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SECRETS OF THE KORANRevealing Insight into Islam's Holy Book
By Don Richardson
Copyright © 2003 Don Richardson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA Book of Peace?
Since September 11, 2001, the Koran (sometimes spelled Quran or Qur'an) has been a hot seller-not only in the Arabic world but also in Western nations. Why are Western readers suddenly so interested in a book that is the founding charter of the religion called Islam? Some Muslims (adherents of Islam) hope that this upsurge in sales in Western nations will result in more converts to their religion. In reality, many Western Koran buyers are simply bothered by nagging questions: What is it about this Koran that al-Qaeda and other up-in-arms Muslim revolutionaries think authorizes terrorism? Does the Koran in any way support their radicalism, or is it really, as some Muslims vociferously claim, a book of peace?
Western media commentators generally dismiss Islamic terrorists as fanatics who quote the Koran facetiously simply to legitimize anti-American and anti-Israeli political objectives. Not long after the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., President George W. Bush declared that Osama bin Laden and his cohorts had "hijacked" a great religion for their own deranged private objectives.
At the same time, however, other media reporters informed us that members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda do not just read the Koran, but they actually memorize large portions of it! Some, such as John Walker Lindh-an American citizen trained by the al-Qaeda-even memorize all 6,151 verses! Could it be that their intimate knowledge of the Koran is part of what inspires them to wage war? If al-Qaeda terrorists are exploiting the Koran only as a religious façade for primarily political goals, surely memorizing a few key verses would suffice.
The same media inconsistently report that Western embassies in Muslim nations issue frequent bulletins warning non-Muslims to shop and sightsee any day but Friday. This is not because Muslim shops are closed on Friday. Nor is it because Islam has strict rules against meandering on its day of rest. Islam has no day of rest. Why then? Friday is when Muslims gather in mosques (during early morning hours or, in the tropics, during siesta) to pray and hear sermons from the Koran. Western embassies know that Muslims emerging from mosques-if incensed by having heard a particularly vitriolic sermon from the Koran-may sometimes attack Westerners bodily. If the Koran teaches Muslims to coexist peacefully with non-Muslims-as so many voices assure us it does-Friday should be the safest day for a non-Muslim to encounter crowds of Muslims in the streets of Islamabad, Karachi or Jakarta.
Anti-Western and Anti-Israel Only? Or Anti-Christian Also?
Attacks on America and suicide bombings in Israel are thoroughly reported, but other mounting evidences of radical Islamic rage rarely reach our television screens. On rare occasions, and never with comment, we see al-Qaeda trainees barging-AK-47s at the ready-into a large room where a cross is displayed on a wall. Obviously the trainees are practicing to kill Christians engaged in worship.
Does that perhaps signify hatred for American Christians, but not for Christians in other nations? I fear not! Radical Muslim gunmen on October 29, 2001, invaded a church service in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, killing 16 Pakistani Christian worshipers-not Americans-in cold blood. The Muslim government of Sudan is committing genocide upon Nubian Christians in the southern part of that nation. There are also dispatches from eastern Indonesia's Maluku Islands about Laskar Jihad-philosophical cousin of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist cult-using armed force to compel hundreds of Indonesian Catholics to convert to Islam or die.
What did terrified Indonesian Catholics have to do to convert to Islam? Both men and women had to be circumcised! Nonsterilized scissors served as instruments. Death was the only option for anyone who refused. Could they not feign conversion to Islam at the cost of a painful and humiliating mutilation and then revert to Catholicism? Of course they could, but under the same original threat of death!
Islam's Sharia law-rigorously applied by Laskar Jihad-has an embedded "catch-22." Reverters are tagged as apostates, and the penalty for apostasy under Sharia law is death.
Instances of anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-Christian violence erupting in so many parts of the Muslim world are increasing exponentially. We really have no choice. We must stop evading the question we would rather not ask. Since virtually all of those who are perpetrating that violence claim loyalty to and inspiration from Mohammed's Koran, could it in fact be true that part of the Koran was indeed written to inspire violence-a modern form of which could be interpreted as a call to crash jet aircraft transporting hundreds of passengers into buildings occupied by thousands of people?
If it is not true, then we non-Muslims need to do more than send troops to places such as Afghanistan. We need to help moderate Muslims-who commend the Koran as a book that inspires peace-in their mission to persuade radical Muslims to cease their damnable misinterpretation of that peace-inspiring book!
Conversely, what if the Koran does advocate peace, yes, but only on terms laid down by Islam? What if, in fact, the Koran-on any other basis-calls for war against all non-Muslims? In that case, what we naively think professedly moderate Muslim apologists mean when they speak of peace in the Koran is not what they really mean! What they call "peace" is then only a carrot dangling from a stick. Non-Muslim societies then are donkeys that are expected to plod after an ever-receding "peace" carrot.
Moderate apologists for Islam within our borders and Muslim terrorists striking from outside then appear-perhaps unwittingly-as conspiring operatives in a good cop/bad cop stratagem.
Islam, in that scenario, is a hostile supremacist force seeking to grip Western civilization between opposite arms of a great Islamic pincer. We are viewed as criminals to be squeezed until at last we confess "the truth" of Islam.
Every medium constantly acknowledges the goals of al-Qaeda-type Muslim terrorists as twofold: politically anti-American and anti-Israeli. We must awaken to the fact that their goals are much wider. Abundant evidence reveals their goals to be just as viciously anti-Christian as well. And since Christianity is bigger than Judaism and, yes, even bigger than America, it is definitely the major target in the crosshairs of radical Islam's long-range planning.
There is more! Radical Islam claims authorization from the Koran to oppose not only Jews and Christians but also everyone who does not accept Mohammed as a prophet, the Koran as divinely inspired, Islam as the ultimate religion and Jihad as every Muslim's sacred duty. Thus Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, New Agers, atheists, agnostics, materialists, secular humanists and even truly moderate Muslims also stand in radical Islam's OK-to-kill corral. There can hardly be a more important concern in today's world.
If radical Muslim views of the Koran are correct, there will always be Muslims answering the Koran's call to violence. John Q. Public in every nation must be informed beyond mere concern for damage control and political expediency. Some voices seem concerned only to help Islam save face in the wake of the tragedies perpetrated on September 11, 2001. Is not preventing the loss of future victims a far greater concern?
Examining the Koran
The next few chapters, guided by eight different English translations of Islam's Koran, examine what all Muslims credit as words that God caused the angel Gabriel to dictate in Arabic through Mohammed-Islam's Arab founder-to various scribes in the early 600s. Later chapters trace how the Koran's teachings influenced relations between Muslims and non-Muslims during the 1,300 to 1,400 years since various recitations of the Koran were correlated into one book in the deserts of Arabia.
Did Mohammed (sometimes spelled Mohammad, Muhammad, Muhammed or Mahomet) really intend to inspire peace and goodwill to all men, as taught in the New Testament, or something quite opposite? What does the Koran itself and its influence in history reveal? Are radical Muslims such as Osama bin Laden in fact taking seriously what most Muslims simply ignore or do not understand in the Koran? If Mohammed returned today, would he praise Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, or would he side with moderate Muslims?
The mere fact that more than 1 billion Muslims esteem the Koran as divinely inspired makes it an extremely important book. The Koran is second only to the Bible, honored by 1.6 billion people, for its potential to influence human affairs from a religious perspective.
Still, millions of Muslims credit the Koran with divine inspiration without actually perusing it (just as millions who call themselves Jews or Christians rarely read their own Tenach or Bible). A friend of mine asked an Iranian Muslim woman named Peri, "Have you ever read the Koran?" Peri replied, "Well, no, but everyone knows what's in it."
Devotees who credit a book with something as important as divine inspiration-without really knowing its contents-leave themselves vulnerable to imposters. Unscrupulous teachers, misrepresenting what God requires in the revered but unread book, may induce sincere people to commit-in God's name-crimes they would otherwise abhor.
Conversely, if a revered book actually does make criminal demands in the name of God, should not its devotees bless themselves and the rest of mankind by canceling their devotion to it?
We must ask ourselves: Are we talking about a book of peace or Mohammed's Mein Kampf? The following quotes from the Koran and the summary of how they have influenced Muslim policy from the 600s until today are for both secular people and for those who are religious-Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and, yes, for Muslims, too. Muslims who, like Peri from Iran, think they know what is in the Koran but have not actually read it, owe it to themselves to be better informed. This is the serious quandary now faced by millions of sincere peace-loving Muslims.
Muslim apologists-some of whom may prefer that the world be left ignorant of certain parts of the Koran-will almost certainly accuse me of misquoting the Koran. I reply in advance: Anyone with a personal computer may easily confirm the accuracy of my quotations on their own computer screens. Simply call up a search engine-Google.com for example-and enter "Koran." You can then choose any one of the several websites providing immediate access to every word of the Koran.
The War Verses
Readers will have heard apologists for the Koran acknowledge that, yes, there are war verses in the Koran, but only a few. Every Muslim apologist hastens to add that the Koran's sparse number of war verses relate to just a few unavoidable military crises in Islam's early history. They assure us that no war verse was ever intended to serve as a model inciting Muslims in general to hostility against resistant non-Muslims in all ages.
What is the truth of the matter?
In fact, there are at least 109 identifiable war verses in the Koran. One out of every 55 verses in the Koran is a war verse. War verses are scattered throughout Mohammed's chapters like blood splatter at a crime scene. I will demonstrate from Mohammed's own words that he leaves readers in no doubt-he obviously intended his war verses to arouse Muslims to compel the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam, even by violence if necessary. Failing their conversion, Mohammed ordained that non-Muslims be killed, enslaved or-provided Islam is in full political control-heavily taxed for the advancement of Islam in perpetuity!
And yet I hesitate. Why? If I simply cite war verse after war verse after war verse from among 109 samples, many readers, seeing just the words on paper, may think it was just that vengeful-sounding words that got written on paper but remain innocent because they did not lead to actual deeds of violence. Even Hitler's Mein Kampf-minus World War II-could be justified by some as Adolph's way of venting frustration. Thus I am obligated to quote Mohammed's war verses in the context of the actual violence they either described or inspired. Violent words that trigger violent deeds cannot be dismissed as innocent ramblings.
The tragic events I describe in the next few pages are all confirmed from Muslim sources. Readers may find it odd that perpetrators of such loathsome crimes would confess them so audaciously. In fact, the violence that Mohammed inspired in his followers was so pervasive that both he and they seem to have lost all sense of how villainous the recounting of their deeds would appear to non-Muslim readers in ages to come. As the following chapter shows, they virtually brag about murdering innocents.
Excerpted from SECRETS OF THE KORAN by Don Richardson
Copyright © 2003 by Don Richardson
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.