Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2015

Psychology and Sociology of Religious Fanaticism

A Five Part Series

Part IV

 

In Part IV statistics concerning education, literacy rates, and employment among Muslims are presented and compared to other groups.

Education and Literacy Rates

 

Worldwide Historical View

     Note that the breakup of the Ottoman Turkish Empire resulted in about 40 new countries, including 22 Arab states.

     The Ottomans had their virtues, but they were no friends to public education, independent news media and the printed word. Ottoman culture favored the oral tradition, expressed in gorgeous poetry and music, and integrated the revered calligraphy of the Koran into every possible visual art form, from painting and ceramics to architecture and metalwork.

But literacy languished, particularly among Muslim Arab populations. According to historian Donald Quataert, general Muslim literacy rates were only 2 to 3 percent in the early nineteenth century, and perhaps 15 percent at its end. The vast majority of Muslim women remained illiterate well into the twentieth century. Prior to 1840, an average of only eleven books a year was published in the imperial capital of Istanbul.

     Books and printed matter in Turkish and Arabic were unknown before the end of the 18th century, and even then they were of limited impact because of widespread illiteracy.

Jewish refugees from the Spanish Inquisition established a Hebrew printing press about 1494. Armenians had a press in 1567, and Greeks had a press in 1627. These presses were not allowed to print in Turkish or in Arabic characters, owing to objections of the religious authorities. One result of this delay was to give Greeks, Armenians and Jews an advantage in literacy, and therefore an advantage in commerce, and in having a means to preserve and propagate their culture that was denied to Turks and Arabs. The major result was to retard the development of modern literate society, commerce and industry.

The first Turkish printing press in the Ottoman Empire was not established until 1729. It was closed in 1742 and reopened in 1784. The press operated under heavy censorship throughout most of the Ottoman era. Elections were unknown of course, though government decisions were usually reached by consultation of the government, provincial chiefs and religious authorities.

     The whole Arab world translates about three hundred books annually–one fifth the number that Greece alone translates; investment in research and development is less than one seventh the world average; and Internet connectivity is worse than in sub-Saharan Africa.

August 2002

Fifty-seven Muslim majority countries have an average of ten universities each for a total of less than 600 universities for 1.4 billion people; India has 8,407 universities, the U.S. has 5,758.      Of the 1.4 billion Muslims 800 million are illiterate (6 out of 10 Muslims cannot read). In Christendom, adult literacy rate stands at 78 percent.

November 2005

Large numbers of children in African and Arab countries are still shut out of classrooms, with primary school participation at below 60% in 17 OIC countries. More than half the adult population is illiterate in some countries, and the proportion is as high as 70% among women. Four out of 10 children in the African sub-region are out of school, as are a quarter of children in Arab member states. Only 26 out of 57 OIC members are on course to achieve the primary education gender equality targets for 2005.

November 2005

The 57-member countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) have around 500 universities, compared with more than 5,000 universities in the US and more than 8,000 in India. In 2004, Shanghai Jiao Tong University compiled an “Academic Ranking of World Universities,” and none of the universities from Muslim-majority states was included in the top 500.

May 2007

The 2002 United Nations Arab Development Report compiled by leading Arab scholars and intellectuals, reported that fewer than 350 books were translated into Arabic every year, less than one-fifth the number translated into Greek. The 2003 report added that the 10,000 books translated into Spanish every year exceeded those translated into Arabic— over the entire millennium.

2008

With an average adult literacy rate of 71.7% in 2010, OIC countries as a group lagged well behind the world average of 80.1% and also the other developing countries’ average of 82.5%.

2013

 

Arab World

Nearly half of all women in the Arab world are illiterate.

Nearly one in three people in the Arab world is illiterate, including nearly half of all women in the region, the Tunis-based Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organization (Alecso) said Monday.

Three-quarters of the 100 million people unable to read or write in the 21 Arab countries are aged between 15 and 45 years old, Alecso said in a statement.

Equally alarming, some 46.5% of women in the region are illiterate, the organisation reported, urging governments to put the fight against illiteracy at the top of their agendas.

January 2008

 

Denmark

Two thirds of all immigrant school children with Arabic backgrounds are illiterate after 10 years in the Danish school system:

Those who speak Arabic with their parents have an extreme tendency to lack reading abilities – 64 percent are illiterate. … No matter if it concerns reading abilities, mathematics or science, the pattern is the same: The bilingual (largely Muslim) immigrants’ skills are exceedingly poor compared to their Danish classmates.

May 2007

 

India

There has been a growing concern about the lack of educational qualifications of Muslims in India. While so far statistical information was lacking, the Census of India 2001 for the first time gives detailed educational data across religious groups.

Made available to INDIA TODAY exclusively, the findings are disheartening. The facts irrefutably demonstrate that, on an average, Muslim men and women are far less educationally accomplished than their non-Muslim counterparts, and this is so across almost every state in India. .      In 2001, only 55 percent of India’s 71 million Muslim males were literate, compared to 64.5 percent for the country’s 461 million non-Muslim men. Less than 41 percent of the country’s 67 million Muslim females were literate, versus 46 per cent of India’s 430 million non-Muslim women.

In proportional terms, the all-India Muslim male literacy rate was 15 per cent lower than that of non-Muslim males; this percentage difference increased to 17 percent in urban India.

     Far more serious was the percentage difference in literacy rates between Muslim females and their non-Muslim sisters; an 11 per cent disadvantage at the all-India level increased to over 19 per cent in urban India.

At the basic level of being ‘literate, ‘ Muslim women were proportionately 11 percent worse off than non-Muslims. The difference widened to 19 percent for those educated up to middle school; to 35 percent for those who studied up to Class X; to 45 percent for those who learned up to Class XII; and to 63 percent for those who were graduates and above.

August 2006

Muslims, India’s largest religious minority, are “lagging behind” on most things that matter.
Educational disparities were among the most striking. Among Muslims, Shariff said, the literacy rate is about 59 percent, compared with more than 65 percent among Indians as a whole. On average, a Muslim child attends school for three years and four months, against a national average of four years.

     Less than 4 percent of Muslims graduate from school, compared with 6 percent of the total population. Less than 2 percent of the students at the elite Indian Institutes of Technology are Muslim. Equally revealing, only 4 percent of Muslim children attend madrasas (colleges for Islamic Instruction), Shariff said.

November 2006

The first is the high drop­out rate among Mus­lim students. It is below even SC/ST students, who are generally considered the most educationally backward communities.

Six percent of girl students are forced to stop their education as parents think that there is no need for them to be educated.

The transition rate of Muslim students from class VII to VIII is very low compared to other communities.

September 2013

 

Indonesia

The global standing of Indonesia’s universities has dropped according to the latest world rankings published by Quacquarelli Symonds. The University of Indonesia, remains No. 1 in the country, but is only ranked 273rd globally.
United States and British universities dominated the top 20 in this year’s list, while ETH Zurich was the only university from a non-English speaking country that landed in top 20.

     The University of Hong Kong came in as the best performing university in Asia, securing 23rd place, followed by the National University of Singapore at 25th. The Australian National University was also among best performers in the region, finishing in 24th place.

The University of Indonesia was the only Indonesian institution in the top 300, but fell from 217th from last year to 273rd.

September 2012

Nigeria

 

     Illiteracy among Nigerian women of child-bearing age is three times as high among Muslims (71.9%) as among others (23.9%). Two-thirds of Nigerian Muslim women lack any formal education; that goes for just over a tenth of their non-Muslim sisters.

January 2011

 

Pakistan

Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel while addressing the inaugural ceremony showed his concern over the literacy rate in Pakistan which he said is amongst the lowest in the world. The actual literacy rate in Pakistan is hovering around 30% while this rate is around 15% in the tribal areas and the female literacy rate in tribal areas is around 5%.

December 2011

Fata comprises some of the least developed areas of the country, according to official figures, with the literacy rate for women standing at barely three per cent.

January 2012

    

   Pakistan ranks second in the global ranking of countries with the highest number of out-of-school children with the figure estimated to be about 25 million. Seven million have yet to receive some form of primary schooling. As many as 9,800 schools were reportedly affected in Sindh and Baluchistan due to floods. Around 600,000 children of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are reported to have missed one or more years of education due to ongoing militancy.      Pakistan has the lowest youth literacy rate. Only 59 percent females are literate as compared to 79 percent of males in the age group of 15 to 24 years. There are around 51.2 million adult illiterates in Pakistan. Only 65 percent schools have drinking water facilities, 62 percent have toilet facilities, 61 percent have a boundary wall and only 39 percent have electricity.

September 2012

Saudi Arabia

     In Saudi Arabia, the lack of books is accompanied by the struggle to modernize basic educational institutions. In his new book, Prophets and Princes, Mark Weston points out that Saudi Arabia did not have a high school until after 1930, and its first girls’ school was established after 1950.

     The Saudis have only 250 public libraries to serve a population of 26 million people, and there were no hours for female readers until 2006. The Saudis spend many millions of dollars translating and publishing the Quran into other languages, without devoting similar efforts to making foreign books available in Arabic.

2008

Tajikistan

The deputy chairman of Tajikistan’s State Committee for Religious Affairs said Friday the country has more mosques than schools.

Mavlon Mukhtorov said official figures show there are 3,425 regular mosques, 344 cathedral mosques, and 40 central cathedral mosques.

Mukhtorov said on February 16 his ministry issued permits for 45 new mosques to be built in different parts of the country.

Tajikistan’s Education Ministry reports there are 3,793 schools, most of them overcrowded, and in many cases one classroom has up to 40 students.

February 2012

 

Turkey

Pollster Adil Gür of A&G polling company interviewed 3,252 women in 42 provinces across Turkey on the subject of gender-based violence, ntvmsnbc.com reported.
Ten out of every 100 women in Turkey over the age of 18 are illiterate. Approximately 30 percent of women surveyed graduated from high school, and only 9 percent have a college degree. Twenty out of every 100 women over the age of 44 are illiterate.

March 2012

Moroğlu [the head of the Turkish Association of University Women (TÜKD)] stated that only 2 percent of women have access to a university education, which is far below EU standards. She further stated that every two out of 10 women are still illiterate in Turkey.

November 2012

 

United Kingdom

     People of working age with no qualifications: by religion, 2004, GB

In 2004 a third (33 per cent) of Muslims of working age in Great Britain had no qualifications – the highest proportion for any religious group. They were also the least likely to have degrees or equivalent qualifications (12 per cent).

Percentage of 16 to 30 year olds with a degree: by religion and country of birth, 2004, GB

 

Thirty percent of pupils of Pakistani origin gained 5 or more GCSE grades A-C in 2000, compared with 50 per cent of the total population      One in three Muslims has no qualifications, the highest for an ethnic group in Britain. They also have the lowest proportion of degrees or other higher qualifications.

July 2006

A large part of this, of course, reflects the lack of educational qualifications among the first generation of migrants. However,  Dale  etal. (2002) suggest that Muslim groups, such as Pakistani and Bangladeshis are most likely to have to retake exams to gain qualifications.
There appears to be an Asian polarization with pupils of Indian origin doing very well and pupils of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin performing poorly in comparison to other minority groups while at the same time doing better than their socio-economic position would suggest. Figures for 2006 show that Bangladeshi and Pakistani pupils perform below the national average at Key Stages 1 and 2, and at GCSE attainment including English and mathematics. For example, at Key Stage 1 Reading, 77 per cent of Pakistani pupils and 78 per cent of Bangladeshi pupils achieved the expected level compared to 84 per cent nationally… Pakistani pupils’ relative attainment at GCSE and equivalent is six percentage points below the national figure, 50.9 per cent compared with 56.9 per cent, rising to nine per cent when English and mathematics are included.

2007

 

United States

According to a Gallup Institute study involving 300,000 people, American Muslims for the most part have lower incomes, less education, and fewer jobs than the population as a whole.

March 2009

 

Yemen

A shocking 65% of married Yemeni women aged between 15 and 24 are illiterate.

According to the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by Ministry of Public Health and Population in September 2006, illiteracy among mothers the health ministry’s survey shows, that on average 35 percent of married Yemeni women aged between 15 and 24 are literate, with 59 percent of married women in urban areas, and 26 percent of married women in rural areas being able to read and write.

November 2008

Employment

 

Worldwide

Unemployment remained one of the most serious problems facing the OIC countries. According to the latest available data during the period 2007-2011, the average unemployment rates in the OIC countries were significantly higher than the world average and the averages of the developed and other developing countries. During this period, total unemployment rate in OIC countries increased from a level of 9.4% in 2007 to 9.9% in 2011.

November 2013

 

Middle East

The Middle East is the region with the highest rate of unemployment in the world, confirmed the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which reports that unemployment in the region is 10.3% compared to 6.2% on average globally.

The situation presented in “Global Employment Trends 2011” is even more dramatic when looking at the young segment of the population up to the age of 25, where the unemployment rate is estimated to be 40%. The data published by the UN agency raised a further alarm for a region that has already been observing popular insurrection and protests with cries for “more bread, more work” in recent weeks.

January 2011

Around three quarters of Arab youth want to migrate to countries out of their region due to rising unemployment in Arab states, an Arab League official said.

“Due to their poor participation in society and politics and to rising joblessness, 70 percent of the Arab youth want to migrate out of the region,” Khalid Al Wahishi, director of Population Policy and Immigration at Arab League, said.

“We at Arab League have been warning member states at all our meetings to empower the youth. Unemployment, alarmingly high at 26 per cent, poor participation of youth and illiteracy are major hindrances to population policy development and implementation,” Al Wahishi told delegates at a gathering of population experts from member-countries in Qatar.

November 2011

 

Australia

Unemployment rate in Queensland:

Muslims – 10.9% Non-Muslims – 4.7%

Research shows the unemployment rate of Australian Muslim women is over three times higher than Australian-born females from English speaking populations.

2006

 

Denmark

In Denmark, Muslims make up 5% of the population but receive 40% of social-welfare outlays. Their preachers have told them, Mr. Bawer reports, that only a fool would not take maximum advantage of the bounty that Western Europe offers.

February 2006

 

     Ninety percent of applicants for economic help to celebrate Christmas [in North Als] are Muslims.

November 2012

 

Germany

Foreign nationals are consistently overrepresented in unemployment figures. Turkish nationals are in the worst situation; they have an unemployment rate of 23 percent and comprise up to one third of all unemployed foreigners.

2007

Talina (11), Svenja (11) and Jason (9) do not understand a word spoken on the playground. Their classmates speak only Turkish or Arabic. In class, the three of them explain German words to their classmates.      They are the last German children at their school, The Jens Nydahl elementary school on Kohlfurter street (Kreuzberg). Ninety Nine percent of the 313 students are from an immigration background. The parents of 285 of them are financially supported by the state. One of the many school problems Bild reported on.

September 2011

India

In the famed national bureaucracy, the Indian Administrative Service, Muslims made up only 2 percent of officers in 2006. Among district judges in 15 states surveyed, 2.7 percent were Muslim.
The gaps in employment are likely to be among the most politically explosive. Muslims appear to be overrepresented among day laborers and street vendors and underrepresented in the public sector. Muslims secured about 15 percent of government jobs, considerably less than the share filled by “backward” castes and dalits, who were considered “untouchables” in the Hindu caste system.

November 2006

The survey [by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Centre] revealed that 47 per cent of Indian Muslims said it was difficult to survive on their incomes, compared with 39 per cent of Hindus.
More than 9,500 Indians, including 1,197 Muslims, were interviewed face-to-face last year and this year for the poll.

December 2011

Among religious groups, Sikhs have lowest poverty ratio in rural areas at 11.9 per cent, whereas in urban areas, Christians have the lowest proportion of poor at 12.9 per cent. Poverty ratio is the highest for Muslims, at 33.9 per cent, in urban areas.

March 2012

 

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, the youth unemployment rate in 2009 was over 30%. Other areas that need to be assisted with large investments, according to ILO analysts, include SMEs and the private sector.

January 2011

A study conducted by Booz and Co. for global management and strategy consultation, showed that 78.3% of female university graduates in Saudi Arabia , as well as over 1,000 Ph.D. holders, are unemployed.

According to the report, thousands of women graduate from Saudi universities each year who fail to find a job due to their area of specialization which were described as “routine” and “theoretical.” Women’s studies, the report added, are very nearly restricted to education and health.

The study explained that since 1992, female participation in the job market in Saudi has increased by three fold as it leaped from 5.4% to 14.4%. The number, however, remains the lowest in the Gulf region, according to Saudi newspaper al-Sharq.

June 2012

Spain

 

     Forty-two percent of Moroccan immigrants are jobless, but remain in Spain. Note that 99% of Moroccans are Muslim.

They are staying on in Spain whether they have jobs or not. Immigrants from Morocco, the largest foreign group resident in Spain, are also the one most affected by unemployment.

Of the more than one million unemployed persons of foreign origins registered as living is Spain at the end of 2009, around 350,000 are of Moroccan nationality. This is 42.4% of the community of 775,054 immigrants from Morocco with residence permits. These figures come from the 4th survey of immigration and the job market, which has been issued by the Ministry of Labour and Immigration and is quoted in today’s edition of the daily ABC.

August 2010

Turkey

According to a government study in Turkey, some 23.4 percent of women have been forced by men to quit their jobs or have been prevented from working; in the lower-income category, this figure is 21.5 percent while it is 21.2 percent for those with higher incomes.

February 2011

United Kingdom

     Muslim men of Pakistani and Bangladeshi background are disproportionately unemployed relative to other Asians, according to a Cabinet Office report commissioned by Tony Blair. Even after allowances for education and residential area, Pakistani Muslims are three times more likely to be jobless than Hindus; Indian Muslims are twice as likely to be unemployed than Indian Hindus.      Downing Street commissioned the study from the Performance and Innovation Unit, whose brief was to come up with ways of improving the economic performance of ethnic minorities.

     Hindus are four times less likely to be unemployed than Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims.

February 2002

In 2004 the unemployment rate among economically active Muslim men (13 per cent) was twice the rate of Sikh (7 per cent) or Hindu (5 per cent) men.      Muslim women have the highest rates of economic inactivity. In 2004 almost seven in ten (69 per cent) Muslim women of working age were economically inactive, a rate twice that of Hindu (31 per cent) and Sikh (36 per cent) women.

2004

Thirty-five percent of all Muslim children are growing up in a household where no adult is in employment, compared with 17.6% of all dependent children.

September 2004

Unemployment rates: by religion and sex, 2003-2004, GB

Unemployment rates for Muslims are higher than those for people from any other religion, for both men and women.

In 2004, Muslims had the highest male unemployment rate in Great Britain, at 13 per cent. This was about three times the rate for Christian men (4 per cent). Unemployment rates for men in the other religious groups were between 3 and 8 per cent.

The unemployment rate for Muslim women at 18 per cent was about four times the rate for Christian and Jewish women (4 per cent in each case). Unemployment rates for women in the other religious groups were between 6 per cent and 9 per cent.

Unemployment rates were highest among those aged under 25 years for all religious groups. Muslims aged 16 to 24 years had the highest unemployment rates. They were over twice as likely as Christians of the same age to be unemployed – 28 per cent compared with 11 per cent.

Economic inactivity rates of working age people: by religion and sex, 2003-2004, GB

Men and women of working age from the Muslim faith are also more likely than other groups in Great Britain to be economically inactive, that is, not available for work and/or not actively seeking work.

October 2004

  • 28 percent of Muslims live in socially rented housing as opposed to 20 percent for the general population. . . .
  • The unemployment rate for Muslims is 15 percent which is approximately three times higher than Christians and Hindus.
  • The unemployment rate for Muslims aged 16-24 is 17.5 percent as opposed to 7.9 percent for Christians and 7.4 percent for Hindus.

December 2005

 

     2/10 Pakistani or Bangladeshi women are active in the job market, compared to 7/10 black Caribbean and white women.

£150 a week is the average amount that Pakistani and Bangladeshi men earn less than white men.
     Thirty-one percent of working age male Muslims were economically inactive, the highest level in the country, in 2004.

July 2006

Muslims are more than twice as likely to be unemployed than the national average (16.4 per cent, compared to 7.7 per cent).

Worryingly, unemployment is especially high among young Muslims under the age of 30 (23 per cent), which is again higher than the UK average for young people (17 per cent).

The jobless rate for the least educated young Muslims – those with no qualifications – is even higher, approaching 40 per cent.

February 2010

Unemployment among ethnic minorities costs the economy almost £8.6 billion a year in benefits and lost revenue from taxes. Half of Muslim men and three quarters of Muslim women are unemployed.

October 2010

While there is some variation in employment rates among different religious groups, the most significant gap is for Muslim people who have the lowest rates of employment in the UK.
Fifty-one percent of second generation British Muslim women (those born in Britain) are inactive in the labor market, compared to only 17% of second generation- Hindu women. Of second generation British Muslim women, 13% are unemployed, compared to 4% of second generation Hindu and Sikh women, and 3% of Christian women.      Muslims are also more likely to experience periods outside education, employment or training, than Christians or those of no religion. Young Muslims are more likely to be NEET by age 19-21 than Christian young people, or those of no religion (28% compared to an average of 23%). This worsens with age: by age 22-24 Muslims are among those most likely to be NEET (42%).
Fourteen percent of Muslim women were employed full-time, 10% were employed part-time and 2% were self-employed. Moreover, 42% were categorized as ‘inactive, looking after the family, home.’ This compares to 10% of Christian women and 16% of Hindu women.

October 2010

Because such Islamic multiple-marriages are not recognized in Britain, the women are regarded by the welfare system as single mothers — and are therefore entitled to the full range of lone-parent payments.

As a result, several ‘families’ fathered by the same Pakistani man, can all claim benefits as they are provided for by the welfare state, which treats them as if they are not related.

Figures are hard to obtain, but it’s thought there may be around 1,000 polygamous families living in the UK, costing taxpayers millions of pounds every year.

September 2011

United States

     According to a Gallup Institute study involving 300,000 people, American Muslims for the most part have lower incomes, less education and fewer jobs than the population as a whole.

 

Final Comments

Unfortunately, Muslims are at the very bottom of the social ladder in terms of three very important social variables: education, literacy rates, and employment. Hundreds of years ago the de-emphasis on education and learning in the Ottoman Empire created the conditions for future failure in the Muslim/Arab world to elevate itself above poverty and ignorance. In this author’s opinion, the Muslim culture has been ripe, in terms of vulnerability, for the rise of radical Islam and groups like ISIS or al-Qaeda.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Psychology and Sociology of Religious Fanaticism

A Five Part Series

Part III

 

What is Jihad?

The Arabic word “jihad” is often translated as “holy war,” but in a purely linguistic sense, the word “jihadmeans struggling or striving. The Arabic word for war is: “al-harb.” In a religious sense, as described by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, “jihad” has many meanings.

In the Muslim world as well the non-Muslim world, human behavior can, and often is, based on a mixture of motives. In turn, different motives can and do lead to differences of opinion that account for differences in value judgments about a particular set of religious scriptures.

Scriptures and their meanings in the Holy Bible have also produced a plethora of differing groups espousing different interpretations of what the bible means. If there was unanimity of opinion in Christianity, there wouldn’t be so many divisions (Catholics and the multiple factions found among Protestants). It should not be surprising then that Judaism also has four major factions from the most conservative to the most progressive, including those who are ethnically Jewish but non-religious atheists.

Today, with all the violence, the religious ideology and concept of Jihad is foremost in the spotlight of worldwide attention. Consequently, what follows is a presentation of assessment of opinion as to what Jihad “really” means and also how the Quran and its followers are viewed under the microscope of world opinion.  First up to bat are the moderates.

 

The Voice of Moderation

Top 10 Myths about Islam

By Huda

Islam Expert

Huda is a Muslim educator and writer with over two decades of experience researching and writing about Islam on the Internet. An American woman of European descent, she has been a Muslim for 25 years.

Experience

Huda is an educator, freelance writer and editor. She is the author of The Everything Understanding Islam Book, originally published in 2003, with a 2nd Edition in 2009. She currently teaches elementary school in the Middle East.

“Islam is a widely-misunderstood religion. Those who are unfamiliar with the faith often have misunderstandings about its teachings and practices. Common misconceptions include that Muslims worship a moon-god, that Islam is oppressive against women, or that Islam is a faith that promotes violence. Here we bust these myths and expose the true teachings of Islam.”

1.  Muslims worship a moon-god

“Some non-Muslims mistakenly believe that Allah is an “Arab god,” a “moon god,” or some sort of idol. Allah is the proper name of the One True God, in the Arabic language. The most fundamental belief that a Muslim has is that “There is only One God,” the Creator, the Sustainer — known in the Arabic language and by Muslims as Allah. Arabic-speaking Christians use the same word for the Almighty.”

2.  Muslims don’t believe in Jesus

“In the Qur’an, stories about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ (called ‘Isa in Arabic) are abundant. The Qur’an recalls his miraculous birth, his teachings, and the miracles he performed by God’s permission. There is even a chapter of the Qur’an named after his mother, Mary (Miriam in Arabic). However, Muslims believe that Jesus was a fully human prophet and not in any way divine himself.”

3.  Most Muslims are Arabs

“While Islam is often associated with Arabs, they make up only 15% of the world’s Muslim population. The country with the largest population of Muslims is Indonesia. Muslims make up 1/5 of the world’s population, with large numbers found in Asia (69%), Africa (27%), Europe (3%) and other parts of the world.”

4.  Islam oppresses women

“Most of the ill-treatment that women receive in the Muslim world is based on local culture and traditions, without any basis in the faith of Islam. In fact, practices such as forced marriage, spousal abuse, and restricted movement directly contradict Islamic law governing family behavior and personal freedom.”

5.  Muslims are violent, terrorist extremists

“Terrorism cannot be justified under any valid interpretation of the Islamic faith. The entire Qur’an, taken as a complete text, gives a message of hope, faith, and peace to a faith community of one billion people. The overwhelming message is that peace is to be found through faith in God, and justice among fellow human beings. Muslim leaders and scholars do speak out against terrorism in all its forms, and offer explanations of misinterpreted or twisted teachings.”

6.  Islam is intolerant of other faiths

“Throughout the Qur’an, Muslims are reminded that they are not the only ones who worship God. Jews and Christians are called “People of the Book,” meaning people who have received previous revelations from the One Almighty God that we all worship. The Qur’an also commands Muslims to protect from harm not only mosques, but also monasteries, synagogues, and churches — because “God is worshipped therein.”

7.  Islam promotes “jihad” to spread Islam by the sword and kill all unbelievers

“The word Jihad stems from an Arabic word which means “to strive.” Other related words include “effort,” “labor,” and “fatigue.” Essentially Jihad is an effort to practice religion in the face of oppression and persecution. The effort may come in fighting the evil in your own heart, or in standing up to a dictator. Military effort is included as an option, but as a last resort and not “to spread Islam by the sword.”

8.  The Quran was written by Muhammad and copied from Christian and Jewish sources

“The Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of two decades, calling people to worship One Almighty God and to live their lives according to this faith. The Qur’an contains stories of Biblical prophets, because these prophets also preached the message of God. Stories are not merely copied, but the oral traditions are referred to in a way that focuses on the examples and teachings that we can learn from them.”

9.  Islamic prayer is just a ritualized performance with no heartfelt meaning

“Prayer is a time to stand before God and express faith, give thanks for blessings, and seek guidance and forgiveness. During Islamic prayer, one is modest, submissive and respectful to God. By bowing and prostrating ourselves to the ground, we express our utmost humility before the Almighty.”

10.  The crescent moon is a universal symbol of Islam

“The early Muslim community did not really have a symbol. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Islamic caravans and armies flew simple solid-colored flags (generally black, green, or white) for identification purposes. The crescent moon and star symbol actually pre-dates Islam by several thousand years, and wasn’t affiliated with Islam at all until the Ottoman Empire placed it on their flag.”

Muslim Scholars to ISIS: You Have Misinterpreted Islam

By Amelia Rosch—Posted on (September 25, 2014)

585Share This 177Tweet This

Share this:

Following President Obama’s declaration at the United Nations yesterday  “the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace.” Over 120 international Muslim scholars released a letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). Within the letter, they call ISIS un-Islamic and argue that the group is incorrectly using scripture to support its cause.

The letter said that the group’s claim to a caliphate is illegitimate, arguing that their “attitude is based upon a corrupt circular logic that says: ‘Only we are Muslims, and we decide who the caliph is, we have chosen one and so whoever does not accept our caliph is not a Muslim.’”  The scholars argue in the letter that it “is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims” and that ISIS is “a group of no more than several thousand [that] has appointed itself the ruler of over a billion and a half Muslims.” The scholars also say that ISIS’s claims to jihad are also illegitimate, arguing that they “have killed many innocents who were neither combatants nor armed, just because they disagree with your opinion. There is no such thing as offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions.”

In the letter which has been released online in both Arabic and English, the scholars outline 24 practices that ISIS has been carrying out that the authors say are forbidden by Islamic scripture, including denying women and children their rights, torturing people and killing “emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats” including aid workers and journalists.

The scholars quote from Islamic scriptures which promise rights to both women and children and lay out the way that ISIS has broken those promises, saying “you treat women like detainees and prisoners…” and by torturing and executing children who “are so young they are not even morally accountable.” The scholars say that ISIS’s practice of enslaving women also breaks a century-long Islamic prohibition on slavery. They argue that mass killings and decapitation, both of which ISIS have been documented doing, are both forbidden under Shari’ah, Islamic law. They also say that journalists are “emissaries of truth” and aid workers “emissaries of mercy and kindness” and that killing them goes against the rule saying not to kill emissaries.

Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said that the letter purposefully used the “heavy classical religious texts and classical religious scholars that ISIS has used to mobilize young people to join its forces,” in order to offer a point-by-point argument to the group’s claims. He said that the goal of the letter was to reach out to the Muslim community, not a Western audience.

The letters’ authors included leading Islamic scholars, including several of whom are Egyptian, members of the United Arab Emirates, and Nigeria’s fatwa councils, and the muftis from Egypt and Jerusalem.

The group of scholars joins many other Muslims speaking out against the Islamic State. Last week, German Muslims held a national day of prayer to “make clear terrorists and criminals do not speak in the name of Islam…and that murderers and criminals have no place in our ranks, in our religion,” according to the head of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek. In England, British Muslims have been using the hashtag #NotInMyName to call out ISIS and distance Islam from the group.

In addition to Obama, other world leaders have made a distinction between Islam and ISIS; in a speech last week, David Cameron said that members of ISIS “are not Muslims, they are monsters,” while France’s foreign minister said that “they are not representative of Muslims.”

The Voice of Criticism

In this segment of Part III I will report on material opposed to Islam and whose criticisms will resonate with many in Cyber-land. These criticisms pertain not to just ISIS inspired violence, but also to the very foundation of Islam itself—the very scriptures found in the Quran.

Due to space limitations in Blog writing, I’ve limited the material to the first five statements found at the site. I recommend interested individuals go to their site and read other evaluative statements. The site can be found at TheReligionofPeace.com Home Page.

     The previous section presented the opinions of moderates; this section looks at the criticisms. It is up to the reader to decide where the truth lies.  

The Myths of Islam

“Muslims often complain of popular ‘misconceptions’ about their religion in the West.

We took a hard look, however, and found that the most prevalent myths of Islam are the ones held by Muslims and Western apologists.  The only glaring exception to this is the misconception that all Muslims are alike (they aren’t, of course), but even Muslims often believe this as well, as evidenced by the various contrary factions insisting that they are the  true Muslims, while those who disagree with them are either infidels, hijackers, or hypocrites.

Don’t be fooled!  Hear the myths, but know the truth.”

Islam Means ‘Peace’

Islam respects Women as Equals

Jihad Means ‘Inner Struggle’

Islam is a Religion of Peace

Islam is Tolerant of Other Religions

 

 

[Islam Means Peace]

The Myth:

Lesser educated Muslims sometimes claim that the root word of Islam is “al-Salaam,” which is “peace” in Arabic.

The Truth:

An Arabic word only has one root.  The root word for Islam is “al-Silm,” which means “submission” or “surrender.”  There is no disagreement about this among Islamic scholars. al-Silm  (submission) does not mean the same thing as al-Salaam (peace), otherwise they would be the same word.

Submission and peace can be very different concepts, even if a form of peace is often brought about through forcing others into submission.  As the modern-day Islamic scholar, Ibrahim Sulaiman puts it, “Jihad is not inhumane, despite its necessary violence and bloodshed, its ultimate desire is peace which is protected and enhanced by the rule of law.”

In truth, the Quran not only calls Muslims to submit to Allah, it also commands them to subdue people of other religions until they are in a full state of submission to Islamic rule.  This has inspired the aggressive history of Islam and its success in conquering other cultures.

[Islam Respects Women as Equals]

The Myth:

The Quran places men and women on equal foundation before Allah. Each person is judged according to his or her own deeds. Women have equal rights under Islamic law.

The Truth:

Merely stating that individuals will be judged as such by Allah does not mean that they have equal rights and roles, or that they are judged by the same standards.

There is no ambiguity in the Quran, the life of Muhammad, or Islamic law as to the inferiority of women to men despite the efforts of modern-day apologists to salvage Western-style feminism from scraps and fragments of verses that have historically held no such progressive interpretation.

After military conquests, Muhammad would dole out captured women as war prizes to his men.  In at least one case, he advocated that they be raped in front of their husbands.  Captured women were made into sex slaves by the very men who killed their husbands and brothers.  There are four Quranic verses in which “Allah” makes clear that a Muslim master has full sexual access to his female slaves, yet there is not one that prohibits rape.

The Quran gives Muslim men permission to beat their wives for disobedience, but nowhere does it command love in marriage.  It plainly says that husbands are “a degree above” wives.  The Hadith says that women are intellectually inferior, and that they comprise the majority of Hell’s occupants.

Under Islamic law, a man may divorce his wife at his choosing.  If he does this twice, then wishes to remarry her, she must first have sex with another man.  Men are exempt from such degradations.

Muslim women are not free to marry whom they please, as are Muslim men.  Their husband may also bring other wives (and slaves) into the marriage bed.  And she must be sexually available to him at any time (as a field ready to be “tilled,” according to the holy book of Islam).

Muslim women do not inherit property in equal portion to males.  This is somewhat ironic given that Islam owes its existence to the wealth of Muhammad’s first wife, which would not otherwise have been inherited by her given that she had two brothers and her first husband had three sons.

A woman’s testimony in court is considered to be worth only half that of a man’s, according to the Quran.  Unlike a man, she must also cover her head – and often her face.

If a woman wants to prove that she was raped, then there must be four male witnesses to corroborate her account.  Otherwise she can be jailed or stoned to death for confessing to “adultery.”

Given all of this, it is quite a stretch to say that men and women have “equality under Islam” based on obscure theological analogies or comparisons.  This is an entirely new ploy that is designed for modern tastes, and disagrees sharply with the reality of Islamic law and history.

[Jihad Means ‘Inner struggle’]

The Myth:

Islam’s Western apologists sometimes claim that since the Arabic word, Jihad, literally means “fight” or “struggle,” it refers to an “inner struggle” rather than holy war.

The Truth:

In Arabic, “jihad” means struggle.  In Islam, it means holy war.

The Quran specifically exempts the disabled and elderly from Jihad (4:95), which would make no sense if the word is being used merely within the context of spiritual struggle.  It is also unclear why Muhammad and his Quran would use graphic language, such as smiting fingers and heads from the hands and necks of unbelievers if he were speaking merely of character development.

With this in mind, Muslim apologists generally admit that there are two meanings to the word, but insist that “inner struggle” is the “greater Jihad,” whereas “holy war” is the “lesser.”  In fact, this misconception is based only on a single hadith that Islamic scholars generally agreed was fabricated.

By contrast, the most reliable of all Hadith collections is that of Bukhari.  Jihad is mentioned over 200 times in reference to the words of Muhammad and each one carries a clear connotation to holy war, with only a handful of possible exceptions (dealing with a woman’s supporting role during a time of holy war).

[Islam is a Religion of Peace]

The Myth:

Muhammad was a peaceful man who taught his followers to be the same.  Muslims lived peacefully for centuries, fighting only in self-defense, and only when it was necessary.  True Muslims would never act aggressively.

The Truth:

There shouldn’t be any argument over who the “true Muslim” is because the Quran clearly distinguishes the true Muslim from the pretender in Sura 9 and elsewhere.  According to this – one of the last chapters of the Quran – the true believer “strives and fights with their wealth and persons” while the hypocrites are those who “sit at home,” refusing to join the jihad against unbelievers in foreign lands.

In truth, Muhammad organized 65 military campaigns in the last ten years of his life and personally led 27 of them.  The more power that he attained, the smaller the excuse needed to go to battle, until finally he began attacking tribes merely because they were not yet part of his growing empire.

After Muhammad’s death, his successor immediately went to war with former allied tribes which wanted to go their own way.  Abu Bakr called them ‘apostates’ and slaughtered anyone who did not want to remain Muslim.  Eventually, he was successful in holding the empire together through blood and violence.

The prophet of Islam’s most faithful followers and even his own family soon turned on each other as well.  There were four caliphs (leaders) in the first twenty-five years, each of which was a trusted companion of his.  Three of these four were murdered.  The third caliph was murdered by those allied with the son of the first caliph.  The fourth caliph was murdered in the midst of a conflict with the fifth caliph, who began a 100-year dynasty of excess and debauchery that was brought to an end in a gruesome, widespread bloodbath by descendants of Muhammad’s uncle (who was not even a Muslim).

Muhammad’s own daughter, Fatima, and his son-in-law, Ali, who both survived the pagan hardship during the Meccan years safe and sound, did not survive Islam after the death of Muhammad.  Fatima died of stress from persecution within three months, and Ali was later assassinated by Muslim rivals.  Their son (Muhammad’s grandson) was killed in battle with the faction that became today’s Sunnis.  His people became Shias.  The relatives and personal friends of Muhammad were mixed into both warring groups, which then fractured further into hostile sub-divisions as Islam expanded.

Muslim apologists, who like to say that is impossible for today’s terrorists to be Muslim when they kill fellow Muslims, would have a very tough time explaining the war between Fatima’s followers and Aisha to a knowledgeable audience.  Muhammad explicitly held up both his favorite daughter and his favorite wife as model Muslim women, yet they were invoked respectively by each side in the violent civil war that followed his death.  Which one was the prophet of God so horribly wrong about?

Muhammad left his men with instructions to take the battle against Christians, Persians, Jews and polytheists (which came to include millions of unfortunate Hindus).  For the next four centuries, Muslim armies’ steamrolled over unsuspecting neighbors, plundering them of loot and slaves, and forcing the survivors to either convert or pay tribute at the point of a sword.

Companions of Muhammad lived to see Islam declare war on every major religion in the world in just the first few decades following his death – pressing the Jihad against Hindus, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Buddhists.

By the time of the Crusades (when the Europeans began fighting back), Muslims had conquered two-thirds of the Christian world by sword, from Syria to Spain, and across North Africa.  Millions of Christians were enslaved by Muslims, and tens of millions of Africans.  The Arab slave-trading routes would stay open for 1300 years until pressure from Christian-based countries forced Islamic nations to declare the practice illegal (in theory).  To this day, the Muslim world has never apologized for the victims of Jihad and slavery.

There is not another religion in the world that consistently produces terrorism in the name of God as does Islam.  The most dangerous Muslims are nearly always those who interpret the Quran most transparently.  They are the fundamentalists or purists of the faith, and believe in Muhammad’s mandate to spread Islamic rule by the sword, putting to death those who will not submit.  In the absence of true infidels, they will even turn on each other.

The holy texts of Islam are saturated with verses of violence and hatred toward those outside the faith, as well as the aforementioned “hypocrites” (Muslims who don’t act like Muslims).  In sharp contrast to the Bible, which generally moves from relatively violent episodes to far more peaceful mandates, the Quran travels the exact opposite path (violence is first forbidden, then permitted, then mandatory).

The handfuls of earlier verses that speak of tolerance are overwhelmed by an avalanche of later ones that carry a much different message.  While Old Testament verses of blood and guts are generally bound by historical context within the text itself, Quranic imperatives to violence usually appear open-ended and subject to personal interpretation.

From the history of the faith to its most sacred writings, those who want to believe in “peaceful Islam” have a lot more to ignore than do the terrorists.  By any objective measure, the “Religion of Peace” has been the harshest, bloodiest religion the world has ever known.  In Islam there is no peace unless Muslims have power – and even then…

[Islam is Tolerant of Other Religions]

The Myth:

Religious minorities have flourished under Islam.  Muslims are commanded to protect Jews and Christians (the People of the Book) and do them no harm. The Quran says in Sura 109, “To you, your religion.  To me, mine.”

The Truth:

Religious minorities have not “flourished” under Islam.  In fact, they have dwindled to mere shadows after centuries of persecution and discrimination.  Some were converted from their native religion by brute force, others under the agonizing strain of dhimmitude.

What Muslims call “tolerance,” others correctly identify as institutionalized discrimination.  The consignment of Jews and Christians to dhimmis under Islamic rule means that they are not allowed the same religious rights and freedoms as Muslims.  They cannot share their faith, for example, or build houses of worship without permission.

Historically, dhimmis have often had to wear distinguishing clothing or cut their hair in a particular manner that indicates their position of inferiority and humiliation.  They do not share the same legal rights as Muslims, and must even pay a poll tax (the jizya).  They are to be killed or have their children taken from them if they cannot satisfy the tax collector’s requirements.

For hundreds of years, the Christian population in occupied Europe had their sons taken away and forcibly converted into Muslim warriors (known as Janissaries) by the Ottoman Turks.

It is under this burden of discrimination and third-class status that so many religious minorities converted to Islam over the centuries.  Those who didn’t often faced economic and social hardships that persist to this day and are appalling by Western standards of true religious tolerance and pluralism.

For those who are not “the People of the Book,” such as Hindus and atheists, there is very little tolerance to be found once Islam establishes political superiority.  The Quran tells Muslims to “fight in the way of Allah” until “religion is only for Allah.”  The conquered populations face death if they do not establish regular prayer and charity in the Islamic tradition (i.e. the pillars of Islam).

Tamerlane and other Muslim warriors slaughtered tens of millions of Hindus and Buddhists, and displaced or forcibly converted millions more over the last thousand years.  Islamists in Somalia behead Christians.  In Iran, they are jailed.

One of the great ironies of Islam is that non-Muslims are to be treated according to the very standards by which Muslims themselves would claim the right to violent self-defense was the shoe on the other foot.  Islam is its own justification.  Most Muslims therefore feel no need to explain the ingrained arrogance and double standard.

     There are about 500 verses in the Quran that speak of Allah’s hatred for non-Muslims and the punishment that he has prepared for their unbelief.  There is also a tiny handful that says otherwise, but these are mostly earlier verses that many scholars consider to be abrogated by the later, more violent ones. 

As for Sura 109, any true Quran scholar will point out that the purpose of the verse was to distinguish Islam from the gods of the Quraysh (one of which was named “Allah”) rather than to advocate religious tolerance for non-Muslims.

At the time that he narrated this very early verse, Muhammad did not have any power, and thus no choice but to be “tolerant” of others.  By contrast, there was no true tolerance shown when he returned to Mecca with power many years later and demanded the eviction or death of anyone who would not convert to Islam.  In fact, he physically destroyed the cherished idols of the people to whom he had previously addressed in Sura 109.

If tolerance simply means discouraging the mass slaughter of those of a different faith, then today’s Islam generally meets this standard more often than not.  But, if tolerance means allowing people of other faiths the same religious liberties that Muslims enjoy, then Islam is fundamentally the most intolerant religion under the sun.

Now you have the information, opinion and debate. It’s up to my cyberspace audience to decide for themselves. 

In Part IV ahead  I will provide statistics on three variables I think provides a solid background as to why Islam and Islamic people are very susceptible to religious fanaticism. These variables are: education in the Islamic world, literacy rates, and unemployment.

These variables, in addition to the insightful work of Eric Hoffer in Part V, I believe forms the best explanation to date as to why what has happened in the middle east has produced a growing menace of Islamic Terrorism that continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Terrorism is a major threat to the rest of the civilized world including the United States.

 

Read Full Post »