After witnessing the Islamic Republic of Iran violate human rights, adopt sharia law, persecute other religions, murder dissenters, and compel the judiciary to serve the Ministry of Intelligence, it seems clear that the worst thing that can happen to a free Western country is to allow Islamic fundamentalists to take over a government.
Most of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims pray in Arabic, even if it is not their mother tongue. The problem, however, is not in the translation; it is in the ideology.
Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian; two more were from the United Arab Emirates; one was from Egypt, and one from Lebanon. All were from Arabic-speaking countries.
Muslim scholars did not unite to protest the act of terrorism on 9/11. Instead, many celebrated a victory; the Quran includes passages that permit violence to expand Islam.
Most so-called Muslims are peace-loving, but if there are 164 verses of the Koran prescribing jihad, and many Muslims might feel it would be heretical or disloyal to condemn it.
Arabic-speaking Muslim countries are not alone in supporting terrorism. According to the U.S. Department of State, the Islamic Republic of Iran is still the leading state sponsor of terrorism. Iran also recently announced that it will continue to support terrorism, including the terrorist groups Hizballah ["The Party of Allah"] and Hamas.
Iran still supports the death fatwa issued against a European, the British novelist Salman Rushdie, for The Satanic Verses -- a novel -- issued by the long-dead Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989. Last year the bounty on his head was raised another $600,000 to almost $4 million.
Until his death earlier this year, Ayatollah Vaez-Tabasi, a leading Shia cleric in Iran, who presided over the Imam Reza shrine that draws as many annual visitors as Mecca, called for "perpetual holy war."
Muhammad's Practices Clash with the Humanistic Values of Western Civilization
Fundamentalists view Muhammad as the perfect man. Yet Muhammad led violent followers who raped, enslaved war captives, and murdered unbelievers as part of Islam's program to expand. Today that behavior is emulated by Islamic terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mauritania, Nigeria, to name just a few.
Muhammad had several wives, including a slave given to him as a gift. When he was in his fifties, he asked for a friend's six-year-old daughter and consummated the so-called marriage when the child was nine. Although Muhammad criticized corrupt customs of his Arab contemporaries, he had sex with a girl who was too young to be capable of consent; in the West we call this statutory rape. (Sahih Bukhari volume 5, book 58, number 234)
Referring to Muhammad's life, fundamentalists allow forced marriages of female children in countries including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, some Gulf States, and Iran.
If fundamentalist Muslim leaders do not understand how flawed this ideology appears to the West, their incomprehension may spring from a fundamentally different view of human rights: To the West, these values are embodied in the Enlightenment -- such as individual freedoms, freedom of thought, disinterested enquiry -- and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – that all people, regardless of race religion or gender, have the right to life, liberty personal security, and freedom from slavery torture, and degrading treatment.
To the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), however, all human rights must first be based on Islamic religious law, Sharia: whatever is inside Sharia is a human right, whatever is outside Sharia is not a human right.
To the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, all human rights must first be based on Islamic religious law, Sharia: whatever is inside Sharia is a human right, whatever is outside Sharia is not a human right. Pictured above: The 2016 OIC Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. (Image source: Al Jazeera video screenshot)
Therefore, slavery or having sex with children or beating one's wife, or calling rapes that do not have four witnesses adultery the punishment for which is death, or a woman officially having half the worth of a man, are all "human rights."
In 2005, after the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard drew a cartoon mildly satirizing Muhammad as an assignment for a newspaper, many Muslim clerics cried blasphemy and called for his death. These included a Pakistani cleric who offered a one million dollar reward to anyone who would murder the Dane. Thousands of Muslims protested. In 2010, an axe-wielding Muslim assailant attacked Westergaard in his home; fortunately, Westergaard was able to escape to a secure room.
Western governments should stand resolute against those who would blackmail us into giving up our freedoms. No intelligent government should impair the right of free speech to placate people who falsely claim they are victims when often they are, in fact, aggressors.
Reformist Muslims and the Credibility Crisis
Most of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims may not countenance violence and human rights violations, but the fact remains that fundamentalists are not a fringe group; they occupy senior positions in the Muslim clerical hierarchy. There are tens of millions (or more) of them, and each seems to believe that his interpretation of Islam is the only correct one. Of this group, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands are jihadis willing to engage in active violence.
Many Reformist Muslims claim they are being unfairly lumped into this extremist crew, but if they are claiming a schism, many they often have not been clear about it.
When Martin Luther, a Catholic priest and a theology professor, repudiated two core teachings of the Catholic Church, he acknowledged that, by definition, he was no longer Catholic. He was part of the Protestant Reformation, and his followers are called Lutherans.
Reformist Muslims still call themselves Muslims, but there can never be a Quran 2.0. Every word in the Quran is believed to be the word of Allah, similar to the Ten Commandments as the direct word of God; no one is able to say that Allah did not mean what Allah reportedly said. Interpretations, however do differ and since 1948 have apparently caused the deaths of 11,000,000 Muslims at the hands of other Muslims.
So one can imagine what might be in store for non-Muslims.
Islam, moreover, seems to have been has been set up to spread it both by violence, "hard jihad," and "soft jihad. " Hard jihad includes terrorism, murder and attempted murder. Soft jihad includes rewriting history as with the UNESCO vote claiming that ancient Biblical monuments such as Rachel's Tomb or the Cave of the Patriarchs are Islamic, when historically Islam did not even exist until the seventh century; migration to widen Islam (hijrah), as we are seeing now in Europe and Turkish threats to flood Germany with migrants; cultural penetration such as promoting Islam in school textbooks or tailoring curricula for "political correctness"; political and educational infiltration, as well as intimidation (soft jihad with the threat of hard jihad just underneath it).
More regrettable is that these are so often done, as at UNESCO, with the help and complicity of the West.
Both hard and soft jihad are how Islam historically has been able to overrun Persia, Turkey, Greece, Southern Spain, Portugal, all of North Africa, and all of Eastern Europe. It is up to us not to let this be done to us again.
Janet Tavakoli is the author of Unveiled Threat: A Personal Experience of Fundamentalist Islam and the Roots of Terrorism, a newly-released non-fiction book about the current negative implications of Islamic fundamentalism for the United States.