Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, most Americans knew little of Islam and even less about the contents of the Qu’ran, the Muslim holy book. Most would have been content to know that Muslims worship Allah, wear long frocks and make vast fortunes off their oil fields on which the West depends. After hijacked planes were intentionally crashed into two World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon, killing innocent passengers and office workers in a fiery horrific death, people questioned the motives behind such bloody activity. From many quarters it was announced that Islam was a religion of peace and that it was atypical extremists who had used hijacked civilian airliners as a weapon of mass destruction. But a nagging question remained: If Islam means peace, why were so many Muslims dancing in the streets while American heroes pulled thousands of bodies from office buildings-turned-war zone? Robert Spencer, in his book Islam Unveiled, addresses this question head-on. The short answer can be found in the Qu’ran, “Slay the pagans wherever you find them.” Westerners, and Americans in particular, often view religion as an emotion rather than a core principle and for them understanding what motivates dancing in the street after bloodshed is almost unfathomable. Spencer notes that not every Muslim practices what is in the Qu’ran, but those who do follow the Qu’ran literally will find plenty of support among its passages. One of the primary difficulties with Islam is its lack of a central authority. Thus one Muslim cleric may consider mass murder by plane a laudable action while another may find it repulsive. Spencer writes, “Modern day terrorists are the sons and heirs of the Islamic warriors who overwhelmed the ancient lands of the Middle East and North Africa by force of arms, and who made it so humiliating and difficult for the Christians who survived the conquests to continue to live in their homelands that many gave up the struggle; they converted to Islam just to survive.” Admonitions in the Qu’ran on the treatment of women are appalling by any standard of human dignity and go far beyond the burkas that rattle the feminists. Muhammad himself had nine wives and numerous concubines allotted, conveniently to him, by Allah. He even obtained permission from Allah to marry the wife of his adopted son. “No blame shall be attached to the Prophet for doing what is sanctioned for him by God.” Notions of self-sacrifice and self-giving so fundamental to the success of Christian marriage are noticeably lacking Muhammad’s example. Spousal abuse is rampant and, again, encouraged by the Qu’ran. Child marriage is not uncommon. The Qu’ran offers virtually no protection against rape. A woman who files such a complaint must have four men witness the attack. If she files a complaint without four male witnesses, she may be accused of adultery or fornication. The penalty for those crimes is death. The victim’s testimony is meaningless because she is a woman. A Muslim woman is little more than her husband’s domestic and sexual slave. Human rights are virtually non-existent for non-Muslims in Muslim countries. The Taliban executed people in Afghanistan in a soccer stadium built with Western funds. Drug dealers could care less about the effects of the drug trade on Western addicts. Slavery still exists in the Sudan and Mauritania. Two reporters for the Baltimore Sun, Gregory Kane and Gilbert Lethwaite, discovered Christian women and children abducted as slaves. Francis Bok was seven years old when he was kidnapped. He says, “The girls couldn’t stop crying, so the men shot them. After that, I learned to be quiet.” Ten years later, he escaped. One of Spencer’s more critical and salient points is that the word jihad, holy war, has two connotations. The first meaning concerns the great jihad, the personal struggle to improve oneself. The second meaning of jihad, which is rarely mentioned, is that of permanent war rooted in Islamic law. Therein lies the problem. As long as Islamic terrorists believe in the literal instructions in the Qu’ran, it becomes imperative for the west to do three things: defend against the assaults, vanquish the aggressor and send a message of hope to those enslaved in the chains of dictatorship, cruelty and ignorance: life is worth living.
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