is not about the virtue of individual Chistians or Muslims. This book is about the core ideology of these faiths, and how it can inspire some people to change their behaviour and their ideas about what is “good” and what is “bad”.

The problem with Islam is not that nice people ignore the violence and depravity in the Quran and Hadiths, but that evil people find inspiration in these texts to justify their vile deeds – often directed against their fellow muslims – and that the nice people have no theological basis to challenge the extremists.

To say it with the words of Richard Dawkins, famous atheist and evolutionary biologist:

Individual Muslims suffer more from Islam than anyone else. They suffer from the homophobia, the misogyny, the joylessness which is preached by extreme Islam, ISIS and the Iranian regime.”

The best way to help the millions of muslims who live under the yoke of fundamentalism is to keep criticising the obvious faults in the core ideology and texts of the Islamic faith. Only in this way will we give courage to the “reformists” who try to change the views of the muslim world from within. Whether they can succeed at all is another question.

But aren’t there a lot of contradictions in the Quran and Hadiths?

Apparently there are a lot of contradictions in original Islamic sources: a good list is to be found here: http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/. It would have been nice for a perfect deity like Allah to provide us with an unambiguous text, but as it seems this was too much to ask. An example is sura 24:2 and 4:15-16 on adultery: in the former, the adulterers should be lashed, in the latter the unfaithful women should be locked up for life.

When muslim apologists are in need of supporters (especially in the Western world) they are eager to show the gentle and peaceful Quranic verses and proclaim their good intentions. But once fundamentalist muslims are in a position of strength they can just jump ship and emphasise the violent and perverse rules (often with the principle of “abrogation”: see below). Whenever they do so, the first victims are often their fellow muslims who just want to live in peace.

Can there be a muslim reformation?

The Quranic texts are seen as the unchanging and eternal word of God and Muhammed is seen as the “good example” to live by. To say it in the words of the Quran: (33:36) – “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.” Modern “muslim reformers” have a very hard time trying to push their “alternative interpretations” in more conservative circles because you can only bend words to a certain degree. Passing over the violent parts or leaving them out is not an option either. After all, you can hardly believe the Quran is the “unchangeable word of god” -and this belief is a vital part of the muslim faith – and then ignore half the content it provides.

Another problem is the so called “closing of the gates of Ijtihad“. In the eleventh century, to rein in the many interpretations of Hadiths and Quranic verses, the leading Islamic scholars prohibited any further “Ijtihad (independent interpretation)” of Islamic doctrine. This means that the mainstream schools of Islam – to this day – follow interpretations of religious texts that were made in early medieval times, and have no “theological mandate” to alter these interpretations.

During the Christian Reformation, Luther and others challenged the decadence of some parts of the Catholic church (corruption, opulence, …) and wanted to return to a more “original” reading of the bible and the message of Christ. Islamist fundamentalists are doing something similar: they also want to return to the “true” origins of their religion: relentless warfare against unbelievers and death to apostates. In this way, the “reformation” of Islam is already underway – but not in a positive way.

There have been some attempts to create “gay inclusive” mosques. In 2012, Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed founded one in Paris. Five years later, this was still the only such mosque in France, showing that the desire to reform is rather weak. A second “gay inclusive” mosque is about to open in Germany – amidst the expected jubilating media fanfare. The founder of the German mosque already got 300 letters of support – and 3000 letters filled with hate and death threats. If these two brave “reformed” imams would ever set foot in Iran or Saudi Arabia, we should not have any doubts about what would happen to them. Two mosques in five years… the “wave” of reformation in Islam is not really catching on.188

What’s abrogation?

The last words and actions of Muhammad – often the more “violent” ones – are deemed to replace the earlier ones in case of contradiction or ambiguity. This principle of abrogation (or “Naskh”) is widely accepted by Islamic scholars and leads to some confusion: certain virtuous “early verses” that are often cited for eager Western audiences are completely without value in a devout muslim-majority community. For example (with thanks to wikiislam.com):

Quran 2.256

Let there be no compulsion in religion… Sounds great, right?

But in the respected Tafsir (i.e. a sort of commentary of the Quran) by Ibn Kathir we read this explanation:

Allah says: “There is no compulsion in religion”, meaning: do not force anyone to embrace Islam, because it is clear and its proofs and evidences are manifest. Whoever Allah guides and opens his heart to Islam has indeed embraced it with clear evidence. Whoever Allah misguides blinds his heart and has set a seal on his hearing and a covering on his eyes cannot embrace Islam by force…hence Allah revealed this verse. But, this verse is abrogated by the verse of “fighting…Therefore, all people of the world should be called to Islam. If anyone of them refuses to do so, or refuses to pay the Jizya they should be fought till they are killed. This is the meaning of compulsion. In the Sahih, the Prophet said: “Allah wonders at those people who will enter Paradise in chains”, meaning prisoners brought in chains to the Islamic state, then they embrace Islam sincerely and become righteous, and are entered among the people of Paradise

Ibn Kathir’s texts are very influential with the strict Salafi school of Islam, often associated with extremism (there are about 50 million Salafists in the world and their numbers and influence are growing fast).

This is not some fantasy. This is stuff people teach children in madrassas (Islamic schools) all around the world. If you do not believe this, please inform yourself and form your own opinion, but do not bury your head in the sand.

But nobody takes these violent texts seriously, right?

The “less savoury” parts of Islam are not forgotten or ignored relics from a bygone era, but have influence on Islamic law as it is practiced in the world today. And importantly: the major Islamic universities (e.g. al-Azhar, Cairo) have not yet distanced themselves from the violence and human rights violations that are found in the Quran and Hadiths. This is from The Australian (12 August 2016):

About six weeks ago, in a televised address during Ramadan, the leading Muslim cleric in Egypt, Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar University in Cairo, who is hailed as one of the leading “moderate” teachers in the Islamic world, denounced apostasy from Islam as “grand treason”.

He stated categorically: “Those learned in Islam and the imams of the four schools of jurisprudence consider apostasy a crime and agree that the apostate must either renounce his apostasy or else be killed.”

Ahmed al-Tayeb, one of the most respected scholars of Islam in the modern era, spreads the Islamic message of love (source of translation: MEMRI).
This is “death-to-apostates” al-Tayeb sitting to the left of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Münster on 10 september 2017. The event was a “world peace meeting”. The dead are indeed very peaceful… The fact that Germans kept voting for Open-Borders-Merkel will astonish generations to come.

Imagine the Pope in Rome saying: “All those Catholics who became athe ists should be killed immediately! Amen!” Imagine the archbishop of Canterbury saying something like it. Or an influential rabbi in Israel. We would never hear the end of it… The media would go in a frenzy. Politicians would denounce them all over the world. But when an influential muslim cleric says it, the silence in the mainstream media is deafening. This double standard has to disappear urgently.

In related news: the famous Al-Azhar university refused to denounce the terror militia Islamic State as being “un-islamic”.189

Is this book racist?

Muslims are not a race, so critique of Islam cannot be racist. Obviously one of the reasons to write this text was a fondness for  “Western culture” (whose values are partially based on Christianity) and its institutions like freedom of speech and separation of church and state: you can therefore call it a “culturist” book if you want. If you think this makes it too biased, feel free to form your own opinion based on the sources provided.

What if I do not agree?

Good! You are allowed to have your own opinion of course. We live in a free world – for now at least, lucky us.

What if I found an error?

I apologise sincerely for misquotes or faulty interpretations. Send a specific, well documented note and I will try to correct it as adequately as possible. But remember: it’s a satirical text, don’t take it too seriously. It’s meant to amuse and make people think, it’s not a scientific dissertation.

Are you qualified?

I’m a freelance journalist based in Europe. I’m not a trained theologist or cleric. As said before, this work is not meant to be a serious religious analysis, but rather a playful satire: don’t take it too seriously. Some comments are more serious and in-depth. If you think they are misguided, please tell me why.

Don’t you need to speak Arabic to understand the Quran?

I have studied languages my entire life. I know of no language in the world that cannot be translated – with some effort if necessary- into English adequately to understand the core message of a sentence.

Do you incite violence?

Absolutely not. I would like people to form their own opinion about the ideology behind Islam. Read, study, discuss and voice your opinion – even if you need courage to do so in today’s climate of political correctness. Indiscriminate violence is no solution and is not the way of civilised people.

 

 

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