Sunday, September 2, 2018

Professor Juan Cole's Mohammad

Gary Fouse
fousesquawk
http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


Hat tip Campus Watch and Middle East Forum


https://www.meforum.org/campus-watch/articles/2018/was-prophet-muhammad-really-illiterate-an-intervi

University of Michigan professor Juan Cole always goes to incredible lengths to defend everything that is Islamic. Now he has come out with a new book on the Prophet Mohammad entitled, Mohammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires. If you had any doubts this would be a hagiographic endeavor, Cole's interview with Joseph Richard Preville erases all doubt.

How one can described Mohammad as a "prophet of peace" when he led armies to fight non-Muslims, took women and children as slaves and ordered the murders of his opponents and the beheadings of captives is beyond me. It is true that when Mohammad began his teaching in Mecca, he was peaceful. After he was driven out of Mecca, he and his followers went to  present-day Medina, where he consolidated his power and evolved into a warlord. Here are some statements by Cole that strain credulity.

JRP: You write that “Islam is, no less than Christianity, a Western religion that initially grew up in the Roman Empire” and that “Muhammad saw himself as an ally of the West.” How does your theory challenge or support other major scholarly interpretations of early Islam?

JC: The Arab Muslim sources emphasize the origins of Islam in Arabia and downplay how integrated the Arabs of late antiquity were into the Eastern Roman Empire, but Roman sources, inscriptions, and Qur'an passages give strong evidence for the Arabs as Roman citizens or  allies.  As for Muhammad being allied with Constantinople, there is some evidence for it in early Arabic sources and the eminent Princeton classicist G. W. Bowersock has hinted at it in his recent work, but I have taken the bull by the horns and said it explicitly.

It is true that all three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam were born in the Middle East. While the first two successfully spread to the West ( the US is a democratic nation founded on Judaic-Christian principles), Islam's spread to the West, largely through recent immigration has hardly been successful. Assimilation has been slight and the clashes are too many to mention especially in Europe today. The fact is that Islam is antithetical to Western ideals of equality and freedom.


JRP: Many biographies portray Muhammad as illiterate and provincial.  Would you agree?

JC: The Muslim tradition calls Muhammad "illiterate," I think in part to protect him from charges by polemicists that he learned things by reading the Bible or other works.  But the tradition also says he was a successful long-distance merchant who regularly traded up to Damascus and Gaza in the Eastern Roman Empire.  Long distance merchants are always literate, and I think Muhammad could read and write Arabic, Aramaic and possibly Greek.  The Qur'an shows knowledge of the Bible, of Jewish tradition, and of classical Greek thought.  It isn't provincial.

An interesting observation and opinion on the part of Cole since he strays from Islamic teaching that Mohammad was illiterate. Also interesting is the reason Cole thinks Muslims say that Mohammad was illiterate. Critics of Islam do not believe that Mohammad truly received the word of God from the archangel Gabriel (He may have imagined he did), therefore the idea that he read the Bible and initially borrowed from it is open to question.

RP: What was Muhammad’s role in the creation of the Constitution of Madinah?  How revolutionary was this document for its time?

JC: The Constitution of Madinah was a treaty among groups in Madinah, to which the Meccan pagans expelled Muhammad in 622.  Madinah had Muslims, Jews and pagans and possibly some Christians. The treaty pledged all these groups to defend the city militarily if it was attacked.  It says that the Muslims have their religion and the Jews have theirs, so it recognizes freedom of conscience and is a political alliance.  In the Roman Empire at that time, Jews were placed under disabilities and would not have been treated as equals this way. 

And when the Jews supposedly broke the constitution, they were executed, and ever since Jews are hated within Islam. The Koran is replete with hateful verses against Jews (and Christians). Over the centuries Jewish minorities have had to live in a condition of dhimmitud, second class citizenship enshrined in the laws. It is true that in some places, Christians treated Jews as bad or worse as did Muslims, but Cole's answer leaves out tons of facts. 

JRP: How did medieval Muslim clerics slight or minimize the Qur’an’s peace verses by a theory of abrogation?

JC: Peace-making and turning the other cheek are very important themes in the Qur'an.  It allows going to war to defend yourself and innocents, but forbids aggressive, expansionist warfare.  The text was very inconvenient for later aggressive Muslim empires.  So ideologues developed a theory of "abrogation" where later verses invalidated earlier ones. They interpreted late verses on warfare as permitting aggression (they don't), and then alleged that all the peace verses were thus abrogated.  It was an intellectual and spiritual travesty.  Some Muslim thinkers, though, said only 5 verses were abrogated (not the peace verses), and rejected the procedure.   

For Cole to claim that peace making and turning the other cheek are important themes in the Koran is a hoot. Reading the Koran especially putting the suras (chapters) in chronological order contradicts Cole on its very face. The early Mecca suras do tend to be benign and peaceful, but the Medina suras are clearly not. Put in order of time, it all makes sense. Mohammad evolved from a simple preacher in Mecca to a warlord in Medina. As for the principle of abrogation (which Western-based "moderate" imams are loathe to discuss), it makes perfect sense given the transformation of Mohammad ands the obvious contradictory verses in the Koran. Keep in mind that it is the Islamic scholars themselves (not Cole) who are the authorities in Islam since Islam has no Vatican and has no popes.   

JRP: You have placed strong emphasis on Muhammad as a “Prophet of Peace.”  How do you think your book will encourage and strengthen Islamic peace studies?
 
JC: The peace verses of the Qur'an have been there all along, and have been central, but scholarship has not focused on them.  I'd like to see the kind of intersection of Peace Studies with Islam that exists with regard to Christianity.  Christians have fought a lot of wars and even been involved in genocide, but we all also know about the Quakers and Mennonites.  Only a few authors have written on the history of peace movements in Islam, which include the Murid Sufis of Senegal and the Gandhist Muslims in twentieth-century India.


Yes, the peace verses in the Koran have been there all along, but they are not central because they have been abrogated. Sura 9, the last major sura recorded is arguably the most violent and intolerable. It virtually abrogates every peaceful verse recorded earlier in time. As for Sufists and groups like the Ahmadiya Muslims, it is true they have a good track record of not being involved in the terror and intolerance we see in Islam today, but they are not regarded as Muslims by mainstream Islam. In fact, those that live in Muslim countries are persecuted. As for the wars and genocide of Christians, aside from the Crusades (in which both sides were culpable and Christians killed many Jews in the process), how many wars were fought for purely religious reasons? Genocide? I would argue that Hitler and the Nazis had no religious motivations for the Holocaust. They did not object to the theology of the Jews; they considered Jews as a race to be exterminated. And Hitler, despite his Catholic birth, was no Christian. He derided religion in general. If you want to talk about genocide in the modern sense, look no farther than today's Middle East.

If Cole wants to argue that most Muslims are leading peaceful lives and we should not blame them all for the atrocities being carried out today, that is fine. Cole, however, engages in falsehoods that are so easy to disprove just by scratching beneath the surface. If this is the type of scholarship to be found at the University of Michigan, they might as well stick to football.




Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Islamic Center of San Diego Looking for Interpreters for Immigration Cases at Border

Gary Fouse
fousesquawk
http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


This is interesting.

The Islamic Center of San Diego is issuing an urgent appeal for interpreters to assist immigration attorneys at the border (in its own words). Specifically, they are asking for interpreters in Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi and other (non-Spanish) languages. Interpreters would be assisting the Federal Defenders of San Diego.

https://m.facebook.com/302790013065190/posts/2050542088289965/

So why is this interesting? It is because, as we have been saying for years, it's not just Mexicans and Central Americans coming across our southwestern border. People from the Middle East and the Near East are also coming via Mexico. If immigration attorneys in San Diego are in need of these kinds of interpreters, it just proves what we have been saying all along.This is nothing more than the Islamic Center of San Diego showing its obvious desire to get more Muslims into the country and now assisting those who come illegally. It is more proof that for the sake of our own national security, we need to build the wall.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Response From UCLA

Gary Fouse
fousesquawk
http://garyfouse.blogspot.com

On May 17, Students for Justice in Palestine disrupted an Israeli event at UCLA. Subsequently, UCLA received many letters of complaint, including one that I signed onto. Today, I received this email from UCLA in response.




Thank you for taking the time to write and share your concerns. UCLA is deeply disappointed that protesters disrupted a May 17th student event that focused on the experiences of Jewish, Armenian and Kurdish indigenous communities. This incident left many students feeling silenced and intimidated. It also dishonored UCLA’s commitment to the free and robust exchange of ideas. University officials and police arrived on the scene promptly, and the disruption ended without physical injury. Campus officials are carefully reviewing the incident to determine precisely what happened, who among the protestors are affiliated with UCLA, and how to appropriately respond to this incident. While we respect the right to lawful protest, such protests cannot prevent speakers from communicating with a willing audience.

Steve Ritea,
Executive Director
Executive Communications
2224D Murphy Hall


Comment: While I appreciate the words in the letter, this is likely the last thing we will here of this.



 "Campus officials are carefully reviewing the incident to determine precisely what happened, who among the protestors are affiliated with UCLA, and how to appropriately respond to this incident." 

First of all, the video clearly shows precisely what happened. Secondly, had campus police identified the disruptors (which I am guessing they did not) they would know who were students. As to how to respond, any students should be, at the least, suspended if not expelled and SJP banned from campus. Finally, they are not protestors. They are disruptors. UCLA is a public campus, thus open to the public. Those who enter the campus for purposes of disruption should be arrested.

Let's follow this to see what happens.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Questions for a Moderate Muslims

Gary Fouse
fousesquawk
http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


This article first appeared in New English Review.


Ever since 9-11, the US and its governments have searched desperately for so-called "moderate Muslims" who advocated peace and coexistence among religions and an end to terrorism. I myself have found the search daunting having listened to "moderates" like Aslan Reza, Tareq Ramadan, Maher Hathout, Faisal Abdul Rauf, and Muzammil Siddiqi to name just a few. Some I have found to be in denial about the troublesome aspects of Islam. Some I consider to be outright deceivers.I have heard some of them actually argue that sharia law is perfectly compatible with the US Constitution.

More credible to me are Muslim reformers, people like Dr Zuhdi Jasser and Shireen Qudosi. They acknowledge there are problems and there are people walking around who are dangerous.

We must concede, however, that most Muslims live quiet lives and are of no threat to anyone. How many of those people have engaged in a violent protest over Mohammad cartoons or wish for a worldwide caliphate, we have no way of knowing.  I assume they know what is in the Koran, just as I assume they know about the life of Mohammad including when he was a warlord. I assume they have also been taught about sharia law.

Thus, I have formulated a list of questions directed to the moderate, peaceful Muslims. As always, I encourage my Muslim readers to weigh in and answer them. I ask these questions as a non-evangelical Christian and use Jesus Christ as my yardstick. Of course, I mean no disrespect or neglect to other major religions like Judaism or Buddhism.

First of all, since Muslims revere Jesus, as well as previous prophets of the monotheistic faith, I ask my Muslim reader:

Did Jesus ever murder anyone?
Did Jesus ever order the murder of anyone?
Did Jesus ever lead an army to advance the Christian faith in battle?
Did Jesus ever order the execution of persons taken captive by his army?
Did Jesus ever take people including women and children as slaves?
Did Jesus ever preach hatred to others who did not share his (religious) beliefs?

The answer to all of the above questions is No.

Now I invite my moderate Muslim readers to ask the same questions about Mohammad.

The answer to the above questions becomes Yes.

In addition, I would ask Muslims if they really believe that the parts of sharia that define women as second class citizens and the parts of sharia (hudud sharia) that mandate death for those who leave Islam, defame Islam or engage in adultery of homosexuality are compatible with US laws. Do they have any place in a free, democratic nation?

The answers are clearly No.

I recently attended an event at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California entitled, "Islam 101", which featured a female Muslim speaker giving a sugar-coated explanation of Islam. When some of us began to ask hard questions (in a polite and non-disruptive manner when called upon), not only were questioners called outside by professors to be admonished, the campus police were actually called. My point in bringing this up is to say that Americans need to have an honest and frank discussion about Islam with moderate Muslims without having to be called racists and Islamophobes. Moderate and peaceful Muslims need to deal with these very legitimate questions.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Who Is Hafiz Kazi?

Gary Fouse
fousesquawk
http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


On Wednesday, a 51-year-old man named Hafiz Kazi, originally from India, plowed his car through the gate at Travis Air Force Base north of San Francisco, and ignited it with propane tanks, killing himself in the process.

As you will see from the below three news reports, investigators cannot state (or will not) what the motive was.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmz45tkq3eE&feature=youtu.be


http://www.kcra.com/article/fbi-identifies-man-killed-in-fiery-crash-at-travis-air-force-base/19580976


https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article206625114.html

Jihad Watch, however, identifies Kazi as a Muslim.

https://www.jihadwatch.org/2018/03/man-who-exploded-car-loaded-with-propane-tanks-at-travis-air-force-base-identified-as-a-muslim-named-hafiz-kazi

But what is the basis for concluding that Kazi is a Muslim? India though not predominately Muslim, has a large Muslim minority, in the tens of millions. Here is a clue:

Hafiz is a Muslim name, meaning one who has completely memorized the Koran. This is not to say that Kazi has memorized the Koran, only that he was given that name at birth. Gates of Vienna elaborates.


http://gatesofvienna.net/2018/03/place-travis-afb-action-suicide-method-propane-and-gasoline-motive-mystery/

Before this case is forgotten, the authorities (and the media) need to clear this issue up. Was this a case of Jihad?

Monday, February 26, 2018

Reading Between the Lines in Europe

Gary Fouse
fousesquawk
http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


This article first appeared in New English Review.


The news out of Europe continues to get more and more depressing.From Italy to Sweden, more and more refugees, migrants, and asylum-seekers continue to pour into Western Europe. (The Eastern Europeans, being more sensible, are refusing to accept them.) The predictable result is more terror attacks, everyday street crimes, rapes, and murders being committed by people almost entirely from the Middle East and Africa, predominantly Muslim, people who refuse to assimilate and do not respect the host country's culture. Not only is the continent no longer safe, but the native populations are in danger of being replaced over time. What would have been unthinkable ten or fifteen years ago is now becoming a fact almost to the point of being irreversible.

Sadly, Europe's leaders (including the EU) and media remain oblivious to the disaster. Not only do they ignore the objections of the people, they misinform them. A case in point is the media and how they report crime.

In Sweden, for example, newspapers report incidents of crime as being committed by "youths" (ungdomer). That is uniformly the case with the new Sweden. Riots, rapes and assaults in places like the  Rosengård area of Malmö  or the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby are committed by young boys in their teens or men in their 20s. That they are immigrants or Muslims is left out of the report. Names of people arrested are not given until a conviction is obtained. If you were uninformed, you might conclude that there was a serious problem among Swedish youth. There isn't. You have to read between the lines when you see a term like ungdomer or the actual scene of the offense (no-go zones like Rinkeby) to know who actually commits the crime.

In the UK, offenders have been referred to as "Asians". To Americans, that implies Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Thais etc. To the Brits, however, their Asian population traditionally comes from South Asia, specifically India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. Most of the offenders, including the notorious sex groomers (who prostitute young, drug addicted runaway girls ), originate from Pakistan.

The most laughable example, however, is Germany, where a report out of Berlin or the heavily-impacted Rhineland will refer to unidentified offenders as "southerners". To the uninformed reader that might conjure up images of beer-soaked Bavarians in lederhosen and funny green hats. They are actually referring to people from "southern countries" (Middle East-Africa). Even Sgt. Schultz would blush in embarrassment.

Similarly, if you watch European cops and robbers shows, which I do regularly, you would think Europe has always had the same criminal element as we Americans. That's because the bad guys are always either natives or from the former East bloc countries, Russians, Yugoslavians, etc. (They are the most convenient targets.)  Granted, many of the crime shows available here are dated a bit, but safe to say, European shows are as politically correct as our own when it comes to casting villains.

While we don't (yet) have the same type of problems as Europe, we still lament that the enemy cannot be defeated  if we cannot name him. That is also true in Europe.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Trump Apologizes (Fake News)

Gary Fouse
fousesquawk
http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


President Trump today has apologized for calling Haiti a shit hole. Here is his statement:



"I want to apologize to the people of Haiti for my intemperate remarks referring to their great country as a 'shit hole".

Image result for trump


"From this point on, I will refer to Haiti as 'the Pit of Misery".




Image result for trump
"Dilly dilly."

* For all you UC Santa Cruz Community  Studies and History of Consciousness majors, this is a spoof. It's an inside joke among Bud Light drinkers, whoever they are.