Thursday, May 31, 2012

Is Jesse really Ishmael, as Muslims claim?

Ishmael and Haggar                            Jesse, father of king David

As I have explained in previous posts, Muslims believe that Mohammad is prophesied in the Bible because the Qur'an tells them so. This has led to all sorts of imaginative interpretations of various verses in an attempt to find that elusive prophesy.
Recently my Muslim friend directed me to a verse in Isiah (11 1-2): And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a twig shall grow forth out of his roots. And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
Jesse, he and they say, actually refers to Ishmael (the father of the Arabs and thus an ancestor of Muhammad). Many Muslim sites repeat this, including Islamawareness. How they arrive at this conclusion is interesting, to say the least.... 
 To understand this prophesy we need to study the verses carefully. These verses tell us that the rod (branch) which shall grow out of the stem (trunk) of "Jesse" shall be filled by God with wisdom, understanding, council, might, knowledge, and the fear of God. In other words, he shall be a statesman, a prophet and a judge. The obvious question that springs to mind is: Who was "Jesse"? In the Encyclopedia Biblica we read that Jesse is a contraction of Ishmael, or: "Jesse, for Ishmael… The changes which proper names undergo in the mouths of small children account for a large number of these particular abbreviations - who could guess, to take modern examples, that Bob and Dick arose out of Robert and Richard? … such forms as in ai were particularly common in later times … and many more in the Talmud, which also exhibits various other kinds of abbreviation"
Encyclopaedia Biblica, Rev. T. K. Cheyne D.Litt D.D., J. Sutherland Black M.A. LL.D., Vol. 3, under "Names," p. 3292, item 52 The implication that a descendant of Ishmael would be a major prophet is unacceptable to those Christians who oppose Islam, since the only person to fulfil this description is the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. This may explain why Bible scholars assert that the text is referring here to the father of King David (Matthew 1:6). But how likely is it, when describing the pedigree of a man, that reference should be made to an almost unknown person in his family tree (Jesse the father of King David) in preference to a man whose fame has spread across the nations of the earth (Ishmael, the son of Abraham)? It is much more likely that the Jesse of Isaiah 11:10 is Ishmael the son of Abraham, the father of the Arabs, the ancestor of prophet Muhammad.

Firstly, just as a matter of passing interest (to me) but given Muslims' feelings towards the  Bahá'í Faith  perhaps more relevant to them, it  should be noted that Cheyne converted to the Bahá'íst Faith towards the end of his life. It is not surprising therefore to find some of his interpretations supporting Mohammad as a prophet foretold in the Bible (and his wish to belittle the importance of the line of David, since Baha'ists consider David a minor prophet). I certainly admit the Enc Bib is authoritative, but Cheyne's theories regarding names has been thoroughly discredited as far as I can make out. 
"The ingenuity of Cheyne's method may be admitted; but the thesis must be rejected as altogether arbitrary. That it has received serious attention is owing solely to the great service rendered by its sponsor in other departments of Old Testament research.
Cheyne frequently mentions this theory in his Encyclopaedia articles, often appending his view to articles written by people with more mainstream interpretations. He does, however, detail the alternative (and therefore mainstream) views, while doing so. Hence the articles are respected, as long as Cheyne's theory about these names is ignored."
In any case, the Muslim determination to see the shoot of root of Jesse as reference to Mohammad completely fails, as I have pointed out before regarding Deuteronomy, to take into account the context of the rest of Isaiah 11.10. This chapter and the following one are obviously referring to a future glorious end-time when peace rules the Earth and the Jews' political torment is finished (seen any lions eating straw or children playing with snakes recently? do you think knowledge and wisdom cover the Earth since the arrival of Mohammad? and what about the Lord recovering His people from Egypt? or "assembling the dispersed of Israel"?) Still not convinced? Let's look at the next chapter, which as you know is simply a continuation as to what is going to happen when the shoot out of the root of Jesse makes his appearance: 4 And in that day shall ye say: 'Give thanks unto the LORD, proclaim His name, declare His doings among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted.5 Sing unto the LORD; for He hath done gloriously; this is made known in all the earth.6 Cry aloud and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.' 
Sure, take one verse completely out of context if you wish, ignore the obvious references to the Jewish people, retro-fit names and nick-names - but please don't expect anyone else to swallow it all. 
Finally do Muslim miracle seekers really consider the father of the most important king Israel ever had, to be "almost unknown"? Given the obsession with genealogy*  in the Bible do Muslims really think that fair comment? (Note also the irony of your expecting people to accept the genealogical link between Mary and Aaron despite the thousands of years between them, whilst discounting the relationship between a father and son as unimportant!)
To summarise then: we have the Judeo-Christian Biblical tradition established for millennia which maintains that a direct descendant of King David will be the Messiah. We have Jesse whom no one can dispute is the father of King David.  And we have a verse which states a great prophet will be "a shoot out of the root of Jesse". The verses referring to the root of Jesse also include numerous references to Israel and the Jewish nation. And Muslims maintain this verse, by a strange contraction of the name (why use such a bizarre contraction in a prophesy anyway?) using a discredited method of a follower of the Bahá'í Faith from a century ago, refers to Mohammad. 
How can people believe this utter nonsense?

*According to Genesis 46:12 and Ruth 4:18–22, David is the eleventh generation from Judah, the fourth son of the patriarch Jacob (Israel). The genealogical line runs as follows: (1) Judah → (2) Pharez → (3) Hezron → (4) Ram → (5) Amminadab → (6) Nahshon → (7) Salmon → (8) Boaz (the husband of Ruth) → (9) Obed → (10) Jesse → (11) David

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Allah's Hell - according to iERA's Abdurraheem Green

There has been a lot of discussion in this blog recently about whether Hell as described in the Qur'an should be taken as simply a metaphor or understood literally.
My contention has been that for the vast majority of Muslims and Islamic teachers and scholars, Hell is a very real place whose inhabitants can expect the most appalling torture imaginable (Allah being all-powerful and all-knowing can, after all, create the ultimate in pain)
I visited iERA (Islamic Education and Research Association) to see if they could help clarify matters. The founding member and chairman of iERA, Abdurraheem Green, is apparently in no doubt.
Here are some highlights of a lecture he has given on more than one occasion...(Please don't read if you have a weak stomach)
"Hell is a place where Allah will burn the skins of the people and then will recreate their skins and burn the skins again so that the people will taste the punishment. It is a place of heat, a place of pain, a place of suffering. The people will cry in agony [...] for a drink and they will be given a drink. It will be a boiling water that will scald their faces and burn their insides. And they will drink from a river that is made of the puss that flows out from the wounds of the people in the hell-fire. [...] The smallest punishment will be their brain will boil."
And so it goes on and on, the speaker seemingly taking great delight in the details.
This is not a metaphor for the iERA.
Nor, as far as I can tell, is it anything other than a terrifyingly real threat  for most scholars, imams or Muslims the world over.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Islam spread by the sword?

In a previous post I posed 10 questions to Allah. The second of these questions was this:  If Islam truly is the one true glorious faith, why did your Prophet and his followers need to spread it by the sword?  
A Muslim reader, Kat, said in response to the post that my question was based upon misinformation. Here I try to explain why I posed the question and why I believe it is a fair point to raise with Muslims.
I know that many Muslims share the opinion expressed, for example, by The way To Truth website ( “Islam’s rapid expansion, unequaled (sic) by any other religion, was due to its religious content and values… Many have sought to answer the questions of why the triumph of Islam was so speedy and complete? Why have so many millions embraced the religion of Islam and scarcely a hundred ever recanted?...Islam […] spread rapidly because of its tolerance.”
Now I don’t dispute that many of those who were conquered by the Muslims may have found Islam to be an inspiring faith and thought its followers cultured, spiritual and hence to be a good advert for this new faith. They may have thus converted willingly, I don’t know. But to suggest that Islam spread because it was a tolerant faith and that its amazingly speedy conquest was due purely to its religious content is surely nonsense. Are not these apologists forgetting the word "conquered"?  Do such apologists claim that the following eighty or so battles and wars were fought for nothing then, or that they were all purely defensive in nature?
·     623 - Battle of Waddan.623 - Battle of Safwan.623 - Battle of Dul-'Ashir.624 - Muhammad and converts begin raids on caravans to fund the movement.(624 - Zakat becomes mandatory).624 - Battle of Badr.624 - Battle of Bani Salim.624 - Battle of Eid-ul-Fitr and Zakat-ul-Fitr.624 - Battle of Bani Qainuqa'.624 - Battle of Sawiq.624 - Battle of Ghatfan.624 - Battle of Bahran.625 - Battle of Uhud; .625 - Battle of Humra-ul-Asad.625 - Battle of Banu Nudair.625 - Battle of Dhatur-Riqa.626 - Battle of Badru-Ukhra.626 - Battle of Dumatul-Jandal.626 - Battle of Banu Mustalaq Nikah.627 - Battle of the Trench.627 - Battle of Ahzab.627 - Battle of Bani uraiza.627 - Battle of Bani Lahyan.627 - Battle of Ghaiba.627 - Battle of Khaibar..630 - Muhammad conquers Mecca.630 - Battle of Hunsin.630 - Battle of Tabuk.(632 - Muhammad dies).632 - Abu-Bakr, Muhammad's father-in-law, along with Umar, begin a military move to enforce Islam in Arabia.633 - Battle at Oman.633 - Battle at Hadramaut.633 - Battle of Kazima.633 - Battle of Walaja.633 - Battle of Ulleis.633 - Battle of Anbar.634 - Battle of Basra.634 - Battle of Damascus.634 - Battle of Ajnadin.(634 - Death of Hadrat Abu Bakr. Hadrat Umar Farooq becomes the Caliph).634 - Battle of Namaraq.634 - Battle of Saqatia.635 - Battle of Bridge.635 - Battle of Buwaib.635 - Conquest of Damascus.635 - Battle of Fahl.636 - Battle of Yermuk.636 - Battle of Qadsiyia.636 - Conquest of Madain.637 - Battle of Jalula.638 - Battle of Yarmouk.638 - The Muslims defeat the Romans and enter Jerusalem.638 - Conquest of Jazirah.639 - Conquest of Khuizistan and movement into Egypt.641 - Battle of Nihawand.642 - Battle of Rayy in Persia.643 - Conquest of Azarbaijan.644 - Conquest of Fars.644 - Conquest of Kharan.(644 - Umar is murdered.  Othman becomes the Caliph).647 - Conquest of the island of Cypress.(644 - Uman dies and is succeeded by Caliph Uthman).648 - Campaign against the Byzantines.651 - Naval battle against the Byzantines.654 - Islam spreads into North Africa.(656 - Uthman is murdered.  Ali become Caliph).658 - Battle of Nahrawan.659 - Conquest of Egypt.661 –( Ali is murdered).662 - Egypt falls to Islam rule.666 - Sicily is attacked by Muslims.677 - Siege of Constantinople.687 - Battle of Kufa.691 - Battle of Deir ul Jaliq..700 - Military campaigns in North Africa.702 - Battle of Deir ul Jamira.711 - Muslims invade Gibraltar.711 - Conquest of Spain.713 - Conquest of Multan.716 - Invasion of Constantinople.732 - Battle of Tours in France.740 - Battle of the Nobles.741 - Battle of Bagdoura in North Africa.744 - Battle of Ain al Jurr.746 - Battle of Rupar Thutha.748 - Battle of Rayy.749 - Battle of lsfahan.749 - Battle of Nihawand.750 - Battle of Zab.772 - Battle of Janbi in North Africa. 777 - Battle of Saragossa in Spain. 

So my question remains. If Islam is so self-evidently the way of God, why should it have required so much bloodshed to spread? Is this the way for a religion of peace to establish itself? 
I'm not a Christian, but the very early spread of Christianity is surely an interesting comparator.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Iran, the Gospel of Barnabus and the collapse of Christianity

"News" of the infamous Gospel of Barnabus has has surfaced again and is being reported in such esteemed organs as The Daily Mail . I posted some time ago about the background to this fake Gospel and how Islamic sites get over-excited whenever it's mentioned.
The latest re-hash seems to be exactly that - a recycling of a story that was first published in the Mail in February.
Even by the standards of lazy DM journalism, this really does beggar belief! Do they think the attention span of their readers is so short that they won't cotton on to the fact that they're reading a 5 month old story? Actually, don't answer that.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

10 Questions for Allah

1.       How do you explain the contradiction of claiming to be “the most merciful of all who are merciful” whilst at the same time promising an eternity of excruciating agony for those who refuse to believe in you?
2.        If Islam truly is the one true glorious faith, why did your Prophet and his followers need to spread it by the sword?  
3.       Why is Paradise seemingly designed for those who have lived in the heat of the desert (shade and cool streams)? Shouldn’t Paradise appeal to all your creation, even those who have lived their lives in colder climes?
4.      And talking of Paradise, why do you promise us sex with big-breasted virgins and endless wine?  Shouldn’t Paradise be more spiritual? (and appeal to the girls as well?!)
5.      Why do you insist on talking to solitary men in the desert?
6.      Why did you make one city Holy for three religions? Didn’t you foresee the trouble it would cause…of course you did, being omnipotent. ..
7.     Why did you allow the Pentateuch and the Christian Bible to be “corrupted”? If you managed to keep the Qur’an as it was intended, surely you could have looked after your previous two messages to mankind.
8.     Why choose a people (the Jews) above all the other peoples of the world when such favouritism was bound to cause problems, and you knew they were going to mess it up (being omnipotent an’ all)?
9.     If you wanted to put signs in the Qur’an so we could be sure it was from you, why choose science that was already known at the time of the revelation?
10  Why did you perfect evolution but not use it for humans (even though you cleverly left signs in our bodies to strongly suggest we evolved, thus encouraging us to doubt your word about Adam and Eve and thus consign us to Hell?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Put the LGBT people in concentration camps to die" says representative of loving, merciful God.

A North Carolina pastor has shown that whatever Islam can do, Christians can do even better! (They have, after all, had an extra 600 years to perfect their brainless, knee-jerk homophobia). From 

Pastor Charles Worley of the Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina recently told his congregation that LGBT individuals should be rounded up and detained in camps until they’re all dead.
During a sermon on May 13, Worley berated President Barack Obama for claiming that same sex couples should be allowed to marry.
“The Bible is against it, God is against it, I’m against it and if you’ve got any sense you’re against it,” he said. “I figured a way out to get rid of all the lesbians and queers. But it isn’t going to pass in Congress. Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out, feed em, and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce!”
Don't it make your heart soar at the majesty of God's work on earth?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Liam Neeson - Islam's latest "shleb" target.

liam neeson001
Brothers and sisters, listen carefully. I shall say this only 763 times on numerous sites dotted around the web. We have a new target in our sites. And this one is a biggie. If we can hook this fella, we can forget Tony Blair's  sister-in-law, Jack Straw's son,  Yvonne Ridley and even Cat Stevens. This will be global! - it's Qui-Gon Jinn! (come on, you know...Star Wars?!), ok...Oskar Schindler! er..(ironically) Aslan! Yes, that's right - the "smouldering" Irish born Catholic mega star, 69th in Empire magazine's list (1997) of the greatest movie stars of all time  - none other than Liam Neeson! Yes, brother Liam has been touched by the call to prayer and has even been reported as reading the Qur'an! As reverts go, this is Premiership, no... this is Champions League! 
Please message brother Liam and tell him why Islam is the one true faith and how he'll have a great time with the brothers an' sisters. (I don't need to remind you all, of course, to keep certain things to yourselves, do I?...Namely: there's no need to tell him about what the Prophet ordered we should do to him should he change his mind after joining our happy throng. I also think we won't mention what we think about gays - Hollywood being Hollywood and all that. Oh, and perhaps keep quiet about that business of turning Jews into pigs and apes - Hollywood being Hollywood and all that.

Oh soo very satirical, Spinoza. You don't really think Islam is so desperate for celebrity converts they'd do something as crass as that, do you? 

He heard the adhan in Turkey - He is reading Quran - He has been listening to the dawah.
Now it is time to really take it up to another level.
Let's get serious Liam Neeson. You are considering swapping his Catholic faith for Islam, OK?
Please read what we are all saying to you (bottom of page) and then tell us what you think (inshallah - God Willing)...

I'm afraid so...Do please pop along to to see the latest twitter campaign.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

iERA Seeds of change - irony-free zone

iERA (Islamic Education and Research Association) is hosting an international women's conference this Sunday. Entitled Seeds of Change, the conference calls for the Muslim sisters to be the best of womankind. I'm not sure, however, that their choice of key note lecturers is  a particularly  wise one.
Among the inspiring speakers will be the (morally? but certainly financially) bankrupt sister-in-law of the blessed Tony, Lauren Booth. She is represented by this liberating picture...
This is presumably to stop the male visitors to iERA getting over-excited by a photo of A REAL WOMAN,  since the male speakers are all represented by old-fashioned fleshy photos.
The webpage also includes a video opened by our old friend, Hamza Tzortzis. In the video he tells the ladies not to be to be "shackled to a social construct or social consensus" but rather to enslave themselves to Allah.  All good stuff. "Free yourselves from the slavery of trying to be like men", continues Hamza. (Well they've certainly managed it with the photos...)
This is then followed by another six videos, all telling the ladies they must attend to become free.
And do you know something?
Not one, not a single one of those videos produced by the good MEN of iERA is presented by a WOMAN.
iERA are so far removed from reality that they apparently genuinely believe that a supposedly feminist conference ought to be introduced and explained to the sisters by MEN.
Well done iERA. You've shot yourselves in the foot ... again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood announces Jerusalem will fall

I hate to say I told you so, but ...
To all those who insisted, like my Muslim friend, that the Muslim Brotherhood wouldn't try to establish a theocracy in Egypt with shariah law, in effect another Iran: Would you like to reconsider?
This Washington Post article makes it abundantly clear that Egypt is heading towards a very dark place indeed.

CAIRO — At a campaign rally for the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate for president, a hardline cleric and TV preacher sang Mohammed Morsi’s praises before thousands massed in the stadium of an industrial city in Egypt’s Nile Delta.“We are seeing the dream of the Islamic Caliphate coming true at the hands of Mohammed Morsi,” the cleric, Safwat Hegazy, blared from his podium.
Hegazy then made a chilling announcement...

“The capital of the Caliphate and the United Arab States is Jerusalem, God willing,” he added, as thousands cheered and waved the Brotherhood’s green flag, chanting, “The people want to implement God’s law.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rapper Shahin Najafi sentenced to death...for a song.

Whenever I ask my Muslim friend his opinion about the myriad human rights abuses encouraged by the evil shariah law in Iran, his default position is always: "I don't know much about that"
Perhaps this (from the Guardian's excellent IRANBLOG INSIDE THE CRISIS) will help him and other wilfully ignorant Muslims to crystallise their views about the realities of life in a Muslim theocracy.
The latest blogpost tells the story of Shahin Najafi, a rapper who was foolhardy enough to criticise the immams and has recently released a song with references to Ali al-Hadi al-Naqi, the tenth of the 12 Shia Muslim Imams, a religious figure highly respected by millions in Iran.
Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi
The Germany-based rapper has now been sentenced to death for apostasy.

When asked for a religious ruling on the fate of Najafi and his "blasphemous music", clerics unanimously declared that such a person must be considered an apostate.
According to the semi-official Mehr news agency, Ayatollah Naser Makareme Shirazi, a pro-Iranian regime cleric based in the holy city of Qom with a great deal of influence among Muslims in the country, was the latest person to issue a fatwa in regards to Najafi.
"Any outrage against the infallible imams ... and obvious insult against them would make a Muslim an apostate," he said. [...]
Meanwhile, an Iranian religion website which runs on the regime-controlled .ir domain,, has offered a $100,000 (£62,000) reward for anyone who kills Najafi.
"A (website) founder who lives in one of the Gulf Arab states has promised to pay the ($100,000) bounty on behalf of to the killer of this abusive singer," the site said.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We shouldn't be surprised but...

...doesn't it make your blood boil with the sheer bloody evil lunacy of it all?
In today's Guardian...

Indonesia's atheists face battle for religious freedom. 

Alex Aan faces jail for posting 'God doesn't exist' on Facebook, renewing fears for atheists in the world's most populous Muslim country.
Alex Aan, atheist from Indonesia 
Activists say Alex Aan’s is the first case in which an atheist in Indonesia is being tried in relation to 'pancasila', which requires belief in one god. Photograph: Kate Hodal
"The truth is way too dangerous," says Aan quietly, his hands clasped together over his prison-issue blue jeans and button-down shirt. "I'm really worried about my future. And I'm only just now starting to think about how I'm going to deal with it."

"The truth is way too dangerous" 
That might just be a thought that will haunt us all.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stephen Fry's latest video - a challenge to homophobes of every hue

In his latest video, released today as part of the excellent Proud2Be Project , Stephen Fry's gentle style belies an iron-hard determination to rid the world of homophobia.
How can Muslims seriously believe this good man is going to Hell?
With apologies to NTNON: "Allah's just like that, He hates gays..."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Taliban: "Give us your money, Muslims!"

Taliban flag
The Taliban have launched an ambitious appeal to the umma (the world-wide Muslim community) for money to fund their "holy war" against the Western invaders.
"In the light of Islamic sharia, all Muslims everywhere are duty-bound to join the Jihad with money and soul," the militant group said.
The Taliban "are still waging legitimate Jihad single-handedly with mere help from common sincere Islam-loving masses and is in dire need of financial assistance from the Muslim brothers worldwide for its military and non-military expenditures," it added.
This got me wondering about British Muslims' view of the war in Afghanistan. Do they, like my Muslim friend and the poor deluded loon Yvonne Ridley, regard the Taliban as basically misunderstood and misrepresented good guys, fighting for the right to establish a pure Islamic state  (whilst at the same time acting as charity workers)? 
Here's how my Muslim friend interpreted the Taliban's abduction of Ridley and their blowing up of the Buddhas.
So who are the Taliban? Who is supporting them? Are they being manipulated?I met Yvonne Ridley some years ago, the intrepid Daily Express reporter who was captured by the Taliban. Yvonne's story is worth telling in detail, but the substance is that American agents encouraged the Taliban to murder her in order to make black propaganda for war. The Taliban warned her of this plot, and transported her under armed guard to the Pakistani border. A shortwhile before this, a UNESCO team had visited Khandahar with an offer of aid for restoration of the Bamiyan statues. In a country were several thousand children were dying every month from hunger and disease, the Taliban insisted that the money be used instead for food and medicine. When theUNESCO team refused, the Taliban decided to blow up the statues after many months of dithering on the issue. And so our televisions carried not the news of Yvonne Ridley's killing, but the sight of ancient Buddhist monuments being blown up.
So according to one Muslim at least, the Taliban were misrepresented by the (no doubt Zionist led) Western media. Their destruction of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which we in the West had been led to believe was done because the statues were "un-Islamic" were in fact destroyed because UNESCO refused to give money to starving children. Cuh- who'd have thought it, eh?

How far is this view of the Taliban as shaggy naive softies, cruelly manipulated by cynical western super-powers shared by the Muslim community, I wonder. To help answer this, I've asked the Muslim blogger, London Muslim, if he'd consider doing a post. I'll let you know his response (if any))

In the meantime, let's examine the Taliban.

Human Rights abuses. (click on the [] for links to references)

According to a 55-page report by the United Nations, the Taliban, while trying to consolidate control over northern and western Afghanistan, committed systematic massacres against civilians.[] UN officials stated that there had been "15 massacres" between 1996 and 2001.[] They also said, that "[t]hese have been highly systematic and they all lead back to the [Taliban] Ministry of Defense or to Mullah Omar himself."[] "These are the same type of war crimes as were committed in Bosnia and should be prosecuted in international courts", one UN official was quoted as saying.[] The documents also reveal the role of Arab and Pakistani support troops in these killings. Bin Laden's so-called 055 Brigade was responsible for mass-killings of Afghan civilians.[] The report by the United Nations quotes "eyewitnesses in many villages describing Arab fighters carrying long knives used for slitting throats and skinning people".[] The Taliban's former ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, in late 2011 stated that cruel behaviour under and by the Taliban had been "necessary".[]
In 1998, the United Nations accused the Taliban of denying emergency food by the UN's World Food Programme to 160,000 hungry and starving people "for political and military reasons".[] The UN said the Taliban were starving people for their military agenda and using humanitarian assistance as a weapon of warRemember, these are the same Taliban who, according to my Muslim friend, destroyed the Buddhas only so as to convince the UN to give money to starving children
On August 8, 1998 the Taliban launched an attack on Mazar-i Sharif. Of 1500 defenders only 100 survived the engagement. Once in control the Taliban began to kill people indiscriminately. At first shooting people in the street, they soon began to target Hazaras. Women were raped, and thousands of people were locked in containers and left to suffocate. This ethnic cleansing left an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 dead.[][] At this time ten Iranian diplomats and a journalist were killed. Iran assumed the Taliban had murdered them, and mobilized its army, deploying men along the border with Afghanistan. By the middle of September there were 250,000 Iranian personal stationed on the border. Pakistan mediated and the bodies were returned to Tehran towards the end of the month. The killings of the Diplomats had been carried out by Sipah-e-Sahaba a Pakistani Sunni group with close ties to the ISI.[][] They burned orchards, crops and destroyed irrigation systems. And forced more than 100,000 people from their homes with hundreds of men, women and children still unaccounted for.[]


The name comes from the Pashto word meaning student. This is significant since the Taliban has its origins in a clearly recognisable ethnic group - the Pashtun tribes
The Islamic State of Afghanistan was created in April 1992, after the fall of the Soviet-backed Najibullah government when several Afghan political parties agreed on a peace and power-sharing agreement called the Peshawar Accords.
One party however, Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami, refused to recognize the Accords and the resulting government and , according to a Human Rights Watch report, "launched attacks against government forces and Kabul generally. ... Shells and rockets fell everywhere". Gulbuddin Hekmatyar received operational, financial and military support from Pakistan whilst Iran and Saudi Arabia supported opposing militias. Soon a full scale war erupted.
In the midst of this chaos, in 1991, the Taliban (a movement originating from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-run religious schools for Afghan refugees in Pakistan) developed in Afghanistan as a politico-religious force. In the beginning the Taliban were a small band of a few hundred - badly equipped and low on munitions. Within months however 15,000 students arrived from the madrassas in Pakistan.  In the course of 1994, the Taliban took control of 12 of 34 provinces not under central government control. They had become a force to be reckoned with...
In a bid to establish their rule over Afghanistan, the Taliban started shelling the capital in early 1995. In a 1995 report the UN reported:
This is the first time in several months that Kabul civilians have become the targets of rocket attacks and shelling aimed at residential areas in the city.
The Taliban's early victories in 1994 were followed by a series of defeats that resulted in heavy losses which led analysts to believe that the Taliban movement as such might have run its course. But Pakistan and Saudi started to offer their support, regarding the Taliban as useful agents in the area. In fact the Taliban were largely founded by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) According to Pakistani Afghanistan expert Ahmed Rashid, "between 1994 and 1999, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistanis trained and fought in Afghanistan" on the side of the Taliban.
With the huge military support of Pakistan and the financial support of Saudi, the Taliban entered Kabul on September 27, 1996, and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. But this was not an end to the fighting. 
In 2001 alone, according to several international sources, 28,000-30,000 Pakistani nationals, 14,000-15,000 Afghan Taliban and 2,000-3,000 Al Qaeda militants were fighting against anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan as a roughly 45,000 strong military force.
Of all the leaders trying to resist the Taliban, Ahmad Shah Massoud emerged as the one with enough support and international credibility to pose a threat. In fact he remained the only major anti-Taliban leader inside Afghanistan who was able to defend vast parts of his territory against the Taliban.
In the areas under his control Massoud set up democratic institutions and signed the Women's Rights Declaration. In the area of Massoud, women and girls did not have to wear the Afghan burqa. They were allowed to work and to go to school. In at least two known instances, Massoud personally intervened against cases of forced marriage.
In early 2001, Ahmad Shah Massoud addressed the European Parliament in Brussels asking the international community to provide humanitarian help to the people of Afghanistan.
He stated that the Taliban and Al Qaeda had introduced "a very wrong perception of Islam" and that without the support of Pakistan and Bin Laden the Taliban would not be able to sustain their military campaign for up to a year. On this visit to Europe he also warned that his intelligence had gathered information about a large-scale attack on U.S. soil being imminent. The president of the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine, called him the "pole of liberty in Afghanistan"
On September 9 2011 Massoud was assassinated  by suicide bombers.

Now, please correct me if I'm being naive - but weren't the international community (rightly) criticised for not intervening quickly enough in the Balkans when thousands of Muslims were being massacred? 
The US is spending billions in Afghanistan trying to establish a stable government. It could cut and run but it hasn't. Could some guardianistas please explain?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Western Converts to Islam - Abdal Hakim Murad "explains"...

In an article in today's Times newspaper, Muslim convert and lecturer in Islamic studies, Abdal Hakim Murad (previously known as Tim Winter, older brother of Henry, the football writer) attempts to explain the growing number of conversions to Islam in Britain (100,000 in the past decade compared to 60,000 in the 90s according to Winter). (Actually, 75% of new converts to Islam leave the faith within five years. But that's another story...)

Using the doubtless heroic and selfless British aid worker and Muslim convert Khalil Dale (who was found beheaded in Pakistan this Islamists) as a "living challenge to standard Islamophobic sentiment", Murad asks us to question our prejudices about Islam and to consider why so many people are converting.

Apparently he is  at a loss to explain, other than to suggest many "spiritual wanderers" find Christianity "too complex" because they are "bewildered by the concept of the Trinity". As disingenuous bollocks goes that surely takes the biscuit. They're only bewildered, matey-boy, because Muslim clerics delight in "explaining" to these "wanderers" the impossibility of God having a son, whilst the Qur'an bizarrely interprets the Trinity as God, Jesus and Mary.

"When asked who converts to Islam and why, I usually have no answer"

But back to the main issue. We have to ask ourselves this question: Is a high profile British convert to Islam, one who writes copiously on the issue of conversion, really unaware of the world-wide efforts of dawah sites such as iERA to con people into believing there are scientific proofs in the Qur'an?

All he needs do is ask ANY BRITISH OR AMERICAN convert (such as poor old "Yusuf Islam" aka hairy rock star Cat Stevens. I'd wager my house that 90% of them would at some stage mention embryology, mountains as pegs, the big bang theory or one of the many other so-called miracles that the bucailleists trot out. That's why, Abdul. Because of the bare-faced lies promulgated  by people like Yusuf Estes and spread in such emetic publications as The Man in the Red Underpants.

If you want us to accept Islam as a part of British culture and even as a "reconnection with aspects of Britishness that have been lost to globalisation" (whatever that may mean) then as a representative of British Islam you should be more honest in your analysis.