Islamophobia: Genuine Ignorance and Information Terror (Part 2)

Jan Dulac *

There are eight shocking facts you did not know about violence in Christianity and Islam.

1. Hatred and violence

Western experts and historians came to a conclusion that Christian scriptures in the Bible were actually far more bloody and violent than those in the Quran. “There is a specific kind of warfare laid down in the Bible, called Consider the Book of Samuel, when God instructs King Saul to attack the Amalekites: “And utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them,” God says through the Prophet Samuel. “But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (prof.Peter Jenkins, Penn State University). “The Quran explicitly condemns religious aggression and the killing of civilians.It also makes the distinction between jihad — legal warfare with the proper rules of engagement — and irjaf, or terrorism” (Waleed El-Ansary, University of South Caroline). As a general rule, the Quran instructs restraining from excessive use of force.

2. Terrorism

The FBI has concluded: most of the terrorist activity in the United States in recent years has come from radical Christians, white supremacists and far-right militia. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) determined that out of the approximately 2,400 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, 60 (about 2.5%) were carried out by Muslims between 1970 and 2012. Does that mean more than 95% of terror plots and acts in the US were committed by “Christian terrorists” and the rest – by “Islamic and other terrorists”? True, while Washington has spent more than 1.6 trillion USD on counterterrorism operations since 9/11, the number of terror acts worldwide has grown a dozen times.

Even then, the National Space Science Institute (USA) estimates that the odds of being killed by a terrorist attack is about the same as being hit by an asteroid. “An average Joe” can calculate, having these facts, the probability of “It’s going to be a Muslim killing me!” The odds of being killed even by a white supremacist, let alone “Islamist”, is lower than being bitten to death by Joe’s dog.

3. Tolerance

The Quran states about the “People of the Book” (Christians): “Of the People of the Scripture there is a staunch community who recite the revelations of Allah in the night season, falling prostrate (before Him). They believe in Allah and the LastDay, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency, and vie with one another in good works. They are of the righteous. And whatever good they do, they will not be denied the need thereof. Allah is Aware of those who ward off (evil)” (Sura3:113-115). The Achtiname of Muhammad (626 AD), or the (Holy) Testament of the Prophet Muhammad, ordered Muslims to protect and defend Christians: “Whenever monks, devotees and pilgrims gather together, whether in a mountain or valley, or den, or frequented place, or plain, or church, or in houses of worship, verily we are [at the] back of them and shall protect them, and their properties and their morals, by Myself, by My Friends and by My Assistants, for they are of My Subjects and under My Protection”.

4. Islam is derived from the word salam, meaning peace. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) orders in the Achtiname: “Their churches must be honored and they must not be withheld from building churches or repairing convents.” Hence, Muslims wish salam even to those European countries that ban the construction of mosques.

5. Islam is the only non-Christian faith that believes in Jesus (pbuh), whose name is mentioned 25 times in the Quran whereas the name of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – four times. Name of Maryam (Mary) was mentioned explicitly in the Quran 34 times in 32 verses and one chapter was completely devoted to Maryam.

6. Women rights

Maryam was the one who was given as an example for the Muslim women, and for men. “And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, “My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.” [The example of] Mary, the daughter of ‘Imraan, who guarded her chastity, so we blew into [her garment] through Our angel [i.e. Gabriel], and she believed in the words of her Lord and His scriptures and was of the devoutly obedient.” [Quran 66:11-12]

Divorce, property issues and rights were clearly reflected in the Quran and Hadith. About 30 percent of divorces were carefully documented during the Mamluk period (1250-1517) in the urban societies. Moreover, the Quran allows inter-religious marriage: “Should any Christian woman be married to a Musulman [i.e. Muslim], such marriage must not take place except after her consent, and she must not be prevented from going to her church for prayer.” The essence of women’s “rights” compiled under English law in 1632 – “That which the husband hath is his own. That which the wife hath is the husband’s”, remained intact till early twentieth century.[6]

7. Religious beliefs and democratic principles

The majority of both, Muslims and Christians, see no disjunction here. In Jordan, for example, 54% of men and 55% of women think Sharia should be a source of legislation in their country. Likewise, a 2006 Gallup poll indicated that 46% of Americans say that they want the Bible to be a source of legislation.

8. Sharia.

There is no such thing as a movement, registered or unregistered, to impose Sharia in Europe or in the United States. Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) delivered a way of life for Muslims to follow. After a hundred years it was interpreted in Sharia law as guidance for Muslims and their daily life. Westerners might dislike it but some Muslims even clean their teeth five times a day – since Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recommended it (using a Miswaak, the ancient “tooth brush” made of twig of arak tree).

The reasons many, including until recently – the author, did not know these and similar facts are: religious illiteracy of “the 99%” used by “the 1%” to wage information terror and to achieve political and material ends.

“The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life study” measured Americans’ knowledge of their own belief systems and the belief systems of others conducting a survey with 32 religion-related questions, like “What is the first book of the Bible?”, “When was the Mormon religion founded?”, etc. Atheists and agnostics answered an average of 20.9 questions correctly. Jews and Mormons were scoring a 20.5 and 20.3 respectively, while Protestants as a whole got a mere 16 questions correct and Catholics only 14.7.” If Christians’ knowledge of their own religion is below 50% level, one might assume their awareness of the opposite faith is 10 to 20%, at best. Looks like Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Education for Open minds initiative should focus on Western countries, not only Islamic ones.

Similar attitudes are present in many Muslim-majority countries, though. If you ask ten University educated individuals in Central Asia, irrespective of their age and occupation about the main principles and facts in Islam, probably, only one will manage to answer correctly (the results may vary among the countries). The challenge for the region, which is part of “the Grey zone” International Terrorist Gang threatens to destroy, is building a truly secular society.

For the notion of “tolerance”, it should be derived from a nuanced understanding of pluralism – not just from “soviet-and post-soviet-atheistic” type of tolerance and secularism prevailing among the older generation and their children. Otherwise, cases such as when people push a woman wearing a hijab out of a bus, because she is an “extremist” will become common practice, not an exception. Sociologist, Peter L. Berger, well known for his contribution to the theory of secularism, cautions that today’s trends in the Islamic and Western societies “provide a massive falsification of the idea that modernization and secularization are cognate phenomena”.

Modernity does not automatically lead to secularism. On the contrary, there is an upsurge of forces of “counter-secularism” in Islam and Christianity. In this vein, some experts wonder if authorities see a direct link between religious illiteracy, stereotyped perception of Islam and recent extremists attacks in Kazakhstan.

Ground breaking research on the anti-Muslim hate industry by the Center for American Progress focused on the 25 most vocal activists engaged in anti-Islam rhetoric, and this has revealed that only 1 (4%) had the qualifications to be considered an “expert” on Islam. It is no surprise that the majority do not have even a college degree in Islamic studies. But it does not bother the “talking heads” to assume, together with mainstream TV channels, the role of “the Ministry of Truth” where “political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

Another key factor, which was not addressed properly even by authoritative organizations and groups promoting a noble cause – a Dialogue of cultures and civilizations, is the role of information warfare affecting Islamophobia. Experts even consider good case studies to be equally shameless and are Western propaganda machines such as “Russia Today” (RT). The two foes’ cyber armies massively use public perception manipulation, neuro-linguistic programming, rumors development and dissemination and other modern scientific techniques of “subliminal persuasion.”

This allows, among other things, to destruct and switch, when needed, attention of the ordinary people from the exposed failures or lies of the politicians to eye-catching events – often artificially created. Ever hear that the videos presented as if they were from Belgium in the news coverage of “Brussels horror” were in fact, videos of the Moscow airport terror attacks and the Minsk Metro terror attacks in 2011? Or that the millions of euros were disbursed to fascist organizations by the EU in the years 2014–2016?

One can guess why these and many other similar outrageous facts did not make a media splash and outcry in democratic societies. Given the cynicism of the geopolitical players, it is presumed that the stand-off Russia – West, the modern version of the “Red Scare” (threat of Communism) against “Blue Scare” (Capitalism), could be replaced by their accommodation of a “mutually beneficial” “Islam(ist) Scare” at some point.