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June 17, 2002

Conquering the World in the Name of [Insert Religion Here]

As a Christian I want to treat this subject with the respect and dignity that I would want someone of another faith to treat Christianity. While I personally don't hold the Khoran as sacred, infallible scripture, for the sake of the discussion, I'll treat it as such, since this column deals so much with what the Khoran teaches, and how Moslems understand it, not whether it's true or not.

Recently the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted a translation of a speech made an Al Qaeda spokesman (or should that be spokesterrorist?). In the speech the guy was quoted as saying, "Blah blah blah . . . the entire earth must be subject to the religion of Allah . . . blah blah blah . . . As long as this Muslim knows and believes in these facts, he will not - even for a single moment - stop striving to achieve it, blah blah blah...'" (OK, I replaced some stuff with the blah's. But you should be grateful I did, the guy's really boring) Well, there was a lot of other stuff in the speech that was mostly silly nonsense. Y'know, why it was OK to crash planes full of innocent people into buildings full of innocent people etc., etc., but this particular bit is what I wanted to focus on.

In this part the guy is stressing that Moslems should strive to achieve world wide domination of Islam. We've seen what this jerkweed's interpretation of that is, last September, but is that the way other Moslems see it?

The Khoran teaches that Moslems are to spread Islam. I'm no Islamic scholar, but whether the Khoran says it or not the logical conclusion to that would be, ultimately, the entire world being Moslem. A lot of people have a problem with this because of the way Al Qaeda and many other Moslem groups carry out this goal. I've looked through the verses and passages in the Khoran that are supposed to command that people are to be killed unless they convert or that they are to be forced to covert, and within the context of the passage, none of them can conclusively be said to say this. That's not to say lots and lots of Moslems don't go ahead and interpret it that way, anyway. Some say that in order to "remove" the violent parts, the Khoran must be allegorized, much in the same way Liberal Christians attempt to do to the Bible, yet, for the most part I don't find this. I did find a passage that clearly limits a Moslem's methods of procelyting,  "Let there be no compulsion in religion" (2:256). I mean, you really can't get much more direct than that.

I also found lots of sites that attempted to claim that Islam wasn't spread by the sword, as well as sites that claimed Islam is only spread by the sword. Both are wrong, since historically Islam was spread primarily by the sword, but is only partly spread that way today. Hey, I'm not saying that necessarily makes the whole religion evil, we Christians have the Inquisition to explain, so obviously it's easy for bad people to claim religious fervor as an excuse for doing bad things.

What I do want to point out is this notion that the idea of trying to conquer the world in the name of your religion is bad. Why is it bad? Ok, if you do it with swords or guns or commercial airliners, yes it's bad, but that pretty much is the same with everything. Bowling would be bad if you did it with C4. Football would be bad if you tackled the quarter back with an Uzi. What I'm talking about is someone having the goal to conquer the world, in the name of their religion, with words, with ideas. Why is that bad? 

Let me go on the record here as saying that every Moslem should have the right to strive to conquer the world, in the name of their religion, as long as they limit their tools to words and ideas. The same goes for any other religion, philosophy, ideology, form of government, or soft drink company. Hey, if that's what you want to do -- go for it. That's one of the things that makes America so great -- the freedom to say what you want to say. The First Amendment to the Constitution provides for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Think of it as capitalism of thought, the free market place of ideas. You want me to become a Moslem, a Buddhist, a Hindu, an Amway Rep, then you have the right to tell me why I should, as long as I'm willing to listen. But this nonsense that no one should try to change the world has got to be exposed. 

Most people I know who are intelligent enough to hold a halfway interesting conversation would like to think that they, in at least some small way, are helping to make the world a better place. Isn't that pretty much what we're talking about here? So Abdul over there want to convince everyone that we'd all be happier as Moslems. Joe over there wants to convince the world we'd all be happier under Socialism. Harry here wants to convince everyone we'd all be happier as Libertarians. And Rufus here thinks the world would be a much better place if we'd finally get those poor people off of Gilligan's Island. As long as everyone has the right to freely express their beliefs, then we can hope that the world will have enough intelligence to go with the one that actually will make us better off. 

Terrorists aren't after this. They want to force people to one position or another. Apparently so do those who scoff at the peaceful Moslems who strive to conquer the world, only with words.


Posted by Jack Lewis at June 17, 2002 06:50 AM