Thursday, February 19, 2015

On That Peaceful Koran Quote: "He Who Kills a Man, Kills Everyone," or Whatever

Minneapolis Imam Sheikh Sa'ad Musse 
The title quote is one of the two most fibbed about quotes from the Koran. The other is, "There is no compulsion in religion". We'll cover the second in another post.

The recent White House Summit on Violent Extremism (otherwise called The White House Summit to Protect Islam) opened with a Minnesota Imam (pictured above) reading a prayer in Arabic--Sura (Chapter) 5, verse 32 of the Koran. Why did the Summit open with a Muslim prayer? Why were there no other prayers from other religions? Go to it, conspiracy theorists!

Actually, there's no conspiracy, per se. President Obama is enthusiastically pro-Islam. And it's very much in the open. You know, "The future does not belong to those who slander the Prophet," and all that.

But we digress.

The verse (5:32) was translated by another Minnesota Imam as saying,
Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption in the land, it’s as if he has slain mankind entirely, and whoever saves one life, it’s as if he has saved mankind entirely.
The second Imam is lying.

Here's the full verse (redacted parts of the prayer, not what was actually translated, are in bold):
Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.
This is taken from The Noble Qur'an, online. But any other English translation of the Koran--online or otherwise--yields the same meaning.

That verse is followed by this one--5.33 (duh):
Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,
So there are a number of things that now become obvious:
  1. Verse 5:32, far from being a lovely general pronouncement, appears to be yet another Koranic exercise in Jew bashing: "I (Allah) told the Jews this, and they ignored it! Those Jewish jerks."
  2. For those who care about these things, the verse appears to be another miss-mash of later Jewish commentary (from the Talmud), 7th century folk-tales and somewhat misunderstood stuff from Genesis. Why killing one man would be equivalent to killing all men or whatever, is left unexplained. Why would Allah leave it unexplained in his final and perfect pronouncement on all things, etc? (Perhaps because Mohammed himself didn't understand it or was not fully familiar with the sources? Nah, that couldn't be.)
  3. The verse itself contains an escape clause--"unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land"--that Muslim murderers and terrorists have explicitly used.
  4. But in any case, the verse that follows it makes it clear that the "decree" doesn't apply anymore, or at least doesn't apply to Muslims--"Kill, crucify, cut of their hands and feet (from opposite sides) or exile the jerky jerk infidels"
Can I pick exile please?

Am I leaving anything out? Yes. I confess it. The next verse says:
Except for those who return [repenting] before you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
So, if you come back to Islam (before they catch you) you won't have your hands and feet cut off from opposite sides. Islam is a religion of peace.

Repent and you'll get virgins (or raisins).

Now, if you've been following the news, you might have read that some of the ISIS hostages took Muslim names, etc. in the vain hope of saving themselves. ISIS killed them anyway. Which either shows that:
  1. ISIS is skeptical of supposed "conversions" made only under the threat of death.
  2. ISIS takes the "before you apprehend them" clause seriously. Or,
  3. ISIS is completely and utterly perverting the beautiful, tolerant and peaceful Muslim faith.
Given the above, it is clear that many Muslims (including so-called "moderates") are simply lying about what the Koran actually says. Post-Christians (agnostics, atheists and "soft" or "liberal" Christians) answer this sort of thing by in effect saying, so what?--you can "cherry-pick" positive or negative things like this from any religion or religious text.

This merely shows that they don't take any religious text very seriously. As if people choose a religion randomly or whatever and then should just go with the good quotes, discarding the bad ones, without context or any historical understanding or analysis, etc. If you do otherwise, then you are a "fundamentalist".

On the other hand many honest atheists (among others) realize that this is an evasion. Let's stipulate for the sake of argument, that there is no God and there are no miracles, etc., and that all religions are to one degree or another, essentially fantasies. Even so, it still matters what they claim, and how people interpret what they claim.

Let's look at it another way. Hitler and the Nazis believed in the metaphysical conception of the "Volk". Now, in actuality, there is no volk. But in terms of evaluating how Nazis behave, it makes no difference. They believed in it (or some did), and to a certain extent they acted on it. Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and Christians also believe in fictional entities (again, for the sake of the same argument). But the question is, which fictional entities do they believe in? I think that believing in the actual existence of 900,000 gods (or whatever it is that Hinduism claims) is silly. But if my neighbor believes it, I will not feel threatened. Hey man, I have a few silly beliefs too. On the other hand, if my neighbor believes that there is one God and if you don't accept that, you should have your hands and feet cut off from opposite sides, then I'm going to be a bit nervous.

Once again, just so there is no misunderstanding, I'll choose exile please.

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