Date: 20 Mar 2010


Understanding Muhammad in bizarre ways. Rather, as the theory of cognitive dissonance spells out, people seek to justify their choices and commitments. Just as a towering waterfall can begin as a trickle, so too can the impetus for doing extreme or calamitous actions be provided by the consequences of agreeing to do seemingly trivial ones. In the People’s Temple, the process started with the effects of undergoing a severe initiation to join the church, was reinforced by the tendency to justify ones commitments, and was strengthened by the need to rationalize ones behavior.” New converts to Islam often face more hardship, which they interpret as “test of God” and a “cleansing process”. It starts by abstaining from drinking alcohol and eating pork. Watching what to eat and making sure the food is halal is a restriction on the freedom of the believers. Males gradually stop mixing with females as they struggle to suppress their sexual urges. This is an extremely arduous task that occupies their minds constantly and makes them live in a constant state of guilt. Sexual thoughts cannot be easily suppressed. As the result many of these people become completely obsessed with sex. Their entire mental energy is used to battle their inner “demon”. The more they feel guilt about sex, the more they despise women whom they blame for tempting them. Then they have the duty of performing the obligatory prayers five times per day, in a language most of them don’t understand. If a prayer is missed, they are made to feel guilty and must say compensatory prayers. Adhering to these prayers and keeping count of them is another form of mental slavery. The Qur’an must be read and memorized. Understanding it is not necessary. What matters most is its right pronunciation. The believer is not allowed to question it or criticize it. This could mean death. Then there is a whole list of things that are "unclean" that believers must avoid, such as dog, pig, urine and kafirs (the non-Muslims). The believers must be aware of these unclean things and wash each time they come in contact with them. If the believer is a woman, she has more restrictions. She has to cover herself in a veil and wear baggy clothes, even on scorching hot summer days. Going shopping, wrapped in Islamic hijab during a hot day is nothing short of torture. All these ordeals increase the faith of the believers and they values Islam even more. They think the more they suffer the more rewards they will receive in the afterlife. Women must always obey the men of their family and always be docile and respectful. They will be intimidated, insulted, battered, raped or even killed, with very little, if any hope of legal or social protection. Islam is precious to the believers, precisely because practicing it is so difficult. When Sane People Follow Insane People 213 The psychology of this phenomenon is explained by Osherow: “Consider the prospective member’s initial visit to the People’s Temple, for example. When a person undergoes a severe initiation in order to gain entrance into a group, he or she is apt to judge that group as being more attractive, in order to justify expending the effort or enduring the pain. Aronson and Mills290 demonstrated that students who suffered a greater embarrassment as a prerequisite for being allowed to participate in a discussion group rated its conversation (which actually was quite boring) to be significantly more interesting than did those students who experienced little or no embarrassment in order to be admitted. Not only is there a tendency to justify undergoing the experience by raising ones estimation of the goal in some circumstances. Choosing to experience a hardship can go so far as to affect a person’s perception of the discomfort or pain he or she felt. Zimbardo291 and his colleagues showed that when subjects volunteered for a procedure that involved their being given electric shocks, those thinking that they had more choice in the matter reported feeling less pain from the shocks. More specifically, those who experienced greater dissonance, having little external justification to account for their choosing to endure the pain, described it as being less intense. This extended beyond their impressions and verbal reports; their performance on a task was hindered less, and they even recorded somewhat lower readings on a physiological instrument measuring galvanic skin responses. Thus the dissonance-reducing process can be double-edged: Under proper guidance, a person who voluntarily experiences a severe initiation not only comes to regard its ends more positively, but may also begin to see the means as less aversive: “We began to appreciate the long meetings, because we were told that spiritual growth comes from self-sacrifice.” (Mills, 1979) This explains why Muslims are even grateful for the tortures that they undergo voluntarily and consider it to be a blessing. All these hardships are seen as little sacrifices for achieving a bigger reward. The bigger the sacrifice the greater will be the reward. An extreme form of this devotion can be seen during the month of Ashura, when the Shiite Muslims beat themselves on the chest and lacerate their backs with a bundle of chains, and even cut their foreheads with machete to bleed profusely. Thus, covered in their own blood, they march in processions that bring to mind Dante’s description of hell. Apart from five 290 Aronson, E., AND Mills, J. The effects of severity of initiation on liking for a group. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 1959, 59, 177-18 1. 291 Zimbardo, P. The cognitive control of motivation. Glenview, Ill.: Scott Foreman, 1969. 214 Understanding Muhammad times per day obligatory prayers, one month fasting and abstaining from water, and other taxing rituals, the believer is required to give one fifth of his income to the mosque as Khoms, (tithes) and in addition he is encouraged to make donations in the form of zakat (alms). Muhammad instructed his followers to wage jihad and plunder the wealth of the non-believers. This might have concerned some of his followers, still mildly in touch with their humanity. Is the wealth earned though plundering pure? They must have wondered. Muhammad’s response was that it would become pure if they pay one fifth of the spoils to him. He put the following verse in the mouth of his sock puppet god, ordering him to: Take alms from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it.292 As I said earlier, Medina after the banishment and genocide of the Jews was no longer an industrious and productive town. Its entire wealth came from the pillaging and plundering of the other Arabs tribes. The Muslims solely depended on loot from their continuous raids orchestrated by Muhammad. Khoms was instituted by the Prophet to “purify” the ill-gotten gains and of course to fill the coffers of the holy Prophet and supply his bed with new flesh. Even today, those Muslims who earn their living through honorable professions are required to pay khoms and zakat. There are constant reminders to the believers to “spend of your substance in the cause of Allâh”(Q.2:195) and exhortations to “fight for the Faith, with their property and their persons.”(Q.8:72) Muhammad offered an orgiastic paradise filled with all sorts of carnal delights to anyone who believed in him and made Jihad in his cause. All one has to do is stop reasoning and believe in whatever he said and this would guarantee him access to paradise and eternal sex. Once someone becomes involved in Islam or any cult for that matter, he is gradually asked to give whatever he can from his money and time. Soon he finds that he is so involved that it becomes difficult and indeed, dangerous to walk away. The pain of acknowledging that one has been duped is so intense that he’d rather not face the truth and continue to defend his faith. Osherow explains: “Once involved, a member found ever-increasing portions of his or her time and energy devoted to the People’s Temple. The services and meetings occupied weekends and several evenings each week. 292 Qur’an, Sura 9, Verse 103 When Sane People Follow Insane People 215 Working on Temple projects and writing the required letters to politicians and the press took much of one’s “spare” time. Expected monetary contributions changed from “voluntary” donations (though they were recorded) to the required contribution of a quarter of one’s income. Eventually, a member was supposed to sign over all personal property, savings, social security checks, and the like to the Peoples Temple. Before entering the meeting room for each service, a member stopped at a table and wrote self-incriminating letters or signed blank documents that were turned over to the church. If anyone objected, the refusal was interpreted as denoting a “lack of faith” in Jones. Each new demand had two repercussions: In practical terms, it enmeshed the person further into the People’s Temple web and made leaving more difficult; on an attitudinal level, it set the aforementioned processes of self-justification into motion. As Mills (1979) describes: “We had to face painful reality. Our life savings were gone. Jim had demanded that we sell the life insurance policy and turn the equity over to the church, so that was gone. Our property had all been taken from us. Our dream of going to an overseas mission was gone. We thought that we had alienated our parents when we told them we were leaving the country. Even the children whom we had left in the care of Carol and Bill were openly hostile toward us. Jim had accomplished all this in such a short time! All we had left now was Jim and the Cause, so we decided to buckle under and give our energies to these two.” The same could be said of the early Muslims. Those who followed Muhammad to Medina as refugees had nothing to fall back on. They had no jobs and no homes. Muhammad had asked the Ansar [Helpers, the believers native to Medina] to accommodate the immigrants and share whatever they had with them. This, of course, was not an easy life for either party. A great number of the immigrants used to live in the Mosque. There is a curious story of an Ansar offering his wife to one of the refugees: Abdur Rahman bin Auf said, “When we came to Medina as emigrants, Allâh's Apostle established a bond of brotherhood between me and Sa’d bin Ar-Rabi'. Sa’d bin Ar-Rabi' said (to me), “I am the richest among the Ansar, so I will give you half of my wealth and you may look at my two wives and whichever of the two you may choose I will divorce her, and when she has completed the prescribed period (before marriage) you may marry her.” A few days later, 'Abdur Rahman came having traces of yellow (scent) on his body. Allâh's Apostle asked him whether he had got married. He replied in 216 Understanding Muhammad the affirmative. The Prophet said, 'Whom have you married?' He replied, 'A woman from the Ansar."293 Muslims quote this story to show how Muhammad had fostered brotherhood among the believers, but it also shows that the believers were so overcome with zealotry that they disregarded their own privacy and even the sanctity of their marriage. Their freedom and their independence were all but gone. In most cases they had relinquished their independence so willingly. Those who could see the problem did not dare to talk about it. The immigrants could not go back. Dissenting was considered to be the worst of crimes. The Helpers could not talk. Anyone could be an informer. They could be assassinated the next day and there were no dearth of zealot believers who would happily kill an uppity fellow believer, just as today, most Muslims will delightfully kill anyone who whispers a word of dissent. Those who could see the problem had no other option but to buckle under and play along. In one hadith we read: A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet and disparage him. …So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet was informed about it. He assembled the people called on the man to explain why he committed such horrendous murder. The man stood up while trembling and said: “I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.” Thereupon the Prophet said: “Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.” 294 A man commits double murder and all he had to say in his defense was that she insulted the Prophet and Muhammad set him free. In such an atmosphere of terror, how could anyone disagree with Muhammad? What if this man lied to avoid a deserved punishment? The message that Muhammad wanted to send was clear: If anyone insults me, he should be put to death and the killer will not be charged. One can only imagine how many murderers have walked away with this alibi. 293 Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 264 294 Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4348 When Sane People Follow Insane People 217 Section 295-C of Pakistan's Penal Code says: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad shall be punished with death and shall also be liable to a fine.” Muhammad was not coy about his wishes. A hadith reports him say: “None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his children and all mankind.”295 He was a narcissist and all a narcissist wants is to be loved and feared. Both are the same to him. All he cares for is to be noted. Muhammad was so desperate for respect that when a group of Arabs had come to visit him and did not pay him the reverence that he thought he was entitled to, he made his deity say: O ye who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as ye may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and ye perceive not. Those that lower their voices in the presence of Allâh's Messenger, their hearts has Allâh tested for piety: for them is Forgiveness and a great Reward. Those who shout out to thee from without the inner apartments - most of them lack understanding."296 Demanding the Ultimate Sacrifice Osherow says: “Ultimately, Jim Jones and the Cause would require the members to give their lives.” The cult leader becomes so obsessed with obedience that he demands his followers prove their loyalty and love for him by sacrificing everything, including their lives. The cause is a pretext. The Qur’an offers great rewards for martyrs and encourages Muslims to sacrifice their lives for Muhammad’s cause. Think not of those who are slain in Allâh's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance from their Lord. They rejoice in the Bounty provided by Allâh...the (Martyrs) glory in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve. They rejoice in the Grace and the Bounty from Allâh, and in the fact that Allâh suffers not the reward of the Faithful to be lost (in the least). 297 295 Sahih Bukhari Volume 1 Number 14 296 Qur’an, Sura 49, Verses 2-4 297 Qur’an, Sura 3, Verse 169 218 Understanding Muhammad There are also ahadith that talk about the rewards that a martyr would receive. The Prophet said, “Paradise has one hundred grades which Allâh has reserved for the Mujahidin (Muslim fighters) who fight in His Cause.”298 The Prophet said, “Nobody who enters Paradise likes to go back to the world even if he got everything on the earth, except a Mujahid who wishes to return to the world so that he may be martyred ten times because of the dignity he receives (from Allâh).”299 Our Prophet told us about the message of our Lord that “Whoever amongst us is killed as a martyr will go to Paradise .” Omar asked the Prophet, “Is it not true that our men who are killed will go to Paradise and theirs (i.e. those of the Pagan's) will go to the (Hell) fire?” The Prophet said, “Yes.” 300 Osherow wonders: “What could cause people to kill their children and themselves? From a detached perspective, the image seems unbelievable. In fact, at first glance, so does the idea of so many individuals committing so much of their time, giving all of their money, and even sacrificing the control of their children to the People’s Temple. Jones took advantage of rationalization processes that allow people to justify their commitments by raising their estimations of the goal and minimizing its costs.” As we can see this too was masterfully exploited by Muhammad. He convinced his followers that his was the most important cause and that they were created for the sole purpose to believe in him and worship the god that spoke only through him. "I have only created Jinns and men that they may worship me”(Q.51:56). According to a hadith qudsi, (believed absolutely to be true) the purpose of life is to know Allâh and to worship him and of course that is possible only through his messenger Muhammad. He gave promises of great rewards to those who sacrifice everything for him and threatened with eternal tortures those who doubt his unsubstantiated claim. In such state of mind, his befogged followers became ready to give up everything for him. They were ready to wage war even against their own fathers and brothers, kill or be killed. Like the followers of other cults, Muslims rationalize and justify all sorts of 298 Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 48 299 Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 72 300 Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 72 When Sane People Follow Insane People 219 crimes, including kidnapping innocent people and beheading them, bombing civilians and massacring them by thousands. The estimation of their cause is so elevated that everything else fades in comparison. Overwhelming the Believers The evolution from being a moderate Muslim to becoming a terrorist is gradual and often imperceptible. The new converts are of course all moderate. They are first taught the “beauties of Islam”. They are told that Islam is an easy religion, a religion of peace, of equality and worship of a single God. They are led to believe that Islam is accepting of other religions, especially Judaism and Christianity that are also monotheistic, and only disagrees with the believers of these religions in that they have corrupted their faith. They are then led to believe that Islam is the only religion that has not been contaminated and because of that it is the only religion accepted by God and that those who do not believe in Islam, reject the truth and are sinners. They deny God and because of that they are doomed. Eventually they are told that the Isa and Musa of the Qur’an are not the same as Jesus and Moses of the Bible. The new convert, gradually come to think of people of other faiths as the enemies of Allâh and will start to hate them actively. Then they are taught that only Muslims are brothers to each other and that everyone else is out there trying to “get them”. As you become more brainwashed, gradually you develop a sense of victimhood. You lose your own identity. You become an anonymous part of the amorphous ummah, a ‘slave of Allâh’. You start seeing the world differently. The feeling of “us” versus “them” becomes stronger every day. “They” are the evil ones, the detractors and the enemies of God. They are the oppressors and the wrongdoers. Everyone who is not a Muslim, especially your brand of Islam, is part of “them”. “Us” are the oppressed ones, the wronged ones and the victims. “Us” are the true believers, the ones that do Allâh’s will and his work. Then you start believing that you have the true faith and the true religion that tells you to fight, to kill these enemies that oppress you and be harsh with them. You are told that Allâh will make you victorious, and will give you an eternity of sensual delights. A “moderate Muslim” can become an extremist and a terrorist overnight. As long as Muslims believe in Islam, each and every one of them is a potential terrorist. Islam orders its followers to kill non-believers in the name of its god. This holy obligation is unique to Islam. Indeed, Allâh says that he loves the 220 Understanding Muhammad Mujahidin (Muslim fighters) most. They are the best of Muslims. They will inherit the most luscious and erotic eternity in paradise. The “moderate Muslims” are the hypocrites and weak in their religion. Gradual indoctrination is the modus operandi in all cults, where the core truth and the real agenda of the cult is concealed and is spoon-fed to the believers slowly. The hardcore members of the cults say something to the outside world and completely something else among themselves. Osheriw writes: “Much as he gradually increased his demands, Jones carefully orchestrated the members’ exposure to the concept of a “final ritual.” He utilized the leverage provided by their previous commitments to push them closer to its enactment. Gaining a “foot in the door” by getting a person to agree to a moderate request makes it more probable that he or she will agree to do a much larger deed later, as social psychologists and sales people have found.301 Doing the initial task makes something that might have seemed unreasonable at first appear less extreme in comparison, and it also motivates a person to make his or her behavior appear more consistent by consenting to the larger requests as well.” Osherow then explains how Jones prepared his followers to gradually commit mass suicide. “He started by undermining the member’s belief that death was to be fought and feared and Jones directed several “fake” suicide drills. These became tests of faith, of the member’s willingness to follow Jones even to death. Jones would ask people if they were ready to die and on occasion would have the membership “decide” its own fate by voting whether to carry out his wishes. An ex-member recounted that one time, after a while Jones smiled and said, “Well, it was a good lesson. I see you’re not dead.” He made it sound like we needed the 30 minutes to do very strong, introspective type of thinking. We all felt strongly dedicated, proud of ourselves. Jones taught that it was a privilege to die for what you believe in, which is exactly what I would have been doing.”302 Muhammad did not advocate suicide. Instead, he greatly praised martyrdom. The prophet of Allâh was more pragmatic than Jones. Suicide was of no use to him. He needed his followers alive so they could wage war for him, bring him booty and conquer the world for him. He glorified martyrdom and death on battlefields. The pragmatism of Muhammad can also be appreciated in 301 Freeman, J., AND Fraser, S. Compliance without pressure: The foot-in-the-door technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1966, 4, 195-202. 302 Winfrey, C. Why 900 died in Guyana. New York Times Magazine, February 25, 1979.. When Sane People Follow Insane People 221 the fact that while Jones and many other cult leader committed suicide and died along with their followers, Muhammad rarely took an active role in any battle. While any sane person can easily see waging war and killing innocent people in the name of God is lunacy, no Muslim, not even the so called “moderate” ones can see that. Jihad is a vital pillar of Islam and any Muslim who disagrees with it is not a Muslim anymore. That is why the term “moderate Muslim” is an oxymoron. No one can be called moderate while he or she subscribes to an ideology that prescribes killing the unbelievers. The difference between a terrorist Muslim and a so-called moderate Muslim is that the first wants to wage jihad now, while the latter thinks Muslims should wait until they become stronger and then wage the jihad. In principle, no Muslim can disagree with the concept of jihad. How can a billion, otherwise sane people, believe in this insanity? The answer can be found again in Jonestown. Osherow writes: “After the Temple moved to Jonestown, the ‘White Nights,’ as the suicide drills were called, occurred repeatedly. An exercise that appears crazy was a regular, justifiable occurrence for the People’s Temple participant.” The members of People’s Temple were normal people. They were not insane or crazy. However, since they had placed their intelligence in the hands of a crazy man, they followed him blindly even in his madness. Osherow writes: “The reader might ask whether this [the fake drills] caused the members to think that the actual suicides were merely another practice, but there were many indications that knew that the poison was truly deadly on that final occasion. The Ryan visit had been climatic, there were several new defectors, the cooks who had been excused from the prior drills in order to prepare the upcoming meal were included, Jones had been growing increasingly angry, desperate, and unpredictable, and, finally, everyone could see the first babies die. The membership was manipulated, but they were not unaware that this time the ritual was for real.” Osherow explains that under such conditions, people are apt to justify their actions, including when they engage in acts of violence in compliance to what their leader dictates. “A dramatic example of the impact of selfjustification,” he says, “concerns the physical punishment that was meted out in the People’s Temple. As discussed earlier, the threat of being beaten or humiliated, forced the member to comply with Jones’s orders. A person will obey as long as he or she is being threatened and supervised. To affect a person’s attitudes, however, a mild threat has been demonstrated to be more 222 Understanding Muhammad effective than a severe threat 303 and its influence has been shown to be far longer lasting.304 Under a mild threat, the individual has more difficulty attributing his or her behavior to such a minor external restraint, forcing the person to alter his or her attitudes in order to justify the action. Severe threats elicit compliance, but, imposed from the outside, they usually fail to cause the behavior to be internalized. Quite a different dynamic ensues when it is not so clear that the action is being imposed upon the person. When an individual feels that he or she played an active role in carrying out an action that hurts someone, there comes a motivation to justify ones part in the cruelty by rationalizing it as necessary or by derogating the victim by thinking that the punishment was deserved.”305 This point is so crucial. In Jonestown the believers themselves would condemn their fellow non-conforming, uppity members, especially their own family, and punish them. Acts of cruelty for normal people are traumatic. To alleviate the pangs of their own conscience, they try to rationalize their cruelty by derogating the victim and considering him or her, deserving of the punishment. Muslims are required to wage war against the unbelievers and even against their unbelieving parents, kin and relatives. These acts of violence and cruelty are justified and rationalized away. The believers are taught that their harshness against the unbelievers and their intolerance are in compliance with Divine Will and in accordance with the holy laws of Islam, and as such not only acceptable but they are admirable. When Muslims raided innocent people and massacred them, Muhammad reassured them saying, “It was not you who did it; it was Allâh who did it.” BBC's correspondent, James Reynolds interviewed Hussam Abdo, the 15 year-old, semi retarded suicide bomber who was caught at the checkpoint in Israel. He was asked: “When you put on that belt did you really know that you were going to go and murder people, that you were going to go and cause great suffering to mothers and fathers, that you were going to be a mass murderer? Did you really know that?” Hussam’ responded: 303 Aronson, E. , AND Carlsmith, J. M. Effect of the severity of threat on the devaluation of forbidden behavior. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1963, 66. 584-588. 304 Freedman, J. Long-term behavioural effects of cognitive dissonance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1965, 1, 145-155. 305 Davos, K., AND Jones, E. Changes in interpersonal perception as a means of reducing cognitive dissonance. Journal of abnormal and Social Psychology, 1960, 61, 402-410. When Sane People Follow Insane People 223 “Yes. Just like they came and caused our parents sadness and suffering they too should feel this. Just like we feel this - they should also feel it.” “Were you scared of dying?” he was asked. His response was identical to what the followers of Jones said in the last minutes of their lives. “No. I'm not afraid of death.” “Why not?” “Nobody is going to live forever. We're all going to die.” A story is told of Abu Hodhaifa a young Meccan believer who participated in the battle of Badr while his father was on the opposite side, in the ranks of the Quraish. It is reported that when Muhammad instructed his followers to spare Abbas, his own uncle, who was also among the Quraish, Hodhaifa raised his voice, “What? Are we to slay our fathers, brothers, uncles, etc., and to spare Abbas? No, verily, but I will slay him if I find him.” Upon hearing this impertinent remark, Omar, in his usual sycophantic gesture of loyalty, unshielded his sword and looked at the Prophet for his signal to behead the ill-mannered youth at once.306 This threat had an immediate effect. A dramatic change happened in the behavior of Hodhaifa and we see him after the battle, a completely subdued and different person. When he saw his father slain and his corpse unceremoniously dragged to be dumped into a well, he was overwhelmed and started crying. “What?” asked Muhammad, “Are you saddened for the death of your father?” “Not so, O Allâh’s Prophet!” responded Hodhaifa, “I do not doubt the justice of my father's fate; but I knew well his wise and generous heart, and I had trusted that the Lord would lead him to the faith. But now that I see him slain, and my hope destroyed! ---- it is for that I grieve.” This time Muhammad was pleased with his response, comforted Abu Hodhaifa, blessed him; and said, “It is well.”307 The displeasure of Muhammad at Hodhaifa’s irreverence in defying his word and the swift reaction of Omar threatening to kill him on the spot, were such powerful stimuli that Hodhaifa immediately changed his attitude and a day later he even saw the “justice” in his father’s murder. Once Hodhaifa lost his father, in whose killing he had conspired by ganging up with his murderers, 306 Muir; The Life of Mohammet Vol. III Ch. XII, Page 109. 307 Muir; The Life of Mohammet Vol. III Ch. XII, Page 109; (Waqidi, p. 106; Sirat p. 230; Tabari, p. 294) 224 Understanding Muhammad there was no going back for him. He had to justify what he had done and rationalize the slaying of his father. Coming to his senses and facing his own guilty conscience would have been painfully mortifying. He had to continue in the path that he had taken and convince himself that Islam is true or face a lifetime of remorse. The cult leaders have an uncanny ability to control the minds of their followers. As Hitler said, bigger lies are more easily believed by the masses, and the psychopath cult leaders are masters of big lies. There is a story narrated by Abdullah bin Ka’b bin Malik that demonstrates the kind of control that Muhammad exerted upon his followers, both psychologically and socially. Ibn Ka’b says that he was a devout believer and had accompanied Muhammad to all his raids and that thanks to the proceeds of those wars he had become a wealthy person. But when Muhammad called his followers to prepare for the war of Tabuk, it was a hot summer, the fruits were ripe, and so he procrastinated and stayed behind. Upon returning from the expedition, Muhammad called on those who had not gone and enquired the reason. Many had legitimate excuses and so were reluctantly forgiven, but ibn Ka’b and two other staunch believers did not dare to lie in order to excuse themselves. Ibn Ka’b continues: “Really, by Allâh, there was no excuse for me. By Allâh, I had never been stronger or wealthier than I was when I remained behind you.” Then Allâh's Apostle said, “As regards this man, he has surely told the truth. So get up till Allâh decides your case.” Allâh's Apostle forbade all the Muslims to talk to us, the three persons out of all those who had remained behind in that Ghazwa. So we kept away from the people and they changed their attitude towards us till the very land (where I lived) appeared strange to me as if I did not know it. We remained in that condition for fifty nights. As regards my two fellows, they remained in their houses and kept on weeping, but I was the youngest of them and the firmest of them, so I used to go out and witness the prayers along with the Muslims and roam about in the markets, but none would talk to me, and I would come to Allâh's Apostle and greet him while he was sitting in his gathering after the prayer, and I would wonder whether the Prophet did move his lips in return to my greetings or not. Then I would offer my prayer near to him and look at him stealthily. When I was busy with my prayer, he would turn his face towards me, but when I turned my face to him, he would turn his face away from me. When this harsh attitude of the people lasted long, I walked till I scaled When Sane People Follow Insane People 225 the wall of the garden of Abu Qatada who was my cousin and dearest person to me, and I offered my greetings to him. By Allâh, he did not return my greetings. I said, “O Abu Qatada! I beseech you by Allâh! Do you know that I love Allâh and His Apostle?” He kept quiet. I asked him again, beseeching him by Allâh, but he remained silent. Then I asked him again in the Name of Allâh. He said, “Allâh and His Apostle know it better.” Thereupon my eyes flowed with tears and I returned and jumped over the wall.” When forty out of the fifty nights elapsed, behold! There came to me the messenger of Allâh's Apostle and said, 'Allâh's Apostle orders you to keep away from your wife,' I said, “Should I divorce her; or else! What should I do?” He said, “No, only keep aloof from her and do not cohabit with her.” The Prophet sent the same message to my two fellows. Then I said to my wife. “Go to your parents and remain with them till Allâh gives His Verdict in this matter.” Ka’b added, “The wife of Hilal bin Umaiya came to Apostle and said, “O Allâh's Apostle! Hilal bin Umaiya is a helpless old man who has no servant to attend on him. Do you dislike that I should serve him?” He said, “No you can serve him, but he should not come near you.” She said, “By Allâh, he has no desire for anything. By, Allâh, he has never ceased weeping till his case began till this day of his.” On that, some of my family members said to me, “Will you also ask Allâh's Apostle to permit your wife to serve you as he has permitted the wife of Hilal bin Umaiya to serve him?” I said, “By Allâh, I will not ask the permission of Allâh's Apostle regarding her, for I do not know what Allâh's Apostle would say if I asked him to permit her to serve me while I am a young man.” Then I remained in that state for ten more nights after that till the period of fifty nights was completed starting from the time when Allâh's Apostle prohibited the people from talking to us. When I had offered the Fajr prayer on the 50th morning on the roof of one of our houses and while I was sitting in the condition which Allâh described (in the Qur’an) my very soul seemed straitened to me and even the earth seemed narrow to me for all its spaciousness, there I heard the voice of one who had ascended the mountain of Sala' calling with his loudest voice, “O Ka’b bin Malik! Be happy by receiving good tidings.” I fell down in prostration before Allâh, realizing that relief had come. Allâh's Apostle had announced the acceptance of our repentance by Allâh when he had offered the Fajr prayer. 226 Understanding Muhammad The people then went out to congratulate us. The people started receiving me in batches, congratulating me on Allâh's Acceptance of my repentance, saying, “We congratulate you on Allâh's Acceptance of your repentance." 308 Muhammad refers to this story in the Qur’an: (He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind; (they felt guilty) to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to them, for all its spaciousness, and their (very) souls seemed straitened to them,- and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allâh (and no refuge) but to Himself. Then He turned to them, that they might repent: for Allâh is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (Q. 9:118) As we can see in the above story, Muhammad had a tremendous control over his followers. The atmosphere of Medina was extremely charged. He could order his followers to shun one of their fellows, their own relatives and even order them to abstain from cohabiting with their spouses. The psychological control was so intense that some dreaded lying or making excuses. Muhammad could not possibly know what was going on in their minds, whether the excuses that they made were true or not. But he made them believe that his god was aware of their innermost thoughts and therefore rendered them helpless and thus brought them under his total control. This is the ultimate form of control. The invisible “Big Brother” is not only watching your actions, he is also monitoring your thoughts. There is nothing more crippling than this kind of control. Muhammad created the most powerful system to control people and their thoughts, a control that has lasted for 1400 years and unless it is challenged it will continue forever, eroding and destroying the most vital of human rights – the freedom to think and decide for oneself. Alluding to those who had legitimate excuses and were not punished like these three men, Muhammad wrote the following verses: They will swear to you by Allâh, when ye return to them, that ye may leave them alone. So leave them alone: For they are an abomination, and Hell is their dwelling-place, a fitting recompense for the (evil) that they did. 308 Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 702 When Sane People Follow Insane People 227 They will swear unto you, that ye may be pleased with them but if ye are pleased with them, Allâh is not pleased with those who disobey. (Q. 9:95- 96) Muhammad had no ways to verify the legitimacy of these men’s alibis, so with these warnings, he threatened those who lied of severe divine punishment. This kind of mind control works as long as one is gullible enough to believe in the lies of the narcissist cult leader. Once one stops believing in the narcissist’s lies, he loses his control completely. Today Muslims are still under the sway of Muhammad because they believe in him. The fear of hell has paralyzed their thinking ability. The very thought of doubting Muhammad sends shiver down their spines and they dismiss that thought at once without entertaining it for one second. Osherow explains: “Let’s step back for a moment. The processes going on at Jonestown obviously were not as simple as those in a well-controlled laboratory experiment; several themes were going on simultaneously. For example, Jim Jones had the power to impose any punishments that he wished in the People’s Temple, and, especially towards the end, brutality and terror at Jonestown were rampant. But Jones carefully controlled how the punishments were carried out. He often called upon the members themselves to agree to the imposition of beatings. They were instructed to testify against fellow members, bigger members told to beat up smaller ones, wives or lovers forced to sexually humiliate their partners, and parents asked to consent to and assist in the beatings of their children. (Mills, 1979; Kilduff and Javers, 1978). The punishments grew more and more sadistic, the beatings so severe as to knock the victim unconscious and cause bruises that lasted for weeks. As Donald Lunde, a psychiatrist who has investigated acts of extreme violence explains: ‘Once you’ve done something that major, it’s very hard to admit even to yourself that you’ve made a mistake, and subconsciously you will go to great lengths to rationalize what you did. It’s very tricky defense mechanism exploited to the hilt by the charismatic leader.’ [Newsweek, 1978a] A more personal account of the impact of this process is provided by Jeanne Mills. At one meeting, she and her husband were forced to consent to the beating of their daughter as punishment for a very minor transgression. She relates the effect this had on her daughter, the victim, as well as on herself, one of the perpetrators: 228 Understanding Muhammad As we drove home, everyone in the car was silent. We were all afraid that our words would be considered treasonous. The only sounds came from Linda, sobbing quietly in the back seat. When we got into our house, Al and I sat down to talk with Linda. She was in too much pain to sit. She stood quietly while we talked with her. “How do you feel about what happened tonight?” Al asked her. “Father was right to have me whipped.” Linda answered. “I’ve been so rebellious lately, and I’ve done a lot of things that were wrong. I’m sure Father knew about those things, and that’s why he had me hit so many times.” As we kissed our daughter goodnight, our heads were spinning. It was hard to think clearly when things were so confusing. Linda had been the victim, and yet we were the only people angry about it. She should have been hostile and angry. Instead, she said that Jim had actually helped her. We knew Jim had done a cruel thing, and yet everyone acted as if he were doing a loving thing in whipping our disobedient child. Unlike a cruel person hurting a child, Jim had seemed calm, almost loving, as he observed the beating and counted off the whacks. Our minds were not able to comprehend the atrocity of the situation because none of the feedback we were receiving was accurate. The feedback one received from the outside was limited, and the feedback from inside the Temple member was distorted. By justifying the previous actions and commitments, the groundwork for accepting the ultimate commitment was established. Only months after we defected from Temple did we realize the full extent of the cocoon in which we lived. And only then did we understand the fraud, sadism, and emotional blackmail of the master manipulator.309 The testimony of Jeanne Mills is in many ways identical to those of ex- Muslims. Ex-Muslims admit that they were not aware of the abuse that they were subjected to when they were believers. It is only after they leave Islam that the enormity of the abuse and mind control becomes manifest to them. Muslim women marring Muslim men are just as much subject to domestic violence as are non-Muslim women converting to Islam and marrying Muslim men. However, the former is often unaware of the abuse. She is used to abuse because she grew up with it. She saw her mother abused and so her aunts and any other 309 Mills, J. Six years with God. New York: A & W Publishers, 1979. When Sane People Follow Insane People 229 woman that she knows. This is normal to her and she resigns to her fate with no complaints. Non-Muslim women marrying Muslim men, often come from families were women are not denigrated, beaten and abused. For them, the marriage to a Muslim man is much more oppressive than for a born and raised as a Muslim woman, who may even defend the right of her husband to punish her. Christians, Jews or Hindus also leave their faiths. However there is not much anger and resentment in them. When Muslims leave Islam, they leave it with bitterness in their hearts. It is because only then, they come to see the extent of their victimization. This is not how the apostates of other religions feel about their prophets. Ex-Muslims hate Muhammad intensely. The awakening is terribly painful. What is hurtful is the bitter taste of deception. Osherow explains: “A few hours before his murder, Congressman Ryan addressed the membership: “I can tell you right now that by the few conversations I’ve had with some of the folks, there are some people who believe this is the best thing that ever happened in their whole lives.” [Cheers and applause can be heard in the background] (Krause, 1978). The acquiescence of so many and the letters they left behind indicate that this feeling was widely shared or at least expressed by the members.” Islam, like the People's Temple, attracts the most vulnerable members of the society, those who are downtrodden and are in need of sense of purpose. In the western society, where individuality is taken to the extreme, there is a sense of loneliness. Islam gives the new convert a sense of community. It gives them an alternative way of viewing their lives, a direction, a sense of belonging, a sense of transcendence, but it does so at a terrible cost. The cost is alienation from their own culture and country to the extent that they disown their families and former friendships, and plot their downfall. Islam, like People’s Temple, teaches its followers to fear anything and anyone outside of their faith and regards the nonbelievers as “the enemy.” Just like the followers of Jones, true Muslims hate the possibility of any other lifestyle. Islam to them is the only correct way and everything else must perish. Muslims are increasingly suspicious of non-Muslims and are fervent believers of the conspiracy theories about the “wicked West”. I have heard many educated and otherwise intelligent Muslims say seriously that the attack on Pentagon and the WTC in New York in September 11, 2001 was the work of the CIA and the Zionists. This level of intellectual paralysis is only possible if you are a victim of a cult. 230 Understanding Muhammad Control of Information Muslims, like their prophet, are conditioned to be paranoid. They are taught that non-Muslims are the enemy, out to destroy them. I recall myself glaring at a friend who was curious to read Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. This, I did without even having any knowledge of its content. But Rushdie’s book is really just a literary novel. The Qur’an is far more damaging to Islam than any book any critic could ever write. Nonetheless, as a Muslim you are not allowed to read anything criticizing Islam. It is not that you fear being caught; you are afraid of Allâh and his sadistic punishments. Reading anti-Islamic material shatters your own self-concept of loyalty. Compare that to People’s Temple. “Within the People’s Temple, and especially at Jonestown,” writes Osherow, “Jim Jones controlled the information to which members would be exposed. He effectively stifled any dissent that might arise within the church and instilled distrust in each member for contradictory messages from outside. After all, what credibility could be carried by information supplied by “the enemy” that was out to destroy the People's Temple with “lies?” Seeing no alternatives and having no information, a member’s capacity for dissent or resistance was minimized. Moreover, for most members, part of the Temples attraction resulted from their willingness to relinquish much of the responsibility and control over their lives. These were primarily the poor, the minorities, the elderly, and the unsuccessful. They were happy to exchange personal autonomy (with its implicit assumption of personal responsibility for their plight) for security, brotherhood, the illusion of miracles, and the promise of salvation. Stanley Cath, a psychiatrist who has studied the conversion techniques used by cults, generalizes: “Converts have to believe only what they are told. They don’t have to think, and this relieves tremendous tensions.” (Newsweek, 1978a) The above perfectly describes the condition of Muslims, especially in Islamic countries, where any information slightly contradicting the official, public Islamic creed is censored and the believers are allowed only one view, the one provided by the Islamic authorities. In fact Muslims try hard to censor any anti-Islamic message even in non-Muslim countries. If a book or an article is published that they do not like, they protest and try to force the “offender” to withdraw his publication and apologize. One can only imagine the kind of control and censorship that Muhammad exerted over his followers in his compound, Medina. On numerous occasions Omar would draw his sword When Sane People Follow Insane People 231 looking at Muhammad for his signal to behead an impertinent person who had challenged the Prophet’s authority. Just as Mecca fell to Islam, and just as Persia, Syria, Egypt and over fifty other countries fell under the domination of Islam; the rest of the world is not immune. More than 2,000 years ago, the Chinese sage Sun Zi [Tzu] said: “Know your enemy, know yourself, and your victory will not be threatened." These words are just as true today as they were then. The question is, “Do we know our enemy, and do we truly know ourselves?” Sadly the answer to both questions is negative. Not only we have no clue about Islam, there are many of us who in their hatred of their own Heleno-Christians culture, have chosen to side with anyone who shares with them that hatred. Ibn Ishaq tells a story that makes us understand the nature of Islam. It is about Orwa’s observation of the treatment that the followers of Muhammad conferred him when he, on behalf of the Quraish, visited Muhammad in his encampment at Hudaibiyah, at the outskirts of Mecca to dissuade him and his 1500 armed men from performing pilgrimage to Mecca that year, which the Meccans thought is provocative. Muhammad was calm and Abu Bakr was speaking on his behalf. Orwa, not heeding Abu Bakr, became more earnest, and in accordance to the Bedouin custom, stretched forth his hand to take hold of Muhammad's beard. This was a token of friendship and familiarity and not an act of disrespect. “Back off!”, cried a bystander, striking his arm. “Hold off your hand from the Prophet of Allâh!” Orwa was startled at the youth’s interruption and asked, “And who is this?” “It is your nephew, Moghira,” responded the youth. “Ungrateful!” exclaimed Orwa (alluding to his having paid compensation for certain murders committed by his nephew), “it is but as yesterday that I redeemed your life.” Orwa was impressed by the degree of reverence and devotion that Muhammad’s followers showed their prophet. Upon returning to Mecca he reported that he had seen many kings, the Khosrow, Caysar, and Najashi, but never had witnessed such attention and homage as Muhammad received from his followers. “They rushed to save the water in which he had performed his ablutions, to catch up his spittle, or seize a hair of his if it chanced to fall.” 310 As these stories make clear, Muhammad had built a personality cult around himself. He was the personification of his god that he was preaching. Obedience to him was obedience to Allâh and disobeying him was disobeying Allâh. This is everything a narcissistic psychopath craves for – to be God 310 Sirat Ibn Ishaq, p.823 232 Understanding Muhammad incarnate. Muhammad manipulated everyone until he ascended to the throne of Allâh and became the de facto God. Jeanne Mills commented: “I was amazed at how little disagreement there was between the members of this church. Before we joined the church, Al and I couldn’t even agree on whom to vote for in a presidential election. Now that we all belonged to a group, family arguments were becoming a thing of the past. There was never a question of who was right, because Jim was always right. When our large household met to discuss family problems, we didn’t ask for opinions. Instead, we put the question to the children, “What would Jim do?” It took the difficulty out of life. There was a type of “manifest destiny” which said the Cause was right and would succeed. Jim was right and those who agreed with him were right. If you disagreed with Jim, you were wrong. It was as simple as that.”311 Muslims follow two things, one is the Qur’an and the other is the Sunnah. The Qur’an is the words of Muhammad (claimed to be Allâh’s)312 and the Sunnah is what people reported of what he said and did. The details of the Sunnah are recorded in the voluminous books of Ahadith. The doctors of Islamic law study for years to master these details and the believers do not do anything without consulting them and learning the correct way of doing things. Sunnah is in effect the Islamic “prescription for living” based on the examples set by Muhammad and how he lived. These are the details about Muhammad’s life reported by his companions and wives. Everything is detailed. Every action is prescribed. All believers have to do is spend years learning these “important” prescriptions for living Islamically, in accordance with the examples set by their Prophet and follow them meticulously in the fond belief that they will have fulfilled their duty as Muslims and will be rewarded for their “good” deeds. Good and bad in Islam are not defined by right and wrong but by doing what Muhammad enjoined and prohibited. How did Muhammad develop so much ability to manipulate people, a power that has taken psychologists years to unravel? Muhammad was a narcissist and whatever he did was part of the traits of those with narcissistic personality disorder. It all came to him naturally, an ability that he shared with other successful narcissists such as Hitler, Stalin, Jim Jones and Saddam. Osherow writes about this when he talks about Jim Jones: “Though it is unlikely that he had any formal exposure to the social psychological literature, 311 Mills, J. Six years with God. New York: A & W Publishers, 1979 312 There are also those who believe the Qur’an is the work of multiple hands. Among the is Denis Giron http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/denis_giron/multiple.html When Sane People Follow Insane People 233 Jim Jones utilized several very powerful and effective techniques for controlling people’s behavior and altering their attitudes. Some analyses have compared his tactics to those involved in “brainwashing,” for both include the control of communication, the manipulation of guilt, and power over people’s existence,313 as well as isolation, an exacting regimen, physical pressure, and the use of confessions.314 But using the term brainwashing makes the process sound too esoteric and unusual. There were some unique and scary elements in Jones’s personality paranoia, delusions of grandeur, sadism, and a preoccupation with suicide. Whatever his personal motivation, however, having formulated his plans and fantasies, he took advantage of well-established social psychological tactics to carry them out. The decision to have a community destroy itself was crazy, but those who performed the deed were “normal” people who were subjected to a tremendously provocative situation, the victims of powerful internal forces as well as external pressures.” This definition explains how it is possible for a multitude of sane people to follow an insane man. This happened in Germany. Hitler was insane, but millions of Germans who believed in him were not. How could millions of educated and intelligent people fall prey to the manipulations of a psychopath? As we see this has happened more than once. Dictators are often psychopaths, yet they manage to control millions and fool very normal, sane people. The grip that these psychopaths have over the emotions of their victims is mind-boggling. Three months after this horrendous event in Jonestown, Michael Prokes, who was spared because he was assigned to carry away a box of People’s Temple funds, called a press conference in a California motel room. After claiming that Jones had been misunderstood and demanding the release of a tape-recording of the final minutes [quoted earlier], he stepped into the bathroom and shot himself in the head. He left behind a note, saying that if his death inspired another book about Jonestown, it was worthwhile. (Newsweek, 1979) Doesn’t this shed light on the psychopathology of the suicide bomber? Jeanne and Al Mills were among the most vocal critics of the People’s Temple following their defection, and they topped an alleged “death list” of its enemies. Even after Jonestown, the Mills had repeatedly expressed fear for their lives. Well over a year after the People’s Temple massacre, they and their daughter were murdered in their Berkeley home. Their teen-age son, himself an ex-People’s Temple member, testified that he was in another part of the large house at the time. As yet, no suspect has been charged. There are indications 313 Lifton, R. J. Appeal of the death trip. New York Times Magazine, January 7, 1979. 314 Cahill, T. In the valley of the shadow of death. Rolling Stone. January 25, 1979. 234 Understanding Muhammad that the Mills knew their killer. There were no signs of forced entry, and they were shot at close range. Jeanne Mills had been quoted as saying, “It’s going to happen; if not today, then tomorrow.” On the final tape of Jonestown, Jim Jones had blamed Jeanne Mills by name, and had promised that his followers in San Francisco “will not take our death in vain.” (Newsweek, 1980) Muslims consider it their duty to kill anyone who leaves Islam. Their hatred of apostates is unbelievably intense. There is nothing that a Muslim can hate so feverishly than an apostate. Muslims will not relent and they will not give up until they find and kill the apostates. Those who dare to defy Islam do so at their own peril. Muhammad’s orders are unequivocal: But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them. (Q. 4:89). Dialogue between Civilizations? uslims claim to want dialogue between civilizations. What civilization? Islam is not a civilization. It is against civilization. It is barbarity and savagery. Furthermore, dialogue is the last thing on their minds. In September 2006, once again Muslims were up in arms. This time over a speech made by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg in Germany, where he was previously a professor of theology. In this speech, entitled “Faith and Reason,” the pontiff delineated the fundamental difference between Christianity’s view that God is intrinsically rational, as inspired by the Greek concept of logos, and Islam’s view that “God is absolutely transcendent,” who does as he pleases, is not bound by anything, including reason, and, therefore, his actions can appear irrational to humans. Pope Benedict quoted a discussion that took place in 1391 between the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam. “In that discussion,” the Pope said, “the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war and addressing his interlocutor says: ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’ The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. ‘God,” he says, ‘is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to ` 236 Understanding Muhammad speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats.... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death.... The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature.’” The Pope then quoted Theodore Khoury, from whose book he had taken the above story. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: “For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is selfevident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.” Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that “God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practice idolatry.” The Pope’s speech offended Muslims worldwide. Egypt’s Foreign Minister said: “This was a very unfortunate statement and it is a statement that shows that there is a lack of understanding of real Islam.” He suggested that that this would “allow tension and distrust and recriminations to brew between the Muslim as well as the west." The parliament of Afghanistan and its foreign ministry each demanded an apology. The Iranian Guardian Council called it “Western conspiracy against Islam” to “link Islam to violence.” The spokesman of Iraqi government, Ali al-Dabbagh, said that “The Pope's remarks reflect his misunderstanding of the principles of Islam and its teachings that call for forgiveness, compassion and mercy.” The Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that the Pope's comments were “unwise and inappropriate.” Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said, “The Pope must not take lightly the spread of outrage that has been created.” The Majlis-e-Shoora, Pakistan's parliament, issued a statement saying, “The derogatory remarks of the Pope about the philosophy of jihad and Prophet Muhammad have injured sentiments across the Muslim world and pose the danger of spreading acrimony among the religions.” Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said, “Anyone who describes Islam as intolerant encourages violence.” This is only a token of the protests from Muslim leaders. Needless to say, this speech by the Pope set off a whole series of riots – churches were burned and destroyed in Gaza, in the West Bank, and in Basra. In Mogadishu an elderly Italian nun, together with her guard, were killed. Some even called for the Pope to be executed. According to Britain's Daily Mail, Anjem Choudary, of the British Muslim organization al-Ghurabaa, led a rally outside Westminster Abbey where When Sane People Follow Insane People 237 he asked for the Pope to be subjected to capital punishment. Somali religious leader Abubukar Hassan Malin declared the Pope should be hunted down and killed “on the spot.” Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “I believe it is a must for (the Pope) to retract his erroneous, ugly and unfortunate remarks and apologize both to the Islamic world and Muslims. …I hope he rapidly amends the mistake he has made so as not to overshadow the dialogue between civilizations and religions.” Muslims have no tolerance for criticism and threaten to unleash violence if you call their religion violent. At the same time they claim to want dialogue. What dialogue can take place when questioning Islam will result in violence and could cause the death of the questioner? If Islam is “misunderstood,” as Muslims insist, shouldn’t they welcome questions and answer them to remove any misunderstandings? There are many verses in the Qur’an that require clarification. “Slay the unbelievers wherever you catch them.” (2:191) “Fight them, until there is no more dissent and religion is that of Allâh” (2:193) “The vilest of animals in Allâh's sight are those who disbelieve.” (8:55) “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.” (8:12) “Verily, the unbelievers are unclean.” (9:28) How can Muslims explain these verses? Aren’t these, and many other similar Qur’anic rulings, responsible for the violence in the Muslim world? Most religions, including Christianity, have had violent histories. Islam is the only religion that teaches violence in its holy book. Why? This is a legitimate question that begs an answer. Emperor Manuel II Paleologus’ question remains unanswered. “You have injured our sensitivity, you must apologize, you are a bigot, you are encouraging us to become violent,” etc. are not logical answers. They are evasions. If Muslims want dialogue, they must be prepared to answer some tough questions, particularly about the conduct of their prophet. In his speech, the Pope called on the West to affirm the faith in God built on reason. Then he said: “It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures.” For too many Muslims, dialogue means monologue. What they actually want to say is: you listen to what we tell you and then agree. If you ask tough questions to which we have no answers, we will be offended and you will be sorry. How can there be any dialogue between these two diametrically opposing approaches? Isn’t it reasonable to ask if there is no compulsion in religion, as one verse of the Qur’an says, why Muslims are asked to wage jihad in so many other verses? Why are so many verses of the Qur’an intolerant of freedom of belief? Why does leaving Islam entail the death penalty? 238 Understanding Muhammad Yes, we must indeed talk, but it must be a real dialogue based on real questions, tough questions, questions that have never been answered. Getting together for hugs and handshakes is not dialogue. Shoving 1400 years of dirt under the carpet is not going to bring us closer to each other. There are fundamental, troubling, questions about Islam and Muhammad that must be answered. This dialogue must commence. Muslims need to hear these questions. It’s high time they answer them. The character of Muhammad must be scrutinized and his teachings reevaluated. Unless these essential questions are answered, how can we have any dialogue? Until the questions are answered and the world can reconsider Islam, the world should not accept it as a religion. Humanity has had too many wars. There has been too much bloodshed and too many senseless killings. “Forgotten lie the martyrs in their dusty catacombs, and the faiths, for which they died, are cold and dead.” 315 We do not need more wars. We need more talks. Let us put sentimentalities and religious zealotries aside, engage in real dialogue, and answer some real questions. It is easily proven, that Islam is far from being a religion of peace, but is a dangerous cult of war. It is a grave error to admit Islam in the pantheon of religions and grant it equal status. Islam is a fascistic political movement akin to Nazism invented by a very sick man. It is not created to unite the hearts of people but to divide them, to instill hatred among them and to dominate them, forcing everyone into submission. Assuming everyone converts to Islam, the wars will only intensify, as Muslims will continue fighting for each group’s version of “true” Islam. Islam is the brainchild of an insane man. It was created as his pretext for conquest. It brings nothing but misery upon its own followers and terror on everyone else. Islam must be abolished, for humanity to survive. There is no middle ground and there can be no compromises. Islam cannot be reformed, but it can be smashed. It is rigid and brittle. Ultimately, what will destroy Islam is truth. Confronted with truth, Islam is defenseless. All it takes to get rid of this monstrous doctrine of hate are words. Words spoken in truth are the biggest threat to Islam. Muhammad knew that. He prohibited criticism and decreed death for those who dissented. The sooner the truth is spread, the sooner Islam will be left behind in the dust of history. Now you know the truth. The rest is up to you. At no time, has the destiny of mankind depended so much on its individuals. Today, you and I can change the course of history. All we have to do is tell the truth. The truth will set us free. 315 Margaret A Murray in The Genesis of Religion When Sane People Follow Insane People 239 There is no place for Islam in the future of mankind. This doctrine of hate will not survive this century and most likely it will be abolished in our own lifetime. Islam must go, not only because it is false, foolish, and illogical, but because it is violent, intolerant, and evil. We must not tolerate intolerance. How Islam will end depends on us – ordinary people like you and me. If we do nothing, if we do not oppose it and let it grow unchecked, Muslims will bring about the third world war and millions will perish in a nuclear Armageddon. Communism was evil, but communists loved life and because of that, the Cold War ended without a nuclear confrontation. Muslims love death. This changes everything. You may call it insanity but to them it is faith in the afterlife. A nuclear Armageddon will bring about the end of Islam, but only after a great portion of humanity and perhaps the entire Muslim world is wiped out. If we act now and start this dialogue, questioning Islam and helping Muslims see the truth, Islam will be weakened and Muslims will be freed. Muslims are victims of a big lie. They do not need chastisement, but guidance. If the dialogue fails, war is inevitable. Had Nazism been defeated ideologically before it got hold of the Germans and become so powerful, 50 million lives would not have been destroyed. One thing is certain, Islam’s days are numbered. Will it end in a big bang, like Nazism did, after millions or billions are killed, or will it die away on its own, like communism, after Muslims come to see the truth and leave it in huge numbers? The answer to this question depends very much on what we do today. Nature does not recognize good or bad; it recognizes force. Muslims are militant. They are actively promoting their faith through deception and terror. Deception and terror are the two strategies of Jihad, a struggle in which all Muslims are part of, each in his or her capacity. Some wage this war with their lives through terrorism and others by deceptively portraying Islam as a religion of peace when they know very well it is not. The rest of the world is laid back, easy going and believes in freedom of faith. This causes an imbalance of powers. This imbalance has given Islam an edge since its inception. Thanks to their militant ethos and the tolerance of others, Muslims have overcome much more powerful nations. These victories have emboldened them and increased their arrogance. If non-Muslims do not rise up to stop Islam and defeat it, Islam will win. The destruction of mankind is Islam’s victory. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that it takes only a handful of determined militants to subdue and take hostage a large number of unwary civilians. Muhammad boasted, “I have been made victorious with terror,”316 and Muslims have taken full advantage of terror in all their wars and they have won. The non-Muslim world is unwary and unprepared. There lies its vulnerability. Unless we wake up and see Islam as the enemy, a threat to our 316 Bukhari, 4.52.220. 240 Understanding Muhammad lives and our civilization, we must brace ourselves for very tough times ahead of us. Time is running out. If Islam is not defeated ideologically fast, we will be facing a future that will make the horrors of World War II look like child’s play. Muhammad was insane. Islam is insanity. This insanity must end or we will all pay dearly with our lives. 000000000