In the past two week, two events involving the Muslim world created disturbing images on TV. The first was the Mohammed cartoon controversy and the second was the HAMAS elections victory.
Why were there riots, death threats, boycotts from Muslims just because of some cartoons? Why did HAMAS win the elections? Both have the answer in the words and deeds of the founder of Islam, Prophet Mohammed.
In the case of the cartoons, the illustrators certainly did not expect such a violent reaction. Many of them are now in hiding, fearing for their lives. My guess is that when they drew the cartoons, they fell prey to the politically correct nonsense that Islam is a religion of peace and they assumed that peaceful people will not want to kill them just because of some silly cartoons. They were wrong.
The violent reaction form the Muslim world is precisely due to Prophet Mohammed's behavior in the 7th century. On the orders of the Prophet, Abu Afak was killed for speaking against the Prophet. When Asma bint Marwan, a poetess spoke out against it, she was killed in front of her children. (1)
To be fair, there was no freedom of speech in the 7th century in any part of the world. If you say things that offend any medieval ruler, you are risking your life. Therefore Prophet Mohammed's behavior was not unusual in his day. However, he is the founder of a faith and his actions are recorded in the hadiths and are now forever part of Islamic scriptures. Muslims regard their beloved prophet as the role model and seek to imitate him.
Those believing that Islam can be reformed will be dissapointed. Since Islam's founder killed his critics, it follows that his followers, even in the twenty-first century must do the same. Apologists of Islam sometime claim that those hadiths showing Prophet Mohammed ordering his men to kill his critics do not have reliable isnads and therefore must be rejected. If this is true, then somebody forgot to tell Mohammed Bouyeri who murdered Theo Van Gogh or the rioting Muslims offended by some silly Danish cartoons.
Next, we turn to why the Palestinians elected HAMAS. Why did the Palestinians give HAMAS a landslide victory? Most western newspapers simply say that the voters are tired of the corrupt, inept Fatah party. Even so, why did the voters prefer a party that promised to wage war with terrorist attacks to a party that promises to negotiate peace?
Corruption and incompetence in the Fatah party obviously contributed to their defeat. But the newspapers missed the most important reason. They have failed to examine how religious beliefs affected their votes. Just as Christian voters in America prefer Republican Bush to Democrat Kerry, religious Muslims prefer Islamist HAMAS to secular Fatah.
HAMAS promises jihad against the Jews and jihad is an important part of Islam. According to Islam, once a territory becomes Muslim, it must forever be Muslim. Thus if the land is subsequently lost, it must be recovered by jihad. See this excerpt from the HAMAS charter (2):
The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. ...
This is the status [of the land] in Islamic Shari’a, and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force, and made thereby Waqf lands upon their conquest, for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection.
The establishment of a non-Muslim state on previously Muslim land thus is an affront to fundamentalist Muslims. What makes it worse is that the land was taken over by Jews. In Islam, Jews being People of the Book may be tolerated once they are subjugated. But the Jews are protrayed as eternal enemies of Allah who will be massacred in Islam's version of the End Times. This is clearly mentioned in HAMAS' charter (2) in which Sahih Bukhari was quoted:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.(3)
Thus Judgement day will not come till Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. If this is all foretold by their Holy Prophet, then it becomes their duty to fight the Jews and not compromise with them. This makes it very difficult for the Israelis to make peace with the Palestinians - not when their Holy Prophet foretold the destruction of the Jews in the last hour.
It shows to the world the blind hate in the hearts of the Palestinian people. The Palestinians prefer to vote for a party that promises war with Israel than for a party, albeit corrupt, that promises to negotiate peace with Israel. It means that their party of choice is a party that carries out suicide bombings against innocent civillians. Civilized people are going to wonder what sort of people are the Palestinians and by association, Muslims in general.
What this means is that Bush's well-intentioned efforts to spread democracy in the Islamic heartlands are going to sink after crashing on the hard rock of Islam. Elections in Egypt brought a strong showing by the Muslim Brotherhood. Elections in Iraq brought to power Islamist parties friendly to Iran. Each election brought to power America's enemies. But you may say, "So What? Didn't elections in say Spain bring forth a government that opposes America's policies? Why should America expect elections to result in friendly governments?"
That is not the point. Elections elsewhere may bring forth governments that do not agree with America. These governments can come and go. (With the Islamists, it will be the case of "one man, one vote, one time only.") America can live with democracies that have shared values of human rights, seperation of religion and state, freedom of speech and religion. No Islamic state such as the one that HAMAS wants to implement has these values. To make things worse, the Islamists also seek to bring, first Muslim states and eventually the whole world to be under Islamic Law. Islamism is actually religious fascism, very much similar to Hitler's Nazi ideology. Just substitute Aryan master race with the Muslim Ummah and you will get the same supremacist ideology. Thus Islamists winning the elections is like Hitler winning the elections.
You can get a taste of this attitude of Islamic supremacy by comparing the Islamic Human rights declaration with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). (4) Under the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, the Muslim Ummah is proclaimed to be the "best nation", destined to "guide" the rest of humanity. Unlike the UDHR, there is no implication that all religious groups are to be treated equally. If Muslims are supposed to "guide", then it follows that the rest of us are supposed to follow. What if the rest of us do not want to follow, in accordance to Islam's script?
You can also see their strong belief of eventual Muslim world domination in this recent speech by HAMAS leader, Khaled Mash'al in Damascus:
Tomorrow, our nation will sit on the throne of the world. This is not a figment of the imagination, but a fact. Tomorrow we will lead the world, Allah willing. Apologize today, before remorse will do you no good. Our nation is moving forwards, and it is in your interest to respect a victorious nation.
Of course, the religious belief that Israel will eventually be destroyed runs deep:
If you fight them, they (Israel) will turn their backs on you, and will not be victorious." But the problem is that we need to fight them first. If we sleep at home, how are we to beat them?! 'If you fight them...' - that is a divine promise... 'If' - It is conditional: 'If you fight them, they will turn their backs on you and will not be victorious.' And indeed, when we began to fight, and we armed ourselves with a will to fight, we defeated them.
The two recent events (the cartoons and the HAMAS victory) may be dismaying but there actually are two silver linings. Firstly, with HAMAS in the government, any attack by HAMAS becomes an act of war and not just an act of terrorism. The Israelis can retailiate more forcefully than before because public opinion in Europe and America will be more on their side. HAMAS cannot change and make peace with Israel. The Palestinian Authority will lose its funding from the Europeans and the Americans. It will get money from the Iranians which will put a further strain on the Iranian economy.
Secondly, the politically correct left in America and the Europeans cannot pretend any longer that Islam is basically peaceful and America's problems with the Arab world are due to its close ties with Israel. They can now see that Islam's values are totally opposed to western values. Before these two incidents, there was a move in Europe towards censoring criticism of religion. Partly because of the cartoon fracas, the British Parliament has largely amended the Religious Hatred Law which in its original form would have made it a crime to criticise Islam. The mood in Europe has changed. Several European newspapers have republished the cartoons. The naive multi-culturalists will soon be wondering what they have done to allow into Europe millions of Muslims who refuse to adapt and integrate. If people begin to ask questions about the true nature of Islam, some good will come out of this.
(1)See the following link for others the Prophet ordered to be killed:
(3)Sahih Bukhari Book 041, Number 6985:
(4)Islamic Human Rights?
(5)See speech of Hamas leader:
Disclaimer: The articles published on this site represent the view of their writers.