Understanding Islam

"Widespread ignorance and prejudice about Muslims has become irrational."
A reply to Sherene Hassan (Islamic Council of Victoria) in Australian Rationalist, Summer 2013.

Dear Editor

Islam is certainly something that needs to be understood. Professional Islamic dissembler Sherene Hassan would have us believe that Islam is entirely benign and all criticism of it is xenophobic (Understanding Islam, A.R. Summer 2013). However we may perhaps gain a truer understanding of Islam if we are aware of the extent of misrepresentation, disinformation and indeed taqiyya, that is present in Hassan's article. Here are some of the most blatant examples.

Sharia is not a system of law, but of colonial imposition, she says. But there are Islamic laws, which are contitutionally imposed in many Muslim countries, the doctrinal interpretation of which called Islamic "jurisprudence". The laws are "not set in stone", she says, yet being "divine and sacred" they cannot be rejected by Muslims. The laws of the land must be obeyed, she says, except if they require a "sin". Since "sins" are Koran defined, this mean that sharia law does indeed dominate democratic civil law,

Only 80 verses of the Koran are "legal" matters, Hassan says. Presumably these include verses that devalue women's testimony and provide for divorcing wives, including those who are too young to have menstruated (65:4). Presumably the remaining merely "spiritual" verses include the numerous injunctions requiring the punishment and death of infidels.

Surely Hassan's most egregious error was her statement that the Prophet Mohammed was pluralistic and allowed other religions to flourish. In fact the entire Arabian was forced to convert to Islam and Mohammed beheaded an entire Jewish tribe in the process.

It is "often stated" that Islam is incompatible with democracy, she says. Hassan rather deviously does not deny this incompatibility, but indirectly confirms it, saying that only "consultation" with the governed is allowed.

Regarding the status of women she again side-steps responsibility. The Koran says women are inferior and should be beaten (4:34). The wearing of oppressive garments is mandated in the Koran, so that women will not be molested (33:59). Female genital mutilation is sanctioned in the Hadith. Child brides do not have freedom of choice. The only choice many Muslim women have is to obey the rules or face punishment.

Hassan's claims that violence in Islam is not "contextualised" are nonsense. Islam is the only religion to be started by a military leader and was established by conquest, starting with Mohammad's unprovoked attacks on the Meccan caravans in 623 CE. If Islam was a religion of peace then Islamic extremists would be extremely peaceful. Hassan finds a quote saying the innocent should not be killed. But in Islam, infidels are not innocent.

Muslims are a minority in Australia, and minorities have a right to be respected. This does not mean that non-Muslims have no right to object to the erosion of secularism that Islam imposes, or to the dangers and human rights abuses inherent in Islam. Raising these objections is even more important when Islamic public relations promoters present their case dishonestly and where they succeed in painting legitimate criticism as irrational and unfounded prejudice. Islam is indeed something we need to understand.

John L Perkins
Author, Islam Arrogance and Delusion, http://www.vividpublishing.com.au/johnlperkins/