Monday, December 15, 2014

May the Lord and the US Army kick ISIS.

I came across this little item this morning from a blog run by a female Indian doctor and radical secularist, Taslima Nazreen:
In the ISIS guide, one question asks: ‘Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?’
The response is: ‘It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse.’
Another asks: ‘Is it permissible to sell a female captive?’ The response is: ‘It is permissible to buy, sell, or give as a gift female captives and slaves, for they are merely property, which can be disposed of.’
The document says that all ‘unbelieving’ women, including Jews and Christians, can be taken as captives and sold as slaves.
The pamphlet allows masters to beat their female slaves, but only as a disciplinary measure, and not as a source of gratification. The master is also forbidden from beating his slave-girl on the face.
The IS price list for slaves ranks the cost of a woman by age, so while a woman aged 40-50 would sell for just 50,000 dinars or $43, a girl aged 10-20 would be worth 150,000 dinars ($125) and a child under nine would sell for 200,000 dinars ($166).
For once, I quite agree with the substance of her commentary.  And in this case, I even think her harsh word choice should be admitted:
"ISIS is doing everything exactly what Muhammad did.  Muhammad killed non-Muslims,non-believers, apostates,captured non-Muslim girls and fucking them.  He fucked female slaves.  He fucked a child.  Islam says if you want to be a good Muslim, follow Muhammad’s lifestyle, do everything what Muhammad did."
This is why I am not a pacifist.  Jesus said, "Turn the other cheek."  I think that's your own cheek, the one on your face.  I don't think Jesus meant, "Let kids get raped, enslaved, and beaten up because you're too busy being righteous (or safe?) to oppose evil force with justified force in response."  
Indeed, that seems to have been part of Urban II's logic, when he unleashed the FIrst Crusade: 
"They circumcise the Christians . . . When they wish to torture people by a base death, they perforate their navels . . . Others they bind to a post and pierce with arrows.  Others they compel to extend their necks and then, attacking them with naked swords attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow.  What shall I say of the abominable rape of women? . . . The kingdom of the Greeks is now dismembered . . . "
Nazreen is correct to trace this attitude to Mohammed, and to imply that the most radical and evil Islamic movements merely have to note the "holy prophet's" own actions, to fully justify the worst that they do, in most cases.  This is why radical Islam and freedom-loving peoples will always be at war, and why we cannot expect final lvictory even when the Islamic State is defeated.  We have no right to allow evil men (in this case we hardly need add "and women," since it is clear who is in the driver's seat) to conquer, hold, and exploit the populace, sexually and otherwise, of whole nations, preaching a radical ideology that espouses total war and world conquest, and not respond forcefully.  
Of course, the fact that we must use force, does not mean we should lower ourselves to the level of our enemies, and engage in bloodbaths as the crusaders sometimes did.  Of course we should minimize civilian casualties.  Of course we should justify the battle, when necessary, in secular terms, that appeal to skeptics, as well as Hindus and Buddhists, and "moderate" Muslims. 
And of course there will be times when individuals on our side violate our own standards, and will need themselves to be exposed, opposed, and punished, as some prison guards at Abu Ghraib were punished for abusing prisoners.  Stuff happens in war, and should be minimized.  But it is not a reason not to oppose great evils with force, when necessary.  
So go kick their butts, US Marines.  I'll even say a good word for Barack Obama, if he deals with these wretched human beings effectively.  Jesus was on the side of the innocent, against their oppressors.  And I think we should be, too. 



Tige Gibson said...

Out of one side of your mouth you say "radical secularist" (who really uses that expression?) and out of the other side you say "justify the battle, when necessary, in secular terms."

But what I'm really curious about is when you feel that battle doesn't need justification? I assume you mean to have justification, just not secular justification.

What must follow is that there would be a situation where people must accept a non-secular justification for war.

Somehow you do not yet realize the abuses that Scripture can and do justify. There isn't worse to be found in the Koran.

bbrown said...

Thank you for the moral clarity.
We try so hard in the West to make Islam something it is not, and we suffer the consequences of a harsh, brutal regime bent on jihadic world domination. Moral clarity is needed before we can do what we must, and usually that means fight.

That said, I am very wary of the term you used: "moderate Muslim". Islam in not a moderate religion or worldview. Any moderate muslim is just being a bad Muslim, not living up to or following the tenets of their own religion and holy book. Also, many (? most) so-called moderate Muslims are only waiting for the opportunity to become a majority before they become not so moderate. This is the way they have always acted in history: lay low until victory looks assured.

Lastly, the prior comment by Tage Gibson is the sort of mental obfuscation and absurd moral equivalence that is allowing Islam to destroy Western civilisation.

David B Marshall said...

William: Thanks! I searched briefly for a better term than "moderate Muslim," but settled for it. I take your point, but I don't think "bad Muslim" is quite right, either. There are enough positive things in the Koran that a sincere Muslim could concentrate on those -- one is not required to follow Mohammed's example of rape, assassination, war-mongering, torture, and mass murder. There is an assymmetric relationship between leader and follower, and followers can lead more benign lives. But they won't find the moral justification to stand against the leaders within Islamic orthodoxy, so long as those leaders follow the example of Mohammed. So as a group, yes, so long as Islam remains what its writings (Koran and hadith) define it to be, it will remain the enemy of freedom.

So my preferred solution to Islam, is persuasion out, ie conversion. In that I agree with the New Atheists, only I think Muslims would be better off following Christ. Though even if Muslims just mellow out into "bad Islam," that will probably make the world more peaceful, too.

bbrown said...


By this nomenclature I merely mean to point out that a so-called moderate Muslim is one who is being disobedient to their own doctrine (ie: not being a good or true Muslim). Sure there are positives in the Koran, however, Islam originated in violence and a true follower of the Koran is obedient to it's demands of violence and jihad. Soft peddling on that core reality is what will continue to get us, in the West, in trouble.

I appreciate it any time someone speaks about these with moral clarity, as you have done. Most in the media and the current administration seem to prefer a dangerous self-delusion.

Brian Barrington said...

When Westerners debate Muslims and Islam it is not difficult to identify what the essence of the disagreement is – the question comes down to this: whether or not the West should regard Muslims as an enemy to be defeated, in the same way it previously regarded Nazis and Soviet Communists as enemies to be defeated. The West got rid of Nazis and Soviet Communists by either killing them or by converting them to a way of thinking that was neither Nazism nor Communism. Therefore, the West should now get rid of Muslims by either killing them or converting them to a way of thinking that is not Muslim.

Even if for the sake of argument one agrees with the objective, on a practical level there are several problems with this approach. First, there are 1.5 billions Muslims, one in every four human beings, so that is a lot of people to kill or to convert to non-Islam. Second, Islam has been around since about 800 AD and it is an inherited identity, deeply embedded in Muslim societies – in this respect it is unlike either Nazism or Communism, which were new phenomena for which support was temporary and shallow, not intergenerational and deep. For these reasons it would be difficult to get rid of Islam (even assuming for the sake of argument one agrees with the objective) and it would be a practical mistake to regard Muslims as enemies in the same way that the West regarded Nazis and Soviet Communists as enemies.

David B Marshall said...

Brian: Good to hear from you again. But this post isn't really about war against "the Islamic world" en toto, rather against the Islamic State, Taliban, Hamas, and if necessary, though mostly in economic ways, against the mullahs who rule Iran. That's because you're right: the job of the Marines, etc, is mostly to restrain the worst excesses, the imperialist edge of Islam, not to roll back an entire religion now with over a billion people. (Not even the Crusaders tried to do that.)

And of course, most Muslims do NOT make such a nuisance of themselves. But we should at least try to encourage saner Muslim states to allow real freedom -- including the right to convert out if people like, and the right for women to live as full citizens in society, for instance in Saudi Arabia.

Brian Barrington said...

The West could try and defeat ISIL by a full scale war, like the last Iraq war. I think there is little political will or popular will in the West to do that. Realistically, the most the West could do at the moment is support other Muslims in the region in their attempts to defeat ISIL – the forces in the region that have the best capacity to defeat ISIL and that also have the incentive to do so, are Iran and the Assad regime in Syria. I have read reports that the West is coordinating its efforts with Iran in operations against ISIL. Of course, 15 years ago ISIL did not exist in that region. There is a debate to be had about what happened in that region in the intervening period that led to the emergence of ISIL.

You’re right that it is far more likely that Muslims will change or modify many of the things that they believe as Muslims, than that they will stop regarding themselves as Muslims. Generally people change when they want to, not because foreigners tell them to.

Anonymous said...


I tend to agree with your assessment of how Islam is different from Communism or Nazism.

Also, I reflect that Islam is what, 1200 years old or so? What was Christianity like in the year 1200? That was just before the decree that torture can be used to extract confessions. At that time all of Europe was essentially Christian and the predominate version was RC.

I think one thing some might not fully appreciate is that millions of Muslims believe they are right...their religion is correct and Christians are in the wrong and aggressive. A Muslim can be just as devout as the most devout Christian. How are we, in the US, reacting to threats and the spread of Islam...the same way Islam is reacting to their perception of the spread or attempted spread of Christianity. The conflict between these two groups are as old as Islam. I think another thing is that while the modern Christian who I might encounter on the web has often played down, reinterpreted or categorically denied some OT admonitions. But to the outsider (including me), those admonitions...the commands to wipe out peoples who worship other god, the instructions of what to do with slaves, the means of punishing homosexuals, witches, misbehaving children and victims of rape are very much a part of the Christian background.

But I think in many parts of the world Christianity has changed for the better. Of course I might disagree with Christians on why this is, but the point is still valid it has improved. What will influence Islam to improve and what do we imagine those improvements should entail?

Brian Barrington said...

From surveys I have seen, the chief problem most Muslims have with the West is that the West keeps on invading and occupying Muslim countries – that is their biggest complaint about the West, and by far the biggest source of tension between the West and Islam. If the West wanted to reduce the tension, the first thing to do would be to stop invading and occupying Muslim countries.

bbrown said...

Rizdek: "A Muslim can be just as devout as the most devout Christian."

A devout Christian blesses his enemy and lays down his life for his brother. A devout Muslim is told in his holy book to protect himself and to kill his enemies if they do not convert. This is not moral equivalence, despite what sinful humans who claim to be adherents of either label have done in history.

Regarding "Christian" or Jewish atrocities: that has been more than adequately addressed ad-infinitum elsewhere (including in many books, such as Paul Copan et al). Yet the same charge is just made over and over. Again, claiming any moral equivalence between Muslim origins and history and Judea-Christian Biblical history reflects a lack of knowledge or a deliberate agenda.

A Muslim who does not follow the commands of his or her faith is really not an obedient Muslim. They may follow the cultural and historic trappings, but the real core and heart of the faith is not being followed. That's why I have a problem with calling all the Muslims in Dearborn, MI and elsewhere true Muslims. They are not. Curiously, however, there is a worrisome lack of outrage or even public statement when their co-coreligionists commit murder and mayhem overseas and domestically, in obedience to clear Muslim doctrine and scripture.

Brian Barrington said...

William, what is your plan for getting rid of Islam? There are 1.5 billions Muslims, one in every four human beings, so that is a lot of people to kill or to convert to non-Islam. Most Muslim countries have been Muslim for over 1000 years. If you have been to any Muslim countries you will have seen first hand how difficult if not impossible it would be to get the people who live there to stop regarding themselves as Muslims. In fact, it would be an entirely ridculous project. So what is your plan for getting rid of Islam?

Brian Barrington said...

William, Christian scripture advocates genocide, gang rape and stoning people to death. Even still, most Christians manage to avoid doing these things. Maybe Islamic scripture also advocates stoning people to death or something similar? Even still, most Muslims manage to avoid stoning anyone to death. Perhaps some Muslims stone people to death in rural Afghanistan or something? What do you think the solution to that problem is?

bbrown said...

I have no plan for getting rid of Islam. I'd certainly say that establishing relationships and getting to know Muslims is a good start. However, that is unrelated to both what our country should do against the threats (domestic terrorism and threats of nuclear attack, etc.) or what I was trying to say.
I have been to Muslim countries, and many of my views have been formed from those experiences. Islam has a varied and rich history and cultural tradition which I value highly. I find that once a relationship is established that Muslims love to engage in good debate about our worldviews. And many, many have come to Christ, at risk of their lives, when presented with the (non-propagandized, actual historical) evidence.....

My comments have nothing to do with what you say. My points have to do with an acknowledgment of the real situation and not some wishful interpretation, which is ultimately harmful. I argue for an accurate understanding. That is the crucial to being able to withstand the jihadic existential threat posed by true Islam. Until we (especially our leaders) acknowledge reality, we will be unable to defend ourselves or to address those who desire to establish Sharia law and impose a caliphate on the USA. You must be aware how this denial is playing out in Europe?
So-called 'tolerance' and other politically correct dogmas sound nice in academic debates but result in much innocent bloodshed in the real world. There is nothing nice about pretending Islam is a religion of peace.
As I said, I only argue here for moral clarity.

Brian Barrington said...

If you think anyone is going to establish Sharia law and impose a caliphate on the USA then you are deranged. There is no existential threat to Europe from Islamic extremism. Muslims are about 4% of the population of the European Union and most of them are entirely law-abiding citizens.

David B Marshall said...

Brian: Muslims don't "have a problem with the West," they have a problem with the world. More non-Muslim Nigerians are I believe killed by the fanatics, than are Americans or Brits. Huntington was right: "the borders of Islam are bloody," and that's not just its borders with the West.

The Islamic State did not exist then, but the Taliban did, along with Hamas, etc. etc. So the choice seems to be: "Fight them, and make them madder, or don't fight them, and let them run roughshod." There's really no winning strategy in that case, but one has to do the best one can.

Brian Barrington said...

David, the biggest atrocities since WW2 have been perpetrated by Christians. For example, the biggest genocide since WW2 was perpetrated by Christians, in Rwanda. And the war with the highest casualities (5 million or so) was a war between Christians – in the Congo. Nothing Muslims have done comes even close to matching these atrocities by Christians.

One of the reasons Islam has bloody borders is because it has lots of borders with other civilisations and cultures –it borders non-Muslim sub-Saharan Africa, India, Europe, Russia, China, non-Muslim SE Asia and so on. Japan, for example, does not have bloody borders - possibly because it does not have any borders with non-Japanese cultures and civilisations. The US does not tned to have bloody borders because its only borders are with Canada and Mexico. And so on.

David B Marshall said...

Brian: The Rwanda slaughter was racial, not religious. Do you know of a good resource on the religious component of the murderous ideology? Same with the Congo: I know a pastor from there; I have seen no evidence that Christianity is part of the problem.

But your facts are incorrect. The Chinese civil war killed more people than that. Japan is not fighting anyone -- they have boats, you know -- because they mellowed out and dropped fanatical ideology after WWII. Asian religions seem more flexible, in that way, though I am not claiming there is something uniquely evil about Islam. If all the Muslims in the world turned into Baptists tomorrow, there would still be problems, and some other big danger would appear, no doubt.

Brian Barrington said...

I wonder how many people were killed in the Chinese civil war after WW2? In any case, even if it was more than the war in the Congo, it does not much change the substance of my point. In neither case was the war perpetrated by Muslims - in comparison with Christian and Chinese societies, Islamic societies have been relatively peaceful, or at least not worse. But I agree with you that the wars in Rwanda and the Congo had little or nothing to do with Christianity - still, the fact that they are Christian societies does not seem to have made much difference.

Anonymous said...


I commented "A Muslim can be just as devout as the most devout Christian." Note that I didn't say morally equivalent.

"A devout Christian blesses his enemy and lays down his life for his brother. A devout Muslim is told in his holy book to protect himself and to kill his enemies if they do not convert. This is not moral equivalence, despite what sinful humans who claim to be adherents of either label have done in history."

I think you are missing my point. Let's start this way. Why do you consider God's commandments to bless (love, do good to, pray for) your enemies and lay down your life for your brother morally superior? IOW why do you call Jesus (and what he commanded) good? If Jesus had commanded different things, like protecting yourself and killing your enemies, would you have been listing those and calling them morally superior?

David B Marshall said...

Oh, I never did answer Tige. There is no conflict between looking skeptically at "radical skepticism" (I think I used the expression, to answer your question) and to justify something "secularly." The one refers to a hard-core ideology, the other to offering reasons that most everyone can accept.

"Somehow you do not yet realize the abuses that Scripture can and do justify. There isn't worse to be found in the Koran."

A distinction must be made. Do you mean abuses that the Bible, read fairly from a Christian perspective (with Christ at the center), actually does justify? Or abuses that people with their own agendas and moved by various extra-biblical impulses, may find a way to justify through the Bible? If the latter, that is no doubt true, given human perversity and creativity. If the former, I don't think so.