In the previous chapter I explained why Islam should be regarded as a political movement akin to fascism. In this chapter we shall learn about the cultic nature of Islam.
In an article titled “Islam: Religion or political ideology?” Robert Spengler of Asia Times wrote:
“The philosopher Immanuel Kant claimed that Judaism was not a religion, but a mere body of laws. Secular Jews would agree with him. Some secularized Muslims say the same about Islam, for example Ali Sina of www.faithfreedom.org. Sina writes: ‘Islam is not a religion. Considering Islam a religion is a mistake that could cost millions of lives. Islam is a political movement set to conquer the world. It is the Borg of the non-fictional world. Islam has one goal and one goal alone: to assimilate or to destroy.’”
He commented: “Kant was wrong, but wrong in a way that helps clarify the problem. Ali Sina and other Muslim secularizers are just as wrong. I shall argue that Islam is both a religion and a political ideology. Religion is what makes Islamic political ideology so dangerous.”
I don’t disagree with Spengler. I suppose the difference between us is in semantics. What do we mean by religion? Religion is one of those terms that to each has a different meaning. Paul Connelly, in an article titled “Definition of Religion and Related Terms” offers an “inclusive enough” definition of religion “to not leave out any of the beliefs and practices that seem religious to most intelligent people.” He writes:
“Religion originates in an attempt to represent and order beliefs, feelings, imaginings and actions that arise in response to direct experience of the sacred and the spiritual. As this attempt expands in its formulation and elaboration, it becomes a process that creates meaning for itself on a sustaining basis, in terms of both its originating experiences and its own continuing responses.” [http://www.darc.org/connelly/religion1.html]
Based on this broad and “inclusive enough” definition of religion hardy any belief that tends to reshape some aspect of human behavior can be excluded.
Take the example of People’s Temple , the cult created by Jim Jones whose 900 followers willingly fed a poison-laced drink to their children, administered it to their infants, and drank it themselves. Their bodies were found lying together, arm in arm.
A tape recorded as the final ritual was being enacted reveals that the believers, with only few exceptions, voluntarily drank the poison and fed it to their children.
Jim Jones was an atheist. He was advocating “social justice”, communism and socialism. He did not believe in a god or afterlife. He was THE sacred and THE cause.
Jeanne Mills, who spent six years as a high-ranking member before becoming one of the few who left the People’s Temple wrote:
“There was an unwritten but perfectly understood law in the church that was very important: No one is to criticize Father (Jones), wife, or his children ” (Mills, 1979). Deborah Blakey, another long-time member who managed to defect, testified: “Any disagreement with [Jim Jones’s] dictates came to be regarded as “treason.”” [Blakey, June 15, 1978.] www.cultbuster.faithweb.com/jimjones.htm
Could we possibly consider People’s Temple religion? Spengler writes:
“All religion, Franz Rosenzweig argued; respond to man’s anxiety in the face of death (against which philosophy is like a child stuffing his fingers in his ears and shouting, “I can’t hear you!”).”
People’s Temple , falls into this definition. Jim Jones warned his followers of an imminent nuclear disaster and took them to the jungles of Guyana , promising them that after the end of the world they would be the only ones who would survive. If the belief in afterlife is irrelevant to categorize a doctrine as a religion, then People’s Temple was a religion by all means.
Spengler agrees that even communism can be thought of as a religion where History or dialectic materialism takes the place of God and acts as the inevitable destiny of the society. Nonetheless, he sates that History is no god, and cannot be equated to an omnipresent omniscient god that takes the form of a being.
Therefore it is all the question of definition. Spengler himself says that we require a working definition of religion before making further sense of the issue.
Based on Connelly’s “inclusive definition” of religion sated above and on Spengler’s and Rosenzweig’s idea of religion that vests any doctrine that “responds to man’s anxiety in the face of death” with the mantle of religion, almost all cults are qualified to be called religion because virtually all of them believe in one sort or another of afterlife, punishment and rewards.
Seventy four followers of the Order of the Solar Temple committed mass suicide and shot their children in the head because they believed their fiery ritual murder-suicides will take them to a new world on the star Sirius. The suicides were not intended to end the life but to perpetuate it and immortalize it in another plane. The founders of the cult, Luc and Joseph, in a letter delivered after their deaths, wrote that they were “leaving this earth to find a new dimension of truth and absolution, far from the hypocrisies of this world.”
We have similar statements made by Muhammad, the founder of Islam. He wrote:
“Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance from their Lord. They rejoice in the Bounty provided by Allah…the (Martyrs) glory in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve. They rejoice in the Grace and the Bounty from Allah, and in the fact that Allah suffereth not the reward of the Faithful to be lost (in the least).” (Q.3:169)
Whether the belief of immortality is in an imaginary heaven or in an imaginary star is immaterial. The point is the same; death is glorified for a promise of a better existence elsewhere or elsetime. Therefore if Islam is a religion so is the Order of Solar Temple. If the requisite of a religion is to have a body of sacred beliefs then People’s Temple is also a religion. Jim Jones was a sacred being for his followers and his cause was sacred. So sacred, that they were willing to give up their lives for him.
Examples abound; we can talk of the Japanese Shoko Asahara and his cult Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth). The leader of this cult ordered his followers to release Sarin gas in the subways of Tokyo that resulted in the death of a dozen of people and hundreds of others were injured for life. Furthermore this cult is suspected of a series of slayings and kidnappings of anti-cult activists and of preparing to overthrow the Japanese government – all in the name of “good karma.”
According to Shoko Asahara, “poa” killing relieved victims from everyday life and the inevitable accumulation of bad karma. Thus what we call cold-blooded murder was regarded “as a beautiful ‘poa’ (kill) and wise people would see that both the killer and the person killed would benefit” He taught his followers.
Compare this to Muhammad’s raids and killing sprees in the name of monotheism. Assassinations, murders, lootings, rapes and even genocide were considered to be acts of piety if done in the name of Allah and for the promotion of his cause. What to us is terrorism to a Muslim is Jihad and a pillar of faith.
So if we are to take the “inclusive definition” of religion proposed by Spengler, then all the cults must also be accepted as religion.
I have no problem with that definition. And perhaps that is the more accurate definition of religion. In that case I fully agree with Spengler that Islam is a religion. But he must also agree that with that definition all cults qualify for that nomenclature.
When I said Islam is not a religion, I had a less philosophical, a more conventional notion of religion in mind. The popular understanding of religion is that it is a set of codes of conduct to elevate the individual’s spirituality, to uplift his soul and make him a better human being. In practice, perhaps few, if any of the present religions qualify for this definition. When religions are firmly believed, they become instruments of mind control and not of liberation. Religion is often used to justify cruelty and violence. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), philosopher and mathematician wrote: “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”
History can witness to the truth of what Pascal says. That is what religions do in practical terms. However, in theory, religion is meant to teach people goodly manners, honesty, compassion, forbearance, tolerance, love and unity. It is to this theoretical definition of religion that I was hinting when I said Islam is not a religion.
Most mainstream religions fall into that definition! Why Islam is not a religion is because it was created not as end to itself but as a tool to achieve a temporal and a political goal. Islam is not a doctrine created to teach man spirituality, or make him enlightened. The spiritual message in Islam is secondary or virtually inexistent. It is used as bait to lure the believer and give him the feeling of sacred and otherworldliness. The promise of a reward whether in the form of resurrection or afterlife, is essential to muzzle the believers and goad them to do things that normally they would not do. Islam was created to advance political objectives – religion was the pretext.
Muhammad was a megalomaniac narcissist with the reveries of grandiosity. He created Islam to dominate people and make them do what he desired. Religion, God, monotheism, prayers and other rituals were instruments that he employed in order to grab their attention and impose on them his will. These were just excuses to keep the people busy and hooked.
Muslims often ask, if Muhammad was a liar why he made a religion so hard to follow? If he was looking for followers shouldn’t he have made his religion easier?
The truth is that the more a cult is difficult the more appealing it becomes. It is in a human psyche that we appreciate something for which we strive harder and do not value things that we find easily or freely.
See the other dangerous cults like the cult of Jim Jones or the cult of Shoko Asahar, the Mooni or the Heaven’s Gate. These were not easy cults at all. People handed all their belongings to their cult leaders and left their jobs to follow them. They lived very austere lives. Generally abstaining themselves from sex while the cult leader had full access to sex. In the case of David Koresh he told his followers women belong to God and since he was the messiah they belong to him. So he slept with the wives of his followers and with their teenager daughters. But he preached celibacy for men. Shoko Asahara, Jim Jones and basically all of them punished severely those who disobeyed them and the followers thought the biggest punishment is excommunication. These cult leaders would ostracize those members who asked too many questions and these idiots sometimes committed suicide thinking God and his messiah are angry with them and hence life is not worth living anymore. Or perhaps they committed suicide to prove to their leaders that they are loyal and in this way seek forgiveness. Muhammad used this kind of punishment too. Ka’b the poet of Medina tells his own story of being punished by Muhammad with excommunication for 50 days during which time no one ever spoke to him and his wife left him.
All the cults demand sacrifice from their followers. This is the way you can prove your faith and loyalty. You will gain the pleasure of “god” or the guru by sacrificing everything even your life. Cults praise hardship and disdain easy life.
Scientologists know that too. They have different levels of courses. Level one will cost you about a dollar for every hour of course; as you advance you’ll be asked to pay more. One man who paid $1,200 in advance for a 50 hour course completed it in 20 minutes, which meant he spent about $1 a second for auditing. The rationale is that the more you pay for something the more you value it. “Nothing is expensive when your happiness is at stake.” That is why all the cults are difficult to follow and they require sacrifices from their followers. To encourage his followers to sacrifice Muhammad said:
” Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward,-(4:95)
The more dangerous a cult is the more difficult it becomes. In fact some cults won’t accept you as a full member until you prove your loyalty by making huge sacrifices, which are considered as the test of your faith and devotion. So the trick works. If it was easy no one would have taken it seriously.
The cult leaders know this weakness in human psyche. They are psychopath narcissists. Control and domination comes natural to them. They love to be demanding, they love to see people do strenuous tasks for them so they feel the power and savor the sensation that they are in control of others people’s lives. These fools will do anything their gurus tell them to do, including waging war for him, killing for him and sacrificing their lives. This feeds the narcissist’s craving for power and control. It works like hand in glove. The cult leader enjoys the power and his benighted followers think because he is too demanding and harsh on them his cult must be true.
Why in the world the followers of the cults accept to be punished even physically when they can easily walk away and never come back? It is because the harsher a cult is and the more sacrifice it demands, the more believable it becomes.
All cults have very rigorous rituals. The believers become obsessed to follow these rituals to achieve salvation and are warned that if they fail in performing these rituals rightly they are committing major sin. They become slaves of mindless rituals that they perform, allegedly to please God or to be “enlightened”. In this way the cult leader keeps them in his perpetual leash.
Islam is one of the most demanding cults. Muslims are to wake up at early hours of the mornings to perform the ritual of fast and abstain from food and water for long hours. They are supposed to perform obligatory prayers five times per day. (Funny that in one hadith Muhammad claimed that Allah originally ordered 50 times prayers per day and he bargained with Allah to reduce it to 5 times only. In this way he wanted to make Muslims grateful to him for being kinder than Allah and trying to make life easier for them.) These prayers are constant brainwashing. You drill some jumbo mumbo and perform these automatic and moronic exercises and keep brainwashing yourself.
Muslims are asked to abstain from certain foods, from listening to music and from socializing with the opposite sex. If they are women they must cover themselves in layers of veil in the scorching heat of the summer. They must cut their ties with their non-Muslim family and friends. These are all hardships and sacrifices that make a believer think he is gaining something precious in exchange.
Instinctively we humans think “no pain no gain”. Even our primitive ancestors used to give sacrifices including their children to appease their gods.
Humans think the bigger is the pain the greater is the reward. These hardships in Islam, and in all cults, are in fact their main appeal. We humans think anything hard is better than anything easy. The harder a cult is, the truer it appears.
Narcissists do not promote themselves directly. This would make them repulsive. They instead manipulate people and give them a cause and present themselves as the personification of that cause. The cause becomes the most important thing and it can’t exist without them. Hence indirectly they become the center of the universe and the most important person.
In People’s Temple , “social justice” was the pretext and Jones was the personification of his cause. Jeanne Mills writes:
“There was never a question of who was right, because Jim was always right. When our large household met to discuss family problems, we didn’t ask for opinions. Instead, we put the question to the children, “What would Jim do?” It took the difficulty out of life. There was a type of “manifest destiny” which said the Cause was right and would succeed. Jim was right and those who agreed with him were right. If you disagreed with Jim, you were wrong. It was as simple as that. [Mills, 1979]
Hitler, who also created a cult of personality around himself was not openly glorifying his person but rather the cause of Aryanism and the superiority of Germany .
Muhammad did not ask his followers to worship him. He claimed to be just a messenger of a god that only he could contact. Once that belief was established, then he demanded obedience by adroitly calling his followers to obey “Allah and his messenger” and since his imaginary Allah was his own alter ego, the obedience was to Muhammad alone.
The causes are to hide the hidden agendas of the cult leaders. Dr. Sam Vaknin, a psychologist and an expert in narcissism writes:
“Narcissists use anything they can lay their hands on in the pursuit of narcissistic supply. If God, creed, church, faith, institutionalized religion can provide them with narcissistic supply, they will become devout. They will abandon religion if it can’t.”
With this understanding, is it still correct to call Islam a religion? Islam was an instrument of domination, a way to fool the gullible to wage war for Muhammad, kill and willingly accept death to advance Muhammad’s dreams and satisfy his ambitions. That is why Islam was invented. After Muhammad, his religion was used for the same very purpose. It bonded the followers together; it inspired them to sacrifice themselves, commit unthinkable atrocities and fulfill Muhammad’s reveries of world domination.
The religious aspect of Islam was created later by Muslim philosophers. A theology was invented; mystical and esoteric interpretations were given to asinine sayings of Muhammad. The religion was molded gradually by the followers and the passage of time gave it the seal of antiquity and credibility.
Therefore the answer to the conundrum whether Islam is a religion or not depends on how we define religion. If Islam is a religion, so are Nazism, communism, Satanism, Heaven’s Gate, People’s Temple , Branch Davidian and all other cults. They all should be considered as religions too. But if we think of religion as a philosophy of life created to educate, to bring forth the human potentials, to elevate his soul, stimulate his spirituality and make him enlightened, then Islam fails miserably that litmus test and should not be regarded as a religion.
Islam is an imperialistic cult in the garb of religion. I wholeheartedly agree with Spengler when he says “Religion is what makes Islamic political ideology so dangerous.”
What makes Islam dangerous is not because it is a religion but because it is not. Islam is a thief in police uniform. The agenda of Islam is entirely imperialistic and political but its modus operandi is religious. It is this disguise and duplicity that makes Islam unpredictable and dangerous.
Neither religion nor politics are dangerous. Both politics and religion have their place in our world. Each fulfils a specific role and satisfies a certain need. But when we have a political movement with seventh century mentality, that aims to conquer the world, presents itself in the garb of religion and demands religious status; we are dealing with an imposter and there lies the danger. The danger is that while Islam claims to be a religion, its followers do not shy away from political assassinations, subversive activities, terrorism, sabotage, espionage and other ballistic acts that have little to do with religion and spirituality and are purely political in nature.
Islam has one goal and that is to overthrow the present governments and establish the Khilafat. Let there be no mistake as to what Islam is about. Let us listen to the words coming out of the mouth of the horse. In this case the horse is Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s Spokesperson:
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future…But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
Whether it is through education or through violence and Jihad, the aim is clearly stated. Islam is not created to make people enlightened, spiritual, loving, caring and decent people. Islam is not a religion of personal growth. Islam is a tool to mobilize the masses and to ultimately score political victories, subvert the governments and establish the Islamic domination.
Whether we want to call Islam a religion or not is a question of semantics. How we define religion is up to us. We can define it so inclusive that Islam also could be qualified as a religion. However, under no circumstances we should forget that Islam is first and foremost a political movement. Its aim is not spiritual but very temporal and political.
Once Islam is recognized as politics, then it would be up to the politicians to oppose it. Disguised as religion, it not only fools its followers, encouraging them to sacrifice their wealth and their lives for its political agenda, it also remains immune from being opposed by other political parties. It actually procures the assistance of the rival political parties while surreptitiously it advances its own political agenda undermining the stability of all other parties and the host government.
Judaism also cannot be separated from politics or in this case Zionism. The religion is created to preserve the integrity of the Judaic nation. This however, does not present any danger to anyone else. We all have our nations and we are all protective of them. For the Jews nationalism has a religion overtone. But nationalism per se is not dangerous. What is dangerous is imperialism. Imperialism is dangerous because it tries to extend the authority of one group or nation on others by establishing economic and political hegemony over other nations.
Spengler wrote: “Ali Sina is wrong: Islamic expansionism arises from religious motives, that is, a holy rage against the encroachment of death upon traditional society. In the form of Islam, the West confronts a challenge quite different from communism.”
Judaism is purely nationalistic, but it is not imperialistic. Conversely Islam is purely imperialistic but not nationalistic. Unlike what Spengler says Islamic expansionism is not just “a holy rage against the encroachment of death upon traditional society.” Yes, he is right, to a certain degree. Muslims feel threatened by the western civilization, by science, by secularization, by democracy, by equal rights for women and by enlightenment. Probably to that fear you could attribute the Islamic revolt of the 1979 in Iran . But today’s Islamic terrorism is inspired by Islamic imperialistic fervor. What is it that Muslims want to protect in America or in Europe ? They are doing Jihad here, not to protect Islam but to expand it.
Our problem is that we fail to listen. All we have to do is to listen to what Muslims say. Let us listen this time to the words coming out of the mouth of another horse, Osama Bin Laden. In his letter addressed to America he wrote:
“As for… what are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?
The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.” [http://observer.guardian.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,845725,00.html]
The message is very clear. Muslims are waging a Jihad to take over the world. They can preserve their traditional society and live in the caves if they like. No one is forcing them to educate themselves and modernize. But that is not what they want. They want to impose their traditional society on our society. They want to dominate and take over the world and religion is just a convenient tool in their quest.