Boreal Books

Children and The Koran

The End of Empathy


5:33 Indeed, the punishment of those who fight Allah and His Messenger and go around corrupting the land is to be killed, crucified, have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides, or to be banished from the land. That is a disgrace for them in this life, and in the life to come theirs will be a terrible punishment.

In the Koran, you will find more than a sprinkling of chilling invectives from the alleged Creator of the Universe himself, what would be considered hate speech under normal circumstances. That hate speech, replete with sadistic utterances even more vicious than quoted here, is read and repeated by children every day in Western households, madrassas and mosques. It is hate speech directed at the despised unbelievers, i.e., wrongdoers, who are not deserving of a god’s compassion or mercy.

17:82 And We reveal of the Qur’an that which is healing and merciful to the believers, and it yields nothing but perdition for the wrongdoers.

All this divine venom directed at one group can only lead to a deepening dearth of empathy in those who are instructed by trusted adults to read, then regurgitate that same loathing for the target of Allah’s pathological hatred as part of their journey to the Khatmi-Qur’an, the ceremony to recognize and celebrate a child’s first reciting of the entire Koranic text by the age of seven under the not always gentle tutelage of their mother.

Life in jail for son's murder over Koran studies

A mother who beat her seven-year-old son to death when he failed to memorise passages from the Koran has been jailed for life, for a minimum of 17 years. The judge said she had beaten him for three months leading up to his death, adding: "The cause of the beating was your unreasonable view that he wasn't learning passages quickly enough."

BBC January 7, 2013

An inevitable outcome:

Belgium: signs of radicalization in kindergarten

An internal report of a school obtained by the daily Het Laatste Nieuws highlights signs of Islamic "radicalization" in some children. What occurred in a school in Renaix, in East Flanders, prompted the school to express its concerns in an internal report.

The report documents observations made by teachers in 2016 about the behaviour of a number of Muslim children. These include "death threats" to “non-believing" children, mimicking slicing their throat and calling them "pigs."

The children also recited verses from the Koran during recess, refused to shake hands, and some, to attend school on Fridays for religious reasons...

Le Point, August 22, 2017 (my translation)

This deficiency of empathy was evident in Sheema Khan’s account of Muslim-Canadian teens defending the murder of 186 children by armed Islamist groups who stormed their school in the Russian town of Beslan in 2004.

On Sept. 3, 2004, I had just finished speaking about the life of Mary[1] – regarded as one of the best women in history – to a group of Muslim teens. Hours before, though, news of a violent end to the Beslan hostage crisis in southern Russia had broken, in which 186 children were killed. Armed Islamist groups had stormed a local school a few days before, held teachers and students captive without food or water and wired the gym with explosives.

Rather than continue further discussions about Mary, I wanted to ask the youth about the murder of innocent civilians – especially children – in Beslan.

The males were unequivocal: The Russians got what they deserved, for their brutal war against the Chechens. It was revenge, pure and simple.

Stunned, I asked: Did Prophet Mohammed ever kill children and unarmed adults?

No, they answered.

Did he condone such acts?


Did he condemn such acts?

Yes, they answered.

I concluded: So, who will you follow? Mohammed, or the opposite?

They acknowledged the former.

I thought of this exchange following the terrorist attack in Manchester last week. Much has been written about the life of the assailant, Salman Abedi, a second-generation Libyan born and raised in Britain. His sister surmised that he had acted in revenge for the killing of Muslim children by coalition forces in the Middle East …

How the Muslim community can tackle the scourge of extremism, Sheema Khan, Special to The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Muhammad may never have personally killed an unarmed child or adult, but he did encourage others to do so. God’s last and greatest was a particularly thin-skinned doomsday warner. Some of the men, women and girls assassinated on his behalf had, in song and rhyme, questioned his claim to being an intimate of the Almighty. The first poet to be murdered on his order was al-Nadr. When God’s spokesman spotted him among the prisoners captured at the battle of Badr (recommended reading: Jihad in the Koran, Boreal Books), he had him beheaded on the spot.

Next to die was the poetess Asma bint Marwan. She was stabbed to death while sleeping with an infant suckling at her breast. After every murder, the assassin would return to the Mosque to inform Muhammad and be praised for what had been done at his insistence, as did the murderer of Asma bint Marwan who was asked by God’s spokesman, “Have you slain the daughter of Marwan?”

This was the word that was first heard from the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him.

When Umayr replied that the job had been carried out with success, Muhammad said, “You have helped God and His apostle, O Umayr!”

When Umayr asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences, the apostle said, “Two goats won’t butt their heads about her.”

Muhammad then praised Umayr in front of all gathered for prayer for his act of murder, and Umayr went back to his people.

Ibn S’ad, a companion of the Prophet

Asma’s murder was followed by that of the Jewish poet Abu Afak, who was also killed while he slept.

He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu Afak slept in an open place. Salim b. Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and the people, who were his followers rushed him, took him to his house and interred him.

Ibn S’ad, a companion of the Prophet

The call for the murder of the poet Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf:

Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:

Allah's Apostle said, "Who would kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf (Ka'b, a poet, who wrote poems lampooning Allan's Messenger) as he has harmed Allah and His Apostle?"

Muhammad bin Maslama (got up and) said, "I will kill him."

So, Muhammad bin Maslama went to Ka'b and said, "I want a loan of one or two Wasqs of food grains."

Ka'b said, "Mortgage your women to me."

Muhammad bin Maslama said, "How can we mortgage our women, and you are the most handsome among the Arabs?"

He said, "Then mortgage your sons to me."

Muhammad said, "How can we mortgage our sons, as the people will abuse them for being mortgaged for one or two Wasqs of food grains? It is shameful for us. But we will mortgage our arms to you."

So, Muhammad bin Maslama promised him that he would come to him next time.

They (Muhammad bin Maslama and his companions came to him as promised and murdered him. Then they went to the Prophet and told him about it.

Bukhari 45.687

The murder of the poet Abu Rafi:

Narrated Al-Bara bin Azib:

Allah's Apostle sent a group of Ansari men to kill Abu-Rafi. One of them set out and entered their (i.e. the enemies) fort. That man said, "I hid myself in a stable for their animals. They closed the fort gate. Later they lost a donkey of theirs, so they went out in its search. I, too, went out along with them, pretending to look for it. They found the donkey and entered their fort. And I, too, entered along with them.

They closed the gate of the fort at night, and kept its keys in a small window where I could see them. When those people slept, I took the keys and opened the gate of the fort and came upon Abu Rafi and said, 'O Abu Rafi.'

When he replied me, I proceeded towards the voice and hit him. He shouted and I came out to come back, pretending to be a helper.

I said, 'O Abu Rafi, changing the tone of my voice.'

He asked me, 'What do you want; woe to your mother?'

I asked him, 'What has happened to you?'

He said, 'I don't know who came to me and hit me.' Then I drove my sword into his belly and pushed it forcibly till it touched the bone. Then I came out, filled with puzzlement and went towards a ladder of theirs in order to get down but I fell down and sprained my foot.

I came to my companions and said, 'I will not leave till I hear the wailing of the women.'

So, I did not leave till I heard the women bewailing Abu Rafi, the merchant of Hijaz. Then I got up, feeling no ailment, (and we proceeded) till we came upon the Prophet and informed him."

Bukhari 52.264

Two girls, who may have been young women when he ordered their assassination, had sung satirical songs as children about Muhammad’s claim to being a spokesman for Allah. They were part of the household of a fellow by the name of Khatal. Khatal was one of Muhammad’s Zakat (obligatory charity) collectors who later abandoned Islam and returned to Mecca. Khatal sought the protection of the Ka’ba, to no avail.

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah's Apostle entered Mecca in the year of its Conquest wearing an Arabian helmet on his head and when the Prophet took it off, a person came and said, "Ibn Khatal is holding the covering of the Ka'ba (taking refuge in the Ka'ba)."

The Prophet said, "Kill him."

Bukhari 29.72

These types of stories of retribution, which the Koran applauds — 2:179 In retaliation there is life for you, O people of understanding, that you may be God-fearing — may have made believers more accepting of cold blooded murder, even the shredding of children with explosives, if done out of revenge, i.e., “The Russians got what they deserved.”

Then there is the public beheading of more than seven hundred Jewish men and boys of Medina that he orchestrated, and of which, just like the murder of the poets, Khan’s audience was probably aware. Just like the children of Beslan, it did not matter that the sons beheaded that miserable day along with their fathers were innocent of any crimes against the Muslims, the Jews of Medina having chosen to remain neutral during the successful defence of the city by the believers against Meccan forces.

On orders from Gabriel, Muhammad lay siege to their settlement and taunted them: “O brothers of monkeys and pigs! Fear me, fear me.” The simian reference would make its way into the Koran, providing children with a God-approved name-call for the Jews to go along with Muhammad’s “pig” epithet.

2:65 And you surely know those of you who violated the Sabbath; We said to them: “Be [like] dejected apes.”

2:66 Thus We made that an example to their contemporaries and to those after them, and an admonition to the righteous.


7:166 Then, when they disdained arrogantly what they were forbidden, We said to them: “Be miserable monkeys.”

After twenty-five days, the Banu Qurayzah asked for a mediator. Muhammad sent a fellow by the name of Abu Lubabah who matter-of-factly informed the Jews, via a hand gesture, that God’s spokesman had slaughter on his mind.

When they saw him (Lubabah), the men rose to meet him, and the women and children rushed to grab hold of him, weeping before him, so that he felt pity for them.

They said to him, “Abu Lubabah, do you think that we should submit to Muhammad’s judgment?”

“Yes”, he said, but he pointed with his hand to his throat, that it would be slaughter.



Lubabah tried to atone for having betrayed Muhammad’s confidence even if the Jews did not heed his warning.

Abu Lubabah felt guilty that he had broken his promise of secrecy with Muhammad. To atone for his ‘misdeed’ he went straight to the mosque and bound himself with ropes to one of the pillars. This pillar is known as the ‘pillar of repentance’ or the ‘pillars of Abu Lubabah’.

Abul Kasem

Lubabah spent six days chained to his pillar. He was freed by God’s spokesman after he received the following revelation:

8:27 O you who believe, do not betray Allah and the Messenger, nor betray your trust knowingly.


The Banu Qurayzah asked to be allowed to go into exile. Muhammad rejected their offer. Ignoring Lubabah’s warning, they surrendered en-masse after agreeing to a counter-proposal that a mortally wounded believer by the name of Sad bin Mu’adh decide their fate.

Some people (the Banu Qurayzah) agreed to accept the verdict of Sad bin Mu’adh so the Prophet sent for him. He came riding a donkey, and when he approached the Mosque, the Prophet said, "Get up for the best amongst you." or said, "Get up for your chief."

Then the Prophet said, "O Sad! These people have agreed to accept your verdict."

Sad said, "I judge that their warriors should be killed and their children and women should be taken as captives."

The Prophet said, "You have given a judgment similar to Allah's Judgment."

Bukhari 58.148

A trench was dug in Medina’s marketplace and, with Muhammad looking on, as mentioned earlier, more than seven hundred men and boys of the Banu Qurayzah were beheaded.

The messenger of God commanded that furrows should be dug in the ground for the B. Qurayzah. Then he sat down, and Ali and al-Zubayr began cutting off their heads in his presence.


Khan’s technically correct but misleading claim about God’s spokesman never personally taking the life of a defenceless person or child, and her explanation as to why Islamic terrorists do what they do, may be suspect, but her reporting does illustrate an appalling and dangerous lack of empathy on the part of Muslim-Canadian youths (and I suspect other Muslim boys who call the West home but are fed a steady diet of Allah’s hate-filled words) for children killed by terrorists.

Equally distressing is the faith-based tribalism evident in her audience’s defence of the indefensible

Tribalism is one of the consequence of religion. There are other sources of tribalism—nationalism and racism, for instance—but shared religious identity has global reach… it creates in-group loyalty and out-group hostility, even when members of one’s own group are acting in abhorrent ways. Muslims often rally to the cause of other Muslims no matter how badly behaved they are, simply because they happen to be Muslims.

Sam Harris in conversation with Maajid Nawaz, Islam and the Future of Tolerance, Harvard University Press, 2015

A lack of empathy, whether it be an instilled pathology or a manifestation of loyalty to one’s tribe, which our governments and courts have encouraged by favouring religious distinctiveness over shared secular values, means we can no longer count that love of country or respect for Western values will see us through.

The threat that an absence of empathy and tribalism poses can be significantly reduced if we diminish the hate-that-binds; we must stop a god’s pathological loathing for those who believe He is a figment of one man’s imagination from corrupting innocence.

How do we achieve this? We limit a child’s exposure to the Koran. We make the Book for adults only. By having you read what children who should be enjoying Babar the Elephant and Cinderella are reading, I hope to persuade you to do just that—for their sake, and ours.


[1]  Mary is the only woman mentioned by name in the Koran. Allah cannot avoid saying it in His self-serving account of the birth of her famous son. The infant Jesus, only a few hours after his birth and at the request of his mother who was being accused of having a child out of wedlock, would loudly proclaim that he is a prophet sent by Allah:

19:27 Then she brought him (the child) to her people, carrying him. They said: “O Mary, you have surely committed a strange thing.

19:28 “Sister of Aaron, your father was not an evil man and your mother was not unchaste.”

19:29 Whereupon she pointed to him. They said: “How will we talk to one who is still an infant in the cradle?”

19:30 He (Jesus) said: “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah, Who gave me the Book and made me a Prophet.