Saturday, March 22, 2008

The outer room

The AP reports that "Italy's most prominent Muslim, an iconoclastic writer who condemned Islamic extremism and defended Israel, converted to Catholicism Saturday in a baptism by the pope at a Vatican Easter service."

Yahya Pallavicini, vice president of Coreis, the Islamic religious community in Italy, said he respected Allam's choice but said he was "perplexed" by the symbolic and high-profile way in which he chose to convert.

"If Allam truly was compelled by a strong spiritual inspiration, perhaps it would have been better to do it delicately, maybe with a priest from Viterbo where he lives," the ANSA news agency quoted Pallavicini as saying.

All that I can say is that there are more -- many more who have secretly converted from Islam. Some sites have claimed that nearly 700 Muslims convert to Christianity per hour, though I wonder how accurate those numbers are. In that context Pallavicini's question makes sense: why did Magdi Allam make such a high profile conversion on the occasion of the Easter Vigil too? It's extraordinary for any Catholic to be baptized by the Pope. What's the message?

Maybe it is to remind the Islamic world that despite the frequency of these conversions there are no widespread calls to burn mosques, kill imams or desecrate Korans among the converted. Magdi Allam's public conversion is witness to the quiet of all those which have been made in private. And maybe that message is filtering through to the more thoughtful imams.

Egypt's highest Islamic cleric, the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, wrote last year against the killing of apostates, saying there is no worldly retribution for Muslims who abandon their religion and that punishment would come in the afterlife.

A conversion to Christianity is not an announcement of superiority, but an acknowledgement of need. Only sinners need come to the Cross. "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

Yeshua, Yeshua, hey bel livivi al shmay ya
Y'khanseyn li shlam ka
Qadish sha tith sha be'akh
Khed wah min kul di le he weh
Hosanna Yeshua

Happy Easter, everybody.




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41 Comments:

Blogger stackja1945 said...

Following the example of a Paul of Tarsus.

3/22/2008 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

This is the one chance that Europe has for survival--the assimilation of its third world immigrants. If the third worlders hold onto their dysfunctional customs and religions, Europe is finished.

3/22/2008 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

He should have done this quietly, under the radar, because now he will be under a death sentence for apostasy. The Church will enhance its position as a jihad target even more than it is already. And not just in Europe, but especially so in the Muslim world.

3/22/2008 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mikhail Gorbachev admits he is a Christian

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Communist leader of the Soviet Union, (!) has acknowledged his Christian faith for the first time, paying a surprise visit to pray at the tomb of St Francis of Assisi.

Accompanied by his daughter Irina, Mr Gorbachev spent half an hour on his knees in silent prayer at the tomb.
His arrival in Assisi was described as "spiritual perestroika" by La Stampa, the Italian newspaper.

"St Francis is, for me, the alter Christus, the other Christ," said Mr Gorbachev. "His story fascinates me and has played a fundamental role in my life," he added.
Mr Gorbachev's surprise visit confirmed decades of rumours that, although he was forced to publicly pronounce himself an atheist, he was in fact a Christian, and casts a meeting with Pope John Paul II in 1989 in a new light.

Mr Gorbachev, 77, was baptised into the Russian Orthodox Church and his parents were Christians.

In addition, the parents of his wife Raisa were deeply religious and were killed during the Second World War for having religious icons in their home.

3/22/2008 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Doug,

The Russian Orthodox Church is an intensely political institution, both under the Soviet regime and now especially so under the Putin regime. I have an uncle who is a Maryknoll priest who spent most of his career in Japan, and was briefly assigned to Russia - to Siberia at Irkutsk for language training and then on to Sakhalin Island for a few futile years dealing with the Russian bureaucracy. An entirely hostile country towards the Catholic Church. In disgust he got out of Russia and got re-assigned back to Japan, to Hokkaido. Loves it there on that northern island. Irony: he's not far from Sakhalin Island, scene of his deep frustration.

I am still not entirely trusting of Gorbachev.

3/22/2008 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Haven't seen into his soul yet, eh?
...the eye test having been thoroughly discredited.

3/22/2008 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

He should have done this quietly, under the radar, because now he will be under a death sentence for apostasy.

I think Magdi Allam knows this. He's an ex-Muslim and an intelligent man. But he has accepted the risk.

The nonreligious way to understand Allam's act is as an exercise in freedom. Freedom is above all the willingness to endure the consequences of what you choose; but only because your choices have meaning. Even if Allam is killed he has already lived; already defined himself. It's better to have lived and to have died then to have passed all your days in the shadow of fear.

3/22/2008 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger baldilocks said...

He should have done this quietly, under the radar, because now he will be under a death sentence for apostasy.

Maybe he read the fine print before signing on:

32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

--Matthew 10:32-33

3/22/2008 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Isn't that the lesson of the day? Fear not, persevere, have faith, and victory is yours.

3/22/2008 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Wretchard,

Your viewpoint is duly noted and I already understood it before I put up my last post. My concern is not driven by fear of the Muslims. Rather, I so despise that "religion" that I would not want them to have the satisfaction of my murder. To cheat them of an object of their passions is also a kind of victory of sorts.

But, I understand the political character of Allam's conversion, as well as its religious character. And I agree that it is better to live in freedom, conviction, and defiance of the Ummah's sanctions.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. My guess is that publicly the Muslim PR machine will act with indifference about it, but private seethe with rage and there will be winks and nods about the suggestions that the appropriate penalty should be carried out.

3/22/2008 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Elroy Jetson said...

A Happy Easter to you Wretchard and your loved ones as well as all you posters here at The Belmont Club.
We may never know if it was the Pope's idea or Magdi's to do this in such a manner. They are both very brave men. God Bless them.
I think most of the Islamic world will play this low key, with the possible exception being Pakistan-Afghanistan. They need to keep their rage boys raging for jihad.

3/22/2008 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger linearthinker said...

Echoing perhaps some comments above.

What's the message?

Consider the (alleged) bin Laden tapes released March 12. Addressing the pope, (bin Laden) said the cartoons "came in the framework of a new Crusade in which the Pope of the Vatican has played a large, lengthy role," according to a transcript released by the SITE Institute, a U.S. group that monitors terror messages.

"You went overboard in your unbelief and freed yourselves of the etiquette's of dispute and fighting and went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings," he said. "This is the greater and more serious tragedy, and reckoning for it will be more severe."


Not to diminish Magdi Allam's courage, but perhaps the Vatican had an equally powerful hand in the high profile event, in a sense calling the bluff of the islamofascists.

Or, is it beneath the Pope to use such a holy occasion to call the bluff of a raggedyassed muslim radical squatting in a cave in Pakistan?

3/22/2008 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Or, is it beneath the Pope to use such a holy occasion to call the bluff of a raggedyassed muslim radical squatting in a cave in Pakistan?

Anyone can read history and while the Pope is not especially advantaged in learning from it there's really only one obvious institution whose organizational memory remembers Islam from its inception; and whose archives retain the traces of its struggles against the first Caliphs. Arguably Judaism also retains the same memory. But clearly only a handful of institutions on earth can do a lookup to see what their predecessors did in a similar situation. Benedict is one of the few in this position.

But Christianity is not Islam. There were key differences between them even during the Crusades. And so Benedict must work in the ways peculiar to his institution; in trying to get a message down to the last sclerotic capillary.

My guess is that Benedict knew full well what signal he was sending when he baptized the most prominent ex-Muslim in Italy in liturgy's darkest hour and greatest occasion of hope.

3/22/2008 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Yes Wretchard. And note that Allam is already under sentence of death for his belief that Israel has a right to exist. And his opposition to Islamists. The Pope is not a young man, and does not have decades left.

Both understand what they are doing. It's a direct challenge to Osama. I'm sure it will be answered. And answered back.

3/22/2008 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Belle de Ville said...

This was a courageous thing for him to do and I hope that it encourages other Europen Muslims to do the same...but perhaps privately

3/23/2008 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Vatican has posted many beautiful liturgical hymns on its website. Check them out here.

3/23/2008 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger probus said...

i'm not a religious person and haven't believed in organized religion for quite some time now having been battered and bruised in my youth by the teachings and examples of the Catholic clergy, but i can tell u this-- it makes me proud to see the Pope stand up to the worst dreck of Islam-- he makes a Western world 'line in the sand' statement with open conversions like this-- this is the sort of thing that may bring many people back to the Church and pass on some backbone to Europeans sorely in need of some spine-- bravo papa!-- Regards, probus

3/23/2008 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger Beverly said...

An Easter miracle, this.

So, as an Easter greeting, I'm moved to post this link. Click to hear a grand old hymn of the Resurrection:

http://tinyurl.com/3alk3m

Christ the Lord is risen today.

3/23/2008 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

If one were to look for institutional memory of Islamic conflict the institution to look to is not in Rome, but the Eastern Orthodox Church, which fought the Muslims daily (literally) for more than 1,000 years. The Orthodox Church has always been an integral part of the Eastern Roman Emprire, which for reasons unexplained is a big memory hole in Western history.

Joseph Ratzinger is the most visible public figure with the chops to challenge Islam and Western intellectuals on their own turf. His Regensburg address is an historically significant tour de force. I suspect the baptism was made public to provoke not the jihadis but the Muslim scholars who must now as publicly explain away the Islamic rule for mandatory killing of apostates.

Salute to Benedict XVI for his leadership. Let's watch the EUrocrats scramble to cover their vacant multiculturalism.

Construction will likely begin soon on the biggest mosque in Europe. It will be in London, right next to the site of a future Olympics stadium so that when the Olympic Games are held in London the spires of Islam towering over the English countryside will be visible to the world.

There will not be any new grand mosques in Athens, Belgrade, Budapest, Kyev or Moscow.

3/23/2008 01:15:00 AM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

Many of Christianities Saints have been martyred, paid the ultimate sacrifice in refusing to reject their faith. While I hope it does not come to it, one fascinating aspect of this challenge is the notion of what and who is a martyr.

Is the honor of Islam worth so much that it must itself kill to avenge the free and knowing rejection of its impoverished dogma and the free and knowing acceptance of another religion? What honor is there in murder, when it only serves to highlight a distinct lack of honor?

Allam, I salute you and give respect for the largeness of your decision. As someone here wrote on another occasion.

"Death and sorrow will be the companions of your journey, hardship your garment, constancy and valor your only shield." That is the path which you will embark upon, because as men you can do no other.

I have no strength of my own to give you and will only say this: may the Lord Jesus Christ and the Lord Buddha guide you. And lead you to your home.

3/23/2008 02:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Let us remember Fabrizio Quattrocchi

Fred said...
"I so despise that "religion" that I would not want them to have the satisfaction of my murder."
Agreed.

As another option, Mark Steyn recommends packing heat, and failing that,

...consider Fabrizio Quattrocchi, murdered in Iraq on April 14th. In the moment before his death, he yanked off his hood and cried defiantly,
"I will show you how an Italian dies!"
He ruined the movie for his killers. As a snuff video and recruitment tool, it was all but useless, so much so that the Arabic TV stations declined to show it.
(Mark had not been informed that the true reason was that it was "too gruesome"
...right.)
---
"Only the lonely"

Radical Islam is self-evidently at war with the West because their efforts are limited only by their capability. And the West is just as clearly not yet at war with radical Islam because its actions are still limited by its intent. Zarqawi sawed off Bigley's head simply because he could; America spares Fallujah from choice. That inability to think of ourselves as being truly at war underlay the rejection of Mark Steyn's column. He had only stated the obvious.

... consider Fabrizio Quattrocchi, murdered in Iraq on April 14th. In the moment before his death, he yanked off his hood and cried defiantly,
"I will show you how an Italian dies!"

He ruined the movie for his killers.

As a snuff video and recruitment tool, it was all but useless, so much so that the Arabic TV stations declined to show it. If the Foreign and Colonial Office wants to issue advice in this area, that’s the way to go:

If you’re kidnapped, accept you’re unlikely to survive, say "I'll show you how an Englishman dies", and wreck the video.

If they want you to confess you're a spy, make a little mischief: there are jihadi from Britain, Italy, France, Canada and other western nations all over Iraq – so say yes, you're an MI6 agent, and so are those Muslims from Tipton and Luton who recently joined the al-Qaeda cells in Samarra and Ramadi.

As Churchill recommended in a less timorous Britain:
You can always take one with you.


If Mr Blair and other government officials were to make that plain, it would be, to use Mr Bigley's word, "enough". A war cannot be subordinate to the fate of any individual caught up in it.

And, if you don't want to wind up in that situation, you need to pack heat and be prepared to resist at the point of abduction. I didn't give much thought to decapitation when I was mooching round the Sunni Triangle last year, but my one rule was that I was determined not to get into a car with any of the locals and I was willing to shoot anyone who tried to force me. If you're not, you shouldn't be there.

A lonely voice. But then, Lonely are the Brave and lonelier are the dead.

3/23/2008 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Quality of Mersey
-Steyn

3/23/2008 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Thanks for the link to the Vatican hymns Doug, the house has been full of beautiful music this Easter.

3/23/2008 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Wretchard,

Why the conversion in public?
Why the heavy message?

You, yourself, provided the answer in 'We've got him now'.

This is another example of the West informing the pre-reformation Islamists that we are here, will be here, and will contest their insanity.

It is another belly laugh at Osama et. al..

And, as such, the timing and presentation could not be better!!!

3/23/2008 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Skookumchuk said...

Happy Easter, Wretchard and all who visit here.

3/23/2008 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

This morning on Fox News Channel I saw a report on the number of conversions to Christianity in Iraq. The man who had collected the data said that the driver seemed to be Iraqis seeing Muslims slaughtering other Muslims. I don't think anyone - least of all, Al Queda - realized this as a side effect.

And I was interested in one aspect of the man who was providing the information. His name was Rosenberg.

Happy Easter everyone!

3/23/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The future is best predicted by those that create it.

So let me ask, do you want a future where religious sectarianism and religious demagogs again rule your politics?

3/23/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Fred: He should have done this quietly, under the radar, because now he will be under a death sentence for apostasy. The Church will enhance its position as a jihad target even more than it is already. And not just in Europe, but especially so in the Muslim world.

Much as we so often agree, I cannot concur with your above observation. You are rather wide of the mark in this particular instance and in many ways.

By converting, Magdi Allam is instantly under a death sentence anyway. Publicity has relatively little to do with it. It is Islam's capital punishment of apostasy that is so wrong and not Allam's conversion. You are punishing the messenger.

Until enough ordinary or even prominent Muslims convert and—however regrettable—openly risk death, our world will continue to pretend that there is some sort of trivial misunderstanding going on rather than this irreconcilable mismatch between Islam’s goals and the destiny of an overwhelming majority of this planet’s population.

Your posts to Belmont Club’s In the Gulf thread correctly identify Father Tom Veneracion’s faintheartedness about proclaiming his Catholic faith.

According to Sharia Law, no church may ring bells or have loud chanting or singing. The churches must be plain and must be at height levels lower than Muslim dwellings. In fact, they cannot even hold classes in catechism or bible studies inside. Services only. And very, very low key.

It's not a sign of tolerance, but of submission to the Dhimma.

But I'll bet some Muslims and non-Muslim, groveling apologists use this as an example of "interfaith progress."


Yet—no matter how noble the reason—you simultaneously wish to have Allam’s conversion hushed up. Which shall it be a pretty cake or tasty dessert?

Furthermore, you worry about how “The Church will enhance its position as a jihad target even more than it is already.” Newsflash: The Catholic Church is already a “jihad target”. Even if it wasn’t before, Regensburg changed all of that in a heartbeat. Permit me to suggest that the Church do what its own original leader would have done. Namely, loudly proclaim its faith and just as loudly condemn the enemies of it and all other religions.

Finally, it is precisely within the Muslim world where persecution of non-Muslims needs to be spotlighted the most. It is the offenses they commit on their own turf that constitute the most egregious crimes against humanity. Islam’s reputation must—and can only—be best soiled by their own hand. All the finger pointing and name calling in the world will not have the impact of Muslims exposing their own intolerance and lack of peaceful treating with outsiders.

This goes back to what Whiskey_199 has taken such pains to point out. Issues like the cartoons and such must be used to drive Islam out of the shadows and plainly illuminate its hideous agenda. Should Allam’s conversion draw a death fatwa, then that is just one more strike against Islam being the Religion of Peace. [spit]

There must be no prinking about for fear of cracking Islam’s eggshell skull. We must not hide our lamp beneath a bushel for fear of dazzling Islam’s troglodyte eyes. Muslims must not be allowed to cow us on our own ground or else we have conceded a vital part of the war against Islam and given it undue influence where it should have none.

Wretchard makes this all rather clear in his subsequent post:

Freedom is above all the willingness to endure the consequences of what you choose; but only because your choices have meaning. Even if Allam is killed he has already lived; already defined himself. It's better to have lived and to have died then to have passed all your days in the shadow of fear.

Or, as the old saying goes:

It is better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees.

I'm confident that Allam knows this.

Fred: Rather, I so despise that "religion" that I would not want them to have the satisfaction of my murder. To cheat them of an object of their passions is also a kind of victory of sorts.

The real victory comes from dragging Islam, kicking and screaming, into the light. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” and Islam shrinks from enlightenment. This must be trumpeted from the rooftops in order that our world sees what awaits it under Islamic rule.

PeterBoston: Joseph Ratzinger is the most visible public figure with the chops to challenge Islam and Western intellectuals on their own turf. His Regensburg address is an historically significant tour de force. I suspect the baptism was made public to provoke not the jihadis but the Muslim scholars who must now as publicly explain away the Islamic rule for mandatory killing of apostates.

This is the unmasking that I am referring to. It's long past tea for making Islam backpedal about all of its outrages against human life.

WadeUSAF: Is the honor of Islam worth so much that it must itself kill to avenge the free and knowing rejection of its impoverished dogma and the free and knowing acceptance of another religion? What honor is there in murder, when it only serves to highlight a distinct lack of honor?

This nails it rather well. The glaring difference between Islam's idea of martyrdom and Christianity's concept of same must be brought to the fore.

Christian martyrs went to the stake for refusing to reject their faith or bow to tyrants. Islam's martyrs murder hundreds or thousands of innocents as they seek to access paradise. Far more telling is that Islam—through taqiyya—even allows its own martyrs to fake renunciation of their belief to enhance the slaughter they intend to commit.

There cannot be a more profound dissimilarity between Islam and Christianity than is found in this distinction about martyrdom. It reveals Islam's diabolical craft in stark relief for all to see. I have little doubt that the Pope and Allam are both keenly aware of this.

3/23/2008 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rosenberg figures the explosions provide the energy for a change in state.

3/23/2008 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger OmegaPaladin said...

Talk about impressive Italians. One public conversion, and another refusing to die quietly. The courage of the Romans is not yet dead.

3/23/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Romans were rich. The Romans were Italians, which means they were European, which means they were white -- and the Romans ran everything in Jesus' country.

It just came to me within the past few weeks, y'all, why so many folk are hatin' on Barack Obama. He doesn't fit the model!

3/23/2008 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Boy, 15, nailed to a cross as Filipinos whip and crucify themselves in ritual...

Kathleen Soliah Back in Jail

3/23/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger PharmaGuy said...

Just a reminder for our non Catholic posters at this most excellent site that the Easter midnight service is the traditional time when adults are baptized into the faith. So the timing of Magdi's conversion is not out of the ordinary. The courage to make this public should be saluted and honored. Use it as an inspriration in our daily defense of our faith and civilization. We all know being a hero isn't for the faint of heart.

3/23/2008 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

I've just spent a while reading at this website where there is a discussion of apostasy and its condign punishment among folks of quite widely varying opinions.

Interesting stuff.

3/23/2008 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Derek Kite said...

Fred: The Church will enhance its position as a jihad target even more than it is already.

That is the point.

This is a line drawn in the sand. Individuals who leave Islam for christianity or anything else do it at the risk of their lives.

Easter is about an execution due to belief. The pope openly and publicly baptizing is to dare Muslims to carry out their penalty for apostasy.

In the common vernacular, this is something akin to "Go ahead. Make my day."

Very interesting.

Derek

3/23/2008 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger probus said...

i can't believe u people of knowledge and intel believe in this shit!-- it's voodoo witch dr. stuff and minds like urs should get more backbone-- what?... are u all 'afraid' of what will happen to u if u don't believe in organized religion?!-- jesus tapdancing christ, most of u sound like 'muslim lite'-- talk amongst urselves-- maybe u'r just 'covering ur base's with the Lord, but damn, it reeks of covering ur ASSES to me-- Regards, probus

3/23/2008 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/23/2008 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger PharmaGuy said...

Ah Dear Probus,

There's been a bit of discussion of late about faith and religion being a survival mechanism- for this world; setting aside the any discussion of the next one. Seems awfully premature to reject something that has had value to countless millions over the years. And if there are people involved it's subject to corruption, we all understand that, but the value is still there.

A good friend, a prominent doctor and heatlh care professional- you probably have heard him on the radio in the past year or so- was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. All these emails coming in from his colleagues and health care professionals on the website tracking his illness, and I was struck by the many, many of them that spoke of prayer and faith.

My own faith is butressed by the fact that the denial or rejection of anything ourside or beyond ourselves seems like yet another example of hubris. As a scientist I know there is so much that we don't yet know about the world and our universe, even in this era of the quantum. Sad to think that some can't even imagine beyond what they think they know. I think that's what Einstein meant when he said "Imagination is more important than knowledge".

3/23/2008 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Probus, I can't make any sense of your post above. We're most of us responding to the issues raised by the very Public conversion of a well-known Muslim to Christianity, full knowing that Sharía regards the recanting of faith by a Muslim as treason against Islam and Allah.

You don't have to be a Hindu, Sikh, Jew, Member of the Church of the Earth and Sky, Pantheist, Sun-worshiper, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Catholic, Baptist, Unity Church Member, Pagan, Wiccan, Baha'i or believer of any of the hundreds of Native American tribal spiritual systems to grasp this. Agnostics, Atheists, "Brights" and dimbulbs are equally regarded as infidel, subject to violent conversion, the Jizzyah (tax paid by non-Muslims submitting to Islamic rule) or death.

The point of this discussion --- as I understand it --- is to try to clarify for those new to the thought, that Islam is not extending a polite invitation to please consider the merits of possibly maybe if you sorta feel like it, kinda agreeing to be a Muslim.

If it appeals to you.

Nope.

Islam means "Become a Muslim, or pay tribute to Islamic rule, or die."

A little review of How Islam Treats Apostasy (i.e., renouncing and abandoning the faith) sheds a helpful illumination on what to expect of dealing with Islam generally.

Being Islamic then means "Stay a Muslim. Or die."

We in the West are accustomed to indulging in the privileged pastime of considering alternatives to the way things are, or alternative rules to those we have all agreed to govern our behavior until some new or better way occurs to us. If we don't like being constrained in our behavior, we write new laws redefining what is allowed and what is not.

The Muslim Clerics who implement and adjudicate Sharía in their various cultures, but most especially in the Arab Muslim States, do not accept any multicultural prattle about the philosophical importance of freedom of choice. There is no rational debate. The laws and judgments regarding apostasy, despite their derivation from the Ahadith rather than directly from the Qur'an, carry the authority of Divine Instructions, not to be argued, debated, questioned, or compared to other faiths to determine relative worth.

Even to raise the issue of comparison to other faiths or ethical systems places the questioner in the uncomfortable position of challenging Islam and Allah; There is only Islam, all other faiths are blasphemy, false, untrue, the enemy of Islam.

The Muslim apostate is creating a rent in the fabric of Islamic life, making a challenge as threatening to the family of Islam as any soldier approaching with a raised weapon; Islam has the obligation to use whatever means it may to mend the rent and eliminate the threat. The sovereign leader may show mercy, and commute a sentence of death, but the reward for denying Allah or his Prophet or his Angels is for a Muslim... death.

In other words, Probus, it's not important what we believe --- if it's not Islam, we're for the CHOP.

Note: the Qur'an is presented as the word by word dictation by Allah into the ear of his Prophet Mohammed; the Ahadith comprise the collected anecdotes, stories, histories, and descriptions of the choices and actions of the Prophet, as set down by his companions in the interval following his death. Though the Qur'an is acknowledged as the prime Authority, it is silent, omitting judgment or instructions in many areas of human transactions. Since the Ahadith describe the actions of the Prophet in daily life in much more detail, and since those actions and decisions are presumed to be informed by Allah, they traditionally are given the same authority in determining the judgments of cases adjudicated under Sharía.

3/23/2008 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Mad Fiddler: Probus, I can't make any sense of your post above.

So, I'm not alone in being unable to decipher that twaddle? What a relief. Harsh criticism from those of marginal spelling and grammatical skills is always so heart rending.

Even to raise the issue of comparison to other faiths or ethical systems places the questioner in the uncomfortable position of challenging Islam and Allah; There is only Islam, all other faiths are blasphemy, false, untrue, the enemy of Islam.

Needless to say (then why say it?), just the ongoing discussions in this thread would earn all of us lashes or the sword. This one notion alone will most likely drive a few purchases of firearms in the near future.

3/24/2008 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Zenster, you judgmental guy, you!

Actually, Probus seems to be genuinely perplexed and alarmed at the energy we're squandering in re-hashing the issue. I just wasn't sure I understood him, and I guess I was trying to justify the big guns we were discharging.

Usually I'm mealy-mouthed and avoid confrontation. I wasn't trying to beat up on Probus, so much as I happened to have this rant all ready to go, and he was just ahead of me. Sorry, guy.

The point of Wretchard's essays and our comments --- I've always thought --- was to try to offer ideas that invite conversation, and allow folks to consider different viewpoints and information. This seems to work best when the arguments are not wrapped around a large brick or a sparking spitting anarchist's bomb.

When I find my fingers bleeding as I pound the keyboard, I probably need to calm down before proceeding.

3/24/2008 10:06:00 PM  

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