Leaving Islam




by Marc J. Rauch

         Look, it has to be said.  There’s no getting around it, and in fact, being aware of it only helps to put everything in proper perspective: Islam is a bastard religion. 

         I don't mean this in a pejorative sense; I mean it in the primary dictionary sense.  Islam tracks its lineage from the birth of a child of unmarried parents. 

Now in today’s socio-enlightened climate, being born out-of-wedlock no longer has any real derogatory meaning, and I definitely approve of that societal change.  However, I do think it’s an intriguingly sardonic coincidence that a major religion could find its origins in the primary dictionary definition of a word, and then conduct itself according to the secondary dictionary definition of the same word.

I'm not raising the issue to be offensive, but in response to the tremendous amount of mainstream attention currently being given to the story of biblical Abraham, and how the three main monotheistic religions all supposedly owe their foundation to him and his progeny.  In particular, I'm referring to the book by Bruce S. Feiler (Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths) and the derivative Time magazine article by David Van Biema (September 30, 2002).

Although the two works are neither the first, nor the most authoritative on the subject, they are the latest and come at a most propitious time (as it relates to the marketing of such items).  I don't have a problem with the veracity of the information, after all who really knows what is or isn't true about Abraham, and certainly Feiler’s and Van Biema’s details are consistent with other respected dissertations.  The trouble is that both pieces espouse a Pollyanna perspective of today’s Islam-versus-the-world situation.  They attempt to make the case that by understanding Abraham, and how Abraham fostered the beginnings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (or how the three religions rely upon him to explain themselves), that we'll all live together peacefully. 

Instead, I find that Feiler’s and Van Biema’s efforts reinforce my own opinion that as long as we (the non-Islamic world) allow ourselves to think that we are dealing with a group of like-minded compassionate people who are willing to compromise over issues, we’re just heading for lots more trouble from them.  I think that Feiler and Van Biema remind us that we are facing an intractable foe.  A foe who ultimately seeks the destruction of anyone that does not surrender to their position, and who is only willing to find a middle ground when there is extreme physical danger in not doing so.

At the root of my contention is the manner in which Islam has co opted my religion, Judaism, and how the followers of Islam then justify their villainous actions based upon their bizarre revision of Jewish history and tenets.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting for one second that people don't have the right to believe what they want to believe.  They absolutely, positively do.  If someone wants to believe that the Moon is made of green cheese, bon appetite.  If they want to believe that their God is a tree in the backyard, happy climbing.  And if they want to believe that rocks can walk and talk, I couldn't care less.  But they’re not allowed to pick up that rock and hit me over the head with it simply because I don't share their belief.

This is exactly what Muslims have done, and are doing, with Islam.  It’s like they've taken the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and changed it to Snow White living with the Three Little Pigs who let down Repunzel’s hair so that Pinocchio can weave it into a poisonous red apple.  Excuse me, but that ain't Snow White’s story.

I'm not arguing this point based on truths and facts.  As I stated earlier, no one knows the truth or the facts: there is only belief. 

Stories can be changed, they can be adapted, they can be updated, and maybe they can even be made more appealing.  Three wise men of Broadway (Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim) took Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and turned it into West Side Story.  Hey, there’s no problem; they did a great job in the transformation.  But Laurents, Bernstein and Sondheim didn't then go around killing those people that tried to read or stage the original version of Romeo and Juliet.  They didn't go on a raping spree in order to force women and children into believing that Juliet was really a Puerto Rican named Maria.

When the merchant trader Muhammad ibn Abdallah took a nap in a cave in the year 610 and woke up thinking that he had a divine revelation, neither he nor any of his Arab brethren knew anything about Abraham or Abraham’s sons.  The story of Ishmael was not a part of Arab folklore or Arab history or Arab mythology.  Muhammad only heard the story of Abraham and Isaac and Ishmael during the years he was trying to learn about Judaism in order to convince the Jews and then the Christians that he was God’s latest and greatest messenger.  He needed a route to legitimacy, a path of succession for himself and the Arab people, so he latched on to the Ishmael story.  Somehow or another, he was able to draw family-tree diagrams in the sand that convinced other Arabs that he was the direct descendant of someone that may or may not have lived 2,600 years before him (that’s about 10,000 generations by contemporary measurements).  

If there was ever a miracle, it was in getting other Arabs to believe him.  However, even if someone wanted to seriously postulate that the conversion of thousands of Arabs from polytheistic idolatry to monotheism might have been a real miracle, it still doesn't give Muslims the right to go around hitting non-Muslims over the head with the Koran.  It's especially inexcusable if the assaults are simply because they don't like our songs and choreography of the same stage play.

Incidentally, the Abraham-Ishmael story wasn't even a regular part of Jewish folklore and history until the 1st century, when the Jewish historian Josephus wrote a couple of books for Vespasian, the Roman general and emperor.  Josephus, born Joseph ben Mattathias, was a Hebrew general who had been captured and brought before Vespasian to be executed or sold into slavery.  He begged for mercy and in exchange for his life he offered to write about the Roman-Judean battles and to make Vespasian look like a hero.  Josephus was the Benedict Arnold of ancient Israel.  In writing his books, Josephus “fleshed out” many of the unfinished and unexplained tales of Jewish history.  His fabricated elements of the Abraham-Ishmael story was written about two thousand years after it purportedly occurred.

In any event, as Feiler and Van Biema set forth in their works, six hundred years later Muhammad and his followers began to transform what was originally only a disconnected footnote in Jewish mythology into one of mankind’s most dogmatic and deadly doctrines.  Unfortunately, the revisions and adaptations haven't stopped.  The Snow White story continues to get new chapters and characters: Johnny Appleseed took seeds from Pinocchio’s poison apple and planted them throughout America so that all Americans would grow up to be evil.  And the only way to defeat the evil Yankee-dogs is to knock down the World Trade Center buildings and have diamondback rattlesnakes and heavenly angels (from Arizona and Anaheim, respectively) beat them in a baseball game. 

For those of you who have been wondering how the New York Yankees could have lost the last two years, now you know.  As a rabid Yankee fan, I can assure you that I'm sticking with this explanation.

Meanwhile, Muslim clerics keep rewriting Jewish and Christian theological history.  According to them, rather than Abraham being commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac, in the supreme act of fealty (which pretty much provides the entire underpinning of Judeo-Christian belief), Abraham was really going to sacrifice his bastard son, Ishmael (thereby establishing the foundation for the Islamic religion).  Keep in mind that this revision comes nearly four thousand years after the event presumably took place, not to mention the thousands of years of traditional Abraham-Isaac storytelling.

As I said before, and it’s worth repeating again, Muslims can believe what they want.  There's no hard and fast physical evidence to prove any of this, regardless of the perspective.  They just shouldn't be such bastards about it.  Stop trying to kill others with a distortion of the other peoples’ own story.  Wise and creative men like Laurents, Bernstein and Sondheim are already on our team, we don't need Islamic help to dream up new interpretations of our own classics.

The bottom-line is how extensive and insidious Arab and Islamic revisions are.  In their rush to find legitimacy for their positions they’re willing to trample anyone or anything.  When Muslims are not rewriting our bible, they’re changing modern history to make it look like they’re the suffering victims of infidel aggression, instead of being the instigators.  They always have some new mumbo-jumbo to justify why it’s okay for them to blow up school buses carrying children, office buildings filled with workers, or night clubs crowded with vacationers.

Moreover, because the world has not yet put its collective foot down to help stop this nonsense, the Muslims are now busy organizing symposiums to insist that the Holocaust never happened and that Jews are not really Jews at all.  Funnily enough, the epitome of Islam’s audacious revisionism will probably come when Muslims finally declare that they are actually the Jews of antiquity.  When they do, after you stop laughing, remember that you read it here first.

To paraphrase what my parents used to say; "If you can't play nicely with our Abraham, then leave our story alone."

About the author:

Marc J. Rauch was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1952, and lived in the metropolitan area until “emigrating” to the West Coast in the early 80s.  He is a multi-award winning TV/film writer, producer, and director, and has been a broadcasting and marketing executive since the 1975.  Marc lectures on various subjects concerning broadcasting, new media, and the Middle East at conferences and seminars throughout the U.S. and Europe.  In 1994, he authored a book on advertising and has had several business and industry articles published in a variety of related magazines.  His political commentaries are regularly published in several print and online publications.


Jews, God and History, Max I. Dimont, 1962
A History of God, Karen Armstrong, 1993
Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths, Bruce S. Feiler, 2002
The Legacy of Abraham, TIME magazine, David Van Biema, Sept. 30, 2002








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