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Islam dunk

It shouldn’t be any surprise that the BNP’s Nick Griffin was cleared of race hate charges. He had confined himself to giving Islam a good slagging, and the Government’s attempt to make that illegal foundered last year.

Sadly, the Qur’an seems to go out of its way to hand over whole rounds of ammunition to its detractors:

“You will find verse after verse after verse that says you can take any women you want—so long as they’re not Muslim women—any woman that your right arm can own. That’s the sword arm, it’s the fighting arm, the arm you hit a [guy] with a baseball bat with. Any woman they can take by force or guile is theirs.”—from Griffin’s offending speech

Unfortunately, that’s all true. Everything he’s referring to, and the interpretation he gives it, is correct. Several verses make it clear that you (that's a male “you”, obviously) can have sex with female captives (whom “your right arm possesses”), who Allah has by definition “given to you”.

The field of Islamic scholarship is full of bearded men chirpily explaining to women why they're much better off under Islam, and why it's all for their own good. There are opposing voices, however; for example, this exhaustive demonstration that Islam sanctions the rape of non-Muslim women:
”Mr Zakaria admits that Islam permits the jihadists to have sex with their female captives. His primary claim is that this does not constitute an endorsement of rape. His claim is not credible for one simple reason: He assumes that the captive non-Muslim female would willingly engage in sex with the Muslim men who had just slaughtered her people (her husband, and/or other family members and loved ones, etc) some time within about one month of that killing.”
Mr Zakaria will undoubtedly not see anything wrong with that assertion. Women are insatiable demons, aren’t they? They just can’t get enough of it, wherever it comes from. Look, my friend, it says it in my holy book.

One of the reasons the Qur’an is such a problematic sacred text—
(apart from the fact that its compilers put its verses together in order of length, leaving it up to subsequent generations to try and decode the chronology of its creation; or the fact that on several occasions God appears to correct and contradict earlier verses of the Qur’an, which surely means that the entire book by definition can’t be perfect; or its assertion that half the population of the planet do not have souls and are agents of Satan; or... look, I haven’t got all day)
—is that in the latter part of Muhammad’s career as a prophet, he God let his violent fantasies get the better of him. Whether it’s graphic descriptions of hell or of what you can do to your enemies and their women, the Qur’an revels in the gore of unbeliever and saved alike, just as any true end-timer’s eyes light up when they contemplate the coming carnage of Tribulation. All manner of barbarism gets divinely sanctioned, a key feature of any world-beating holy book. Maybe the more bloodthirsty the book, the more devotion it inspires.
“... it became known in Baghdad that the Jew Ibn Kammuna had written a volume... in which he displayed impudence in the discussion of the prophecies [in all three Abrahamic religions]. God keep us from repeating what he said. The infuriated [Muslim] mob rioted, and massed to attack his house and to kill him... Upon the amir’s order, it was heralded in Baghdad that, early the following morning outside the city wall, Ibn Kammuna would be burned. The mob subsided, and no further reference to Ibn Kammuna was made. As for Ibn Kammuna, he was put into a leather-covered box and carried to Hilla where his son was then serving as an official. There he stayed for a time until he died.”—Fuwati
That was recorded in the year 1284. Salman Rushdie’s angry Muslim mobs burned him in effigy in 1989. Islam has a rich and unswerving tradition of being terribly offended at any perceived slur on its good name. (Those slurs include observations that it’s very quick to raise angry mobs in its defence). This has to be in large part because there is not allowed to be any doubt that its holy book is the sacred word of an angry god.

Islam has not gone through any of the processes of self-investigation that Christianity did, with its holy writ being dissected and investigated by its own scholars like so much profane prose. While protestant theologians were busy pinpointing four distinct probable authors of the Pentateuch alone, Islamic scholars have spent their centuries reminding everyone that every syllable of their holy book is God’s sacred word—even the bits where He changes His mind and corrects what He said earlier. (According to the book itself, the original version of the glorious Qur’an sits in heaven. Presumably it’s covered in Tipp-Ex and crossings-out.*)

Consequently mainstream Islam doesn’t really have a dissenting equivalent of the Church of England, calmly accepting the human origins and resulting contradictions in its sacred texts but still convinced of the essence of the truth at their heart. No, there’s nothing figurative about the Qur’an; it’s all, much as I hate to repeat myself, THE WORD OF GOD. I believe that strict denial of the human origins of your faith breeds fanaticism and superstition; the conflict in Afghanistan and the war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s bred countless stories of brave and pure mujahideen killed in action whose corpses never rotted but instead started smelling sweeter than the sweetest nectar, al-hamdulillah, I swear it is a miracle, he was a good Muslim and died with a smile on his face, surely even now he is in heaven getting the blowjob of his life. These stories have spread, and can now be found applying to any conflict involving the Mujahideen: Chechnya, Lebanon, Afghanistan (again).

Of course there's a more moderate, even progressive, side to Islam, but its star isn't exactly in the ascendant at the moment. However, the jihadis and the angry teenage terrorettes are still utterly outnumbered by Muslims who despise their violence and their nihilism; most are not extremists and find their own way to live an ordinary life, just like millions of people of other faiths who have grown up in the shadow of their own holy books yet are unencumbered by too many of the demands their dead prophets make of them. But the idea propounded by Nick Griffin, that his audience would carefully distinguish between attacking the pillars of a faith and attacking those who believe in it, is risible and can safely be discounted.

Immediately after the remarks quoted above, Griffin made the comment that has become most notorious in this case: “And that’s the way that this vicious, wicked faith has expanded from a handful of cranky lunatics about 1300 years ago till it’s now sweeping country after country before it.”

A religion that starts with a handful of cranky lunatics and ends up sweeping the world... why does that ring a bell?...
“The ‘Powers That Be’ realised [that TV was corrupting children] and learned how to exploit this to their own advantage; they even told us that smacking our children, was wrong (despite the Bible stating “spare the rod and spoil the child”), and made smacking a criminal offence... The Christian values we have assimilated since the Gospel were carried around the world by the first disciples, but have been stolen within little more than two generations. Britain was the first Christian country outside of the Middle East and was in parts already prepared for the coming of the Message of Salvation; brought by travellers from what became known as ‘The Holy Land’, as they visited the settlements of their kinsfolk here in Britain. If we look back at our own society over the last couple of centuries, we see it approaching the pinnacle of success; then without lingering near the peak, plunging into decadence and lawlessness.”—Richard Colbourne, BNP candidate for Wokingham, recent press release

Ah yes, Christianity. So much more sensible than Islam. So much more British.

Ultimately, the speech for which Griffin was in the dock could not be successfully prosecuted under race hate laws. The BNP had been happily stirring up local ethnic tensions at the time, but in general had been careful to pin the blame for disturbances on “Muslims”, rather than “those Asian lads up the road”. However, the speech given by Griffin’s co-defendant Mark Collett, which had explicitly accused Asian people of being racist, hating white people and being responsible for rapes and muggings on white girls and pensioners, and ended with the words, “Let’s show these ethnics the door in 2004”, was quite clearly incitement to racial hatred. The fact that he too was cleared raises stark questions about the state of the Yorkshire community the jurors were picked from.

There’s plenty to despise about people’s holy books, but just as much to despise—with nothing positive to leaven or redeem it—in the BNP’s bigoted, poisonous, divisive, quasi-fascistic nonsense.

* NB for anyone under 25: Tipp-Ex actually used to work before its active ingredient, trichlorethane, was ruled too dangerous and removed, leaving Tipp-Ex the pointless watery see-through fluid you probably hated when you were at school.**

** NB for anyone under 18: Tipp-Ex was correcting fluid we used to use at school in the days before you could just print out the essays you’d stolen off the internet.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 13th, 2006 02:27 pm (UTC)
I come to the internet for knee-jerk reaction/ moaning about public transport/ unremitting whimsy about people's cats, not clearly expressed reasoned analysis. I'm very disappointed.
Nov. 13th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
Put me down for one of these, as well.
Nov. 13th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
Yet another thought-provoking (but not hair-tearingly earnest) post from webofevil. It's pictures like the 'Racist Fingerbobs' that make everything in the world feel a little bit more 'tolerable'.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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