Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Deconstructing Islam's Template of Perfection

When I was young, I devoted quite a bit of study to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.  The reason for my fascination is now certainly clear, if it was even the slightest bit murky then.  My efforts were to answer that one question that haunts us all in our attempts to deconstruct such depravity and horror: "How could this have happened?"  How had one man created such an ideology of militant proselytism, and how could that one man mold a legion of followers ready to sacrifice themselves to meet its dark ends?

In the Western World today, Nazi Germany stands as the textbook example of fanaticism.  For us, there is no more recognizable instance where the human tendency to follow has been more exploited to commit such crimes against humanity.  But as I have argued before, it is not the only example.

On September 11, 2001, America was shaken when nineteen men hijacked four planes, and then used those planes as weapons, robbing thousands of our innocent brethren of their lives.  Men, women, children; Jew, Christian, Muslim; black, white, brown- the hate exceeded all such boundaries we've come to know as potential dividers among men.  The perpetrators' barrel billowed smoke, and the motive could not be any clearer.  These attackers were devout Muslims, soldiers of Allah, and followers of his prophet Muhammad.  And the America that I had grown up to love was worthy of the bitterest hate by such men- worthy of indiscriminate and large-scale murder.

And I had to know: "How could this have happened?"  How had one man created such an ideology of militant proselytism, and how could that one man mold a legion of followers ready to sacrifice themselves to meet its dark ends?

However, I found the research to be quite a different process in this endeavor.  Where every Tom, Dick, and Harry gladly offered their two cents to the fray to deconstruct the mind of Adolf Hitler, Muhammad's critics seemed far fewer.  As I found, two distinct reasons exist for this.  First, historical records are difficult to find regarding Muhammad's life, so the Quran and the Hadith (Islamic traditions) serve as the most reliable sources for the events of the prophet's life.  Second, and most importantly, is the well-noted observation that Islam has a peculiar means of dealing with its critics, which tends to make otherwise outspoken naysayers quickly adhere to Mother's old adage: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Luckily, Muhammad and his successors were not of the mind that there was any wrong in the actions of Allah's prophet and his new seventh century army of Muslims that ravaged Arabia, so they apparently didn't feel the need to airbrush the content we are left with.  Complete among the texts of modern Islamic jurisprudence are tales of polygamy and pedophilia, pillage and plunder, torture and terror, misogyny and mendacity, and widescale murder and mayhem.  Much of this has been highlighted in the works of certain bold critics such as Robert Spencer, Brigitte Gabriel, Andrew Bostom, and Pamela Geller to name just a few.  (Particularly, Spencer's The Truth About Muhammad provides an extremely detailed description of Islam's ideal man.)

Yet despite these efforts, many Americans still don't know a thing about it.  To be honest, few of us felt the need to care about such things before that clear September morning of 2001, despite the fact that violent, armed jihad had for years been a viable tactic for extremist Muslims worldwide.  But now, knowing full-well the magnitude of damage a small number of extremists can cause, it is imperative that the roots of Islam be examined, as it is these very roots that sprout the toxic fruit of Islamic fundamentalism that we call "jihad."

And in examining those roots, some things are undeniable.  Among these is the fact that Muhammad's primary source of income was earned by piracy and theft, plundering the caravans of tradesmen as if it were his divine right.  He had many wives and countless lovers, and consummated the marriage with the child Aisha at the age of nine.  He had his critics (often poets of Arabic tribes) murdered by his followers in the dead of night.  And apart from ordering the stoning of adulterers, he ordered the beheading of hundreds of males in the Jewish Qurayza tribe upon their defeat at Muslim hands, which is but one instance of these mass executions.

Pertinent to note is that none of these claims are commonly refuted by scholars on either side of the argument.  As such, Muhammad's defense primarily consists of condemnation for opposing critics- for having the audacity to look at these seventh century events through a modern Western lens.  And, of course, this condemnation is laced with ample accusations of "Islamophobia."

But it must be asked, as Muhammad is the ideal man in Islam- the template for emulation by all good, righteous Muslims- should it be a wonder when an Islamic Iranian regime lowers the legal marrying age for women to nine? Or when Islamic villages religiously sanctify the stoning of adulterers? Or when men like Theo van Gogh are murdered for their criticism of Islam? Or when vast numbers of men and women are beheaded in the name of Allah and his prophet?

Submitted for the consideration of the readers of Political Palaver is the slideshow below, which details the information I discuss above, complete with sourcing identical to that I have found elsewhere in my study.  Please note, if you choose to read these presented slides- know that there are extremely graphic images, and that the content is politically charged with a harsh tenor against Islam.  Unmistakable is the Christian slant of the presentation, which in some cases goes beyond the necessary criticism in this author's opinion, as there are allegations that Muhammad was given to homoeroticism, incest, cross-dressing, and that he had suicidal tendencies. However, what cannot be denied is the heavily sourced nature of the content, cited directly from the holy texts of Islam and various critiques. In this regard, I will leave the merit of the slideshow to be assessed by each who may view it, who may then take from it what he may. 

And please know that I do not mean to offer this as an indictment upon all Muslims, as I am fully aware that most contemporary Muslims practice their faith in a manner conducive to peaceful existence in Western culture.  Most Muslims live their lives adhering to the Five Pillars of Islam and practicing in peace while rejecting the more misogynistic and violent aspects of the seventh-century iteration of the faith. And some of these Muslims are my friends. But as I have friends who are staunchly critical of my Christian faith (and considering Christian history is certainly not above scrutiny and condemnation), this is merely meant to be a critical analysis, albeit an extremely harsh one, of Islam's foundation, its model, and an explanation for the "why" of what we call Islamic "radicalism."  There is merit in such efforts, and though such things may be unpleasant to think about, it does not mean that such considerations should be absent from constructive discussion.  And to understand the enemy we face in Islamic fundamentalism, we must understand why some followers of the faith feel their murderous jihad to be divinely ordained.

And to try and understand that, one must try to understand Muhammad.  Perhaps this slideshow will give added context to some, and for other Americans it may just be a start.  And whether that start is an attempt to prove or disprove the assertions of the presentation, it will hopefully be of value.

William Sullivan

The Perfect Man of Islam

Thanks to CrossMuslims blog for this PowerPoint.  Original can be found here.

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