The “Allah” Controversy
A controversy highlighting issues
among Muslims, Christians & Jews
By Mel Copeland
There is a cult spreading worldwide that is dedicated to murdering those who do not agree with it. It comes from the Koran and extremists' views of the meaning of the Koran. Marco Polo wrote about them (1254-1324), as he described the "Old Man of the Mountains" who recruited followers with the promise of paradise and seven virgins serving them if they assassinated others that did not follow their creed. Today, the creed dedicated to murder and chaos has emerged again — on a mass-destruction scale — led by Osama bin Laden. This is a document that records the origin and consequences of the creed. The war against the creed cannot be sustained through force of arms but rather through exposing the false ideology that presumes that God is the author of their murderous aims. To stop the murder one must disarm their murderous ideology.
This work stems from research begun in November 2004 to record newspaper reports on trends affecting world events. The assumption was to record only those events that would likely end up in history books. Criteria for the endeavor, called Maravot News, included a world view: the conflict of cultures, such as Islamic with Western, international wars, environmental trends, economic trends and scientific breakthroughs. We tended not to record Hollywood-Bollywood stuff or issues peculiar to a nation that have no apparent affect on other nations.
Stories selected from world newspapers recorded by Maravot News were summarized and linked. As a research tool, I included in the summaries the meat of a story, in the event the link to the source newspaper[s] turned into dead links. In the event of a dead link the reader would have to contact the source[s] directly for the full article. At the center of the conflict of Islamic and Western cultures is the "Allah controversy."
The “Allah” controversy is a very complex issue and could engage thousands of pages to fully explore. For the essence of the controversy involves the Koran, the many different teachings and interpretations of the Koran, the Bible, Biblical interpretations, including the Jewish Talmud, and diversions into other faiths, such as the Sikhs and Buddhism. In the south of Thailand Islamists are in conflict with the predominately Buddhist Thais; in the south of the Philippines Islamists are kidnapping and committing murderous outrages against the predominately Catholic population of the Philippines. In Kashmir and Jammu the predominately Hindu Indian government has been in conflict with the Muslim government of Pakistan for possession of those and adjacent territories. (India holds 43% of the territories; Pakistan holds 37%.). Confusing the matter is a claim of China which controls 20% of Kashmir; also, in western China, over the mountains from Kashmir, is a large Muslim (Uighur) population, where conflict with the Chinese Han population has erupted in violence.
We have structured this document with quotes and citations that are easily verifiable using the internet. Links in media can be accessed directly or you may contact them by mail for the full articles. The Bible and Koran (Quran) can also be easily found on the internet. Jewish documents, such as the Bavli, Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, Bahir, etc. can be found online as well. There are several online libraries of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
We have composed this in the spirit of truth and have placed many things on the table that deserve to be exposed and discussed, recognizing that some may not wish to see the issues as presented. We shall all benefit by exposing these simple truths together, leaving no one to stand aside saying, “We are better than thou.”
March 28, 2010
Chapter 5 Jerusalem's religious monmuments and walls
Chapter 3 The consequence of not obeying the gods
Chapter 2 Malaysia objects to non-Muslims using the name of Allah
Chapter 1 The changing face of Islam
Background of the conflicts
♦ Koran advocates violence against kuffars (unbelievers)
♦ Islamic scholars teachings against unbelievers - "kuffars":
♦ A Comment on Dr. Hassan Hathout’s article:
Chapter 8 Some names of the Messiah, his characteristics & time(s)
Chapter 9 Bringing Christians into the conversation
♦ Comments to the Christian arguments
♦ Grant death for blasphemy: Islamists to UN
♦ Letters to advocates for the reconciliation of the faiths
♦ Arabs want 1967 borders restored; what is the true border of Palestine?
♦ The region Terrae Sanctae / Judaea in ancient maps & Hadrian's change
Appendix B Scholars' complaints against Islam's violence & suppression
Background of the conflicts
At the center of all the conflicts between Islam and the West is the Holy Land, presently occupied by Israel and Palestinians. Here we make a distinction, of a state created by the United Nations in November 1947 (Israel's Declaration of Independence — approved by the UN — was in May 1948). Outside the boundaries of Israel marked off by the UN is land commonly referred to as the West Bank and Gaza, occupied by Palestinians. The Palestinian people were asked by the United Nations, also in the 1947 resolution, to submit their Declaration of Independence. This action was prevented, however, when the West Bank territory, including East Jerusalem (the old city of Jerusalem), was quickly occupied by Transjordan, another state created by the West.
With the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the Middle East was divided into Mandate territories that were administered by the British and French (including Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Saudi Arabia). Originally a part of the British Mandate — under the oversight of the League of Nations — Transjordan (meaning, “across Jordan”) invaded and occupied the West Bank territories, culminating in the 1967 “Six Day War” between Israel and her Arab neighbors — who (Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia) also were created by international, Western accords (League of Nations) after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. We mention this because the original mandate territories were led by sheikhs that bargained with the West for their kingdoms.
Kings placed in Iraq and Syria by the West were soon overthrown, replaced by the Assad family in Syria and eventually Saddam Hussein and his Bathist party in Iraq (the Bathists originated in Syria). King Abdullah of Transjordan gave up his claim to the Hijaz (Mecca and Medina) in exchange for the land of Transjordan. This allowed the West to install a sheikh from the center of Arabia, known as King Saud, as king over all of Arabia, including the Hijaz, Mecca and Medina. Saud had been highly instrumental in assisting the West against the Turks in World War I. Still holding onto the title of the Hashimite sheikhs (Sharifs) of Mecca and Medina, the kings of Jordan call their state “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan."
The kings of Jordan are the most direct descendants of Mohammed. As such their influence in the world of Islam takes on another dimension. After the “Six-Day War of June 1967, Israel gained possession of the West Bank territory, East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. However, the king of Jordan retained control of Jerusalem's Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock mosque is located. It is still administered by a group called the Waqf, an endowment of the Jordan government. Recent conflicts over the Temple Mount have occurred by teachings of Hamas scholars warning of the imminent destruction of the mosques on the Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rock, together with the Al-Aqsa mosque, comprise an Islamic holy place called the al-Haram ash-Sharif or “Sacred Noble Sanctuary.” The name “Temple Mount” comes from the Jewish first and second temples (of King Solomon, 1000 B.C. rebuilt by King Herod and destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Roman general Titus).
While the West Bank was intended to be a home for the Palestinians — by the British Mandate and League of Nations, later the United Nations — there has been an ongoing migration of Israelis creating settlements throughout the territory and Gaza. Some Israeli settlements were given up under international pressure, such as those of Gaza. After Israel evacuated Gaza the Hamas faction of Palestinians took over Gaza, and Palestinian militants began firing rockets into Israel. Bombs were set by Palestinians in Jerusalem's cafes and buses; followed by increased bombings by suicide bombers. The result has been the building of a fence around the West Bank and Gaza. The fence itself prevents Palestinian movement between Gaza and the West Bank territories.
Reports are that Iran has been funding and directly supplying weapons to Palestinian militants in the Holy Land, particularly through Hezbollah of Lebanon. Iran's president Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have both on many occasions called for the complete annihilation of Israel. Their tirades are generally slanderous towards the Jews and refer to a Zionist conspiracy of Israel with the United States. In the heart of Jerusalem and its Temple Mount is Mount Zion. The high area of Mount Zion is also called the City of David.
At the center of the controversy in the Holy Land is the city of Jerusalem (East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount / Mount Zion being the traditional, historic capitol of the Jews). Palestinians also regard East Jerusalem as their future capitol, since their holy site is also the Temple Mount.
The past president of Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf, pointed out to the press shortly before the end of his tenure that the situations in Kashmir and Palestine are similar.
In a jang.com [now thenews.com.pk]. article November 26, 2004 (Maravot News 11.29.04) he said:
“I think both the Palestinian dispute and the Kashmir dispute are absolutely ripe for resolution and we have to resolve them. That will bring considerable stability into the world.” He advocates a strategy under which the Muslim world should encourage moderation while the West must focus on settling political disputes affecting Muslims.
Perhaps we will find that to a large extent he's right — sort of. In Kashmir the conflict is between Muslims and Hindus. A prominent feature of the Hindu religion involves multiple gods and the worship of their idols. The worship of idols is forbidden by Islam. In fact, the Koran relates how Mohammed cleansed the temple of the Arabs, called the Ka'aba (meaning cube), of its many idols. The clearing of the idols was based upon the Torah of Moses (Old Testament) commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20.3) A major feature of Islam is its intolerance of idol worshippers.
In the case of the Palestine issue, following their Torah Jews forbid the worship of idols. Decorations within their synagogues are abstract designs. Images even of the patriarchs are forbidden in their places of worship. This continued to be a practice in the early Christian church (Nazarene), led by the apostles Saints Peter and James. All of the practices required by the Jewish faith were part of the early Christian faith. This explains why there are no early pictures or images of Jesus Christ and the apostles. For about 300 years such images would have been an anathema. One can also witness the Jewish nature of the early church in Christ's comments and the arguments recorded in Acts and Paul's epistles, as well as the Epistles of James, over "faith versus works." However, idols and images began creeping into Christian structures (perhaps starting in catacombs with drawings of fish and crosses on the walls).
The Byzantine Emperor Leo III (726 – 730 A.D.) was the first to start an iconoclast campaign, to rid the empire of all images. He ordered the removal of an image of Jesus prominently placed over the Chalke gate, the ceremonial entrance to the great Palace of Constantinople. Next to the Imperial Palace was the cathedral called Hagia Sophia (dedicated 360 A.D.). It was converted into a mosque by the Turks in 1453 and became a museum in 1935. All of its mosaic images were plastered over and Christian relics and altars were removed. After it was secularized as a museum some mosaics were exposed, lying beneath a plaster covering.
The changing face of Islam
This could be a handbook of sorts intended for use by statesmen attempting to shuffle through the many issues involving what has been described as a conflict in cultures among Muslims confronting the new challenges posed by our 21st century. The conflict rages from the Afghanistan-Pakistan Taliban militancy in destroying Western influences to the streets of Britain, where many new generation Muslims of Pakistani origin learn militant orders, or Switzerland and Germany where there is a resistance of their Western cultures to the influence of Muslim mosques and Muslim attitudes and dress of women. Symbols of Western resistance to Muslim influence come down to the headscarf (hijab) or veil and minarets. Sitting between the cultures is Turkey, where the headscarf was banned in public places, but conservatives in the government sought to order the wearing of headscarfs in all public places. In France the issue also came to the fore, where legislative attempts have been made to ban the wearing of headscarfs. In March 2010 legislative moves in Quebec were also introduced to outlaw the wearing of the niqab (veil) in government institutions. In Switzerland legislative attempts were enacted to ban the construction of mosques with their towers called minarets.
Inciting further Islamic militancy were reports of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed, all of which provoked violent outbursts by Muslims around the world. Further incitement came from a video, Fitna, produced by Kurt Weiner, a member of Parliament in the Netherlands. The video contrasted verses of the Koran that incite violence towards unbelievers with images of Islamists in terrorist activities. The video was published on YouTube and other internet media, but pulled down from the internet as a result of Islamic protests. In March 2010 Islamic protests against the Mohammed cartoons reignited in Europe.
One of the signatures of Islam in this modern era is the sensitivity of its leaders to Western characterizations or critiques of their religion or prophet. On the other hand, Islamists feel free to make offensive characterizations of other religions and cultures, often being led by slogans. “Death to America,” were familiar shouts among Muslim communities — particularly Iran — during the George W. Bush administration. Recently, following the June 2009 elections in Iran, protesters against the election have shifted back towards the West, advocating the expulsion of the mullah-dominated government, led by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Protesters have posted slogans across Tehran and Iran that read, “Death to the Dictator!” and “Death to Khamenei!.” In point of fact, the Iranian Constitution, Article 110, gives the Supreme Leader dictatorial power on par with that power contrived by Hitler when he amended the Weimar Constitution to enable his dictatorship.
The world is rapidly changing, primarily due to the enabling communication of the internet. Islamists fight Western influences using the internet, and in Islamic nations there is movement towards adapting Western conventions. Kuwait, for instance, has recently allowed women to participate in Parliament. Saudi Arabia has recently allowed women to drive a car. Still, in Saudi Arabia girls are given in marriage at the age of 9, forbidden to go on the streets without a male escort, required to wear the hijab — convention requiring the veil (niqab) over the eyes as well — and a single woman's personal, public contact with males can lead to prison. Currently (March 2010) two Britons are on trial in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai for having been caught kissing on the beach by the police. While adopting modern conventions (Western) is slow in Islamic nations, the process of adaptation is speeding up where Muslim immigrants take up residence in Western societies. But Western societies that profess democratic, egalitarian ideals are offended by Muslims that on the surface appear to treat women as things owned, like cattle. A woman in a burka (full body veil) walking down a street in downtown USA does not fit in well with American cultural values. Even the wearing of a headscarf, as in Europe, has its critiques in the US, though we must confess that it was only a generation ago in the US that headscarfs were commonly worn by American women, particularly in Church. The American practice comes from the New Testament epistle of the Apostle Paul:
1 Corinthians 11:1-17:
Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you. But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ: and the head of the woman is the man: and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered disgraceth his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven. For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head. The man indeed ought not to cover his head: because he is the image and glory of God.
Though the practice of American women covering their heads in church or public has fallen into disuse, the Catholic church still honors the practice under a 1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1262, that women must cover their heads — "especially when they approach the holy table."
Today in America the clerical admonition for women to wear headscarves has been superceded by conventions in hair dressing. Women preen and dress their hair, proudly displaying their locks to the world, as being part of their dress, from their handbag and matching shoes to the garment hanging from their elegant frames. In Paris, the heart of the fashion world, women parade their new fashions down walkways, but facing the conventions from the Parisian fashion shows in France is the largest population of Muslims in Europe, some of whom have called for the fashion designers to produce a burka for the beach.
Whether they are headed for the beaches in the south of France or Dubai, upward moving Muslim women are heading to the beaches presently occupied by bikini-clad Westerners. We recall that in the West women at the turn of the 20th century took to the beach in bathing suits that covered their bodies from their shoulders to their knees. Bathing suit designs over the years economized on the material, leaving on the beaches of Brazil the G-String bikini. With this change in Western womens' attire in mind, we may wonder whether Muslim women will attain the right to freely dress as the Western cultures dress, wherever they choose to reside in the West.
The separation between Western and Islamic cultures is complex, and a closer association between the two — as a result of migration patterns — is exposing the many differences, some of which lead to violent conflict. It is not our purpose to discuss the differences in detail, but rather to provide an overview. To keep it simple we begin with a basic ideological difference involving a question posed between the Catholic church in Malaysia and the Malaysian government: whether the God of the Bible and the Allah of the Koran are the same entity. As of this writing in March 2010 the issue is not resolved.
Malaysia objects to non-Muslims using the name of Allah
On December 22, 2007 a story in thejakartapost.com (Maravot News 12.25.07) reported that the Malaysian government would no longer allow a Catholic newspaper, The Herald, to use the name “Allah” in reference to God. An official of the Malaysian government, Che Din Ysoff, a senior official at the Internal Security Ministry's publications, told the Catholic weekly newspaper to drop use of the word “Allah” in its Malay language section if it wants to renew its publishing permit. "Christians cannot use the word Allah. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim God. This is a design to confuse the Muslim people," Che Din told The Associated Press. The weekly should instead use the word "Tuhan" which is the general term for God, he said. (See also Maravot News 12.30.07 alarabiya.net article 12.28.07 Malaysian Christians object to ban on word "Allah.")
The Herald appealed the decision in court:
On July 4, 2008 thejakartapost.com (AP) (Maravot News 7.08.08) reported that a Sikh group in Malaysia demanded the right to use the word “Allah” as a synonym for God, joining in the legal battle by Christians against a government order banning non-Muslims from using the word. “The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council filed an application at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Tuesday seeking to join a suit by The Herald, a Roman Catholic newspaper, against the government over use of the word ‘Allah,’ said council President Sardar Jagir Singh.
Another AP article in thejakartapost.com (Maravot News 11.30.08) said:
"The Home Ministry previously ordered the newspaper not to use the word ‘Allah’ in its Malay-language publication as a translation for God, saying using the word would confuse Muslims. The Herald then filed suit, claiming it had a right to use the word. Jagir said his council, representing more than 100,000 Sikhs, wanted to join the suit because the ruling would affect them. The word Allah appears on ‘numerous occasions’ in the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, he told The Associated Press. ‘Not a word can be altered. It's our holiest book ... it will mean we can't practice our own religion.’
“Jagir said so far he has not received a court date. The High Court is scheduled next Wednesday to hear the applications of several Islamic institutions that have applied to intervene in the suit to defend the ban. The Herald — which publishes in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil — says ‘Allah’ is an Arabic word that predates Islam and has been used for centuries to mean ‘God’ in Malay.”
Why would non-Muslim religious groups want to use the name “Allah” in their documents when referring to God? The Herald argued that Malays are used to the word Allah as a name for God and using “God” to refer to “Allah” would not be confusing to them and that "Allah" was a word for God that predated the Koran. The Malaysian government countered that using “Allah” as a name for the Christian God would be confusing to the Malaysian people. Is God Allah? Or, from the Malaysian point of view, is Allah God? Multiplying the confusion is the Sikh complaint that their holy documents refer to the Koran and Allah. For instance the Guru Granth Sahib says:
”Siree Raag, First Mehl, Fourth house, Page 24, verse 2, ...He alone is a Qazi, who renounces selfishness and conceit, and makes the One Name his Support. The True Creator Lord is, and shall always be. He was not born; He shall not die. || 3 || You may chant your prayers five times each day; you may read the Bible and the Koran Says Nanak, the grave is calling you, and now your food and drink are finished.
(page 53) “SIREE RAAG, FIRST MEHL, FIRST HOUSE, ASHTAPADEES, 1,I speak and chant His Praises, vibrating the instrument of my mind. The more I know Him, the more I vibrate it. The One, unto whom we vibrate and sing — how great is He, and where is His Place? Those who speak of Him and praise Him — they all continue speaking of Him with love. || 1 || O Baba, the Lord Allah is Inaccessible and Infinite. Sacred is His Name, and Sacred is His Place. He is the True Cherisher…” || 1 || Pause || The extent of Your Command cannot be seen; no one knows how to write it. Even if a hundred poets met together, they could not describe even a tiny bit of it. No one has found Your Value; they all merely write what they have heard again and again. || 2 || The Pirs, the Prophets, the spiritual teachers, the faithful, the innocents and the martyrs, the Shaikhs, the mystics, the Qazis, the Mullahs and the Dervishes at His Door — they are blessed all the more as they continue reading their prayers in praise to Him.
The Sikh holy scriptures are a contemplation on the name of God, and, as such, embrace the teachings of the Bible, Koran and Hindu Upanishads, as well as Buddhism. In our Maravot News editorial note on the Sikh complaint on July 4, 2008 we said:
“These selections are from the first 53 pages of the Sikh holy scriptures. Without getting into too much detail, we should highlight the fact that the teachings (of contemplation on the name of God) come out of a background steeped in Indian culture, whose foundation is in the Vedas. We note the foundation of a one, immutable, God, the father of creation and source of salvation. This foundation, voiced through Brahmin in the Upanishads also recognized a paradise and eternal life through reincarnation. The Guru Granth Sahib also includes Buddhism as a reference work, as it uses the Koran and the Bible. As in the early foundation of Buddhism, the Guru teaches the ultimate goal of those who meditate on the one name of God, the promise of unity with God, after which the seeker becomes nameless. This is how Buddha described Nirvana, the goal of all Buddhists. Buddha described his ultimate goal in Nirvana as becoming one with God and therefore 'ceasing to exist' (nirvana). In unity with God the soul no longer must experience suffering or the path of reincarnation. Following the teachings of Buddha one would skip the suffering and attain the sublime unity of God.
”It appears that the Guru builds upon this thesis, pointing out a way to seek an even higher level in contemplating the one name, or unity, of God. It's through contemplation on the name, its infinite natures. The Jewish scriptures (Old Testament) and the New Testament (Gospel of Christ) dealt with the same concerns. The prophets and Jesus argued that by understanding and doing the commandments of God one will become one with God and achieve eternal life.”
On April 26, 2009 alarabiya.net (Maravot News 4.30.09) published an article, “Malaysia Catholics oppose non-‘Allah’ Bible.” The report said:
“…The Catholic Herald newspaper, in its Sunday edition, criticized the release this week at an international book fair of the new Bible, which uses the Hebrew word 'Elohim' instead of ‘Allah’ for God. ‘The Catholic Bible that the church uses has the word 'Allah' for God whereas in comparison, this one does not,’ the paper's editor Father Lawrence Andrew told AFP.
” ‘The new Malay Bible weakens the argument for using the word Allah because some groups are trying to substitute God with a foreign name, whereas Allah is the Malay word for God and has been the accepted translation for centuries,’ he said...The Catholic Church has taken legal action against the government after it was ordered not to use the disputed word under threat of having its paper's publishing permit revoked. Malaysian authorities argue the word should be used only by Muslims, who form the bulk of the country's multicultural population...A court is expected to decide on May 28 whether the Church has the right to use the word.”
On January 1, 2010, thetimesofindia.indiatimes.com (Maravot News 1.05.10) published an article, “Use of word ‘Allah’ not exclusive to Muslims: Malaysian court.” In a landmark verdict the Malaysian court set aside a government ban on its use by the country's religious minorities. The article said,
“…The Herald is now free to use the word 'Allah' in its publication after the court quashed the home minister's prohibition against it using the word, declaring the order as ‘illegal, null and void.’ Furthermore the report said, '…In her decision, Justice Lau Bee Lan also declared that under Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution, applicant Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop Murphy Pakiam had the Constitutional right to use 'Allah' in the Herald in the exercise of his right that religions other than Islam might be practiced in peace and harmony in the country. She further ruled that the Constitution, which states Islam as the country's religion, did not empower the minister to make such a prohibition.'”
The Malaysian Muslims were furious over the High Court's verdict. Japantoday.com (AP) carried a story January 8, 2010,”Malaysian churches firebombed in ‘Allah’ dispute.” (See Maravot News 1.11.10) The report said:
“…Assailants attacked three Malaysian churches with firebombs Friday, extensively damaging one amid a growing conflict over the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims, officials said. The attacks sharply escalated tensions in the Muslim-majority country ahead of planned protests by Muslims later Friday against a Kuala Lumpur High Court verdict which struck down a 3-year-old ban on non-Muslims using 'Allah' in their literature. 'I condemn these actions because they will destroy our country's harmony,' Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters. 'The government will take whatever steps it can to prevent such acts.' "
"Najib said he has told the national police chief to step up security at churches and other places of worship. The Dec. 31 court decision incensed many Muslims, who see it as a threat to their religion.”
The firebombings continued, and on January 9, 2010 alarabiya.net Maravot News 1.11.10 published a story, “Malaysian churches firebombed over ‘Allah’ row.”
”Four churches struck in unprecedented spate of attacks. A Malaysian church was firebombed Saturday, police and church officials said, the fourth such attack in two days as a row escalated over the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims. The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in southwest Kuala Lumpur was the latest target. There were no reports of injuries. Molotov cocktails were thrown at the windows of the first and second floors of the three-storey building, the church's Bishop Philip Loke told AFP. 'They narrowly missed it, but part of the walls are burnt,' he said, adding 'we suspect this attack is linked to the other attacks.' At least three churches were struck early on Friday in an unprecedented spate of attacks in this mainly Muslim country as a row over a court ruling that allowed a Catholic newspaper to use the word 'Allah' in its Malay language editions presented a major challenge to the government. One of the churches attacked on Friday was badly burned while firebombs thrown at two others failed to cause damage.”
The "Allah Controversy" became a hot issue for many news media around the world. Muslim and non-Muslim commentators all pointed out the belief that "Allah" is, in fact, the Arab name for the Hebrew name for God: El (plural, Elohim.) A google search on the "Allah Controversy" produced a more informative article in Middle East Online by Hesham A. Hassaballa, a physician and writer living in Chicago. He is co-author of The Beliefnet Guide to Islam (Doubleday). Hassaballa says:
"Allah" is the Arabic name for God, and it indeed pre-dates Islam and even Christianity. The pagan Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula called God "Allah," even though they worshipped hundreds of idols in addition. Christians all across the Arab World today use the word "Allah" for God, and if one were to read an Arabic Bible, he would find that God is indeed called "Allah."
Beyond this fact, however, is that "Allah" is also the name that Jesus Christ called God. "Allah" is the Arabic equivalent of "Elohim," which is Hebrew for God. The "im" is a plural appendage of respect, and so the word is "Eloh," which is very similar to "Allah." In addition, the Aramaic word for God is "Alaha," and Aramaic was the language which Jesus himself spoke. Moreover, the word "Allah" is found in the English version of the Bible which we read today. In Matthew 27:46 we read: "About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' — which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'" The word "Eloi" is the Aramaic form of the Arabic "Allah."
The King James Bible, Matthew 27.46, says: Eli, Eli, Lama sabach-thani?, that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? One may compare "Eli" as "my God" to the name of Elijah, which contains elements of both the names El and YHWH (Jehovah.) It is a Jewish tradition to include the name of God in the names of Children, such as Michael or Joshuah. The suffix "ah" or "jah" became the element representing Jehovah in the names. Thus Elijah means God is God. Elijah was in a controversy with the priests who worshipped the god Ba'al and calling upon God brought down fire from heaven to destroy them and their altar. Where LORD in caps is written YHVH is indicated in the King James Bible.
The consequence of disobeying the gods
We can assume from articles reported in the world press that the Muslims in Malaysia believe that the God of the Koran, Allah, is not the same God as the God referred to by the Sikhs or the Christians / Catholics. The Catholics and later Sikhs concluded over the centuries that God and Allah are the same names for God. (We note that the Old Testament scriptures point out that there are as many as 70 names for God). The Catholic church also argued that “Allah” was used in the Middle East as a word for God long before the Koran existed.
Actually the argument in favor of Allah being another name for God goes deeper than just the name. We discover that the Koran actually refers to the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) and Gospel of Christ in several verses (suras); and the references are such that after reading them one must conclude that the Koran was written to confirm that the Bible is true. Therefore, it should have been evident from the git-go by the Malaysian High Court that the Allah of the Koran and God of the Bible are the very same person. But they didn't arrive at this conclusion. Further to this, when inquiring into the motives of Islamic terrorists and Taliban, we are compelled to observe that Islam is incompatible with other religions. In fact, we are ordered to bow to Allah and forsake all other faiths or face persecution or the death penalty.
In point of fact, the Malaysian High Court — representing the common view of Malaysian Muslims — had not entertained the fact that the Koran and the Bible are related or that the God of the Bible is the same as Allah of the Koran. The extension of this belief would cause one to look deeper into the Koran's view of unbelievers (kuffars) and expect that unbelievers that refuse to repent ought to be killed. Thus, a simple argument involving the name of “Allah” opens a deeper issue involving Islamic terrorism around the world.
Islamic terrorists justify killing unbelievers in the name of Islam's God, Allah. And while the Koran forbids killing other Muslims, we find certain leading Muslim sects, such as the Wahabbi, apply a purist view of Islam; and from such a sect came Osama bin Laden who has argued in his world-wide murderous outrages that only those who follow his faith are true Muslims, justifying the murder of innocent civilians, women, children and their young men in markets via suicide bombings. In Iran, following Iran election protests in 2010, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has decried against those who would criticize him, saying that those who protest his government are guilty of “mohareb” (offending God and his prophet) and the penalty for this crime is death. How, then, can diverse Muslim groups arrive at the conclusion that behavior that is not of their approval is to be rewarded by death?
In all fairness to the argument, we can point out that the Catholic Inquisition, highlighted by the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, comprised all of the elements of the persecution now seen by Muslims against other faiths. But the persecution of the Jews in Spain was not the first, for many persecutions of both Christians and Jews are in the history of the Western World, tracing all the way back to the day the Roman General Titus marshaled his army before the walls of Jerusalem, resulting in the destruction of the city and scattering of the Jews (and early Christians) around the world. Those who did not escape were rounded up and sent to Roman arenas, particularly the Roman Coliseum, where they were subjected to many tortures, including being fed to wild beasts and placed on the “hot seat.” The “hot seat,” a common expression in American English, was actually an iron chair where victims of the Coliseum were strapped. Coals under the seat were lit and the victim was allowed to suffocate from the fumes of his own searing flesh before the cheering crowds above.
We would hesitate to comment on the relative merits, whether modern Muslim terrorists' intentions to kill unbelievers through beheading, bombs, etc.— or torture and hanging in Iran for being a "mohareb" (See telegraph.co.uk June 26, 2009 article, "Iran election: protesters 'worthy of execution' says cleric." ) — would be more barbarous than the racks of the Spanish Inquisition under Torquemada or the Roman treatment of captives, but we ought to agree that such acts — though approved by a populace — are barbaric by modern standards. Murdering on behalf of God is simply not an act civilized nations can entertain or understand. However, we must admit that when nations go to war their leaders make a commitment with the Bible in their hands, and Islamic nations will confess that their wars, or jihads, are in the cause of their Allah-god.
3,500 years ago, at the head of Assyrian armies were statues of Ashur (Zeus, Jupiter) and Ishtar (Artemis). Assyrian kings, like the well-known Sargon, credited their gods for their conquests in war. (See Phrygian1b.html, ff)Their hundreds of years of expeditions to subdue rebellious Armenians (of Urartu) thirty-five hundred years ago were no different than conflicts we record in the modern era. They invade, subdue, destroy buildings and orchards, collect ransoms and booty, carry off slaves, cattle and gods, including their gold, silver and copper — enriching their capitol, Nineveh, near modern Mosul, Iraq. Unfortunate kings and chiefs carried off by the kings of Ashur to Nineveh may be skinned alive and their skins pinned to the walls of the city and their flayed body crucified. Sometimes their skins were pinned on their own town walls or stele in their town squares. Then, as now in the Middle East, it was not good to disobey the gods (Ashur then; Allah now and in the case of Iran, Khamenei and his mullahs).
The argument that Allah is God
This is not a difficult argument to present. For the Koran has many chapters pointing out that its source is the Bible and the God of the Koran is the same as the God of the Bible. And furthermore we discover that the Koran really cannot contradict the Bible. Any contradictions between the Koran and Bible should thus undermine the credibility of the Koran. Witness the following verses:
Koran's Confirmation of the Bible
(The Torah, Prophets and Gospel; Jesus as the Messiah):
(We use The Koran, by N.J. Dawood, Penguin Books, Great Britain, published 1956-1984 — considered one of the best English translations)
The Book of Jonah 10.37: This Koran could not have been composed by any but Allah. It confirms what was revealed before it and fully explains the scriptures. It is beyond doubt from the Lord of the Creation. This is no invented tale, but a confirmation of precious scriptures...
The Cow: 2.100 And now that a book confirming their own [the Jewish scriptures] has come to them from Allah, they deny it, although they know it to be the truth and have long prayed for help against the unbelievers. May Allah's curse be on the infidels! ..When it is said to them: "Believe in what Allah has revealed," they reply, "We believe in what was revealed to us." But they deny what has since been revealed, although it is the truth, corroborating their own scriptures.
Adoration 13.21 We gave the scriptures to Moses (Never doubt that you will meet him!) and made it a guide for the Israelites...We appointed leaders from among them who gave guidance at our bidding...
The Creator 35:25 Your only duty is to give warning...What we have revealed to you in the Book is the truth confirming previous scriptures..
Counsel 42.13 He has ordained for men the faith He has revealed to you and formerly enjoined on Noah and Abraham, on Moses and Jesus, saying: "Observe this faith and be united in it."
Kneeling 45:16 We gave the Scriptures to the Israelites and bestowed on them wisdom and prophethood.
AL-AHQAF 46:12 Yet, before it the Book of Moses was revealed, a guide and a blessing to all men. This book confirms it.
Women 4:47 You to whom the Scriptures were given! Believe in that which we have revealed, confirming your own scriptures, before we obliterate your faces and turn them backward, or lay our curse on you as we laid it on the Sabbath-breakers.
The Cow 2:81 The Apostle [Mohammed] believes in what has been revealed to him by his Lord, and so do the faithful. They all believe in Allah and His angels, His scriptures, and His apostles: We discriminate against none of His apostles.
The Table 5:44 There is guidance, and there is light, in the Torah which we have revealed...After these prophets we sent forth Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Torah already revealed, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light, corroborating that which was revealed before it in the Torah...And to you we have revealed the Book with the truth. It confirms the Scriptures which came before it and stands as a guardian over them.
The Table 5:64 If the People of the Book [Jews} accept the true faith and keep from evil, we will pardon them their sins and admit them to the gardens of delight. If they observe the Torah and the Gospel and what is revealed to them from Allah, they shall be given abundance from above and from beneath.
The IMRANS 3:45 The angels said to Mary: "Allah bids you rejoice in a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary
It is clear that Mohammed wrote and understood the Koran, believing that the angels that recited the Koran to him were the same angels as in the Jewish Scriptures, that the prophets and stories he conveyed were the same as those in the Jewish Scriptures, as well as the Gospel of Jesus; and he was quite irritated that the Jews of his times would not accept his writings, saying, “Believe in that which we have revealed, confirming your own scriptures...” and “And now that a book confirming their own [Jewish] scriptures has come to them from Allah, they deny it, although they know it to be the truth…”
There can be no doubt that Mohammed (sic. The Koran) believed that his source was the God of the Bible. Mohammed's reference to "Allah" can be no other than the God of the Bible.
It would be nice if we could win the argument with these simple, plain facts. Unfortunately, people like to see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. While there are Islamic scholars who would find our conclusion logical, the fact remains that most mullahs, imams and Islamic clerics tend to view Islam as the true faith and all other faiths unbelievers. For centuries the fate of unbelievers has been repeated, from the words of the Koran, to the end that all unbelievers must be given the opportunity to repent and without repentance (true conversion) put to death. Moderate clerics, however, believe that Islam embraces the people of the book (the Bible's Christians and Jews) and thus encouraged living in peace with them. The Iranian Constitution, Article 13, for instance, acknowledges Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism as permitted faiths of the nation alongside Islam. Those of the Baha'i faith (a religion emphasizing the spiritual unity of mankind, acknowledging Mohammed and the Biblical prophets) are outlawed and condemned to death in Iran.
Jerusalem's religious monuments & walls
All of the Bible-sourced faiths center on Jerusalem. While all of the blessings of God are believed to be dedicated to that city, Jewish scholars have admitted it is also the place where all the evils of man converge. For all men compete in ownership of the city once called the City of David. Since the Temple Mount is sacred to both Jews and Muslims — other faiths feel a deep affinity to the Temple Mount as well — it follows that the Temple Mount is by its history and place a hotspot. In about the middle of the eastern wall of the Temple Mount is a gate that has been sealed. It is called the Golden Gate, the main gate to the Temple Mount, and featured a column separating the gate into two openings. The gate was a place where Jewish rabbis, including Jesus, would teach, often ministering to the poor who would seek alms at the gate.
The Ottoman Sultan Sulieman I sealed up the gate in 1453 A.D. "to prevent the Jewish Messiah from entering the mount." He also planted a Muslim cemetery in front of the gate in the belief that the Messiah would not dare pass through a Muslim cemetery. (When I was there in 1985 there was also a wrought iron fence in front of the gate.) Jewish tradition has it that the Shekinah (Holy Spirit of God) entered the mount through this gate and thus the Messiah, when he comes, will enter the mount through the gate to restore the Temple of Herod. This belief also points to the possibility that the Messiah would tear down the Dome of the Rock mosque to make room for the restored Temple. During the past few years conservative, Orthodox Jews have been preparing for the restoration of the Temple, as they believe that the Messiah is due at any moment. (There are many prophesies in the Old Testament that relate to the Messiah and his times, often called the “Last Days,” — a time when the Children of Israel are restored to the Holy Land from their dispersion across the world). Since the Jews officially declared their restoration, after 2,000 years of dispersion, in May 1948, those that link the appearance of the Messiah to the restoration (also called “redemption”) rightly expect the appearance of the Messiah at this time.
Actually, the Jewish scriptures (Torah, Prophets and Talmud, Mishnah, etc.) speak of two Messiahs. For instance:
Y.Suk.52a And the land shall mourn (Zech. 12.12) What is the reason of this mourning? R. Dosa and the rabbis differ about it. R. Dosa says: [They will mourn] over the Messiah who will be slain, and the rabbis say: [They will mourn] over the Evil Inclination which will be killed [in the days of the Messiah]. ..The rabbis have taught: The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to Messiah ben David, may he be revealed soon in our days]; “Ask of Me anything, and I shall give it to you,” for it is written, The Lord said unto me, Thou art My son, this day have I begotten thee, ask of Me and I will give thee the nations for thy inheritance (Psalm. 2.7-8). And when he will see that Messiah ben Joseph will be slain, he will say before Him: ‘Master of the world! I ask nothing of you except life!' God will say to him: “Even before you said, life, your father David prophesied about you, as it is written, He asked life of Thee, Thou gavest it him.' (Psalm 21.5)…
We find that the Dead Sea Scrolls — discovered between 1946 and 1957 — in caves at Qumran, along the Dead Sea, also speak of two Messiahs, one a priest-Messiah and the other a lay-Messiah. Having been buried since the destruction of the Temple of Herod in 70 A.D. and scattering of the Jews, the Dead Sea Scrolls provide a strong authentication of many Jewish Scriptures. The Midrash in the scrolls is much like that of the Talmud, and many books of the prophets, such as Ezekiel and Isaiah are intact, confirming the faithful rendering of modern Bibles. This is what the Dead Sea Scrolls say about the Two Messiahs:
The Manuel of Discipline 9.8-11: Until the coming of the prophet and of both the priestly and the lay Messiah, these men are not to depart from the clear intent of the Law to walk in any way in the stubbornness of their hearts. They shall judge by the original laws in which the members of the community were schooled from the beginning…
The Messianic Rule II: [This shall be the ass]embly of the men of renown [called] to the meeting of the council of the Community when [the Priest-]Messiah shall summon them. He shall come [at] the head of the whole congregation of Israel with all [his brethren, the sons] of Aaron the Priests, [those called] to the assembly, the men of renown; and they shall sit [before him each man] in the order of his dignity. And then [the Mess]iah of Israel shall [come], and the chiefs of the [clans of Israel] shall sit before him, [each] in the order of his dignity, according to [his place] in their camps and marches…Thereafter, the Messiah of Israel shall extend his hand over the bread [and] all the Congregation of the Community [shall utter a] blessing, [each man in the order] of his dignity.
Community Rule: …They shall depart from none of the counsels of the Law to walk in the stubbornness of their hearts, but shall be ruled by the primitive precepts in which the men of the Community were first instructed, until there shall come the prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel…
An important Biblical verse that also refers to the two Messiahs (in English, translated as "Anointed Ones") is Zechariah 4.14:
Zechariah 4.12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?
Zechariah 4.13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
Zechariah 4.14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
The oldest Biblical manuscript comes from about 400 A.D., found in the monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai, at the foot of Mount Sinai. It is called the Codex Sinaiticus.
Presently there is another controversy over the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of them are on a world tour and the Kingdom of Jordan has filed a claim on them, asking that they be not returned to the museum in Jerusalem but directly to Jordan. The original discovery of the scrolls was by a Bedouin in the West Bank. Jordan possessed the West Bank area after Israel's Declaration of Independence in 1948; however, Israel repossessed the West Bank territory during the Six-Day War. Thus, in the settlement expected by an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, the issues involving demarcation of the state of Israel versus a future state of Palestine also include possession of national treasures. This brings us to another recent conflict: Israel identified certain monuments, such as the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb, as national monuments.
Sealed Golden Gate of Jerusalem with Muslim cemetery against it and Dome of the Rock mosque in the background
These monuments are located in the West Bank territory, including Bethlehem. As a result of this declaration, riots have broken out in Jerusalem, encouraged by Hamas, under the belief that the Jews will attempt to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock next.
The Golden Gate, of course, is a symbol of the walls separating the Jews and Palestinians. The barrier fence around the West Bank and Gaza — to prevent Palestinian militants from attacking Israeli citizens — is another symbol. When we look at the barrier fence more closely, one is prompted to wonder how a Palestinian state can be carved out of the two territories. President Obama recently expressed his desire to get talks going on the creation of the Palestinian state, emphasizing the need to establish a state that had contiguous elements.
Last year an Israeli statesman attempted to describe the future Palestinian state that would have a highway tunneled beneath Israeli territory from Gaza to the West Bank. The other alternative would be to get the Israelis to give up enough land to Palestine to allow Palestinians to move freely from Gaza to the West Bank. Instead of giving up territory, Israelis have been creating settlements, lately in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem represents a “red line” to both Palestinians and Israelis. Neither intend to give up their traditional capitol. On March 17 a letter published in the Jerusalem Post by the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (Yesha) to Secretary of State Clinton described the Jews’ 3,000 year history with Jerusalem:
[jpost.com, March 17, 2010, "Yesha sends Clinton protest letter" (Maravot News 3.23.10)] “The Greeks, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Arabs, the Ottomans and the British — none of them could undermine the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. Therefore, the demand not to build in Jerusalem or to hand parts of the city to others is totally unacceptable for the Jewish people. We will not negotiate over Jerusalem, we will never divide it."
Compare this statement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement reported July 19, 2009 haaratz.com (Marovot News 7.21.09):
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem was not a matter up for discussion. The prime minister's comments came after the US State Department told Israeli envoy Michael Oren that Israel must halt a construction project in East Jerusalem. Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting that Jerusalem is the united capital of Israel and that all citizens are allowed to purchase property in any part of the city they choose. "Imagine what would happen if someone were to suggest Jews could not live in or purchase [property] in certain neighborhoods in London, New York, Paris or Rome," he said.
Associated with the movement of settlers into the West Bank is the Israeli reality on the trends of the population in the Holy Land. The Palestinians outnumber Jews, and their birth rate is much higher than that of the Jews. Thus, any agreement that allows Palestinians the ability to exercise their majority would be an anathema to the Jews. On May 15, 2008 an article Palestinians mark 'catastrophe' of Israel's birth in alarabiya.net (Maravot News 5.19.08) reported in Ramallah, West Bank:
Palestinians protested the 60th anniversary of the “catastrophe” of the birth of Israel and the exodus of hundreds of thousands of refugees. The commemoration of the Nakba, or "catastrophe" — the defeat of Arab armies and the expulsion or flight of about 760,000 people — came as US President George W. Bush was to mark the creation of the Jewish state with an address to the Israeli parliament.
Sirens sounded across the West Bank political capital of Ramallah at the start of a protest in which thousands of people demanded the "right of return" for some 4.5 million UN registered refugees in camps across the Middle East. Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and released 21,915 black balloons — one for each day since Israel's creation — to darken the skies over Jerusalem ahead of Bush's speech to Israeli MPs.
Iran's President Mahoud Ahmadinejad could not let the occasion pass without his reiteration calling for the death of Israel (posted in Russia's en.rian.ru 5.14.08 Iranian leader condemns Israeli celebrations, predicts downfall , Maravot News 5.19.08):
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad forecast the annihilation of Israel on Wednesday as the Hebrew state celebrated its 60th anniversary. "The Zionist regime is dying. All nations in the region loathe this fake and criminal regime," Ahmadinejad said addressing crowds in the northern province of Golestan. Iran refuses to recognize Israel and says it was illegally established on Palestinian territories. "Celebrating the anniversary of the Zionist regime is the same as celebrating the birthday of a dead man. This celebration is senseless and a shame on its organizers," the president said.
This is not the first case of anti-Jewish rhetoric from Ahmadinejad. In 2005, he described live on TV the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews during World War II as a fabrication concocted to justify Israel's existence. He said the Europeans "have created a myth today that they call the massacre of the Jews and they consider it a principle above God, religions and the prophets." He earlier said Israel must be wiped off the world map and called on Europe or North America to host a Jewish state. This string of xenophobic remarks sparked international outrage and increased the world community's pressure on Tehran to abandon its nuclear program. [end]
(See also Maravot News 4.25.06) 4.24.06 Iranian president says Israel cannot continue to exist
(AP) April 24 – In wide-ranging remarks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that Israel was an artificial state that could not continue to exist. "Some 60 years has passed since the end of World War II, why should the people of Germany and Palestine pay now for a war in which the current generation was not involved," Ahmadinejad told a press conference. "We say that this fake regime cannot not logically continue to live," he said.
The Iranian president has long campaigned against Israel, saying last October that Israel should be "wiped off the map." He has said Europe should find a home for Israelis, who should not live on Palestinian land.
"Open the doors [of Europe] and let the Jews go back to their own countries," the president said Monday. He added that Europeans should jettison their "anti-Semitism" to enable Israelis to "return" to their continent, and "allow Palestinians to decide their own fate and live freely." [More>>haaretzdaily.com ; See also iranfocus.com, April 24, "Iran says Jews must go back to Europe."]
This brings up another point: After Israel gave up Gaza, Palestinian militants have armed themselves such that they have launched a continuous barrage of attacks, including rockets, upon the Israeli towns. To stop the attacks Israel created a wall. The wall recalls the wall raised by the Nazis around the Jews of Warsaw. In spite of Israeli moves to relax the siege of Gaza Hamas spokesmen continue to call for an ongoing firing of rockets from Gaza upon Israeli towns. On June 20, 2010 a senior official of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said, "Israel will allow all 'civilian' goods into the Gaza Strip while still preventing weapons from entering the Hamas-run territory," That same day a senior Hamas official, Mahmoud a-Zahar, called for West Bank residents to fire rockets into Israel. (See Maravot News article 06.20.10 Zahar: 'The solution is resistance.' [jpost.com])
A dominant motive in Israel that relates to their security stems precisely from their own history of being persecuted — from the ghetto of Venice (under the Venetian Republic, (~800 –1797 A.D.) to the ghetto of Warsaw in World War II. The Holocaust (meaning ‘burnt offering’) created by the Nazis has prompted Israelis since the time of the earliest Zionist fathers, such as Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl, to say “never again.” Their security has to be guaranteed in any agreement with the Palestinians and surrounding Arab states. The leaders of Iran continue the anti-Semitic propaganda used by Hitler, even claiming that the Holocaust never happened. These repeated remarks by President Ahmadinejad of Iran are not only irritations to those who experienced and recorded the event, they remind us that Iran's ongoing threat against Israeli security is within missile range of both sides. An armed conflict between Iran and Israel is of greatest concern, since it will involve all of the Middle East and Western nations.
Adding timber to the fire being stoked by Iran is their attempt to be a nuclear power. They say that their nuclear power plants are designed to produce electricity, but the world, taking a cue from the venomous hatred of Iran's leaders, believes that Iran intends to deploy nuclear weapons on their missiles. It is obvious that the world cannot convince Israel of its safety, with Iran rattling sabers that will engulf the world in a holocaust.
One of the trends followed in Maravot News involved oil and gas supplies. Iran has just negotiated an agreement with Pakistan and China to supply gas lines to their countries. At the same time other pipelines serving Europe and Russia from Iran are being developed. Combine these enticements to placate Iran with the military threat Iran poses to the Middle East and one has a formula for disaster. Iran has also threatened to block the straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf if attacked. In setting up for this eventuality Iran, under the Shah Reza Pahlavi, occupied Abu Masa island and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs islands in the early 1970's. The islands are just off the coast — about 60 km north — of the United Arab Emirates. Though the UAE cried foul, claiming that the islands were their territory, Iran persisted and set up a military base on Abu Masa. The scenario if attacked: Iran will sink ships, blocking the straits and preventing a major source of the world's oil from getting out of the southern ports of Iraq. A wall of sunken ships blocking the straits does not sit well with Western governments, and it may be that if a military engagement with Iran is inevitable a strike before nuclear weapons are deployed in Iran is in order.
We should point out that the Iranian mullah government and President Ahmadinejad believe that they have a destiny to dominate the Middle East, and they believe that the Mahdi, an Iranian teacher, will soon be resurrected to lead them in their dominion of the world. He is believed to be the twelfth Imam who will return as “the redeemer of Islam” just before the Day of Resurrection (also known as the Last Day mentioned by Biblical prophets). Muslims believe that the Mahdi will rid the world of error, injustice and tyranny alongside Jesus.
Since the status of Israel and Palestine links to other issues involving Islamic militancy throughout the world, any discussions in reconciling the faiths to mitigate the militancy necessarily demands agreements on the status of the Holy Land. Resisting any future acknowledgment of, or peace with, Israel is Iran. Needless to say an agreement for the Holy Land has many barriers against it.
Ideological threats to Peace in the Middle East
We have already addressed Iran's belief that this is the time of the Mahdi. And we have discussed the Jewish belief that this is the time of the Messiah. Both are slated to appear in the Last Days. One might at once feel sorry for such a creature of God who is expected to bring peace to the world (for the Last Days herald Peace). We note that the Biblical view of peace included the Peace of Jerusalem mentioned in the Psalms of David. When Jerusalem is at peace, so will the world be at peace.
The Crusades mark the first conflict between Islam and Western faiths. During the years 1095-1291 a series of military campaigns were launched under Church sanction to restore Christian control of the Holy Land. The Arabs conquered Palestine in the 7th century. Shortly thereafter the Umayyad Muslims conquered Hispania (711-718). The conquest extended over almost the entire Iberian peninsula (except major parts of Galicia, the Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country). During the following 800 years — a period called the Reconquista — efforts by Christian kingdoms to regain control of Iberia were launched. At the same time (between 721-732) Umayyad invaders into southern France were repelled at the Battle of Tours by Frankish King Charles Martel. By 759 all Muslim forces were driven from France. Other Muslim incursions into Europe included Switzerland, until the 10th century, the capture of Sicily and portions of southern Italy and the sacking of Rome in 846 and Pisa in 1004.
The Reconquista was essentially completed in 1238, when the only remaining Muslim state in Iberia, the Emirate of Granada, became a vassal of the Christian King of Castile. In 1492 the Spanish launched the Granada War which finally expelled all Muslim authority from Spain. The last Muslim ruler of Granada, Muhammad XII, better known as Boabdil, surrendered his kingdom to the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile.
In the year 1009 the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. In 1039 the Byzantine Emperor was allowed to rebuild the church and pilgrimage to the Holy Land resumed. In 1071, at the Battle of Manzikert, the Byzantine Empire was defeated by Seljuk Turk armies, leaving all of the land known as modern Turkey, except the coasts, under Muslim control. Ottoman Turks expanded their conquests into the Crimea (1475), moving northward into Hungary (16th century) and Podolia — most of western Ukraine (mid 17th century), by which time most of Eastern Europe (Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, the former Yugoslavia and Hungary) was under Ottoman control. [Source of Crusade information: wikipedia.org]
While Eastern and Western Europe had seen many invaders over time (Vandals, Visigoths, Goths, Bulgars, Golden Horde, etc.), Muslim invaders posed a new threat: the conversion of Christians to Islam under the penalty of death. (Conversely, under the Spanish Inquisition which was established by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1478, nonbelievers, or heretics, were often required to confess their sins and then — purged of the guilt upon their soul — put to death.) The idea seemed to suggest that it was better from the Church's view for a person to loose his life than to lose his soul. In March 1492 the two regents issued the Alhambra Decree, expelling all of the Jews from Spain.
Jews had been well treated in Spain by the Umayyad Caliphate. The famous medieval Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides (born in Cordoba in 1138) thrived under their rule, He worked as a rabbi, physician and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt and his work Mishnah (Mishnah Hebrew text)Torah still carries canonical authority as a codification of Talmudic law.
Under the Inquisition there was a great effort to convert Jews to Christianity and those who did not convert met hostility, oppression and frequent violence.
From this rough summary, we know that the Crusades highlight the incompatibility then between the Christian and Muslim faiths. Since 9/11 we have been reminded again of this incompatibility. While we ought to expect that Muslims would accept Westerners — Christians and Jews — as they are, Islamist pogroms enticing violence against the West and Islamist attacks such as 9/11 and the London and Madrid subway bombings, speak otherwise. The pogroms describe the West as an enemy Crusader. This reference, originally stated by Osama bin Laden, came from an earlier statement by George W. Bush describing his war in Iraq as a crusade.
April 24 2006 aljazeera reported a statement by bin Laden (Maravot News 4.25.06):
"On Sunday, the al-Qaeda leader said the decision by Western governments to halt aid to the Hamas-led government and impose other sanctions proved the West was in a "crusader war" with Islam. Commenting on bin Laden's message shortly afterwards, Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, said the group's ideology was "totally different" from that of bin Laden and al-Qaeda. "What Osama bin Laden said is his opinion, but Hamas has its own positions which are different to the ones expressed by bin Laden," he said. However, he said that what he called the "international siege on the Palestinian people" would inevitably lead to tensions in the Arab and Islamic world.”
In an earlier report on April 23 aljazeera said, “bin Laden accused the West of supporting what he called a ‘Zionist crusader war against Muslims."
Curiously we can compare bin Laden's comment to a statement by George W. Bush in announcing his war on terrorism as a “crusade" and the BBC report (See Maravot News 10.10.05):
“Bush said God told him to invade Iraq” (AFP) October 7 – US President George W. Bush allegedly said God told him to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, a new BBC documentary will reveal, according to details. Bush made the claim when he met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and then foreign minister Nabil Shaath in June 2003, the ministers told the documentary series to be broadcast in Britain later this month. The US leader also told them he had been ordered by God to create a Palestinian state, the ministers said. Shaath, now the Palestinian information minister, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ “ [See other reports, same subject, Maravot News 10.06.05]
Here we have it, Christians and Muslims from the days of the Crusades until now have believed they were warring on behalf of God. (From article and Editorial note 4.07.09 US Muslims urge Obama to focus on civil rights Maravot News April 9, 2009). Jihad's based on the Koran come from several suras:
Koran advocates violence against unbelievers (kuffar) / enemies:
Repentance 9.20 Those that have embraced the faith and fled their homeland and fought for Allah's cause with their wealth and their persons are held in higher regard by Allah. It is they who shall triumph. Their Lord has promised them joy and mercy, and gardens of eternal bliss where they shall dwell forever. Allah's reward is great indeed.
9.116 ...Allah has purchased of the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight for His cause, slay, and be slain. Such is the true pledge which he has made them in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Koran. And who is more true to his promise than Allah? Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the supreme triumph.
Women 4.91 Others you will find who seek security from you as well as from their own people. Whenever they are called back to idol-worship they plunge into it headlong. If these do not keep their distance from you, if they neither offer you peace nor cease their hostilities against you, lay hold of them and kill them wherever you find them. Over such men We give you absolute authority.
4.92 It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by accident.
4.98 He that flies his homeland for the cause of Allah shall find numerous places of refuge in the land and great abundance. He that leaves his dwelling to fight for Allah and His apostle and is then overtaken by death, shall be rewarded by Allah.
4.104 Seek out your enemies relentlessly.
Islamic scholars teachings against unbelievers - "kuffars":
In an editorial note of Maravot News 8.08.05, article 8.07.05 Inside the sect that loves terror (a short article on the London Tube bombing worth reading) we referred to an Islamic scholar's website, as follows:
An interesting site by an Islamic scholar defines what "kuffar" (disbelievers) means. His site, renaissance.com.pk — Arguments and Rational — details the Koran's verses and traditional and modern applications of the verses dealing with disbelievers: identifying them, punishing them, preaching to them and "'displaced directives." His argument refers heavily to Old Testament verses that set the foundation for verses of the Koran involving the punishment of disbelievers. The site (Punishing the Disbelievers) says, "In other words, what authorizes a Messenger to punish the Kuffar is that it can be ascertained in this very world that they are guilty of denying the basic truths in spite of being convinced about them. Good and evil are elucidated with ultimate clarity and people who accept evil do so not because of any confusion but because of their own stubbornness.
"So it can be concluded that since a Messenger reveals the basic truths in their ultimate form and those who deny it do so because of their stubbornness and even confess their sins, a Messenger has the perfect justification to punish his people after they have denied him." But in other places says, (Misplaced Directives) "In other words, what is construed from this Hadith is that a Muslim will be rewarded with Paradise if he kills a non-Muslim. Consequently, Imam Abu Da¹ud, the celebrated Muslim scholar and compiler of Hadith has placed this Hadith in a chapter entitled: (bab fi fadli man qatala kafiran: Chapter on the Reward of a Muslim who Kills a Kafir). Again, it needs to be appreciated that these words relate to the Idolaters of the Prophet¹s times who had lost their right to live after they had deliberately rejected the truth. These words are not related to later Muslims."
"Jihad is directed against the unbeliever (spelled variously, as kufr, kufur, kufar, Kafir)." One may wonder how Indonesian clerics 'set right' the understanding of terrorists in the context of the definitions of khilafa and the Koran's verses regarding unbelievers:
khilafaparty.org, "Articles & News" : What is the Khilafah (Caliphate) ?
Below you will find many questions and answers directly related to the Khilafah.
1. What is Dar al-Islam?
Dar al-Islam is the land where Islamic Law is implemented in all matters of life and ruling and whose security is maintained in the name of Islam even if its citizens are non-Muslims.
2. What is Dar al-Kufr?
Dar al-Kufr is the land where Kufr laws are implemented in matters of life and whose security is maintained in the name of Kufr even if all its citizens are Muslims. This is because the criterion of a region being Dar al-Islam or Dar al-Kufr are the laws that are implemented there, and the security by which it is protected, the criterion is not the religion of its citizens.
3. Which Muslim Countries today are Dar al-Islam?
Out of the Muslim countries of today, there is not a single country or state where Islamic laws are exclusively implemented in ruling and life's affairs; therefore all of them are considered Dar al-Kufr although their citizens are Muslims.
4. What is The Muslims Duty towards His Country?
Islam makes it a duty upon all Muslims to work to change their countries from Dar al-Kufr to Dar al-Islam, and this can be achieved by establishing the Islamic State i.e. the Khilafah, and by electing a Khaleefah and taking a bay'ah on him that he will rule by the Word of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'Ala) i.e. he will implement Islamic laws in the country where the Khilafah has been established. Then the Muslims should work with the Khilafah to combine the rest of the Islamic countries with it, hence the countries will become Dar al-Islam and they will then carry Islam to the world through invitation and jihad.
5. What is the Khilafah
The Khilafah is the global leadership for all the Muslims in the world. Its role is to establish the laws of the Islamic Shari'ah and to carry the da'wah of Islam to the world.
A commentary on "Kufur / Kuffar / Kafir" ("unbeliever")
(from a commentary on Kufurs / Kafirs and the Islamic Hell [flex.com/~jai/satyamevajayate/hell.html by Zulfikar Khan) :
Koran 9:29 Fight those who do not profess the true faith (Islam) till they pay the jiziya (poll tax) with the hand of humility.
[*N. J. Dawood translation, Penquin Books: Repentance 9:30 Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe neither in Allah nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the true faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.]
Koran 8:12 Remember Thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the believers, I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them." [N. J. Dawood translation, The Spoils, 8:12 ..Strike off their heads, maim them in every limb!]
Thus We punished them because they defied Allah and His apostle. He that defies Allah and His apostle shall be sternly punished. We said to them: 'Feel Our scourge. Hell-fire awaits the unbelievers.']
Koran 9:5 "Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolators wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." [N. J. Dawood translation, Penguin Books: Repentance 9:5]
Koran 9:73 Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their Home: an evil fate..[N. J. Dawood, Repentance 9:73].
Koran 4:144 Believers, do not choose the unbelievers rather than the faithful as your friends. Would you give Allah a clear proof against yourselves?..[N. J. Dawood, Women 4:144].
Koran 47:4 When you meet the unbelievers in the Jihad strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly. Then grant them their freedom or take ransom from them, until War shall lay down her burdens....[N. J. Dawood, Mohammed 47.4].
Koran 5:33-34 The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet and alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom; Save those who repent before ye overpower them. For know that Allah is Forgiving, merciful...
[N. J. Dawood, The Table 5:33 Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread disorders in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country. They shall be held to shame in this world and sternly punished in the next: except those that repent before you reduce them. For you must know that Allah is forgiving and merciful.
Believers, have fear of Allah and seek the right path to Him. Fight valiantly for His cause, so that you may triumph.].
Other verses in Khan's commentary reflect on the Koran's view of Jews and Christians and the kufur's punishment in hell.
*Perhaps the most authoritative translation of the Koran is that by N. J. Dawood, Penguin Books, 1956-1974.
An example of Islamist preachers can be found in Abu Hamza, who taught at Finsbury Mosque in London. A bbc.co.uk article 7 February 2006, “Hamza guilty of inciting murder,” describes his conviction:
Controversial Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has been found guilty by an Old Bailey jury of using his sermons to incite murder and race hate charges. Abu Hamza, who preached at Finsbury Park Mosque, London, was found guilty of 11 of the 15 charges he faced. The cleric, 47, was also found guilty of having audio and video tapes intended to encourage racial hatred and having a document for terror purposes. US authorities are seeking his extradition for terror-related matters. He is wanted on charges of trying to set up a "terrorist training camp" in the state of Oregon. The Egyptian-born preacher, who was arrested in May 2004, was said to have given inflammatory sermons that used unequivocal language. Following his arrest, more than 3,000 audio cassettes and 600 videos were found of speeches intended for wider distribution. And a terror manual — an encyclopaedia of Afghani Jihad — found at his west London home listed Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty as possible targets for an attack.
A search of Finsbury Park mosque, in north London, also led to the discovery of forged passports, CS gas, knives, guns capable of firing blanks and tents. The court heard him describe Jews as the "enemy of Islam," tell followers to "bleed" the enemies of Islam and they should not rest until they created a “Muslim state.” The jury heard that he did not aim his vitriolic rhetoric only against Jews, unbelievers and the democratic West. In Abu Hamza's numerous lectures and sermons, targets included homosexual vicars, the tourist industry, the royal family and women in bikinis.
There is a common ideology among Islamic terrorists: 1) of restoring the Caliphate, by which means Abu Hamza used the call to create a “Muslim state;” their objective being to spread their idea of Islam across the world. Included in their belief system is the precept that even Muslims can be kuffars (unbelievers) who must either repent or be killed. 2) Their main enemy are Jews, i.e., Zionism, the State of Israel, and all of those allied with it. 3) The destruction of Western culture, symbolized by the United States, who (using a common expression from Iranian leaders) is the “Great Satan.”
Taking into view other expressions from Iranian leaders relating to this being the age of the Mahdi (Savior of Islam who appears in the Last Days with Jesus), we can better understand that an underlying theme among Islamists is not just to reestablish the Caliphate, but also the idea that these are the Last Days (Day of Resurrection in the Koran) and they are vehicles of Allah / God.
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