How Martin Luther Unleashed the Beast of Anti-Semitism

Pre-announcement for new book by A.J. Deus:

The German Martin Luther was the founder of the Protestant Church. He wanted the Jews gone.

In his time, the interactions between leaders of Jews, Christians, and Muslims fueled a march toward a religious world war. The promise of all organized Judaic religions was to eradicate false Truths and to establish a world ruler.

Focusing on the religious leadership, the book presents astonishing discoveries from primary evidence that has never before been placed in its historical context. The insanities of all contestants led toward the total destruction of Europe and the Middle East. The Rabbinic leadership set out to forge the unlikeliest alliances to reach the grand goal of dominance, helped finance the war efforts, and promised support with troops – on all sides.

This story unveils the origins of Martin Luther’s as well as Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitism in frightening clarity.

With different actors, we relive this story today.

The new book is scheduled to be published in October or November 2018. Its title will be made public later.

September 28, 2018, A.J. Deus

For academics: The consequences of Luther’s presence were not only devastating for humanity during the next five centuries, they also have profound ramifications for our understanding of deep history, in particular of early Islam.

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Paris Terror: Homegrown Boredom? A.J. Deus, November 22, 2015

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the French born organizer behind the Paris terrorist attacks on the fateful November evening, Friday the thirteenth, 2015, was not interested in Islam. He had grown up in a fairly privileged Moroccan Muslim family in Belgium and did not even go to the mosque, according to his sister. His father was a store owner, and Abdelhamid attended Collège Saint-Pierre d’Uccle, an exclusive Catholic school, for one year. The story of Abdelhamid, who has been killed during a Police raid, begs to ask a different set of questions, which seek resolution outside of the reactionary bombing of ISIS.
According to an unusually insightful investigation by the New York Times journalist Andrew Higgins, Abdelhamid had dropped out of the Catholic school. He went on to engage in petty crime with a couple of shady friends. In 2010, at the age of twenty-three, he was imprisoned. He had never shown any religious zeal. Yet, two of his friends are suspected as having been part of the Paris attacks. Many parents can recognize a dangerous pattern: like so many kids, Abdelhamid must have been bored out of his mind in pursuit of instant gratification. A dumb youth that has outgrown his lack of education in search for something more exciting than flipping burgers at McDonald’s for little reward. Yet, even this job opportunity was out of his reach since his town is plagued with 40% youth unemployment. What we have here is not a ‘Muslim’ but a lowly thrill seeker, an adventurist that was attracted by the excitement of off-road pickup trucks thundering through the desert, ridiculous, video-game style masquerade, and gun-slinging in the pursuit of bonus points through body count, shown off on Youtube. Christian and Jewish parents might like to pay close attention that the youths are increasingly marching on both sides of the war game and that the threshold to violence has been lowered dramatically over the last decade. What now fascinates some outcasts may soon turn into a hip way to gain real world experience.
So, just how did Abdelhamid get to become suspected of having made a comet-like career to being the leader of Katibat al-Battar al Libi, a Libyan branch of ISIS? There are three factors that seem to have put the French man onto the wrong trajectory.
One of it are his friends, a collection of low lives more interested in petty crime and drugs than in world politics or religion. The path is always the same: they hang out, and one gets caught for a first crime. At home, the sales pitch comes in tears, but in the gang, it is turned into a matter of pride. How cool is it to spend the night with the bad boys? One dare leads to another until they are fully professionalized in scamming the system and live life in the shadows. This is where their purpose ends.
The Mayor of Melenbeek, Ms. Schepmans, recognized correctly that all these people could just as easily have tumbled into criminality instead of jihadism since social networks are forged on the street (Nytimes January 24, 2015).
The second factor is his unfortunate birth place. The Belgian municipality of Molenbeek is a magnet for migrants from Turkey and Morocco and hosts a very large Muslim community, among them many members of the radical Salafi/Wahhabism movement. Molenbeek is a suspected hotbed of Belgian extremists that left for Syria. The community is linked to at least four terrorist attacks in the last four years, including the shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium and the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine. The terrorist organization Sharia4Belgium is also linked to this place and so are the train bombings in Madrid. Religious terrorism appears to develop a nasty habit to form clusters, which hopefully exposes them to easier detection if only they were not protected by a veil of silence from their less radical peers.
Unfortunately for the Abaaoud family, Abdelhamid also recruited his younger brother to Syria, which indicates that not all was well in their upbringing’s mindset. Sometimes, children stubbornly reject the efforts of critical thinking. Yet, the pull of Molenbeek might have been stronger than moderation at home. The link to the Libyan organization appears to be linguistic and cultural – the path of least resistance for a lazy, good-for-nothing kind of a guy.
Despite his relatively privileged upbringing, here we have this looser that has nowhere to go but engage in a lifestyle that centers on the streets and prison. This is the third factor, the school where they learn new skills and acquire a new set of friends from the most extreme fringes of society. The mayor’s office in Molenbeek says that Abdelhamid was radicalized in the prison at Saint Gilles. Indeed, Arab looking inmates are treated with contempt by their western peers. As they are isolated, they flock together. Our prisons act as breeding grounds for heavy guys and extremists.
Hasna Aitboulahcen, the French born woman that seems to have sheltered the Paris terrorist team, has a similar background as Abdelhamid, removed from what would be expected from a goody-goody Muslim daughter. What unites the two cousins is a drift into drugs, sex, and small crime that got them to acquire dangerous friends, here strengthened through family ties. Given that her upbringing appears to have been troubled, according to the investigation of the New York Times, she must have been a particularly easy target. The journalist Katrin Bennhold wrote that her ‘parents split up early, and all four siblings are believed to have spent some time in foster care. In 2006, the family moved into a social housing project.’ Yet, the girl showed little interest in Islam – until she started to veil herself last year. Like her, countless boys and girls of any color and ethnicity go down the same, self-defeating path to oblivion.
To make it absolutely clear, here at Hastings Street in Vancouver, I would have no problems to recruit 50 white Christian soldiers within less than 48 hours for any holy war, even jihad, at the low-low discount price of an airline ticket. They would not even have to have looked at a Bible – ever. Most of them do anything for the next rush.
In other words, Abdelhamid, Hasna, and the thousands of others would have never made it to Syria without a silent, helping hand that offered them exactly the product that they have been waiting for: a cause.
And there is the fourth and critical factor. Somehow, he has been recruited to Syria in 2014, a call he followed with hundreds of others. Obviously, this is a large scale effort that is well organized, but the opportunity for this guy was unimaginable. Until this point, Abdelhamid could not care less about the blood of the Muslims that had flown all his life. But in a video, he all of a sudden surfaced as an avenger of Islam.  Since the doctrines of Salafi/Wahhabism require very little intellectual effort, they come in handy for a total makeover and are easy to learn: Jihad against a clearly defined enemy at home. The enemy was now victimized for the irresponsible choices of his past.
Sharia4Belgium appears to be the number one recruiting agency for youths heading for Syria. How exactly Abdelhamid had been drafted is still unknown, but with the sheer army of jihadists from Molenbeek alone, the smoke is clearly coming out of the mosques (even though extremists tend to meet in private homes). Jihadists appear to prefer the closed communities of smaller mosques while the more moderate flavors of Islam seem to flock to the large ones.
After countless opportunities to engineer a lasting peace for the Middle East, the options to contain ISIS have long narrowed to one of violent annihilation. There is no choice today but to utterly destroy this evil disease with force. However, we must weed out the problem at its root. Kids and youths cannot be prevented from choosing criminal careers. However, while religious freedom of the individual must be upheld, a global effort is needed to limit and regulate religious organizations in order to disrupt their recruitment channels. The core of the matter is that the mosques, synagogues, and churches of those that are linked to terrorist attacks, to terrorism in general, to other criminal behavior (such as shielding pedophiles), or to fundamental ideologies need to be closed and their organizations must be prohibited for endangering mankind, starting with all mosques that are linked to Salafi/Wahhabism movements. Any preacher who uses inflammatory doctrines directly or indirectly through scriptural symbolism or who advocates the implementation of religious law must be expulsed by the more moderate congregations of believers in order not to face closure and prohibition. Individuals that are being part of a radical religious organization and those that protect them need to be criminalized. Places of worship with any number of radical members must be closed, perhaps even torn down in order to make the consequences of such intolerable behavior absolutely clear. Any direct or indirect theocracy must be politically and economically isolated and banned. These kinds of scripturally inspired nations have nothing other in mind than to rule the world with their pathetic ideologies.
A look into the last two thousand five hundred years makes it abundantly clear that the menace returns perpetually with the same destructive ideas of Antiquity. Judaism has brought forth an almost uninterrupted string of new messiahs to reconquer the Promised Land with the common end (and even the goal) of mutual self-destruction; the church has been the world’s deadliest persecutor for over 1000 years of its history, culminating in a century of wars between Protestants and Catholics, leading to the very foundation of the United States of America with its religious freedoms; Islam never stopped being suicidal since Muhammad had set foot unto this planet. Because they all work toward an apocalypse that terminates the unbelievers – Judgement Day – these stubborn truths endanger all of mankind. They constitute the single biggest threat to humanity and prevent us from solving the real problems of our planet. Their grand speeches of ‘peace’ include the like-minded only. All others can go to (their) hell. The failure of past generations to regulate and contain religion is haunting the world today.
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The Pope and a Numbers‘ Game of Refugees (A.J. Deus, October 8, 2015)

My father-in-law is an Afghani Shi’ite who fled with his family from Bulgaria after the Wall was brought down. Even though he is now a Canadian citizen, he is proud of his birth country’s naturally organic fruit, morality of its people with their pious lifestyle. He sentimentally dismisses much of the country’s sheer poverty, lack of safety, and the fact that women rank after men, children, and donkeys. Beating women and donkeys is part of routine in that corner of the world. When I see photographs of my father-in-law’s segregated wedding ceremony and of the dusty, garbage laden streets of Kabul, I instinctively know that I would not dare to raise my family in that God forsaken place, in particularly not girls. I would perhaps take the first opportunity to pack up and leave for a better world, even at great risk to my family’s life. I have been immersed in some of the poorest places of this planet and can appreciate the privilege that my home in Vancouver provides. To be in these disaster stricken areas by choice and to having been born there are two entirely different spheres. The fact alone that I am typing this renders me as one with the world’s elite.
The Middle East has been in endless religious wars since before I was born. During the preceding 2000 years, the world was in flames almost perpetually over religious dogma of one flavor or another. A lot has been repositioned in history books in the pursuit of the one true religion, but since I have studied the civilizations for the last two decades and since my expertise lies in the economics of religion and religious fraud, I dare to make a case that ‘Jews against Jews’, ‘Christians against Christians’ or ‘Muslims against Muslims’ have been the strongest foundations for violence ever since their inception.
Despite this, I admire Pope Francis but perhaps for different reasons than most. I have studied all the popes, patriarchs, major imams, and antipopes, those that existed as well as those that were fathered by the divinely inspired. To bring it to the point: the pope is the CEO of the Catholic Church, one of the world’s largest organizations. Unlike any other before him, he seizes the Zeitgeist and emerges as the moral apostle for the disadvantaged and the environment, as if the world’s community had not already achieved leaps for environmental and humanitarian protections during the decades since the Second World War. Few can argue with his issues, because he speaks out with his authoritarian position what many have already been thinking for a long time.
But let us be frank: why should anyone listen to Pope Francis? People of reason do because listening to religious opinions is part of learning and respectful behavior. But instead of politically correct applause, Pope Francis deserves to be rebuked until such time that he indeed addresses the problems of the church with systemic pedophilia, demonstrates that the church actively engages in changing its environmental footprint, opens the world’s heritage in the secret Vatican archives for all to access, resolves its financial scandals, stops its unbearable discrimination of homosexuals, women, or female priests, abandons its meddling in individuals’ decisions about abortion, and does actually something – anything – in regard to the ongoing refugee crisis other than engaging in ‘idle chatter’, to use the pope’s own words. The church has inflicted upon humanity the unprecedented sufferings of the Middle Ages, has sanctioned enslavement of those that did not believe, carried out the deadly Inquisition, advocated centuries of thought control in favor of superstition, has upheld hatred against homosexuals for eons, and constitutes the main cause of missing 700 years of scientific and economic evolution in our civilizations with damages in the amount of giga-trillions of dollars in today’s values. This is nothing other than organized crime. Yet, the religious institution continues to enjoy freedom from taxation. Instead, it should have long been shut down and its property seized for reparations. Now, the pope advocates again ‘control’ of science and technology under the patronage of all – meaning first and foremost his. It appears paradoxical that the slayers of civilization now aspire to pose as the healers. Why should we trust his balming words?
I have never seen anyone so eager to put ‘humbleness’ into everyone’s face. He carries his own black bag, is driven in a small Fiat, and fools the press into reporting on the carefully orchestrated symbolism. Last year, the pope uttered the words ‘mi vergogno’ (I am ashamed) about the tragedies of the drowned in Lampedusa, Italy. He touts living in the guest house rather than in the papal palace. Yet, the vacant building has not been opened to house refugees, has it? In fact, the Vatican State has not accommodated 1,000 refugees, not 100, not 10, and not 1. No, it has taken in 0 – zero.
Thus, I admire the pope for his marketing skills to reposition the church by simply refocusing discussions away from problems to popular issues that occupy the minds of ordinary people, Jews, Christians, Muslims, adherents to other religions or non-believers alike – including mine. He evades the discussions about all sorts of scandals and whatever else may have caused a frightening drop in the Catholic membership. After all, he was hired to fight the slide, and Francis is doing a fabulous job at that. He is perhaps the most outstanding turn-around manager of all times. To be clear, when he says that those that had committed terrible abuse would be held accountable, he means through the process of church law. Not a single pastoral sex-offender will be voluntarily turned over to the national authorities or find its way into the offender registry. When he exclaims ‘who am I to judge’, he means that his god has already judged. Since the church will never open its doors to homosexuals, celebrations appear premature, or perhaps immature. The papal action to meet with the infamous Kentucky clerk who denied marriage licenses to same sex couples speaks louder than a thousand speeches. While the pope’s intellect is extraordinary, his actions are predictable by those that are familiar with church history and church doctrine.
In the end, words remain words, whether they come from an inspiring Obama or from a humble Francis. Actions speak louder, and this is where the world’s citizens will once again become victims of disappointed hopes.
Putting this in perspective with the current refugee crisis where hundreds of thousands are on the move from the Middle East and Africa (and from South and Middle America), the record of actions is shameful. Other than ongoing conflicts, part of this massive onslaught may be caused by systemic environmental issues; but that seems too easy an answer since these issues are not new. The real change comes from the way we communicate, providing individuals with information about how to escape their miserable circumstances in search for a better life. Without such mobile communication technology, most would perhaps stay put and wait it out in the hopes that their loved ones would not be massacred by the invading Sunni caliphate that dreams of capturing Rome (i.e. the Vatican). Thus, we live in a vastly different world from just a decade ago that reshapes itself along unexpected and uncontrollable ways, continuously surprising those that are supposed to know better and be in charge. Aside from the waves of refugees itself, one of those surprises is how we handle these migrants. In the eastern European countries and in the United States, the favoured approach appears to be to build giant walls that keep the ‘intruders’ out. Others, Germany, for example, steam ahead with pledging to take on one million of those in flight. While some are afraid of their country being subverted, others see in this an opportunity for global cooperation and a new foundation to peace by actually living together instead of remaining segregated in religiously inspired quarters of this planet. Since closed communities provide for membership income, this will remain a pipe dream as long as religious organizations exist. It is in their hypocritical interest to talk about peace among themselves while keeping their flock separate from the influence of demons, i.e. other sects.
But where is the braking point for welcoming the fleeing? Jordan and Lebanon each host roughly 2 million refugees. This amounts to almost 15% of their overall population. While they are not role models for freedom, peace, and prosperity, they contrast their Israeli neighbour: Netanyahu has touted to having taken 1,000 refugees, a generously rounded number deriving from wounded war prisoners. Real refugees? Zero. Indeed, Israel claims that it cannot take on more since its Jewish demographics would be endangered. This reminds us of the ‘Boat is Full’ policy of the Swiss authorities during the Second World War when persecuted Jews were turned away at the closed borders while their gold kept on flowing in. I am not holding my breath for the Swiss to open their gates today other than to the banks.
Mi vergogno! I am ashamed for humanity to tolerate this behavior any longer. It amounts to nothing else but hatred of all of mankind. From the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, we learn that saving one life is like saving all of humanity and Muslims proudly misquote it from the Koran as evidence for their mission of peace. Yet, the common denominator of the two zeroes is that the Vatican State and Israel are both theocracies (even though the JEWISH state is in denial of the obvious).
Americans, instead, have offered to resettle an extra 10,000 refugees next year, perhaps hoping that the crisis is over by the time that this gesture comes into effect. However, the proposed ratio to the population is worse than Israel’s grandstanding. Compared to Germany, the United States could take on 4 million and Canada could absorb another half million without significant economic negative impacts, if any. In comparison to Jordan or Lebanon, that number would exceed a combined 50 million. Instead, ordinary people seem to understand that we do ‘something’ about it, at last, but they do not seem to see through the lip-service and hidden agendas of politico-preachers who live off division and fear.
It is hilarious that The Donald trumps Hillary by touting to build higher walls and to focus on the problems at home. While promising to sack their oil, the crisis of the Middle East is not of Trump’s concern. That the war on terror ‘destabilized’ the entire region (from their self-proclaimed monarchs) is not in his vocabulary. I am ashamed, and there is little hope that anything is ever going to change since the talkers continue to hold the microphones. Meanwhile, the dishonourable management of the crisis will lead to an escalation of the ongoing war between civilizations with more blood and tsunamis of the displaced. This era will go into the history books as the third of the great world wars, all three of which were initiated within a single century. Yet, at this point, humanity perhaps has no choice but to engage militarily in order to exterminate religious extremism (until its inevitable return) and to resettle some of the refugees in their former homes. It is needless to say that such an endeavour will lead to collateral damage where the uncomfortable is terminated in the name of a war on terrorism. Since Putin has become a more willing collaborator with Assad, the politics have just become more complicated.
It seems abundantly evident that religious organizations are at the heart of the crisis that humanity is going through. Of course, there are other causes that lay in the character of humanity, but the Catholic Church is among the first of the historic and contemporary offenders. Even ten Jesuit popes will not change the nature of this disease. Instead of being infiltrated with yet another hidden agenda, the discussion should perhaps refocus on the root: regulation, taxation, and perhaps abolishment of religious organizations, global prohibition of theocracies, as well as criminalization of religious teachings to minors while retaining full religious freedom for the individual. If anything, this would appease the Middle East a couple of generations down the road and address the refugee crisis at its very seed.
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Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ – A Response by A.J. Deus

July 4, 2015, Independence Day

You can download the free booklet at www.ajdeus.org/LAUDATO_SI/488

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Steering the Catholic Church away from financial and pedophile scandals and refocusing on the poor has catapulted Pope Francis to astonishing popularity. What is there not to like? This man deserves respect by all of humanity.

In my books about the social economics of religion, I pointed at the power of religious organizations for positive change if they were only to refocus their messages on real issues. Now Pope Francis stepped out of the comfort zone of the Catholic Church in order to promote environmental issues. While this should be welcomed, caution is justified, for the speaker crosses from his closed religious sect into the world’s community. Understandably, he wants to be a participant in the issues that matter most today.

While the pope’s positive message renders rational criticism delicate, he packs it with a call to economic passivism and the abolishment of individualism, which is nothing less than an invitation to humanitarian disaster and more systemic poverty.

The pope is the CEO of the world’s largest religious business. Like any other large organization that finds itself in crisis, Francis is attempting a turnaround of the decline in paying membership. For this, he has chosen to refocus the dialogue away from scandals to a popular message of environmentalism. Despite the landslide away from religiosity, he might as well become successful.

From a perspective of an economist that specializes on poverty and religious organizations, the Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis represents an emotional appeal to help the poor through taking care of the environment. In reality, it invites systemic poverty, a background that fosters religiosity. Behind the message of ‘love,’ particularly directed at gullible young minds, hides a mindset that despises the progress that came about through individualism and technological advancements. He also opposes the freedom for individuals to decide for themselves what joy in life means to them.

The pope proposes limits to growth by the wealthy, reduction of consumption by the masses, and a new kind of inquisition that approves of technological and social progress.

He believes that imposing limitations would help both the environment and the poor. He overlooks that it is exactly the growth of the industrialized nations that enabled a drastic reduction of extreme poverty in many poor nations.

The fallout in Greece should be a warning for those that attempt to heal economies or the planet with austerity. Likewise, he appears to miss that taking care of the environment happens to be an unintended consequence of advanced and wealthy societies that also show low levels of religiosity. Rich nations can afford to shoulder the cost from their new lifestyle of changing polluting habits.

His proposed distributive environmental care clashes with the experience of the last decades of having created a global network of welfare entitlement. Instead of enabling more poor nations to join the global economic community, his recipe would create increased competitive disad-vantages for those most in need.

The message that humanity can no longer plunder its planet strikes a popular note. However, that topics are being politicized is not only a clear sign that they have already crossed the threshold of popularity but also that change has long been on its way. When the church joins, we know that a concern is already so deeply embedded in culture that opponents are ridiculed. Even Cuba’s Communist revolutionary Fidel Castro rec-ognized the threat to the planet by ecological destruction 25 years before Pope Francis focused on environmental issues with his LAUDATO SI’.

The pope not only jumps onto the environmental bandwagon very late but also with a hidden agenda that becomes apparent when examining his social prescriptions. He does not so out of genuine care for earth but in the interest of getting his organization’s message through to his target groups. It is world class marketing at its finest.

However, he seems to have neglected to swearing-in his lower ranks out in the field. Sunday masses were largely absent of a message that the clergy is entirely unaccustomed with.

This is not to say that the global environment should be deprived of protection or the poor should be disregarded. Quite the contrary. However, the pope’s message helps to induce a hatred of mankind against everyone that does not share the same religious world-view. At the same time, the most stubborn deniers of climate change and thus the hardest roadblocks for change come from the religious camp.

The positive in the pope’s approach is that he lifts protecting the environment to a moral issue and connects it with their impact on the poor; the negative is that he combines it with his religious mission that includes the glorification of poverty and the abandonment of individualism.

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The Missing Historicity of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad

A new working paper about the historicity of Prophet Muhammad and the Koran as well as the Prophet’s possible relationship with the Umayyad Dynasty has been released. The new hypothesis is that Prophet Muhammad did not appear in the primary evidence until after 631 AD. He is connected to a sermon based on Mosaic Law that cannot be identified in the Koran. His first and isolated sign of having passed away appears in 691 AD in Egypt. No evidence exists of a prophet Muhammad that died in 632 AD.

In the 680s, the ‘adversaries’ of the Byzantine Orthodox Church were viewed as a like-Arian form of Judaic thought that reintroduced Jewish Messiahnism. The Byzantines neither recognized Muhammad nor Islam.

The earlier Saracen and Ishmaelite incursions must have been unaware of Islam and the Koran. It appears that the Jews from Edessa carried the seed (Sebeos), and the Tayyi’ represent the sprout of what eventually evolved into Muhammadeans. Their goal seems to have been to occupy Jerusalem, as was of other groups, certainly also in the first wave of attacks. However, the temple building activities in Jerusalem were attributed first to Saracens from the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region, or in Sebeos to Jews who were driven away by the Ishmaelites. The next temple that went up was in Fusted under Amr, but from Mecca there was no sign of activity.

The traditional narratives might contain several parallel “histories” and perhaps more than one Muhammad or a chain of Muhammads.

You can download the working paper for free at
http://ajdeus.org/Muhammad_and_the_Umayyads/489

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ISIS is not Islam – Really?

The feelings of mainstream Muslims and of political leaders across the world that ISIS is not Islam are understandable. In a world of conflict, it is impossible to fathom that the ISIS Jihadists murdering innocent people would represent any form of Muslim beliefs. Since the world is longing for peace and prosperity and militant minorities are shaking up the order, it appears difficult to distinguish between the religious message and the feelings in the hearts of the people. Moreover, it might be unfair to single out Islam for fact checking while other religions and their sects get away without further scrutiny.

To be as short as possible: Islam is Jihad.

One of the central ideas of the Koran is that Jesus, the founder of Western Christianity, cannot be a divinity in any form or shape[i] and cannot have resurrected after the Crucifixion. While the Koran accepts Jesus as the Messiah, it fundamentally rejects Jesus as a god, in particular as part of the Trinity, denies the Crucifixion, and opposes his Resurrection. In its mission, the Koran singles out two main enemies: the Jews and the Western Christians, more specifically those of the original Greek Orthodox Christianity and its later off-shoots (former Byzantine Christianity).

Quite clearly, the Koran seems geared against the Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – and the Jewish sects that refused to play along at a time of grave religious turmoil during the seventh century.

“And when the sacred months are passed, kill those who join other gods with God wherever you shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them with every kind of ambush: but if they shall convert, and observe prayer, and pay the obligatory alms, then let them go their way […]” [ii]

 

Obviously, the text suggests an ethnic cleansing not unlike what ISIS represents today. Jihad is a holy war against those that join other gods with the single Judaic master god. The Trinitarian Christians, i.e. modern Western Christianity of Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant flavors, are reasoned to be such, because joining Jesus to a Trinity of divinities is Muslim anathema. It is a war in a ‘just cause’ after centuries of bloodshed and oppression.

As if killing Pagans is preferable over beheading Jews and Christians, many modern Muslims claim that this is out of context, refers to polytheists. They say that Islam is a religion of peace. Clearly, the Koran suggests a strategy of conquest and conversion, and it looks at Trinitarians quite logically as joining multiple gods together.[iii] Except for one that is creatively misinterpreted, there is not a single entry in the Koran that suggests peace other than among their own.

“Muhammad is the Messenger of God, and those who are with him are hard against the unbelievers, merciful one to another. […]” [iv]

 

This, of course, needs to be extended to all Judaic sectarian creeds. Those even superficially familiar with the religious histories of the past 2,000 years know that there is no foundation to a religion of peace. Christians only need to consult the book of Revelation in order to get a good overview of religious insanity. The bloodshed over doctrinal superiority has been without end for the past 1,700 years. At the time of the composition of the Koran in the seventh century, the Arab nations from Yemen to modern Iraq had long converted to various forms of Christianity, including forms that did not believe in Jesus’s divinity. The polytheist Pagans had long gone by then. Like today with ISIS, the motto of the Koran’s authors was ‘convert or die.’

“[…] God is free from any engagement with the votaries of other gods with God as is His Apostle! If, therefore, ye turn to God it will be better for you; but if ye turn back, then know that ye shall not weaken God: and to those who believe not, announce thou a grievous punishment.” [v]

 

The ‘punishment’ is typically understood as Hell, but in the real world of ISIS and Islam – or the Taliban and al-Qaeda – it means death by whichever form gets the best media exposure. Not much imagination is needed to figure out that these religious writings and their teachers rape the minds of children – regardless of wishful moderation.

“They who believe, fight on the path of God; and they who believe not, fight on the path of Thagout: Fight therefore against the friends of Satan. Verily the craft of Satan shall be powerless!” [vi]

 

Instead of a message of peace, what emerges is rather an open call to pick up the fight against those that do not accept Islam. The Koran even provides behavioral instructions in Jihad.

“O believers, when you encounter the unbelievers marching to battle, turn not your backs to them. Whoso turns his back that day to them, unless withdrawing to fight again or removing to join another host, he is laden with the burden of God’s anger, and his refuge is Gehenna [Hell] — an evil homecoming! You did not slay them, but God slew them; and when thou threwest, it was not thyself that threw, but God threw, and that He might confer on the believers a fair benefit.” [vii]

 

Modern scholars interpret the preceding passage as expressly commanding the military Jihad. It provides the foundation of the Jihadists in the Islamic State, for al-Qaeda, and others, including Hezbollah or the Taliban. In Palestine, the argument goes along the line that the sheer existence of Israel wrongs the Palestinian people and threatens other Muslim nations. Hence, ISIS is perhaps using the holy text as a counter-part to the ‘Just War’ doctrines of the West. To be sure, believers were to engage in a holy war if called upon – as Caliph Ibrahim of ISIS does. Upon the call to Jihad, the believers are to follow blindly to their death and undeterred from opposing calls by competing imams.

The believers received an advance pardon, and cowardice was to be paid for with hell. As a reward, the fallen achieved the glory of martyrdom — a shortcut to paradise.

“If you are slain or die in God’s way, forgiveness and mercy from God are a better thing than that you amass; surely if you die or are slain, it is unto God you shall be mustered.”[viii]

 

It is true that Muslims are not to be the aggressors[ix] and to accept ‘peace,’ if offered.[x] This peace is subject to the whim of Muslim leaders who would not accept compromises that could have diluted the message of an undivided god. Those that surrendered had to convert or pay heavy taxes.

Thus, that ISIS is not Islam is as patently false as the Western notion that Islam has become a synonym for modern terrorism. While the overwhelming majority of Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims are neither terrorists nor Jihadists, Ibrahim’s spokesman made it abundantly clear:

“The best thing you can do is to make an effort to kill any infidel, French, American or any of their allies.” He continued, “If you are not able to use an explosive charge or a bullet, then single out the American or French infidel or any of their allies and smash his head with a rock, slaughter him with a knife, run him over with a car, throw him from a high place, choke him or poison him.” [xi]

 

It cannot have escaped anyone that we are living through a full-on jihad, and perhaps those that deny that ISIS represents a doctrine of Islam do not seem to know the Koran well enough. This time, it is not by the order of a despot but by the prayer of a Sunni Muslim Imam. Next time, it is another mad man.

Muslims and religious apologists frequently quote a fragment from a dialogue that suggests that if you kill one person, it is as though you kill all of humanity. However, this is taken out of context. The fragment is embedded in the story of Cain who murdered his brother Abel. Believers consider that the brothers were the first humans born from the arch-couple Adam and Eve that had been created by the god of the Israelites. Hence, killing one of the two has deep implications for all of humanity. The fragment is then embedded in the following verse:

“For this cause have we ordained to the children of Israel that he who slayeth any one, unless it be a person guilty of manslaughter, or of spreading disorders in the land, shall be as though he had slain all mankind; but that he who saveth a life, shall be as though he had saved all mankind alive.” [xii]

 

It needs to be noted that the Koran here addresses the “children of Israel” rather than the Muslims – a detail that changes the meaning of the text dramatically. Immediately following the passage, the Koran sets out conditions and which exceptions are to be supported:

“Of old our Apostles came to them with the proofs of their mission; then verily after this most of them committed excesses in the land.
Only, the recompense of those who war against God and his Apostle, and go about to commit disorders on the earth, shall be that they shall be slain or crucified, or have their alternate hands and feet cut off, or be banished the land: This their disgrace in this world, and in the next a great torment shall be theirs –
Except those who, ere you have them in your power, shall repent; […]” [xiii]

 

In short, anyone who claims the passage to be a message of peace does not tell the full story. The Koran reveals that only those that repent get away with their lives, i.e. the converts. All others are considered to committing disorders by having distorted the message of the Torah and the Gospels, meaning Jews and Christians.

A misunderstanding might be suspected considering the vast body of Sharia traditions that sometimes conflict with the Koran. However, in Jihad, Sharia Law and the Koran speak one language: believing Muslims follow the Imam’s call to Jihad. The question to be sorted out – and that is the good news – is who should have the right to be the leader over all the Muslims. It remains the core reason for division and bloodshed between Shi’ites and Sunnis. Since it has never happened in the past, it is not likely that this will ever change; but if it does, then the rest of the world will have reasons to worry.

The great Sunni scholar Bukhari was the author of thousands of Hadiths (Sharia traditions). He highlighted how Jesus’s Second Coming was a common belief among Muslims and Christians.

“By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary [Jesus] will shortly descend amongst you people as a just ruler and will break the Cross [the Christians] and kill the pig [the Jews] and abolish the Jizya [the tax that was imposed on non-believers]. Then there will be abundance of money and no-body will accept charitable gifts.” [xiv]

 

As the Jews and the Christians, Muslims are waiting for the return of the Christ who would rule through a counter-caliph. Christians are familiar with the story from the book of Revelation,[xv] in which Jesus, the Messiah, would return soon. In plain words, they were waiting to overthrow those that venerated Jesus as a god on the cross and to cleanse their world of the Jews. It represents quite literally the goals of ISIS today.

The successive laws in the form of the prophet’s sayings delivered the intellectual foundation for the brutality that endures today with ISIS.

“The Jew brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from amongst them who have committed (adultery) illegal sexual intercourse. He ordered both of them to be stoned (to death), near the place of offering the funeral prayers beside the mosque.”” [xvi]

 

The Sunni Bukhari utilizes strong words against his foes:

“The Jews will fight with you, and you will be given victory over them so that a stone will say, “O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me; kill him!”” [xvii]

 

When the minds of children are exposed to such terrifying doctrines, one must not wonder why Muslims hate the Jews and why they collectively desire to get rid of Israel. Of course, the hatred is mutual to this day, and most live in denial that this has everything to do with religion and its teachings.

“Allah’s Apostle said, “When the Jews greet you, they usually say, ‘As-Samu alaikum (Death be on you)’, so you should say (in reply to them), ‘Wa’alaikum (And on you).’”” [xviii]

 

They are all in possession of divine mandates to kill each other. It continues today among Palestinians and Israelis, and it appears quite likely that ISIS, should they advance that far, will make true of the promise.

Given the difficult political circumstances of ISIS’s rise, Jihad is surprisingly straight forward and needs no additional clarification.

“The Prophet was asked, “Which is the best deed?” He said, “To believe in Allah and His Apostle.” He was then asked, “Which is the next (in goodness)?” He said, “To participate in Jihad in Allah’s Cause.” He was then asked, “Which is the next?” He said, “To perform Hajj-Mabrur.”” [xix]

 

Jihad is a fight in the cause of God. Martyrdom is upheld in highest regard, and terrorism is a tool of necessity and publicity. This approach of intimidation is well documented from Islam’s beginnings.

“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.” [xx]

 

When it comes to ISIS and their murderous practices, there is no room to declare them non-Muslims. Indeed, those that reject Jihad are probably the lesser Muslims than the Jihadists – certainly, they are less fundamental.

Thus, when modern Muslims reach out for peace, they are hopefully on their path to becoming less fundamental and more secularized – which we must embrace. As hard and embarrassing as it is: Sunni Muslims are following protocol with ISIS. Saying that ISIS does not represent Islam is like declaring the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh un-American.

 

 

[i]               For example Koran 5:19: Infidels now are they who say, “Verily God is the Messiah Ibn Maryam [Jesus, son of Mary]!”

[ii]               Koran 9:5.

[iii]              Compare again with footnote 1.

[iv]              Koran 48:30-48:32.

[v]               Koran 9:3.

[vi]              Koran 4:78.

[vii]                                                                                                                                                                  Koran 8:15-8:17.

[viii]             Koran 3:151.

[ix]              Koran 2:187.

[x]               Koran 8:63: And if they incline to peace, do thou incline to it.

[xi]              Ben Hubbard, Raids by ISIS Push Flood of Refugees Into Turkey, New York Times, September 22, 2014.

[xii]             Koran 5:32.

[xiii]             Koran 5:33-5:35.

[xiv]             Bukhari, ca. 864-870 AD (CMJE and the University of Southern California, 2007-2009) 3:34:425.

[xv]             Revelation 22:7.

[xvi]             Bukhari, ca. 864-870 AD (CMJE and the University of Southern California, 2007-2009) 2:23:413.

[xvii]            Bukhari, ca. 864-870 AD (CMJE and the University of Southern California, 2007-2009) 4:56:791.

[xviii]           Ibid., 8:74:274.

[xix]             Ibid., 2:26:594.

[xx]             Ibid., 4:52:72.

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ISIS and the Natural Order

One of the biggest opportunities in history to shape a lasting peace for the Middle East and to shape a positive legacy for Barak Obama’s presidency is being missed. So is the opportunity to re-establish America as the friend of all world’s nations.

Portraying ISIS as a reaction to liberalism, democracy, or the United States is an overstatement. Since the First World War, the world’s superpowers have tried to stem the natural order of the Middle East by imposing artificial border lines and supporting dictatorial minority regimes. If there will be no cooperative solution found among the nations, by the end of 2016, the Islamic State will have grown to include at least the majority Sunni territories of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen. Superpowers need to take the accusations of imperialism seriously and support the natural evolution of the Middle East with a patient, long term approach towards helping to modernize the Muslim world. More of the same will lead to more Muslims longing for the rewards of Paradise through martyrdom.

Most of the terrorist attacks since 2011 have occurred among Muslims who remain divided along sectarian lines, in particular Sunnis (ISIS, Hamas, Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda) against Shi’ites (Iran, Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah) and to a lesser degree against the Jewish state of Israel. The Sunni-Shi’ite divide predates democracy by 600 years and liberalism by 1200. There has been no extended time of peace in the Middle East since the birth of Islam without oppression of one group by another. In fact, a fusion of Sunnis and Shi’ites into one strong voice perhaps represents the worst case scenario in Jewish and Christian eyes. The hatred against the Jews is anchored in the Bible and is documented from the moment they appear in the historical record through to modernity.

The division between Sunnis and Shi’ites is believed to rest on a dispute over the succession of Prophet Muhammad, supposedly a rich merchant believed to be the author of the Koran and founder of Islam. Ever since, the children of both sects are raised to hate their brothers in faith. Most Muslims are unable to explain why they hate each other and the Jews. They just do by force of their religion. It needs to be understood and discussed in the open that ‘peace’ is a grandiose word in a religious context that includes only those that are of the same sect and thus of the same world view. Others are to be excluded, missionized upon, converted, or, in the worst of interpretations, terminated because of their differing beliefs. We can continue to pretend that religion has nothing to do with the turmoil in the region, but this is religion at it strongest, and it becomes ever more stubborn the more it is pressurized.

The lesson from the Arab Spring is that no matter what kind of government is in place in any of the Middle Eastern areas, it will be Muslim for the next generations, except for Israel, which will be of the Jewish religion for the foreseeable future. As elsewhere in the region, the tumults have nothing to do with the state’s shortcomings in providing services to its population. Since the religions in the area are not fractured enough, attempts to democracies in the Middle East will inevitably end in Muslim states, and despots will lead or oppress Muslim majorities. Since their common political identity is Islam, countries with majority sects are not ready for secular democratic processes. Their majorities neither understand nor wish to engage in Western style democracy.

The Arab Spring has highlighted what people do not want. However, no vision or unity emerged as to what the people actually wanted, and the Muslim Brotherhood stood out as an exception. Egypt has awoken from its euphoria of its liberation from Hosni Mubarak’s regime and finds itself ruptured by democratic secularization, Sunni religious fundamentalism, and a rule by the armed forces. It highlights the difficult choice between a theocracy and a military state. It also reminds moderns why our forefathers had imposed ruthless leaders. In contrast to the common people, heads of religions know exactly what they want, how they want it, and when they are ready to move, or when they need to engage in mass manipulations. In fact, religious organizations have parallel legal and governmental structures in place across the globe that can replace secular structures at a moment’s notice, and they are not subject to democratic processes. These leaders tread prudently when representing a minority but boldly when in charge. Bombing them prompts them to hunker down for prayers, only to mushroom fully radicalized when opportunity strikes.

The missteps of the American involvement might too easily distract from the natural forces at play: After the First World War, the Muslim Ottoman Empire was divided by the League of Nations, a forerunner of the United Nations. In the wake of the Second World War, Israel was established amidst a sea of hostile neighbours. By sheer ignorance of the realities of Islam nations, the United States had acted as the de facto protector of many authoritative regimes of the Muslim world and had provided training that today’s terrorists deploy across the world. For example, before Saddam Hussein was ousted, America sided with him; before President Obama hounded bin Laden through the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, his predecessors trained and supported him against the Russians until America lost the political will to do so. Since 2006, Iraq is led by a democratically elected Shi’ite coalition between the Islamic Dawa Party and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. While their proclamations may initially have been otherwise, they returned back to being oppressive toward minorities. A similar evolution could be witnessed in Egypt, where, out of the Muslims, the al-Qaeda terror organization was born. It advocated an aggressive jihad against the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak — heaved out of office by public uproar — which was viewed as conspiring with Israel and America, which supported him. It might thus falsely be claimed that the rise of ISIS is a direct consequence of American involvement in the Middle East.

In reality, a strong religious power struggle is at work: Neither Shi’ite nor Sunni layers of religious leaders can be content with being marginalized by either sectarian, secular, or oppressive politics. Hence, new blood rises with ambitions to overthrow an unjust, or worse, an unholy government. After mass arrests in 2013, Sunnis started to openly or quietly support the advance of the Islamic State, now encompassing more than a third of Iraq and parts of Syria roughly along the Euphrates and Tigris River. The aim of the Islamic State is in its name, and the civil war in Syria that has been fuelled by American, Israeli, Iranian, and Arab interests since 2011 is its midwife.

These new, most radical and ruthless elements, seem to spring from in between the divisions. Those are the ones with a good chance to end up ruling, since their brutality and focus as well as anti-Vatican and anti-American posturing helps them scoop up the disenfranchised across the planet. Further up north, in the triangle between Iraq, Turkey, and Syria, sit the Kurds with their own ambitions for a new nation that have been boiling for a century. They too realize their opportunity at hand with their southern parts weakening and falling into their hands almost without extra efforts. Israel’s hunger for more of the Promised Land (according to Genesis 15:18–21 and Joshua 13:2, this includes everything west of the Euphrates River down to the Sinai), cannot have escaped anyone.

The renaissance of Sunni and Shi’ite Islam in the last fifty years delivers a paradoxical sign of hope. In a series of events comparable to those found in the history of Christianity, the fundamental religious elements of Islam are fighting the secularization of their faith and their sectarian foes. The West can probably help this process by educating itself about Islam and by supporting reforming parties. However, a reformed Islam will not be one without Muslims, meaning that reform does not equal Christianization or secularization. In Muslim eyes, that would be a step backward.

The Muslim world is sorting out a larger conflict between the desire to democratize, the drive to establish ethnic nations, the force of ultraconservative Muslims, and the voiceless masses walking down the middle of the road. The Muslims will eventually but inevitably shift toward secularization and democracy in a lengthy and painful evolution. By carefully studying how the Catholic Church evolved through the ages, a lot can be learned about that process.

This boils down to the need for recognition that a strengthened Shi’ite Iran in between ISIS and Pakistan can hopefully prevent the creation of a nuclear Sunni superpower. A strong Kurdish state might stop its advancement north and possibly also its spread through Turkey and Greece. Strong North African nations, in particular Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, can perhaps prevent ISIS from aspiring for Spain or Italy. The creation of a two state solution with Palestine and Israel could defuse anger in this area, although Muslims would prefer the non-existence of the Jewish state. On the other hand, when ISIS will take control of a moderate Syria, it may face internal tensions to a point where the radical state has to significantly soften its approach. The reality of economic despair will contribute to this process. Bombing Libya, Syria, or Iraq only puts fire into the fuel of the radicals who will be able to enrage growing masses. If ISIS gains momentum, they can run ever faster.

With brokered deals for arms controls, recognition of Israel, and (religious) freedom, as well as equal rights for minorities, a number of befriending steps could be taken by the international community, led by President Barak Obama:

  • Help establishing a Kurdish state with parts of Iraq, Turkey, and Syria
  • Put Syria and the Iraqi Sunni territories under Turkish protection by exchanging Kurdish territories for Syria and parts of Iraq (establish a path to full autonomy; protect the language interests of Syrians and Iraqis)
  • Put the Shi’ite territories of Iraq and Afghanistan under Iranian protection
  • Appeasing, accepting, and strengthening Iran as a power balance in the Middle East
  • Put Libya under Egyptian protection
  • Help strengthening Tunisia and Morocco
  • Force implement a two state solution upon Palestine and Israel (an unhappy compromise is better than an eternal disaster)
  • Restrict Israel to its 1967 borders, and provide an accelerated path for Palestinians to return to Israel as full citizens
  • Put Yemen under the protectorate of Saudi Arabia
  • Coordinate joint moves in order to drive back the ISIS, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda
  • Put economical pressure on the Middle East by shifting away from (their) oil and pushing much harder for new sources of energy

Syrians, Iraqis, Libyans, and Israelis would probably not be happy with this proposal. However, under ISIS rule, they will be even less happy or no longer alive. Iran is the enemy of Israel, not of the United States. America is at liberty to be friends with both.

What ISIS represents – a Sunni state – cannot be erased by war. It can only be pushed for further radicalization, which will inevitably lead to a third World War. These people operate with an ideology that speaks to the beliefs of most Sunnis that find themselves in minority positions. It even attracts Jihadists from around the world. The countries with Sunni majorities that are most destabilized fall willingly or unwillingly into the hands of a Sunni leader, likely a theocrat. These include Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen, and they are ready to fall fast, even without extended battles.

President Barak Obama faces an unprecedented opportunity to reshape the Middle East for peace. If he remembers the power his own words and the promises made in Cairo in June 2009, he can.

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