Why calling for an ‘Islamic Reformation’ is lazy and historically illiterate

Martin Luther wasn’t trying to create a more liberal political order. It’s time to talk about what really happened

7 February 2015

9:00 AM

7 February 2015

9:00 AM

It’s been said for years now: Islam needs its reformation. Some centuries ago, Christianity ditched its theocratic impulse and affirmed modern political values — let Islam do likewise! Let its Luther, who is presumably sulking in the corner of some madrassa, come forward! Islam hath need of him!

This sounds briskly no-nonsense, in its willingness to say that Islam has a problem that needs fixing, and open-minded about religion, in its assumption that religions can change and be compatible with secularism. But it’s actually lazy and historically illiterate. It involves a misreading of how Christianity relates to modernity.

It implies that, once upon a time, Christianity was in conflict with healthy political values, but it learned to change its ways. Maybe it is supposed that Martin Luther was the pioneer of this, that he said something along the lines of: ‘Let’s question what the Pope tells us and adapt our faith so that it accords with humanist morality, equal rights, and the separation of church and state.’

Instead, Luther said something along the lines of: ‘Let’s purify our religion, be more faithful to its essential logic, contained in its founding documents.’ And this reforming movement gradually produced new political realities and ideas. Creating a more liberal political order was not on Luther’s agenda, nor on anyone’s at that time, but it did become a central concern of some Protestants in the next century. The Protestant Reformation was not a matter of Christianity accepting the truth of something else, something beyond itself. And that is what people really want when they say that Islam needs a reformation: they want it to accept the truth of western values, adapt to them.

So the ‘Islam needs its reformation’ line makes this mistake. It supposes that Christianity and Islam are two comparable forms of religion: if Religion A adapted to modernity, Religion B can too. But Religion A didn’t adapt to modernity: it inadvertently made modernity, by trying to be more purely itself.

The game-changing idea that emerged in the wake of the Protestant Reformation can be summed up thus: down with theo-cracy! (Maybe I’m a soppy liberal patriot, but it seems to me that this breakthrough was 90 per cent English.) Let the state no longer enforce religious uniformity, but rather protect people’s freedom to choose how to worship. This revolution in theo-politics was proposed not by atheists but by idealistic Protestants. God wills this new sort of liberty-protecting state, said people like John Milton and John Locke. (Nonbelievers like Spinoza and Voltaire followed in their wake and have received undue credit.)

Why did they think that political liberty was God’s will? They had learned from earlier Protestants like Luther to distrust bossy institutions and religious rules; they now applied this to politics as well as religion. And they pointed to the New Testament, which affirms no theocratic model of politics (unlike the Old Testament, with its holy kings). The whole tradition of coercion in religion is wrong, is at odds with scripture, they said. For example, John Locke, in his ‘Letter Concerning Toleration’, claimed that toleration is ‘the principal mark of the true church’.

Christianity was not suddenly converted to liberty from then on. The big guns, Roman Catholicism and Calvinism, preferred the old theocratic idea, and have taken three centuries to rethink. Though the issue has not been neatly resolved (Christianity inevitably reacts against secular liberal values in certain ways), nor is it dangerously unresolved: almost no Christians want to create some alternative theocratic order, by any means necessary.

Are there are any grounds for thinking that Islam can echo this story? That it can move to seeing its theocratic tendency as erroneous, to seeing coercion in religion as a hideous heresy? I’m sorry to sound gloomy but I’m not sure there are.

The problem is twofold. First, liberal values already exist, and are firmly seen as external, or alien, to Islam. To say that freedom of religion and freedom of speech are central principles of Islam just doesn’t ring true: we all know that they have been most fully formulated and institutionalised, over centuries, in the West.

Second, as Douglas Murray recently outlined in these pages, the founding texts of Islam are ambiguous about violence: the Prophet’s calls to compassion and mercy coexist with his affirmation of the use of force in the name of God. A liberal Muslim can argue, with some reason, that Mohammed put more emphasis on compassion than his contemporaries did, but cannot deny that he affirmed a basically theocratic ideal. By contrast, Christianity’s founding texts do authorise a radical break with theocratic violence. To say that Jesus advocated nonviolence rather than holy war is not just one interpretation. Christianity therefore has an anti-theocratic logic that Islam (and in fact Judaism) lacks.

So what should we do? Regretfully conclude that Islam is unreformable, and treat it as a stubbornly medieval ‘other’? That doesn’t feel like a healthy attitude; it might justify persecution, or at least marginalisation. Instead we should reserve judgment on the ultimate fate of Islam and trust that toleration — confident, hard-headed toleration — is the best medicine for reactionary ideologies. In the past, the British press was full of anguished debates about whether Roman Catholicism should be tolerated. It seemed unreformable in its belief that the Pope’s authority trumped that of the liberal state. Surely these fifth columnists should not be allowed to disseminate their creed, or to start their own schools, said many. But Catholicism was tolerated, and as a result of living under liberalism it gradually liberalised. In the case of Islam, the same thing must be hoped for.

I said that toleration should be confident and hard-headed. Also, odd though it may sound, it should be unashamedly inconsistent. Most of the punditry since the Paris attacks has been too black-and-white. It assumes that we must choose between fully tolerating Islam, meaning never offending Muslims, making them feel entirely comfortable here; and fully affirming secular liberal values, however much it offends them. Of course we must not make such a choice, not ever.

We should not be so tolerant of Muslims that we agree never to mock their religion — but generally we should avoid such offence. Nor should we necessarily tolerate the anti-western venom of many of their preachers — but generally we should, as much as we can bear to. True toleration is necessarily inconsistent. We can only hope that such toleration encourages liberal interpretations of Islam to flourish, but whether these can contribute to a decisive change within Islam, God knows.

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  • Malcolm Stevas

    “So what should we do? Regretfully conclude that Islam is unreformable, and treat it as a stubbornly medieval ‘other’?”
    Sounds OK to me. Have we any choice? Keep it in its place, preferably no closer than N.Africa or Turkey…

    • that ship has sailed Malcolm, you can’t pretend that there aren’t millions of Muslims now living in the UK and Europe.

      • Malcolm Stevas

        Of course there are, but we can stop pandering to them, catering for their primitive beliefs, encouraging their failure to adopt our ways. Or we could, if our leaders had the balls.

        • Louise

          Do you have in mind any practical measures that might achieve this?

          Thank you.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Start energetically enforcing our laws.

      • Dogsnob

        He isn’t.

      • James Lovelace

        Up until 1962 there were millions of jews and christians in Algeria.

        That didn’t stop the muslims expelling them, with the charming slogan “choose the suitcase or the coffin”.

    • sebastian2

      The answer is “yes” and “difficult”. It is a medieval “other” that regards us as an infidel “other” and always will. The difficulty is that mohammedism has rooted itself in the UK and will be hard to dislodge or dismantle until we cease “respecting” it. Of course, it merits no respect at all. What we lack until now, is the courage to say so and the intellectualy honesty to say why. I hope that will come – but there will be a cost.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Difficult when ‘respect’ (ie affirmation) is replacing tolerance (which includes the right to criticise & reject) as a British value.

        • sebastian2

          I’d like to see those traditional values hurrying back at full gallop with its lance aimed at political correctness. Long overdue.

    • Grace Ironwood

      I think there is nothing for it but to have another Reformation that rejects multiculturalism and other destructive tenets of cultural Marxism.

  • sebastian2

    There is an islamic reformation under way – in mohammedism’s heartland where so called jihadists attempt – with considerable success so far – to return to islam’s violent and bloody roots and dispositions. What we see is the “real” islam – insofar anything about this bizarre and duplicitous, paradoxical cult is “real”. It seeks to “cleans” itself of the progresive trends triggered by western ideas and habits seeded by the western presence in Arabia and elsewhere.

    The islamic reformation is recidivist. Based as it is on a doctrine that can neither be altered nor abandoned, it has no other choice.

    • Dogsnob

      “The islamic reformation is recidivist.” In what way?

      • sebastian2

        It is returning to what it was under the “prophet”. ISIS (and others) is restoring the original – the “real” – islam. The “reformation” is a revival of this ancient mohammedan, brutal purity.

        • Dogsnob

          Thank you. Get your drift.

        • Grace Ironwood

          I agree, although some might date the “Reformation” from the early 20th C with the grandfather of Professor Ramadan.

          This is also a very contemporary, synthetic form of Islam : wired, networked and a magnet for young sociopaths.

          Synthetic in the mode of modern, western witchcraft.

    • Ian G

      When are people going to catch up? Been there, done that, 2013. http://thealmondrod.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/do-we-need-islamic-reformation.html

  • thetrashheap

    Islam isn’t structured like either the Roman or orthodox churches, its structure is already much more in line with the protestant churches with no clear leader, anybody can be a IMAN or Minister etc so what possible use is a reformation.
    What people want is an Islamic Enlighenment. The idea of this is ridiculous and only put forward by wishful thinking liberals who don’t want to believe Islam is any worse than christianity. It was relatively easy to say ignore the old book Jesus supperceeds it in new testament so start loving each other more and less brutal madness.
    Not so easy to do that with Koran. Mohammed is not a relatively chilled laid back hippy who preaches love… His rules are pretty clear and not really open to spinning in a nice way.
    THe fact is what is needed is people to reject the islam teachings which is niether the enlighenment or the reformation. THis is also highly unlikely to happen, so the real question is how the hell are we going to deal with it…

    • Donafugata

      The biggest problem with Islam is its supremacist tendency which automatically means that anything that is not it, is inferior.

      Just as the Nazis saw themselves as the master race and everyone else as unterMensch.

    • John

      Are Imans the Apple version of dudes?

    • John Andrews

      In Shia Islam only descendents of the Prophet can become Imans.

  • will91

    The reformation has already happened. The result is not encouraging.

    • Koko Loko

      How and where has it already happened?

      • grutchyngfysch

        If you define the Reformation by contrast to the European Reformation in Christianity (i.e. a return to puritan, textually-rooted interpretations, with a rejection of religious institutions and the interpretations that have grown around them over time), then you’d have a prime candidate for an “Islamic Reformation” in the very form which most people are keen to criticise: Wahhabism. Under that model, we’re over a 100 years into the Islamic Reformation…

        • Dogsnob

          “…keen to criticise…” Yes, I can never understand these pussies whinging about lobbing poofters off high-rises, into a baying mob of stone wielding thugs.

          • little islander

            Few years ago, 21st century while holidaying in Malaysia, my Christian friend (we are Chinese) over dinner asked me if I knew AIDS was sent by God to punish gays. I witnessed him begging his younger 16 yr-old son not to be gay, not that there was any indication his son was. Surreal? No, human.

        • Koko Loko

          I wonder how much longer women and minorities will have to wait for basic human rights in some of the countries in the ME….

          • grutchyngfysch

            Difficult to say – perhaps never if the impetus is required to originate in Islam.

      • will91

        If you look at the female University graduates in Cairo in the 1970s they are all uncovered women wearing western style dress. Today the women are all covered. The same can be said for most middle eastern capitals. The burkha was sneered at as something old women wore up country but not what young, cosmopolitan muslim women would ever consider. This is the one thing Yasmin Alibhai Brown is right about, she belongs to that generation of young women in the 70’s. The burkha is just one issue. Across the Muslim world a more extreme interpretation of islam has been a trend for some decades.

        • Grace Ironwood

          Even in Kabul, there are some great photographs of the local girls outside the record shop in their mini’s and beehives.
          On other hand, Magnum has some great pics of male couples

        • little islander

          AIDS became epidemic in the 1980’s. May be a factor, may be not. Many peoples, whites included, became anxious and were appalled by the sexual permissiveness. It didn’t take much for one to turn celibate or religious. I could be wrong but even President Reagan said AIDS was God’s punishment for the gays.

        • Koko Loko

          Thanks for the insight. “Reformation” for some means going back to the foundational texts of Islam….. now that is definitely a worry.

  • top drawer

  • global city

    Lots of Muslims have tried to ‘reform’ Islam….most of them were wiped out by the more faithful sort.

    • rtj1211

      And what do suppose the Christians were doing in the Dark Ages, eh?? Wiping out those they didn’t like……

      Somehow or other, after a few centuries, change happened.

      • Christianity allows change – Islam, in no uncertain terms, doesn’t. The penalty for changing Islam is death. That’s never been the case with Christianity, even though the rulers of Christian countries have been brutal – but nothing exceptional from a global perspective.

      • John Croston

        JC did not leave instructions to kill anybody – Mo did. There’s the difference. Muslims can always justify their barbarisms by quotes from the Koran or from the examples set by the “Perfect Man” himself. And they do.

      • colonel wintle

        The real Christians were being butchered by the catholic church, Ridley and Larimer, Foxes book of Martyrs

        • praxan

          And where, in the teachings of JC, did they find justification to butcher? That’s the whole point of this article 🙂

      • kittydeer

        After what happened to that Jordanian pilot (RIP) I think anyone who compares islam to Christianity is a complete and utter moron. There are no doubt innocent good muslims but the creed is evil and until I see demonstrations shouting ‘not in my name’ I can have no time for them or people who apologise or excuse them

        • Dodgy Geezer

          …There are no doubt innocent good muslims …

          Alas, this is a contradiction in terms. If a muslim were, say, to hide a christian family to save them from being killed, he would bu definition be a ‘bad muslim’…

          • Erez Landshut

            Unbelievers are described by Muhammad (in the Qur’an) as “the vilest of animals” and “losers.” Christians and Jews are hated by Allah to the extent that they are destined for eternal doom as a result of their beliefs. It would make no sense for Muhammad to then recommend them to be taken in as friends by Muslims. In fact, the Qur’an plainly commands believers not to take unbelievers as friends.

            The Qur’an:

            Qur’an (5:51) – “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.”

            Qur’an (5:80) – “You will see many of them befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide.” Those Muslims who befriend unbelievers will abide in hell.

            Qur’an (3:28) – “Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them…” This last part means that the Muslim is allowed to feign friendship if it is of benefit. Renowned scholar Ibn Kathir states that “believers are allowed to show friendship outwardly, but never inwardly.”

            Qur’an (3:118) – “O you who believe! do not take for intimate friends from among others than your own people, they do not fall short of inflicting loss upon you; they love what distresses you; vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater still; indeed, We have made the communications clear to you, if you will understand.” This verse not only warns Muslims not to take non-Muslims as friends, but it establishes the deep-seated paranoia that the rest of the world is out to get them.

            Qur’an (9:23) – “O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers” Even family members are not to be taken as friends if they do not accept Islam. (This is the mildest interpretation of this verse from the 9th Sura, which also advocates “slaying the unbeliever wherever ye find them”).

            Qur’an (53:29) – “Therefore shun those who turn away from Our Message and desire nothing but the life of this world.”

            Qur’an (3:85) – “And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.”

            Qur’an (3:10) – “(As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire.” Those who do not believe in Muhammad are but fuel for the fire of Hell (also 66:6, 2:24. 21:98).

            Qur’an (7:44) – “The Companions of the Garden will call out to the Companions of the Fire: “We have indeed found the promises of our Lord to us true: Have you also found Your Lord’s promises true?” They shall say, “Yes”; but a crier shall proclaim between them: “The curse of Allah is on the wrong-doers” Muslims in heaven will amuse themselves by looking down on non-Muslims in Hell and mocking them while they are being tortured (see22:19-22.

            Qur’an (1:5-7) – “Show us the straight path, The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray” This is a prayer that Muslims are supposed to repeat each day. “Those who earn Thine anger” specifically refers to Jews and “those who go astray” refers to Christians (see Bukhari (12:749)).

        • Älter und weiser

          A saying I heard once captures the comparison.
          ..The problem with Christianity are the Christians, while the problem with Muslims is Islam.

      • global city

        I don’t really see what point you are trying to make, unless it is that idiot one that assumes I know nothing of the schisms, wars (the 30 year one was a particularly good and bloody one) and inquisitions that scarred the Christian church?

        The point about Islam is that change has failed and there is no prospect or reason for change to be inevitable.

      • Mister Rible

        it’s 2015 – change the bloody record!

      • Dogsnob

        That’s encouraging. Only a couple of hundred years to wait till all the heads stop lopping off eh?

        • Grace Ironwood

          Note that Islamic countries are having their own demographic death-spiral- lagging about 50 years after ours.
          Too late, at present there is a huge bulge of useless young men.

          • Dogsnob

            This sounds interesting. What source has this information please?

          • Grace Ironwood

            Try the united nations report on the Islamic world. Have a look at Iran’s demographic death dive- from 7 kids to 1.6 from grandma to granddaughter, the greatest ever recorded.

            David Goldman (AKA Spengler) has some good articles that present demographic trends clearly, quoting sources, good footnotes.

          • Dogsnob

            Thank you, I’m very surprised – and somewhat heartened. Will look at these.

          • Grace Ironwood

            There is a book by David Goldman called Why Civilisations Die – and Why Islam is Dying too, ( yes, I know 🙂 which brings these trends together and discusses them in the light of the future of Europe and the Middle East. There are reports by the UN and interpretative articles by professional demographers that describe the phenomena and form the main references of the book. Goldman also offers some provocative perspectives on why Israel is the only advanced Western Country to buck the trend, and by implication, the only place with a future 🙂 (In Israel there well over 3 .5 kids per woman , highest in the developed world and intersecting with the Arabs who are, birthrate-wise, on the way down )
            He publishes as Spengler and refers to these demographic issues quite regularly in his articles and essays.
            Oh, as far as the ME is concerned, Goldman sees them as embarking on their own Thirty Years War.

          • Dogsnob

            Again, thank you and I will read up.

      • Grace Ironwood

        This was against the precepts of the New Testament and their God-man. It’s supremely irrelevant because its not happening now.
        Why do you offer it as an equivalence so “we are just as bad” ?

  • Chris Ranmore

    A similar myth surrounds the Pilgrims who left for America. They didn’t seek religious freedom – they wanted the freedom to impose their own theocracy! They even sent people back across the Atlantic because of theological disagreements.

  • Zanderz

    What’s with the weird Photoshop job on the girls face? No point trying to recreate the famous Time magazine cover.

  • Dr. Heath

    We live in an increasingly post-religious world. Whatever religious sentiments infused the lives of people in Japan or China in centuries past appear to have vanished. Scores of millions of young, nominally Muslim citizens of nations like Iran, Turkey and Egypt view Islam either with contempt or near total indifference. Attendance at mosques is in single percentage figures in some communities within the Muslim diaspora and within the borders of a number of states whose rulers are fighting a rearguard Islamist fight through the imposition of an unpopular and barbaric religion-based totalitarianism. This may not be at all anyone’s definition of a reformation and it’s not universal in the Muslim world. But it is certainly happening and it’s certainly irreversible.

    Useful idiots all over the West of course feel impelled to delay the progress from literalism and mindless intolerance towards the twenty-first century. This pandering, a manifestation of the Racism of Low Expectations, may in the long-term be the offence committed against Muslims by ‘smarter’ fair-skinned folk that is the last to be forgiven.

    • Dogsnob

      This post-religious world you portray: are you sure?

  • Ali

    In Islam as well as Christianity there is a belief that God gave man free will and that he is born with the ability to recognize good and evil, right from wrong. They also have a notion of the devil. It seems to me and I have been saying this since last August, that they need to make use of Iblis and the Jinn(those who whisper evil in people’s ears) as an explanation for those acts of grotesque violence, brutality, rape, child abuse etc, we have seen. After all it was Milton’s idea of the role of the devil and of man’s inherent free will which led to the gradual changes of ideas to which the article refers and eventually to enlightenment etc. ( Don’t bother starting a theological argument, I know how I have abbreviated.)

    It may seem like making excuses, but it gives peaceful people hope and if people believe that God gave them free will modernity will follow where ever it is not wholly incompatible with other aspects of Islam (as opposed to ancient and evil cultural traditions).

    • sebastian2

      But “The Doors of Ijtihad have been closed”. You’re stuck with what you were given centuries ago. I advise you to abandon your claustrophobic religion of darkness.

    • Erez Landshut

      You know a belief in islam is that they will conquer rome sounds stupid as hell

  • TrulyDisqusted

    Christian reformation was only possible because the Christian text is peaceful. Some may try to bring up the Crusades as proof that Christianity is violent, but the Crusades happened because violent Islamic incursions prevented safe passage/pilgrimage to the former Christian Holy land. There is nothing in the New Testament commanding Christians to fight or kill the unbelievers. Any violence regarding the Crusades was a reaction to Muslim aggression against Christians. Jesus’s most important message was to Love your God with all your heart and soul, Love your neighbours and Love your enemies.

    The Islamic texts are a completely different story. One must understand the importance of abrogation when considering the Koran, in that later violent commands abrogate earlier peaceful ones. All of the peaceful and tolerant verses are early on in the Meccan section when Mohammed was weak with very few followers. He talked of tolerance only to secure his own safety whilst he planned to overthrow the Christians and Jews.

    It’s in Medina that Mohammed the thief, murderer and maniac shows his true intentions. He needed an army because he was building his kingdom on earth. Once he had one we see the violent verses and action where he returned to Mecca and conquered the infidels and then proceeded to “cleanse” the whole of the Arabian peninsula of the unbelievers.

    You can’t reform the Koran because when understood in context, it’s not where Mohammed starts but where he finishes. He finishes as a violent warlord intent on wiping all unbelievers from the face of the earth unless they accept 5th class citizenship and pay a jizzia (tax). All of the peaceful and tolerant verses so often quoted by our politicians have been abrogated by the violent dominant ones.

    Muslims understand this, Mohammed preached it, Muslims are instructed only to preach tolerance and peace until there are enough of them to terrorize and dominate.

    Jesus was Love, Mohammed was a warlord. Let us please stop comparing Christianity and Islam as if they much in common.

    They don’t and they never will. Muslims only need us to believe it whilst they grow their numbers and then we find out how tolerant wife beating, Jew hating, church burning Islam really is.

    They’ve used the same pattern for 1400 years. How hard is it really to understand?

    • Jane Martinsford

      Well said. Best response I’ve read on this subject.

      • truthexposed

        Bible has a habit of ordering the killing of children…

        Hosea 13:16

        16 The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,

        because they have rebelled against their God.

        They will fall by the sword;

        their little ones will be dashed to the ground,

        their pregnant women ripped open.”

        • Jim Station

          The context of your quote reveals an ignorance of the Bible and Christianity. The quote is from the Old Testament writings which have come from Judaism. Jesus’s teachings in the New Testament override the messages in the Old Testament and are the most important. Jesus actually said to ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ as well as ‘turn the other cheek.’ The notion of revenge you refer to dates back to primitive times thousands of years before Jesus. It has only been by Europe making a bit of an effort to follow Jesus’ teachings (with massive reluctance and failings I’ll grant you) over the past 2000 years, that societies in Europe became MORE stable (but still far from perfect) than Islamic societies. Modern day Europe seems to be too keen to abandon its Christian roots, and will be unable to face the Islamic ‘challenges’ without them.

          • Bonkim

            The Bible is incomplete without the Old Testament. Jesus is the Son of God (Jehovah/Yahveh/Elohim) and would not have contradicted the Old Testament The old and new are a continuum. You have no understanding of christianity/the Bible or European history and the barbarities that prevailed in the religious wars and persecution of minorities over the centuries and also the genocides of heathens across the Globe perpetrated by European settlers in the new world and Asia/Africa. The terror, the Inquisition, burning of the American Indians – the Holocaust was just the culmination of the persecution suffered over the centuries in a Christian Europe aka the Holy Roman Empire. Funnily Islamic societies were more tolerant of minorities including Christians and Jews in the Middle-Ages at the time the Christians were slaughtering the Incas in South America or demolishing temples, etc, in Asia or carrying our forced conversions.

          • ClausewitzTheMunificent

            Tripe my good Sir, utter Tripe! The American Indians were mostly killed off by the diseases carried by the settlers than anything else. The Inquisition is often blown completely out of proportion, and to claim that the Holocaust was somehow a Christian phenomenon is utter balderdash (clue – it was done by Hitler in the name of his racial ideology, which is very un-Christian). Moreover, the Jews may have been persecuted in Europe, but no more than they should have expected for retaining their distinct identity – the different (broadly defined, not necessarily racially or linguistically), should always expect to be mistrusted in human societies. To claim that Islam was somehow more tolerant, while engaging in the murder of millions of Indians and the brutal slavery of millions of Africans is an utter farce – and even the Ottoman Empire, probably the most tolerant of the Muslim civilisations only tolerated Christians and Jews because they were directly useful to their political power, e.g. as slave soldiers. Being a dhimmi outside of Turkey in the 16th century was no better than being a Jew in some of the most anti-semitic places in Europe.

          • Jim Station

            Er…sorry if you actually read my post correctly, you would actually see that I have acknowledged that people in Europe have followed Christianity “with massive reluctance and failings”.
            I am not arguing that the Churches don’t rely on Old Testament scripture, but I repeat that Jesus’ incarnation and teachings are the fulfilment of Old Testament teachings and prophecies. Jesus’s teachings are seen to override any Old Testament teachings that may seem contradictory.
            YOU have no clue about what instigated the Crusades for example in the first place. Islamic hordes were invading looting and pillaging the Holy Lands, and murdering, raping and enslaving the local populace ….like ISIL today.
            I am not stating that Christians have been perfect. What I am stating is that many other beliefs – including Islam and yes, atheism which IS a system of belief and faith (under Stalin – responsible for up 25 million of his own and Hitler – 6 million +) are responsible for at least as many, if not more deaths and misery.

          • Bonkim

            Read again – at the first Crusade Islam was firmly established in the Holy Lands for centuries. The Selcuk Turks invaded Asia minor/Byzantium in the 11th century and the Pope saw a way to stop the European tribes from – look up:


            “There are no records of exactly what Urban said, but it seems he began with a general denouncement of the continual warfare which plagued the Europe of his day. He then described in lurid detail the attacks of the Turks upon the Christian Byzantine Empire, and begged the soldiers present to travel to the east to attack the Muslims, rather than their fellow Christians.

            As a further encouragement Urban offered them a Papal Indulgence, which promised the immediate remission of all sins of any who participated in the expedition.”

            It was plunder and pillage all the way and in Jerusalem.

          • Jim Station

            Yes and how was Islam ‘firmly established in the Holy Lands’? By followers of Mohammed forcing the populace to convert, submit or be killed.

          • Bonkim

            How was Christianity established anywhere? By conversion – many forced or dictated by the Ruler of the day or social coercion to gain advantage or avoid persecution. Look up history of Christianity in Europe and other parts of the world – Both Islam and Christianity are ‘convert’ religions. There are no Angels in any religion – social brutality. Most people were ignorant and illiterate and religion coming from their social superiors in foreign tongues King or Clergy – was straight from almighty God.

          • Jim Station

            I agree that there are no ‘angels’ in any religion…this also applies to atheism as well though.

          • Bonkim

            Atheists have no Religion, No Angels, No Holy Book or Prophets – individuals that try to take a detached view.

          • Jim Station

            I was saying that there are no perfect people in any group of people as a figure of speech….but you couldn’t resist picking holes where there were really none to pick there.

          • Bonkim

            Agree with you 100% – but in any discussion you have to set up the perfect model to compare the situation being discussed. It helps to look from outside the box in to get an impartial view of the inside. If you support one or the other belief system the discussion sinks.

          • Jim Station

            Well what do you believe in, then?

          • Bonkim

            In a discussion best not to bring one’s belief but look objectively at the issues given in the report and comment on relevant issues if there is room for improvement. Discussion based on ones religion or cultural mindset fails to be objective.

          • Jim Station

            That’s a total cop out. One’s belief’s (even in atheism or not) affect one’s outlook and position one takes in discussions.

          • Bonkim

            I suppose one has to define the boundaries of one’s objectivity.

          • WTF

            So where exactly do you want to start the clock ? Before Islam, Christianity or Judaism as its certainly clear that Islam came a day late and a dollar short and still is !

          • Bonkim

            Good point – I don’t want to start any comparison between religions – all superstitions in my view.

            Religion is a personal matter and whilst all have their rights of belief leave any bigoted acts to the authorities to deal with. Agree religion is at the centre of many conflicts and terror, but then these are misguided and need to be eliminated by civilized society – if there is cancer need for surgery. Christian societies have experienced religious wars and revolutions in history and now consign religion mostly to social interaction. May religions are however still feral and need to be culled if unable to adapt and change.

          • WTF

            I agree generally, religion should be a personal matter for those who need a fairy tale to help them through life in the 21st century. It served its purpose many centuries ago as a social engineering tool to try and make a cohesive society, but in the west that’s pretty much redundant & unnecessary now people can read and write.

            I’m not to sure what you mean by bigoted acts. You can’t be bigoted against a religion unlike a person as you either believe in that fairy tale or dismiss it as irrelevant and fiction. If there is genuine racism or bigotry against the person, I agree that is up to the authorities provided they apply any sanctions equally. Unfortunately we see western governments and especially their attitudes and actions (or inactions) apply reverse discrimination far too many times.

            The basic error the authorities mistakenly carried out was pandering to militant groups to satisfy the minority groups lust for special treatment, but like the kid in Oliver, they kept coming back for more. Now serious abuses are being exposed wholesale they see a threat from elements in the majority ‘kicking back’ at those who committed these crimes. Instead of dealing harshly at the real criminals, the police and others issue ‘veiled threats’ not at them but at those supporting the victims.

            Its a topsy turvy world of justice especially in the UK where victim and criminal have changed hats. Culling a religion that promotes disharmony through hate should be done just as certain hate groups have been banned in the past. I doubt this will ever happen as the usual cry for the tossers in power is “it will drive them underground”.

          • Bonkim

            Religion ceased to the determining factor in Europe when education spread – illiterates in the past could be controlled by the magic of religion.

            Regards your interpretation of lax attitude to Islam – not sure – the law is taken seriously but as in any other area the question is how far coercive laws would succeed – in general like crime – it is the fear of crime that people imagine will get them. Not sure if bigoted practice of any religion causes harm – yes you may resent the prevalence of people of alien cultures and/or religions – but if you examine closely have these really affected you personally?

            As with any other criminal acts the legal system has to follow its rules regarding evidence, etc, and by and large the system works.

            Bigoted youngsters venturing off to join ISIS, etc, the Authorities can control this and ruthlessness is needed to clean out any poison – in the mean time I suppose peaceful protests or campaigns are part of the British scene – same as Animal Liberation Front, EDL or anti-Nuclear Marches of old. If you lived through the 1960s, and 70s IRA terrorism was rampant, as also industrial protests, race riots, etc, etc, all part of the changing times – that is how any society evolves and the British way has been by and large bloodless compared with events in Europe and many other parts of the world. The decades since WW” have been eventful and society and all aspects of life have evolved at an accelerated rate – that probably is more unsettling than the imagined differences between religions and cultures impinging on British life. Balance needed in interpreting such things and if you support one or the other lose out.

            Even from your perspective there have been vast changes in British society not necessarily to do with immigration, Islam or other imported factors – someone resurrected from say the 1930s and 40s will have difficulty understanding today’s spoken and written English or lifestyles, dress code, manners, or personal relationships – he/she will find a strange land where the values they cherished are no more quite apart from the superficial trimmings arising from technology and material affluence. Look up some of the films from the 1930s and 40s both British and US to see the contrast in language, and manners.

          • WTF

            I’ll make it as succinctly as I can. (I lied)

            1/ Lax attitude towards Muslim offenders is epitomized by Rotherham and other cities. A decade or more of sweeping under the carpet sexual abuse of minors committed by Pakistani men is much more than a lax attitude, its a deliberate policy of reverse discrimination motivated by race, there’s nothing else you can call it.

            2/ There was plenty of evidence, they chose to ignore it and even accuse one Father of stirring up hate.

            3/ Bigoted youngsters venturing off to join ISIS, etc, the Authorities can control this – But they don’t do they or what piddly measures they do take are ineffective. How about stripping them of their UK citizenship for starters, that will focus their minds about going off to behead some aid worker.

            4/ I lived through all those ‘rampant’ times but I must confess, I never found them to be rampant in anyway. It was a pretty muted affair including IRA terrorism on the mainland. I even visited Belfast on business but never really felt threatened despite what was going on and again when they bombed my local pub in Woolwich. It was very sad for the innocent who were killed but by and large, it was more of a minor inconvenience than what we have with Jihadists.

            5/ Of course the UK has evolved over my 70 years in prosperity, technology, entertainment and social values, its the nature of mankind. BUT, no one dreamed 30 years ago we’d see the fascists on the left deliberately change the UK over the past 15 years by forcing mass immigration, multiculturalism and diversity down our throats under threat of being charged with a hate crime.

            Natural evolution is expected and welcomed, enforced social engineering that encourages the worst elements in the country to kill us over a cartoon, control us in what we can say, eat or drink and then make us second class citizens all in the name of Islam, was certainly not on our agenda 30 years ago.

          • Bonkim

            You started with Rotherham as if that is some unique feature in British society except that most of the perpetrators were from another culture.

            Look around Britain has been and still is full of child molesters, Europeans travel to the Far east in huge numbers as sex tourists and young girls and boys are easy prey – Child molesters and rapists regularly hit the headlines and past history of goings on in high places revealed – So don’t get hung up on Rotherham. Look up also the internet trolls preying on youngsters often murdering them

            Domestic servants including young girls (and boys one assumes) were handy in many Victorian households particularly where relations took you in. Most of abuse takes place within the family – so don’t get carried away. yes – the social services and Police in Rotherham were inept probably assuming the victims had it coming to them. Evil takes any opportunity offered regardless of race or religion.

          • WTF

            If you understood me correctly you would have noticed that I blamed British control freaks as much as the Pakistani sexual abusers as both ethnic groups enabled ‘Rotherham’ to happen.

            What happens in Thailand and other far eastern countries is a matter for their laws and legislators and some do bring charges as with Glitter in Vietnam. Thats an irrelevance when looking at the issues in Rotherham where the authorities were complicit in allowing sexual abuse to go on purely for ‘diversity’ reasons. Maybe those control freaks in charge at social services and local plod felt that in the interests of “diversity” its only fair that Muslim men are fairly represented in sexual abuse crimes and as that wasn’t possible inside their community they gave them a free rein with white meat. Who knows what goes on in their sick minds !

            The social services and Police in Rotherham were NOT inept, many staff were complicit !

          • Bonkim

            I think we have flogged the subject to death – Child sexual abuse (I don’t like the term paedophilia) is not just by Pakistanis in Rotherham or Sheffield but people from very many other ethnicities, cultures, and religions or no religion. I leave it to look up the perpetrators and how the law has dealt with these matters. Social services and police had a duty in Rotherham and at all other locations to protect the youngsters – they failed and if they have evidence should take the perpetrators to court and be dealt severely.

          • WTF

            Of course child sexual abuse is carried out by people of many different cultures & ethnicity but fathers, priests and other abusers of children, do not do so with any racist motivation.

            Only sexual grooming (a sub set of child sexual abuse) seems to be the preserve of some Muslim men with the extra feature of race hate thrown in for good measure as they only groomed non Muslim girls. That distinction is important for the very simple reason the authorities are still airbrushing over that element.

          • Bonkim

            Can’t comment but one assumes child sexual abuse is also prevalent in Muslim societies – regarding the British girls any that have problems and are attracted to night adventure fall prey to opportunists. I bet men of any race/creed would be driven to take advantage if they are so inclined. This is part of social and family breakdown and girls are particularly vulnerable. If the authorities are air-brushing not sure what their motivation would be apart from hiding their failings – take it up with your MP or other political leaders. If you look up any public service – local authorities, social housing, the NHS, Revenue and Customs, etc, etc, on the one hand the image is that of public service, dedication, honesty, high scruples, etc – in reality from personal insider view – it is Empire-building, incompetence, shielding one’s informal group from criticism, eliminating whistle-blowers, nepotism, etc, etc. Most on the Governance Boards/Committees are incompetent or just grinding their own Axe, and will not stand any criticism from outside or from inside. Not many want to rock he boat or be seen as traitor to their group.

            Not just Rotherham – any number of other instances – look at the similarities. That is the nature of British society and failure to expose the worms inside.

          • Jim Station

            How can you prove that all religions are superstitions – that statement is actually a statement of faith itself – in atheism, but it still cannot be proven.

          • Bonkim

            Quite so – you have to accept fundamental axioms to start with. In my case the axiom is there is no God – and human intellect is limited to probe any further.

          • WTF

            Thats the point isn’t it, the first crusade was enforced compliance with Islam or die, Islam didn’t just evolve peaceably in the Holy Lands !

          • Jim Station


          • FergusReturns

            “atheism which IS a system of belief and faith”

            No it isn’t, you moron.

            “Hitler – 6 million +”

            Hitler was Catholic. The Nazis persecuted atheists.

          • Jim Station

            What a load of ignorant tosh. Hitler had given up any Christianity long before he got to power and was a known admirer and follower of the virulently atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche…who argued that life was totally pointless for every person on earth, except for the ‘lucky few’ who made up their own rules and rode roughshod over every other person without any reservations or regrets. Before you start to get personal in your insults, be sure to know what you are talking about.

          • WTF

            Maybe from a literary point of view you need both parts of the Bible but for most Christians, it was the New Testament that was instilled in us along with the ten commandments at Sunday School but not the old fire and brimstone stuff.

            Its worth looking at this link to see the marked difference between the old and the new as the teachings of Jesus put a completely different slant on the Old Testament and a human face for the future. Of course there were problems later on between Christian factions much like we see today between the multitudinous factions of Islam.


          • Bonkim

            Sunday Schools are centres of brain-washing and social conditioning. Religion is not a literary exercise. If you take it seriously you will believe in the old and new testament – look up the linkage and that there is no new without the old – Jesus is Son of Jehovah, and has constantly referred to his Father as the instrument through whch od acts. – a little like Muhammad being the Prophet of God (Allah = Elohim – Yahveh = Jehovah)

            Now that is if you take religion seriously and not as a social pastime. For me all that is superstition and arguing about religion is as fruitless as arguing about which political party you support. Funnily religion and national politics go hand in hand as also all the inhuman acts the man is capable of defending his Tribe/Country and Faith.

          • Jim Station

            And how were the societies Islamic in the first place? by raiding, torturing, pillaging and r***ing the populace into submission. Be clear – there never has been an Islamic society that treats non-Muslims equally or grants them equal rights – and that’s a basic fact.

          • Bonkim

            All societies based on a faith are like that – all religions exclude other belief systems some discriminate people of other faiths. Look through history of how Christianity was spread through Europe and later across the Globe by the Catholic Church in cahoot with the invading forces. Other religions too have practised barbarities all through history. Religion has been the cause of conflicts all through history – and still is.

          • Rowland Nelken

            Yes, Jesus was utterly contradictory. How do you reconcile the Love and Peace Jesus with the guy who threatened eternal hellfire for those who would not accept his claims? Jesus was, in speech a stickler for the barbaric old law but circumspect in practice. His reappearance in Revelation waving a sword and presiding over an orgy of mega violence at the End of TIme is alao at odds with the Turn the Other Cheek chap.

            If the Old Testament is old hat, why is it bound with the Christian Bible and paraded with reverence? In practice, Jim Station, I am glad the CHristian church is populated largely with utterly illogical and inconsistent people like you.

            Regrettably, though, your veneration for that dodgy old Book the Bible lends legitamacy to the homophobes, misogynsts, creationists and apocalyptic frightener brigades who take the entire Bible at face value.

          • Jim Station

            Er…sorry but Jesus has never promised to appear with a sword in the book of Revelation promising a mega orgy of violence at the end of time….you seem to be implying that he will be killing people. (I am not saying that the end of time is not promised to be violent, but in your haste to knock Christianity, it would help if you knew what you were talking about.)
            Jesus did call for self denial, which does seem to go against the spirit of today’s age and many people who rail against Christianity often take offence with that message.
            You call me illogical, so that means that you are totally logical? If you really are meaning that, then I do not believe you. Furthermore, you seem to be getting a little personal with your vindictiveness. Just remember, when people start to get personal, its a sign that they are losing the argument.

          • cartimandua

            There are not so many of those anymore.

          • FergusReturns

            “Jesus’s teachings in the New Testament override the messages in the Old Testament ”

            That’s not what Jesus said.

          • Jim Station

            I have simply stated the understanding from all Christians to Jesus’ teachings.

        • James Lovelace

          “Bible has a habit of ordering the killing of children…”

          And those values were negated by people like Jesus. Jesus never killed any children.

          Muslims claim their interpretation of the Bible is the true interpretation. That’s why islamic texts show Mohammed killing children.


    • Dogsnob

      How come you and I know of this, while David Cameron, Barak Obama and all the leaders of the EU; but more importantly, the whole of the younger generation in the West, do not?

      • pyewacket

        Yes Dogsnob (ha! love the name, but only one?)

        Where was I? Ah yes, most all it shocks me that the younger generation are campaigning for less freedom of speech. Many students have been led astray by devout Muslims who demand that universities respect the Islamic need for apartheid of the sexes, the wearing of modest clothing, including the death like niqab. They even expect non-Muslims to show respect for their warlord prophet ‘peace be upon him’ indeed not!

        Young people the world over tend to believe that their way of running things would be a lot fairer and inclusive. I felt much the same way as a teenager. Maybe there was even a grain of truth in such a notion at one time. But certainly not this time around.

        • Dogsnob

          The most striking thing in all this is not to do with Islam; it’s all of it, about the West and the abandonment of its own foundations, so that its young people are made to feel that they have been dropped into a vacuum.

          Their history is finished, their spirituality floored and they have to start again by a mix and match of whatever is lying around.

          They have been denied the knowledge they need to defend
          their civilisation. This didn’t happen without a lot of effort.

          • James Lovelace

            In the early 1970s, non-muslim scholars of islam in the West spoke out about the white-washing of islam by the Left and by the christian clergy.

            Journalists, politicians, academics, priests have all betrayed the people of the west. There will be a revolution, of that I’m in no doubt.

    • little islander

      It’s unfortunate Jesus was not there to tell the crusaders to set up holy land elsewhere. Christ message of love was lost then. It’s still lost here. Perhaps when Christians protest less and leave the Moslems alone, peace may return and Christ words could then be clearer.

      • Dogsnob

        “Protest less…leave alone”. This is a wind-up, yes?

        • little islander

          No. After professing love for your enemies and then doing exactly the opposite, surely one ought to protest less. ‘Was I talking to you?’ Now, that could be a wind-up, for a thug.

          • Dogsnob

            You would save yourself and others a lot of time if you were to resort to plain statement. The cryptic hint is fine, but too much of it just gets in the way. Go on, it’s in you somewhere.

          • little islander

            At my age, saving time is not a priority. As for ‘others’, are you the boss around here or some kind of mastiff?

          • Dogsnob

            We’d best leave our exchange at that I think.

      • Grace Ironwood


    • Tom M

      “…but the Crusades happened because violent Islamic incursions prevented safe passage/pilgrimage to the former Christian Holy land…”
      Yes that gets trotted out regularly. But the reason the Crusades happened was that the Christian Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus’ empire, the capital of which was Constantinople, was under threat from the Turks advancing from the east. He asked Pope Urban ll for military help from the West.
      Alexius Comnenus wasn’t greatly interested in freeing the Holy Lands from Muslim rule. The Muslims had been there for some three hundred years at that time. It was Urban ll who tagged on the Holy Land argument as a convenient amendment to the proposed military help for Alexius Comnenus.

      • Dogsnob

        Truth, in the face of negligence, very rightly needs occasionally to be ‘trotted out’.
        The threat to Constantinople was the continuation of that very same – shall we call it a ‘movement’? – that slaughtered its way right across that region including ‘the Holy Land’. The struggle was the same.
        Worth noting here that there is now, no Constantinople, and the very same aggression is once more on the move.

        • Tom M

          I think you might have overlooked that the Turks I mentioned who were threatening Constantinople were indeed Sunni Muslims all the way from the Caliphate of Baghdad.
          But the point remains that the West did not go on Crusade to free the Holy Land of the Shia Muslims from the Caliphate of Egypt. That was certainly the eventual effect but wasn’t the original intention.

          • Dogsnob

            The Crusades sought to regain the right of pilgrims to unmolested access to their holy sites, after much persecution following the territorial expansion of the Muslims.

            Hundreds of years later, that expansion continued with the taking of Constantinople.

            I shouldn’t think that the victims in either case were too preoccupied with concerns regarding which particular faction were upon them.

          • Tom M

            Your either not reading or not understanding what I have written.
            I do not dispute the advance of the Muslims from either the South or the East as far as the Holy Lands and the Byzantine Empire are concerned. I quote their Muslim denomination to illustrate there were two different groups of Muslims involved who were actually at war with each other at the time.
            The inescapable fact remains however that the original reason the French (and only the French) went on the first Crusade was to help the Byzantine Emperor. Freeing the Holy Lands was an afterthought which pleased the French Barons who saw possibilities of territorial gain approved by the Church.
            Most of those who went on the first three Crusades went there to conquer territory and if that received the Church’s blessing by freeing the Holy Land even better.
            Do not lose yourself in some notion that they all went there with the express purpose of kicking out the Muslims from the Holy Lands. They didn’t.
            For the hundred years or so they occupied the territory they became just another group of people in the region fighting wars, of which there were many.
            The Crusaders were quite happy to make alliances with Muslims if it suited their immediate war needs against other Christians or other Muslims.
            If memory serves the fourth Crusade actually attacked nothing other than Christian Constantinople contributing to it’s eventual downfall by the Muslims.
            If you are going to argue about history get it right and not some fanciful construction that pleases your prejudice.

          • Dogsnob

            I’m understanding you just fine.

            You are right: the expulsion of Muslims would have been a ridiculous and unattainable aim. Unmolested access was the aim, as I stated.

            You make the case that the First Crusade was exclusively, some kind of booty-grab by French Barons. You make no mention of the People’s Crusade and their motivation.

            I am going to argue about history and you could do with being a little less sniffy and maybe think about how your own prejudice plays a part in your account.

          • James Lovelace

            “You are right: the expulsion of Muslims would have been a ridiculous and unattainable aim.”

            Muslims see no such problem with expulsion and genocide.

            As late as 1962, muslims in Algeria told the jews and christians “choose the suitcase or the coffin”.

          • Dogsnob

            The invasion of Cyprus in 1974: more of the same. Thousands of Greeks rounded up and shipped off to prison camps in Turkey. Some 1600 of these are still listed as ‘missing’. Thousands more forced from their homes never to return; their houses occupied by the mass influx of Turkish nationals.
            In addition, churches turned into mosques and religious artefacts destroyed.

          • Tom M

            As I said already the original aim was to support the Byzantine emperor from the expansionist Muslim armies from the Caliph of Baghdad.
            The First Crusade was indeed a land grab by most of the French barons. For at least the first two years of the first crusade they remained in the north and fought, well just about everybody, including Christians, carving out what became the county of Edessa and the county of Antioch before the religious few even considered going south to Jerusalem.
            If you refer again to your source of information you will find the the First Crusade and the People’s Crusade were the same thing. So called because there were, apart from the Crusading Knights and their armies, many common people of France in the entourage.These people were certainly imbued with a fervour to free the Holy Lands but were hardly a military threat to the Muslims and capable of waging war to free the Holy Lands.
            As far a their motivation was concerned they were worked into this religious fervour by people like Peter the Hermit in France. Few of them ever seen the Holy Lands most dying before the campaign started south after the long seige of Antioch.

          • Dogsnob

            Thank you. I’m not sure what our points of contention were now?

          • little islander

            He could stop being sniffy?

          • Tom M

            Sniffy? I’ve read it all again and you are right. Apologies for that. Too precious about the subject I fear.

          • little islander

            ‘If you refer again to your source of information you will find…’ You are still sniffy.

          • Tom M

            Your right. See below with apologies to Dogsnob.

          • Dogsnob

            Upon reading again, I have to say that to describe the march to Jerusalem as being taken by ‘the religious few’, is pushing things a bit.

    • Bonkim

      You have no knowledge of the Bible.

      • little islander

        Not true. It’s just so easy to get lost.

    • truthexposed

      bible allows rape

      Isaiah 13:16

      16Their babies will be smashed to pieces

      right in front of their eyes.

      Their houses will be robbed.

      Their wives will be raped.

      • Dogsnob

        And battalions of rabid Christian rapists are tearing nations apart with their escalating violence.
        Aren’t they?

      • Jim Station

        If you quote something out of context, it can be possible to misconstrue its message entirely. Proof given, thanks.

      • WTF

        The old might but we don’t enact this out do we unlike Islam ?

      • Erez Landshut
    • mikewaller

      So much of this is delusional. It is not just the Crusades (in fact, an attempt by European outsiders to seize land with which they had no connection other than their religious beliefs), assorted slaughtering of the Jews, the destruction of entire civilizations in the Americas on the grounds that, as they were not Christians, they did not count, the slave trade which “Christian” churches used as a source of income, the holocaust which two thousand years of Christian teaching did not prevent, and if you want to come bang up the minute just see what those wonderful Russian Orthodox Serbs are doing in the Ukraine. The real divide is between decent people and murderous scum, with the vast wash of humanity in the middle ground capable of being swayed either way. The horrors of Northern Ireland only came to an end when the mass of their supporters got sick of the extremes to which they were going. Warrington and Enniskillen are cases in point. So the horrors perpetrated by Isil should be milked for all they are worth and instead of articles like this which, in effect are saying, all Muslims will be forever bloody murderers, the objective should be to emphasis that we saw the light (no real thanks to Christianity) so why should not they?
      Of course it may just be that our brief period of lucidity has been a function of economic surpluses and as these drain way in the West, we too will be back up to out armpits in blood. If that is our inclination, pieces such as the above will no doubt help us on our way!

      • Dogsnob

        Don’t hold your breath waiting for this seeing of the light, will you?

        • little islander

          He’s a decent human being. Can’t you SEE?

          • Dogsnob

            Can’t you see that I am?

          • little islander

            Good dog. [Pat][Pat]

      • Grace Ironwood

        I cannot read this and I would very much like to.
        Please! Use paragraphs.

      • pyewacket

        Talking of Northern Ireland, I seem to remember that 9/11 was a turning point. While it may not have been the sole reason for the weakening of the IRA, it’s certainly true that their naive American backers were so chastened by 9/11 that they suddenly realised what terrorism was all about. So they stopped funding the IRA.

      • James Lovelace

        “land with which they had no connection other than their religious beliefs),”

        An islamic attitude christians adopted. Muslims believe that any land controlled by muslims is theirs for all time. The only lands ever freed from such fascistic domination are Spain, Sicily and Israel.

        Christianity is an adaptive religion. And it adapted to Holy War by (eventually) creating christian Holy War. Buddhism in Indi did not become violent in response to the genocide of buddhists by muslims, and buddhism in India was wiped out. Hinduism did adapt to genocide; sikhism is a post-islamic militaristic version of hinduism.

        You have one option when faced with islamic violence: become violent in return or be wiped out.

        • post_x_it

          “Muslims believe that any land controlled by muslims is theirs for all time.”
          Including of course America, which according to Erdogan was discovered by muslims first.

          • little islander

            Erdogan is wrong. We Chinese were there first. Get off our land, white trash!

      • Erez Landshut

        Yoou do know islam has killed more than 290 million people

    • Rowland Nelken

      The sword waving Jesus of Revelation presides over an orgy of mega violence at the End of Time, but, unlike in Islam, Christians can at least delegate their killing to a supernatural being.

      There remain, however, Jesus’ declarations about not changing the Law by one jot or tittle, and, despite the revoutionary nature of his message, its continuity with the Old TIme religion of the Jews and their scriptures. And there we have the glorious and Godly examples of ethnic cleansing and genocide whereby to realise God’s promise to his people.

      It is fortunate indeed that most Christians and Jews seems able either to ignore this dodgy violent stuff, or tortuously, and somewhat ineffectually try and explain it away, often lacing their exegesis with a liberal use of terms like ‘allegory’ and ‘context’.

      • Dogsnob

        It doesn’t need to be explained away. It merely needs to be not acted upon. Which we manage to do, thank goodness.

      • Erez Landshut

        But i think he was the perfect example of the law

    • James Lovelace

      “You can’t reform the Koran because…”

      Because islam was a rejection of reformation of the Bronze Age values contained in the Old Testament. Jesus (and rabbis like Hillel) were reforming these values more than 500 years before Mohammed appeared.

      Mohammed could have become a christian, or a (modernised) jew. Instead, he rejected these moderations of the barbaric Bronze Age values.

      Literalism and rejection of reformation are fundamental to the foundation of islam. Jesus was saying “turn the other cheek”, Mohammed instead burns down mosques containing muslims who would not go to war.

      And this vision of the violent & intolerant Mohammed comes from MUSLIM accounts of his life. Imagine what the victims of his tyranny would say about him. But our elite are determined that the Demos is to be kept ignorant of the ever-increasing population of people who subscribe to an ideology which culminates in Mohammed saying (koran 9;5) “kill the unbeliever”.

      Never has a people been so betrayed as the people of western Europe.

      • little islander

        Interesting, except for the betrayal bit.

    • Bonkim

      Peaceful? Total Bunk – there is plenty of hell-fire, stoning to death, mass murder, slavery, and fornication in the Bible – just look up the book.

      • Dogsnob

        Don’t you find it peculiar though: how, here today, we have the holy books of one faith only; whose followers include so many who regard its teachings as practical, even obligatory, instruction to terrorise any and all others who stand in their way?
        Compared with this, there is indeed a ‘peace’ generated by readings of the Bible. However much savage imagery they might convey, this results in how much harm to others?
        Why has this come about?

        • Bonkim

          Good point – you are talking about the transformation of human societies particularly in the West in the latter half of the 20th century because of increased affluence and improved and speedy transport and communication. Religion had by then lost its value to prop up man in adversity.

          People in Western Europe discarded the more violent parts of the Bible and changed religion into a social code whereas followers of Islam consider themselves the true believers in their one and only God and follow a religion founded in the dark-ages. Man cannot alter that given by God to his Prophet in Arabic of the times.

      • WTF

        True but that’s in the old testament and Christianity was based on Christ and the New testament has none of that fire & brimstone stuff that Islam or even the old testament has. I accept that Christ taught from the old testament however he contextualized it to play down or even remove the ‘nasty’ stuff, Islam has never done that. I agree that religion of any flavour could be viewed as superstitious rubbish to many.

        • Bonkim

          In simple terms the New Testament is evolved from the Old and go together. Church Law was supreme and Hellfire was part of the scene until the separation of Church and State. Christianity was spread by coercion, force and as part of colonial supremacy in the New World and in nAfrica/Asia. Nothing Christian in the sense you assume in your post. The usual methods in Medieval times (Church Law) was Trial by Ordeal, drowning or fire – Remember Joan of Arc – she was burnt as a Witch – quite common in those times – another example:

          “Letter from Pope Clement V to King Edward II of England. Regestum Clementis Papae V, nunc primum editum cura et studio Monachorum Ordinis S. Benedicti, (Rome, 1885-92) year 5, no. 6670, pp 84-6. . The English translation is quoted from G. G. Coulton, Medieval Panorama, (CUP, 1947) p 380. Clement was asking for the Templars to be taken to Ponthieu, in Edward’s French territories, where the Inquisitors could work normally. It seems likely that the Inquisitors could not get the results they wanted in England because the civil authorities were insisting that the rules be followed, and that the tortures applied should not cause permanent injury or violent effusion of blood. These rules were routinely ignored in France, and nearly all French Templars either died under torture or else confessed to charges put to them. For a full account of this whole sad business see Barber, The Trial of the Templars, especially pp 197-199. )

          • WTF

            No one is disputing that the New Testament evolved from the Old Testament as the scholars who wrote it based it on the teachings of Jesus who had softened the Old Testament teachings in case people got the wrong idea.

            Additionally I fully accept that there were those in the Christian faith who perverted what was written in the New Testament and went to war, committed genocide and such like.

            My main premise is that most societies have a certain number of psychopaths in their midst who are nothing but control freaks or killers, but today those nutjobs in the west are not driven by religion but have ‘bad wiring’ in their brains. With Islamic countries, a religion teaches & endorses the sorts of despicable acts we’ve seen from their psychopaths & mental retards and uses Islam to excuse their acts to the moderates in those countries.

            All the rest is irrelevant as most religions have been reformed and are relatively benign whilst Islam is still a 6th century ‘cook book’ of barbarism, and obscene behavior.

          • Bonkim

            What you are saying is that most religions have forgotten God’s word and Islam is sticking to the truth as given at their beginning.

            Question is why should they not have the right to practise their 6th century religion and other religions have the right to pick and choose as they go?

          • WTF

            No, what I am saying is that most religions have evolved with the society they inhabit. Tough strictures from an earlier era have been softened in line with the less harsh realities in the west today and many other parts of the world. Much like Jesus softened the Old Testament.

            They have every right to practice anything in their own country that are encompassed with their culture, laws or religion. It is not for me or anyone outside their country to judge what they get up to although most will have a view on stoning, be-heading just like some have a view on fox hunting or bull fighting. However, they have NO right to break our laws whilst in our country just as we don’t in theirs.

    • Bonkim

      “Jesus was Love, Mohammed was a warlord. Let us please stop comparing Christianity and Islam as if they much in common.” Both are superstitions and yopu appear to be a bigot – and not necessarily a Christian one – true Christians don’r talk such rubbish.

    • Graeme S

      you absolutely NAILED IT

    • gs07aaa

      You blame the violence of the Crusades on Muslims, but when the Crusaders were rampaging across Europe they didn’t hesitate to murder a great many Jews along the way. Were Muslims responsible for that?

      • Erez Landshut

        The people who killed jews were rebuked by the church

  • Srimanthan Pramodan

    Another type of analysis: all 3 monotheisms are totalitarian and theocratic, with the NT being tempered by Greek influence – and OT, Koran being totally insane with religious bloodlust.

    However, CHRISTIANITY ended up being the worst historically because theocracy took root firmly in the Roman political context, but this (ironically) gave us the gift of secular liberalism – to oppose religious power over the last 500 years.

    Islam copied the theocratic model more successfully and more brutally (most Muslims still believe apostates should be killed), tempered later by civilized (conquered) cultures of Europe, India, Iran, etc – it was for a while more tolerant than Christianity. Today the old theocracy has returned hard (Pakistan and Iran are lost to theocracy) in the form of Islamism as a rebellion against modernity and western influence – so what we do need is the emphasis on secular values and separation of mosque and state.

    • TNT

      “… so what we do need is the emphasis on secular values and separation of mosque and state.”

      What would be preferable is separation of imam’s head from imam’s neck and shoulders – via drone.

  • Stormbringer

    If anyone here wonders why Islam is so violent, regressive, backward and followed by unquestioning sheep-like cretins then please read this:


    “Danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels, an expert in working with Muslim youth criminal offenders, has written a new book entitled Among Criminal Muslims. A Psychologist’s Experience from the Copenhagen Municipality, and in an essay supporting the book, he claims that “Islam creates monsters.” A recent study out of Germany supports Sennels’ statement. It found that devout Muslims were more prone to violence than the non-Muslim participants in the study.

    Sennels says Islam is different from other religions because the way it is taught brainwashes its youth with violent messages. Parents inflict violence on their children repeatedly, Sennels claims, and at the same time, deliver religious ideology. He says this behavior makes Muslim extremists far more violent than extremists of other religious faiths.

    The brainwashing, as Sennels terms it, begins very early on in a child’s life, and religious messages are repeated vigorously along with a heavy dose of physical discipline. It is this combination of pain and reinforcement, Sennels claims, that creates Islamic “monsters” who then feel justified in torturing and killing innocent people.

    Sennels points out that parents want to indoctrinate their children into the religion as early as possible so that the kids will remain Muslim instead of looking to another faith—under Sharia law, turning against Islam is a crime punishable by death.

    He goes on to point out that Muslim culture lags far behind in the “understanding of human development,” and therefore, the techniques that Westerners would call child abuse are deeply ingrained and normalized among Muslim parents as correct child-rearing strategies.

    Sennels says that in Muslim culture, the idea of “constructive criticism” doesn’t exist, and any criticism of Muslim identity will result in extreme anger and quite possibly, physical violence. The Quran itself, Sennels claims, does not allow for the idea of tolerance, and calls for Muslims to separate from non-Muslims and view people of other faiths as inferior. This, in turn breeds hatred, Sennels claims. He explains:

    The cultural and psychological cocktail of anger, low self-esteem, victim mentality, a willingness to be blindly guided by outer authorities, and an aggressive and discriminatory view toward non-Muslims, forced upon Muslims through pain, intimidation and mind-numbing repetitions of the Quran, is the reason why Islam creates monsters.”

    What’s particularly interesting is that Sennel’s claims were verified by scientific research by a study carried out in Germany with an extremely large sample size. However, the scientist carrying out the study was trying to demonstrate the exact opposite – that Islam doesn’t create violent monsters. As he said – “he was disappointed”

    “His remarks have stirred up a great deal of controversy, but a large study out of Germany, involving 45,000 teens, seems to support Sennels’ claims. In that study, a strong link between the level of religious Muslim belief and the willingness to participate in violence was revealed.

    Notably, the study’s author undertook the project hoping it would prove the opposite outcome. Christian Pfeiffer, a scientist who works at the Criminal Research Institute in Saxony, said that he has been active in opposing any campaign to denigrate Muslims or other foreigners, and he was disappointed by the study results.”

    So science is showing that Islam makes violent monsters.Please spread this link and this story as far and as wide as you possibly can via blogging and social networks. Let’s see if we can break this conspiracy of silence that’s maintained by the mainstream media and finally force them all to face the IS in the room.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Thank you for taking the time to post this research & highlighting that part of the problem is abusive child rearing. Violence begets violence & when you add a toxic religion that justifies violence to a childhood of beatings the outcome isn’t surprising. I suspect much of the problem is rooted in practices from backward rural areas that are carried over when they migrate. M/c encourages their repetition down the generations.

    • JSC

      I’ve long thought that “religiously induced psychopathy” should be a recognised mental disorder, and not just for the Muslims though it does seem especially prevalent among them.

      • pyewacket

        All religion comes from the imagination. It began as a way to control behaviour of groups to make the group were manageable. The human mind appears to have a propensity for spirituality or religiosity of some kind. I don’t think any tribe or nation ever known has been free of religious conditioning of some form or another.

        It’s only when we can bring ourselves to break free from cultural conditioning, that we start to see things from a different perspective.
        But very few people feel able to break free of their own cultural belief system. They would feel bereft without it.

        One of the few occasions where religion is of benefit is when former gangster teenagers suddenly find Jesus and become evangelical Christians. Although very annoying to those who don’t share the belief, at least it keeps ’em off the streets and prevents further deadly shoot outs!

        • Grace Ironwood

          Gangster teens are now finding Islam – the biggest, most badass gang in the world !

          Jails are THE great centres of conversions of sociopaths.
          These converts feature in terrorist outrages disproportionately.

          Being concentrated centres under state control they offer a great opportunity to a motivated state to disrupt these activities.

          WE don’t have a motivated state.

          • pyewacket

            Alas this is true. Young black street gangsters would occasionally turn to the ‘born again’ Christians, who are naive and annoying to people like me, but at least they were able to transform some of these criminals. But now Islam offers the discipline certain feral youths crave, but with the added attraction of reinforcing the victim mentality, which in turn fuels the propensity for angst.

    • Oddsbods

      Sounds like my neighbours.

  • Dodgy Geezer

    ..the founding texts of Islam are ambiguous about violence:….

    How can you possibly say this?!

    Of the founding texts – the Sira describe approved campaigns of conquest to spread religion, the Hadith recommend immediate execution of those who doubt ‘the prophet’, and the Koran directs the slaughter of all unbelievers.

    I would say that was quite unambiguous. Islam is a violent religion, and glories in it. It even has approved religious processes for ordering killing on a small or a large scale – the fatwa and the jihad.

    Is there some kind of political correctness requiring us to pretend that the religion is similar to Christianity?

  • pyewacket

    ‘We should not be so tolerant of Muslims that we agree never to mock their religion — but generally we should avoid such offence.’

    Why always the self-censoring BUT ? I used to think this way, as does Western society in general. But look where it’s got us. I’m afraid we’ve reached the stage where we must stop tolerating the intolerable. Religion has no place in politics. Religion and politics is usually an intolerant and violent mix. Always has been. Think of Blair and his belief that God advised him to carry out the ‘Shock and Awe’ attack on Iraq, which only served to open Pandora’s box in the Middle East.

    We must NEVER advise our children to blindly respect any religion, especially not Islam which is intolerant by nature. We must always be free to mock and critique. Clearly our long held belief in toleration of Islam is failing. The time has come to put the breaks on. We need to ban halal (and kosher) slaughter. We need to ban the niqab in public places. We need to make it a civil offense for Muslims to take up public pavement space for mass pray-ins. They should do that in the privacy of their mosques or own homes. Afterall, they are lucky we even allow mosques to be built in Europe at all. Islam is universally intolerant of other faiths. The more freedom and tolerance Islam is afforded in the West, the more demanding the religion becomes. So I agree, Islam is not conducive to positive reform as it despises Western values..

    • Bruce Lewis

      Think of Blair and his belief that God advised him to carry out the ‘Shock and Awe’ attack on Iraq

      Are you, perchance, aware that the heads of Blair’s adopted religion condemned BOTH of the wars against Iraq as gross violations of justice and human dignity?

      • pyewacket

        Yeah. Blair tried to get the pope’s blessing for the war, but was denied it. I’m talking about Blair as a flawed narcissistic human being who thought he had direct communication with his creator. As I said, politics and religion don’t mix.

  • wycombewanderer

    Each new variant of Islam is more brutal than the last les tolerant more confrontational, every effort to revoke the brutality of it by ‘moderates ‘ is met by more violence and more procomations and fatwas, so there comes a tipping point after which there can be no reformation.

    I believe that tipping point has passed.

  • Damaris Tighe

    ‘We should not be so tolerant of muslims that we never mock their religion’: excluding mockery isn’t tolerance but ‘respect’ – a confected ‘British value’ now being taught in schools which replaces healthy criticism with blind affirmation.

  • paulus

    That was one of the funniest pieces of nonsense I have ever read, it was going down hill as an essay on religion, evolution, and history from the first sentence. But once you quoted Douglas Murray as a theologian it picked up a speed that would need the absence of gravity to match it on a ski slope.

    Right start again, at the time of the formation of the Anglican church their had been three popes, one in Avignon, one in Switzerland and one in Rome. It wasn’t really a unitary church, that’s why it wasn’t much of a leap when Henry declared himself the head of the Catholic Church in England. Which it remain today.

    • Bruce Lewis

      Um, there was no “pope” in Switzerland at the time of Henry’s revolt against orthodox Christianity, and the “Babylonian Captivity” of the Roman Church had ended a century before. Do ALL of you Brits get your Reformation and Counter-reformation history from the likes of Hillary Mantel?

  • Thorsted

    Islam is interacting with a tribal societies and it values. so, it is not just a religion that is the problem but tribal society. There is no sense of a “nation” in the arab world. There is in Iraq 800.tribes and in Libya there is 140.tribes. Saudi Arabia is also tribal with the Saud tribe in power.

  • John Andrews

    Christianity began in opposition to the power of an all-powerful state so that Luther’s challenge to the authorities was in line with Christ’s actions.
    Muhammad was born into the the Quraysh tribe and established a theocracy with the principle that nothing revealed to the Prophet could ever be changed.
    These different origins make it easier for Christianity to evolve than for Islam to evolve. But neither of these faiths can evolve as easily as Buddhism, which has impermanence (anicca) as one of its basic principles.
    [ps: thank you for allowing comment on this important topic]

    • tolpuddle1

      Buddhism is now threatened with impermanence to the extent of its disappearing.

      Which is why militant, “fundamentalist” Buddhism is on the rise in some Asian countries.

      Most western Buddhism isn’t of course Buddhism.

      • John Andrews

        Buddhism, and other faiths, are on the rise in what was the largest Buddhist country: China.
        I don’t agree about western Buddhism. It is a faith which has generated far more sects than any other faith so there is no reason not to recognise Western Buddhism as a true Buddhist sect.
        ‘Militant’ Buddhism is a very sad development. Has it happened outside Burma and Sri Lanka?

  • MenControlTheMedia

    Luther was fiercely misogynistic. It was he who removed what remnants of femininity there were in Roman Catholicism after it morphed from paganism and de-deified Mary and banished her altogether. Turning it from a mainly male cult into an entirely male cult.

    He who closed down the female educational establishments, the convents and drove women out of the few careers open to them into domesticity. Women’s voices in the Reformation were mostly suppressed with their writings destroyed because of the edict in the Bible for women to be silent.

    Isis resembles nothing so much as Puritanism. And its his legacy that European women still labour under today.

  • Dogsnob

    Indeed. The common, slack assumption is that we are presiding over ‘Christianity II’, and that things will turn out for the best: we’ll come through, remember the blitz.

    This is so much bigger. Nastier.

  • Kasperlos

    Theo Hobson’s summation as to what ‘we’ should do is fickle as fickle gets. It’s an outline of a classic fence sitting position. With that ‘we’ won’t address the facts, viz. that a 7th century death cult is wholly incompatible with the western traditions that have taken centuries to develop. Rather, appeasing this cultural and political movement will derail the liberties and the right to the way we choose to live. Not squarely identifying the profound problems of a very alien system operating, at the same time, within and outside the western system is tantamount to failure to properly think. The west faces a very real existential peril, one which, in many ways, is of ‘our’ own making. Collectively true lovers of freedom need to get off the fence sitting and take an upright stand.

    • tolpuddle1

      Yes, but please give us the DETAILS of what you propose. That’s where the problems are.

      • Grace Ironwood

        We can make a good start by enforcing our laws.

    • Erez Landshut

      Islam is incompatipable with democracy or freedom

  • Ian G

    When are people going to catch up? Been there, done that, 2013. http://thealmondrod.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/do-we-need-islamic-reformation.html

  • It is like asking to reform Nazism or Communism. It can’t be done. It has to be crushed.

    • tolpuddle1

      We cannot “crush” Islam

      – We don’t have the necessary power;

      – Nazism and Communism vanished only when their devotees became disillusioned; in the case of Nazism because of military defeat and the exposure of the regime’s crimes, but in the case of Communism only as the result of slow decay from within and the Communist system’s evident absurdity.

      But Moslems aren’t disillusioned with their beliefs – on the contrary, they’re on a roll. The manifest decline of the West (wholly inevitable now that it’s post-Christian) further encourages them.

      Barring miracles, Islam is set to take over the world – not by terrorism, but from self-belief and birth rate.

      • Grace Ironwood

        The Nazi’s were annihilated and discredited by the holocaust.

      • Yes we can.

        • tolpuddle1

          It’s a belief system, so we can’t, even if we still had the power. (We don’t).

  • Perseus Slade

    The Christian reformation was a back-to-the-book movement that appeared when versions of the Bible that anyone could read became available as printing developed. Luckily, the New Testament at least is pretty mild.

    The current developments in Islam are much the same, it`s a back-to-the-book movement too (generously funded by the Saudis). But this time the the Koran is anything but mild, hence the rising violence.

    How do people manage to believe in this silly stuff?

  • Diggery Whiggery

    “Why calling for an ‘Islamic Reformation’ is lazy and historically illiterate”

    and based on a fundamental misunderstanding of Islam.

    Islam cannot be considered the same as other religions and cannot be afforded the same tolerance in our society, because it offers none in return.

  • Louise

    One thing Luther didn’t ‘purify the religion’ of was anti-semitism.

    Just an fyi.

  • Hank

    Religious reformers can be broadly cast in two categories.

    Those who want to reform by returning to the original roots.

    Those who want to reform by adapting to the current society.

    Mr. Hobson seems to want an Islamic reformer in the second category.

    Consider the possibility that Osama bin Laden is the genuine Islamic reformer.

  • Newcombe

    While Jesus said “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”, Mohammed gave instructions on the size of the stone to cast at her, not too small so as not to feel the pain, not too big so as not to kill too soon, no, the medium sized ones please, so as to maximize and prolong her suffering.

    There, that is the difference at the heart of the two leaders’ teachings.

    To reform Christianity, one only needed to go back to Jesus’ teachings, to reform Islam however, one has to completely, unreservedly ditch it.

    That is the stark choice.

  • RufusChoate

    Odd that the concept of “Cuius regio, eius religio” (whose realm, his religion) that was the most lasting political change of the Protestant fissure seems to have little to do with Liberty or modernity but with state control of the Church along with a wealth enhancing looting of church property.

    The history of State and Church conflict through the centuries seemingly denies the author’s claim of a Catholic principle of Theocracy while the Tudor tyranny seems a bit more theocratic than he might be concede. Then there is the little problem of the very Protestant Cromwellian Protectorate murdering a king and persecuting its religious opponents culminating in the Glorious Revolution where Protestant “Freedom” of Conscience was denied to the “head ” of the State Church and a Dutch machiavellian imported for “theological” conformity i.e. Merged State-Church.

    It might be that Islam actually had a Reformation when the Sunni became ascendant in a fashion of Protestantism actually completely winning the thirty year war.

  • erikbloodaxe

    The Islamic world does not need a reformation, in that there already are multiple strands of the religion, with no central authority. It seems to be in the middle of doctrinal wars, as was Christian world in the 17th century. With luck, it will come out of that phase and, like the Christian world, embrace enlightenment values.

  • Suriani

    The Protestant Reformation weakened western Christendom and began a politico-cultural fragmentation of Europe now deprived of the common Latin Catholic substrate. Unlike Orthodoxy, Catholicism has not been theocratic. It has been dualist in its separation of the sacred from the profane, the religious from the secular. Protestanism in its many guises has sought, through “establishment”, to influence socio-political structures. Arminianism which informs Anglicanism accords extra-religious privileges, attenuated somewhat today, to the Anglican community and its particular way of thinking; the latter often critiqued for its intellectual fuzziness. The ascendency of secularism is in no small way a result of the systematic errosion of core religious belief, Novel theologising, which first undermined 19th century Lutheranism, has in the last half century infected European Catholicism and may possibly extinguish it as a force on that continent.
    There is no possibility of a reformation in Islam because what has been given inerrantly by God and His Messenger through the Qur’an can only be interpreted, within limits, not “reformed”. Islam, solid and unchanging may well fill the religion sized hole left by Christianity. It might even help to keep the Christian flame alive.

  • Tom M

    “….Islam needs its reformation….”
    I thought that they did that when the Sunni’s split with the Shiia.

    • Suriani

      the split was concerned with legitimate succession to Muhammad not doctrine.

  • georgesdelatour

    Imagine two people. One reads the Qur’an and decides he believes it with all his heart; but he has poor self-control, so he often breaks the Islamic rules on pork, gambling and alcohol, and sometimes forgets to pray five times a day. The other reads the Qur’an and decides he doesn’t believe any of it; but he has a very conformist personality. He’s desperate to fit in. He goes through his entire life following every command of the Sharia, never failing to pray five times a day, and never expressing his doubts to anyone. Outwardly he is a model Muslim.

    From the Islamic point of view, which one has the best chance of getting to paradise after death? I suspect it’s actually the unbeliever who always obeyed all of the Islamic commands. In Post-Luther Christianity, we know it’s the fallible believer, because of the doctrine of “sola fide” – that you are saved by faith alone, not by the ledger of how many good works you’ve done. But I don’t think Islam has such a doctrine. Would it be better if it did?

    Any thoughts?

  • anyfool

    Why would anyone think that after 1400 years, without one unselfish contribution to society through invention, discovery or enlightenment, that that this vicious ideology would be able to free itself from its mean spirited strictures.
    They treat the female half of their society as of less value than the mangiest goat, this crude debased cult can only survive by destroying any decency left in the rest of the world.

  • Zed largo

    The means by which we attempt to avoid the clash of civilisations, the confrontation between Islam and the West, each runs into to a brick wall. As this article rightly suggests, Islam cannot be reformed and so we cannot avoid confrontation by hoping that some Lutheran figure might emerge from a mosque. And, no amount of PC policing will change the Wests thinking, beliefs or values about free speech, our abhorrence of theocracy or religious bigotry and our right to be an atheist. So, I can see no way of avoiding the clash.

    It is laudable that the West is doing what it can to try, but in think we all fear that the confrontation will grow and that we don’t know how to stop it. Personally I feel offended by the way Muslims have come into the our lands and expect us to accommodate their views, many of which are utterly contrary to our way of life, and they often threaten us when we complain. As surely as night follows day, we are facing a period of very serious confrontation precisely because Islam is unreformable, and the West will never accept their way of life, values or beliefs.

    • AverageGuyInTheStreet

      While it might be true that the Islamic world is 300 – 400 years behind the rest of us, and perhaps all we have to do is wait a few centuries for them to catch up, there is one pretty major problem: the religious nutters in the middle ages didn’t have access to nuclear weapons. It is now only a matter of short years before the ISISes of this world get their hands on one. Vietnam showed that vast US military might and carpet bombing a country couldn’t win a war. Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed how it is done. If Saudi Arabia is a source of Islamic savagery then there’s really only one logical course of action for us to take.

  • Kumru Toktamis

    Overall great points but one issue though:
    “To say that Jesus advocated nonviolence rather than holy war is not just one interpretation.”
    And the other interpretation would be Matthew 10:34: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

  • SOMARA556

    I’m tired of Islam and its petulant violence, I’m tired of the whole debate about Islam. I just want to see an end to the violence and oppression intrinsically associated with this religion.

  • Patrick Roy

    Let’s not compare apples and kangaroos. Something needs to happen to this ideology for the sake of it’s impoverished people and its women. This is 2015.

  • Bonkim

    Did man create God and religion? If not does man have a right to reform Islam or any other religion created by God; is reformed Christianity the real McCoy or just an illusion??

  • Mark

    So on LBC you suggested we must be “more sensitive” regarding what offends (some) Muslims, in what we do. I suppose high on everyone’s mind at the moment are the Charlie Hedbo cartoons. Put them away for a moment and remember a novel by a bloke called Salman Rushdie. Remember an historical analysis of Islam (Islam the Untold Story) on Channel 4, for which death threats were issued towards the presenter/writer. Remember a very innocuous cartoon tweeted by Maajid Nawaz that brought death threats. And a very trite one, but pertinent – a Katy Perry video edited because of one complaint about a medallion and an online petition was raised.
    Sorry, but there is something here that simply cannot be tolerated in any shape or form. Guess what? There *is* a change that can occur. While their solution (likes of MCB and MAF) is to not produce cartoons, there is another way – have imams/clerics/preachers/teachers tell their congregation/class to not get angry about criticism/challenge/satire, but to rise above it. Do you think that will happen? Of course it won’t. So we have to tolerate this, if they won’t even try?
    You seem to make no suggestion (unless I missed it) that the “toleration” should come from the other direction. Tell me why that should not be the case? I suppose the thinking is that because we are dealing with a religion here, everyone else (at threat of violence btw), has to work to its needs.

  • radicalmoselem

    What a desperate attempt at making Christian history look less bloodthirsty… I have asked a few historians I know to have a read and they couldn’t believe their eyes! What mythology! Read what John Locke actually wrote about his inspiration for toleration and how he begged his contemporaries to be more like the Ottomans. Read John Makdisi’s famous essay, “The Islamic origins of the English common law”. The list goes on… and on.

  • ClausewitzTheMunificent

    Comparing 19th Century Roman Catholicism to Islam is ALSO VERY LAZY, you bigoted Protestant Englishman. It is ridiculous how much English people seem to have an inherent hatred for Catholicism: they’ll probably still be criticizing the Pope when just about to be executed as Kafirs.

    • Bonkim

      No hatred – simple amusement how a religion can be so dogmatic – not unlike Islam.

    • Bonkim

      Is 21st Century Roman Catholicism any different from the superstitions of Medieval times?

      • ClausewitzTheMunificent

        Not from a theological point of view, no. But it lacks both the temporal power and the medieval mindset to back it..

        • Bonkim

          Yes. That proves religion is subject to human interpretation. Regrettably Islam is still living in the Middle-Ages and its followers are either reluctant or afraid to change it – change to them is failure of the original concepts whether theological or cultural and which then nullifies the word of God as interpreted by their Prophet.

          • ClausewitzTheMunificent

            Yes, but how does that disagree with what I said? 🙂 We could just agree to agree.

          • Bonkim

            why should we disagree just to make a point? It is also futile to simply agree – I prefer to analyse a given report/comment and quite often the next comment may have a different slant. Things are ever black or white – shades of grey.

  • Älter und weiser

    I was expecting a thoughtful analysis of Islam but what I read was sloppy thinking.

    • Bonkim

      Can anyone analyse Islam thoughtfully? Or any other religion? Religion is faith or belief – in other words superstition. You don’t try to analyse or explain religion – just take it or leave it – My God is better than yours –

      • Älter und weiser

        You can most certainly do a thoughtful analysis of religions.
        For example, The Koran does not have the same role for Islam as the Bible does for most Christians. The Koran is the literal word of God transcribed by the Prophet Mohammad as it was dictated by the Angel Gabriel. It can not be modified or updated since the last prophet was Mohammad. It truly the Word of God only in Arabic, since that was the language used by Gabriel as he spoke to the prophet.

        In comparison, The bible is the inspired Word of God. The words are not God’s words directly, but are the words of the human authors. The meaning must be interpreted. On that basis, it is possible to revise thinking about what God wanted based on what the Majesterium, theologians or pedestrian readers think.

        Most Christians believe that the fundamental Truths of revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle, John. Therefor everything after that is derived an must be consistent with what has already been revealed. The Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians have a great deal of commonality in fundamental theology. The protestants.. less so.

        See, not that hard if you try.

        • Bonkim

          That is your interpretation – Christianity was no different to Islam in its fundamentals – God’s word – the word is un-bendable and until the reformation most people were illiterate/ignorant and just took or forced to take the words of the mullahs (The Pope and Monks and other Holy Fathers they considered messengers of God) – reinterpretation in the last two/three centuries when new lands were explored and colonised, global industry and business established, literacy spread and people started questioning the legitimacy of what they were told in foreign tongues (Latin) – yes now there are many versions and people have reformed/modified the fundamentals to suit their culture/location and social needs – in fact constantly evolving – even the pope is grappling with the truth as passed on and finding many things just don’t fit.

          Religion is a con game. Yes Muslims by and large stick to their original version and prepared to die for their faith (but there are variations they are battling with) and Christianity is now more a social feature particularly in the west and fodder for tele-Evangelists to make money. The fire has gone out of Christianity and it is getting to be irrelevant in today’s fast changing world but there are still some mad ones in Africa and Asia that are active and promoting violent versions not unlike St Xavier that burnt down the Temples in Goa in India, etc.

          • Älter und weiser

            Well, no. This is not my interpretation.
            It is my understanding. I’d like to know which popes and fathers of the Church were considered to be “messengers”. (I assume you mean messenger as a conduit from God to people; All Christians are called to be messengers of the Good News. However, we are not channeling the Almighty). Also, tell me what was re-interpreted and by whom?
            What does not fit? Christianity is not a social feature as much as many people are no longer Christians but still hang on to the external symbols. Frankly, you mix up what many people do vs what Christianity is. They aren’t necessarily the same.

          • Bonkim

            It is only in the 19th and 20th enturies that Christianity was tamed – previously it was no different from Islam or any other religion – social/religious leaders set up rituals and told a largely illiterate population what to believe and what to do. In Medieval times Church Law was supreme – not unlike the role of Shariya in Islam.

            I agree with you that ‘ what many people do vs what Christianity is. They aren’t necessarily the same.’ Too true but Christianity as understood/practised is evolving continuously – who would have thought that homo-sexuals will one day be united in holy-matrimony or that a woman be appointed Bishop or that the Bible will be interpreted in a pick and mix way by so called Christians.

          • Älter und weiser

            Ahh. Now I understand. You are most familiar with Anglicanism.
            Yes, if your reference for Christianity is Protestantism, then it would seem to be changeable since what a Protestant believes is completely left to personal discernment. That is why there are somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 Protestant denominations. The majority of Christians are Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox who’s beliefs are more consistent with each other. I’d also add that Church Law in the Middle Ages filled the vacuum left by the collapse of Imperial governance. A different situation that Islam where there was a forcible displacement.

          • Bonkim

            I have no preference of Christianity or any other religion. In what you say – very little difference between Catholic religion and Islam – unquestioning submission to a higher authority and accepting the Pope as God’s interpreter. If you look up evolution of human societies, those that questioned, tried/adapted and changed were more successful than those that submitted without questioning and deferred to higher authority.

  • English_Independence_Movement

    Regrettable we cannot purge religion from the face of the planet.

  • English_Independence_Movement

    Personally I feel offended by the way foreigners have come into our lands and expect us to accommodate their views, many of which are utterly contrary to our way of life, and they often threaten us when we complain.

  • Roger Hudson

    Reformation,nothing to do with accepting ‘political’ values, it was about narrow theology, biblical infallibility , taking a back seat to scientific reality.
    Islam must forget about riding to the moon on a horse etc.

  • cartimandua

    Catholicism still has an unreformed misogynistic “rump” which says things like “women should die in pregnancy if it is Gods will”.

    • What misogyny ? Are there no nuns or women in the church? Is saying someone dying gods will misogyny too?

  • cartimandua

    The answer to what to do about Islam is insist on behaviours which are consistent with life in a modern western country.

  • HY

    “Let’s purify our religion, be more faithful to its essential logic, contained in its founding documents.”

    Isn’t that what Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab did in the eighteenth century resulting in something far worse, Wahabbism. The only beneficiaries being the House of Saud.

  • WTF

    Having seen the Charlie Hepdo cartoons for myself that UK publications lacked the bottle to print, by western standards and comparing it to Life Of Brian, I can’t see the problem or why all those journalists had to be murdered or the Jewish shoppers targeted for a racially motivated execution !

    In essence they are just caricatures of ethnic/religious traits that we’ve seen for decades of other faiths & groups and their peculiar nuances.

    There was a spoof of that very old class photo of a bunch of Muslim girls in full burkas with another girl with her friend (in burkas) pointing to the one in the picture which is her. Then we had the Statue of Liberty being gagged by the prophet (bear in mind the original smaller S of L is on the Seine in Paris). Continuing on we see a Muslim man is looking at a shower curtain saying “you look nice today dear” whilst his wife is standing behind him saying “I’m over here”. Another one shows a wife blackened when the ‘suicide vest’ she was ironing blew up or the hypocrisy of a Muslim man with 4 wives of varying ages from 7 to 50 plus his female slave tut tutting over a western couple canoodling on a park bench saying “that’s immoral, its against Islam”.

    The only cartoon that might have got them ‘going’ was a picture of the prophet and Aisha on their wedding night with a look of puzzlement on her face over what is to come next as she visualizes the holy book in her mind, whilst the look of lust on the prophets face as he visualizes the bed he’s about to get onto. Problem is, its based on the Islamic scriptures, is believed to be fact and its no more heresy than anything we’ve seen caricatured with other religions without mass murder being the result.

    Islam does need a reformation right now if it can’t contextualize its own scriptures let alone a few cartoons based on ethnic traits or religion.

    For those who haven’t seen these, it will be interesting to see their responses.

    • Bonkim

      The cartoons were in the Guardian and I have a copy. The rest is simply differen cultural perspectives. Have you looked up how British immigrants and travellers are viewed in other parts of the world?

      • WTF

        Of course I’ve looked at ex-pat Brits,

        In Spain for example they view Brit ex-pats as a very useful money earner given the parlous state of their economy. All that money coming into the Spanish economy and no benefits to pay out, health care paid for by the UK, many billions of investment on purchasing property (with a tax take) and guaranteed pensions of forex propping up their economy. Someone has to pay for Spain as 40% of their young have left to find jobs elsewhere. Not only that, there’s no downside of ex-pat Brits trying to impose their protestant religion on Spaniards making it a Protestant state or any gangs of 70 year old sexual groomers raping their 11 year old girls. Its a win – win both both Spain and ex-pat Brits and there is no evidence of any real animosity because Brits do NOT go around trying to destroy the Spanish culture, in fact they embrace it willingly.

        Conversely in the UK, immigrants from these third world countries demand all manner of free handouts, 40% are on benefits and most of the rest are in their black economy. Unlike ex-pat Brits in Spain, the UK has to provide free translators, health care, education, housing costs and top ups to most who have never contributed before. TB was eradicated in the UK prior to mass immigration from the third world and now its back, and the incidence of mental & physical disabilities of new born immigrants is 10 times that of the national average due to in-breeding.

        These are the facts, not hatred, racism or bigotry but plain simple fiscal costs.

        • Bonkim

          You appear to be a deeply worried man – best to write to your MP as we will not resolve them but hopefully government will take your views into account in formulating policy. I don’t like my tax-money being wasted on providing special services such as translation service and medical aid, etc, to asylum seekers and other minorities. May be there should be camps for asylum seekers and other homeless or they can be housed on boats moored off-shore until their cases are heard and/or deported. Regarding prolific breeding of minorities and others – yes child-benefit should be stopped beyond the second child, also NHS and schools should be restricted to U.K Citizens or others here on work visas. Others should pay or have insurance.

  • Cobbett

    In 30 years…that’s assuming we’re not blown to hell, the problem will have been solved…W Europe at least, will be majority Muslim/non European. Why bother worrying about it?(seeing as no one is willing to prevent it happening)

  • Geraint Hughes

    Sounds like the writer has given up on the issue of Islamic reform. They must reform that fact is plainly obvious. And it certainly isn’t lazy to demand they do reform, none of them want to. Far from being lazy, its an incredibly difficult and mountainous task getting Islam to reform in a large way. I see the best path to reform, in this order as being as follows:1. “Ban Jihad” All forms of Jihad should simply be banned in all western countries, including the teaching of it in schools and the preaching of it in Mosques. 2. “Celebrate Muslim Tolerance” They should openly celebrate their tolerance of our western ways and not denigrate them. 3. “Freedom Faces” All those things that Islam and Muslims consider blasphemous, they should now accept with open arms. Including the turbinator faces, drawings of prophet, satanic verses etc. 4. “Re-write Quran” This needs to be done so that a “Protestant Islam” can overtake mainstream islam, and this new quran would contain no beheadings, no violence, no oppression of women, no blasphemy, only peace, prayer, halal, Ramadan, ascetism, dance and spirituality to ensure oneness with allah and humanity as a whole. Its a task and a half, that’s for sure, but LAZY! Not a chance.

  • Simon Morgan

    Why must the onus always be on us to accommodate Muslims? Where is their tolerance and understanding of our way of life? Of democracy, freedom and our constitution?

    Why do we not have to make such accommodations for Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists? The answer is obvious – they embrace, or at least tolerate, our way of life.

    You state ‘..that toleration should be confident and hard-headed..’ but there is little of either element in our toleration of Muslims. We are no longer merely bending over, we are asking ‘how far’ would you like us to go.
    And with Islam the answer is always ‘further’.

  • “True toleration is necessarily inconsistent.” Well perhaps, if we are talking about children, mistakes, and maybe, non-venomous religions like the Amish or the Jains. But to paraphrase Bruce Bawer, “toleration” of the intolerant is not toleration at all. It is suicide.

  • Ian G

    Well. it’s taken over two years but someone has finally caught up. An Islamic Reformation is the last thing we need. Read this and you will see why. http://thealmondrod.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/do-we-need-islamic-reformation.html We are in the midst of one:

  • A little anthology of Luther’s way to confront oppositors http://ergofabulous.org/luther/insult-list.php