Mohammed and Aisha – Answering the Apologists

THE APOLOGISTS’ ARGUMENTS

Apologists for the Islamic religion have created a set of arguments for a Western audience to try and deflect criticism of the marriage and its implications. In general it seems that there is no absolute consensus in the Islamic world about what age Aisha was when she “married” Mohammed, but if anything most Sunni Muslims in the world seem to take the statements in the 6 main hadiths literally when they are actually aware of them. Discovering what the Shia texts say is more difficult, but as I mentioned in the previous post, Islamic authorities in Iran have argued that current age of marriage restrictions are un-Islamic, so it seems the Shia take a similar view. To summarize here are some of the main arguments/claims that apologists usually resort to:

  • Aisha wasn’t really 9 when Mohammed consummated the marriage with her. This argument ignores the rather obvious fact that of the 6 most important hadiths in Sunni Islam 3 of them state she was 9 (or 10) at the time in multiple places in those hadiths. None of these 6 hadiths contradict these statements. A religion is defined by its core religious texts, not what may or may not really happened. This argument is based on the claim that there is contradictory evidence in other texts (such as biographies) that proves that Aisha was a lot older than 6 when she married Mohammed. One problem with this argument is that there is also the evidence of what the texts regarded as the most authoritative by Muslims explicitly say in those multiple places.  There will always therefore be room for doubt in the matter.
  • The marriage was a happy one. However, since Mohammed’s behaviour is an example for Muslims generally there is a big problem – you cannot know when a girl is six how the marriage will turn out. By effectively condoning such marriages, Islam opens the door for very unhappy marriages and much worse – marital rape.
  • The age of puberty varies over time, and perhaps Aisha had already reached puberty by the age of 9. The problem with this argument is that there is a long way from the first signs of puberty to the point where a woman becomes ready for childbirth. Although such variations no doubt exist it is a very long stretch to think that a girl of 9 was ready for childbirth. Worse there seems to be a suggestion in the Koran that a girl who hasn’t yet reached puberty may still be ready for marriage (Koran 65:4). Furthermore many Muslims in the Islamic world do not take such variations into account when deciding if child marriage is moral or not.
  • The marriage was acceptable according to the norms of the 7th century society Mohammed belonged to. Once again, the problem with this argument is that Mohammed’s life is supposed to be an “excellent” or “beautiful” example for Muslims. There is no suggestion made that this “excellent” example only applied to people living in 7th century Arabia. If his example was only applicable in those times then what is the point of following the Sunnah now, in the 21st century?
  • The medieval Kings and Queens argument – that European Kings and queens in the middle ages were just as bad because they also sometimes married children. The problem with this argument is that nobody in the modern West regards those Kings and Queens lives as “excellent” or “beautiful” examples to follow, quite the reverse in many cases.
  • That there is a contradictory statement in the Koran that says that marriage should only occur “between two consenting adults”. In the examples I look at the apologists mysteriously fail to say which statement/verse they are referring to. I think this idea *may* be derived from Koran 4:6 and/or 4:19. 4:6 seems to specifically refer to Orphans (it may be directed mainly at male orphans) and it seems to be mostly about when to release their possessions to them more than marriage. 4:19 seems to be specifically about the wives of deceased relatives (see the Pickthall translation which refers to your deceased kinsmen) who would be unlikely to be particularly young in any case. It also, again, conveniently overlooks 65:4.
  • That the hadiths are unreliable and only the Koran should be viewed as authoritative. This is really a branch of Islam called Quranism. This still leaves the problem of Koran 65:4. The exact number of people who follow this branch of Islam is not known but it is likely to be very small, so the impact of this approach is probably minimal in the Islamic world. Sunni Muslims by comparison make up about 80% of the world’s Muslims.
  • That the Old Testament also condones similarly immoral marriages such as child marriages and forced marriages. This argument is ridiculous for one thing because if Christianity really was also as bad, then that would not make Islam any less bad. Also since Jesus’s message is really the most important message of Christianity it generally overrides the Old Testament barbarity and Jesus did not in any way condone such behaviour. Jesus did not himself marry any children (or anybody) according to the New Testament.
  • That Mohammed’s life was the most perfect example and therefore he could not have done anything as bad as marrying a six-year old girl. The point of religions is usually that they give moral guidance, but this argument seems to work backwards – making a moral judgement about a behaviour first and then deciding that a religion cannot possibly be condoning that behaviour because the behaviour is immoral.

SOME EXAMPLES OF APOLOGISTS IN ACTION

MEHDI HASAN

(Note for those not familiar with Mehdi Hasan he is a familiar face on UK political tv shows such as BBC Question Time, he is also a UK political editor for the Huffington Post which is a high profile political website although the UK branch is not so high profile.)

Mehdi Hasan condemns the practice of child marriage here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mehdi-hasan/british-muslims-child-marriage_b_4310440.html

Unfortunately he also says in this article that child marriage is not Islamic, quote:

Prophet Muhammad did not, as is often claimed, marry a child bride named Aisha.

Then he says:

Yes, I’ll concede that there is a saying in Sahih Bukhari, one of the six canonical Hadith collections of Sunni Islam, attributed to Aisha herself, which suggests she was six years old when she was married to Muhammad and nine when the marriage was consummated.

– overlooking the fact that it isn’t just stated in one hadith, but in multiple places in 3 of the most important Sunni hadiths. It also overlooks this:

Sahih Muslim hadith 8 3311

Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah’s Apostle (May peace be upon him) married her when she was seven years old, and he was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.’

There are other references to Aisha playing with dolls, but in this reference there is a mention both of the dolls and of the marriage age at the same time. Some apologists have attempted to claim that references to dolls come from another time in her life but in this reference it is clear that she was still playing with dolls at the time of her marriage. It is not really normal for a girl of sound mind to be playing with dolls when they have reached an adult age. It is very clear from the mentions of Aisha in general throughout her life that she was of sound mind.

Then he says:

there are plenty of Muslim historians who dispute this particular (Bukhari) Hadith and argue Aisha was in reality aged somewhere between 15 and 21.

There are indeed Muslim historians who have argued this but their arguments undermine the veracity of the core hadiths that most Sunni Muslims believe to be the most authoritative. (Others have discussed the subject of other “historical” accounts at much greater length – I have included some references at the end of this post).

More importantly it also remains inescapable that Islamic authorities in a number of Muslim majority countries TODAY take the view that current marriage age laws are un-Islamic. Mehdi focuses on Saudi Arabia in his article as if this problem is restricted to that country, but the references I gave in the previous post show clearly that Islamic authorities in a number of Islamic countries including Pakistan and Iran also take the view that restrictions on child marriage are un-Islamic. This flies in the face of his claim that:

the vast majority of classical scholars throughout Muslim history agreed on a minimum marriage age of 18

He also claims:

The Quran does not contain a specific legal age of marriage, but it does make clear that men and women must be both physically mature and of sound judgement in order to get married.

Unfortunately he doesn’t give the specific references in the Koran he is referring to. This may be a reference to the two statements in the Koran that I mentioned above 4:6 and 4:19, but we can’t be sure.  Again this claim ignores the problem of Koran 65:4, which he doesn’t mention at all.

A little credit is due to Mr. Hasan as he condemns child marriage himself directly, but unfortunately in his attempts to undermine valid criticism of his religion he is attempting to deflect attempts at a sensible debate of the subject. Islam condones child abuse through the “beautiful example” of Mohammed’s conduct, and through the Koran 65:4 verse. There is no escaping this fact. He is trapped in an immoral mental cage of his own making. It is time for Mehdi to renounce Islam. He already made the first realization. You don’t have to be a Muslim Mehdi, if you’re bothered by what it says about Mohammed’s marriage to Aisha in the Islamic texts you can just give it up.

This whole article was reprinted in the New Statesman:

http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/11/british-muslims-should-stand-and-say-it-there-nothing-islamic-about-child-marriage

Mehdi Hasan’s article criticized by another Muslim called Indigo Jo:

Mehdi Hasan’s Phoney Apologetics

Indigo Jo dismisses Hasan’s claims as “da’waganda” which he describes as

material promoting Islam but giving false information about it to make it palatable to a (usually) western reader.

Unfortunately he then goes on to say:

Muslims in the UK have really nothing to answer for in regard to this

which is not what the figures from the UK’s Forced Marriage Unit suggest (see previous post – link at the end of this article).

MYRIAM FRANCOIS-CERRAH

The well known Muslim convert writes at the Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/sep/17/muhammad-aisha-truth

She begins her article in attack mode, referring to:

the Islamophobic film Innocence of Muslims, which has sparked riots from Yemen to Libya.

Muslims will often use this kind of tactic – an appeal to the conscience of the reader with the use of emotive words such as “Islamophobe” and suggestions that Muslims are the victims of bigotry which provokes them to riot violently. Of course these riots are not even slightly relevant to a discussion of Aisha’s age of marriage as stated in Islamic texts, and of course they didn’t have to riot violently in any case. They could have simply argued calmly and rationally against the suggestions made in the film, if they really had good arguments to make that is.

She first attempts to use the “consenting adults” argument:

Qur’an states that marriage is void unless entered into by consenting adults, Aisha must have entered puberty early.

as usual not quoting the verses where this is supposedly stated.

She then attempts to use the “Medieval Kings and Queens” argument which is one of the weakest arguments of the lot. We don’t regard medieval kings and queens as paragons of virtue. Never have, never will.

She then attempts to use the “consenting adults” argument again, still not quoting the verses she is referring to:

What we do know is what the Qur’an says about marriage: that it is valid only between consenting adults, and that a woman has the right to choose her own spouse.

Note particularly the phrase – “the right to choose her spouse”, which is particularly laughable considering such verses in the Koran as 33:50 which states:

surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war

Really – “Allah has given to you as prisoners of war”? This is what you think qualifies as the “right to choose her spouse” Myriam? Perhaps as “good” Muslims are supposed to you now think that non-Muslims are not really human beings, that we are the “vilest of animals” (Koran 8:55)?  I feel sorry for you that you should now despise your former self so completely.

She then attempts to attack “Islamophobia” again with this statement:

The gulf between her true legacy and her depiction in Islamophobic materials is not merely historically inaccurate, it is an insult to the memory of a pioneering woman.

I have never read anything anywhere that insulted Aisha in any way in connection to this matter or any other. If Aisha was really married to Mohammed at the age of 6 then she clearly didn’t have any choice in the matter, it does not “insult her memory” to talk about this. This is simply another attempt at deflecting criticism of Islam.

DR. DAVID LIEPERT

Another attempt from the Huffington Post (note that Myriam Cerrah-Francois has also written at the Huffington Post):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-david-liepert/islamic-pedophelia_b_814332.html

Again we have an apologist in attack mode here with this little rant:

There are really only three reasons to insist — as so many do — that Aisha was only 9 years old when Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) married her: Either you are such a crazy Islamophile that you are willing to go to your grave insisting Muhammad could do whatever he wanted, or you are such a crazy Islamophobe that you want to insist he did, or you are such a weirdly religious sex-crazed pervert that you hope accusing him makes it OK for you to do it too.

There is absolutely no other reason to either make or repeat that disgusting claim.

That would be “absolutely no other reason” except for the fact that Bukhari and 2 other of the most respected Islamic hadiths SAY SO.

I won’t go into this one any further, it is already expertly debunked here:

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/silas/liepert.html

(Note particularly the answer to the comment about the phrase “Lam Yahidna” in the 65:4 verse and how Liepert’s argument about this phrase is contradicted by every single one of the commonly regarded translations.)

SOME OTHER APOLOGISTS

This includes a misquote of Koran 4:19 which is only about women of deceased relatives:

https://quranalyzeit.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/cii-vs-islam-does-the-quran-really-permit-child-marriage/

It also makes a lot of the fact that 65:4 doesn’t include the word “yet”, but “those who have not menstruated” could easily mean those who have not menstruated yet.  As usual where there are two possible interpretations the apologists seize on the one that suits their view.  The fact that there is vagueness leading to confusion is a problem in its own right.  However I also found a translation where this is spelled out very clearly:

MUHSIN KHAN TRANSLATION

And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the ‘Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death]. And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is until they deliver (their burdens), and whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him.

This next article from Australia seems to rely on the debunked Dr. Liepert’s arguments as its source:

http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/nowhere-does-the-quran-condone-child-brides-20140416-36rxo.html

SOME OTHER DE-BUNKERS

http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2013/10/was-muhammad-pedophile.html

https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Responses_to_Apologetics_-_Muhammad_and_Aisha

http://islamo-criticism.blogspot.com/2012/09/aishas-age-islamophobic-propaganda-and.html

http://islamo-criticism.blogspot.com/2012/09/rejecting-dr-david-lieperts-myth-that.html&date=2012-10-21

RELATED POST:

Mohammed and Aisha – Why It Matters

FURTHER READING ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/prepubescent.htm

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Mohammed and Aisha – Why It Matters

The man Muslims regard as their prophet (named Mohammed) had many wives, the youngest of them was called Aisha.  This is a well trodden subject, but I suspect that many of my readers may be ignorant to some degree especially of the impact that it has in Islamic societies and even increasingly in our own Western countries.  The human race is going backwards despite all the huge advances that were made in thought, science, medicine and technology in the last few centuries.  Even if you are aware of the marriage already, please take the time to read to the end of this post as I am pretty sure you will find some information that is new to you here.

WHAT DO THE ISLAMIC TEXTS SAY ABOUT THE MARRIAGE?

There are quite a few references in the hadiths to Aisha’s age when she married Mohammed:

Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:58:234, 5:58:236, 7:62:64, 7:62:65, 7:62:88, Sahih Muslim, 8:3309, 8:3310, 8:3311, 41:4915, Sunan Abu Dawood, 41:4917

They all say the same thing – essentially that Mohammed married Aisha when he was 53 and she was 6. They also say that he consummated the relationship when she was only 9. That is what the texts say. Here is a page showing all these passages from the texts:

http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/sina/ayesha.htm

Note this one particularly:

Narrated ‘Ursa:

The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with ‘Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).

The language is absolutely clear – not only did he marry Aisha when she was 6, he also consummated the marriage when she was only 9.  What is more the Koran also says this:

065.004

Yusuf Ali: Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.

In the modern world we would regard this marriage as child abuse. In fact in most countries in the world (including many Muslim majority countries), such a “marriage” is illegal under the state law. The Koran states that Mohammed’s life is a “beautiful pattern” or an “excellent example” for Muslims to follow:

033.021

YUSUFALI: Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

SHAKIR: Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.

WHY WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT THIS?

All criticism of the behaviour of Mohammed is strictly prohibited not just by Islamic tradition, but by the very core religious texts and sayings of Mohammed himself, for example:

Quran (33:57) – “Lo! those who malign Allah and His messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter, and has prepared for them the doom of the disdained”

….

Quran (33:61) – [continues from above] “Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.”

So joining all the dots here we have the supposedly most perfect example of a life including child abuse and nobody is allowed to criticize the behaviour. It is difficult to criticize such a marriage occurring now because to do so would be implicitly to criticize Mohammed. In Pakistan currently (in 2016) the punishment for blasphemy is death by hanging.

WHAT IS BAD ABOUT SUCH A MARRIAGE?

At the age of 6 a girl cannot properly even understand what marriage is, and so a child marriage is also a FORCED marriage. A forced marriage may end up being a happy marriage in time, but it could just as easily become an unhappy marriage. Such an unhappy marriage can lead to MARITAL RAPE and WIFE BEATING which is also condoned by the Koran (4:34). If the husband decides to consummate the marriage before the girl is old enough then he is committing the crime of CHILD RAPE.

REAL WORLD IMPACT ON MUSLIM BEHAVIOUR

The fact that Mohammed married a girl so young has a real impact on attitudes in the Muslim world and even in Muslim populations in non-Muslim majority countries.

IRAN

In Iran childhood officially ends at age 9 for girls, 16 for boys. Why such a difference? Well yes, you guessed it, Mohammed consummated the marriage to Aisha at 9, so it must mean that girls are grown up at age 9, otherwise we are criticizing the one who cannot be criticized.

The official age of consent for “women” may be much higher at 13, but with the permission of a court girls much younger can be married:

As many as 42,000 children aged between 10 and 14 were married in 2010, according to the Iranian news website Tabnak. At least 75 children under the age of 10 were wed in Tehran alone.

An attempt has also been made in parliament to lower the age of consent to 9 (from the already low current age of 13):

http://www.ibtimes.com/child-bride-practice-rising-iran-parliament-seeks-lower-girls-legal-marriage-age-9-760263

Then there are the harrowing individual stories such as this one:

http://www.stopchildexecutions.com/news-and-updates/261-razieh-ebrahimi-faces-execution.html

PAKISTAN

In Pakistan the age of consent is 16, there have even been attempts to raise the age to 18. However there has also been pressure to reduce the age of consent as well, for example:

Quote:

In a recent series of rulings, the Council of Islamic Ideology, a constitutional body which gives Islamic legal advice to the Pakistani Government, declared that Pakistani laws prohibiting child marriage are un-Islamic. The rulings were widely criticised.

A lot of child marriages take place in any case.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/487659/child-marriages-42-of-underage-married-girls-from-pakistan/

Unfortunately there are no reliable statistics as to how widespread the practice is in Pakistan:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-law-child-marriage-idUSKBN0M619F20150310

INDIA

Lets be clear there is a problem with child marriage in India generally (not just among Muslims) if these figures are correct:

India Has 12 Million Married Children Under Age Ten

They show an actually slightly higher percentage of child marriage among Hindus than Muslims in India.

SAUDI ARABIA

In Saudi Arabia a Grand Mufti said there was nothing wrong with girls marrying under the age of 15:

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2014/12/26/saudi-arabia-grand-mufti-nothing-wrong-with-child-brides/

OTHER ISLAMIC COUNTRIES

We could go on but I think the above are enough examples to illustrate the point – that religious authorities in Islamic countries tend to press for lowering the age of consent because they are aware of the age of Aisha when Mohammed married her.

UNITED KINGDOM

In the UK there is a problem with child marriage, not necessarily solely in the Muslim population, but since the Muslim population is already large (and growing rapidly) compared to other religious minorities it is sensible to assume that it is largest in that population as a percentage of the UK population overall.

Child marriage happens in the UK too, warn British MPs

From a UK government report into forced marriage in the UK (27% of their cases involve victims below 18 years of age):

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/forced-marriage-unit-statistics-2015

The five highest volume countries in 2015 were

Pakistan – 539 cases (44%)
Bangladesh – 89 cases (7%)
India – 75 cases (6%)
Somalia – 34 cases(3%)
Afghanistan – 21 cases (2%)

In 2015, 175 (14%) of the cases handled by the FMU had no overseas element, with the forced marriage activity taking place entirely within the UK.

Note that obviously these statistics may be the tip of a much larger iceberg as they are just the numbers of forced marriages reported to the Forced Marriage Unit.

An ITV documentary appeared to show a willingness to perform child marriage ceremonies among significant numbers (a third of those approached) of imams in the UK:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2447720/Clerics-18-mosques-caught-agreeing-marry-girls-14-Four-imams-investigated-undercover-operation.html

The majority refused to entertain the idea but from a number the reasoning was that it was against UK law rather than that it was immoral.  Of course an imam is in dangerous territory if he challenges the truth of religious texts.

Then there are the harrowing individual stories:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/feb/22/ukcrime.gender

CONCLUSION

The pressure to reduce the age of consent never goes away in Muslim societies, usually coming from religious leaders and organisations. The problem is also growing in the West thanks to the politically “correct” (read incorrect) policy of turning a blind eye to ethnic minority cultural norms that break UK laws.

FURTHER READING ELSEWHERE:

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1070888

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_marriage_in_Pakistan

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9500484/Alarm-as-hundreds-of-children-under-age-of-10-married-in-Iran.html

http://dunyanews.tv/en/SpecialReport/329208-The-dilemma-of-child-marriage-in-Pakistan

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/259971/child-marriage-iran-dr-majid-rafizadeh

Answering Cameron – On Integration

In an article in the Guardian newspaper, in 2007, David Cameron recounted his experience of staying with a Muslim family in Birmingham. In the article, he made some really extraordinary assertions.

He said:

“family breakdown, drugs, crime and incivility are part of the normal experience of modern Britain.”

implying that crime and incivility were commonplace among the British as a whole.

Then he said “Not for the first time, I found myself thinking that it is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the British Asian way of life, not the other way around.”

What an offensive remark! Of course his use of the word “Asian” was very questionable here. The word has unfortunately become something of a euphemism for people of Pakistani origin living in the UK. Of course there are many people of Asian origin in the UK who do not come from Pakistan – including Indians and Chinese among others. A very diverse group in fact, whose “way of life” could hardly be described in such monolithic terms.

Given the context of his remark it is not unreasonable to assume that David Cameron was actually thinking solely of the way of life of those of Pakistani origin. Since the vast majority of the UK’s Pakistani origin people are Muslims, it is also not unreasonable to equate his words with praise for the behaviour of Muslims in the UK. Let us look a little closer at some aspects of this “way of life”.

SHOULD WE WORK LESS?

Unemployment is high among the Muslim community. According to an article in the Daily Telegraph in 2010, half of the UK’s Muslim males are unemployed, and 3/4 of the UK’s Muslim females are unemployed (1).

SHOULD WE COMMIT MORE CRIME?

According to the Daily Mail, Muslims make up one in seven of the UK’s prison population, despite making up only one in twenty of the UK’s population overall (2). In our high security prisons the percentage is even higher, at one in 5 (3).

SHOULD WE ACCEPT CHILD ABUSE AND MURDER AS GOOD EXAMPLES OF BEHAVIOUR?

His extraordinary assertion that we should “integrate with the British Asian way of life” will not be easy to accomplish, unless we ourselves become Muslims. Perhaps he thinks we should submit to Islam and become Muslims so that we can visit their mosques? Perhaps he thinks that we should accept the words of the Koran (33:21) that Mohammed’s life was the most perfect example for mankind, a life that included marriage to a 6 year old child, mass murder, enslavement among other things?

SHOULD WE MARRY OUR COUSINS AND BECOME INBRED?

Cousin Marriages are very commonplace among people of Pakistani origin in the UK, according to the Independent newspaper the rate is 2 out of every 3 marriages. This is leading to a significant increase in disabilities among the offspring of such couples (4). Here again, we see the influence of the “most perfect example” of Mohammed’s life, because Mohammed married his own cousin. Should we adopt the Muslim custom of never daring to question this “most perfect example”, Mr. Cameron?

SHOULD WE IGNORE THE BRITISH JUSTICE SYSTEM AND SET UP A PARALLEL LEGAL SYSTEM?

Increasingly we are hearing of Sharia law courts operating in the UK. Women are often treated as second class citizens at these courts, which usually are entirely judged by men.

SUMMARY

How/why David Cameron was ever viewed as a person with leadership ability will forever be a mystery to me.

Quite why the British non-Muslims were not insulted and outraged by his remarks, is something that baffles me. Not for the first time, I find myself thinking that Cameron has got to be replaced with someone who can unite the people of the UK, instead of someone who is happy to insult the majority in order to appease this minority. Here is the article in full:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/may/13/comment.communities

References:

(1) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8054403/Britains-coping-classes-at-breaking-point.html

(2) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3447159/The-Muslim-extremists-taking-British-jails.html

(3) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3415435/How-one-five-inmates-maximum-security-prisons-Muslim.html

(4) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/health-why-cousins-can-be-just-too-close-the-pakistani-practice-of-marrying-relations-may-be-causing-1483250.html

Our Shared European Identity

In the last post I wrote about the Persecution of Non-Muslims, an increasing problem throughout the world. What strikes me most strongly about these persecutions is the deafening silence, the lack of outrage, among the non-Muslims of the world. The Muslims of the world feel a sense of shared grievance when they believe a Muslim has suffered at the hands of a non-Muslim, as witnessed for example by demonstrations by Muslims of mostly Pakistani origin in the UK against the state of Israel. However, the non-Muslims seem to lack a similar sense of shared grievance when non-Muslims suffer at the hands of Muslims. Can people be united around a negative, around the fact that they are NOT Muslims?

In Europe particularly, there has been a culture of political “correctness” and white guilt, German guilt, and self-hatred of the European past, that has been stoked by European left-wingers generally and by the architects of the European Union. Reporting by the mainstream media of abuse of non-Muslims has been suppressed. For example, the large number of rapes by predominantly Muslim grooming gangs in the UK were for a long time not reported. In another example, it took many days before the mainstream media reported on the events at Cologne train station on New Year’s Eve 2015. Non-Muslims should be outraged by this, but instead they are largely meekly accepting of it. Many would deny that Islam was even a factor in such an event, but yet the majority (perhaps all) of the suspects on this occasion were from Islamic majority countries.

THE EUROPEAN “UNION”

The leaders of the European Union have long seen national identities as an obstacle to their grand socialist, bureaucratic project. However in their efforts to smash national identities, they have encouraged negative attitudes and self-hatred, and sown division. This has weakened our resistance to the anti-Democratic and supremacist ideology of Islam. By also inviting so many people from Islamic countries into our nations recently, these leaders have created the climate for the very thing that the European project was supposed to avoid – civil conflict within Europe. It is these leaders, who have so little regard for our shared identity, our European culture, who are endangering us, not those on the right who still cherish a sense of this shared identity. The reaction against these mindless left-wing leaders is not a resurgence of nationalism in the old sense, but rather a reaction against the tyranny of these left-wing politically “correct” leaders who are so hostile to our European past and identity.

In their attempts to control the people of Europe, and force them to accept their vision, they have greatly undermined our most fundamental and hard-won freedom, the freedom of speech and expression. Increasingly European governments have used the threatening words of Islamic hate preachers as an excuse to curb the freedom of speech of everybody else. They have also used the threat of Islamic terrorist attacks, and a greatly exaggerated and largely imagined threat of anti-Islamic violence, as excuses to increase the surveillance of their entire populations.  We must force the resignation of these current leaders if we are to re-discover our shared identity and recover our freedoms, so hard-won by previous generations.

A CHRISTIAN REVIVAL?

I often encounter the view that it is the declining Christian faith of Europe that has left us weakened and exposed in the face of the increasing influence of the Islamic religion. Many of those who subscribe to this view often also think that the only thing that can save us from this influence is a revival of Christianity. I take a rather different view however, as I see the influence of Christian ideals in our meekness, as I explained in a previous blog post:

Christianity And Western Decline

Even if a more widespread revival of Christianity could be considered as desirable, I doubt that it is achievable. Many Europeans simply no longer believe in a supreme being, still less in the miracles that are claimed as part of the story of Jesus. Ours is a more rational age, and we should be thankful of that. To force people to attend church against their will would be a very un-Christian thing to do.

Perhaps if the church leaders adopted a more rational and universal moral philosophy, they might attract more people to return to attending their churches.  Such a universal moral philosophy would necessarily also reject Islam.  The church leaders must also openly reject Islam if they are to recover the moral high ground, instead of meekly submitting to its influence.

DISCOVERING OUR TRUE EUROPEAN SHARED IDENTITY

I suggest that we Europeans, both Christians and Atheists, do in fact have a shared identity, and that we should celebrate it loudly and proudly and with a cheerful heart. Our shared identity should be considered to include not just Christian values and art, but also secular art and the ideas of the Enlightenment, which paved the way for so much European scientific and technological progress.

Let us rejoice in the writings of Shakespeare, Voltaire, Dickens and so many more great European writers. None of these writers would be tolerated in a world dominated by Islam.

Let us rejoice in our traditions of comedy and satire, of Monty Python’s Life of Brian for example, and Voltaire’s Candide and Mahomet.  Comedy and satire would not be tolerated in an Islamic society, especially not where it dares to mock religions.

Let us rejoice in the music of J.S.Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Mahler, Ravel, Debussy and so many more great European composers.  None of this beautiful music would be tolerated in a world dominated by Islam. Let us rejoice in the music of more recent times as well, such as the Beatles, Abba and Pink Floyd and many more.

Let us rejoice in the paintings of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Monet, Van Gogh and so many more great European painters. None of their paintings would be tolerated in a world dominated by Islam.

Let us rejoice in the glorious architecture and sculpture of our Christian heritage – Notre Dame, Florence, Milan, York Minster, King’s College Chapel and so many more. Do we wish to see these beautiful buildings converted into mosques? I can say even as an atheist that I object very strongly to the idea. I feel these buildings are part of our heritage, and Islam should not be, because it would not tolerate their existence as churches.

Let us rejoice in all our scientific and technological achievements as well.

It is as much Freedom of Speech, of expression, that characterizes the modern European as it is our Christian past. This is the most fundamental thing that should unite us, that we should consider as the most important part of our shared identity. Church and State have also long been kept separate in most European countries, and we should also cherish this as it is much more likely that people of different beliefs will live in harmony. Islam is too political and almost invariably leads to intolerance of other beliefs and ultimately to theocracy.

SUMMARY

In summary, I suggest we must rediscover and celebrate our shared identity, that which we Europeans have in common, or else we could lose this identity to that which is hostile to every aspect of it, namely the Islamic religion.

Atheism And Morality

I often come across the view expressed by followers of the Abrahamic religions that there can be no morality without religion, and that therefore atheists are necessarily immoral.  However human beings are social animals, the urge to help others is quite a natural one.  Atheists also like to form friendships, and therefore they benefit from peer approval, which is more often a force for compassion than cruelty and callousness.  The idea that people are immoral unless you instill into them the fear of terrible punishments in the “afterlife” is therefore not sound.

Another weakness in the argument that only the followers of Abrahamic religions are moral is that these religions all encourage beliefs that are irrational.  Should we believe in things for which our senses see no evidence?  Surely the avoidance of truth should be considered immoral?

The simple fact that prominent atheists risk their lives by publicly criticizing religions is itself evidence of morality in atheists.  What else could be their motivation in risking their lives but a desire to serve the greater good?

Followers of the Abrahamic religions also tend to associate the declining birth rates in the West with the decline in religious observance.  However this ignores the fact that countries that continue to have higher degrees of religious observance are also seeing declining birth rates.  The pope may urge his followers not to use contraception, but the majority of Catholics take very little notice of this.  Declining birth rates are undoubtedly a serious problem for Western civilization, but religion has largely failed to provide an antidote.  Some groups such as the Amish and Mormon communities may be maintaining higher birth rates but their religious beliefs may be problematic in other ways.

We must look elsewhere for a solution to this problem, to reason.  In future articles I will be putting forward rational arguments for, and suggesting ways to achieve, higher birth rates in Western countries.