To the children of Assyria.
I wish to thank my son Ashur for encouraging me to write this book. His support in helping me put the book together made it possible to bring this effort to fruition. I also wish to thank my wife Asmar Adam for being a source of inspiration and help, and the encouragement of my two daughters Anne and Mai.
I also wish to extend my gratitude to Atour.com for their full support and excellent presentation of the material and professionalism.
This book has been in the process of writing for over 10 years. Since I left Iraq in the summer of 1964 and my immigration from Kuwait in 1971, I have closely followed the events that have developed in the Islamic world. Being an Assyrian national, I found that life in Iraq was unbearably difficult due to my indigenous nationality. Nor were my experiences unique, but were instead shared by many other Assyrians from Iraq and other Islamic countries. The injustice of my personal experiences in Iraq, the sadness of having to leave my home country, and awareness that this was a common circumstance for many other Assyrians, left my mind pondering over the issue of the unrecognised plight of the Assyrian people.
Over the years while monitoring news and the general media on Islamic developments, I came to realise that the dire situation the Assyrians found themselves in was similar to many other indigenous peoples throughout the world under Islamic rule. This realisation led me to wonder as to why do such similarities occur in the experiences of indigenous people under Islamic rule.
Islamic rule emanates from the Koranic teachings and the Hadeeth (the sayings and deeds of Mohammad) based on The Abode of Peace (Dar Al-Silm), and The Abode of War (Dar Al-Harb); and the Islamic (shari'a) law, the aim of which is to establish one unilateral Islamic Nation covering the whole world.
This book describes the rigidity and controlled lifestyle of the indigenous people under the chaotic ruling system of the Islamic world. Their freedom is suppressed and they are under constant cultural genocide. They are alienated, dispossessed and placed under a blanket of silence, insulated from world media. They are under pressure to either adapt to the Islamic rule and accept the fait accompli or perish.
The aim of this publication is two fold. First, to acquaint the world with, and alert it to, the hidden agenda of the oriental colonization and Islamisation process of the natives that fall within the states of their expanding Abode of Peace of the Islamic Nation. Second, to emphasise that the international community has a moral obligation to guarantee the aboriginals constitutional protection from such undemocratic regimes or help them free themselves from their adversary.
This publication is not directed against any religion, it is not designed to impose any religious views or beliefs on others. Nor it is directed at any person or government but rather against undemocratic and corrupt systems of government. Its main purpose is to demonstrate the futility of maintaining justice under an authoritarian rule. The call for puritanism is as dangerous as totalitarianism. There is no such thing as a perfect system on earth; yet a government based on sound democratic principles is the nearest to such a system. Individual freedom of expression, worship, association and assembly, constituted within the framework of a secular civil code, guarantee the individual the sacred freedom of choice.
Freedom of choice is the most sacred right of a citizen. Without infringement on the democratic rights of others, a citizen in a democracy may pursue what he or she may find most appropriately accommodating, without fear of backlash. Authoritarianism impedes progress and stifles life.
Governing laws should be secular, not sectarian. They should serve and protect the individual and the weak against the strong rather than subject him to racial and sectarian laws of a biased creed. What a person believes in, and how he serves his Creator, is his business so long as his practice is not disrespectful, dangerous or injurious to himself or others. Imposition of one's will by coercion on others is repression. It is another form of persecution; it is unacceptable.
It is necessary to write and depict the stark reality of the appalling conditions under which these indigenous peoples are living world over. It would arouse the interest of certain readers to help contribute towards remedying the situation. The media is one of the most effective methods of drawing world attention to their plight. Yet, oftentimes the press confines its column to praising achievements of the aboriginal within the scope of the government policy. The media need to focus on the core of the issue, namely, the basic rights of the aboriginal peoples. These rights are mainly reconciliation in the spirit of true justice, restoration of certain parts of their native land, official apology by the government of the day for mistreatment of the aborigines by past governments, change in the indifference and feet-dragging attitude of current governments, monetary compensation and other forms of grants in kind and services to help utilize their potential, and transform the natives into a successful community, with their own recognised indigenous culture - at their own growing pace to complete the link with the overall modern society of the multiethnic mix of the country concerned.
Thousands of indigenous peoples and immigrant children who were born in their country of origin have systematically been either separated from their families and alienated from their environment, or dispersed and live away from home. They miss the opportunity to experience the cultural climate, lifestyle and environment of their homeland. They have been robbed of their heritage and their culture is deliberately being destroyed.
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To the European who has not been in regular contact and association with Moslem societies, these comments might sound contentious; to the European on a working permit who has invested time and expertise in Islamic countries, or studied their culture in depth and with caution will for a moment ponder then agree with certainty to some aspects of inequity present in the society. As a foreigner, conscious of his position, he is very careful not to be controversial. Islamic governments and private agencies appreciate his efforts. They treat him with respect and afford him with the necessary means of comfort and security. They make him feel important and of high status. All this is to gag him from criticizing his surroundings. He turns a blind eye to the inequities done against the indigenous Assyrians, Jews and Berber Christians across the whole spectrum of the Islamic society.
The European, on a working permit in the host Islamic country, limits his social life to his social class advisedly and his movement is monitored. His contract over, he returns to his country of origin, leaving the past behind. He is unconcerned and seldom mentions the racial and religious hatred and social gap separating the three different religious groups, Jewish, Christian and Moslem from one another. His success is measured by his return home safely, completing his contract gainfully. In the circumstances, social injustice is not his concern.
The Western world should know that Christianity in Islamic countries, especially in the Middle East, is being systematically reduced and continues to diminish towards extinction. Should this hostile trend continue, in another 20 to 30 years, Christianity in those countries will be reduced close to naught. The prospect of the European, who has taken the Middle East for granted as a never-ending source of enriching himself for selling out the indigenous nationals for his greed, will also end.
Justly or unjustly, the European has amassed so much fortune in the form of land and riches, the wealth he has accumulated will last him to eternity. He has accumulated wealth at the expense of weaker nations of the world and the dispossessed and aggrieved Assyrian, Jewish and Christian natives of the Middle East. The European is as guilty as his counterpart Moslem land grabber and oppressor. The European finds it awkward and hypocritical to denounce undemocratic Islamic government systems because of the similarity of his infamous past which he describes as glorious. To the European it was an era of adventure; not exploitation and pillage. It was the golden age of discovery of new trade routes, and land for the crown, and enrichment of both the government and private sectors in the interest of his country and himself. The East and the West seem to have a distinct role to play each exclusive to it. The world henceforth relies on the European for leadership in economic management and technological advancement. While in the Middle East, the Moslems' ultimate goal is to bring the world under one global religion, and by doing so Islam approaches the phase of open confrontation with the West.
Islam does not confine its role of representing God on earth merely to its believers. Carrying the sword, it extends its religious arm far and wide beyond its realm. Claiming God's Vicegerency, Islam stretches its arm to reach and punish people of different religions anywhere in the world by using its Fatwa religious Edict as a lethal weapon in executing its pronounced sentence. It considers its religion the all supreme. It acts in opposition to all other world religions and in defiance of all of them, including Judaism and Christianity, until Islam gains primacy over all. In protecting the Islamic faith and keeping it in the vanguard under its theocratic and semi-secular government system, violence is not ruled out. The three Islamic armed bodies, the Muta-we-ah, Militias and Mujahideen are all known in the Islamic world as staunch supporters of the Islamic edict (fatwa) and enforcers of the religious laws. The Muta-we-ah are the religious police sworn to maintain discipline and silence dangerous revisionists, exacting compliance of the religious law. Militia troops keep the disenchanted non-Moslem natives at bay. The Mujahideen (religious warriors for the sake of Allah) act as enforcers of the religious laws for such Islamic governments publicly. They are known in the Islamic world as the government's religious subjugators. They are enforcers and executioners of the Islamic law (Shari'a). Being subjugators of the Shari'a Islamic law, dissolving them is against the Islamic doctrine. In any Islamic country one of the three religious armed bodies exits openly as an auxiliary force to implement local religious laws outside the government's secular laws. When government interests are threatened, such armed groups crop up and launch campaigns of terror. They specifically target local indigenous nationals, non-Moslem multiethnics and foreigners. Such forces had existed since the advent of Islam in the form of tribal recruits of militias and mujahideen as a striking force under the leadership of their overlords, the tribal chiefs and religious leaders. Later these forces fell under the authority of the Khaliphate and in modern times have become separate segments of the Islamic government system. They crop up as the need arises. They disappear and melt away only after they have executed the (fatwa) religious edict, communicated to them clandestinely or publicly, depending on the strategy of the day.
The West and the international community need to re-evaluate the precept of Islam towards other religions. Islamic regimes maintaining Muta-we-ah, Militias and Mujahideen in a so-called secular constitutional government system are culturally traditional and acceptable; while in non-Islamic countries it is out of character. In the Western Hemisphere of South America, militia groups are formed either in support of the government of the day, or as guerrillas in demand of democratic reformation. In the abode of peace of the Islamic states, these three internationally unrecognised forces continue to disturb the peace among the ethnic groups and indigenous nationals. Regular security and armed forces remain passive and mute while these ecclesial militia forces intimidate ethnic groups and act as bullies. Islamic organisations, together with certain fanatical Islamic elements in the government, support these undisciplined armed groups clandestinely. They do the dirty bidding of their government agents in compliance with their hidden agenda of controlling and subduing the non-Moslem ethnic communities and indigenous nationals without the direct involvement of the government. The Islamic government concerned absolves itself from any wrong doing whether direct or indirect and describes savagery of the culprits as unfortunate, expressing lukewarm regret for their unseemly actions. It is high time for the international community to take stock of itself to appraise its performance in certain aspects of human rights, and redress the wrongs afflicted on the aboriginal nationals, especially the decimated Assyrian people.
The world body should act responsibly, conduct itself as the true representative of world society and administer true justice to the aggrieved Assyrian disinherited nation. It should extend its representation and focus its concern on other oppressed aboriginals like the natives of East Timor, the Ogoni tribe of Nigeria, the oppressed people of southern Sudan and the Christian Copts of Egypt. That course of action would at least bring the unjust practices into focus and expose the coercion of the Christians to recant their religion and submit them to the rule of the Shari'a Islamic law.
PART I – THE UNSHEATHED SWORD
TOURISM AND TERRORISM, A RISKY VENTURE
Until the late 70s, a number of world publications and media articles portrayed the Islamic world as peace-loving countries. They gave the reader the false impression that diversified ethnic groups in the Islamic world lived in peace and harmony. They portrayed them as living in peaceful coexistence and maintaining good neighbourly relations. Travel Bureaus depicted colourful pictures of cities with impressive historical sites and ancient landmarks and beautiful scenery to promote tourism. They described the people as friendly and hospitable. Although embroiled in conflicts, travel agents promoted travel to unsafe countries for commercial gain, putting the life of innocent people at risk. Like the 14 Greek tourists who were mowed down in mid-96 in front of a Cairo hotel, in Egypt, while getting on their bus, machine-gunned by Islamic militants. A surviving tourist described the killing: "vicious as lambs led to a slaughter."
Articles, acts and endeavours to curry favour and for the mere sake of attracting tourists and pleasing the inquisitive reader, are like a fading smile. They may be pleasing but for a while, and are soon forgotten. Undue flattery is a lie; like a sugarcoated bitter pill; in the end it leaves the subject matter unresolved, leaving the recipient with an unsavoury taste and unpleasant memory. The media, in general, do not touch on the harsh treatment of the indigenous natives living under Islamic rule. They tone down growing internal conflicts between militants and the government and the continuous attacks on Christian ethnic groups in Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Nigeria and Indonesia. The tourist's desire is to spend a few weeks in relaxation, visiting interesting places and historical sites, at his own casual pace away from the humdrum life of his home. He is unconcerned about what goes around him locally. He continues his tour, beaming with revered admiration of the sites, pleased that he has taken this tour, convinced that it has been worth it. Yet, unfortunately some fall victim to terrorism. They are either killed or kidnapped. Their pleasant holiday turns into nightmare for them and their families. It is not surprising that such atrocities are committed by Islamic militants under the guise of (jihad) holy war. The Mujahideen holy warriors specifically target western foreigners, Christians and Jews. The motive is both religious and political. Islamic governments cannot disband Mujahideen groups or dismiss them as terrorists, unless the Mujahideen confront their own Islamic governments. Jihad (the struggle in the name of Allah) is officially indoctrinated in the Islamic religion and officially recognized and revered to most Moslems as the sixth pillar of Islam. Jihad cannot be constitutionally repealed. It is un-Islamic and an act of apostasy to even touch on such a highly revered subject. The West calls such groups terrorists; Islam hails them as holy warriors in defence, spread and maintenance of Islam. In short, Mujahideen target foreigners, Militias control aborigines and national ethnic communities, and Al-Muta-we-ah discipline their own Moslem dissenters and violators of the Islamic Shari'a law. The media seldom, if at all, discuss such issues. Instead, they blame migration of the Christian natives (Armenians, Assyrians, Copts, Maronites and Timorese), from their countries, on the Christians themselves rather than the harsh and inequitable conditions the Moslem rule imposes on them (Pryce-Jones, 1989: 6-10).
Under the guise of tolerance certain media articles claim that Christians, in Islamic countries, exercise their right of freedom of worship, of self-expression and of equal employment opportunity as any other citizen. They also claim that Islamic governments recognise the natural rights of the natives under full protection of the law of the land (Hiro, 1989: 178).
They go further still, and claim that association and marriage between Moslems and Christians or Moslems and Jews, is permitted. Such statements are baseless, misleading and untrue (Stump, Keith W., 1983: pp5, 43).
A Moslem man may marry a non-Moslem woman after he converts her to Islam. But a Moslem woman is legally prohibited by the Shari'a Islamic law from marrying a non-Moslem (Pryce-Jones: p125-126)
As much as a South African black man under apartheid could marry a South Afrikaner white woman, and live and survive in a South African white community, so can a Christian man in the Middle East, marry a Moslem woman and stay alive. In South Africa, discrimination was based on racism. In Islam, it is based on religion. A Christian, is not allowed to marry a Moslem woman, and still retain his Christian faith. He should first convert to Islam. It is against the Islamic law for a Moslem woman to enter into marriage with a non-Moslem. It is taboo. It is sacrilegious. It is an act of apostasy. It is outlawed and punishable by death (Kharroufah, 1991: 7, 25, 35; Pryce-Jones: 125-126).
For a non-Moslem man to marry a Moslem woman, the man has to convert to Islam and fulfil certain Islamic rituals first. He must:
INSTABILITY AND CHAOS OF THE SO CALLED RULE OF LAW
Most Islamic states of the Abode of Peace are in turmoil, engaged in infighting, aborting coup d'etats or hunting down fanatics. They are either at war or in direct and bitter conflict, over border disputes and transgressions. The conflict is usually between different sects and power challengers of secular reformists and sectarian conservatives. The chaos and random killings in Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sudan, Algeria, Somalia, and Indonesia are truly shocking (Pryce-Jones, 1989: 9-10, 16-17).
Looking at the world map, starting from the tip of north west Africa, all through the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and all the way down to Malaysia and Indonesia, then Turkey and part of the Balkans, you could hardly find one single Moslem country living at peace within its own borders or with its neighbouring country. The chaos of the Moslem world is evident in everyday publications of the media, broadcast and telecast. The upsurge towards total Islamisation of their countries, encouraging at the same time Moslem secessionists in non-Moslem countries towards complete separation to carve new independent Moslem states is a daily occurrence. The Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus, the Chechens in south Russia, the Moros in southern Philippines and the Kashmiris in northern India are all in separatist movements. Somalia, Nigeria, Libya, Sudan, Algeria, Bangladesh and Pakistan are just a few of the 52 Islamic states that want to introduce Islamic rule and Islamise their countries regardless of other ethnic communities and religions. Since the 10th century the Somali nomads have intermittently waged tribal wars against the Christian Ethiopians in a bid to expand further into the interior and Islamise the whole Ethiopian country. Recently, in August 1996, the Somalis again attacked southernmost eastern Ethiopia, claiming that part of the region is Islamic and belongs to them.
Until about 15 years ago, the Christians - the Assyrians and the Southern Sudanese in particular - were suffering from oppression and discrimination in silence at the hands of the Islamic states of the Abode of Peace, but not any more. They are now speaking out.
They are speaking out because of Islamic states' sick advocacy of the so-called holy war. They are appalled at the intensive flare-ups in the Lebanon. They are horrified at the deliberate acts of total destruction of Christian villages in northern Iraq and Lebanon and the city of Beirut itself that resulted in bloodshed, vengeful killings and malicious destruction. Worst still, was Qaddafi's call to the Lebanese Maronite Christians to convert to Islam if they wanted peace. As a consequence, Islamic fundamentalism has re-surged and become more daring and violent (Polk, 1991: 213, 453, 480).
Islamic regimes of the Abode of Peace criticize the West ceaselessly with malice. They describe Europe as evil and call the United States the Great Satan. They vent their vehemence on the Western civilization publicly, in sermons and festivities. They link the Christians and Jews anywhere in the world to the West and associate them with Western civilisation and culture and accuse them of being spies and agents because of their religion. They continue to generate bad feelings in the Moslem populace towards Christians and Jews. The Islamic states of the Abode of Peace blame the West for their shortcomings. They accuse the West of interfering in their internal affairs and blame their failures on past colonialism and imperialism (Pryce-Jones, 1989: 364-366). Whenever Christian and Jewish killings occur, the Islamic countries involved describe them as internal matters, as if non-Moslem nationals are state property and could be disposed of at their government's discretion.
The effect is so damaging that Moslems everywhere become very agitated. They look at Christians and Jews, irrespective of their skin colour or nationality, with suspicion and as a potential enemy. Such suspicion stirs in them the need for confrontation and violence against the "unbelievers." Such a stance gains them immediate acceptance in their community. It confirms their adherence to the sermons as a show of compliance. In the Abode of Peace, Moslems pressure the ethnic natives to forgo certain aspects of their cultural customs in public, on the grounds that they contravene traditional Islamic culture. They restrict their freedom and suppress their culture under pretext that it conflicts with their religious law and tradition (Pryce-Jones, 1989: 360, 368, 381-382).
In some Islamic countries, females are not allowed to walk alone in public. They have to be escorted by their husbands or by a male family member or else they will be stopped and questioned. Female dress and facial appearance has to comply with the strict law of the land. Wearing of the veil, mixed association, classical and Western music and public entertainment events are all governed by the Shari'a Islamic law. The indigenous Christians are swept along with the tide of the mainstream majority. They are pressured to compromise their rights and customs. Some Islamic governments point out that they intend to purge their countries from the impurities of foreign cultures, do away with the imperialistic system imposed on them by the West and return to the traditional rule of Islam. All subjects, regardless of their ethnicity, are obliged to submit to the government's Islamic code of conduct (Hiro, 1989: pp85, 89, 201).
The behaviour of the Islamic states of the Abode of Peace and violent trend is indicative of the self-destruct mechanism and implosion that grows out of a disturbing character. In the fields of arts, sports, social services, tourism, hospitality and entertainment, they mainly depend on non-Islamic cultures. The world has yet to see career and business women running their business in an independent fashion; or a hostess, stewardess or sportswoman acclaimed by their governments. Islamic states of the abode of peace accept with reluctance Western culture. Remove local Christian and foreign services from the Abode of Peace, and you will see a breakdown in the infrastructure of all the amenities of the Islamic states across the board.
THE RUINOUS CYCLONE
Whenever the social standard of an Islamic state reaches a certain conspicuous level comparable to Western culture, the Moslem clergy, in collaboration with the conservative elements, scheme to trigger its downfall. Whenever a certain group of people of an Islamic state becomes progressive and attempts to attain and maintain a certain degree of high personal freedom of choice in arts, dress appearance, association and entertainment, Islamic states of the Abode of Peace accuse the progressive class of Western trends. They describe it as un-Islamic, corrupted by Western values, and with bad influence on the Islamic society. In the name of religion and morality, conservative elements together with the clergy of the abode of peace states, help bring down to utter ruin an era of progress and prosperity that took them decades to achieve as witnessed in Iran under the Shah, in Algeria and recently in Lebanon. As a result, Islamic states push their people back to their old traditional way of life. They restore their ethical values, revert to their old tactics of confronting non-Islamic cultures pressuring them to curb their cultural activities and accept the rule of Islamic system of government. New comers to power denounce any change in the field of social education, freedom of expression, entertainment, arts and sports as un-Islamic. Any attempt to lift political restrictions and ease social reforms is looked at by the Moslem conservatives as counter-revolutionary and anti-religious. As soon as the conservative power challengers grab power, they attack and destroy anything they view as un-Islamic. Whirling like a vicious cyclone they ban and destroy whatever comes in their path that is different from the Islamic culture as immoral, deviant and unnatural. In Iran, the overwhelming colour is black as if all are in mourning. Some fountains in public parks and cemeteries sprinkle red-coloured water, signifying blood of the martyrs shed for their country.
Afghanistan is in ruin, the warlords have destroyed its infrastructure due to factional power struggle. Most of the road network, public buildings and residential areas have been destroyed or are in appalling condition. Females are denied formal education. All female schools have been closed down. Women are encouraged to stay at home. They restrict them to dress according to the Islamic law. They must cover themselves from head to toe. They are not allowed to work. They are banned from joining the workforce as social workers and public servants, in pursuit of an honourable career to earn and honest livelihood. Algeria is in a blood bath; its roads and highways are death traps for the native Berber and its cities and villages battlefields. Lebanon is re-emerging from the rubbles of 17 years of a raging sectarian war and destruction to an ominous future. The militant Hezbullah (God's Party) is determined to bring Lebanon under the thumb of the Shari'a rule of the Islamic Abode of Peace. Northern Iraq is living the life of a potentially volatile volcano on the verge of eruption. Since the advent of Islam, the enthusiasm of the Moslem sectarian leaders to proving themselves right and asserting themselves as the ever future world dominant rulers has not diminished a bit. How could other cultures survive in their midst? As a pioneer, Saudi Arabia has purged the whole of the Arab Peninsula from non-Islamic religions and local democratic opposition. Iran and other Islamic states like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan are following suit. It is puzzling that wearing blue jeans in most Islamic countries is acceptable, while wearing a tie in some others, like Iran and Afghanistan, is rejected as a symbol of Western imperialism. They form Council of Guardians to protect their countries from Western influence.
In the late sixties, a Kuwaiti lady from a respectable family returning from summer holiday in Europe came out of the plane with a tiny small white dog she had bought as a pet. She descended the stairs with the dog held on a leash in front of her. Next day, on the five o'clock evening news, she was obliged to apologize for her unbecoming Western behaviour and abandoned the idea of owning a pet dog.
In Iraq, in the mid-sixties, in the early days of the ascendancy of the Baath Party to power, Abdul Salam Arif, the one time friend of General Abdul Karim Qassim, and later his executioner and successor to government, launched an ethical campaign of morality. Any schoolgirl or woman seen in public wearing above-the-knee skirt or dress was stopped and brushed with whitewash paint from the knees down to her ankles as a deterrent to unethical behaviour. To avoid the 'painter's brush', a couple of schoolgirls, attempting to run across the street, were hit by cars and killed instantly. Many other schoolgirls were injured during that campaign. Besides the uproar and failure of the scandalous scheme, it caused grief to several families of good abiding citizens. Islamic culture seems to conflict more than agree with Western culture.
In Saudi Arabia, pioneer of the abode of peace, female citizens are not allowed to drive vehicles. Only men are allowed to drive. Females either hire a taxi or are driven by the family chauffeur or a member of the family. A group of educated females launched a street procession in late 1990. They demanded the government to lift its ban on women driving vehicles. They wanted the government to issue female adults with driving licence and allow them to drive by themselves instead of relying solely on men. On November 6, 1990 47 Saudi females, mainly students and employees in the educational sector, assembled into 14 vehicles and drove in the streets of Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, and demanded their legitimate right to drive vehicles by themselves. They explained to the authorities that that would minimise delay, remove much inconvenience and give them a sense of independence and accomplishment. They demanded that females be allowed to drive on their own rather than be at the mercy of a hired male driver, a family member or taxicab. That would give the females self-reliance and independence to drive to work or place of business without dependence on a male driver. To find themselves always dependent on male drivers was totally unacceptable and humiliating. One gets the impression that in addition to their driving privileges, male drivers act as their protective guardians to save them from mischief.
The Saudi female group was detained by the police and released the following morning against guarantees from their spouses that such an unbecoming act on the part of the females would not be repeated. The Internal Security reminded their spouses that such acts were contrary to the upright conduct of their cultural customs and would not be tolerated. They described the female activists as irresponsible and of ill repute. They described their husbands as laic and communists. Women in oriental countries are generally held in low esteem. When it comes for a woman to stand up for her right as equal to man, in opportunity and management, she is looked at as inferior and treated as such. Privileged are only those that come from the upper caste, very wealthy, and whose families have traditionally been involved in politics. Saudi females are still not allowed to drive. Christians, in Islamic countries are generally not allowed to worship openly or celebrate Christmas publicly in the traditional way. Wearing of crucifix is banned. Classical music, Western musical concerts, operas and public entertainment in amusement parks is foreign to them (Pryce-Jones, 1989: 272; Al-Jamal Publications, 1991; Aburish, 1995: 73-74, 92-93).
As of late (May 2001), the Talaban Muta-we-ah in Afghanistan have 'ordered foreign women to stop driving vehicles out of respect for local "tradition"'. According to their fatwa, guised under the Islamic Shari'a law, women are prohibited from showing their faces in public and are barred from employment except in the health sector. The Afghans seem to be following in the footsteps of their counterparts the Saudis, in reverting to traditional Islam, clogging the wheel of progress.
Moslem men cannot socialize with their spouses or partners in public functions and entertainment centres. They rarely participate in public celebrations and festivities. When they do, they become very protective and irate. Moslem males prefer to mix with other ethnic groups or communities without the accompaniment of their female partners. They prefer to bring along non-Moslem female partners for such functions and shows. According to their cultural custom, they cannot mix with their own females publicly, whether as individuals or a group. Those who live in cities live an urban life with a tribal mentality. Most of their functions are segregated, including their wedding ceremonies and celebrations.
People who lose their freedom stain their hands with blood in their attempt to restore it. The mind of an individual, like an independent country that fortifies its defences and raises armies to defend itself, stands up to the challenge to defend its conviction intellectually. Although sanguinary measures would be required as the last resort to save the day, it is a very high price to pay. Gold and wealth may regain it, but only with the hard currency of spilling blood and self-sacrifice one can regain freedom. Scores of free thinkers, writers and intellectuals have suffered terribly for expressing themselves due to heavy literary censorship. Several of them have been threatened, others jailed and their books and writings suppressed. Some have been forced to retreat and curb their pen. While others have chosen to live in exile rather than compromise their right to freedom of expression. Those who succumb and adhere to the inevitable become bewildered and disillusioned. As a result of their frustration they become loud and aggressive or lead a life of reclusion. Religious leaders, in the Abode of Peace, inculcate fear in their people in order not to be challenged. Some intellectuals are prepared to discuss any topic except their own individual freedom of choice. Since posing religious questions, generating debate, and writing freely fall under the definition of apostasy, hence a crime, many intellectuals stay clear of the clergymen to avoid confrontation with ardent adherents of the faith (Hiro, 1989: 31). Yet, deep in their hearts they feel betrayed for being restricted in expressing their views on various aspects of life. Since, in their world, there is no room for compromise on such clear-cut matters, writers remain concerned but silent and carry their guilt with them in mute anger for not trying harder on the path of self-expression to free themselves from reactionary elements. Like Nasr Abu Zeid, an Egyptian Moslem professor of Islamic studies at Cairo University who was declared an apostate by the (Sahri'a) Islamic ecclesiastical Court and ordered to divorce his Moslem wife on the grounds that Islamic law forbids a Moslem woman to stay married to an apostate. They become solitary prisoners of conscience and lead a subdued life of intellectual misery of unfulfilled expression of conviction.
Certain Islamic schools force Koranic teachings on their pupils since childhood. Islamic schools instill in students the fear of Allah by compelling them to learn the Koran by heart. They embed it in their culture, rock solid, at a very early age. Many children recite much of the Koran orally even before they reach the age of ten or eleven. As they grow older, they become habitual believers. Realizing the deadly risk of breaking away when they grow up, they join the mainstream and become vocal and overt in their hostility against other religions. In the Sudan for instance, Sudanese youths are whipped and chained for refusing to memorize the Koran. "Children are held in detention and have their ankles chained for days for refusing to accept the Islamic faith".
Once born a Moslem, he or she lives and dies a Moslem. To break away openly, means trouble that may eventually lead to certain death. People become household property, like the serf of the Medieval Ages that was bound to the land. Such a person did not have the option or the means to break away and liberate himself. He accepted his fate and succumbed to the will of his lord. So is a Moslem. He is bound by his religious law to seek the association of his own fellowmen. He is prompted to distance himself from unbelievers. Where he has the upper hand, as a migrant, he criticizes publicly the practices of other non-Islamic cultures as objectionable. Collectively, Moslem communities abroad bide their time until their community becomes large, powerful and influential. Then they start to lobby to supplant certain civil codes with Islamic laws, such as the use of the Islamic style headscarf (a distinct head covering for women), refraining Moslem females from participating in certain sports activities in school and public gatherings, and swim in seclusion in swimming pools exclusive to females. Such laws suppress Moslem individuals from independent thinking. Individual Moslems do not express their personal opinion openly for fear of reprisal. They lack the freedom of choice to decide and perform according to their own free will (Hiro, 1989: 45, 193; Aburish, 1994: 75). When asked, they put on a brave face and deny all charges as malicious lies. They insist that they lead a free and prosperous life.
Moslems are taught not to compromise. Knowingly or not, they take their religion overly seriously. Not because of their faith in their nameless and unidentifiable god, but because their (ulama') savants interpret the 114 (sura) Chapters in such a way that makes everything non-Moslem, under certain conditions, (halal) lawful to them. Islamic teaching incites Moslems to attain primacy over all other religions. Islam is preached as universal and eternal and that it should be accepted unquestioningly, bestirring them to remain firm in their faith as ardent followers. As they grow older they become staunch believers. Innocently or not, they follow the teachings and interpretations of their savants wholeheartedly and without question. Through interpretation of their religious leaders, they struggle to attain worldly pleasures and material gains in the name of Allah. As for paradise, the savants guarantee it to them with a carte blanche from on high. Some Mujahideen warriors wear a key around their neck as an assurance of gaining entrance to paradise when they fall in battle - the reward for their martyrdom against enemies of Islam (Mawdudi, 1992: 31-32).
A Moslem, in the Abode of Peace, has no option. All Moslems are presumed good and believers in Allah, the prophet and his true message. They are expected to accept it as the only true religion and live it to the full whatever the consequence. Whether moderates or conservatives, fundamentalists or radicals, it is hard to fathom their sincerity. They are all the same with their attitudes towards the Christians and Jews. Moslems never compromise but on their own terms. At times, it is hard to make a distinction. They are unpredictable. A long time Moslem friend or neighbour, be he pure as gold, may suddenly turn against a Christian or Jew. Charged with a hidden motive he may change at any moment and decide on a hostile act he believes is right. His innermost faith in his religious teachings gives him the personal liberty to act in a manner he believes is in the best interest and protection of his religion. According to the canonical law of Islam, a non-Moslem in an Islamic society is generally beheld as defilement. Yet for convenience, the Moslem viewing the non-Moslem as a source of gainful ploy, whether in the field of material gain or entertainment, extends a measure of cautious respect to gain his/her confidence with a view to meeting his expectations. By his adulation and defiant action he becomes the centre of attraction by his fellow Moslems, gaining him higher respect among his community. It also contributes towards fulfilling the call towards expanding and protecting his religion. To mix and indulge in gainful business and entertainment with non-Moslems, impound, take hostage, kill or blow up, even himself, for the sake of Allah is lawful and acceptable, convinced that it is a religious act in the service of Allah and defence of his religion. Martyrdom is the pinnacle of Jihad - the road to heaven (Hiro, 1989: 31; Pryce-Jones, 1989: 38).
Western culture tolerates religion but is known to have certain groups that discriminate against race and colour. Whereas in the Islamic states of the Abode of Peace, they are more likely to tolerate race and colour but discriminate totally against religion. Recognition and practicing of religion in a limited capacity in the Middle East other than the Jewish and Christian faiths is unlawful and forbidden. Other indigenous religions which had existed at the time of the conquest of their countries still remain but are diminishing. Islam considers them as false religions and intends to phase them out anyway. This applies to all Islamic states of the Abode of Peace, including the dwindling indigenous religion, namely, the Yezidi, known as the devil worshippers in Iraq. This sect arose out of the general She'ah movement around the 11th century (it confines its practice to a few villages in northern Iraq). Other native religions like Zoroastrianism (Zardoshti) in Iran, Buddhism and Hinduism in other Asian, Far Eastern and South Pacific countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia are looked at objectionably and with cautious indifference. The ultimate aim is to strip these native religions of their economic power, restrict their practice, and gradually lessen their religious influence to extinction. In Iran the Zardoshti and Baha'i already feel the pinch. Indonesia and Malaysia have already begun to curb the trading activities of the successful non-Moslem Chinese to limit their wealth under the pretext of evenhandedness with the natives. To survive, other religions consider themselves offshoots of Islam such as Al-Alawi, Ismaili, The Twelvers and Durzi (the latter exists in Syria, Lebanon and Israel). Such minority religions adopt Moslem names and more often side with the Moslems rather than Christians and live under the shadow of Islamic culture. Their survival depends on their gradual integration into the Islamic pot (Hiro, 1989: 91).
Islam recognizes the two Holy Books of the Old and New Testaments, but only to a certain degree. In Islam, Jews and Christians (the People of the Book of the Torah and the New Testament, as they are known to Islam) stand second in rank to the Moslem religion. According to Islam the purpose of the two Books has been fulfilled in the appearance of Islam. Islam claims supremacy and supersedes all other religions in conclusion of all things and fulfillment of the world to come. It also recognizes, among other prophets, the Patriarch Abraham and the Prophet Moses. Yet, the Moslems decline to recognise JEHOVAH publicly also as their living God. They connect (Id-Al-Adha) Immolation Feast to Ishmael, not Isaac. They substitute Ishmael for Isaac. Ishmael was Abraham's son from his maidservant Hagar. Isaac was Abraham's son from his wife Sarai. Islam relates the story of Abraham taking his son to the land of Moriah to offer him as a burnt offering to Ismael and not Isaac, contrary to the Holy Bible (Genesis 22:1-3). Moslems call Jacob 'Abana Ya'coub', our father Jacob, but avoid mentioning his God given name Israel. To them, Israel is an offensive name. As a skinhead fascist and member of an anti-Semitic organization that cannot respect and embrace a Jew and treat him as equal, so does a Moslem. He cannot love and revere the name Israel. Moslems detest it to the point of calling the State of Israel – the divinely bestowed name on Jacob - the 'illegitimate' Israel, rejecting its existence as an independent state. The Arab League supports the Palestinian Authority in its claim that the Holy Land falls within the (Dar Al-Silm) states of the Abode of Peace and that it is Arab. It considers such land, including the territory of the legitimate State of Israel, as an integral part of the Islamic (Umma) Nation, and that it should remain so.
They worship Allah which name is the Aramaic literally translation for God (Alaha - Assyrian Eastern dialect, or Alaho - Assyrian Western dialect). True, they recognise Abraham and Moses, yet they fall short of accepting Jehovah as their God (- the acronym - I AM THAT I AM – the name of the Old Testament God), the true God of Israel. They insist on calling the name of their god, Allah, attributing to him all the benevolent adjectives they can think of (presumably 99 names in all), sidestepping the name Jehovah, the God of Israel. The religious, social and political status of the Christian and Jew is classed below that of the Moslems. They are elevated to higher status, in level with themselves, only after their conversion.
In the Christian world, one may be able to distinguish a 'born again' convert from a traditional in-name-only Christian. It reflects in his actions, in his attitude and behaviour. For 'You will know them by their fruits.' Matthew 7:16. As Christians, they have a choice: either 'Enter by the narrow gate... because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life... or enter the wide gate for broad is the way that leads to destruction...' Matthew 7:13-14. Christians have the option to decide whether to choose heaven or not so that they may all realise where they stand and decide which road to take. As loving Christians they are under obligation to spread the Good News to everyone so that they may decide and make a choice, not force salvation on them.
Both, Judaism and Christianity are long established and are perceived to be of divine origin. The Old Testament shows that God communicated direct with Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-Israel) by voice and physical appearance in human form lest they saw the Almighty and died. God is unapproachable to human beings until the appointed time. No one has seen God and lived, not even Moses. God spoke direct to Moses for the duration of freeing His people from bondage. God, also through His son Jesus, offered redemption to both Jews and gentiles and complemented His law with grace. God wrote the laws and gave them to Moses. To teach his disciples the New Testament, Jesus lived the life of the New Testament in person, as a human being, until He fulfilled His mission and ascended to Heaven. The New Testament complementing the Old Testament, Judaism and Christianity were established, not only by divine inspiration, but also by direct heavenly intervention without mediation. All other religions are derivatives of Judaism and Christianity, or manmade religions established on the assumption of divine inspiration, revelation or apocryphal synthetics (Abdul-Haqq, 1980: 57-59).
When emotions run high, some Moslem individuals acting alone or in groups take the law into their own hands. Being devout Moslems, they apply the (Shari'a) Islamic Code of Law, literally. They intimidate Christians and Jews, burn and destroy their churches, temples and holy sites. They kidnap, kill and maim their men, women and children; take hostages, and in some cases, beat, behead, murder and mutilate their victims sadistically. It has now become respectable in the Moslem world to intimidate and kill a Christian or a Jew and eliminate their sympathizers. Besides (Jihad) holy war, killing in pursuit of protecting their religion is obligatory. Since Jihad is propagation of Islam, the ransom the Islamic militants get for releasing their non-Moslem hostages is lawful (halal). This method is applied to supplant Islamic financial support in their jihad struggle against the (Kafir) infidel non-Moslems from their own resources. Ransom money is another source of funding for their struggle, to increase their war effort in widening the Islamic fronts wherever possible (Pryce-Jones, 1989: 31-32, 38, 312; Hiro, 1989: 80, 94-95). A successful jihad results in pillage. Jihad without pillage is considered a loss to the Mujahideen. It is estimated that the notorious Abu Sayyaf (headsman) in the southern Philippines has, so far, netted more than twenty million American dollars ($US20 million) from kidnapping, hostage taking and extortion of Christian locals and foreign tourists. Such large sums help him to buy more weapons, recruit more young Moslem Mujahideen, and continue in his struggle for the spread of Allah's message. Jihad, besides being a voluntary mission, seems to be exploited as a business venture. Islam may criticise such hideous acts, but never condemn them. To avoid criticism, they keep a low profile. When asked by the reporters to comment, the Islamic governments pretend to be concerned. They caution the pursuers, scaring them not to confront the Mujahideen physically but rather negotiate to reach a compromise, lest they be forced to execute the hostages. It is a stealthy way of camouflaging their inherent approval of Jihad. Some Islamic governments even offer their services to act as a go-between to resolve the hostage crisis, which in most cases ends up paying a high ransom. Such actions and offer of mediation are not haphazard occurrences, or one of. They are inherent in their culture that grows out of their conviction in spreading their religion aggressively by the sword. The unsheathed sword on Saudi Arabia's flag symbolizing the true message of Allah is self-evident.
Killing a Jew in Israel or a Christian in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Nigeria or Indonesia and the Philippines has become commonplace. Blowing up a car, bus, passenger aeroplane, public building, or train station are targets for the zealot. Through interpretation of certain passages from the Koran by the Mufti, cleric or Imam, it becomes lawful to kill a Christian or a Jew in the name of Allah. It gains the perpetrator absolution and respect in his community. The two Libyan suspects, Abdel Bassit Ali Mohammad Al-Meqrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, accused of being behind the blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 (Jumbo Jet) passenger plane on December 21, 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, are held in high esteem in Libya. In this act of mass murder 270 persons were killed. Scores of perpetrators live in several Islamic states under the protection of their governments. Indonesia still denies that the six Australian Journalists killed during the invasion of East Timor in mid-October 1975 were murdered in cold blood. They describe their death as accidental, insisting they were caught in a cross fire. The killing of an 'unbeliever' infidel is always justified and seldom described as murder. Terrorists are staunchly defended, never condemned for their actions. Government officials connive and condone rather than condemn. The closest they come to is describe the carnage as a whimsical incident, acted upon as a result of frustration and desperation. Government representatives explain that by resorting to violence, defiant individuals and groups express their dissatisfaction to attract world attention. Since their rulers fail to redress their grievances they allege, Islamic militants take it against the Christians and Jews as a show of force in defiance of their Islamic governments. They lead protest marches and take the matter into their own hands in a violent manner, which according to their Shari'a is acceptable, and the perpetrators exonerated by the Islamic regimes. (Pryce-Jones, 1989: 205-206, 335). Some Islamic groups, with the approval of religious leaders, pride themselves on actions like these to the extent that they parade in military-like fashion, adequately armed; and sometimes with dynamite sticks protruding from their breast pockets or showing belts of dynamite sticks strapped around their waists.
© Frederick P. Isaac. All Rights Reserved.