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The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology

The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology
(Ibn Warraq, November 29, 2017)

Transcript available below

About the speaker

Author Ibn Warraq‘s most recent book is The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology. In it, he takes the dogmas of jihadists seriously and critically examines the Islamic sources upon which they draw. Ibn Warraq is perhaps most famous for his best-selling work, Why I Am Not a Muslim (1995), an early warning to the West about the dangers of political Islam and multiculturalism. He has edited and contributed to several books of Koranic criticism and on the origins of Islam: The Origins of the Koran, 1998; The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, 2000; What the Koran Really Says, 2002; Which Koran? 2011; and Christmas in the Koran, 2014.

Bernard Lewis has written that, “Ibn Warraq exemplifies the rarely combined qualities of courage, integrity, and intelligence.” Ibn Warraq’s Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism, 2007, was described by distinguished professor Paul Berman as “a glorious work of scholarship, and it is going to contribute mightily to modernizing the way we think about Western civilization and the rest of the world.” In Why the West is Best, 2011, Ibn Warraq addressed the need for Western civilization to regain its civilizational self-confidence. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has said that “Warraq’s books have defended Western civilization and have reminded us what we are fighting for.”

He is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Westminster Institute, a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and a contributing editor to The New English Review. He studied Arabic and Persian at the University of Edinburgh.


Robert Reilly:

Now, we’re particularly pleased to have as our speaker tonight a gentleman who is currently senior research fellow at the Westminster Institute, Ibn Warraq, who was kind enough to come down from New York to be with us tonight. So he commutes. He’s senior research fellow here. He’s also senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

Now, he has an extraordinary background, including studies with Montgomery Watt and many of you who have studied Islam will know Montgomery Watt is one of the most significant scholars in that field. Ibn Warraq was a student of his. He is the author of many books ten of them on the subject of Islam.

As you know, his most recent book which he’s presenting on tonight is “The Islam in Islamic Terrorism, the Importance of Beliefs, Ideas and Ideology.” We have some books for sale and for Ibn Warraq signing after his lecture tonight.

Now, among the books for which Ibn Warraq is famous one going back 25 years is, “Why I am not a Muslim” also, “The Origins of the Quran: The Quest for the Historical Muhammad,” “What the Quran Really Says,” “Defending the West,” a critique of Edward Said’s “Orientalism,” “Why the West is Best” and other such works. Ibn Warraq studied Arabic and Persian at the University of Edinburgh, Edinborough.

We’re delighted to have him tonight to speak on the subject I just warn you I will be the one officiating at the question and answer session. Please keep your questions brief tonight so that a number of you you have a chance to ask questions and Ibn Warraq has a chance to answer them but I’ll be the one calling on you to do that. Please join me in welcoming Ibn Warraq.

Ibn Warraq:

Good evening and thank you. What a splendid introduction. Robert just mentioned Montgomery Watt. I said a lot of harsh things about him. Perhaps enough Freudians can make what they want. He was my professor and I really didn’t like him much. I wasn’t a particularly great student either. I went off in a in a knit in disgust and did another degree in philosophy with Roger Scruton as my tutoring. Anyway, I will be talking about my book.

The arguments of the book are fairly fairly straightforward. I think and if they all spelled out in detail in the analytical table of contents so it makes my job much easier. Tonight in in a sense but I have a lot to get through. All the same the I begin with a couple of quotes from two to two people one was an expert Marc Sageman. Bob has written about him. I do know perhaps his presence tonight and the other one was from a reader who it turned out was a a fellow at the Claremont Institute in in California here is what Marc Sageman says Marc’s age when a government counterterrorism consultant asserts that tourism is not quote, “the result of the beliefs and perceptions held by the terrorists.”

His claiming beliefs have nothing to do with the terrorists this is an expert on counterterrorism second is the is the you reader who sent me this note which I got so email the idea of the sacred Quran has existed for fourteen hundred years give or take but we have seen Islamic terrorism only over the past forty or so the Quran is not the issue end of quote this is a incredible shows incredible ignorance of the history of Islam and the violence associated with with with the beliefs I try to argue that Islam and Islamic terrorism rather did not just emerge ex nihilo in the last 40 years or so but from its foundation in the seventh century violent movements have arisen seeking to revive true Islam which his members felt had been neglected in Muslim societies who were not living up to the ideals of the earliest Muslims groups such as the 7th century Israelites sought to revive forgotten beliefs and rituals and to cleanse the body of his LOM of the corrupt practices that had tarnished the pristine Muslim religion today do bandy extremists for example can only be understood against developments within Islam during the 18th and 19th centuries in particular the philosophy of shah wali olaf who died in 1762 and so on and then another historical fact as she’s little owned in fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen any even any general introduction to Islam or Islamic history has ever talked about what I talk about in two or three of my chapters that’s the religious violence in the ninth and early 10th century Baghdad associated with such ideologues as Sally burn Salma and Barbra hari and the rejection of innovation in Arabic Vida followed by more religious violence in Baghdad between 991 Common Era and 1092 Common Era the violent card is a daily movement in 17th century Istanbul may well have influenced the movement launched by a plenum of the Wahb in Arabia in the 18th century which in turn has influenced almost every modern terrorist movement why the extremism spread as far as India and was we are still feeling its effects far beyond Arabia to this day as to to the scholars that I rely on in my introduction one of them has pointed out that you’ve really got to keep to understand the modern movements you have to keep referring back to the history of the violence the history of the revivalist movements whether in India in in in West Africa in in in North Africa and so on the reason this is one one such scholar who’s that she’s at forget much university she is but she’s a specialist this is Madeline’s elfish is a specialist on the last centuries of the Ottoman Empire says that the reason Islamic fundamentalists received such enthusiastic endorsement in the Islamic community lies in that community’s attitude to its own romanticized past perceived as a period of righteousness ever since the epoch of the FET and his noble companions there has been a gradual distancing it was felt from its ideals since all human activity is seen as sacred matter any change in behavior manners of dress is seen as an unacceptable innovation that represents a falling away from the norms established by the prophet and his companions as a tradition that’s fair hadith reminds us every innovation is heresy every heresy is error and every error leads to health this was a quote from Madeline’s Elfie III on the whole I rely on primary texts for my for my for my book but there is certain amount of argument from Authority I do rely on people like Montgomery Ward and Bernard Lewis and Maxima hold and so on the three greatest normal logs at the last sixty years or so incidentally Bernhard Lewis is still alive. He’s 101 so him just a few years a few few weeks ago I don’t think he recognized me but anyway and they all I don’t know what it is about Islamic studies but Montgomery Ward lived to be 97 and max even Holden’s aunt lived to be 89 I got to know Rodin so as well as Bernhard Lewis with his customary elegance that he must be surely the finest writer of prose the last fifty years about it Lewis his ear oat not no one least of all the Islamic fundamentalists themselves will dispute that their Creed and political program are not compatible with liberal democracy but his Lama Conda mentalism is just one stream among many in the 14 centuries that have passed since the mission of the Prophet there have been several such movements fanatical intolerant aggressive and violent led by charismatic religious figures from outside the establishment they have usually become by denouncing the perversion of the faith and the corruption of society by the false and evil Muslim real rulers and leaders of their time sometimes these movements have been halted and suppressed by the ruling establishment at other times they have gained the power and used it to wage holy war first at home that’s usually referred to as the near enemy against those whom they saw as backsliders and apostates and then abroad against the other enemies of the true faith the far enemy in time these regimes have been either outstayed or if they have survived transformed usually in a fairly short period into something not noticeably better and in some ways rather worse than the old establishments that had overthrown that they had overthrown sometimes something of this kind is already visibly happening in the Islamic Republic of Iran so over and over again we see thee this desire to go back to some romantic mythos eyes past whether the pristine that the pure faith of the early believers led by Muhammad and his companions and all their deeds and sayings are recorded in thousands of pages of the hadith. There are six canonical collections but there are many others as well which amount to several thousand pages of descriptions of their of their behavior so the the idea is that it is the duty as we shall see in a minute where this duty comes from it’s the duty of a living Muslim to do something about it there’s nothing passive about about Islam there’s nothing passive about about the Quran is not a quiet meditative text enjoying small personal rapport smooth with God it doesn’t encourage any personal meditation on on on life and so on it actually exhausts people to act do think if they see something it’s rather like the New York subway they see if you see something on Islam and do something about it go to the usual and the usual reasons given for the for Islamic terrorism what I call the root cause fallacy they usually the explanations for Islamic terrorism I usually have a socio-economic character poverty sometimes also they throw in a lack of lack of knowledge of Islam that the idea I mean if you really knew is Lomb if you really knew the Quran you wouldn’t commit such such acts it’s it’s the other way around and then there of course there’s the Israeli-Arab conflict there is the American foreign policy and there is Western imperialism and then there of the Crusades and even – I’m not making this up – even climate so I don’t through all ways I show one by one that none of these these explanations really hold up or for the after the socio-economic argument I look at the work of Ibraheem in Egyptian Egyptian sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim he did two very in-depth analysis of various terrorist groups who were in which were in prison at the time in Egypt he was rather surprised and pleased that they accepted to be interviewed by him and he shows quite clearly this is 1977 between 1977 and 1979 he shows quite clearly that they were the the the the terrorists in prison were well-educated they knew a lot about Islam some of the worst experts on on Islamic law they were well off from somewhere even from the upper class certainly middle class and they were all employed they were not out I’m not bored and so let’s let’s go and commit a terrorist act or something so I gave other examples of that but I think the I go into various other historians and analysts who also show the same thing that that the terrorists were not particularly poor or or lacking in knowledge as we shall see later that there were no people like blossom they were the doctor had doctorates in it in the Sharia and so on but but I think the decisive argument was given by by Ayatollah Khomeini I think it’s pretty I had a wonderful long quote but my my editor convinced me to cut it down but anyway there it is as David Worms of the American Enterprise Institute observes Westerners attribute to many of the world Arabs world’s problems to specific material issues such as land and wealth this usually means a tendency to belittle belief and strict adherence to principle as genuine and dismiss it as a cynical exploitation of the masses by politicians as such Western observers see material issues and leaders not the spiritual state of the Arab world as the heart of the problem there is an illuminating reply to this kind of explanation from the Ayatollah Khomeini in in August 24th 1979 a speech he gave in whom he said quote economics is a matter for the donkey our people made the revolution for Islam not for the Persian melon even more conclusive is another lengthy reply uttered in late 1979 in which he spells out the raison d’etre of Iranian Revolution quote this is direct quote these are the words of Khomeini this movement which from start to finish took about 1516 years in which much blood was given and young people were lost it is our belief that this was all for Islam I cannot and no intelligent person can imagine that it could be could be said that we gave our blood so that melons would be less expensive that we gave up a young man so that the houses would be less expensive it is for Islam that a person can give up his life how Saints also gave up their lives for Islam not for economics that a person would want an economic system and would sacrifice his life so that the economic situation would be improved this is not sensible end of quote in his in a preface to work by celebrated Iranian exegete and historian at-tabari whom I perhaps will be quoting later on who died in 9 to 3 Common Era at-tabari his work was translated by Johan Johan Friedman and he’s echoing harmony Friedman summarizes the goals of the early Muslims as explained directly to their Persian adversaries quote under unlike the pre-islamic Arabs the Muslims do not fight for worldly possessions or in order to improve their standard of living their only objective is to spread the new faith of Islam end of quote so again this is a direct reply to any kind of socio-economic explanation which is quite common to this day I I won’t go into only all the things that I I hope I demolish like the explanation that it’s because the Arab-Israeli conflict I mean it doesn’t make any sense when you think of it Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1920s this is before the foundation of Israel in 48 okay you might say well what about imperialism because the British were present in in Egypt at the time that vana Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood but yes but in fact the the acts of terrorism grew after the British left in 1956 so what may peril is might be talking and then the eleven of the 11 of the 15 terrorists of the of 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia was never a colony of the West it was in fact part of the Ottoman Empire at one stage at least certainly the the partner is the Hejaz so again it makes no sense to talk about imperialism and of course America was never an imperialist power as such then they may have interfered now and then in in the Middle East but they were not an empirical power imperial power the Islamic terrorists see the United States as preaching and practicing a rival ideology but the Americans frequently have taken the Arab aside in in various disputes in the in the Middle East in the Suez Crisis in 1956 on the side of Egypt against Britain and France rescuing Arafat when he was besieged in Beirut by the Israelis preventing Israel from destroying the Egyptian army Third Army in 1973 war supplying Muslim states with hundreds of billions in aid and supplying military ha well while bin Laden was angered by the American troops stationed in Saudi Arabia they were owned they were there only because the Saudis had requested them as protection against Saddam Hussein and the Arab League approved as for non Arab Muslim states the U.S. took Turkish side when it invaded Cyprus bombed the Serbs on behalf of Bosnia and Kosovo Muslims helped drive the Soviets out of Aragon Afghanistan and supported Pakistan despite its collusion with the terrorists and so on so again it makes no sense to talk about American foreign policy being mean the the cause okay I have lots only American aid and so on I say the Crusades were also really the the the Muslim people in fact have forgotten the Crusades it was out of the interest in the crusade was relaunched by by the interference of a German emperor at the end of the 19th century up to then they really had no knowledge in any case they won and they did throw out that the Christians so why would that be a cause for for violence why would it cause it Islamic terrorism it makes no sense I have there’s a longer discussion on the Crusades as well I it’s also strange that when Western liberals who no longer believe and I have particularly strong religious beliefs interpret such behavior as delusional perceiving the devout terrorists as suffering from a serious mental illness or victimized by a rare form of false consciousness originating in their justified grievances and low socioeconomic status but as I said earlier they all tend to downplay the role of religion and this is my next next part of my argument and but before before getting to to religion as such let’s go back to the importance of just ideas ideology in in motivating people I think the 20th 20th century has often been described as the century of ideology there’s a wonderful analysis by the British social and political theorist of philosopher a Sir Isaiah Berlin I give a longish quote from him about the importance of ideas also a nice quote from from Robert Riley and his from his closing of the Muslim minds okay so importance of ideology and it’s amazing that even when you look at the discussions now despite the the the fall of Communism the fall of the Soviet Union and so on and of course the the the the fall of the Nazi regimes people still refuse to to acknowledge the role of ideology in these in these movements it’s it’s quite extraordinary so I have a short section on that trying to show that ideology played an a very important part in in what happened and only the ideology can explain to us what exactly took place otherwise makes no sense at all so I discuss the great work by the debates of your top-secret ologist Martin Melia was a professor in specializing in Russia at the University of California at Berkeley he argues for the importance of ideology and the same thing for Yahoo the Bauer who was a professor of Holocaust Studies at the hue Hebrew University in Jerusalem and he underscores the importance of ideas the ideology in Nazi Germany which could explain the Holocaust although again it is there’s always this tendency to downplay it as though the actors involved there’s the Russians whether it’s the Nazis or the Italian fascists they seem to be in some in the clutch of some inexorable force which you know they can do nothing about it they’re in the grip of historical forces and they can they must act as they do act because you know it’s it’s in the Stars it’s it it’s it’s in history or it’s in and so in other words they always deny sense of personal responsibility the sense of in other words a denying free will these people it’s a choice that the Islamic terrorists indulging in this activity it’s a matter of choice it’s not as though they sort of compelled to do so by some blind forces in history but say that so I have a section on that and then I tried to show also that in fact it’s not a bit ideology normal is it an ideology it’s in fact very close to to fascism and in the price beside sense not in a simple pejorative sense you know throwing out a very kind of insult but I not in this book in another book you can see my essay in my collection of essays called virgins what virgins I have a section on Islam and fascism Umberto Eco the the novelist and semiotician from from Italy once wrote an longest article for the New York Review books in which he laid down 14 conditions for a movement to be called fascist had to fulfill these conditions and I show one by one in this original article which you will find in this collection of urges what emerges I show that Islam in fact fulfills all these these conditions and that one can legitimately call Islam a kind of fascism but in this in this present for guy I resisted the temptation to riri published that that essay that I wrote many years ago but I do go into other people’s other people’s comments particularly end was the longest quote from a scholar called Molly’s Reuven it is his name is reckoned Rothman but in fact he writes now for the New York Review books he made a very compelling case as and he ends this long quote which I have it would be too much it would be much too reductive to redefine Islamism notice Islamism but not Islam as Islamofascism but the resemblances are compelling this is has a long argument and then he ends with that but in recent recent months in the pages of the New York Review of Books he’s got all very politically correct he gets he pretends to be shocked when somebody cause talks of Islam or fascism I don’t know whether this is the dead hand political correctness or whether he’s had a real change of heart okay okay the next thing I have to establish is the importance of religion the importance of religion in the Middle East this is something as I said we tend to downplay because we liberals particularly don’t religion doesn’t play a very important part in their lives so somehow they think that it must be the same everywhere everywhere it’s really condescending the condescension but again I have an iced longest quote from Barney Lewis quote modern Western man being enabled for the most part to assign a dominant and central place and religion in his own affairs found himself unable to conceive that any other peoples in any other place could have done so and was therefore impelled to devise other explanations of what seemed to him only superficially religious phenomena we find for example a great deal of attention given by 18th century European scholarship to the investigation of such meaningless questions as was Muhammad’s sincere we find lengthy explanations by nineteenth and early twentieth century historians of the real underlying significance what I call the real the the root cause fallacy of the great religious conflicts in Islam among different sects and schools in the past to the modern Western mind it is not conceivable that men would fight and die in such numbers over mere differences of religion there have to be other genuine so that root cause reasons underneath the religious veil to admit that an entire civilization can have religion as his primary loyalty is too much even to suggest such a thing is regarded as offensive by liberal opinion always ready to take protective umbrage on half those whom it in regards as its walls this is reflected in the recurring in the inability of political journalistic and academic commentators alike to recognize the importance of religion in the current affairs of the Muslim world and in their consequent of course to the language of left-wing and right-wing progressive and conservative and the rest of the Western vocabulary of ideology and politics so it is central you cannot do away with it so where does the answer lie well I I show that the answer must lie and must look for it in Islamic theology in Islam the Islamic texts the scriptures if you like let’s just say the Quran first of all which is the actual Word of God the hadith the traditions collected over over years and collected in six canonical collections and of course a biography in Arabic is usually called the serie si RA the serie of the move of the Prophet and the early Muslim conquests if you look at these and this is what I in fact to do in the book you will see the the how and why the various aspects of Islamic Muslim belief are important in assessing the causes of Islamic terrorism the the Quran soon as I would go through all this over again but there is one one aspect which was completely new to me until recently so I I do recommend you to read an extraordinary work called commanding and forbidding wrong in Islamic thought it is heavy heavy stuff so over 600 pages about 60 pages of bibliography alone but it is really one of the most extraordinary works on of the last 50 years I would say on Islamic ethics ever written it’s by Michael Cooke but have no fear I is actually written an epitome of it much shorter much more friendly is dispensed with all the food I will put notes just called forbidding wrong in Islam also by Michael cook forbidding wrong in his mom and I am he’s reduced 600 pages two hundred and seventy pages that I’ve reduced it all to what six pages but you really do need that background from from it really and the consequences of this this principle it never hit me until I read this but when I started writing my new book about two two and a half years ago okay I will try and go through it quickly but it really is very important for understanding much of modern Islamist behavior okay there’s one central feature of Islamic ethics that it’s often left out of general surveys of Islam but is of the utmost importance to understanding the thinking behind various influential modern Islamic ideologues whose writings have not only influenced the Islamic terrorists but also have provided the foundation of their worldview and have furnished their rationale for action ok the principle in case is commanding right and forbidding wrong here’s what Al Ghazali great Muslim philosopher and Sophie who died in 1111 it’s one of the few dates I can remember it so easy every mood this is the duty this is a quote from a Ghazali of the 12th century every Muslim has the duty of first setting himself to rights and then successively his household his neighbor’s his quarter his town the surrounding countryside the wooden will the wilderness and it’s Bedouin Kurds or whatever and so on to the uttermost ends of Earth and of the world this is a duty derived from the Koran and has been commented and elaborated upon by by Islamic thinkers for centuries strange that I never actually ever came across it until it just two years ago when I read Kooks wonderful book it’s derived from various passages in the Quran for example to surah chapter 3 verse 104 let there be one community as the Ummah of you calling to good and commanding right and forbidding wrong these are the prosperous these are the people who will prosper and there’s another quote same same chapter verse 110 you were the best community ever brought forth to men commanding right and forbidding wrong and then in chapter 9 and the believers the men and the women are friends or one another they command right and forbid wrong and so on and on this they built is this duty you have this duty – – to carry it out it’s not as I said Islam is not just a passive it’s not a passive doctrine it it is as Ismail Farooqi put it what it is let me get the quote he said this is referring to this he said in Islam this is the late Palestinian American philosopher a smile of Farooqi I think he influenced if I’m not mistaken John Esposito said the University here in Washington the Farooqi wrote islam teaches not only that the realization of the good is possible in this world but that to bring it about here and now is precisely the duty of every man and woman end of quote so the this there is something within islam something within the whole working out of the details in the ethics of islam which pushes people to actually what we would call interference in people’s lives there’s no such thing as minding your own business in it as we shall see there’s no the notions of privacy are totally different in Islamic context and in the Western context as Michael Cooke brilliantly shows I’ll give you a personal example I will I left I left Karachi Pakistan when I was just nine and a half I was sent to England to a boarding school in October 1956 by sheer coincidence exactly thirty years later in October 1986 I happened to pass through when I was working at the time for eight French travel agency taking French tourists to the Far East and we had we had this deal with Pakistan internationally which meant we had we had to go through Pakistan so I thought my goodness I’ll take this opportunity to go and see what somebody young who was we always called uncle but he was just a friend of the family okay this is exactly thirty years later and I’m really not exaggerating the first thing he said to me when he saw me the first thing he says to me are your children being brought up as good Muslims it didn’t say she have a good trip – are you okay do you want to are you thirsty first thing you know he was so worried it was his duty I mean I can see the logic he was so worried about you being in a foreign land in Europe following away from your Islamic duties so this is an example of why this this principle is so so important privacy versus hidden sin this is Michael cook again on this cook explains that Muslim scholars do not seem to have quote from Michael Cote the notion that certain kinds of behavior are inherently private and as such immune to public scrutiny what is protected is not private life but rather hidden sin behavior that happens not to be public knowledge it is no business of ours to pry into what is unknown to us no to develop what we innocently dissemble upon but once we know we are likely to incur some kind of obligation to forbid wrong the difference between Muslim thinking and that of the modern West is thus not simply that there is no single Muslim concept corresponding to the Western notion of privacy it is it is also that the Muslim concept seemed to be of a significantly different order different kind so similarly this principle also overrides concerns about minding one’s own business as there is no doctrinal rejection of permitting wrong based on the principle of minding one’s own business so you can see where this leads automatically to all kinds of mischief you know if you if you what happens is if you see there the state that you’re living in the country you’re living in if the whole country has been led by people who are not good Muslims what do you do well it’s all been carefully worked out for people like al-ghazali and others discussed by there is an inexorable link this is what I write it’s my words now between forbidding wrong and rebellion and therefore a link that has great importance in light of militant Islam Jesus resurgence in the second half of the 20th century Islamic fundamentalists firmly believe in drawing on the Islamic tradition which remains profoundly relevant for all Muslims living in the modern world thus medieval doctrines forbidding wrong continued to play a vital role in directing the actions of contemporary Islamists cook has has provided the essential historical link from group seeking to apply the Islamic duty of a commanding right and forbidding wrong in order to purify Islam to the modern violent reform movement says there’s a link there’s direct historical link right from the beginning to the modern times as I emphasized throughout this book reform movements awful violent seeking to restore a pristine Islam have existed since the foundation of the original Muslim community from movements such as the courage Heights in the 8th century to movements in Baghdad in the 9th 10th and 11th centuries to the current code is that any movement in his Istanbul in the 17th century which influenced even of the Wahab who founded wave ism the movement named after him in 18th century nurtured in the interior of Arabia which gave rise to the so the stage III examined the ideas of Abdul Wahab and in chapter 14 the other the other aspect which are perhaps you would not wear in Islamic theology is this idea of a hereafter which is derived entirely from from the Hadees but especially of course the Quran the attitude to life and to death I think a lot of people were shocked but bitten about I don’t know in the last 10 to 15 years we’ve had it over and over again quotes from people like bin Laden and various other Islamists who say we prefer death whereas you Westerners prefer life. That’s- that’s derived entirely from the Quran and from the early histories in fact there is a quote that I have from a Tabari of the the the the 9th century historian which says exactly that you talking to the people that they were fighting at the time the Persians pre-islamic Persians the Sicilians they said no you Persians prefer life we prefer death actually the same same phrase years earlier but the the contempt for life is over all right again emphasized in in what the Islamists have written what of Khomeini is written what is written well Hassan al-Banna and say it kotoba and so on the Islamic terrorists embrace death with joy in anticipation of their awards seems to non-Muslims move it immoral for it treats the human life as worthless expendable but this disdain for life has been acquired from Islamic history in Islamic texts the Quran refers to the last day a yahoo of here in some formulation at least 40 times but alludes to the hereafter or the world to come or in Arabic Allah Hara more than a hundred times often say that the life to come is far better than life on earth and his heap scorn on those who enjoy living for example there’s all these a quote from the Quran itself such are those who have purchased the present life at the price of the world to come if the abode of the hereafter in the Providence of Allah is indeed for you alone and not for others of mankind then long for death if you are truthful this is the Quran I’m quoting the enjoyment of the present life compared with the hair after is a little thing there will be an awful doom that is because they have chosen the life of the world rather than the Hereafter again is this the Quran chapter 16 in that case but you prefer the life of the world although the hair after is better and more lasting again the Quran and so on the same I have lots of quotes from the hadith as well traditions okay I I end the book with longest chapter on Khomeini because I find it’s very important to see how a state which has applied Islamic principles almost to the letter how an Islamic theocracy actually operates in real life what the results are you have to have it there for all to see it is quite horrendous I go into some details of the human right records and so on and it’s awful I mean I’ve this was again weaved reiterated re-emphasized by something which David Goldman wrote. David Goldman spoke here a few weeks ago and he wrote just very recently something which I wrote about at much greater length in my book the why the why the West is best and so on but I also mentioned it here in the in the present book that Islam in Islamic terrorism the the the greatest number of drug addicts are not found in New York or in Los Angeles they’re found in in in Iran the number of sexually transmitted diseases is the highest in Iran you know they have this system of so-called temporary marriages, the muta’a. You can get married for a few few hours and have go and I have sexual intercourse with a woman and so on and then divorce her straight afterwards and this this has led to complete disaster in in in terms of the health of the women especially and so on so the you have Islam in action as it were that this is the last that in my in my conclusion I you met you might want to know why is it that Islamic terrorism has reemerged if you like with such ferocity in more recent years well I think my friend Hugh Fitzgerald said there are three reasons are to which I had one that’s the it’s just first of all it is according to my view the one additional reason that I gave in my view paradoxically it was increasing literacy and education that led to a growing dissatisfaction with current conditions in Islamic countries as well as a rise in fundamentalism before the rise in urbanization and literacy Islam was divided between folk variant and Islam accessible only to a clerical elite who could read classical Arabic now more people have access to their own high culture they can read even taymiyah and recognize for themselves that their own societies have fallen away away from the true Islam the pristine Islam of Muhammad and his companions but even actually even now often if when you’re confronting a Muslim when you have an argument with a Muslim he will often say to you have you read the Quran in in Arabic Razan this sort of cuts dropped unicast instead the conversation of the argument but it’s nonsense even the nobody speaks classical Arabic nobody ninety-nine percent of the people in Arabic speaking countries understand do not understand the classical so-called classical Arabic of the Quran as my friend and colleague got poo in one spirit 20 percent of the Quran makes no sense because it’s it’s it’s it’s not even classical Arabic it does not obey the laws of classical Arabic I show this in several of my books what the Quran really says I’ll give you give all the the mistakes from the point of view of classical Arabic that the quran makes for example so even the the ordinary Muslim relies in fact on translation when you tries to understand what the Quran really says it is and also of course Muslims are not at all afraid of criticizing Christianity I wonder if they even know what language the Gospels were written in the Old Testament for that matter and the other argument you carry of course is because you know you’re no longer a Muslim they say to me being posted therefore you can’t criticize Islam is like saying you know you have to be a fascist to be able to criticize fascism yeah so that was number one Fitzgerald also says that the doctrine of jihad wasn’t certainly invented in the past 50 years it’s been the same more or less preferred one thousand three hundred and fifty years it had fallen into desert a dude but did not could not disappear what happened to make things so very different well since 1973 the Arab and other Muslim dominated oil states have received 10 trillion dollars from the sale of oil and gas the greatest transfer of wealth in human history Muslims did nothing to deserve this though many took the oil Bonanza as a deliberate sign of Allah’s favor so Saudi Arabia spent millions and millions on Islamic propaganda on the building of madrasas and not only that and unfortunately I don’t have the statistics here with me seen in one of my books the Islamic sorry Saudi Arabia has has given money to various universities in the West and they have and there are strings attached believe me. They have been strings of Panthers then in Spokane was thrown out of a university because he taught Islam in a way that the Saudis did not approve and the money has been given to a little bit Harvard, London School of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies in London and so on and so on so it’s not they have corrupted their money they have corrupted the the pursuit of truth and so on second there has been large-scale immigration into the West from his nominations often former colonies of Muslims horribly and practically hostile to the West have no desire to learn why the West became so rich and tolerant and certainly have no desire to assimilate they feel no gratitude or allegiance to their Western host nations their only obligations out of for the fellow Muslims so the the mere presence of so many Muslims in the West has affected the domestic and international behavior of governments whose foreign policy is dominated by a fear or offending their own Muslim population ready to ride on the slightest pretext these unassimilated Muslims are committed to introducing Islamic laws in the West and they are able to do so by cleverly exploiting the freedoms created over centuries by the infidels third the final that was third of the really the fourth now if you include my mine own third fourth is the advances in technology from cell phones the internet from satellite television to YouTube has meant the spread of Islamic propaganda reaching all believers by now no Muslim can claim ignorance of his duties from the daily 5 prayers to the duty of commanding right and forbidding wrong to jihad theoretically the West had could use the same technological advances which it invented to broadcast his own propaganda but the West lacking confidence in his own values and afraid of offending Islamic governments considered allies has not done so no Western government dares point out the connection between the political, economic, social, and intellectual failures of Muslim societies and Islam itself in any case Muslims only watch channel such as Jazeera that are broadcast in their own language so that’s that’s the four reasons why there’s this sudden resurgence of violent in your survey of ulema and Islamic scholars what level prevalence does the concept of aggregation or mass how does that influence how does that how do Islamic scholars and generally use that to explain verses likely no compulsion verse is it relevant to the ulema today and is there a difference between the way Sunni and Shia ulama use that concept there is no coherent codified development of this idea of abrogation if you look at some scholars will say there are a hundred and forty verses which have been abrogated others will say 300 so there is absolutely no consensus as for the this is a very when you think about it it’s a very ingenious and rather convenient way of getting around some of the contradictions in the Quran you know you have one passage supposedly earlier saying you can okay you can actually have alcohol the other passages in the Quran saying you cannot but the is the question of no compulsion in religion that appears in an early supposedly early surah early chapter and so it’s been abrogated by the swords of the verses of the sword which are later so the verses of the sword are cancelling out all the terror tolerant verses so it doesn’t it doesn’t help them in this way at all as for well the Shiites they tend to concentrate on the the feel that they accept the Quran as it is like the Sunnis but behind it always this is feeling that the legitimacy of Ali has somehow been been erased and that it is not it’s not fully acknowledged that’s how they the appropriation of the root causes for just routine left-liberal right excuse making and blaming the West for everything which is a routine was the plate habit having nothing to do with reality you’ve given underlying causes that seems to be appropriate given the main underlying cause may be given this for any contingent causes for why this become strong should be using that I think presentation even stronger and one thing you could do would be to tie together the historically contingent causes under the rubric of Western self-confidence and useful competency of political competition the Nazis economists and the Democratic West for eras nationalism and all the how you perceive the thinking and belief system of ordinary ordinary Muslims as compared to right this is a question of statistics and figures that is true I get criticized about both sides by- by using circumlocutions like Islamism it’s saying well there you know you’re fetching the issue it’s no such thing you mean Islam don’t you I said yeah but we’ve got to have a way of distinguishing those who don’t all go out and commit terrorist acts in the Islamic world the way I put it once was that Islam itself is not there maybe moderate Muslims but Islam itself is not moderate and also ok you can reinterpret some passages of the Quran some of some of the Sharia but it’s not infinitely elastic either so it’s no you can’t get away from the from the founding text so the even if you take their supposedly I think 1.6 billion Muslims even only a small percentage what is what’s 1% of 116 616 that’s just only 1% if you take there was more statistics that I have I can find it quite worrying statistic depends on how you look at it you know the glass half full or half empty kind of thing here we are according to a survey of 600 U.S. Muslims conducted in June 2015 by pollster Kellyanne Conway it revealed that 51% agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Sharia 50:51 even more alarming 25 percent of those polled agreed that violence done against Americans in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad so you can’t you might say well 75 percent don’t think so so if there is a it’s you know worrying statistics there have been several new polls conducted by the Pew Research which came out this earlier this this mantra thing I haven’t had time to digest them but they slight slight improvement of things like people being a little bit more worried about about Islamic violence and so on amongst the Muslim population itself but there’s also it’s not just it’s not just the that the violent acts it’s also the what Robert Spencer once called stealth jihad it’s this there’s this insistence on having introducing Islamic law you know they slipping it in it’s it’s very worrying people are giving in why should Muslims have special prayer rooms at the airports and so on for example unless it’s available for everyone I don’t know what the what the situation is there I Islamic supremacism midgets they’ve got is it for majority Islam must dominate it must be the it cannot take the secondary place I remember was invited to Rome to desire I forget what the acronym stands for is the Pontifical Institute run by the pair blonde that then director / Maurice Bowman’s who ran a wonderful magazine called Islamic crystianna on Muslim Christian relations on dialogues and he was retiring that that yeah so he said to me I can say these without any fear but I said let me tell you what what is the point of these dialogues well I tell you what happens he said we sit down and we the Christians say what a wonderful religion Islam is and the Muslims sit down and say what a wonderful religion Islam is so there’s no there’s no repeaters or struggles what you haven’t done which is what I was hoping for was to give us some guidance as to why while the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful I was hoping to get some insight into is why the Islamist terrorists choose their particular set of beliefs well most Muslims have a different what what can we do to strengthen the majority and yes this is the subject of my next book no it’s we’ve organized over this for four years and years ever since I wrote my first book what should be done about it well how can we help reformist Muslims and so on this this institute has done quite a lot working with Islamic reformers I think Katie Gorka worked got together Muslim reformers but it’s in in in the long term if we if we take the Cold War as as a model how we defeated the Soviet Union the Cold War there may be some again Katie Gorka and others at the Westminster Institute have written on this we can we can learn lessons from that for example I think what are the important things is translation if you look at the number of works that were translated during the Cold War number of works that were translated from from Western languages into into Russian and so on absolutely staggering it I ran into millions they did including pamphlets there was a Voice of America and so on if you look at the statistics for translations in general for the Islamic world this was a report made by the the Arab development report of the UN they realized that Spain translates more works into Spanish in one year than being tied in Islamic supplies was Greece translates more in one year then the Islamic countries throughout history of done Islamic refused to combine together so they if they think that the answer is every all the answers are there any book they’re not going to read or translate and then the translation itself is it’s a big problem which language I mean it’s no good just saying Arabic as I as I show in my in my book technical perhaps but Christmas in the Quran the there are different vernaculars so somebody speaking Arabic of Iraq will find that speaking with the sort of the average guy speaking will find it difficult to understand at the average guy in Morocco so you have to have different kinds of strategies for translating works into vernaculars but then you decide what works should we translate well those works which we think promote our values our values then we have to go into our own own belief system I think for me maybe all of you will not may not agree with me on this issue but I think one of the most important things would be to- to spell out the philosophical justification for the separation of state and church I think if you can bring about secularism which is not anti religion but just separates makes religion a private matter then then and the other thing is of course if we were to defend the Christians in the Islamic world this is really important because that that will establish a that’ll be the beginning it will be the the beginning of secularization if they can accept the Islamic countries can accept the rights of Christians to practice their own religion already you are establishing a secular space so that’s some of the things we could do.

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