In furtherance of the discussion begun in my previous post, The Problem With Islam, I wanted to take a look at the two Islamic forever wars. If you haven’t read that post please do so, as it forms a necessary prelude to these war stories.
While many people are aware that Mohammed was the Prophet of Allah and the founder of Islam, fewer people know that he has another curious claim to fame.
He was pivotal in starting the two longest-running wars in history, wars that began in the 7th Century and have continued right up until today. One is the forever war of Islam against Jews, Christians, “pagans”, and the world in general; and the other is the forever war of the Sunnis and Shiites. The war against Jews and Christians started during Mohammed’s lifetime. The Sunni-Shiite war started after he died, but before he was buried … and under Islamic law, burial has to occur within a day of the death. And both wars have continued in fits and starts right up until today.
War the First: Sunnis and Shiites
The subject of the Sunni-Shiite split was simple and ancient—who would be the new ruler? Who should succeed Mohammed as the “Caliph”, the head of Islam? The faction that would eventually become Sunnis, including Mohammed’s favorite wife Aisha, thought the new Caliph should be Aisha’s father and Mohammed’s father-in-law, a man named Abu Bakr.
On the other side were the Shiites, literally the “Shiat Ali” or the party of Ali. They favored Mohammed’s son-in-law and cousin, Ali Ibn Abi Talib.
In best 7th century fashion, of course, it turned into a small fight between the two factions … which led to a larger fights between the factions … and the party of Ali lost. The first three Caliphs were Sunnis.
Eventually, after those three Caliphs had come and gone, Ali finally got his chance to be Caliph. It all should have gone well and fine, but hey, it was the Middle East and the seventh century, so after five years or so he was assassinated in 661. Not only that, but neither of Ali’s sons were allowed to take over as Caliph, which angrified the Shiites blood mightily.
After Ali was assassinated the split was complete. The members of each side were confirmed in their belief that they were the only real true Moslems, and the other side were dangerous heretics whose ideas need to be suppressed.
Now, you know how they use DNA genetic tests these days to determine where your ancestors came from? I have a theory that the genes connected to a Middle Eastern origin are also related to a specific kind of memory defect.
What kind of memory problems do those genes cause? Well, it seems that people with those Middle Eastern genes are unable to ever forget an insult, a slight, or a loss, even after centuries. And the Sunnis and Shiites are certainly in that category.
And these ancient Sunni and Shiite griefs and losses based long-gone wars and assassinations and deaths are still not forgotten today.
Now to be fair, it is true that during the fourteen centuries of often violent Shiite-Sunni antipathy, peace has unexpectedly broken out occasionally between Sunnis and Shiites …
… and then they have a year or a decade or a century of peace, during which time the two sides kind of get along and even have times when they intermarry and live next to each other without actually killing each other …
… but sooner or later, without warning, the chronic Middle East memory problem kicks in again. Something sets them off and they remember how much they really, really hate each other because of some stupidly vicious thing that happened to some distant ancestor in the 7th century or the 17th century or in 1917 or 1977 or 2007, because when you have this kind of memory problem all those years are somehow the same.
And when they start remembering ancient wrongs real and imagined as if they happened yesterday, pretty soon both sides start screaming about long dead and buried crimes of commission and omission and the Shiite-Sunni forever war starts up anew.
As to the depth of the current antipathy, about a decade ago a Sunni man loaded a pickup truck with watermelons. He drove it to a Shiite village, and offered watermelons at a low price in the open-air market. And once he and his truck were surrounded by Shiite housewives wanting to get in on the bargain, and of course their kids, he blew up the bomb under the watermelons and leveled the marketplace …
And a couple weeks ago, on one single day, a bomb in Baghdad killed fifty Sunnis, and a bomb at a Shiite shrine killed seventy Shiites … and the Western news media hardly noticed. The sad news in 2017 is that barbaric heartless brutal Islamic savagery is so common as to be unremarkable.
The thing that is remarkable is that many, many imams and mullahs and Islamic leaders are celebrating the actions of these kinds of mass murderers.
People keep claiming that Islam is just another religion, that underneath the trappings they are the same. Here’s my deal. When Baptist men start suicide bombing Lutheran women and children, and the Baptist pastors start celebrating their actions, I’ll believe that Christianity and Islam are equal. Until then, I say that Islam is a religion AND a terrorist organization, and that far too often the latter predominates. But I digress …
Regarding ending the Sunni-Shiite war, there’s a totally non-PC riddle which goes “Why did God give whiskey to the Irish?”
The answer is “To keep them from taking over the world!”.
The same is true about the Sunni-Shiite forever war. Despite the fact that it is a huge ongoing human tragedy, it has one overwhelming good feature.
Were it not for the Shiite-Sunni forever war, Islam would have taken over the world long ago, because Mohammed was a military genius.
War the Second: Islam versus the West (and everyone else)
Mohammed was an intuitive tactician and strategist who understood the use of terror. His religion was also a political ideology shaped by war and expressly designed to take over the world by a combination of terrorism and the force of arms. The Koran spells out in great detail how to use jihad, the holy war, to establish a worldwide Islamic Caliphate to bring “peace” to all. And very early on, the Muslims were well on their way toward that goal.
During Mohammed’s lifetime they raided extensively, with Mohammed leading some of the raiding parties in person. They defeated local villages, established the first Caliphate, and started doing their best to take over the world by force of arms.
Mohammed set into motion one of the most astounding military campaigns in history. Singlehandedly he started a seemingly endless war between Islam and the West that is still going on before our eyes today. Who else in history ever started a fourteen-hundred-year war? So to understand ISIS and Boko Haram and Al Qaeda and the rest of the current Islamic madness, we need to take a short cruise through that amazing Islamic military history.
When Mohammed died on June 8, 632, there were numerous Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and various other ethnic and religious communities in Arabia and all across North Africa and the Middle East … and there were a handful of Muslim communities in Arabia.
A mere three years after his death, Islamic armies took the ancient city of Damascus. Three years!
Five years after Mohammad’s death, Jerusalem, the holy city of Christianity and Judaism, was captured. Five years to take Jerusalem! A whirlwind of fire.
By eleven years after his death, the Islamic armies had captured Alexandria, the ancient outpost of Western civilization. The “Religion of Peace” was already hard at work spreading peace around the world … the peace and quiet of the conquered, the terrorized, and the dead.
Then in 648 Cyprus was invaded, followed by Rhodes. By the year 700, not even seventy-five years after Mohammed’s death, all of North Africa was under Islamic rule. Astounding.
Next the Islamic armies moved into Europe. Spain was invaded in 711, and within a mere ten years, the Islamic forces had taken it over entirely and moved into France. Finally driven back there, they attacked again in 734, taking Avignon, and Lyons a few years later.
Then in 846 Rome itself, at that time the holy of holies, the spiritual center of the Western world, was attacked and occupied by an Islamic army. The churches and the religious graves of the saints were desecrated and sacked, and the city was looted.
Islamic forces then took Sicily in 859. And Malta in 870. In 873 they attacked and totally destroyed the town of Calabria.
I won’t bore you with further details of endless warring, but the attacks by Islamic armies attempting to spread their religion worldwide and to take Europe by storm continued through hundreds and hundreds of battles for the next 200 years or so.
At that point, for a variety of reasons, the West said “Enough”. In 1095 the First Crusade was organized to try to strike back and at least attempt to stop the four-century long Islamic onslaught. After four hundred years, four centuries of endless attacks by a succession of Islamic armies, the violent Islamic drive for world domination via force of arms was more than clear to the West. Oh, there were probably university professors in Padua Italy or somewhere whining about “Islamophobia”, but other than that people were fed up with being attacked by Islamic armies and were quite reasonably afraid of Islam.
The various Crusades, of course, were failures, and after the Crusades, the Islamic attacks continued unabated—In 1529, for example, Islamic armies laid siege to Vienna, Austria. It took hundreds of years of fighting before the last Islamic armies were driven out of Europe.
But that didn’t stop the drive to take Islam worldwide. It has gone on and on right up to this very day, with various Islamic splinter groups and armies attacking the West on a wide variety of fronts. Currently, in every Islamic country there are jihadis … and in 2017, bizarrely, Brussels is a hotbed of terrorist activity.
So how did they achieve this amazing feat of arms? How did they keep a war going for century after century, endlessly attacking the West?
Like I said, Mohammed was a military genius, and his secret weapon was that he devised the world’s finest army recruitment program. The laws of the Koran are perfectly designed to appeal to teenage boys and young men. As a result, Mohammed’s army and then his followers’ armies to this day have grown rapidly as they went along. Here’s how they draw in recruits.
A deal which is specified in detail in the Koran and discussed in the Hadiths like everything Islamic was offered to the men of the villages, cities, and countries defeated in war by Islamic armies. In the 7th century when Mohammed was alive, the terms of the deal for men in conquered countries were (and of course still are, Islam doesn’t change) as follows:
• EITHER you can stay a Christian/Jew/Hindu/Zoroastrian whatever and pay an annual 10% tax on everything forever and have no legal rights and you and your wife and your descendants will be second-class oppressed citizens until the end of days …
• OR you can convert to Islam, be given eternal power over all the women in your life, join the jihad to establish the worldwide Caliphate, ride off to noble war, get rich plundering the unbelievers, divide up the booty, kill the infidels, rape the female prisoners, have four wives, divorce them at will … all with the blessing and protection of the eternal laws of the Koran.
• BUT WAIT … as they say on TV, there’s more!. If you are killed in the process of massacring infidels and raping their wives, you go straight to heaven where beautiful young virgins will screw you silly forever!
From the admittedly warped perspective of your average youthful victim of acute testosterone poisoning, what’s not to like? That’s a teenage boy’s idea of heaven, complete with submissive babes and big swords. That image is why Frank Frazetta’s artwork is so popular for science fiction novels. Here’s what I mean. This was a WWI recruiting poster for the US army.
And here’s one of Frank Frazetta’s paintings that could be the basic recruiting poster for Islamic armies from the 7th century all the way up to ISIS …
I know which army I would have joined at age 18 … and as a result of this brilliant recruiting campaign, the Islamic armies have rarely lacked for cannon fodder, and Islam has rarely lacked for converts.
Unfortunately, nothing has changed in the millennium since the First Crusade. It is just this same seductive call of violence, sex, weapons, and power that is currently being broadcast online around the world. ISIS and Al Qaeda and the rest are singing the same old tune, bringing disaffected young men from all over the world to fight on the side of Islam.
Come join us, they call out over the Internet and on social media, we have established an Islamic Caliphate as described in the Koran, and we want to take it worldwide. We capture young women and you can rape them as much and as long as you want! You can have four wives, come join us and kill every infidel who ever insulted you or did you wrong. Come to the dark side, we have cool weapons you can shoot at bad people … it is the age-old siren song of the terrorist ideology known as Islam, the same one spelled out in detail in the Koran, and it is even more dangerous now to the Western world than it was when Rome was sacked in the ninth century. I offer Belgium and Paris as only the latest evidence.
Let’s start with the ugly reality. The source of these problems is not “extremists” or “radicals”. The source of these problems is not Sunnis or Shiites or Muslims of any kind. The problem, curiously, has nothing to do with Muslims at all, so any abuse of them is misplaced.
The source of the problem is the Koran itself. It is half religious instruction manual and half terrorist instruction manual, and it has never been able to shed the barbaric 7th century half and come into the modern world.
This leaves us with several challenges. In fourteen centuries there has never been a successful reformation of Islam. Baha’u’llah came closest to reforming Islam. Sadly, all that happened was his followers split off as the very pacifistic Baha’i religion, while Islamic 7th century brutality and repression of women continued unabated. Plus, of course, following the clear instruction of the Koran the Baha’i who left Islam and followed Baha’u’llah have been ruthlessly killed by orthodox Muslims ever since …
That doesn’t mean it is impossible to reform Islam. But Islamic folks would have to grasp the nettle. They would have to agree that certain laws that are clearly spelled out in the Koran would have to be marked as being well beyond their use-by date … by about ten centuries … and thus declared, in the lovely Richard Nixonian phrase, “no longer operative”.
There is precedent for this in Islamic legend. The story is that when the Koran was being written down and assembled long after Mohammed’s death, that the very Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub in person, slipped some verses into the Koran. These were special malevolent verses that were designed to cause discord and strife both in Allah’s perfect world and in Allah’s perfect word, the Koran.
Now, it seems simple to me. Do it one verse at a time. We begin with the low hanging fruit. I’d start with the verse saying it is OK to keep female prisoners of war as sexual slaves … could we start by tossing that one overboard?
Qur’an 33:50—O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you [for sex] your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses [slaves] out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war …
Can all intelligent human beings on this planet agree that keeping women as sexual slaves is A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY? Can we put that verse of the Koran on the list of Satanic verses and be rid of that evil forever?
Because either we do that, or we put Islam itself on the list of terrorist organizations. That verse is pure vicious terrorism.
And that, of course, brings up the biggest challenge. You can literally get killed for saying that the Koran verse about sexual slavery is an abomination.Consider that Salman Rushdie tried to say that there might be Satanic verses in the Koran, and he got sentenced to death for his troubles. He had to live for years with bodyguards. And he is far from the only person threatened with assassination or killed for questioning Islam.
Perhaps you can begin to see why there has been no Islamic reformation in fourteen centuries … more liberal Muslims might not like some of the laws of the Koran, but they are intimidated into not even suggesting that the Koran might contain Satanic verses. People get killed all the time in Muslim countries for speaking out against Mohammed, or against the Koran.
However, if I were leading the charge to bring Islam forward into the 21st century, I would certainly seize upon and use the ancient Islamic idea of the Satanic verses. The beauty of that one is clear—you can blame it on the Devil. No individual is to blame, the ancient sages were not wrong, you don’t have to diss the historical holy men of Islam. It wasn’t their mistake, the Devil can do what he wants, he can fool anyone.
Further, the Koran is not changed, it is simply purified by removing the influence of the Evil One.
This focus on the Koran would also keep us from the danger of becoming like those we fight. Yes, it continues to be necessary to fight Islamic terrorism militarily. But the true enemy is not Muslims, it is the Koran. As long as the Koran keeps preaching its message of female subjugation and global jihad and retaliation against those leaving the religion, we will never be free of the 7th century madness.
Let me close by saying that these two forever wars are the over-riding challenges of the 21st Century. It will take a long and coordinated effort to achieve some kind of lasting peace in either one. However, the alternative is very ugly, so we all need to do what we can to end these endless wars without losing our own ideals and our own humanity in the process … and we better hope that we solve Islam’s forever war with the West before the Muslims solve the Sunni-Shiite forever war …
Best wishes to all sides in this important discussion, carnetarians as well as vegivores,
PS—I continue this discussion in a new post, “Orthodox Hate Speech“.