Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Koran and the Bible: Equally Genocidal?
Do the Koran and the Bible both equally teach genocide? According to Friday night’s “20/20 TV Special” devoted to answering American fears about Islam, they do! Their reasoning goes like this:
1. Both books contain bloody genocidal and homicidal verses.
2. Christians have learned to live life graciously despite their genocidal verses.
3. Therefore, we have to also acknowledge that Muslims can and do the same.
There are many problems with this reasoning. For one thing, the “genocidal” Biblical verses – all are contained in the Old Testament – strictly pertain to theocratic state of Israel, and therefore no longer pertain today.
However, in the Koran, we find that the opposite is true. The Koran teaches the principle of abrogation:
• “If We [Allah] abrogate any verse or cause it to be forgotten, We will replace it by a better one or one similar.” (2.106; 13:39)
Sadly, according to most Islamic voices, the “better one(s)” are the later ones – the ones that pertain to genocidal, intolerant Jihad. When Mohammed started to preach, he lacked an army, and so preaching peace and tolerance for other religions was his only expedient. However, once he put together an army, the peaceful teachings were “forgotten.” Let me provide one example of this and then the commentary from Khan’s Noble Koran:
• [47:4] “So when you meet (in fight…Jihad in Allah’s Cause) those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (take them as captives). Thereafter either generosity or ransom until the war lays down its burden. Thus you are ordered by Allah to continue Jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam or at least come under your protection. But if it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished then (without you). But He lets you fight in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost”
• COMMENTARY: Then Allah revealed…the order to discard (all) the obligations(covenants, etc.) and commanded Muslims to fight against all the Mushrikun [Polytheist and Trinitarians] as well as against the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christian) if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizya (tax...) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued. So they (Muslims) were not permitted to abandon the “fighting” against them (Pagans, Jews and Christians) and to reconcile with them and to suspend hostilities against them for an unlimited period while the (Muslims) are able to fight against the (non-Muslims) So at first “ the fighting” was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory against them that start the fighting against you and against all those who worship others [Trinitarians and Polytheists] along with Allah.
Jihad is not only obligatory for purposes of self-defense, it is also a “standing order,” which can be implemented against any infidels at any time. In contrast with this, the Old Testament Biblical mandate specifically directed Israel to bring God’s judgment against particularly sinful nations at a time when their sins had reached intolerable proportions. Over 400 years before the Israelite conquest of the Promised Land, God had explained to Abraham that the time to supplant the Canaanites had not yet arrived. Their sin had not yet reached a level that required God’s ultimate judgment:
• Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years…In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." (Genesis 15:13-16)
In the Bible, there is no criminal judgment merely against unbelief. In contrast, in the Koran the “sin” of unbelief is enough to warrant extermination, especially for those who turn away from Islam. These are critical distinctions. While punishment is a good and necessary part of maintaining a civilized society, we don’t believe in punishing people merely because of their beliefs or worldviews. We don’t throw people in jail for merely being republicans or democrats. Instead, we regard regimes that do such to be horribly repressive.
However, this is the very conclusion that the Center for Security Policy came to in their 2010 report regarding Islam: “Shariah: The Threat to America” http://tool.donation-net.net/Images/Email/1097/Shariah_The_Threat_to_America_Team_B_Report.pdf
As representative of this “threat to America,” the report cites:
• The Explanatory Memorandum was written in 1991 by Mohamed Akram, a senior Hamas leader in the U.S. and a member of the Board of Directors for the Muslim Brotherhood in North America (MB, also known as the Ikhwan). The document makes plain that the Islamic Movement is a MB effort, led by the Ikhwan in America.4 The Explanatory Memorandum goes on to explain that the “Movement” is a “settlement process” to establish itself inside the United States and, once established, to undertake a “grand jihad” characterized as a “civilization jihadist” mission that is likewise led by the Muslim Brotherhood.5 Specifically, the document describes the “settlement process” as a “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated….”6
To put it simply, according to the Muslim Brotherhood, the civilization jihad is the “Settlement Process” and the “Settlement Process” is the mission of the “Islamic Movement.” And that mission entails “eliminating and destroying” our way of life.
The common response is that it’s all a matter of interpretation and, as there are peaceful Christians, there are also peace-loving Muslims. However, according to the Center’s report, the majority Sunnis, constituting approximately 80% of the Islamic world, agree about shariah (Islamic) law:
• …for especially the Sunni and with regard to non-Muslims, there is ultimately but one shariah. It is totalitarian in character, incompatible with our Constitution and a threat to freedom here and around the world. Shariah’s adherents are making a determined, sustained, and well-financed effort to impose it on all Muslims and non-Muslims, alike. (11)
Shariah knows nothing of our separation of church and state and freedoms of speech. On the contrary, anyone who criticizes the Koran or the Prophet must killed – something we see in operation all over the Islamic world. However, there seem to be many peace-loving Muslims who deny that this is the intention of moderate Islam. Therefore, shouldn’t we be strengthening their hand against Jihadist Islam? According to the Center’s report, this might not be a realistic hope:
• By offering little meaningful opposition to the jihadist agenda and by meekly submitting to it, a large number of Muslim communities and nations generally project a tacit agreement with jihadis’ ends, if not with their means. At the very least, they exhibit an unwillingness to face the consequences of standing up to shariah’s enforcers within Islam. Such consequences include the distinct possibility of being denounced as an apostate, a capital offense under shariah.
For whatever reason, the moderates seem to exert little meaningful influence in the Islamic world. There was an informal survey conducted on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. A journalist asked Muslims on the street if they were in favor of the death fatwa issued against Salmon Rushdie several years back. Out of the ten, five answered affirmatively, while the other five refused to answer. This might be reflective of the influence of the moderate voice in general.
Western civilization was essentially built upon a Biblical foundation. Consequently, the late theologian B.B. Warfield was motivated to write:
• “Hospitals and asylums and refuges for the sick, the miserable and the afflicted grow like heaven-bedewed blossoms in its path. Woman, whose equality with man Plato considered a sure mark of social disorganization, has been elevated; slavery has been driven from civilized ground; literacy has been given by Christian missionaries, under the influence of the Bible.”
The Islamic world was built upon a foundation of Koran and Shariah. Anyone who travels will see a marked difference. And if you haven’t, just ask non-Muslims what it is like to live under Shariah!
How should a Christian deal with this knowledge? With prayer, knowing that,
• “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephes. 6:12).