Why the Violence? Why the Indifference?
On September 25, 2002, a group of armed Islamists in Karachi, Pakistan entered the office of a Christian charity, tied seven workers to chairs and then brutally murdered them. According to Muslim witnesses, the Muslims “showed no haste. They took a good 15 minutes in segregating the Christians and making sure that each one of their targets received the most horrific death.”
The killing of non-Muslim humanitarian workers by devout followers of Islam occurs quite often. While there is rarely any celebration on the part of other Muslims, neither is there much outrage expressed by a community renowned for its peevishness.
While rumors of a Quran desecration or a Muhammad cartoon bring out deadly protests, riots, arson and effigy-burnings, the mass murder of non-Muslims generally evokes yawns. In the eleven years following 9/11 nearly 20,000 acts of deadly Islamic terrorism were perpetrated, yet all of them together fail to provoke the sort of outrage on the part of most Muslims that the mere mention of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo inspires.
This critical absence of moral perspective puzzles many Westerners, particularly those trying to reconcile this reality with the politically-correct assumption that Islam is like other religion. The Judeo-Christian tradition preaches universal love and unselfishness, so it is expected that the more devout Muslims would be the most peaceful and least dangerous… provided that Islam is based on the same principles.
But beneath the rosy assurances from Muslim apologists that Islam is about peace and tolerance lies a much darker reality that better explains the violence and deeply-rooted indifference. Quite simply, the Quran teaches supremacy, hatred and hostility.
Consider the elements that define hate speech:
- Drawing a distinction between one’s own identity group and those outside it
- Moral comparison based on this distinction
- Devaluation or dehumanization of other groups and the personal superiority of one’s own
- The advocating of different standards of treatment based on identity group membership
- A call to violence against members of other groups
Sadly, and despite the best intentions of many decent people who are Muslim, the Quran qualifies as hate speech on each count.
The holiest book of Islam (61% of which is about non-Muslims) draws the sharpest of distinctions between Muslims (the best of people, 3:110) and non-believers (the worst of creatures, 98:6). Praise is lavished on the former while the latter is condemned with scorching generalization. Far from teaching universal love, the Quran incessantly preaches the inferiority of non-Muslims, even comparing them to vile animals and gloating over Allah’s hatred of them and his dark plans for their eternal torture. Naturally, the harsh treatment of non-believers by Muslims is encouraged as well.
So, what does the Quran, believed by Muslims to be the literal and eternal word of Allah, really say about non-Muslims?
The Quran Distinguishes Muslims from Non-Muslims
and Establishes a Hierarchy of Relative Worth
The Quran makes it clear that Islam is not about universal brotherhood, but about the brotherhood of believers:
”The Believers are but a single Brotherhood” (49:10)
Not all men are equal under Islam. Slaves and the handicapped are not equal to healthy free men, for example (16:75-76). The Quran introduces the “Law of Equality,” which establishes different levels of human value when considering certain matters, such as restitution for murder (2:178).
Neither are Muslim believers equal to non-Muslims:
Are those who know equal to those who know not? (39:09)
Is the blind equal to the one who sees” Or darkness equal to light? (13:16)
A believing slave is superior to a free Mushrik (one who ascribes partners to Allah) (2:221)
The Quran plainly tells Muslims that they are a favored people, while those of other religions are “perverted transgressors”:
Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. (3:110)
As we shall see later, Allah condemns non-Muslims to Hell based merely on their unbelief, while believers are rewarded with the finest earthly comforts in the hereafter, including never-ending food, wine and sex (56:12-40).
Much of the Quran is devoted to distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims and impugning the latter. Among other things, non-Muslims are said to be diseased (2:10), perverse (2:99), stupid (2:171) and deceitful (3:73).
The first sura of the Quran is a short prayer that is repeated by devout Muslims each day and ends with these words:
Keep us on the right path. The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not(the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray.(1:6-7)
Muhammad was once asked if this pertained to Jews and Christians. His response was, “Whom else?” (Bukhari 56:662).
Since Allah makes such a strong distinction between Muslims and those outside the faith, it is only natural that Muslims should incorporate disparate standards of treatment into their daily lives. The Quran tells Muslims to be compassionate with one another but ruthless to the infidel:
Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves… (48:29)
Islamic law actually forbids formal Muslim charity (in the form of the zakat payment) from being used to meet the needs of non-believers.
Allah intends for Muslims to triumph over unbelievers:
And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way to triumph over believers[Pickthall – “any way of success”] (4:141)
The only acceptable position of non-Muslims to Muslims is subjugation under Islamic rule:
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (9:29)
(Jizya is the money that non-Muslims must pay to their Muslim overlords in a pure Islamic state.)
A common criticism of many Muslims is that they often behave arrogantly toward others. Now you know why.
The Quran Dehumanizes Non-Muslims
and Says that They are Vile Animals
The Ayatollah Khomeini, who dedicated his entire life to studying Islam, said that non-Muslims rank somewhere between “feces” and the “sweat of a camel that has consumed impure food.” Small wonder. The Quran dehumanizes non-Muslims, describing them as “animals” and beasts:
Those who disbelieve from among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures. (98:6)
Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve, then they would not believe. (8:55)
Verses 46:29-35 even say that unbelieving men are worse than the demons who believe in Muhammad.
According to Islamic law, non-Muslims may be owned as property by Muslims, but – in keeping with Islam’s supremacist message – a fellow Muslim should never be (unless they convert to Islam under enslavement). Even Christians and Jews are not considered fully human in that the penalty for killing one of them is limited to one-third of the compensation due for unintentionally killing a Muslim.
The Quran Says that Allah does NOT Love Unbelievers
Christianity teaches that God loves all people, but hates sin. The Quran never says this. Instead it explicitly declares that Allah does not love those who do not believe in him:
He does not love the unbelievers (30:45)
Allah only loves those who obey Muhammad (at least according to Muhammad, who provided the “narration”):
Say: “Obey Allah and His Messenger”: But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith. (3:32)
Instead of a god that loves the sinner, even while hating the sin, the wrath of Allah is placed squarely on the individual:
Surely Allah does not love any one who is unfaithful, ungrateful. (22:38)
Verses 11:118-199 say that Allah does not bestow mercy on everyone. For this reason, he chooses not to guide some people:
And Allah’s is the direction of the way, and some (roads) go not straight. And had He willed He would have led you all aright. (16:9)
For those whom Allah does not love, there will be the most terrible of eternal torments, including eternal roasting:
Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (4:56)
“Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers” (2:98) and, as we shall see, he hates them so much that he even leads them into sinning and actively prevents them from believing in him, thus ensuring their fate.
The Quran Says that Non-Muslims are
Destined for Eternal Torture in Hell
Although nowhere does the Quran say that Allah loves those who don’t believe Muhammad, there are over 400 verses that describe the torment that he has prepared for people of other religions (or no religion):
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 (3:85)
The relative worth of non-Muslims is that they are but fuel for the fire of Hell:
(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 (3:10 Shakir: “firewood of hell“)
As they are fueling the fire, unbelievers will be tormented by Allah’s angels on his command:
“O ye who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire whereof the fuel is men and stones, over which are set angels strong, severe, who resist not Allah in that which He commandeth them, but do that which they are commanded.” (66:6)
It doesn’t matter how many good deeds an unbeliever does, because they count for nothing with Allah:
The parable of those who reject their Lord is that their works are as ashes, on which the wind blows furiously on a tempestuous day: No power have they over aught that they have earned (14:18)
Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works? They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter): vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any weight. That is their reward, Hell, because they rejected Faith, and took My Signs and My Messengers by way of jest. (18:103-106)
Muhammad told his people that anyone who rejects his claim to be a prophet will go to Hell:
Surely those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and (those who) desire to make a distinction between Allah and His messengers and say: ‘We believe in some and disbelieve in others’, and desire to take a course between (this and) that. These it is that are truly unbelievers, and We have prepared for the unbelievers a disgraceful chastisement. And those who believe in Allah and His messengers and do not make a distinction between any of them– Allah will grant them their rewards (4:150-152)
In Christianity, punishment in the hereafter is directly tied to sin and ‘wickedness.’ There is relatively little said about Hell, but the emphasis is on personal suffering for selfish or cruel deeds. In Islam, Hell is a punishment for merely not believing Muhammad’s personal claims about himself. In contrast to the Bible, every 12th verse of the Quran speaks of Hell and vividly describes Allah’s wrath on unbelievers:
But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads, Whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; And for them are hooked rods of iron Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning. (22:19-22)
No one could torture a person in this way without hating them intensely. Neither can Allah’s intense loathing for unbelievers help but affect the Muslim attitude toward those outside the faith.
The personal superiority of Muslims is confirmed by the contrasting picture painted in so many places in the Quran in which they are rewarded with the greatest of earthly comforts in heaven, while the unbelievers concurrently suffer horrible torment (see Sura 56 for just one example).
Allah Himself Prevents Non-Muslims from Understanding
It would make no sense if Allah gave the people that he hates an opportunity to avoid his wrath. The Quran says that Allah deliberately puts obstacles in the way of unbelievers to keep them from accepting the truth:
If Allah wished, he could provide guidance to every soul:
If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance(32:13)
But, instead he sets a veil over the hearts and coverings over their ears:
Verily We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand this, and over their ears, deafness, if thou callest them to guidance, even then will they never accept guidance. (18:57) – See also 17:46 & 45:23)
Allah even uses chains and barriers to prevent unbelievers from believing:
Certainly the word has proved true of most of them, so they do not believe. Surely We have placed chains on their necks, and these reach up to their chins, so they have their heads raised aloft. And We have made before them a barrier and a barrier behind them, then We have covered them over so that they do not see. And it is alike to them whether you warn them or warn them not: they do not believe. (36:7-10)
For the same purpose, Allah also fills the hearts of unbelievers with doubt:
No soul can believe, except by the will of Allah, and He will place doubt (or obscurity) on those who will not understand (10:100)
Allah Actually Causes Non-Muslims to Sin
Not content with merely preventing unbelievers from knowing the truth (which is enough to condemn them to Hell) the Quran says that a hateful Allah also causes unbelievers to commit the very sin that he will later punish them for:
And if Allah please He would certainly make you a single nation, but He causes to err whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases; and most certainly you will be questioned as to what you did (16:93)
Although Satan tempts Muslims, it is Allah himself who causes unbelievers to err.
Allah intentionally sends the people that he hates astray:
…and Allah sendeth him astray purposely, and sealeth up his hearing and his heart, and setteth on his sight a covering? Then who will lead him after Allah (hath condemned him)? Will ye not then heed? (45:23)
Allah even sends demons to inspire unbelievers to commit further bad deeds (that he can later hold against them)
According to verse 3:54, Allah plots and schemes against unbelievers using deceit (the literal meaning of makara, the word used). Elsewhere, the Quran explains that Allah tricks unbelievers into thinking that they are doing good deeds, when, in fact, they are merely deepening their own eternal punishment with bad deeds:
Allah recruits Satan to join Him into fooling unbelievers into thinking that they are doing good:
On the contrary their hearts became hardened, and Satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them. (6:43)
The joke is on non-Muslims, of course, who will protest on Judgment Day that they did everything they thought was right – but are sent to Hell anyway:
Then would they offer submission (with the pretence), “We did no evil (knowingly).” (The angels will reply), “Nay, but verily Allah knows all that ye did; “So enter the gates of Hell, to dwell therein. (16:28-29)
The Quran Says that Non-Muslims Should Not be Taken as Friends
Given that Allah hates non-Muslims to the extent that he would prevent them from knowing the truth, cause them to err and then condemn them to eternal torture for their unbelief and misdeeds, it would make little sense if he intended Muslims to treat unbelievers by the same standards that they treat each other here on earth.
The Quran says that no true Muslim would ever love anyone who resists Islam, even if it is a family member:
Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. (58:22)
There are at least nine places in the Quran where believers are warned not to befriend non-Muslims:
O ye who believe! Take not for friends unbelievers rather than believers: Do ye wish to offer Allah an open proof against yourselves? (4:144)
In fact, anyone who does take a non-Muslim as a friend could be accused of being an unbeliever as well:
O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. (5:51)
Note that Christians, according to the Quran, are included in the ranks of “unbelievers”:
They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary (5:17)
Muhammad said that unbelievers have it out for Muslims. They may appear harmless or friendly, but, in reality, they harbor corruption and evil intentions:
O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse (3:118)
For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies (4:101)
As for them, they are but plotting a scheme (86:15)
Those outside of Islam are really helpers of evil against Allah:
The Misbeliever is a helper (of Evil), against his own Lord! (25:55)
The Quran says that “hostility and hate” will exist between Muslims and infidels “for ever” until the latter “believe in Allah alone.” (60:4)
Instead of befriending non-Muslims, the Quran encourages hostility. Muslims are ordered to fight unbelievers:
O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty. (9:123)
The Quran tells Muslims that they will spend eternity laughing at unbelievers (83:34) and mocking their suffering as they are tortured in Hell:
And the dwellers of the garden will call out to the inmates of the fire: Surely we have found what our Lord promised us to be true; have you too found what your Lord promised to be true? They will say: Yes. Then a crier will cry out among them that the curse of Allah is on the unjust. (7:44) – Muhammad got an early start on this by personally mocking his dead enemies following the Battle of Badr (Ibn Ishaq 454)
One does not befriend those over whose suffering they will later rejoice, nor does it make any sense that Muslims would befriend those whom the Quran labels “enemies of Allah” by virtue of their unbelief.
The Quran Says that Other Religions are Cursed by Allah
Buddhists in Thailand, Jews in Israel, Christians in Indonesia, Hindus in India… Why is Islam at war with every major world religion, when none of these religions are at war with each other? Part of the reason is that the Quran is specific about the inferiority of other faiths (see 48:28) and the hatred that Allah harbors for their people.
Although it is common for Muslims to become upset about anyone “insulting” their religion, here is what the Quran says about Jews and Christians:
The Jews call Ezra a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (9:30) (See also Bukhari 8:427), one of the last things Muhammad ever said on his deathbed was“May Allah curse the Jews and Christians.”)
The Quran specifically addresses Christians, Jews, Polytheists (Hindus) and atheists:
Christians are disbelievers (98:5-6) and blasphemers (5:17, 5:73) who have invented a lie about Allah (10:68-69) by ascribing partners to Allah (ie. the Trinity). Inventing a lie about Allah is the worst of sins (7:37, 29:68) and for this reason Christians are condemned to Hell (10:70). Although one (early Medinan) verse seems to say that righteous Christians will go to heaven, this is abrogated by later verses that make it very clear that Christians must cease being Christian (ie. reject the Trinity) or suffer eternal torment for their beliefs (5:72-73).
Jews are also cursed by Allah (5:13), in one of his final pronouncements. The Quran goes on to assure Muslims that Jews are wicked (4:160-162) – so wicked, in fact, that they have somehow managed to do the impossible (18:27) and alter the word of Allah (2:75). Jews are “fond of lies” and “devour the forbidden” (5:42).
The Quran assures believers that Jews and Christians have “diseased hearts” (5:52). Allah even takes credit for the enmity between them (5:14). Only Jews and Christians who submit to Islamic subjugation and pay the Jizya are protected in this world (9:29 & Ibn Ishaq 956).
Hindus are polytheists. Although Muhammad didn’t know any Hindus (and neither did Allah, apparently) the Quran still manages to lay the groundwork for the 1000 year ethnic cleansing campaign against the Hindu people that is estimated to have taken tens of millions of innocent lives. In Islam, polytheists are worse than all other religion. Those who join idols (14:30) or false gods (11:14) to Allah also invent a lie about Him (29:17) and will burn in Hell. Even believing in other divine entities along with Allah is an unforgivable crime (4:48, 40:12).
Atheists believe in no god, which is even worse than believing in the wrong one (Muhammad and his successors had atheists put to death – Bukhari 84:57). Merely questioning the existence of Allah is a testament to one’s impiety (25:21), even as Muslim narcissim is encouraged in the Quran. Muhammad always answered probing questions merely by telling the inquiring party that they would go to Hell if they didn’t believe in him (36:49-64). The Quran discourages Muslims from intellectual inquiry (5:101-102).
Any Muslim who gives up his religion is a “perverted transgressor” (3:82). Perverted as well is anyone who denies Allah (40:63) or does not believe Muhammad (2:99). Freedom of conscience does not exist in Islam. Muhammad clearly prescribed the death penalty for apostates (Bukhari 52:260).
While contemporary Muslim apologists often speak of “dialogue” (meaning a unilateral arrangement in which they tell you about Islam while you listen) the Quran speaks of Jihad instead:
Listen not to the unbelievers, but strive (Jihad) against them with the utmost strenuousness. (25:52)
What would be the point in hearing anything a non-Muslim has to say… or even talking with them for that matter? Allah has already sealed their hearts and condemned them to Hell:
As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not. Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom (2:6)
For those wondering why Allah would even make infidels if their ultimate destination is Hell, Muhammad said that the purpose of some (Jews and Christians, at least) was to take the place of Muslims, so that they would not suffer there (Sahih Muslim 6666).
The Quran Says that People of Other Religions
are to be Violently Punished in This World
Allah himself fights against the unbelievers (9:30), so why should Muslims not fight in his cause rather than in the cause of evil (4:76)? About 19% of the Quran is devoted to the violent conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims:
Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies and others besides, whom ye may not know (8:60)
Muslims are to expect a reward in this life as well as the next (4:134), so it makes sense that unbelievers should be punished in this life as well:
…He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him there is no guide. For them is a penalty in the life of this world, but harder, truly, is the penalty of the Hereafter… (13:33-34)
There are at least two places in the Quran where the violent death of non-Muslims is referred to as Allah’s reward for unbelief (2:191, 9:26), as in “such is the reward for unbelievers.” Verse 3:56, bluntly states that “those who reject faith” will be “punished with terrible agony in this world” (a vow that Muhammad and his companions personally took it upon themselves to fulfill).
The Quran tells Muslims that Allah uses them to violently punish others:
Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace… (9:14)
One of the most violent chapters in the Quran charters Muhammad and his followers with making Islam“superior over all religions” (9:33).
In the end, All beings on heaven and earth will be forced to bow down to Allah, either willingly or by force:
And unto Allah falleth prostrate whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly (13:15)
Muslims are told that Allah “loves those who fight in his way” to make Islam “victorious over all other religions, even though the disbelievers resist” (61:4-11). Those who do resist Islam will be humiliated:
Those who resist Allah and His Messenger will be among those most humiliated. (58:20– The context for this verse is the eviction of the Jewish tribes of Medina and the confiscation of their wealth, land, and children by Muhammad).
Non-Muslims are to be fought until religion is only for Allah:
And fight them until there is no more fitna (unbelief, worshipping others beside Allah), and religion is all for Allah… (8:39 – Some translate the word “fitna” as “persecution”, but in this context it means resistance to Islam – defined in the prior verse as an unwillingness to believe (see verse 38). This passage was “revealed” following a battle that Muhammad deliberately provoked. Verse 2:193 essentially says the same thing and was also “revealed” at a time when the Muslims were not under physical attack).
Those with “diseased hearts” – which include Christians and Jews according to 5:52 – are to be“seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter” (33:60-62) along with “hypocrites” (Muslims who are judged not to be true believers by their associations with unbelievers or their unwillingness to engage in Jihad).
Non-Muslims are to be encroached on, pressured and punished by the Muslims:
We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not. (68:44)
Allah will grant Muslims authority and power over all other people:
Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion... (24:55)
(Muhammad’s companions continued to self-fulfill this prophecy with an aggressive and senseless military expansion that left a trail of bodies from Spain to India).
Allah provides instructions to Muslims for dealing with unbelievers who are unwilling to accept Islamic rule:
Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.” This because they contended against Allah and His Messenger: If any contend against Allah and His Messenger, Allah is strict in punishment. (8:12-13)
Defeating non-Muslims should be easy for true believers because they are superior in intelligence and understanding:
O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred (steadfast) they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence (8:65)
Other verses of violence may be found here.
Remember that the Quran says that not all men are equal according to Islam. This even applies to Muslims with regard to their aggressiveness toward unbelievers. Those who kill or are killed on behalf of Islam are more pleasing to Allah:
Not equal are those of the believers who sit at home… and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and lives” (4:95)
The pattern of violence and aggressive disregard for human suffering that is persistent in Muslim history and contemporary attitude toward non-believers reflects the message of the Quran, which is one of personal superiority and arrogance.
In today’s world, Muslim dominance is characterized by the oppression and discrimination of non-Muslims, while Muslim minorities within larger societies are distinguished by varying degrees of petulant demand, discord and armed rebellion. Few Muslims are uncomfortable with this blatant double standard, in which Islam either plays the victim or unapologetically victimizes others, depending on its position of power – and the reason is obvious.
Islam is a supremacist ideology in which the role of non-believers is subordinate to the position of Muslims. Those who resist Islamic rule are to be fought until they are either killed or fully humiliated and forced to acknowledge their inferior status by converting to Islam or by paying a poll-tax and otherwise accepting the subjugation of their own religion.
There is simply no other religion on earth that draws such sharp distinction between its own members and others, or devotes as much time of its holist text toward condemning and dehumanizing those who merely choose not to follow its dogma.
So much about Islamic terrorism and the general indifference of the broader Muslim community toward the violence makes sense only against this dual nature of Islam – as does the strange willingness of Muhammad’s followers to tolerate their own subjugation under Ottoman or Arab tyrants, such as Saddam Hussein, while being violently opposed to a Jewish neighbor state.
The apologists are correct in saying that Islam teaches love and kindness, but they fail to add that this applies only to the treatment of those within the Muslim community. Loyalty to one’s own identity group is valued above all else and empathy for those outside the faith is optional at best – and even explicitly discouraged in places.
If this is a “misunderstanding” of Islam by modern-day “radicals,” then it is an error that the founder of Islam made as well. In Muhammad’s time, non-Muslims were put to death merely for speaking out against the new religion and its self-proclaimed prophet. Likewise, the Jews of Qurayza were summarily rounded-up and executed on Muhammad’s order, even though they had not even fought in battle. Since the life of a non-Muslim is cheap, actual physical harm to a Muslim is not necessary to justify murder according to the example of Muhammad.
The Quran meets every criterion by which we define hate speech. Not only does the message inspire loathing and disregard for others, but the text mandates the superiority of Islam, even if the means of establishment is by violent force.
In his later years, Muhammad directed military campaigns to subjugate other tribes and religions, “inviting” them to Islam at the point of a sword and forcing them to pay tribute regardless. He set in motion the aggressive military campaigns that made war against all five major world religions in just the first few decades following his death.
Islam incorporates the ultimate devaluation of non-Muslims in the most obvious way by teaching that while a Muslim may be punished with death for murdering a fellow Muslim (Bukhari 83:17), no Muslim can be put to death for killing a non-Muslim (Bukhari 83:50, 3:111 – Muhammad: “No Muslim can be killed for killing a kafir.”). The Quran’s “Law of Equality,” which assigns human value and rights based on gender, religion and status, is the polar opposite of equality in the sense intended by Western liberal tradition, which ideally respects no such distinction.
One can always find apologists willing to dismiss the harsh rhetoric of the Quran with creative interpretation, tortuous explanation or outright denial, but their words and deeds almost always belie a concern for Islam’s image that does not extend to Islam’s victims – at least not with the same sense of urgency – thus proving the point.
Of course, there are also exceptional Muslims who do not agree with Islamic supremacy and sincerely champion secularism and respect for all people. Some even find verses or fragments of such to support their independent beliefs. But, for these people, the Quran as a whole will always be a constant challenge, since it explicitly teaches the distinct and inferior status of non-Muslims.