The Vatican has denounced and condemned practices which are basic to Islam. This is in the recent pronouncement from its Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. The practices can be found in the Koran and in Islamic Law.
In Islam the Koran has a special status which makes it quite unlike the Old Testament. The Koran actually forms part of Islamic Law, as do the 'reliable' traditions, Hadith, of Mohammed. The components of Islamic Law are not optional, not open to question, and not changeable:
"It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision" (Koran 33:36).
"O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you" (5:101).
The Koran cannot be changed: "None may change his words" (18:27).
It is a capital offence in Islam to deny any verse in the Koran. The killing can be performed without penalty by anyone, "since it is killing someone who deserves to die" (Manual of Islamic Law o8.7(7), o8.4).
"The teachings of the Quran", explains Imam Ahmad Saad, of North London Central Mosque, "are not restricted by time and space. They are universal and trans-time." The Koran is presented as "valid from eternity to eternity", explains Sam Solomon, former professor of Sharia law.
Here, allying itself with men and women of goodwill, is the announcement by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue:
"This Pontifical Council, all those engaged in interreligious dialogue, followers of all religions, as well as men and women of goodwill, can only unambiguously denounce and condemn these practices unworthy of man:
â€¢ the massacre of people for the sole reason of their religious affiliation;
The Koran commands Muslims to "fight" people (to the death) for the sole reason of their religious affiliation:
K. 9:29: "Fight those who believe not in Allah [God of Islam] nor the Last Day [in Islamic doctrine], nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger [Mohammed], nor acknowledge the religion of Truth [Islam] ... ."
This is a blanket command, "valid from eternity to eternity". As can be seen, it is not dependent upon Muslims first being attacked or fought: it is not fighting in self-defence, it is fighting "those who believe not".
â€¢ the despicable practice of beheading, crucifying and hanging bodies in public places;
Beheading is prescribed in the Koran:
"So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks" (47:4).
Crucifixion and limb-chopping are commanded:
"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter" (5:33).
"Mischief through the land" is an almost everlastingly extendable concept that can cover any kind of anti-Islamic or simply non-Islamic action, like drawing cartoons.
â€¢ the imposition on Christians and Yezidis of the choice among conversion to Islam, payment of a tax (jizya) or forced exile;
Islam commands Muslims to force non-Muslims to convert to Islam, with concessions to "People of the Book" (mainly Jews and Christians). The full verse of 9:29 is:
"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."
Thus the Muslim is instructed to "fight" (meaning fight to kill, according to Arabic speaker Ashraf Ramelah of Voice of the Copts) anyone who is non-Muslim. The Koran grants certain concessions to Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, whom it terms "People of the Book". They are allowed to keep their religion if they pay a special tax, the jizya, and accept second class status with numerous restrictions (see the Pact of Umar in "Wake Up and Smell the Hatred").
"Muslims must kill non-believers wherever they are unless they convert to Islam", said Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt, the highest Muslim religious authority in the world.
From a 'Sahih' (reliable) Hadith:
"When you meet your enemies who are polytheists [which includes Christians], invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to [accept] Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them ... If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them", Sahih Muslim (19:4294).
This is the doctrine expressed by the Syrian interviewed by Sky News:
"Okay, they have three choices, either they became a Muslim, or they have to pay the jizya, or to be killed."
Yazidis are not "People of the Book", so for them the jizya tax option is not available: their only choices are to convert or be killed. This is why they fled en masse to the mountain leaving everything behind.
â€¢ the forced expulsion of tens of thousands of people, including children, the elderly, pregnant women and the sick;
"Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers" (2:98): he "does not love" them (3:32). Simply by being non-Muslim they "wage war against Allah". It is of no consequence whether they are children, elderly, pregnant or sick: they are "filth" (9:28), "the vilest of animals" (8:22), attracting only "animosity and hatred" (60:4). Muslims, who are the "finest of peoples raised up for mankind" (3:110), are "severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves" (48:29); "... let them find harshness in you" (9:123).
â€¢ the abduction of girls and women belonging to the Yezidi and Christian communities as spoils of war (sabaya);
Chapter 8 of the Koran is headed "Spoils of War". Mohammed did not pay his followers. When they accompanied him on raids, or conducted raids in his absence, he allowed them the booty after taking one fifth for himself. He had first choice of the captive women. His actions are the "beautiful pattern [to follow]" (33:21): to Muslims he is "the perfect man". Nothing that he did can be disparaged or forbidden. The taking of girls and women as spoils of war is hard-wired into Islam: it cannot be changed.
"When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman's previous marriage is immediately annulled", Manual of Islamic Law, Reliance of the Traveller, o9.13.
â€¢ the imposition of the barbaric practice of infibulation;
"Circumcision is obligatory [for every male and female]", Manual of Islamic Law (e4.2).
â€¢ the destruction of Christian and Muslim places of worship and burial places;
Mohammed said: "I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim", Sahih Muslim, 19:4366.
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia recently stated that all churches in The Arabian peninsula should be destroyed.
â€¢ the forced occupation or desecration of churches and monasteries;
Churches and monasteries carry no significance in Islam: "It is unbelief", says the Manual of Islamic Law, "to hold that the remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as 'Christianity' or 'Judaism', are acceptable ...", Manual of Islamic Law, w4.1(2).
Only Islam is acceptable:
"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him", Koran 3:85, part of Islamic Law.
â€¢ the removal of crucifixes and other Christian religious symbols as well as those of other religious communities;
"Non-Muslim subjects are obliged to comply with Islamic rules ... they are forbidden ... to ring church bells or display crosses", Manual of Islamic Law o11.5(6).
â€¢ the destruction of a priceless Christian religious and cultural heritage;
Islam sets a low value on non-Islamic heritage, as belonging to Jahiliyya, the pre-Islamic period of ignorance, fit for burning, demolition, and bulldozing.
â€¢ appalling violence aimed at terrorising people to force them to surrender or flee.
The Koran instructs: "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" (8:60).
Mohammed said, "I have been made victorious through terror". As his is the "beautiful pattern" (above) Muslims are not merely authorized, but encouraged to emulate him. His words and his actions are law. Incidentally, "Make Ready" or "Prepare" (quoting this verse) is the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood. It appears anodyne, like the Boy Scouts' "Be Prepared", but it is hostile and terror-linked.
The Vatican's pronouncement is significant. It is simultaneously a denunciation by the West and a catalogue of Islam's incompatibility. The practices listed are basic Islam: the Pontifical Council "unambiguously denounce and condemn these practices". The Vatican has thereby denounced and condemned Islam.
Subsequently the Vatican has made an appeal to the international community "to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence":
The violent attacks that are sweeping across Northern Iraq cannot but awaken the consciences of all men and women of goodwill to concrete acts of solidarity by protecting those affected or threatened by violence and assuring the necessary and urgent assistance for the many displaced people as well as their safe return to their cities and their homes. The tragic experiences of the Twentieth Century, and the most basic understanding of human dignity, compels the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities.
Let the international community respond.
Top picture: Syrian citizens crucified for speaking against the Islamic State.
The Koran is consultable online: www.quran.com. The Manual of Islamic Law is available as a free download: http://www.islamicbulletin.org/free_downloads/resources/reliance2_complete.pdf. General reference: www.TheReligionOfPeace.com.
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