By Ali Sina
Stories of the atrocities and the
bigotry of Muslim fundamentalists embarrass the moderate and
educated Muslims who desire to live in harmony with their
non-Muslim neighbors and feel nothing but compassion for the
rest of the world. As we all condemn these religious extremists
who blow the buildings, make bombs and engage in acts of
terrorism as misguided fanatics we have to question ourselves
whether we have any part in these terrorist acts of our most
radical fellow coreligionists. Are we, the moderate,
intellectual, law abiding, good citizen Muslims strengthening
Islamic fundamentalism by merely upholding Islam? Is really
Islam a religion of peace that is being misinterpreted and
abused by few unstable individuals who use it as an excuse to
justify their criminal tendencies, or is perhaps their crimes
against humanity inspired by the teachings of Quran, the very
book we call holy and the sacred words of God?
The Palestine/Israel war may be over land, but
the hatred of the Jews is fomented in Quran. (Bellow)
Palestinian boy dresses like a suicide bomber during a
'Land Day' demonstration in the West Bank city of
Ramallah, March 30, 2001. (Osama Silwadi/Reuters).
One of the biggest misconceptions is that
religions were pure in their original state and became
contaminated by misinterpretations. Nothing is farther from the
truth. Islam for example, started with violence. The pure Islam,
as is understood from Quran and exemplified by its author, is an
uncompromising, intolerant and fundamentalist religion. Any
attempt to mask Islam with a humane face goes against the tenets
of Islam and is doomed to fail. Any expansion of Islam fuels the
fundamentalist zeal of its adherents and promotes terrorism.
The assumption that religions were pure in their
original state has given rise to thousands of sects each trying
to revive the original purity of their religions according to
their biased thinking.
The other danger in upholding this false belief
is giving credit to the doctrines that essentially preach hate.
You cannot say Muhammad was a messenger of God and Quran is the
word of God, then ask those who want to live by it, killing the
disbelievers, usurping their properties and rights, abusing and
beating their own wives, not to. Why not? If Quran is the word
of God, then isn’t this, what Quran teaches?
To try to keep Islam and work within it, in order to make it a
tolerant and humane religion is not only impossible it is also
dishonest. It is impossible because it goes against the spirit
of Quran and the Sunnah (life examples) of the Prophet. It is
dishonest because a tolerant Islam is no more Islam. It would be
“bid’a” an innovation, which is considered to be heresy and
according to Islam is punishable by death. It would be the same
as Nazis tried to make their party more humane. The question is,
if it is good why change it? And if it isn’t why keep it?.
I do not blame the brainwashed fundamentalists
for doing what they are doing. At least they are honest. Their
faith and their deeds are consistent. I blame the moderate
intellectual Muslims for being dishonest, for upholding a
doctrine that promotes hate while giving lip service to “love”
and “tolerance”. To claim that Islam is a religion of peace that
teaches tolerance is as accurate as saying the same thing of
Nazism. Muslims are not bad people (Except those true ones who
would joyfully and readily kill the person whom they think is an
apostate). The average Muslim knows nothing of Islam. Very few
Muslims have really read the Quran and understood it. If the
good people who mistakenly call themselves Muslims read that
book, very few of them will remain faithful.
This very fact that good intentioned moderate
religious people try to give a “mystical interpretation” to the
inhumane and intolerant teachings of the religions is the very
cause of the problem. The originators of these religions were
all liars, with no spiritual insights or compassion. They were
religious bigots, fanatical nut-heads who lied compulsively and
convincingly. They were charismatic psychopaths like the modern
cult leaders that emerge everyday in our own time. Their early
followers were a bunch of illiterate foolhardy ignorant people.
They believed these impostors and followed them with heart and
soul. They gave their lives and took the lives of others to
establish those lies. They interpreted the harshness and the
intolerance of their leaders as the evidence of the truth. When
their prophets died many came up with stories of miracles that
they claimed to have witnessed, thus gaining attention and
respect among their peers. The subsequent generations elaborated
on the absurd teachings of those so-called “revealed books” and
tried to interpret them into something that would make sense.
Philosophers and mystics gave esoteric meanings to the blatantly
foolish talks of these prophets and finally the religion became
the way of life, each person taking the faith of the others as
the proof of the truth of that religion. “How can all these
people be wrong?” they would say and is the only force that
keeps religious people going.
As a matter of honesty it is important that we
sever our emotional umbilical cord from the religions and
question their truth impassionedly the way we would question any
scientific, literal or historic thesis. It is a mistake to read
what Rumi or other Sufis say in order to understand the inner
meaning of Quran. Quran has no inner meanings. The book of Quran
is clear. Any inner meaning attributed to it would be the
interpretation of the good hearted people who could not accept
the absurdities and the errors of that book and tried to
interpret it in a way that could measure up to their more
refined humane and intellectual understanding.
One can take any book and give it an “inner
meaning” and interpret it to suit his expectations. If someone
told you that the inner meanings of Hitler’s orders to cremate
the Jews is to burn all your attachment to the world and become
spiritually enlightened, you would probably take that person to
a psychiatrist, especially when all those atrocities took place
during Hitler's own life time and were ordered and supervised by
him. You would not be fooled if someone told you that Hitler’s
desire to conquer and subdue other nations was to bring peace
and prosperity and love of God everywhere. You would not be that
stupid to believe if someone told you that all the crimes
perpetrated by the Nazis were due to the misinterpretations of
Hitler’s orders. Then why are you so willing to fool yourself
when similar absurd excuses are made for Muhammad? He massacred
600 to 900 of the Jews after cutting the water to their quarters
burning their plantations and capturing them as the prisoners of
war, for no reason at all except his desire to enrich himself
with their wealth and the sale of their wives and children as
slaves. He sent assassins to the houses of his opponents during
the night to kill them. One of them was a mother of 5 small
children whose only crime was to compose a poetry that Muhammad
found insulting. He raped beautiful girls whom he captured
during his raids and sold the rest of the women as slaves. Are
there any “mystical interpretations” to these atrocities?
For how long we want to fool ourselves?
For how long we are going to keep our heads under the sand? For
how long should we try to look for gems of wisdom in the dung?
Muslim’s find their strength in their number and
the stories of conversions that they so joyfully share with each
other. If there are no such stories, they fabricate them. It
does not matter to them if Islam is true or false? They don’t
think it is up to them to make an independent search of the
truth and find the facts on their own. If they hear stories of
the conversion of others it is enough proof to them of the truth
of Islam. The say to themselves: “not all these people can be
wrong!” and then go about applying the atrocities that are
prescribed in Quran and Ahadith and the result is what you see.
It is up to us to stop this vicious cycle. As
Muslim intellectuals we have to reverse this trend. We have to
separate ourselves permanently from Islam, denounce it, and
write about it. When our numbers increase the masses who
believed in Islam relying on us will eventually feel lonely and
follow us. That is the only way to stop this lie from spreading.
Sitting by the side, trying to educate Muslims to be nice won’t
work. Telling Muslims that Islam is a tolerant religion that
respects women’s rights and the rights of non-believers, won’t
work. Because they know that it is not true. It has not worked
for 1400 years and it won’t work now. Mo’tazalies tried and
failed, Sufis tried and failed, Ataturk tried and failed. Every
attempt to make Islam more humane will fail because Quran is on
the side of the fundamentalists. As Taslima Nasrin wrote,
“Fundamentalism is a poisonous branch that stems from the trunk
of religion”. Until you do not uproot the tree, that poisonous
branch will keep shooting out.
The following is an article from The New York
Times that confirms my thesis that the new conversions to Islam
in one part of the world feeds Islamic terrorism in another
August 26, 2000
Behind the Veil, a Muslim Feminist
By BARRY BEARAK
Barry Bearak/ The New York Times
Asiyah Andrabi makes her demands for equal rights for women
from behind the all-enveloping burqa worn by conservative
RINAGAR, Kashmir -- Asiyah Andrabi, conservative Muslim and
radical feminist, believes that women should be heard and not
seen, so she makes her demands for equal rights from behind the
black cloth curtain of an all-enveloping burqa.
"The veil is for security as Allah wishes it," she said, pausing
to refresh her hidden mouth with sips of Coca-Cola. "If gold is
left uncovered along a roadside, anyone will grab it, because it
is a precious thing. It is the same with an uncovered woman."
There are other reasons for Ms. Andrabi to conceal her face. She
is a militant who opposes Indian rule here. For most of the last
decade she has been living either in jail or on the lam,
alternating her efforts between the liberation of women and that
Indian intelligence agents say they suspect that she is a
conduit for money to guerrilla groups.
But her notoriety is owed to flamboyant rather than clandestine
activities. As head of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, or Daughters of the
Community, she has led hundreds of women in street protests. At
times they have carried brushes and paint cans beneath their
burqas, blackening any advertisements that show scantily clad
With the same sense of righteousness, Ms. Andrabi has also
tossed colored dye into the faces of Muslim women who shun the
veil. Western dress is popular here in Srinagar, the summer
capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Often Ms. Andrabi is not.
"Such upstarts are like a plague for us," said one older Muslim
With so well-known a reputation and so little-known a face, Ms.
Andrabi, 37, carries about her short frame a sense of mystery.
But she is hardly press-shy, alerting favorite reporters
whenever she calls a protest.
Interviews with her are rare, though. She phones the reporters,
not the other way around. Rendezvous are set, broken, reset.
Finally, she kept a date, arriving late with her 8-month-old son
asleep on her shoulder.
"To people from the West I may seem a contradiction," she said
in excellent English, her diction a tip-off to an upbringing in
a wealthy family and a college education. "But I have never felt
that this veil -- this purdah -- has been a hardship to my
As if to serve up a suitably vexing contradiction to her
self-declared feminism, she said that lately she had been
nagging her husband to marry a few extra wives.
She explained: "Allah says a man can marry one, two, three or
four wives, but he must have the means to do justice to them
all. The jihad against India has left so many widows and
orphans. A man has a responsibility to look after them."
She told her life story.
Her father, a doctor, was a devout Muslim. But while he urged
her to get a secular education, he encouraged only his sons to
study the Koran.
She studied biochemistry at college in Srinagar. But when she
wanted to get an advanced degree, she said, her family refused
to let her leave home. While in a prolonged sulk, she happened
on a book about women who had converted to Islam.
"It shocked me that I was so unfamiliar with my own religion,"
she said. "It is a tragedy that only men go to the mosque, and
women are told their only duty is to look after the children. In
truth, Islam grants individuality to men and women. In heaven,
before Allah, a woman, too, will be asked about her worldly
She studied the Koran -- and encouraged other women to do the
same. "Our society cruelly restricts women, from the words of
the Prophet, from school, from jobs," she said, her voice taking
on an angry edge. "But in today's world women can even be
astronauts. So they must be educated. You know, an ignorant
woman cannot answer even the simplest question from her child,
and a mother must be the first school for her children."
In 1989 a revolt erupted in the predominantly Muslim Kashmir
Valley, an insurgency that still goes on. Ms. Andrabi believes
now, as she believed then, that Kashmir ought to sever itself
from India and become part of Pakistan, an Islamic state that in
her view needs to do better by its own women and be truer to its
"I believe the whole universe should be governed by the laws of
Islam, and Allah says all Muslims should be united as one," she
The Kashmir dispute involves dozens of political parties and
soldierly factions, some foreign, some domestic, some Islamic,
There is usually little role for women in such a male-dominated
occupation as holy war. "The social milieu does not allow it,"
said Abdul Ghani Bhat, the leader of an umbrella group of
Kashmiri organizations. "It's hard for a woman to go into the
market to make a speech or go into the forest to shoot a gun."
Ms. Andrabi, then, is quite the exception. Her husband, Muhammad
Qasim, who belongs to the militant group Jamiat-ul-Mujahadeen,
is her life partner in jihad. In 1990, at age 27, she told her
father that she would accept an arranged betrothal so long as
the groom was active in the insurgency. She met Mr. Qasim on the
day of their wedding, she said.
Each has been arrested several times. Indian jails are brutal
places, Ms. Andrabi complained. In 1993, when their first son
was a baby, she was jailed for 13 months. The infant was allowed
to stay with her. "But all he had was my breast milk," she said.
"They gave him not even a biscuit."
She wants her sons to grow up with gun in hand. "I want them to
be mujahids," she said. "I never pray or dream that they be
doctors or prime ministers. I want them to be mujahids who fight
for the cause of holy Islam."
If she ever has a daughter, she said, maybe she will be a prime
There you have it. In the above story we have an
educated women of well to do middle class family turning a
terrorist, tossing colored dyes in the faces of women without
Hijab, advocating violence, who wants to raise her sons as
terrorists with gun in their hands and has scooped so low that
even she encourages her husband to take other wives.
What made a nice middle class girl brought up in
a good family become a terrorist? A book that she read about the
conversion of women to Islam! That is all she needed to be
blazed by fanatical fervor and turn a terrorist.
New conversions, feed Islamic fundamentalism.
Moderate Muslim intellectuals feed Islamic fundamentalism. Any
success of Islam, feed Islamic fundamentalism. In a most bizarre
way, even the scientific contributions of a Muslim in the United
State, feeds Islamic fundamentalism.
Muslims suffer from a complex of inferiority.
The stories of the conversions of westerners, give them
reassurance, renew their hopes and encourage them to hold fast
unto their religion. But Islam is a fundamentalist religion.
Militancy is encouraged in Quran. The more the roots of Islam
are expanded the more the fundamentalist branches are
invigorated. You cannot fight Islamic fundamentalism without
fighting Islam itself.
The responsibility is upon moderate Muslim
intellectuals who care and who want to demolish the walls of
mistrust that exist between the West and the Islamic world, who
are concerned of the growth of Islamic fundamentalism and who
long to see Muslims opening up to the West being more
cooperative and acting as responsible citizens of a new united
This will not happen until Islam is not weakened
or completely eradicated. The self-righteousness, the hate of
the unbeliever, the advocacy for the use of violence are all
part of Islam, and prescribed in Quran. How can one be a “true”
Muslim and not hate the unbelievers?
what Quran teaches.
"Oh ye who believe! Murder those of the
disbelievers and let them find harshness in you."
"Slay the idolaters wherever you find them"
Q. 9: 5
"Fight those who do not believe in God and
the last day... and fight People of the Book, who do not
accept the religion of truth (Islam) until they pay tribute by
hand, being inferior"
Q. 9: 29
“Fight them on until there is no more
tumult and religion becomes that of Allah”
Q. 2: 193
For more verses like these click