Are jihadis to blame for attacking us? – Maria Wirth

Jihad the Sword of Injustice

Maria WirthIf someone asks whether the newcomers to Europe even want a liberal world, he is shouted down. Never blame the migrants, is the maxim, and never ever claim that religion may be a cause why happily living together won’t work. To be precise: never mention Islam. One can criticize Christianity nowadays and malign Hinduism, but Islam is out-of-bounds. To bring in Islam as a possible cause for friction is forbidden, so much so that there is a risk of ending up in jail in our “liberal” societies. – Maria Wirth

Sword of JihadThe fear of lone wolf attacks has changed the atmosphere in Europe. Especially women feel insecure while walking alone, but even men are not keen to go out alone at night. The security business is booming. Pepper sprays and other articles for self-defense are sold out. More security, more police is seen as the solution to a problem which unfortunately is not well analysed.

On a memorial for the victims of the recent terror attack at a Christmas market in Berlin, where the German Chancellor, too, placed a white rose, a board asked in big letters: “Warum?” This “Why” naturally haunts good-natured, naive Germans who welcomed the refugees and volunteered in refugee shelters.

Yet, inexcusably, this “Why” also seems to haunt many of the political class. Chancellor Merkel considered the attack as incomprehensible. It seems she and her government have no clue why certain people turn against their hosts when they had been so generous. So how can they defeat Islamist terrorism when they don’t know what motivates the terrorists?

For the last few decades, Europeans in particular have been sold a wonderful world, where we all live happily together as global citizens irrespective of race, gender, religion and nationality. Sweden was in the forefront. In a TV clip, children from Sweden, Africa and Asia sang a song about how Sweden belongs to all of them and how wonderful it is to love each other, merrily dancing around holding hands.

No doubt, a “liberal world order”, where all human beings irrespective of differences are respected, is a worthy idea. Donald Trump has been demonized for not endorsing it and is seen as the greatest danger to it. Angela Merkel reminded him, perhaps a bit too self-righteously, of those liberal values when she congratulated him for winning the US election.

Yet, whoever has eyes to see knows that the reality is the stark opposite of a wonderful, liberal world, not only in Sweden. The huge influx of “refugees” did not make things better for Europe, as was heralded. It made things infinitely worse. And since the situation has meanwhile gone so much out of hand with crime rates sky-rocketing and the fear of terror attacks all-pervasive, the liberal elite feel compelled to explain what went wrong. The problem is, they are dishonest—or plain ignorant.

They explain: the new world order does not come about without a “cultural change”. Yet instead of embracing multi-culturalism, the natives of a place resist it. They wrongly are suspicious of “the other”. They want to stick to their old way of life and therefore we have a big problem now: the nationalist right-wing is on the upswing. This, we are told, is extremely unfortunate.

They don’t call it only unfortunate. They label right-wingers as fascist, Nazi, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and openly spew hatred against them, all the while claiming that they, the “liberals”, only want all to love each other.

If someone asks whether the newcomers to Europe even want a liberal world, he is shouted down. Never blame the migrants, is the maxim, and never ever claim that religion may be a cause why happily living together won’t work. To be precise: never mention Islam. One can criticize Christianity nowadays and malign Hinduism, but Islam is out-of-bounds. To bring in Islam as a possible cause for friction is forbidden, so much so that there is a risk of ending up in jail in our “liberal” societies.

Why is it so? Why do liberals close their eyes to the fact that Islam is not liberal? Neither is Christianity. Nor do these two religions hide it. Both insist that their followers must “religiously” stick to the doctrine if they don’t want to burn in hell for ever.

Now, how to establish a liberal world when about half the world population is indoctrinated to believe that all humanity needs to follow a particular book before peace can descend on earth? It is even more complicated: about a quarter is told that God wants all to follow the Bible and Jesus, and another quarter is told that Allah wants all to follow the Quran and Mohammed.

Whether Jesus or Mohammed had intended this narrow-minded interpretation is not the question. It is also not the question whether there are verses in those books which contradict this narrow view. The problem is that this narrow interpretation is indoctrinated since over thousand years and even today into children with terrible effect and nobody stops it.

Wolfgang Trusheim, of Frankfurt’s State Security office, gives a worrying account:

“This is about war, about children being indoctrinated. They are only in primary school and already fantasize about how when they grow up, they want to join the jihad, kill infidels. They say: ‘I’m not allowed to play football with you, but when I’m grown up, I will kill you, because you are an infidel.’” (See this Gatestone link)

On YouTube there was a clip about a religious class for Muslim boys in a German school. The teacher spoke in broken German and kept repeating to the 6 to 10 year olds that they must not make friends with German boys, as those boys are bad and will be sent to hell by Allah.

Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad (1948)Is it then a surprise that a 12-year-old boy tried to plant a bomb in a Christmas market in southern Germany? The question is: Can he be blamed for wanting to kill kafirs? And if he can’t be blamed now, can he be blamed when he is 17 or 20?

How are children supposed to get out of the brainwashing when their surrounding endorses the claim that Allah only likes Muslims, does not like kafirs and will make them suffer in hell for all eternity? When even respected leaders, like the first education minister in independent India Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, had exhorted Muslims to join jihad for a pan-Islamic caliphate, have obviously not got out of their own brainwashing?  And most importantly, when the Muslim youth has serious doubts whether he will qualify for paradise and wants to make sure that he ends up there and not in hellfire?

A very crucial tenet of both Islam and Christianity is that a human being has only one life. Belief in rebirth was banned for Christians in the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 AD even before Islam was born. This “one life only” has an advantage for those religions: the fear of eternal hell prevents their followers from relaxing and experimenting. And both religions make sure that the fear of hell seeps deeply into the psyche of children. Hindus and others who did not go through this indoctrination can’t imagine that the fear of hell can be real, but it is. “What if eternal hell is true after all?” This question often haunts lukewarm Christians and probably also Muslims and makes their life miserable and guilt-ridden.

Maulana Wahiduddin KhanEven moderate sounding outfits like the Centre for Peace and Spirituality founded by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan preach this basic tenet (on the back cover of the book Quranic Wisdom):

“According to the Quran, a person’s life has been divided into two phases: the pre-death and the post-death period. The present life is only temporary and is meant as a test. Depending upon our performance in this test, we shall be judged in the eternal life after death. The Quran aims to make one aware of this reality and help one lead one’s life in this world in such a way that one is rewarded with Paradise in the life hereafter.”

Reading the Quran one gets clearly the impression that paradise is only for true Muslims, not for the hypocrites among them and of course not for kafirs. And what is expected from a true Muslim? Apart from being good to other Muslims (and harsh to unbelievers) and following the rules, jihad is the surest way to paradise. A jihadi is even promised a higher status in paradise (Quran 4.95). Is it a surprise that especially criminals join jihad to ‘redeem’ themselves? Should they be called monsters or should they be congratulated for fulfilling what they (wrongly) understand as the Supreme Being’s wish?

Clearly, something has been very badly misunderstood. Killing cannot possibly be rewarded by the Supreme who is the creator, if not the essence, in all of us. Is it not the responsibility of elders to point this out and save not only the potential victims of future terror attacks but also the Muslim youth?

Especially Hindus and Buddhists need to challenge this wrong understanding. How can they “respect” it only because “religion” is attached to it? Why are Christianity and Islam treated like a protected species and must not be touched?

There is a reason: Ever since dogmatic religions (from Latin “to bind”) appeared, which insist on binding all humanity to unverifiable dogmas, criticism was violently punished for centuries. Today criticism is sought to be stopped in a more civilised way—through laws about freedom of religion, guaranteed by an UN Charter.

Yet what does the right to religious freedom actually mean? Does it mean the right to Islamize the world? Does it mean the right to Christianize the world? Do Hindus have the right to stay Hindus? If the right to freedom of religion is given to a religion which has as its final goal the obliteration of all other religions, like Christianity and Islam have, would it not obliterate the rights of other religions?

Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) requires outlawing “any advocacy of … religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.”

Further, article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), grants the freedom of speech with the restriction, among others, “for the protection of the reputation and rights of others.”

These laws are violated on a daily basis in religious classes all over the world, yet the focus of law enforcement agencies is on social media posts and overlooks the far greater danger.

Does it protect the “reputation of others” when a clergyman tells children that their classmates from other religions will burn in hell after Judgement Day? Is the clergyman free to make such discriminatory statements, because religious freedom is guaranteed and his holy book makes those claims? Is it necessary to respect the claim that a book has been divinely revealed even if it contains what would be called hate speech? Since there are several books from different religions which all claim to be the divinely revealed truth and which contradict each other, how can those claims be taken at face value and be protected by law? Should there not be a genuine, open-minded debate on what actually constitutes truth?

Many questions, which hardly anyone asks—not even those who framed the right on religious freedom in international bodies like the UN.

We are faced with a big problem which is due to divergent and implausible religious views. A young jihadi is convinced that killing kafirs is the right thing to do as it pleases Allah who wants only Muslims in the world.

And a young Christian missionary is convinced that “bringing the light of Christ to those who wallow in darkness” by hook or crook is the right thing to do, as Jesus wanted all people baptised.

Yet ultimately, both, the jihadi and the missionary are pawns in a cynical power game. They are convenient foot soldiers. Did not the USA of all countries encourage students (Taliban) to become radical Islamists by developing religious curricula and sending schoolbooks with violent content to Afghanistan? Why? Because they wanted them to fight the Soviets ferociously as a holy war—in their own (USA) interest of course. (See this Washington Post link).

Once children are ‘taught’ the wrong truth, it is not easy to get it out from their system even when they are grown up. Their identity is intimately connected with what they believe, and reason often cannot break through their natural impulse to defend their identity especially when the people in their surroundings share the same belief.

It needs an open environment, where questions can be asked fearlessly, where sensible answers are given and where holy books are not untouchable holy cows. This atmosphere is partly there for Christianity in the West, but is sorely missing in regard to Islam.

A good start would be a debate on whether there is only one life or whether rebirth is more likely. Why is there obvious injustice in the world? Why are some born to caring parents and others to abusive drunkards? If the Supreme Being really wanted all to be Christians or Muslims, why would He give to some the advantage of being born in a Christian or Muslim family and to others not? How can the creator (or is he the essence?) of all be so cruel to damn us to excruciating pain in hell-fire for a billion trillion years after a few years of life where our only fault was that we called out to the Supreme by a different name, but in our heart we were great believers?

Those who believe (or do they know?) in rebirth have the better arguments. Research into rebirth, with over 3000 cases in the archive of Virginia University, also supports the Hindu view that everybody gets many lives on this appearance level of human existence. (See my blog link)

Humanity would gain greatly if such topics would be debated in an open atmosphere. Truth would be honoured. Trust in ‘the other’ would come back. A liberal, plural world would be possible.

Only some hard-line clerics might lose out. Yet the “liberals” in the media with their soft corner for illiberal ideologies would probably rush to their defence….

References

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2002/03/23/from-us-the-abcs-of-jihad/d079075a-3ed3-4030-9a96-0d48f6355e54/
  2. https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9614/germany-saudi-arabia-qatar-kuwait
  3. https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/born-again-in-another-form/
  4. http://www.firstpost.com/india/global-islamism-jihadism-and-maulana-abul-kalam-azad-my-defence-lawyer-2981062.html

Berlin Attack 2016

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Jihad in the cause of Allah – Maria Wirth

Mosques and madrasas are the centres for jihad indoctrination.

Maria WirthTerror and hatred for other human beings is inhumanity. How do we know? Because we have a conscience which tells us what is right and what is wrong. This conscience must be the holy book for us. … Anyone who demands that we ignore our conscience and instead believe blindly what he tells us, has an agenda. He wants sheep who don’t think for themselves and who he can use for his own purpose. – Maria Wirth

There is no doubt that we have a problem in today’s world. It’s a big problem. The strange thing is that apparently we don’t want to solve it, because we close our eyes to the problem and to its root cause. This closing of our eyes is officially endorsed by almost all governments in the world and is seen as politically correct. Naturally, there is no chance to improve things but it’s likely to get much worse.

The problem is a faulty, black and white mind-set of a huge chunk of the world population and the root cause is what these people were taught to believe as the truth. The founders and subsequent authorities of those belief systems claimed that the Highest himself has revealed it. This was an ingenious way to prevent any criticism of the whole belief system, including those aspects of it which were against common sense.

I have earlier written on how Christianity was the first to cleverly claim that God himself has given the full truth only to the Church and everyone must believe it at the cost of their lives. And Islam followed with a similar claim. Terrorism in the name of God started right then, by forcing “those who are wrong” into the “right” faith or killing them. Millions of people were killed—from America to India and beyond. In history lessons, Christianity and Islam were mentioned together with communism, fascism and Nazism in having caused the maximum number of human beings murdered.

In primary school I learnt that Islam expanded through “fire and sword”. I remember this because “Feuer und Schwert” was a meaningless phrase for me as a child. Only later, it dawned that it involved tremendous cruelty. This cruelty was not restricted to Islam. The Christian “expansion” and the Inquisition were equally brutal.

In the 1970s when I was in university, we debated why religion has caused so much bloodshed. The debate was only on ‘why’ not on ‘whether’.

In 2000, a change in this approach became apparent. When the Pope John Paul II finally acknowledged the cruelty of the Inquisition, and publicly asked forgiveness from God, he did not blame the Church but “sons and daughters of the Church” who committed “mistakes”. He tried to absolve the religion and laid the blame on “misguided” followers.

This same pattern is followed today regarding Islam. When jihadis attack innocent citizens shouting “Allahu Akbar“, politicians and media are quick to declare that those terror acts have nothing to do with Barack ObamaIslam but are the handiwork of misguided or deranged individuals.

The reaction is meanwhile so predictable. The standard version is:

The attack is shocking, repulsive, a cowardly act, but we stand united, won’t allow another attack, won’t be intimidated but continue with our lives, we won’t let them win, etc….

Then Muslim representatives come on air stressing that they also condemn the attack. It is the act of a disturbed person, has nothing to do with Islam, there are 1,5 billion peaceful Muslims, which is proof of the peaceful nature of their religions, etc….

Then in major cities (provided the attack happened in the West) a landmark building is lit up in the colours of the country where the attack happened, candles are lit….

We have gone through these motions far too often and there is something fake about it. The pain of those affected is real. Others may be grateful that it had not hit them—at least not this time. Yet those, who are supposed to protect us, are not honest.

True, the attacks are shocking and repulsive, but they are not cowardly acts. The jihadi kills because he is convinced that it is his duty to kill kafirs—and he is even ready to die in doing what he feels is right. This shows courage. All those terrorists are young. It is not normal, nor easy to risk one’s life by killing others, unless he is absolutely convinced that the benefit is greater than the cost.

And what does he expect as benefit?

Probably he was taught already as a kid or has read it later on the internet that killing kafirs pleases Allah. By doing so, he can make his life truly worthwhile, and he will be richly rewarded: he will have a better status in paradise than those who did not kill kafirs.

Now here is where we kafirs are cowards. We don’t dare to point to passages in the Quran, which support his expectation, for example Quran 4.95 and ask what it means if not what is written there.

Those believers who stay at home—having no physical disability—are not equal to those who make jihad in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their persons. Allah has granted a higher rank to those who make jihad with their wealth and their persons than to those who stay at home. Though Allah has promised a good reward for all, Allah has prepared a much richer reward for those who make jihad for Him than for those who stay at home. They have special higher ranks, forgiveness and mercy. Allah is forgiving, merciful (Q 4. 95-96).

Imagine a pious, young, hot-headed Muslim reads this—would he not be inspired to make his life worthwhile? Even more so, if he has fantasises of becoming a hero with a gun?  He probably considers dying as a small price for a greater glory. As Sultan Shahin pointed out, children in madrasas sing songs with the refrain “zindagi shuru hoti hai qubr mein” (life starts in the grave). See reference below.

Curiously, old, sick Muslims don’t seem to be interested in the “higher status in paradise” when it would make much more sense for them. Does it mean, they are more mature and know that the Quran must not be taken literally?

Is it not their and our duty, to save not only the potential victims of future terror attacks but also the young Muslims who are ready to throw away their lives for a promise which may not be kept? After all, Christianity also claims that only those who are baptized can enter heaven.

We need to ask probing questions.

Yes, it is difficult to believe that terror attacks have anything to do with religion. Religion is understood to be something good. It connects us with the Highest and is meant to make us better human beings. We want to believe that the cause for terror attacks is something else. “All religions worship the same one God. No religion can possibly condone killing others”, those of us who have not been brainwashed into a dogmatic religions, will naturally maintain. But is it true?

We need to find out. If we don’t dare to do this, we are cowards.

Let’s imagine we come to the conclusion that indeed there are passages in the Islamic texts that condone terror against infidels, what will be the next step?

Then we need to bring in common sense and reason and debate on the meaning of life and enquire into the absolute truth. India has the knowledge and must take the lead in this, because the Christian West is handicapped. Both, Islam and Christianity, divide humanity into “us versus the rest”, which results in a divisive mindset. Instead, another dividing line must be drawn which Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned it in one of his speeches: It is the line between humanity and inhumanity.

Terror and hatred for other human beings is inhumanity. How do we know? Because we have a conscience which tells us what is right and what is wrong. This conscience must be the holy book for us. It is the voice of the Divine which guides us through life. If we listen to it, we realize that the whole of humanity is one family. The life in all of us comes from the same, most powerful yet invisible, source.

Anyone who demands that we ignore our conscience and instead believe blindly what he tells us, has an agenda. He wants sheep who don’t think for themselves and who he can use for his own purpose.

Suicide bombers are not cowards, but they are not smart. They got the purpose of life wrong. – Maria Wirth Blog, 17 June 2016

Reference

Bobby Jindal

» Maria Wirth is a German psychologist and author who has lived in Uttarkhand for many years. Tweet her @mariawirth1.

God as the original terrorist – Valerie Tarico

Yahweh / Jehovah

Three (Un)Holy Books

Dr Valerie TaricoBy one count, the Quran has only 532 cruel or violent passages, while the Bible has 1,321. Christians respond that the Bible is longer, so the cruel, violent passages make up a smaller percent of the whole. – Valerie Tarico

Last fall, Dutch pranksters put a cover from a Quran over a Bible and then asked passersby to read aloud homophobic, violent or sexist passages that violate modern moral sensibilities. The texts shocked people who had never immersed themselves in the Iron Age world of the Bible writers, a world in which daughters can be sold as sexual slaves and most of us deserve the death penalty: you included.

By one count, the Quran has only 532 cruel or violent passages, while the Bible has 1,321. Christians respond that the Bible is longer, so the cruel, violent passages make up a smaller percent of the whole.

ISIS terrorists claim that their scripts for jihad, executions, sexual slavery and theocracy come straight from the Quran, and they cite chapter and verse to back up their claim. But Christians who find ISIS horrifying might be even more horrified to learn that similar scripts can be found in their own Good Book, including endorsements of terrorism that rival the most vile atrocities committed in the name of Allah.

Terrorism is notoriously difficult to define. Some limit terrorist acts to those committed illegally by groups seeking social power. Others argue that the state itself may systematically terrorize a civilian population. James Poland, author of Understanding Terrorism, defines terrorism as a means (intimidation) to an end (social control over someone other than the victim):

Terrorism is the premeditated, deliberate, systematic murder, mayhem, and threatening of the innocent to create fear and intimidation in order to gain a political or tactical advantage, usually to influence an audience.

Our Iron Age ancestors who wrote the Bible lacked explosive devices and the ability to spread gruesome images via mass media. They lacked jetliners and drones and napalm and nerve gas. But they definitely understood mass intimidation as a tool of social control, and they sanctified their own terrorist tendencies by projecting the same tendencies onto God himself.

Here are some acts of terrorism from the Bible.

1. In the Bible God controls humans by raining down death, destruction and terror on those who defy or anger him.

I kill … I wound … I will make mine arrows drunk with blood and my sword shall devour flesh. So says Yahweh in Deuteronomy 32:39-42, and this is no idle threat. You’ve heard the story of Noah’s flood, and about the fire God rains down on Sodom and Gomorrah, and about the 12 plagues of Egypt, but did you know that in the Bible God kills 158 times? The full list can be found in the Steve Wells book, Drunk With Blood.

Like ISIS, God sometimes acts as an executioner with a laser focus, as when he kills a baby to punish King David’s sexual infidelity (2 Samuel 12), or strikes dead a couple who falsely claim to have given their money to the church (Acts 5: 1-10). But also, like ISIS, he often wreaks death and destruction on those who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or who were born into the wrong culture. For example, when the same King David conducts a forbidden census, God gives him a choice of punishments: Three years of famine, three months of attacks by neighboring tribes, or three days of plague. David chooses the plague, which kills 70,000 Israelites who had done nothing but let themselves be counted (1 Chronicles 21:1-17).

2. The Bible both opens and closes with graphic descriptions of torment and fear inflicted by God and designed to keep the faithful in line. 

In the Torah, God’s reign of terror is described in a series of graphic histories. In the book of Revelation, it is described in a series of graphic prophecies. In the books between, threats of torture and death hang over every interaction between God and humankind. God himself leans into his role as terrorist-in-chief.

I will send my fear before thee, God promises the marauding Israelites (Exodus 23:27). This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee (Deuteronomy 2:25). The terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, reports a narrator in Genesis (35:5).

The book of Proverbs advised Hebrew readers that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10 KJV). Centuries later, in New Testament times, the “fear of the LORD” is alive and well—and still useful. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men, says the writer of 2 Corinthians (5:11).

3. In addition to inflicting terror directly, God does so via human and nonhuman agents. 

He sends a bear to tear apart 40 boys who are teasing a prophet, presumably as a warning to others. In the story of Job, God gives Satan permission to destroy a house in which Job’s sons and daughters have come together for a celebration, killing them all—this time as part of a divine wager that will become a morality tale. He later gives superhuman strength to Samson (the Bible’s version of Hercules) so that Samson can complete an Iron Age suicide mission. He pulls down the pillars of a pagan temple so that it collapses, killing 3,000 civilians. Samson himself dies in a blaze of glory (Judges 16:27-30).

When Moses as leader of the Israelites catches some of them worshiping a golden calf, he orders those who have remained loyal to Yahweh to take up swords and slaughter their family members and neighbors (Exodus 32:21-24). They do so by the thousands. In the Exodus story, an angel of death passes from house to house, killing the firstborn son in each Egyptian family whether the parents are poor slaves or royalty and whether their child is an infant or youth (Exodus 7-12).

Of all the Bible writers who sought to terrify pagans and other sinners, none exceeds the writer of Revelation, who fantasized supernatural monsters, each with some special capacity for inflicting torture or death. In one passage, a cloud of giant insects with human faces and the teeth of lions descends on those who lack a special mark from God.

“And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them” (Revelation 9:4-6).

4. During armed conflict, God and his messengers command the Israelites to slaughter civilians and destroy their homes and means of food production including livestock and orchards.

During World War II, the American military engaged in “terror bombing” of civilian centers including Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo, as the Nazis terror-bombed London. If the Old Testament stories are to be believed, the ancient Israelites similarly targeted and terrorized ordinary villagers during their military campaigns, only they did so at God’s command and with his blessing.

Bible believers sometimes defend the slaughters depicted in the Old Testament by arguing that they serve a practical purpose. Ethnic cleansing is the only way to rid the Promised Land of evil idolaters, which is why God frequently orders the death of even children and slaves in conquered towns. But the stories themselves include graphic tortures and humiliations that would be of little value if the only goal were ethnic cleansing. A close reading suggests that many of the killings are simply God-sponsored terrorism: mass murder as a display of power and means of social control.

In one account, God commands human assassins to wreak havoc on civilians literally hundreds of years after an offense. Just when you think He has forgiven or forgotten…. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass (1 Samuel 15:2-3).

5. As in ISIS, sexual enslavement of conquered women is one means of humiliating enemy combatants.

In the book of Numbers, God’s messenger commands the Chosen People to kill every Midianite man, woman or child, except for virgin girls who are to be turned into sex slaves according to very explicit instructions. Many Americans were horrified at the story of an ISIS fighter who bound and gagged a captive girl, praying and quoting the Quran to her before commencing rape. The Bible’s instructions for claiming a captive virgin suggest shaving her head rather than applying duct tape to her wrists and mouth (Numbers 31).

Why might this be considered terrorism? In the Bible, as in the Quran, women and children are literally possessions of men, which is why a man can sell his daughter into slavery or a rapist can be forced to buy his victim. In the Iron Age honor cultures of the Ancient Near East, female consent mattered little, but a man’s honor could be destroyed by the sexual violation of a female. Enslaving and impregnating the women of a conquered tribe or religion sends a graphic message to other men about who is on top.

6. In the New Testament gospels, even Jesus threatens violence and torment against those who don’t fall in line.

In one parable, he likens God to the Master of a great estate who says, “These enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence (Luke 19:26-27). In a sermon, he says that those who fail to repent in time will be cast into outer darkness where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:22-30).

Jesus even uses words that invoke the slaughter commanded by Moses at Mt. Sinai, “Do not think that I have come to send peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. I am sent to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matthew 10:34-35).

From Genesis to Revelation, God terrorizes those who fail to fall at his feet and worship in the way he demands. His followers inflict divinely sanctioned torture and death, knowing that if they don’t they may end up on the receiving end—or at least with less real estate and booty.

The Chosen People see the horrors God rains down on evildoers, meaning anyone who worships another god, and despite having dedicated themselves to the cult of Yahweh, they walk on eggshells, following an intricate set of rules and rituals and offering up burnt offerings in order to avoid his wrath. In the New Testament narrative, even these burnt offerings and rituals fall short, and the only way God can be appeased is with the sacrifice of Jesus, “the lamb without blemish.”

The Bible is filled with histories of God-blessed slaughter and threats of supernatural torture for a reason: To create fear and intimidation. To gain political or tactical advantage. To influence an audience. Specifically, to keep the faithful and to justify their recurrent bouts of conquest and mass murder.  And that is exactly what Bible texts have done for as far back as we can trace the history of Abrahamic religion.

Fortunately, most modern believers are both wiser and kinder than the writers of their sacred texts, who could not even imagine the varied, intricate world of landscapes and cultures. Many Christians claim what is spiritually nourishing from Bible (like passages opposing terrorism) and discard the rest.

But the rot remains. Christian fundamentalists who see themselves on a crusade against godless infidels, and right-wing politicians who pander to those fundamentalists, find biblical sanction for bigotry and atrocity when they seek it. This fact is not lost on Islamists, who assert that they are fighting defensive jihad while simultaneously inflicting their own Quranic version of bigotry and atrocity on anyone within reach.

As long as Christians continue to bind together the words of our Iron Age ancestors and call them Good and Holy and “God breathed,” they will have little argument against terrorists who cite other sacred texts to justify destruction and death in the name of God. – Salon, 13 January 2016

Bible & Koran

Violence more common in Bible than Quran, text analysis reveals – Samuel Osborne

Bible & Quran

Samuel Osborne“By categorising words into eight emotions—Joy, Anticipation, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, Surprise, Fear / Anxiety and Trust—the analysis found the Bible scored higher for anger and much lower for trust than the Quran. … The Old Testament was more violent than the New Testament, and more than twice as violent as the Quran.” –  Samuel Osborne

Tom AndersonAn analysis into whether the Quran is more violent than the Bible found killing and destruction occur more frequently in the Christian texts than the Islamic.

Investigating whether the Quran really is more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts, software engineer Tom Anderson processed the text of the holy books to find which contained the most violence.

In a blog post, Mr Anderson explains: “The project was inspired by the ongoing public debate around whether or not terrorism connected with Islamic fundamentalism reflects something inherently and distinctly violent about Islam compared to other major religions.”

Using text analytics software he had developed, named Odin Text, he analysed both the New International Version of both the Old and New Testaments as well as an English-language version of the Quran from 1957.

It took just two minutes for his software to read and analyse the three books.

By categorising words into eight emotions—Joy, Anticipation, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, Surprise, Fear/Anxiety and Trust—the analysis found the Bible scored higher for anger and much lower for trust than the Quran.

Abrahamic ReligionsFurther analysis found the Old Testament was more violent than the New Testament, and more than twice as violent as the Quran.

Mr Anderson summarises: “Of the three texts, the content in the Old Testament appears to be the most violent.

“Killing and destruction are referenced slightly more often in the New Testament (2.8%) than in the Quran (2.1%), but the Old Testament clearly leads—more than twice that of the Quran—in mentions of destruction and killing (5.3%).”

However, he adds: “First, I want to make very clear that we have not set out to prove or disprove that Islam is more violent than other religions.

“Moreover, we realize that the Old and New Testaments and the Quran are neither the only literature in Islam, Christianity and Judaism, nor do they constitute the sum of these religions’ teachings and protocols.

“I must also re-emphasize that this analysis is superficial and the findings are by no means intended to be conclusive. Ours is a 30,000-ft, cursory view of three texts: the Quran and the Old and New Testaments, respectively.” – Independent, 9 February 2016

Bible & Koran

Bible vs Quran: Test your knowledge of who deserves death in which religion – Valerie Tarico

Three Holy Books

Dr Valerie Tarico“Is the Quran more violent than the Bible as most Americans believe? The question is hard to answer. A tally at the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible counts 842 violent or cruel passages in the Bible as compared to 333 in the Quran. That said, the Bible is a much thicker tome, and even though the New Testament endorses and adds to the violence in the Old, when percentages are compared, the Quran comes out ahead.” – Dr Valerie Tarico

Abrahamic ReligionsThe world has watched in horror while members of ISIS justify the next mass murder or icy execution with words from the Quran, followed by shouts of Allahu Akbar—God is the greatest! If beliefs have any power whatsoever to drive behaviour—and as a psychologist I think they do—there can be little doubt that the Quran’s many endorsements of violence play a role in how exactly ISIS has chosen to pursue religious and political dominion.

At the same time, it should be equally clear a sacred text filled with violence is insufficient to trigger mass brutality unless other conditions are present as well. Culture, empathy, education and empowerment—and other factors that scholars understand only in part—appear to have a protective influence, safeguarding even most fundamentalists against the worst teachings of their own tradition. We know this in part because the Bible contains commandments and stories that are as horrific as those being used to justify butchery in Iraq and Syria.

The following 30 violent exhortations are a mix, drawn from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptures. The generic word God is used for all deity names, and names of places or people have been replaced with generic terms. How well do you know your Torah, Bible, or Quran and Hadith? Can you tell which is which?

[The source of the quotation has been added after the quote, as Hindu readers will not be knowing “their” Torah, Bible, Quran or Hadith very well. – Ed]

  1. Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the [holy man] who represents God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)
  2. I decided to order a man to lead the prayer and then take a flame to burn all those, who had not left their houses for the prayer, burning them alive inside their homes. (Bukhari 11:626)
  3. All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)
  4. Fight them until there is no more [disbelief or worshipping of other gods] and worship is for God alone. (Quran 2:193)
  5. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:34-35)
  6. Whoso fighteth in the way of God, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward. (Quran 4:74)
  7. Make ready to slaughter [the infidel’s] sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants. (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)
  8. [God’s messenger] … was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The [holy man] replied, “They [women and children] are from them [unbelievers].” (Bukhari 52:256)
  9. Then I heard God say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all—old and young, girls and women and little children.” (Ezekiel 9:5 NLT)
  10. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them. (Quran 8:12)
  11. Keep [my holiday], for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die. (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)
  12. The punishment of those who wage war against God and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement. (Quran 5:33)
  13. If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)
  14. It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…. (Quran 8:67)
  15. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. (Numbers 31: 17-18 KJV)
  16. I shall terrorize the [heathens]. So wound their bodies and incapacitate them, because they oppose God and his apostle. (Quran 8:12)
  17. A [holy man’s] daughter who loses her honour by committing fornication and thereby dishonours her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)
  18. So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them. (Quran 9:5)
  19. Everyone who would not seek God was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
  20. And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction. (Quran 17:16)
  21. But if [a girl wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night] and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her father’s house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against God’s people by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)
  22. The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say.”O [believer]! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.” (Bukhari 52:177)
  23. If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)
  24. God’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but God.’” (Bukhari 8:387)
  25. Cursed be he who does God’s work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood (Jeremiah 48:10 NAB).
  26. God said, “A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. [Prophet], you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But God desires killing them to manifest the religion.” (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 484)
  27. Anyone who blasphemes God’s name must be stoned to death by the whole community of [believers]. (Leviticus 24:16 NLT)
  28. When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) [your religion]; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them.… If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them [a tax]. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek God’s help and fight them. (Muslim 19:4294)
  29. Anyone else who goes too near the [Holy Place] will be executed. (Numbers 1: 51 NLT)
  30. Killing unbelievers is a small matter to us. (Tabari 9:69)

Is the Quran more violent than the Bible as most Americans believe? The question is hard to answer. A tally at the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible counts 842 violent or cruel passages in the Bible as compared to 333 in the Quran. That said, the Bible is a much thicker tome, and even though the New Testament endorses and adds to the violence in the Old, when percentages are compared, the Quran comes out ahead. In addition, the kinds of cruelty and violence vary as do the perpetrator and victim and the extent to which any verse can be interpreted as divine sanction for the behaviour in question. Either way, endorsements of violence abound in both.

Bible and Quran believers who recognize verses in this list will no doubt protest that they have been taken out of context, as indeed they have. I think the appropriate response to such a complaint is a question: What context, exactly, would make these verses uplifting, inspiring or worthy of praise? In what context are passages like these some of the most important and holy guidance that the creator of the universe might think to impart to humankind? In what context is a book that contains these passages and many, many more like them the apogee of divine goodness and timeless wisdom?

Members of each Abrahamic tradition are quick to point out the rational and moral flaws in the others. I wonder sometimes, what this world might be like if they were as quick to examine the flaws in their own. –  ValerieTarico.com, 1 June 2013

» Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel. 

Bible & Koran

Oldest Quran may be older than Muhammad – Paul Vale

Birmingham Koran Fragment

Paul Vale“Keith Small, a librarian at the Bodleian in Oxford, urged caution as the carbon testing only used parchment rather than the ink from the book. He said: ‘If the dates apply to the parchment and the ink, and the dates across the entire range apply, then the Quran—or at least portions of it—predates Muhammad, and moves back the years that an Arabic literary culture is in place well into the 500s.'” – Paul Vale

Prophet MuhammadIn what could prove something of a pot hole for current readings of Islamic history, a carbon test carried out on a Quranic manuscript recently discovered in England reveals the book is likely older than Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic faith.

The test used a piece of the ancient parchment, which was discovered in Birmingham University Library in July, with scientists dating the tome from between 568 and 645 AD.

Islamic scholars believe Muhammad lived between 570 and 632 AD, meaning the text was compiled either before the Prophet’s birth or during his childhood.

Speaking to The Times, professors David Thomas and Nadir Dinshaw, of the University of Birmingham, said that Muslim tradition states that Muhammad “received the revelations that form the Quran … between the years AD 610 and 632, the year of his death.”

“At this time, the divine message was not compiled into the book form in which it appears today,” said Thomas. “Instead, the revelations were preserved in ‘the memories of men.’ Parts of it had also been written down on parchment, stone, palm leaves and the shoulder blades of camels,” he added.

“Caliph Abu Bakr, the first leader of the Muslim community after Muhammad, ordered the collection of all Qur’anic material in the form of a book. The final, authoritative written form was completed and fixed under the direction of the third leader, Caliph Uthman, in about AD 650.”

Also speaking to the newspaper, Keith Small, a librarian at the Bodleian in Oxford, urged caution as the carbon testing only used parchment rather than the ink from the book. He said: “If the dates apply to the parchment and the ink, and the dates across the entire range apply, then the Quran—or at least portions of it—predates Muhammad, and moves back the years that an Arabic literary culture is in place well into the 500s.”

Small added: “This would radically alter the edifice of Islamic tradition and the history of the rise of Islam in late Near Eastern antiquity would have to be completely revised, somehow accounting for another book of scripture coming into existence 50 to 100 years before, and then also explaining how this was co-opted into what became the entity of Islam by around AD 700.” – HuffPost UK, 2 September 2015

» Paul Vale is a New York-based multimedia journalist writing for The Huffington Post across news, politics and international.

Birmingham Koran Fragment

Birmingham Koran Fragment

Birmingham Koran Fragment

Birmingham Koran Fragment

Has terror a connection to religion? – Maria Wirth

Maria Wirth“It is important to find out, whether there is something in the doctrine of Christianity and Islam, which is missing in Hinduism and Buddhism, and which allows or even fosters terror against outsiders. How was it possible for a Timur or Babur or Aurangzeb to have hundreds of thousands of civilian Hindu men slaughtered and their women and children taken as slaves only because they were Hindus? What mindset does it require to be able to do this?” – Maria Wirth

For Allah!“Terror has no religion” is often repeated by politicians and media. At the same time, the most dangerous terrorists of our times like the Islamic State and Boko Haram shout triumphantly “Allah ho Akbar” after brutally killing those whom they consider infidels or opponents of the caliphate. Common sense would suggest that at least these groups inflict terror in the name of Islam.

However, so far, the “correct” view is that these groups don’t follow Islam, but “Islamism“. They are misguided and have distorted the good Islam into a bad Islamism. So they are not Muslims, but Islamists or extremists who follow an “extremist ideology”. Islam has nothing to do with it. Terror may have an ideology, like communism or Nazism, but it has no religion. Obviously this explanation is meant to keep Islam away from scrutiny and its image “sacred”.

Chief Rabbi of Israel & Pope John Paul IIIn the same way, Pope John Paul II tried to keep Christianity and the Church above board, when in the year 2000, he finally asked “forgiveness from God for sins committed against Jews, heretics, women, gypsies and native people“. He, too, did not blame the Church but “sons and daughters of the Church” who committed “mistakes”.

These sons and daughters of the Church surely would proclaim, if they were still around, that they only followed the instructions of the Church—whether it was the brutal Christianization of Latin America, where millions were killed, or the “Holy Inquisition” which consciously used horrific torture and murder to make people fall in line with the unintelligible dictates of the Church.

Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiThe Jihadis of ISIS, too, don’t agree with the view that they misinterpret Islam. They are sure that they follow the true Islam and can quote numerous ayats from the Quran to support their view, for example 8.39: “Oh believers, fight them until there is no more mischief and the Deen of Allah (way of life prescribed by Allah) is established completely.”

If ISIS indeed represents “true” Islam, it is a cause for great concern and needs to be investigated. Why do politicians and community leaders shy away from putting religious texts on the table and under scrutiny? Why the Quran or the Bible is never mentioned when religion is discussed? On 20th July 2015, David Cameron vowed to deal with the poison of extremism. He said: “What we are fighting, in Islamist extremism, is an ideology. It is an extreme doctrine.”

Yet he did not mention the Quran once in his long speech. Why?

It is important to find out, whether there is something in the doctrine of Christianity and Islam, which is missing in Hinduism and Buddhism, and which allows or even fosters terror against outsiders. How was it possible for a Timur or Babur or Aurangzeb to have hundreds of thousands of civilian Hindu men slaughtered and their women and children taken as slaves only because they were Hindus? What mindset does it require to be able to do this?

Yes, there is indeed something in the Christian and Islamic doctrine that condones and even fosters violence, and it is easy to find out: Apart from the true core in all religions, i.e. the acknowledgement and worship of a higher power, Christianity and Islam inject the virus of supremacy into their belief system and contempt for “others” who they claim will be thrown into hell-fire for all eternity. They both claim that the full truth was revealed by the highest authority of the universe only to them and everyone has to believe it. Those who don’t are highly offensive to their God and will suffer for all eternity in hell-fire.

Obviously these two religions—Christianity started the trend—were not content with people worshipping a higher power by whatever name they chose. They wanted to control people and attain world dominion. And what a disaster it turned out to be for humanity! This claim “we have the full truth; God / Allah has chosen us (Christians / Muslims) over them (all others)” is poison for humanity. There is not a shred of Cross & Crescent evidence that this claim is true. In fact, it is clear that it cannot be the absolute truth, yet because it is enshrined in their respective ‘holy book’, nobody questions it.

Reading the Quran it becomes quickly clear that Allah has hatred for unbelievers and also for hypocrites among the believers (which gives Jihadis the justification to kill also Muslims apart from kafirs). He keeps reminding the believers again and again, how they will enjoy paradise and the unbelievers will suffer in hell. He even details the torture in hell in horrific detail. All this is there in the Quran.

Similarly, the Bible also claims that there won’t be any mercy for those who did not accept Christ during their one and only lifetime (the Church forbade the belief in rebirth in 553 AD). The hell for non-Christians is as bad as the hell for non-Muslims. There will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth”(Mathew 13.50)—and mind you, for all eternity….

Christianity and Islam never tried to sort out which one of the two is “only true”. They are content to claim “our belief system alone is true and only those, who adopt it, find favour with the Highest”. The reason may be that the top officials in the religious institutions don’t really believe what they tell their flock. If they would believe in eternal hell, several Popes would have lived their lives differently….

Injecting a feeling of supremacy into the faithful pampers to a human weakness—the weakness to feel superior to others, whether as an individual or a group. Belonging to a big group of like-minded people who confirm each other that they are favoured by God and superior, is for many reassuring. Especially in Islam, the brotherhood of the faithful plays a big role in making people stick to their religion.

The claim of both Christianity and Islam that God / Allah has made his will known at a certain point in time to a certain person and wants all to follow their respective religion, and if they don’t, they will be thrown into hell-fire is the poison that needs to be taken out from those ‘religions’.

Incidentally, the term ‘religion’ (Latin to bind or tie) was used from the 11th century on only for the Catholic Church and from the 16th century onwards also for Islam. People were tied into the belief-system, into which they were born, and not allowed to choose how they want to call or imagine the invisible, great Power—a freedom that India traditionally granted. So there is no need to bow one’s head and fold one’s hands in reverence, as soon as someone says ‘this is my religion’. Intelligent reasoning must not be forfeited.

HellNow what can be done? How can the poison be taken out?

This needs to be debated. However I consider one point important: the “others” (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Atheists, etc.) who are said to be thrown into hell-fire, would do well to protest the outrageous, untrue claim that they will suffer in hell for eternity. There is, however, a problem: how can they feel outrage at something, what they don’t believe in. In all likelihood, they consider this hell-claim ridiculous, not worthy of any repudiation. And of course they have a point.

But they overlook a crucial aspect that can become highly dangerous for them: they ignore the mindset which this claim produces in people who believe it. And they should not delude themselves that it is impossible to believe it. It is possible. I know from own experience.

True, nowadays in Europe, the Church (wisely) does not stress “hell” anymore, because many lost faith and even more would leave the Church, but in India it is stressed. The Christian converts, whom I asked, all believed in hell for Hindus, including an IIT professor who converted when he was working in the US. He even convinced his parents to convert. It is clearly a case of making otherwise intelligent persons stupid.

The Quran is full of quotes of hell for unbelievers. Further, Muslim youngsters hear five times daily the azan ending with the words:

“O Allah! Guide us to The Right Way. The Way of those whom You have favored, not of those who have earned Your wrath or of those who have lost The Way” (Quran 1.6,7).

Naturally, they may start to detest their Hindu brothers and sisters who have ‘earned the wrath’ of the Highest, because they don’t heed his words and convert to Islam.

If one day the call for Jihad were given, (Tarek Fatah mentioned in an article that even in Toronto mosques, imams pray for victory over the kafirs) their conscience would be already dysfunctional. They would see nothing wrong in ridding the earth of those who are arrogant enough not to heed the words of the one true God, which according to them are enshrined in the Quran or in the Bible.

Pakistani child terroristsHindus generally don’t realize the power and danger of a mindset, though they need only look to Pakistan. It is the best example of what can become of normal, well-meaning Indians when they are brainwashed into a hateful doctrine. How did Kasab I and II develop the mindset that it’s good to kill Hindus? Who or what is responsible? Or how is it possible for Christian missionaries to cheat simple Hindu folk to get them to sign up for baptism? Even the huge slave trade from Africa and the arrogance of western colonial powers towards the ‘natives’ probably had its root in the brainwashing of being superior and chosen. Rightly, ISIS in a video on the net talk about their brainwashed kids as their greatest asset.

Typically, Islam and Christianity try to avoid scrutiny of their religions for obvious reasons. They are interested to preserve their ‘true and holy’ image that they have enforced over centuries. Attempts are on not only to ban defamation, but even criticism of religions. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has already petitioned the United Nations and Saudi Arabia gave in July 2015 a call to the world to ban all criticism of religion.

Before this hopefully never succeeds, countries like India, China, Japan, Thailand, Myanmar and others should petition the United Nations to ban untrue claims about the afterlife of their non-Muslim and non-Christian citizens, as it breeds contempt and hatred for them.

When children read in their holy book in school how terrible ‘unbelievers’ are, some of them may later be ready to kill those whom they consider rejects by their God. ISIS is taking the Quran literally. They consider it their duty to establish a caliphate and sharia and bring the whole world under it. They are convinced they have made their life meaningful and scoff at those who criticize them as having an ‘extremist ideology’. They ‘know’ they follow the word of Allah.

Can they be blamed? If not them, who or what is to be blamed for their mindset? As long as they don’t doubt certain ayats of the Quran, any de-radicalization program is bound to fail. They will consider clerics who tell them not to follow the Quran to the letter “confused old men”, as a German Turk explained in an interview.

Adi Shankara & MadanmishraOver thousand years ago, Adi Shankara challenged Mandana Mishra for a debate. There is need for a debate today on different aspects of truth, including on whether there is eternal hellfire on the basis of one life or whether there is rebirth on the level of this universe. At least people need to be made aware about this hell claim and how ridiculous it is.

The true core of all religions needs to be strengthened. This core is common to all and beneficial. It is the claim that there is a great invisible power behind this visible universe. This true core was known since ages and is explained in the Indian tradition in its purest form. It is not an invention by Christianity and Islam. In fact, these two religions can learn from Hindu Dharma how many different ways of expressing one’s faith can live peacefully side by side. Hindu Dharma doesn’t tie its followers into a rigid belief system, but helps them to become free by realizing the truth in oneself.

Harmful, untrue dogmas like “this invisible power is jealous and wants this or that …  and if you don’t do it, it will throw you into hellfire” need to be weeded out.

Only then humanity can be one family.

» Maria Wirth is a German author and psychologist who lives in Uttarkhand.

Zeus