2.1 Remember the Alamo
If it had not been for the Jews of Medina who intervened to shelter Muhammad who was on the run from his Meccan kin who wanted to kill him for promoting what they considered a hateful intolerant religion, Islam would have been literally dead on arrival.
When Muhammad sought refuge in the oasis city, he was welcomed by the Jews, in part, because he preached that the god of the Old Testament was the one and only god. They even entered into a covenant with him to come to his aid if the Muslim were attacked. In return, he signed a promise of non-aggression.
The three Jewish tribes of Medina did not see the rise of Islam as a threat to them until Muhammad and his followers developed an appetite for booty and started raiding the caravans that passed by the city on their way to and from Mecca.
Bob: And Allah was okay with that?
Uzza: Yes. He sent out a revelation to that effect, telling Muhammad and his followers that He had retroactively made it lawful for the believers, for them only, to take spoils, captives even the food of unbelievers. Muhammad even bragged that Allah had given him, and by extension the believers the keys to the treasures of the world. He said: "I have been made victorious with terror, and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand."
Archie: Back up the Prophet for a minute. Did you just say that terrorism leads to victory?
Uzza: I did not say that.
Archie: No, but he did.
Uzza: You could say that.
Bob: That means, when Islamists commit acts of terrorism they are just following the example of the Prophet. It’s a religious thing. WOW!
Uzza: The terrorism Muhammad talk about was not about getting your neighbour to fear you, but to fear God.
Bob: Like I said, it’s a religious thing.
Archie: Doesn’t your religion have commandments about killing, blowing people to bits to impress other people into becoming Muslims or your brand of believers?
Uzza: Islam does not have commandments like the Ten Commandments which are universal in their application. There are similar admonitions against killing and stealing and so on in the Koran but they all come with an exception.
Gerry: The exception being what you can do to unbelievers.
Archie: So if a Muslim steals from another Muslim it is a sin, but if he steals from an unbeliever it is not; if he kills another Muslim it is a sin, if he kills an unbeliever it is not; if he lies to a Muslim it is a sin, if he lies to an unbeliever it is not; if he rapes a Muslim it is a sin, if he rapes an unbeliever it is not and so on and so on.
Uzza: It is simply another form of terror to get you to submit to Allah's Will and avoid all that unpleasantness.
Archie: The old carrot and stick. Whatever it takes to get you to submit but submit you will! The means don’t matter, by the results shall you be judged!
Uzza: Perhaps, but if you could have gotten someone to submit other than by terror, but you chose terror, Allah will not be happy. And, you really don’t want Allah to be unhappy with you. Terror is a last resort.
Archie: Not according to the Prophet.
Uzza: Whatever Muhammad said or did cannot contradict the Koran and the Koran condones violence only as a last resort. Therefore, if Muhammad said he was successful through terrorism it was because only through terrorism could he be successful in the time that he lived. And he was proven right through the ages.
Gerry: But terrorism can't be justified in the age that we live and the reason why we're toast?
Uzza: Consider what has happened since the attack on the World Trade Center, the London subway bombings, the Nice and Bataclan massacres, and the list goes on. Laws have been passed that stifle criticism of the very scriptures that inspired and continue to inspire the indiscriminate slaughter of men, women and children allowing Islam to advance almost unchallenged to a point where, to use your expression, "we are toast."
Gerry: When did the Prophet come to the conclusion that a fear of being killed was the best way to get converts to Islam, in the time that he lived, and which has stood the test of time?
Uzza: It all started with a raid that went wrong, perhaps by design. Muhammad arrived in Medina a former merchant with nothing to trade leading a bunch of men with no marketable skills. Medina was a peaceful oasis city where those who understood how to grow things were in demand, not warriors. How were the believers to survive, and Allah expected them to survive. Raids on unescorted caravans during the months which were not considered sacred and which did not involve killing anyone were not that uncommon, especially by Bedouins. You intimidated your victims into parting with their belonging by a simple show of strength.
Gerry: How civilized.
Uzza: Robert Montagne, in La Civilisation du désert, wrote of the pre-Islamic Arabs: "I am not aware in the entire history of civilisation of a more gracious, more loving, more vibrant society than that of the Arabs before Islam … [it was a time] … of unbound freedom, lofty sentiments, a nomadic and chivalrous way of life, [a land] of fantasy, joy, mischievousness, bawdy impious poetry, refined love-making…"
Bob: "Refined love-making", I can go for that.
Gerry: Get you mind out of the gutter.
Uzza: There was also a practical reason you avoided killing anyone, for Talion law was the law of the land. You killed anyone and their extended family, their tribe would demand retribution in kind and you did not want that. Anyway, that would soon change, a change Allah approved of which heightened the Jews' apprehension of the people they had saved.
Bob: What is Talion law again?
Uzza: It means "law as retaliation". Its most commonly expressed as "an eye for an eye”.
Gerry: Isn't that also what Islamic law is about?
Uzza: Talion made it almost unchanged into the Koran. It is one of the defining differences between Islam and Christianity. You say turn the other cheek, we say slap him right back.
Archie: What was this raid that changed everything?
Uzza: The Meccans' response to the Muslim raiders was to send larger detachments of armed to men to accompany their caravans. This did the trick, forcing Muhammad and the beleivers to look for softer targets. The softer target that would change everything was a small unescorted farmers' caravan making its way from Ta’if to Mecca.
Gerry: Why would Muhammad be interested in a farmer's labour when he lived on an oasis?
Uzza: It is possible that the raid, especially the timing of it, was a ploy by the farsighted Muhammad to do away, once and for all, with the interdiction against warfare during the Sacred Months. An interdiction which he could foresee would play havoc with his plans to Islamisize the Peninsula by force.
Archie: What are these sacred months?
Uzza: Today they are sacred in name only. In pre-Islamic times there was a four months festival centered on Mecca, a festival referred to as the Sacred Months. The Sacred Months allowed everyone to make their way to Mecca unmolested. During this period, all faiths came together; all wars and all petty quarrels had to stop.
Gerry: Again, how civilized.
Uzza: That all changed with the first unprovoked murder of an unbeliever. In November 623, having failed to plunder even a single Meccan caravan passing between the Red Sea and Medina, Muhammad decided to attack a non-Meccan caravan plying another route. It is all very hush-hush. Even the men who will carry out the raid don’t know what their ultimate target is.
The leader of an eight men raiding party is given a letter by Muhammad — yes, somebody else probably wrote it — which he is told not to read until he arrives at a famous well, two days ride by camel. Two weeks later, they reach their final destination on the trade route between Mecca and Ta’if where they wait for a caravan making its way from Ta’if to Mecca.
There is still a day left in the sacred month of Rajab when they spot four men on their way to Mecca with a cargo of raisins, wine and animal skins. If they wait a day until the end of the sacred month to attack, the small caravan will have reached the precinct of Mecca and will be inviolate.
What to do? Follow Muhammad's instructions, which they believe to be from God or respect God’s sacred month. They decide to attack, and one of the four people with the caravan is killed. Amr-ben-al Hadra’mi becomes the first reported murder of an unbeliever by a believer.
When they return to Medina, the story of the murder of Hadra’mi during a sacred month has spread far and wide. A scandal erupts. Believers and unbelievers alike are aghast that anyone would pillage and murder during a sacred month and that this sacrilege would be tolerated. Muhammad's reputation and his quest are at stake.
He is surprised by the uproar but is unperturbed. He orders that the puny plunder for which a man was killed (raisins, wine and animal skins) be set aside and not distributed until he has heard from God. A few days later the Angel Gabriel delivers revelations from Allah intended to clarify the rules regarding this killing business during a sacred month. In a series of revealed truths Allah implicitly condoms the killing of unbelievers year-round if it will advance His Cause.
Archie: And what is His Cause?
Uzza: A world governed by the Sharia, which, as I may have mentioned earlier, means God's law. The murder of Hadra’mi, haunts us, all of us, to this day. His murder and Allah's failure to categorically condemn the killing during a sacred month, meant that jihad could be conducted throughout the year. This could have been Muhammad's objective all along, we don't know.
Gerry: From what you just said, the killing was likely premeditated so as to get God to commit to the murder of unbelievers whenever and wherever and thereby give the Prophet and his followers a free hand to so.
Uzza: Jihadists and Islamists consider murders in Allah's Cause morally justifiable. It's a different morality than the West is used to and may be what they have to fear the most. As to whether this was Muhammad's intentions, if he actually ordered the killing of one of the farmers, I would not even hazard an opinion, and neither should you.
Bob: What happened next?
Uzza: Before long Muhammad was informed that a rich caravan would shortly be passing by on its way to Mecca. To protect the caravan from the believers the Meccans sent the now standard detachment of armed men. Muhammad decides, to use a poker expression, to go all in. This will not be an ordinary raid. They are unbelievers and Allah has decreed that killing unbelievers in His Cause is the right thing to do and let's get on with it. The battle of Badr is the most quoted battle in the Koran and an inspiration for Islamists and others to this day.
Archie: How do spell that?
Uzza: English or Arabic.
Archie: English of course.
Uzza: I am just having fun with you. You don't know Arabic, the second most popular language which replaced French as an official language?
Archie: My kids get their regular dose of Arabic in school. When I went to school it was French you had to learn if you wanted to graduate. So yes, I don't know Arabic, and don't care too.
Uzza: Don't get upset. The English spelling is B A D R, and, can I have another glass of wine please.
Archie: Why not! [refills her glass]
Bob: So, what was it with bad r and the Jews?
Uzza: The believers' victory at Badr, the first real battle of a war which continues to this day in one form or another only added to the Jews' uneasiness at having rescued Muhammad and his small band from certain death. The believers at Badr defeated a much larger force. An attack that should have been easily repulsed resulted in dramatic victory for the outnumbered believers.
As in the case of all victories described in the Koran, Allah is quick to take credit, revealing that he send His angels with swords "to strike at the necks" of the unbelievers.
Bob: Beheaders from heaven and not from that other place. Go figure.
Uzza: How depressing it was when the trendsetting Toronto School District was coerced by Islamists into allowing prayers on school property during school hours and to accommodate Friday services with the prerequisite motivational sermon.
Bob: Uzza, focus, we are talking about blood and guts, about taking the unbelievers' head off, if I get Allah's meaning when He says to strike at their necks, not about kids saying a few prayers during class.
Uzza: But they are related.
Gerry: How so?
Uzza: Remember the Alamo.
Bob: Uzza, you've had too much to drink.
Uzza: Remember the Alamo was a way of reminding people about why they should hate the Mexicans during Texas' fight for independence from Mexico. It meant something to those who understood what the cry was all about and nothing to those who knew nothing about the famous battle.
Gerry: [getting Uzza's drift] But the believers won the battle of Badr?
Uzza: It doesn't matter. If I say "Remember Badr" or even more evocative battles to come where Jews and Christians are the targets, I am saying to those who know their Koran who they should hate. And, yes, Bob is it, strike at their neck does mean what you said it meant. Both Allah and Muhammad were fans of this method of killing those who opposed Islam.
Gerry: That would explain why Islamists favour that form of execution.
Uzza: Imitation, as they say, is the sincerest form of flattery.
Bob: I still don't get what this has to do with allowing prayers in school.
Uzza: Allah said, "Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him". You are about to be smothered by a religion that tolerates no equal and you don't even know the significance of its most basic rituals; the daily prayers and the Friday sermon.
Bob: Prayers are prayers. Big deal!
Uzza: In Islam they are a big deal for the believers and should be an even bigger deal for unbelievers for the prayers are mainly about them. Prayers in Islam involve repeating verses from the Koran, including the verses that reek of hatred for unbelievers and which appear on almost every page of what is a short holy book by holy book standards at about 1/10 the size in words of the Bible.
Gerry: I remember a spokesman for the school board promising prayers and the Friday sermon would be monitored for hate speech.
Uzza: That was before the students reminded the Board that scriptures are protected speech. Also, monitoring the prayers would have required an adult versed in Arabic for Allah will not listen to prayers not said in Arabic.
Bob: So that is why every Muslim is required to learn Arabic.
Uzza: That is one reason. It also strengthens the bonds between believers, putting even more distance between them and unbelievers. Much of our rituals, customs, even the way Islamist dress, and Allah and Muhammad make no bones about this, are meant to do just that, to avoid contamination while projecting an air of superiority in belief.
Archie: What about the sermon?
Uzza: The sermon can be in whatever language and is subject to laws regarding hate speech.
Gerry: But then, as you mentioned earlier in your Alamo and Badr example, how do you stop the preacher from using an expression whose message of hate is so cleverly camouflage.
Uzza: [raising her voice] EASY! DON'T ALLOW RELIGION IN SCHOOLS!
Archie: A bit late for that, isn't it?
Uzza: A secular education free from the bombardment of the word of God was our only hope of undoing the damage done at home. Instead, we made sure the damage was permanent.
Uzza: Islamic prayers in schools only reinforces a child confidence in the revealed truths he read or mouthed under the not always gentle tutelage of its mother.
Gerry: Revealed truths are reason’s opposite, they cannot coexist, one must triumph over the other.
Uzza: By allowing prayers in schools supposedly dedicated to teaching children to think for themselves we facilitated the triumph of dogma over reason.
Archie: What exactly was this damage done at home?
Uzza: There is a very common ceremony practiced throughout most of the Muslim world called Khatmi-Qur’an. It is the ceremony to recognize and celebrate a child’s first full reading of the Koranic text in Arabic. Most children complete the first full reading or mouthing of the Qur’an between the age of four and seven. It is the mother's responsibility to get her children to the Khatmi-Qur’an. Mosques around the world have the equivalent of Sunday school classes to assist the mother in getting her children "to master the proper pronunciation and to read the text clearly from the first verse to the last."
Reading the Koran, children as young as four years old receive a premature sex education skewed by Islam’s concept of morality as part of their religious indoctrination.
Gerry: A good argument for a fact-based sex education curriculum to counter a home-schooled sex education where men and myogenous gods who don’t do it would instruct those who will, girls and boys.
Uzza: Reading the Koran children will get an error-filled explanation of procreation where a woman’s role is relegated to providing “a secure place” for Allah to place a man’s sperm from which He will fashion a human being.
Archie: That would explain those smug men you see on the street with their covered receptacles in tow. You never know when you will need one. I have to assume that sperm spilled anywhere but in Allah's designated receptible is a sin.
Uzza: If you are referring to masturbation, yes. Reading the Koran, children learn that their mothers cannot refuse their fathers' demand to use them as a receptacle. If they don’t, not only can they be beaten, but will probably be charged with his sin, if he is forced to make love to himself.
Bob: That’s what Woody Allan said in Annie Hall, that masturbation is having sex with someone you love and therefore you should not knock it.
Archie: He also said that if God did not want us to masturbate he would have given us shorter arms.
Uzza: A much greater sin than making love to yourself is men making love to other men. Reading the Koran, children learn that homosexuals are to be despised for committing what Allah repeatedly damns as the "foul act".
Gerry: I think Allah is confusing sex and love. To him it’s all about the sex; but it is sex and love together which makes the experience the wonderful thing that it is, whether it be between a man and a women or people of the same gender. Allah knows nothing about love.
Uzza: And that is what children reading the Koran learn to crave, sex without love as they get familiar with Allah’s Paradise which is all sex and no love. A place where men will fornicate to their hearts content with people who only a few seconds earlier were complete strangers or on-the-spot manufactured facsimile, the infamous houris.
Then again, why would children, when they get older want to experience love with what the Koran describes as deceitful, week-minded inferiors consumed with lust for the male body as exemplified in Allah’s retelling of the story of Joseph son of Jacob ; and left to their own devices, would bring chaos to the orderly world of the Koran which is why Allah has made their fathers, brothers, uncles and later their husbands their masters.
Bob: But why do women put up with it?
Uzza: Perhaps for the same reason millions of women voted for a man like Trump and those who came after who were like him and treated them like dirt because they promised to protect them from those who would treat them even worse; and for women raised on a fear of god, because a god tells them to obey the men He made their overseers if they don’t want to go to Hell.
Archie: Better to suffer in silence here then scream in agony later for an eternity.
Uzza: Children who read the Koran are warned not to take unbeliever as friends, they only wish them harm, and if they do, God will be very angry. Still too young to understand the horror of what they are being asked to do, children will read and repeat, what will become a persistent refrain for the rest of their lives, words which encourage them to become martyrs and mass-murderers in pursuit of a book’s persistent message to rid the world of unbelievers.
Gerry: The medium is the message. McLuhan would be impressed that the most effective medium ever would turn out to be a book, and not a very good one at that.
Uzza: It is the abject cruelty that sinks the Koran beyond redemption; that makes it an especially bad book for children. Children who read the Koran are exposed to acts of sadism that would make the Marquis de Sade cringe, like Allah boasting He will replace burnt skin with fresh skin to ensure the pain of burning never diminishes. It is in the actions of a boastful torturer who is fascinated by fire and the joy it brings when he uses it to inflict pain that we get another inkling, probably the strongest, of a child-like-mind behind the pain. For example, you could image a child naming a toy that annihilates people with fire the Smasher, but a mature person, let alone a god, I don’t think so.
Bob: Is the Smasher like a really big flame thrower?
Uzza: More like a crawling flame, a flame which crawls up people stretched out on pillars as it burns its way to their heart. And then there are the people who this child-like sadist impresario will dress in garments of fire which will melt their skins and whatever they had for lunch while hot-water is poured over the heads and someone or something beats their heads with an iron bar. And when they ask for something to drink, it will be more boiling water which will “rip up their bowels”. Then, there’s…
Gerry: I think on that subject, Uzza, we’ve heard enough. We’re having a good time, everything considered and this is ruining it.
Uzza: So you don’t want to hear about what a child reading the Koran will be told about Judgement Day?
Gerry: To me, the Koran’s description of Judgement Day is, in many ways, worse than what Allah revealed about will happen to people in Hell. So, no.
Bob: But I do.
Uzza: Gerry’s right. Bob, pickup a copy of the one act play Alice Visits a Mosque to Learn about Judgment by the author of Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice. If you’re into this sort of thing, you won’t be disappointed.
Archie: Maybe the Koran should be restricted to adults only with a warming of graphic sex and violence and other things.
Uzza: Maybe it should. What kind of twisted perception of the concept of mercy and compassion will children be left with after memorizing such horrible verses where Allah condemns men, women and children to burn in Hell for an eternity for not believing in Him and His precious Fire.
What kind of warped understanding of the concept of mercy and compassion will children be left with after reading about how the Compassionate One takes obvious pleasure in the punishment He inflicts. What happens to the mind, to the personality of a child who commits, must commit to memory, not only the horrible verses we have talked about, but others that are even more impressive in their attention to detail when it comes to the deliberate, cold-blooded application of torture.
Bob: What Allah does to unbelievers reminds me of what Itchy does to Scratchy on the Simpsons; and from what I can tell, the kids who watch it are alright.
Uzza: Perhaps. In the Koran, Allah’s sadism is a more persistent fantastical vision of torture, pain and never-ending suffering with which any child can relate and is the stuff of nightmares. And let us not forget that this is a god who proclaims to be the embodiment of compassion and mercy doing horrendous things to human beings, not a mouse being cruel to a cat.
Gerry: That warped understand of compassion that you just mentioned; that people to whom a god would do these horrible things are not deserving of compassion in this world or the next. That is scary.
Uzza: For a non-believing adult, Allah’s brutality and what goes on in His Hell may seem like the plot of some of the more violent cartoons aimed at kids, nothing to worry about. For believing children it is real, and not the product of a cartoonist’s imagination. Somewhere in time and space Allah is actually doing to real people what some children may fantasize about but eventually dismiss, as they grow older, as immoral, sadistic behaviour, given time away from the Koran.
Bob: The children you are talking about already know everything about Badr. Is there anything else we should know?