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It is a pity that few pay heed to Muslims who have fully accepted Christ as Saviour and renounced their previous lives. There is enough evidence on the Internet of such converts (particularly Palestinians!) who only now can admit to having been trained from childhood to hate Israel and to desire her total annihilation so much that even now, as Christians, they have to daily repent to purge all of this past hatred from their hearts. They admit that this hatred was an integral part of Islam, as they were taught it. There are many testimonies of former Muslims who, after becoming Christians in their own Islamic countries, had to go underground and run for their lives to escape to the West with their lives. The fact that Muhammad and the Qur'an call for the death penalty for any Muslim who turns from Islam to another religion denies the verses cited above - 'there is no compulsion in religion'. What is the truth? The historical record shows that Islam was forced upon tens of millions with the sword and that Islam maintains itself today in many countries by threatening with death all who would think for themselves and choose what faith to embrace, based upon the evidence. So how can Muslims claim that the Qur'an denies 'compulsion'?
It is a clear fact that Muhammad received contradictory 'revelations,' depending upon the circumstances - and the reason the Qur'an contradicts itself many times and on important issues.
The verse cited above was 'inspired' when the 'prophet's' new religion was just being launched and Islam was too weak to compel anyone to follow it. No doubt some of Muhammad's pagan neighbours fought against his attempt to deprive them of their idolatrous heritage and the opposition in Mecca laid siege to the section of the city in which he dwelt. In his fear of the Meccans and his own tribe he issued the notorious 'satanic verses' [permitting prayer to, and worship, of the three daughters of Allah, the 'goddesses' named: Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat].
But it is a fact that he set out to test his own powers by sending his followers to attack and loot a caravan - an event known as the 'Nakhla raid.' Boosted by this success - which was disgracefully carried out in the month of truce and peace - he led the battle of Badr himself. Further attacks on Qorayshite caravans and unfriendly tribes met with success and helped to make the financial position of the Moslems more secure. The immediate step which secured the economic base and strengthened the prestige of the Moslems was their seizure of the property of the Jews of Yathreb. Muhammad had at first tried to encourage the Jews to accept his prophet-hood by preaching monotheism, observing the Jewish Sabbath, praying toward Jerusalem, appealing to Abraham and the patriarchs, adopting some of their dietary laws, and praising their Scriptures. But when it was obvious that the Jewish merchants were not going to become his disciples Muhammad decided to drop the observance of Jewish rites. He changed the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca, dropped the Saturday Sabbath and adopted the pagan Friday Sabbath instead! He once again adopted the pagan religious rites in which his family had raised him. But this was not all. He began a deliberate concerted campaign against the Jews. At first he sent out assassins to kill individual Jews and then later on he attacked Jewish settlements. There was a financial reason as well as a religious one for his attacks on the Jews. Some of the Jewish settlements were centres of the gold and silver trade; by conquering such places, great wealth could be obtained quickly. The Encyclopaedia Britannica points out: 'When he discovered their military incompetence he appears to have been unable to resist the temptation to appropriate their goods; and his attack on the flourishing Jewish settlement of Khaibar appears to have been designed to satisfy his discontented adherents by an accession of plunder.Islamic jihad worldwide
The Meccans had finally decided that Muhammad was a serious threat and approached his band with a large army headed by Uhud. Muhammad lost this battle although he had predicted victory. He was struck in the mouth by a sword, lost several teeth, and almost died. It was a terrible defeat for him and his followers. Some of his followers fell away as a result of this incident. They felt they had been deceived because they had gone forth in battle expecting a glorious victory and much plunder, but had to retreat in defeat with their leader and so-called prophet severely wounded. Why the Meccans did not follow through and destroy Muhammad and his forces is not known, but after inflicting sufficient casualties to appease the sense of Arab vengeance the Meccans returned to their towns and left Muhammad in peace. Muhammad then turned his attention once again to the Jews, who were easier targets than the Meccans. He began killing the Jews and looting Jewish settlements. After one Jewish town had surrendered, 700 to 1,000 men were beheaded in one day while all the women and children were sold into slavery and the possessions of the town looted! This fact is supported by Muslim scholars as well as by Western historians. Muhammad then turned his attention again to Mecca. His forces had grown sufficiently so that he now had a large army in the field. A treaty was established with the authorities of Mecca in which peace between Muhammad and Mecca was to last for ten years. On the basis of the promise of peace, Muhammad and his followers would be allowed to make the pilgrimage to the Kabah and Mecca and Muhammad would be free to seek to persuade people by moral persuasion and preaching to adopt Islam, but not by force. Within a year, Muhammad broke the treaty and with an army of thousands of followers, forced Mecca to surrender. Muhammad then became the undisputed political leader of Mecca as well as its undisputed religious head. He cleansed the temple at Kabah of all its idols. He suppressed all idol worship by violence. Some of the people he had killed were ones with whom he had a personal vendetta! For example, there was a woman poetess, Asma daughter of Marwan, who had ridiculed him and had pointed out that some of the material in the Qur'an had actually been stolen from her poet father. She was put to death in order to silence her. Muhammad had now achieved unbelievable success. As the undisputed head and potentate of Mecca and of its religious centre, Arab tribesmen began to flock to him from all sides.
No one knowing the facts can deny that Muhammad received convenient 'revelations' about using not only force but killing in order to bring the whole world into submission to Islam. The sword therefore became the 'evangelistic tool' for Islam's 'warrior-evangelists'. Islamic scholars offer two differing explanations for this particular contradiction. Some declare that this verse (and others like it) was 'abrogated' by later revelations such as: 'Whoso desires another religion than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him...' (Surah 3:85); 'Slay the idolaters wherever you find them' (9:5); 'O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers and hypocrites and be thou harsh with them' (9:73), etc.
Some Muslims are honest enough to admit that 'no compulsion' was a temporary revelation due to conditions, and that it can apply even today in those places, times and circumstances where Islam is not strong enough to use force. Thus, in the West, Islam presents a face of peace, but when it is strong enough it will turn to war. Terrorists are merely the advance troops and to sacrifice one's own life in the process of striking at Allah's enemies is nothing new. This kind of 'suicide' has long been an 'honourable' Islamic practice. In the war between the followers of Islam's two major sects (Iraq's Sunnis and Iran's Shi'ites) young schoolboys were sent to walk ahead of troops to clear minefields. In one incident alone, about 5,000 children were torn to bits so the army could move across the cleared path (National & International Religion Report, December 26, 1994). The Ayatollah Khomeini assured these innocent children that, if they were killed in the battlefield, they would go directly to Paradise (David Reed, 'The Unholy War Between Iran and Iraq,' Readers Digest, August 1984, 39). It is this teaching of Islamic jihad which provides the suicidal tendency to sacrifice one's life in the destruction of infidels. Hundreds of suicide bombers, all of them devout Muslims and none who were not, have died in Israel and elsewhere during the past ten years. All were promised Paradise for killing themselves to murder 'infidels' (i.e., those of us who will not now, or ever, repeat the formula, 'There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet'), and all have been celebrated as heroes. Their families are extremely proud of them and are often handsomely rewarded financially. Never has a word of protest been raised in all of these years by the leading Islamic scholars in Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or other Muslim countries. While suicide is forbidden as self-murder the clear, and contradictory, teaching of Islam is that to sacrifice one's life in the process of killing infidels gains a Muslim the highest reward.
The record of atrocities against 'the people of the book' goes on to this day - here are a few recent examples [we will not try and specify the nature of the denominations targeted since this is as irrelevant to those practicing jihad today as it was for Muhammad]:
A few hours after the bomb attack in Riyadh, on November 20, 2003, the official reports claimed the atrocity was the result of a Muslim-on-Muslim attack during their holiest month of the year, Ramadan. Typical of the reporting on Islamic atrocities, both the BBC and CNN ignored the victims' names or their socio-economic details. According to Diaspora-based Lebanese sources, among those injured in the attacks were 'about 90 Lebanese victims ...five were burned to death, including two children, Jad and Raya Mezher ... a newly married woman, Nina Joubran ...a pregnant woman, Houry Haytaya, and her husband, Dany Ibrahim ... another family, the Haidars ...' NIGERIA
The facts are clear: The massacre of the Muhayya compound was directed at the Lebanese Christian community living in Saudi Arabia. A community of roughly 100,000 Lebanese people has been working in the Kingdom since the mid-Sixties and more than 80 percent of these migrants are Christians - many among them are Maronites (Eastern-rite Roman Catholics). The intention of the jihadists is clearly to kill as many of these Lebanese 'infidels' as possible, because they are considered to be both 'kafirs' and economic assets. Osama's audio message, played on al-Jazeera in October, called for the cleansing of Arabia from all people of the Book. The ethnic cleansing of the Lebanese Christians from Arabia follows the pattern of the Balkan massacres.
against the Lebanese Christians has a very long history. Decades before 9/11, al-Qaida's predecessors slaughtered Lebanese monks in Deir Ashashe (1975); massacred thousands of Christians in Damour (1976); and raped and maimed people and razed their villages in East Sidon (1985-6). In January 2000, Muslim terrorists murdered a number of civilians in Kfar Habou in Northern Lebanon, slicing open the body of a pregnant woman and torturing a nun to death in a Beirut suburb. Lebanese Christians were murdered throughout the 1990s. Many symbols of the hated West, such as McDonalds and Pizza Huts located in the Christian sectors of Lebanon, have been bombed over the past 12 years. From Beirut, to Riyadh, passing by Haifa, the aim has been to continue the example of Muhammad and make the region Lebanese-Christian free.
Over 100 well-armed Muslim militants swarmed into three Christian villages in northern Nigeria on August 25, 2003. Seven people were reportedly killed, 30 homes burned and 140 families displaced. The attack on Pamadu, Kwale and Janye in Gombe state marked the second violent clash in the area. Gombe is one of 12 states in northern Nigeria that has implemented Islamic law. Since the introduction of the Sharia legal code, Muslim militants have often attacked Christian areas where believers resist the enforcement of Islamic law.
The village of Duma on the island of Halmahera, Indonesia, is one of many communities in the Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas) that has suffered violence from Muslim attacks that have claimed an estimated 10,000 lives and driven 700,000 people from their homes since 1998. In Jakarta, May,1998, many Chinese Indonesian citizens were abused, tortured and killed. Over 5,000 of the Chinese Indonesian's shops and houses were looted and burned down. Worst still, hundreds of Chinese Indonesian girls and women (aged 10-55) were sexually harassed and brutally gang raped by men who shouted 'Allahu Akbar' ( 'God is great') before committing these atrocities in front of the victims' family members as inhuman cheering crowds gloated over their suffering. Some victims were sexually mutilated and cut to pieces or thrown into fires and burnt to death after being raped. There is no protection or justice for people in Indonesia because the corrupt police and military forces demand payment for protection.EGYPT
The Christian church in Duma, planted in 1866 by Dutch missionary Hendrik Van Dijken, was attacked by a force of around 4,000 jihad fighters on June 19, 2000. According to village elder Levi Selong, about 200 believers were killed when bombs fell on the town that day. Many of the victims died when the church roof collapsed. Survivors fled into the jungle and eventually left the village as refugees. Muslim militants assumed that Duma, the base of missionary outreach to the Malukus, was finished and Christianity would soon be eradicated from the islands. However by July 2003, hundreds of refugees had returned to villages on Halmahera to rebuild their homes and replant crops.
The United States Copts Association, an organization representing believers in Egypt, recently confirmed that on November 7th, 'numerous Christian individuals and their properties were attacked by nearby Muslims angry over plans to found a church.' The incident took place over plans to convert a small Christian library into a church. After Friday prayers, a large Muslim crowd converged and commenced destruction of the library, burning four Coptic homes, looting eight other homes, uprooting Coptic crops, and attacking and looting seven Coptic businesses. Of the 11 injured in the conflict, five were hospitalized. The Egyptian Army has again carried out a totally unprovoked attack on the Patmos Christian Centre, 30 kilometres east of Cairo. On November 18th, an army dump truck was driven repeatedly into the perimeter wall surrounding the Patmos Christian Centre, causing considerable damage. Soldiers attempted to destroy the wall in order to carry out a new law that requires all buildings be at least 100 metres from the road. Church leaders point out that there are some 15 mosques in the area that stand only 5-10 metres from the road! The Centre provides care and support for mentally and physically handicapped children and orphans and is legally registered with the Egyptian authorities.
Bombs were discovered and leaflets found demanding that Christian students become Muslims or face death at schools in Baghdad and Mosul (Northern Iraq). The cluster of low explosive hand grenades that could have caused significant injury, or even death, were found at St Thomas' School in Mosul on November 11. The school has around 500 pupils of whom approximately 450 are Christian and 50 are Muslim. Barnabas Fund reported that Christian families all over Iraq have been receiving threatening letters, such as this example posted on an Assyrian Christians website: AFGHANISTAN AND SUDAN
'In the name of God: the Merciful, the Compassionate. 'Do not adorn yourselves as ignorant women did before the time of Islam (Sura 33.33). The leadership of the Islamic Badr Brigade hopes that the head of this noble family will stand with the Muslim brethren and follow basic Muslim rules. The veil should be worn and the honorable teachings of Islam that have come to us from ages past must be adhered to. We are Iraqis and Muslims; we will not tolerate sin. If this announcement is not complied with we shall either inflict some unbearable punishment, kill offenders, kidnap them, or destroy them in their homes with fire or by bombing. This order applies to the daughters of this family, their mother and the little girl.' The Islamic Badr Brigade, Najaf.
According to Barnabas Fund this notice has been sent out by Al-Badr, which is the militia of the main Shi'a group, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). SCIRI has a representative on the 25 member Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) set up by the coalition. This warning is thus the first one that comes from a group that has official international recognition. The Fund report says that Sheikh Abbas Rubai presided over the first sitting, in May, of an Islamic court in Baghdad at Hikma Mosque in Sadr City. The mosque has established four committees to enforce Islamic law. These committees are stopping women on the street to force them to cover their heads and not wear make-up in oppression reminiscent of Afghanistan. Sheikh Mohammed Fartousi, also of al-Hawza, claimed: 'Women who don't wear the veil won't be served when they go shopping; taxis won't pick them up and they might have eggs and rotten tomatoes thrown at them.'
Religious freedom and democracy hang in the balance for Iraq's 22 million people. According to some estimates, since the 1970s the nation's Christian population has dropped to 600,000, a figure that reflects the increasing persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East over the last 50 years. Saddam Hussein made obvious obtuse gifts, such as the donation of pipe organs to Baghdad churches, but deprived Iraqi Christians of a more important gift: spiritual freedom. Full religious freedom for Iraq is not negotiable and, if the Bush administration is unable to follow through with the necessary influence to protect these emerging freedoms, a costly military victory will be incomplete.
The situation for Iraqi Christians has been mixed since the end of the 1991 Gulf War. Saddam Hussein did not persecute Christians as brutally as he did Shi'ite Muslims. But Christians were forbidden to give their children Christian names and conversion to Christianity was punishable by death. Now Christians are worried that a new Shi'ite-dominated regime could eliminate even the limited freedoms they have had in the past.
Kurds have secured greater freedom for Christians in the north, but Christians have still suffered and died for their faith throughout Iraq. One of the worst instances is the murder of Sister Cecilia Musha Hanna, a Chaldean Catholic nun. Last August, according to media reports, militant Muslims abducted 70-year-old Sister Hanna, stripped her, tortured her, cut her throat, and beheaded her. Her fellow nuns said that harassment began in 1998 after Wahhabi Muslims constructed a mosque across the street from their convent.
The U.S. government may believe it is in a highly influential position to help establish religious freedom in Iraq. But the 1968 Iraqi constitution established Islam as the state religion while it supposedly secured for Christians and other religious minorities equality before the law and free expression of religion - and look at the result! How does the USA think it can bring about a new Iraqi government which will emphasize the importance of recognizing more than just Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims? Life in Iraq is becoming increasingly difficult for the Christian Iraqis and the Barnabas Fund reports:
'Many now feel that their situation is worse than when they were living under Saddam Hussein. In Baghdad most are afraid to go to Church. They fear that large numbers of Christians meeting together in a church pose an unacceptable security risk as they would constitute a likely target for a bomb attack. In Basra the clergy are being specifically targeted. In the same week that the school bombs were discovered a Kalashnikov was fired at the residence of the Syro-Antiochan Bishop of Mosul. Christians in the North have been illegally dispossessed and are under constant pressure from the Kurds to convert, if they wish to enjoy their protection.'
The more reasonable Muslim-majority nations of Jordan and Kuwait, though not free of human-rights abuses, allow a wider spectrum of religious groups to operate within their borders.
The Bush administration's track record on religious freedom has been weak, especially in Afghanistan and Sudan. Shortly after the U.S.-led coalition liberated Afghanistan, Christians and other religious minorities are facing new threats. The new Afghan government is writing a constitution, but reliable sources believe the current draft does not include strong protections for non-Muslims' religious expression. International relief groups are retreating to the relative safety of Kabul, the capital, because militant Muslims are targeting relief workers. Since last November, militants have killed an Afghan worker for Mercy Corps and assassinated a staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
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