How Stupid Do You Have to Be to Become a Grand Mufti?

Muhammad_Ahmad_Hussein

Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem

This stupid:

The grand mufti of Jerusalem, the Muslim cleric in charge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, said Sunday that there has never been a Jewish temple atop the Temple Mount, and that the site has been home to a mosque “since the creation of the world.”

Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein said in an Arabic interview with Israel’s Channel 2 that the site, considered the third holiest in Islam and the holiest to Jews, was a mosque “3,000 years ago, and 30,000 years ago” and has been “since the creation of the world.”

“This is the Al-Aqsa Mosque that Adam, peace be upon him, or during his time, the angels built,” the mufti said of the 8th-century structure commissioned by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan.

Hussein has held the post of mufti since 2006; he was appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He has previously endorsed suicide bombings against Israelis.

Read it all and weep. It’s one of those stories that makes you think Islam is not so much a religion as a shared delusion to justify centuries of Jew-hate.

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And Tobit Wept

Khalil Abdur-Rashid, a spokesperson for the Islamic Association of Collin County

Khalil Abdur-Rashid, a spokesperson for the Islamic Association of Collin County

From Rod Dreher comes this story of citizens in Farmersville, Texas telling Muslims they don’t want them burying their dead there:

The Islamic Association of Collin County purchased 34 acres to develop a cemetery in the sleepy burg of Farmersville because the closest Muslim burial ground is rapidly running out of space.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area already has three Muslim cemeteries, all developed and run for years without incident.

Residents in this town of 3,400 about 45 miles northeast of Dallas packed a community meeting on Tuesday night arranged by Farmersville city officials, who tried to convince locals there was nothing to fear and the planned religious burial ground will meet state standards.

Many were doubtful.

Resident Barbara Ashcraft told the Dallas Morning News after the meeting: “People don’t trust Muslims. Their goal is to populate the United States and take it over.”

There were a few who spoke out in support, but the reactions were overwhelming negative, with others other saying:

“I don’t like your religion, and I don’t even classify it as a religion,” said one man who spoke at the meeting.

“And you’re not part of our community.” [There are 22,000 Muslims in the area]

Death and burial customs are one of my interests, and one of the works of mercy we’re called to do. Tobit was judged a righteous man for burying the dead at great risk to himself. Maybe these attitudes are what we get from Protestants removing books from the Bible: they lose a beautiful example of righteousness.

I wrote about this at length when some tyrants and bigots wanted to deny a burial to marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev:

Why does Tobit do it, particularly as such great risk to himself? He makes it quite clear: it’s a central act of charity. He does three things that are righteous: gives bread to the hungry, clothes the naked, buries the dead (Tobit 1:17).

Are any of these beginning to sound a bit familiar? Because you’ve been ordered to do them, too:

  • Feed the hungry.
  • Clothe the naked.
  • Bury the dead.
  • Give drink to the thirsty.
  • Give sheltered to the homeless.
  • Visit the sick.
  • Ransom the captive.

You’ll note the name of these acts–corporal works of mercy–comes from the Latin root corpus, for body, the source of the English word corpse.

There’s nothing in there about “burying the nice folks.” The command to bury the unrighteous is partly a matter of preventing contamination of the land, but it’s also interpreted as something due to any human created in the image of God. (I’ve written a whole series on how bodies and burial were handled in ancient Israel: a major focus of my study during a semester on the OT. This entry in particular summarizes Jewish attitudes toward the dead from a Biblical perspective.)

Mortality entered the world through sin. The person who handled the dead was therefore in the realm of death and sin. That’s why the person handling a corpse is considered impure for a time, but is also considered righteous. They are cleaning up the mess made by the sin of man, and in a very real sense doing close battle with that sin. It takes courage. It takes faith.

Read the rest, and let’s not be like these people. Let’s try to be better Christians. Let’s be like Tobit.

ISIS Is Destroying Ancient Palmyra

This is the Lion of Al-Lat:

palmyra-god-lion

It stood at the entrance the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, Syria, and dated to the First or Second Century. It was a product of the great Palmyran civilization, which had a brief but prosperous glory while the Roman Empire was beginning its decline. It was built in honor of  Al-Lat, a pre-Islamic goddess.

It no longer exists.

ISIS has taken over Palmyra, which has a rich cultural heritage, and begun a systematic destruction of all “idols.” Eyewitnesses have described the destruction of the lion with construction equipment, as well as the smashing of cultural treasures in the museum.

The ISIS forces have promised locals that they will not destroy mere ruins, only “idols.” No one believes them.

The Great Colonnade, Palmyra

The Great Colonnade, Palmyra

Blasphemy and Desecration: Keeping the Peace in a Pluralistic World

Some people seem to be misunderstanding this post. I can defend Geller’s right to say whatever she wants and still criticize the way she does it without being some kind of apologist for jihad. This is something the libertarian secularists don’t seem to get because they don’t understand religion. I don’t think Geller does either. Let me offer some examples of things I would and wouldn’t say and do.

Example 1:

I believe Mohammed is a false prophet, and so must every Christian, even though saying so would offend and outrage many, perhaps most, Muslims. I’m saying it here to make a point. If my son’s Muslim friend was here, I wouldn’t say, “Hey, how ya doing! Mohammed is a false prophet you Bronze Age barbarian!” Neither would I say to a Jewish friend, “Welcome to my house, you Christ-killer. Accept the Lord!” That’s not the way decent people act.

This doesn’t change because I go from communicating with one Muslim to communicating with thousands or millions. People are not abstractions. That’s how progressives think: people are their group. It’s just bizarre to find so-called conservatives behaving the same way with Muslims.

Wikimedia Commons: Mohammed depicted with hands covered and face left blank.

Wikimedia Commons: Mohammed depicted with hands covered and face left blank.

Now, the Muslim could say: “Jesus is not the Son of God and did not rise from the dead. The Trinity is a lie.” Indeed, if he didn’t believe this, he wouldn’t be a Muslim. I don’t find that offensive. I find it wrong. Not the same thing.

This is talking about beliefs and substance. It’s provocative, but not merely for the sake of provocation. It addresses points at the heart of religious differences.

Obviously, the number of people who might be stirred to murderous outrage by someone saying “Mohammad is a false prophet” is statistically significant, while the number of people willing to kill someone for simply denying the divinity of Jesus is practically nonexistent.

This is the heart of our modern “Islam problem.” Their self-contained religious-legal system has problems with contemporary pluralism and diversity of belief. The majority of Muslim Americans make concessions to this as the price of living here. Some do not, and that’s where the violence seethes and explodes.

Example 2:

Satanists steal a Eucharist–the very body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ–and use it in a Black Mass.

Atheists steal a Eucharist and defile it with garbage and excrement.

Both are painful, grotesquely offensive actions that wound Catholics and cry out for reparation, which we make with prayer and fasting. We are not happy about it, but we do not kill anyone over it,

Pamela Geller holds a competition to have people draw Mohammed. Many Muslims are upset by this. A statistically significant proportion of them are upset to the point of violence. Two of them actually attempt murder. Pamela Geller will never stop looking over her shoulder.

Theologically, this is nonsense, but I’m not a Muslim so the theology is meaningless to me. However, it’s a blasphemy that, to them, cries out to God for justice. Their notions of blasphemy and justice are not mine. In fact, I think their notions of blasphemy and justice are completely wrong.

And I bet they think our devotion to the Eucharist is not merely nonsense, but idolatrous and blasphemous as well.

Once again, the difference is in the reaction at the fringes. No one died because of recent high-profile cases of Eucharistic desecration, because killing people over that would be barbaric and un-Christian.

However, many have died over The Dreaded Cartoons of Blasphemy and Other Insults to Mohammed, because certain interpretations of the hadith are rigidly aniconic, associating depictions of Mohammed with idolatry. In some schools of thought, the math is simple: idolatry is blasphemy and blasphemy is punished by death.

Islam is not monolithic about this at all: there is far more diversity in the theology than modern encounters with Islam would suggest. We hear about the extremes because the extremes are deadly, but we can’t be lulled into thinking that the extremes are normative. It’s like seeing Christian snake handling cults and thinking all Christianity is like that. We don’t like when people generalize about Jews, or Christians, or conservatives, so why do it to Muslims? “Because 9/11?” or “Because ISIS?” Is that what passes for thought now?

Yes, way too many Muslims are willing to murder for their faith. It’s a much higher percentage than is found in any other religion, and Islam needs to deal with that problem. Justification for violence is embedded deeply in their history, tradition, and texts, and the happy noise made by good, peaceful Muslims doesn’t drown out the bloodcurdling shrieks of their coreligionists. They need to confront a simple reality: their texts and traditions provide ample justification for violence in a way Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism do not.

What they need to realize is that their theology alone does not provide a compelling reason for us to change our behavior

When religions need share space with each other and with the irreligious, we adapt to certain civilized standards of behavior. We don’t judge everyone in a group by the behavior of its worst members. We don’t impose arcane legal codes on non-believers. Jews don’t get to ban ham. Hindus don’t insist that all Burger Kings and Sonics are closed. Catholics don’t get to punish people for eating meat on Friday. And Muslims don’t get to kill people for drawing Mohammed. In other words: suck it up, buttercup. It’s a big world. Take the advice of Jesus, and “Pray for those who persecute you.”

But at the same time we don’t need to go out of the way to make empty and thoughtless provocations for their own sake, or to prove some point about free speech. These are the little concessions we make in a pluralistic civilization. We make them to keep the peace, not because we’re wimps or dhimmi or whatever buzzwords the Twitter commandos are deploying at the moment, but because we’re not d@#ks.

Is making more cartoons going to have some positive effect? Is it going to encourage non-violent Muslims (ie, the majority of them) to slap their foreheads and say, “Thank you, Brave Truth Teller! Now I see how foolish I am to be offended by this. Where is the nearest megachurch so I may be baptized and join the GOP?” Is it going to encourage them to report the extremists in their midst? Is it going to assure them that we don’t hold them in contempt for their beliefs? Is it going to draw Muslims further into American culture, or push them away?

Related:

William Kilpatrick offers a completely different perspective at Catholic World Report. Obviously, I don’t agree, but he makes his case better than others I’ve read.

 

I Wasn’t Charlie, and I’m Not Pamela

You don’t get to choose the guy in the trench next to you. The nasty miscreants of Charlie Hebdo would not be my choice for allies, nor would the objectivist idiot Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs. Unfortunately, they seem to be the only people placing themselves in the line of fire in the cultural war against radical Islam.

I don’t like this type of cheap provocation. I don’t particularly care when people mock my religion because I know they do so out of hate and ignorance, which reflects poorly on them, not me or my faith. What I wrote about Charlie Hebdo applies to Pamela Geller:

There’s nothing gained by sloppy sentimentality at moments like this. Charlie Hebdo and its staff were no friends to anyone of belief. They were cynical, nihilistic, and blasphemous, as is their right in our post-Enlightenment, pluralistic world. This relativistic individuality may or not be a good and healthy thing, but now isn’t the time for that debate.

There’s no difference between Charlie and Geller, so I know Art Spiegelman is just making a fool of himself when he says stupid things like this:

What’s the difference between Charlie Hebdo and Pamela Geller’s organization?

I think that’s when my brain short-circuited. Because superficially, it seems like, well, the same thing is happening in Texas. But it’s not. It’s the anti-matter, Bizarro World, flipside, mirror-logic version of what Charlie Hebdo is about.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative is racist organization. It’s exactly the nightmare version that the writers who were protesting the PEN award thought Charlie was. But Charlie is an anti-racist, political magazine that does not have an agenda that consists of wanting to bait or trouble Muslims.

Bull. Charlie Hebdo did nothing more than put a thin political gloss over what progressives like to call a “hate group.” But Spiegelman is a man of the left, and pas d’ennemis à gauche, right Art?

Remember, kiddies: Proper ideology taketh away the sins of the world, amen and amen.

The winning cartoon from Pamela Geller's contest.

The winning cartoon from Pamela Geller’s contest, because NOT showing it is a failure to report properly on a story.

But bad taste isn’t a death sentence, at least not in America. The self-selecting elites like to pretend that it is, so we get a lot of sneering at Geller from the same people who applaud every juvenile anti-Christian work that comes down the pike. It’s sickening.

A foreign enemy attempted to commit an act of violence against law-abiding American citizens on American soil. This was the reaction Pamela Geller expected and wanted, and this was the one she got. She is now a marked woman. That is a direct and predictable consequence of a freely chosen action. She owns that now and for the rest of her life.

There was no point to the action, but then again there’s no point to Corpus Christi or the Vagina Monologues or other works of hate and foolishness. They’re simply the emotional spasms of a dying culture. I don’t choose to communicate that way, and I think it’s wrong. I respond by ignoring it. They exercise their rights to free speech, and I exercise my right to ignore them. The vast majority of Muslims do the same.

Geller’s problem is that she’ll cheerfully kick 99% of the Muslims in the face in order to find the two guys who will kick back. That’s not really much of a strategy for winning a culture war, but right now it’s all anybody seems willing to do. You don’t stir a hornet’s nest and walk away without a few stings, even in America, even under the protection of the First Amendment. What you have to do is find a better way to deal with hornets than poking their nest.

This is a war the jihadists will win. If Western civilization hadn’t already committed suicide, we wouldn’t be facing defeat. Secularism, socialism, political correctness, sexual insanity, and demographic freefall have already written the final chapter of Europe, and I don’t see America recovering from its current death spiral. Only a healthy religion can drive out a diseased one. We’re too weak and fractured to resist for long.

We had a healthy religion, and we traded it for cheap goods, easy sex, and mindless distractions. We had the Gospel, and we gave it up for dollar stores, gay “marriage” and no-fault divorce, and reality TV. Worst of all, the people of Christ gave up the core of their faith in a sad attempt to fit in with a culture that will always hate them. Hell, at least the Indians got some beads for Manhattan. What do Christians have to show for their craven capitulation?

So, no: we’re not coming back from this. The most we can do is spit in the eye of the enemy as he bayonets us.

UPDATED HEREBlasphemy and Desecration: Keeping the Peace in a Pluralistic World

Related:

Charlie Hebdo and a Broken Europe

Dante: Mohammed in Hell

The Cowards in the Media

How Did CNN Report on the New “Charlie Hebdo” Cover?

Like this:

cnn

CNN to Muslim world: “Please kill us last.”

Duly noted, dhimmis.

Here is the actual cover, which a news organization would, of course, show in its reporting in any other circumstance:

FRANCE-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-MEDIA-FRONTPAGE

“All is forgiven.”

 

Terrorists can murder and bomb and destroy, but whether or not they accomplish their goals–the destruction of civilization–is completely up to us. They can only defeat the west if we change our behaviors, which means they’ve been winning this long war as we cringe in fear and subject ourselves to increasing levels of surveillance and do things to our enemies that we would rightly call barbaric were they done to us.

They can never defeat us on the battlefield. They can only defeat us in our minds and hearts, and thus they are already winning and will continue to do so as long as we allow them to.

Related:

Charlie Hebdo and a Broken Europe

Dante: Mohammed in Hell

Charlie Hebdo and a Broken Europe

How broken is Europe?

This broken:

crazy
That’s their response to the murder of twelve of their fellow journalists at the hands of jihadists.

You cannot measure my indifference to the wholly imaginary thing called “Islamophobia,” which, like “homophobia,” is a way to pathologize those who disagree with a dominant narrative. A phobia is an irrational fear. In this case, it’s perfectly reasonable to be concerned about a religious movement that has rained blood on the world since its so-called “prophet” claimed to have the final word of God to man.

There’s nothing gained by sloppy sentimentality at moments like this. Charlie Hebdo and its staff were no friends to anyone of belief. They were cynical, nihilistic, and blasphemous, as is their right in our post-Enlightenment, pluralistic world. This relativistic individuality may or not be a good and healthy  thing, but now isn’t the time for that debate.

What’s obvious is that these writers,editors, and cartoonists were able to offend Christians and Jews without any fear of reprisal. They published one of the most offensive cartoons I’ve ever seen. I’ll link it here, but be warned in advance: it shows Jesus (crown of thorns, holes in his hands and feet) sodomizing God the Father and being sodomized in turn by the “Holy Spirit.”

There’s no deeper meaning in the image: it’s just a child’s outburst.  It’s offensive, yet I never considered killing anyone over it. My religion makes it clear that kind of reaction would be a violation of God’s laws. Islam, however, is considerably less clear on the subject, with both the Koran and the Hadith offering dozens of passages alternately urging violence and peace. And therein lies of the problem of the West’s long and violent interaction with Islam.

The outpourings of solidarity and sympathy in France and beyond show that we are still capable of shock and outrage. Good. We’ll need it.

The other thing we will need is faithA pallid secularism can’t defend against a diseased religiosity. Only a healthy faith can drive out a sick one.

I don’t have any illusions that we’ll see a huge turning to Christ in France. Anti-clericalism has been part of that nation’s very flesh and blood for too long. But there is something deeper in there, down in the bone and sinew: the Christianity that made France great.

All Europe and the secular west has been feeding like a vampire from that Christian heritage for two centuries without acknowledging that Christ is the wellspring of all our values and freedoms. Since that wellspring is the very living water Himself, it will never run dry, but the walls of the well are crumbling. Even the great cathedrals, built as living prayers in stone to last for centuries, are just piles of rock without faith, as the prayers that made them live fade into a distant echo. Europe is hollowed out, cherishing abstract notions and values without any transcendence or roots. It can’t survive long in this state without something breaking.

It’s rather poignant that the #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie) slogan looks so much like “Jesus is Charlie.” As much as the people of Charlie Hebdo disdained Christ, they found themselves at the foot of the cross nonetheless, as we all do. Their deaths are tragic, grotesque, and enraging, but they needn’t be futile. There is meaning even in tragedy.

For now, from across the sea, in a nation that doesn’t forget how much we owe the French, all I can do is offer a prayer for peace in these dark times. May families of the victims find consolation and comfort, and may St. Joan watch over them, strengthen them, and guide them. And may the love and blessings of Our Lord Jesus Christ be a light in their darkness.

No, Pope Francis Did Not Call the Koran a “Prophetic Book of Peace”

kNQTCaJThe Moonie-owned Washington Times has a story headlined Pope Francis: Koran ‘is a prophetic book of peace’. That would indeed be a shocking thing for a pope to say, not so much for the “peace” part as the “prophetic” part, so let’s look at the quote from the story:

Pope Francis, in Rome after a three-day trip to Turkey, told reporters that Islam was a religion of peace and that those of different faiths shouldn’t be “enraged” at the Muslim community as a whole when acts of terrorism are committed.

“The Koran is a book of peace. It is a prophetic book of peace,” the pope said, United Press International reported.

Pope Francis, in Rome after a three-day trip to Turkey, told reporters that Islam was a religion of peace and that those of different faiths shouldn’t be “enraged” at the Muslim community as a whole when acts of terrorism are committed.

“The Koran is a book of peace. It is a prophetic book of peace,” the pope said, United Press International reported.

Indeed, the UPI story does include that wording.

But that’s not the full quote. Let’s look at what he really said, emphasis added:

“You just can’t say that, just as you can’t say that all Christians are fundamentalists. We have our share of them (fundamentalists). All religions have these little groups,” he said.

They (Muslims) say: ‘No, we are not this, the Koran is a book of peace, it is a prophetic book of peace’.”

Not at all the same thing. He’s not saying the Koran is a prophetic book or that it is a book of peace, just that Muslims say it is.

I would not be at all surprised if Francis thinks the Koran is a “book of peace,” because there are elements of peace in Islam. It’s simply foolish and reductionist to measure an entire faith by its worst elements, even when the worst elements are pretty bad. That’s what our enemies do to us. We shouldn’t then turn around and do it to others. A critique must be both honest and generous. With Islam, violence is baked right in the cake, but so is charity and devotion to God as well. Whatever we think of it, we have to consider the real thing, not a caricature.

More problematic is the, Hey we all have our nuts, amIright? comment from Francis. Christian fundamentalists are tacky and stupid and annoying, but only very rarely violent.

When a Christian goes fundie, you get Jack Chick and bad music and, sometimes, Eric Robert Rudolph.

When a Muslim goes fundie, you get the armies of ISIS, 9/11, jihad, beheadings, Jew-hate, and the destruction of civilizations.

Of the two faiths, one has tendency to violence and extremism that is rooted in elements of the faith itself, while the other does not. It’s a false equivalence.

But I get what he was trying to do. He was encouraging Muslims to speak out against violence and appealing to the better angels of their nature. That’s what a pope should do. We’re not going to get anywhere by saying, “Gee, you’re kind of a bunch of violent idiots with a rotten holy book.” We have to share this planet with 1.6 billion Muslims, and the majority of them are peace-loving people, or the world would be far more violent than it is.

Remember that “pontiff” comes from “pontifex,” which means “bridge-builder.” Extending a hand of peace, even to our enemies, is not just the job of Peter: it’s the job of us all.

Two Boys Play Chess: Madness Follows

 

Matan Poleg (above left) and Omar Eltigani (right) were paired at the World Youth Chess Championships in South Africa last week. They played a game. Poleg won on the 45th move.

Outrage ensued. Denunciations were issued. The Sudanese media couldn’t even bring themselves to mention Matan Poleg’s name. The head of the Sudanese Chess Association resigned, offering grovelling apologies.

You already know the punchline to this, of course.

Poleg is an Israeli Jew. Eltigani is Sudanese. In the Muslim world, this is an unbearable outrage.

[a] top Sudanese religious official issued a scathing rebuke of the Sudanese government for not stopping Eltigani from playing, asserting that Sudan is in a state of war with the Jews and has a policy of not recognizing “the Zionist entity.” He said that competing against an Israeli player is tantamount to recognizing Israel and gives it legitimacy, according to Sudanese news site Al Nilin.

Two girls under age 10–one Israeli, one Algerian–were also matched, and were also forbidden to play:

An Israeli Arab girl was paired against an Algerian girl and the Algerian girl was not allowed to play the match, he said. The girls, who conversed in Arabic, were each awarded a point even though the match wasn’t played, he said.

Good ole fashioned Jew-hate: it’s never out of season, even in the world of chess. As a writer and magazine editor, I’ve covered chess before, and this is not unusual. WYCC doesn’t have the guts to do what they should do: ban any team that refuses to play against Israelis. Cowards.