Women and Islam – Radio Interview with Neil Johnson

A few weeks ago I was again on radio through several hundred stations across Australia. The interview was with Neil Johnson and the topic for talkback discussion was Islam, its teaching and practice with regard to women. If you want to learn more click onto the link below and listen in. Even better, buy a copy of my latest book, “the Hidden Half—Women and Islam”. Go to the “Books” section on this site to make your purchase.

Here is the link for the segment
http://mediapoint.org.au/podcasts/0001127194.mp3

 

Stuart

 

 

 

 

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Making Sense (Part 2 of 2)

Islam is implemented according to what percentage of the population is Muslim. Hence in a country like Australia where the number of Muslims is comparatively small but increasing, Muslims will often say their responsibility is to obey the laws of the country in which they live, rather than adopt agreed common practices of Sharia Law, some of which would be contrary to a secular state’s laws.  

This does not totally prevent Muslims participating unofficially in polygamy, the practice of underage marriage or female genital mutilation. There are numerous instances of secular states implementing their laws against such practices. But some analyses show that as the number of practicing Muslims within non-Muslim states gradually increases, Muslim behavior changes to be less accepting of the hitherto majority non-Muslim opinion.

This follows the example of Prophet Mohammad. When he was in an exposed tenuous position in Mecca trying to gain acceptance for his new religion, the revelations from Allah were often persuasively inclusive and inviting. After he fled to Medina, gained acceptance, social and military might and a position of power, Allah’s revelations became harsher. Later uncompromising Muslim scholars developed a theory of Abrogation in which earlier utterances were abrogated by later ones. Thus one needs to know, when a Muslim spokesperson is quoting the Quran, is he quoting an early saying to gain acceptance or is it a later final position.

In the case of the recent defeat of the Christian governor of Jakarta and the charge
against him of alleged blasphemy, Muslim imams and political activists realized that because the Jakartan population was majority Muslim they could invoke a long standing rule of the Islamic sharia that no non-Muslim can have leadership over Muslims. This is in spite of the fact that such discrimination is against the Indonesian constitution.

The charge of blasphemy and the threat of denial of religious burial rites merely ensured that all who were Muslim would conform to the wishes of the Muslim religious leaders. In Islam it is more important to belong then to believe. It is not an individualized faith like contemporary Christianity. It is communal and one must conform to whatever a leader dictates.

A further reason for apparent contradictions is that what is said is dependent on timing and context. If a Muslim considers his life or his religion is under threat, according to the precedent of the Prophet and the doctrine of Taqiyya, a Muslim is permitted to engage in deception or lying (Q.16:106). In countries where Muslims are still relatively few the statements made in public do not always align with beliefs held in private.

One national Muslim leader in Australia who approved the Quranic teaching and the Prophet’s example of wife beating had to retract his statement because of public hostility and secular political pressure. He learned his lesson. Shortly afterwards, when speaking on a contentious issue he began by saying, “What I say to the public….” Quite so!

Another common form of deception is the claim that Islam is “a religion of peace”. It is literally a religion of surrender. Islam means submission. Allah is the all-supreme master and his followers assume the status of slaves. By “peace” non-Muslim hearers are led to believe that what is on offer is an absence of conflict or war. But the Muslim understanding is that “peace” is only achieved when Islam totally dominates the world and its adherents have “succeeded” and rule over all. Along the road to that objective, the means employed are always justified by the end in view.

The words which Muslim and non-Muslim use may be the same, but the meanings differ according to one’s religious background and the values formed from that. For Christians truth is absolute, unchangeable and non-negotiable. In a Muslim society meaning may very according to context. It is therefore common practice in a Muslim society not to trust anyone until they have proved trustworthy. In a Christian society everyone is trusted till they prove untrustworthy.

That which seems irreconcilable and non-sensible becomes sensible according to worldviews constructed from religious fundamentals.

For a more in depth discussion of issues relating to Islam and Woman feel free to purchase a copy of my recently released book The Hidden Half  You can do so in the Books section of this website or by clicking the link The Hidden Half .

Stuart

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MAKING SENSE – (Part 1 of 2)

Widely acknowledged as Jakarta’s most effective and popular Governor in a generation, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian, also known as “Ahok”, was soundly defeated in a recent election. How did that happen?

Media personality, Yassim Abdel-Magied, said Islam is “the most feminist religion”. But in the forthcoming elections in Iran, more than 130 women reportedly submitted their names to be considered by the all male Guardians Council as candidates. None was selected. Don’t Islamic authorities know about their feminist side?

Liberal scholar, Shadi Hamid, a member of the highly respected Brookings Institute in the USA, surprisingly wrote, “If (ISIS) were destroyed tomorrow morning, the Islamic State would still stand as one of the most successful and distinctly ‘Islamist’ state-building projects of recent decades.” What sort of “success” does he mean?

In Australia, thirty imams reportedly signed an open letter in which they stated, “Islam categorically prohibits and denounces violence against women.” Yet at about the same time, Dina Ali Lasloom, aged 24, was on a flight to Australia to escape from her abusive family in Saudi Arabia. During a change of flights in Manila the Saudi embassy phoned the Philippines authority advising that her passport had been cancelled and they were to detain her till relatives arrived to take her back to Saudi Arabia. Witness accounts report that when her “uncles” arrived, they beat her, taped her mouth shut and wrapped her in something like a sheet, all to stop her screaming and kicking in protest. They then carried her back onto a plane bound for Saudi Arabia, in spite of her prerecorded plea that she would probably be killed there.

Didn’t the Saudis know that violence against women was prohibited?

In Australia, Reem Allouche, a teacher and Atika Latifi produced a 33-minute video explaining it was okay for a Muslim husband to beat his wife. They demonstrated how it was to be done properly. Their opinion was that it was to be regarded as a “beautiful blessing” which “promotes tranquility”. But Ed Husic, the first Muslim politician (ALP) to be elected to Australian Federal Parliament, reportedly said such practices were “not acceptable”.

Didn’t he know that one of the foremost authorities on interpreting Islam, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb, Grand Mufti of Al-Azar Mosque in Cairo, had affirmed that according to Quranic recommended practice, wife beating is permissible and necessary “to reform her”?

The video ladies asserted that “Islam is not gender biased”, but the President of the Australian National Imams’ Council, Sheik Shady Alsuleiman,  reportedly said that men do have authority over their wives, “to care for them” and further admitted that if a wife refuses to come to her husband’s bed, angels would continue to curse her till morning, that she cannot bring anyone into the family home or leave it without the husband’s permission.

When someone may bring a corrective by quoting from Islam’s sacred texts, the Quran, Traditions or Biographies of Prophet Muhammad to prove the point being made, then a Muslim apologist, such as Silma Ihram of the Australian (Muslim) Women’s Association, will often reply that people have no right to quote the Quran. That is a right reserved for Muslim scholars.

How can all these claims and counter claims be reconciled? Is one right and the opposing view wrong?

The answer is that from within an Islamic perspective they are all valid and correct. It’s just that each answer may serve a different purpose. That which seems illogical to the infidel non-Muslim may make perfect sense to a sincere Muslim.

When Silma Ihrain said that only Muslim scholars should be quoting and commenting on the Quran, this is a view widely held among Muslims. They believe that the Quran is perfect in every respect and can only exist in the “heavenly language” of Arabic. Any Quranic text apart from that in Arabic is considered to be an interpretation not a translation and therefore is unreliable. As most Muslims are not fluent in classical Arabic they must be guided by appropriate authorities. This is similar to when only priests in medieval Christianity could teach from the Latin Bible, because common people were regarded as ignorant and unqualified.

When it comes to obtaining an authoritative ruling based upon the texts of Islam there are more problems. There is no centralized authority in the Muslim world on such issues, so sometimes there will be disagreements amongst scholars as to what the correct position is.

Then there are bigger issues.

(To be continued)

To purchase a copy of my book The Hidden Half please click here The Hidden Half

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Serious Prayer – Interview with Neil Johnson

On Friday last week I was interviewed by Neil Johnson on  Vision Radio. It was a great interview. The main subject Neil wanted to discuss was Prayer and what results when we take it seriously and apply it to all aspects of our lives.

But we also chatted about  other topics you might find interesting including

  • Church Growth
  • Healing

You can hear the full interview on the Neil’s podcast by clicking the link below. Have a listen and tell me what you think in the comment section.

Click Here To Listen http://mediapoint.org.au/podcasts/0001126219.mp3

 

Click here to to purchase Stuart’s latest book The Hidden Half

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REAL PROTEST – Why are the liberation feminists so quiet?

Last November when on election night Donald Trump won the vote to become the President elect of the USA, Hawaiian grandmother Teresa Shook issued an online call for women to protest in Washington DC on inauguration weekend in 2017. Within 12 hours thousands of people had signed up. Reportedly 600 marches were planned to happen around the world “to protect the rights of women…who feel they would be made vulnerable by the policies and politics of a Trump presidency. January 21 became the big day for the Women’s March on Washington.

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One of the lead organisers in America of the Women’s March was Linda Sarsour, a “pro-Palestinian” activist who reportedly supports Shariah Law. “Shariah law is reasonable and once you read into the details it makes a lot of sense.” Really?

The Palestinian Authority adopted the Jordanian 1960 “rape marriage” law that states that a rapist will not be prosecuted if he marries his victim.

Shariah Law is based upon Islam’s sacred texts, especially that which is mandated by the Quran. From this source we learn that:

  • Men are superior to women. (Q.2:228)
  • A woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man in legal matters. (Q.2:282)
  • Men are the guardians of women who are to be obedient to them and within marriage a husband is granted the right to “beat” or “scourge” his wife should she not conform to his wishes. (Q.4:34)
  • Women are regarded as “tillage”. (Q.2:223)
  • In inheritance matters women are granted only half that of men. (Q.4:11-12)

There is much more. And Feminist Sarsour finds this reasonable?

In India Shayara Banu and several other women filed a petition to the Supreme Court asking for the court to quash the practice of “triple talaq”. This is where a Muslim husband thrice repeats a simple verbal formula that results in a wife being automatically divorced. She has no right of appeal and must accept her husband’s decision.

Shayara is also challenging the concept of “nikah-halal” under which a woman must first consummate another “marriage” should she agree with her husband’s wish to resume their original marriage. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has reportedly defended Islamic divorce practice by reportedly saying “…it is better to divorce a woman than to kill her. The rights bestowed by religion can’t be questioned in a court of law.”

In Iran in January a female body builder was arrested and jailed for publishing photos of herself in her work-out clothes. The charge was she had violated Iran’s laws defining nudity. In Iran “nudity” is allowing any part of a woman’s body—arms, legs or hair, not to be completely covered by mandatory clothing. In the Gaza Strip, Armina Suliman went for a bike ride very early in the morning in the Jabalia refugee camp. She loved the feeling of “liberation”. But it came with condemnation for shameful behavior.

In Afghanistan’s Jawzjan province, women are begging for arms to protect themselves from the depredations of the Taliban. In Syria 400 Yazidi women, having been forced into sex slavery by ISIS operatives have joined the Kurdish Pershmerga to fight back.

Last month it was reported that Dorsa Derakhshani, an 18 year old Iranian chess master who chose not to wear the hijab head covering during a competition in Gibraltar, was banned from the national team. But when women ministers of the self-declared  “feminist government” of Sweden who had committed to prioritise gender equality in all policies national and international, went to visit Iranian President Hassan Rouhani they dressed in hijabs, pants and long coats. Signing trade deals would seem to be a higher priority.

Hundreds of millions of women around the world live with daily serious oppressions and comparative non-existent liberty. But Western Women’s Liberation Feminists seem spectacularly silent about these grievances. Their priority was to organize protests around the world against President Trump before, as President, he had done anything or completed one day in office.

In Berlin at the anti-Trump protest, non-Muslim feminists were filmed chanting “Allah Akbar”. If you want to understand realities for women behind that chant get a copy of ‘The Hidden Half” Women and Islam”. Click the link or go to the books tab on this website. There you might find a real cause for protest.

If you believe this is a subject worth talking about I would love to hear your thoughts, subscribe to my blog, add a comment. If you think this is a subject other people should also be talking about please send them the link to my blog. http://drstuartrobinson.com Through increased, informed dialogue all the facts can be laid on the table.

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March 21, 2017 · 7:29 am

DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE

Keysar Trad gets himself into more verbal dust-ups than Queensland’s best-known former Federal MP, Clive Palmer. The two could almost compete in the number of court cases in which they have been involved.

Trad is the president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC). He seems to specialize in making that which is simple and straightforward suddenly become complex and difficult to understand. It usually happens as the luckless Trad tries to make some Islamic teaching that strikes non-Muslims as offensive or shocking mean something other than what it obviously states. Recently there was the issue of whether or not Muslim male students should decline to shake hands with females who were presenting them with awards at the Hurstville Boys campus of Georges River College. 

The Department of Education, seeking to promote “open and tolerant attitudes” approved the school’s decision to allow Muslim boys not to shake hands with females who were presenting awards to them. It’s difficult to see how such a practice promotes “tolerance and openness”.

Declining to shake hands with females is based upon a saying of Prophet Mohammad (a Hadith) in which he said, “For one of you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle is better for him than that he should touch a woman who is not permissible to him.”

This Hadith was narrated by al-Tabaranni in al-Kabeer 486. The implication is that such touching may lead to temptation and immorality.

A Sahih Muslim Hadith also confirmed that Prophet Muhammad never touched the hand of any woman in accepting their oaths of allegiance as referred to in Q 60:12. The Prophet is described as “the infallible one, the best of mankind, the leader of the sons of Adam…”. (https://islamqa.info/en/21183)

That should have settled the matter. Muslims are expected to follow the example of the Prophet regardless of how strange that may seem to contemporary infidels. To make the practice appear less embarrassing Mr Trad stepped in and reportedly said, “Many Muslim scholars had come to interpret the hadith to be a reference to ‘unwelcome harassment’”. But there is no hint of this in the original references.

A few days later in the same week once more Mr Trad was trying to make the unacceptable acceptable. It’s often difficult to try to reconcile 7th century unchangeable Islamic “revelation” with 21st century non-Muslim practice. On this occasion Mr Trad inadvertently sparked controversy when during the Bolt Report on Sky News he said that in Islam a husband is allowed to beat his wife.

He was referring to Q 4:34 which states “men are in charge of women because Allah has made one of them excel the other.” No prizes given for guessing correctly that it is the male who “excels.” The verse goes on to outline the male response should a wife countenance disobedience to her husband. In that event the husband will firstly “admonish” his wife. If the desired change is not forthcoming he is next to banish her from the marriage bed. Should she persist in her defiance she is to be “scourged”. (The Meaning of the Glorious Koran. Trans. Mohammed Pickthall)

In Kazakhstan this advice is regularly implemented. Above the low set door that is the traditional entrance to each house, a small whip is kept in full view and within easy reach. Each Friday according to local Muslim custom, the whip is taken down and is used to beat disobedient women of the household. Kuwaiti scholar Jassem Al-Mutawa favours using a rod and keeping it in a prominent place on view in the home to remind (women) what they can expect should any lapse into disobedience.

Australian Federal Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash urged Trad to reconsider his position as a Muslim leader condemning his comments as “highly offensive”, condoning domestic violence. Everyone ran for cover. AFIC official, Mohamed El-Mouelhy reportedly said Mr Trad “was not qualified to make pronouncements interpreting Islam because he held no qualifications in Islamic science.” Keysar Trad issued an apology.

But there was no report of anybody attempting to reinterpret the Quranic authority that supported Mr Trad’s original assertion. And why would there be? Every Muslim knows that it is not permitted to forbid something Allah has permitted. Saudi scholar, Dr Abdul Rahman al-Sheha, reportedly rationalised such widespread practices by suggesting “submissive or subdued women…may even enjoy being beaten at times as a sign of love and concern.”

To learn more about Islam and women go to drstuartrobinson.com/books , “The Hidden Half…” and follow the prompts.

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A Review of The Hidden Half

This week I was excited to receive the following review of my book The Hidden Half by Bill Muehlenberg, a well known commentator on current issues.

Stuart Robinson, The Hidden Half: Women and Islam. CHI Books, 2017.

For nearly a half a century Stuart Robinson has lived, worked and/or travelled in Muslim countries. He has written a number of vital books on Islam including his important 2003 volume, Mosques and Miracles. Thus he is well placed to deal with this topic. And what a vitally important subject it is. Says Robinson:

Although approximately 10% of the world’s population may be Muslim and female, within countries where Islamic law predominates, they are mostly silenced in public places and rendered effectively invisible by the clothing they are obliged to wear. They are frequently condemned to suffer abuse and indignity through male mouthpieces who determine their role and outcomes.

Image of The Hidden Half: Women and Islam

In a number of well-documented and meaty chapters, he looks at the various ways in which women are oppressed by Islam. Whether it is Female Genital Mutilation, forced coverings, honour killings, child brides, second class citizenship, or religious rape (yes, that exists in Islam), women are treated abysmally in this religion.

Consider just one issue which has made at least some news headlines of late. In the UK where the Muslim population is said to double each decade, Muslim paedophile gangs had been at work there for decades. Robinson cites a 300+ page research report on this which documents all the horrific abuse, rape and torture.

For example, a number of Muslim males were jailed for grooming up to 100 underage girls for sex. The study found that “Muslim males are 154 times more likely than others to perpetuate this sort of crime.” Much of the mainstream media has stayed silent on this story, so it is terrific to see Robinson bravely exposing it.

Facts, figures, data and research presented in the book are supplemented by numerous personal horror stories of women being treated so very poorly in Islam. It makes for frightening reading, but it is necessary reading. We all owe Stuart Robinson a great debt in producing this urgent wake-up call.

As Elizabeth Kendall says in her foreword, “The events reported in this book may disturb you and even move you to tears. But if change is to occur, reality must first be faced.” Quite so, and the reality of how women fare under Islam is expertly and carefully documented in this must-read volume.

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FIVE MINUTES OF FAME

The Federal Government funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) runs a programme called Q & A (Questions and Answers). Each week a panel of people from different backgrounds are assembled and questioned by members of a selected audience. No subject is too controversial for discussion. The platform panel usually consists of members who hold opposing views on whatever are the main subjects for discussion. A host guides the questions and answers probably to ensure hot button issues are provocatively addressed. A bear pit of unleashed emotion always attracts a larger viewing audience than that of controlled logical analysis.

On Monday night 13 February 2017 one of the panel members on Q & A was a 25-year-old lady who presented herself as an Islamic “activist”. Many viewers had probably never heard of Ms Yasmin Abdel-Magied.

The Australian Government had obviously heard of her. Last November they sent the Australian Sudanese Egyptian Muslim “activist” on a taxpayer-funded tour to promote her book in several of the most restrictive countries of the Middle East. The ABC knows her very well. They list her as making regular appearances on their programmes, Q&A, The Drum, The Project, Radio Triple J, Radio National and ABC local radio. She would seem to be a rising media star.

One suspects that the title “activist” was that which qualified the young lady. It held out the promise of more heat than light especially when Australian Senator Jacqui Lambie was also on the panel. She is well known for advocating against some common Islamic practices especially its requirements for women to “cover up” and for its treatment of women in general.

As Senator Lambie and Ms Abdel-Magied tried to out shout each other content was sacrificed to volume. Senator Lambie lacked the detailed knowledge to counter the arguments advanced by her opponent. Ms Abdel-Magied’s outbursts, obviously appreciated by the clapping crowd who cheered her on, lacked little relationship to reality. Even Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic group banned in some countries because of its hard line applications of Islamic teaching whose advice Ms Abdel-Magied subsequently sought, conceded that she did not have “the required deep knowledge of Islam to prosecute her case.”

So where was the much applauded “activist” deficient with regards to her explanations of Islam?screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-6-16-20-pmIn defence of Shariah Law she claimed that Muslims are obliged to follow the law of the land in which they reside. That is true but only up to where local law may be in contravention of any principles of Shariah in which case the latter prevails.

She claimed that:

  1. Islam is “the most feminist religion”
  2. Muslim women “got equal rights well before the Europeans”
  3. “Anti women issues” in some Muslim states are because of “political and cultural reasons” not because such practices are mandated within Islam’s sacred texts—Quran, Traditions, Biographies of the Prophet Muhammad.

But a cursory glance at those texts reveals:

  1. Men are superior to women (Q 2:228)
  2. Men are in charge of women (Q 4:34)
  3. Women by nature or temperament are inclined toward guile or maliciousness (Q 12:28, 33, 34, 50)
  4. Women are the most harmful trial and affliction for men (Al-Bukhari No. 5096)
  5. Women are deficient in matters of intelligence and religion (AL-Bukhari 304)
  6. At law a woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man (Q 2:282)
  7. A wife needs her husband’s permission to fast (Al-Bukhari 5192)
  8. A wife needs her husband’s permission to attend a meeting at a mosque (Al-Bukhari 873)
  9. In the marriage relationship, a wife is described as “tilth” implying the husband has total rights over his wife’s body (Q 2:223)
  10. If a wife disobeys her husband angels will curse her (Al-Bukhari 5193, 5194)
  11. A wife should not allow anyone to enter the home without her husband’s consent (Al-Bukhari 5098)
  12. Should a wife disobey her husband a series of punishments of increasing severity up to “scourging” is permitted but a husband “should not flog his wife as he flogs a slave and then have sexual intercourse with her in the last part of the day” (Q 4:34; Al-Bukhari 5204)
  13. In matters of estate inheritance the share of a son is to be twice that of a daughter and for a wife one eighth or one fourth and for a husband one half or one fourth (Q 4:2; Al-Bukhari 4578)
  14. A woman should never be in leadership because “people ruled by a lady will never be successful” (Al-Bukhari 4425)
  15. When a man is praying should a dog, a donkey or a woman pass in front of him his prayer is annulled. (Al-Bukhari 504, 508, 511, 519)
  16. The majority of those trapped in the fires of hell are women (Al-Bukhari 304 5096)
  17. One of the reasons for such punishment was women’s ungratefulness toward their husbands. (Al-Bukhari 304, 5197-5198)

One would need several alphabets to list all the restrictions placed upon women. Seeking to divert focusing on Islam’s authoritative texts as the source of such provisions, Australian Muslim Women’s Human Rights Centre chairwoman, Tasmeen Chopra agreed with Ms Abdel-Magied, reportedly saying that anti-women issues in relation to Islam were not text based.

Since the programme aired reportedly 49 Muslim scholars have demanded “an apology from the ABC for not silencing Senator Lambie saying that the programme host failed to provide a ‘safe environment’ for Ms Abdel-Magied to speak”. (Caroline Overinton, The Australian, p 16, February 16, 2017). Hopefully, Ms Abdel-Magied enjoyed her brief flirtation with fame.

In 2001 Zachariah Matthews, after studying the life of Prophet Mohammad, reportedly concluded that “deception is necessary”. If that is so then Abdel-Magied and Chopra may just have been implementing a well-established strategy.

If you want to get a fuller more accurate picture of Islam’s attitudes towards and practices relating to women go to drstuartrobinson.com/Books and get a copy of “The Hidden Half—Women and Islam”.

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AN UNEXPECTED OUTCOME

Being on talk back radio is always a risk. What may happen is quite unpredictable. As I sat in my office in Melbourne, Australia, a call came in from Adelaide. the capital city of a neighbouring State of South Australia. It was a young lady who wanted to discuss an issue relating to Islam. She opened the conversation by saying that she had become a Muslim. To establish a context for the discussion I asked a few questions.

“Where did you go to school in Adelaide”?

She replied, ”All my life I attended a Christian denominational school”.

“Did you ever read a Bible”?

“Never”.

“And you have become a Muslim”?

“Yes”.

“Have you ever read the Quran”?

“No.”

“So why did you become a Muslim”?

“Some of my girlfriends and I thought it would be a cool thing to do”.

“That was your only reason”?

“Yes”.

I had heard reports that in Australia 65% of new converts to Islam were women. In the UK it was reportedly 70%. Admittedly some  Middle Eastern males may appear to some to be quite handsome. But regardless of the reasons, had any of these young women heard of law of Apostasy? Islam’s front door is wide and inviting. Its invitation is attractively presented and simply put. But perhaps unknown to such new followers of the teaching and example of Prophet Muhammad  is that unlike in any other religion there is no back door of escape once  any person enters that space. The death penalty may be applied to men and imprisonment for women who dare to leave for any reason.

It seems almost unbelievable that in this day and age so little is known about Islam by many that anyone would make such a momentous decision on no greater motive than “it seemed a cool thing to do’!

I decided to dig further. It took a couple of years of scarce spare time but now I am very excited to announce that the book is out. It’s called “The Hidden Half—Women and Islam”. You can buy it from your local Christian Book store or you may buy it directly from me at a special introductory price. Go to the section on this site headed “Books” and follow the prompts.

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From Confusion to Clarity

By early 1981 American embassy hostages held in Tehran were back home. A discreet reception was held for some of them in a suburban home in Northern Virginia, USA. One former hostage, Malcolm Kalp, was reported to have said at that meeting,

“We still think the Soviet Union is our enemy, that worldwide communism is still the principal threat to our way of life. But the real challenge isn’t the Soviet Union – it’s militant Islam. We have no idea what we are up against”.Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.02.32 pm

Three and a half decades later his observation remains accurate on all counts. Mostly only those who have lived within Islamic societies and have studied their sacred texts (Qur’an, Hadith and Sira) can understand what is happening and give some explanation of likely outcomes should the message of revivalist Islam continue to spread unchecked around the world. And spreading it surely is.

Like rogue organisms from some cancerous tumour, cells of fundamentalist Islam multiply and metastasise faster than intelligence agencies can track them. United Nations Secretary, General Ban Ki- Moon said on February 5, 2016 that by the previous December 34 organisations had sworn allegiance to the Caliphate of the Islamic State. But only days after that announcement, on February 7, 2016, private counter-terrorism organisation IntelCentre claimed that the number of affiliates and supporting organisations had already risen to 43. From the Philippines in the East (Abu Sayaf and Ansar al Khilifah) to Nigeria in the West (Boko Haram), from Indonesia in the South (Jemaah Anshorut Tawhid) to Russia in the North (Caucasus Emirate) and in many countries in between, Islamist organisations are armed and ready. They are intolerant of anything that is at variance from their own claims, interpretations and demands. This expansion “demonstrates the speed and scale at which the gravity of the threat has evolved in just 18 months,” said Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

In December 2014, General Michael K. Nugata, Special Operations commander for the United States military in the Middle East, commenting on the rapid rise of Islamic State reportedly said, “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.” At least he was honest in expressing his and others’ ignorance and their inability to comprehend what is happening. To begin to articulate a coherent response remains a step too far.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.02.23 pm

 

A similar posture is evidenced but not admitted by most Western political leaders. It is a commonly heard response from bellwether politicians that even after the most atrocious Islamic terrorist attacks which killed many of their own citizens whom they are ostensibly elected to protect, they continue to claim that such activities have nothing to do with Islam. This conveniently overlooks the glaring fact that the only element common to all such attacks is that the perpetrators are committed to the fundamental tenets of Islam.

The primary reason for this current politically correct response is that in any democracy, elected representatives are dependent on votes from their constituents to retain personal privilege and power at their next election. In a country such as France where the number of Muslims is thought to be approximately 10% of the population, those votes are critical. After one of the recent attacks in France, one of the highest ranking politicians reportedly ventured to express the view that the problems they experience with some of their Muslim constituency could be overcome by building more mosques! At least that might have temporarily secured a few Muslim votes. Presumably to maintain favour with some voters and to secure personal power, France’s politicians through various statements and policies, maintain a high level of antipathy toward Israel while favouring HAMAS and the PLO whose repeatedly avowed aims include the destruction of Israel. Israel is the only state in the cauldron of Middle East furies that has maintained a record of democracy and peaceful transitions of political power for almost seven decades. No state is without fault, but surely such bias favouring one state whose avowed aim is the destruction of another, ought to be seriously challenged.

In the West, only worship at the altar of secular humanism is permitted within State discourse. Traditional religion, especially Christianity, has been marginalised, discounted and almost banned from consideration in the contest of ideas. Bereft of the moral underpinnings and Judaeo-Christian values upon which Western democracies were established, they are now almost defenseless and endangered as they are increasingly penetrated by alien philosophies and theologies. Unfettered from predictable behaviours and practices by their own set of values, Islamist invaders are intent on their goal of world domination. For those who disagree with them, the message is– surrender or die. No prisoners will be taken unless individuals are temporarily valuable as pawns in a deadly game of ransom.

Having rejected their own religious history and traditions, most Western leaders are unable to comprehend the power of religious conviction that drives emerging contemporary Islamic movements. At best all these elites seem capable of doing is to call for reform within Islam. In this they are at least partially right. They infer distinction between people, i.e. Muslims and the theological doctrines that compulsorily drive them.

The vast majority of Muslims want peace and prosperity like most non-Muslims. However the ideology of Islam as contained in its sacred texts and developed into Sharia Law is the locus of real challenge. As Muslims know, this is not open to change. The emerging movements already claim to represent reform, back to basics as was practised in the days of the Prophet in seventh century Arabia. In the meantime, to lessen our anxieties we grant equivalence to Islam. We unthinkingly accept the Muslim claim that the three major world religions worship the same God, are of Abrahamic origin and honour the same “Prophets”. But a careful analysis and comparison between the entities as described in each religion’s texts reveal they are so different as to be incomparable.

“Equivalence fosters ambiguity; ambiguity gives birth to confusion; and confusion breeds disaster, as the early 21st-century has already shown.” (Sandys and Hendey, God and Churchill, London, S P CK, 2015). To shed some light into the darkness, to discover a little clarity in the midst of confusion and to consider a modest yet powerful response get a copy of Islam Rising – the Middle East and Us by Stuart Robinson.

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