The Cold Comfort of Truth

For the past several weeks I have been studying Islam as mentioned in this post. The quest started when the Wife asked me during one of our nightly conversations beneath the stars, “Who exactly is Muhammad anyway?” I knew the basics – his late (age 40) revelations, his flight from Mecca to Medina and his eventual return after much butt-kicking and converting – but nothing much beyond that. So I started reading – NOT on the Internet – but these wonderful things called “books” that it seems have become so passe these days. I checked out the sources of the books and read critically – sensitive to the author’s bias’s whether unwritten or not. Many of these books were on the shelf, but those that weren’t were easily found at

Having studied the era he lived in from other perspectives, the rise of Byzantium and the migrations of Central and Western Europe, the cultural supremacy of China and the nascent state of Japan in Asia, I felt that it was important to approach Muhammad and early Islam from the perspective of the time. I’ve always bristled when Leftists have condemned President Truman as a war criminal for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ignoring Truman’s perspective forged in the ferocity of the Japanese resistance at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Or disregarding the contributions made by American Founding Fathers because they owned slaves and didn’t grant women the right to vote, two standards that were prevalent throughout the world at the time. The Seventh Century was a brutal one by modern standards, and so I wanted to approach Muhammad’s life in that era with that in mind.

And the truth be told I wanted to see Muhammad as many Muslims see him: as the Ideal Man and a great prophet who founded one of the world’s great religions. Having lived and worked among Muslims I found each call to prayer by the muezzin that I heard as sublime as the first. During Ramadan I respected the fasting of the faithful by avoiding food myself or taking it in private. I celebrated Eid ul Fitr with them at Ramadan’s end. I befriended many Muslims over the years, and owe many a debt of gratitude for the kindnesses they showed me – from putting up with my naivete travelling abroad to the kindnesses shown to me by men like Jan Mohamed whom I view as one of the greatest people I have ever been fortunate enough to meet.

I mention this to establish the fact that when I began my study I wanted to believe that Islam as laid out by the Prophet Muhammad was a religion of peace. I had personally experienced the peaceful nature of its adherents, so I wanted to find its basis in the Koran, or the Hadith, and the other writings Muslims view as part of their religion. For the amateur scientist in me, I was going to try to prove the hypothesis that Muhammad was a man of peace and deserved the designation of Ideal Man. Any evidence that contradicted that hypothesis would have to be incontrovertible to turn that bias.

The conclusion of my research left me cold. A billion people, more than one out of every six people on the planet were following a philosophy of brutality, hatred and violence built by a man who was closer to Charles Manson in word and deed than he was to Jesus Christ or Mahatma Gandhi. Christ never preached violence or personally murdered anyone; Mohammad killed at least 700 people, and more likely many, many more. Martin Luther King jr was Christlike by preaching and practicing non-violence. By personally beheading captive Nick Berg, an infidel, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was acting according to the example of the Ideal Man, Mohammad. After all, it’s what Mohammad did when he received the captives of the Qurayzah who were brought to him in batches and he struck off their heads and kicked their lifeless bodies into trenches he himself had prepared.

Islam has not been hijacked by extremists; it was founded by extremists, has resisted moderation for over 1,300 years, and empowers extremists today to act in its behalf. The question is not what causes Muslims to become extremists, it’s why more Muslims don’t pick up the sword and gun and follow Mohammad’s example. As with most religions there is a spectrum of belief, with the vast majority of people in between the extremes of Muslims-in-name-only and Koranic scholars. But even within that majority there are problems from the modern point of view when 2/3rds of Muslims surveyed worldwide support a global caliphate and the imposition of Sharia law.

Mohammad dealt with moderation himself. The Koran blasts Muslims who attempt to moderate Mohammad’s teachings and Allah’s will, viewing such actions as a rejection of the faith: “That is because they believed, then they rejected Faith: So a seal was set on their hearts; therefore they understand not. When thou lookest at them, their exteriors please thee; and when they speak, thou listened to their words. They are as (worthless as hollow) pieces of timber propped up, (unable to stand on their own),” Koran 63:1-8. When a prophet of such stature as Mohammad speaks against moderation, and the Koran – a perfect copy of a book owned by Allah Himself – warns against watering down its teachings, it makes it impossible to find room within its suras for an interpretation of the religion that disregards its violent teachings and intolerance.

Mohammad witnessed how apostasy and heresy weakened other religions: the Arabian peninsula was full of Christian and Jewish sects that deviated from the dogma preached in Jerusalem, Constantinople and Rome. He therefore made it a point for Islam and the word of Allah to be taken literally; there was little room for interpretation – and that fundamentalism carried throughout out the Koran, the Hadith and other Islamic texts.

In so doing he prevents any interpretation of Islam that would allow Islam to compromise with other faiths or for Islam to experience a reformation along the lines that Christianity did beginning six hundred years ago. While Christ may have stopped the stoning of an adulterous woman by crying “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” (John 8:2-11), Mohammad had no such compunction. When a couple were accused of adultery, Mohammad ordered the couple stoned to death. A witness reported “I saw the man leaning over the woman to shelter her from the stones.”

Mohammad built his ideology for the Ages, and after 1300 years, no religion has stayed closer to its founder’s beliefs than Islam. It is that success that allows us to judge his ideology by modern standards because the Islam that Mohammad created carries the 7th century’s attitudes and morality unadulterated into the modern era. By those standards Islam cannot coexist with Christianity or Judaism: it views the former as lied to by its founders, and the latter filth for having rejected Allah’s teachings. It cannot accept democracy when the Koran speaks of nothing but Allah’s will and law. It will not tolerate the equality of women when they are viewed in the Koran as those who corrupt the pious, nor will homosexuality be allowed to exist except under a hail of stones.

National Review editor Rich Lowry once wrote that although Islam is a religion of peace “seems a polite fiction, it is an important one. Influential Muslims believe it to be true, and it is crucial that they prevail in the Muslim struggle for self-definition.” But it is a fiction, and finding a solution to integrating the modern world with Islam requires that we understand the facts no matter how inconvenient or down-right painful they may be.

UPDATE: Here is an attempt by CAIR to embarrass Lt. Col Rep. Allen West in public. As Joshuapundit writes:

This Muslim Brotherhood shill confronted Congressman West and asked him to point out where in the Qu’ran it gives orders to Muslims “to carry out attacks against Americans and innocent people.”

After pointing out that the Koran was written long before America even existed, West cited chapter and Surah from the Qu’ran and then proceeding to list a whole catalog of Muslims acts carrying out exactly what it says in Suras 2-9…where it does indeed tell believers to kill and enslave infidels.

West then mentioned Fort Hood and his own battlefield experiences hearing our country’s enemies yelling ‘Allah Akbar!’ and told Hamze not to “try to blow sunshine up my butt.”

When Hamze played the Islamophobia card, West trumped him by reminding Hamze that he had put his life on the line on the battle field to liberate Muslims.

Lesson? Don’t mess with Lt. Col. Allen West.

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  1. Rob Miller:

    Great post Scott.

    I recommend you get into some of the various Hadiths if you haven’t already, which are essentially Mohammed’s deeds and saying according to his followers…sorta like the Gospels but with very different content.

  2. Watcher of Weasels » Watcher Council Submissions October 20, 2010:

    [...] The Razor – The Cold Comfort of Truth [...]

  3. Bookworm Room » Watcher’s Council submissions for 10/20/2010:

    [...] The Razor – The Cold Comfort of Truth [...]

  4. Watcher of Weasels » The Council has Spoken 102210:

    [...] album the Cold Hart Truth. The title reminded me of this week’s winning council entry  The Cold Comfort of Truth by The Razor. The Razor’s studied Islam and concludes: Mohammad built his ideology for the [...]

  5. John Burgess:

    There’s a problem with your analysis. It assumes, incorrectly, that practicing Muslims treat every word of the Quran—or hadith—as inviolable. Sure, that’s what they might say, if pressed, but that is not what they practice. Today’s Jews do not follow the laws laid down in Deuteronomy or Leviticus robotically. Most Christians do not follow 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 in their view of gays—though some assuredly do. Many Christians do not find biblical support for the use of contraception—the Catholic Church abjures it—but for some reason, a large percentage of Catholics and other Christians don’t seem to have a problem with it.

    Followers of older religions seem to have a way of picking and choosing among the scriptural edicts. This is true for Muslims as much as Christians or Jews or Hindus or just about anyone else.

    A further issue is that there is no single ‘Islam’, although many pretend otherwise. Not only are there the two main sects—Sunni and Shi’a—but various schools within them. And that doesn’t even get to the heterodox versions that consider themselves Muslim, though other Muslims do not: Druze, Alawi, Alevis, Zaydi, Nusayris, Ahmadis, etc. Nor does it address the various Sufi brotherhoods, both Sunni and Shi’a.

    There certainly are strains of Islam that focus on violence and religious war. Those strains are not the dominant ones, generally speaking, but they are awfully useful to politicians who need to buff their street cred or win an election.

  6. Bookworm Room » Watcher’s Council Winners for 10/22/10:

    [...] going to go further.  If you haven’t read the Council winner — The Razor’s The Cold Comfort of Truth — drop everything you’re doing right now and go and read it.  It’s [...]

  7. Watchers Council – Literal Provocations | Mere Rhetoric:

    [...] see again in the near-term – which probably explains the scattershot vote totals. There was a clear top post from The Razor on the militaristic undertones of the Koran, which intersect in nasty ways with [...]

  8. MacG:

    “A further issue is that there is no single ‘Islam’, although many pretend otherwise.”

    I think this was heart of the Whoopi/O’Riley kerffule. It is mostly the Wahabbi sect that is causing the terrorism as I understand it.

    See “How Islam Plans to Change the World”

  9. Dave:

    You are making an error. It is well intentioned, but still an error. There is no “single” Islam, yes, but there is an agreement that there is one Quran. You rightly state that “most Christians” do not follow the Old Testament concerning sodomy; further, you would be right in stating that stoning for these offenses is not tolerated here. YOU ARE WRONG BECAUSE IN PLACES OF ISLAMIC DOMINANCE THESE OFFENSES ARE PUNISHED IN THAT WAY! I disapprove of homosexuality because of the promiscuous culture that pervades that community. I find your commentary to be myoptic – you are defending a common core of the faith held in most of the nations with majority Islamic populations. Iran is predominately Shia; Saudi Arabia is predominantly Sunni. Both kill people for following the wrong faith, for adultery (if female) and for homosexuality. Sorry, that is the point of this article. While the small details change, you are effectively saying that the gun pointed at you has a browned barrel instead of a blued one, so the fact it is being shot at people is irrelevant.
    You, my dear “useful idiot”, have tried to put contraception in the same basket as religiously mandated murder. You deserve more scorn than I can spare. Apologist – no, rather, let’s call you what you are: a collaborator. You are one that would have hidden in your apartment upstairs while they rounded up the untermenschen. Coward, cretin, intellectual fraud, and subversive.
    There, I’ve vented my spleen at the idiot.
    I work with and admire many Muslims; even those I share an office with quietly wish someone would reform the system. Two of them can never go home again – they worked for the Americans and their own governments – which means they have a death penalty from the “faithful”.
    Islam must change – must BE changed – and people like John Burgess are the reason people like my friends will never be able to go home.

    SSG Dave
    “All good men need do for evil to triumph is … nothing.”

  10. Josh:

    I have to admit, after reading the article, as well as SSG Dave and John Burgess’ posts, I have to agree with Dave.
    Although his rebuttal was a bit…harsh. He is correct, given everything I could find on the topics at hand.
    Also thanks Scott for another in depth, no bullshit post. I’m sure I’m not the only one closely following your works.

    (who says a seventeen year old can’t be mature?)

  11. Scott Kirwin:

    Keep an open mind – but never too open. It’s okay to change your mind but do so only after you have thought it through yourself.

  12. The Razor » Blog Archive » Calling Out Attorney General Eric Holder:

    [...] In addition we would not support black people in power like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Congressman Allen West, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and former presidential contender Herman [...]

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