Is Islam Tolerant?
"It turns out now that the Arabs were the most successful imperialists
of all time, since to be conquered by them (and then to be like them) is
still, in the minds of the faithful, to be saved." (V. S. Naipaul, Among the Believers, p. 142).
May 29, 1453
"On the night of the twenty-eighth of May (1453), the Christian leaders attended services at St. Sophia's;
Constantine himself prayed in a chapel alone, sharing with his God the last hours of the last Byzantine emperor.
As his officers crowded around him, he asked forgiveness of any man he might have wronged. Then, his soul
at peace, he rode back to the Lycus Valley walls to abide the assault he knew was coming. The city,
about to die, was united.
"Then the garrison stood to their posts. Once the remnants of the outer wall were manned, the gates
to the inner wall were closed and locked behind them. There would be no falling back; the Christians
would stand or die.
"The storm broke just after midnight on the twenty-ninth of May. With a tremendous shout, with clashing
cymbals and bleating trumpets and thundering drums, masses of Turkish infantry ran in out of the night and
hurled themselves at the battered city wall. This time the attack came all along the wall; there could
be no movement of men from one threatened place to another. Women, including nuns, worked to shore up the
crumbling walls and stockade. Those who could not help at the walls crowded into the churches — if
they could not fight or bolster the defenses, they could at least pray...
"The Christians met them with the fury of despair, fighting in a nightmare world of gloom, lit only by
muzzle-flashes, the flare of torches, and a sinister moon that veiled its light behind scudding clouds. Amid
a terrible din of roaring cannon and banging arquebuses, cheers, prayers, and screams of agony, the defenders
fought on in a cloud of powder-smoke and dust. [...]
"And the city died in that moment. Now there was no holding the Turkish attack, which foamed over
the outer wall, beat down the remaining defenders, and forced its way through the inner wall, into the heart
of Constantinople...The emperor himself rode among the remnants of his men along the Lycus wall. Even
he could not rally them; they were exhausted, most of them were wounded, and they would not stand...Constantine
decided. He would not survive the fall of his city to be a trophy for a heathen conqueror. The
city has been taken,' he shouted, 'and I am still alive!'
"And so, with the others at his back, the last Byzantine emperor threw away his imperial regalia and pressed
forward into the throngs of Janizaries, sword in hand. He was never seen again. [...]
"Within the city there was no safety. Blood ran down the gutters of the streets as the Turks killed
everything that moved. Turkish law allowed three days of pillage in a conquered city, and the rampaging
troops broke in everywhere to loot and destroy, rape and kill. Gradually, as the bloodlust subsided,
they began to take captives: The young and able-bodied, at least, had real value in the slave market. [...]
"Otherwise, Mehmet the Conqueror left a ruined, ghostly city; a shadow of the glory that had been, largely depopulated
and desolate. The Muslim call to prayer echoed through the empty, weeping streets of ancient Byzantium.
Where a thousand years of emperors had walked, there were now only shades of the past, ghosts who moved
without sound, and vanished with the coming of the day."
(Robert Barr Smith, To the Last Cartridge, The End of a Thousand Years, pp. 15-32).
Mohammed the Slave-Owner
The Word of God
The Koran admits that Jesus is the Word of God:
"The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only an apostle of God, and his Word which he conveyed into Mary, and
a Spirit proceeding from himself." (Sura 4:169).
Muslim orthodoxy, incidentally, teaches that the Word of God (the
Koran) is eternal and uncreated. As the Bible teaches, the Word is God: "In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1).
A Koran Miscellany
Mohammed bitterly resented ridicule and derision. In time he would silence
dissent by police state means, but early on, he could only curse. His imprecation
against Abu Lahab is preserved in the Koran for the edification of humankind. Abu Lahab was family:
"Let the hands of Abu Lahab perish, and let himself perish! His wealth
and his gains shall avail him not. Burned shall he be at the fiery flame,
and his wife laden with fire wood, — on her neck a rope of palm fibre." (Sura 111).
God gave Mohammed this very special message about his unbelieving uncle.
Can the reader discern the hand of the same God who sketched out the grandeur
of the Rocky Mountains in the petty vindictiveness of this verse?
Need a Koran? The Rev. J. M. Rodwell produced a poetic translation in the
nineteenth century, George Sale's earlier translation is more prosaic:
Save time, download the entire Koran in Zip format:
Reflections on the Fourth of July
After a horrific crime, a lynch mob looks, not to guilt or innocence, but to ease of targeting:
- "Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq. ... We all
said, 'but no, no. Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan,' recounts Clarke, 'and Rumsfeld said, "There
aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq."'"
(Reuters, 'Ex-Advisor Says Bush Eyed Bombing of Iraq on 9/11,' Fri Mar 19, 7:20 PM.)
Even today, “... 85 percent [of the troops surveyed] believe a major reason
they were sent into war was 'to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the Sept.
11 attacks.'” (Leo Shane III, Stars
and Stripes, March 1, 2006). How did the Bush administration convince them that
Saddam played a "role in the Sept. 11 attacks"?:
"Truthfulness is fidelity, and lying is treason." (Abu Bakr's inaugural speech).
The Least of These
"Verily God will say on the Day of Judgment, 'O children of Adam! I was sick and ye did not visit Me.'
And the sons of Adam will say, 'O our defender, how could we visit Thee? For Thou art the Lord of the
Universe, and art free from sickness.' And God will say, 'O men! such a one was sick and you did not visit
him.' And God will say, 'O children of Adam, I asked you for food, and ye gave it Me not?' And the children of Adam will
say, 'O our patron, how could we give Thee food, seeing Thou art the cherisher of the Universe, and art free from hunger
and eating?' And God will say, 'Such a one asked you for bread and you did not give it him.'" (The Sayings of Mohammed,
Allama Sir Abdullah Al-Mamun Al-Suhrawardy, 197.)
Who is the Speaker?: "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came
to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You
drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and
come to You?" And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of
these My brethren, you did it to Me." Then He will also say to those on the left hand, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into
the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and
you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and
you did not visit Me." Then they also will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or
naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?" Then He will answer them, saying, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch
as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me." And these will go away into everlasting punishment,
but the righteous into eternal life.'" (Matthew 25:34-44).
Who is this King of Glory? "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will
sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left."
The Doctrine of the Trinity
On October 31, 2010, gunmen broke into a Catholic church in Baghdad.
An organization called the "Islamic State of Iraq" immediately claimed
responsibility. They explained their actions as an attack on a "den of
polytheism." (Washington Post, '51 Iraqi worshipers, 7 troops killed in church siege,' November 1, 2010,
"They surely are Infidels who say, 'God is the third of three:' for there is no God but one God: and if
they refrain not from what they say, a grievous chastisement shall light on such of them as are
Infidels." (Sura 5:77)
Is this the doctrine of the Trinity: "God is the third of three"?:
Mohammed was distressed by the multiplicity of sects. His solution was to start another one:
Dante's portrayal of Mohammed as a Christian schismatic goes back to those
Muslim writers who described him as a spiritual dilettante who, before
reciting the Koran, had tried all existing sects: "In his Al Kamil fi al Tarikh, ibn Kathir reported some of the current views
in answer to this question. Some claimed that Mohammed followed the law of Noah; others, the law of
Ibrahim; others, the law of Moses, others the law of Jesus. Others claimed
that Mohammed had followed every known law and observed it." (Muhammad
H. Haykal, The Life of Mohammed, p. 72). Mohammed was in contact with Christians;
his first wife's cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal is said to have translated part of the New
Testament into Arabic (Haykal, p. 77): how competently is not stated. But describing Mohammed as a Christian
apostate, with these Muslim biographers, does not help his case: "But
even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than
what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8).