Baroness Warsi’s attempt to portray Britain as a nation of Islamophobes* raises an interesting question: is it unreasonable to be an Islamophobe or is it simple self-defence? To be afraid of a genuine danger is not bigotry.
The problem with Islam is that the Koran itself is incompatible with our society, a fact that is made double difficult because for Muslims the Koran is the literal word of Allah. Therefore, the Muslim does not have the opportunity so common within Christianity to “interpret” the more inconvenient texts into a harmless banality.
From the point of view of English law the problem with Islam is this, the religion promotes behaviour which is illegal in England. Hence, it is not a question of a few Muslim extremists falsely believing things which are incompatible with English law, but the Koran itself which is the source of the belief. let me illustrate this with a few quotes from the Penguin translation of the Koran by Nessim Joseph Dawood.
Dawood was an Iraqi Jew brought up in Baghdad. Arabic was his first language. His translation was made in the mid-1950s before the present extreme animosity between Jews and Muslims existed. It is reasonable to see Dawood as someone who is not hostile to Islam and consequentlty has nbon axe to grind by producing translations designed to show Islam in a bad light. . His introduction to the translation makes this clear: “The Koran is the earliest and by far the finest work of Classical Arabic prose. For Muslims it is the infallible word of God, a transscript of a tablet presereved in heaven, revealed to the Prophet Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel.” Now for the quotes:
‘Because of their iniquity, we forbade the Jews the good things which were formerly allowed them; because time after time they debarred others from the path of Allah; because they practice usury – although they were forbidden it – and cheat others of their possessions.’ (Chapter (sura) entitled ‘Women’ – sura 4).
‘Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because Allah guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send then to beds apart and beat them.’ (Chapter entitled ‘Women’ – sura 4).
‘As for the man or woman who is guilty of theft, cut off their hands to punish them for their crimes. That is the punishment enjoined by Allah.’ (Chapter entitled ‘The Table’ – sura 5).
‘As for the unbelievers, the fire of Hell awaits them. Death shall not deliver them, nor shall its torment be ever lightened for them. Thus shall the thankless be rewarded.’ (Chapter entitled ‘The Creator’).
‘Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal vigorously with them. Hell is their home.’ (Chapter entitled ‘Repentance’ – sura 9).
‘When the sacred months are over slay the idolators wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them.’ (Chapter entitled ‘Repentance’ – sura 9).
“Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number. Allah does not guide the wrongdoers.” (Chapter The Table – Sura 5)
“Believe in none except those that follow your own religion.” (Chapter The Imrans – sura 3)
‘Believers, do not choose the infidels rather than the faithful for your friends. ‘ (Chapter Women – sura 4)
‘Unbelievers are those who declare: ‘Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary.’ (Chapter The Table – sura 5)
“The unbelievers are your inveterate enemies.” (Chapter Women – sura 4)
“The only true faith in Allah’s sight is Islam.He that denies Allah’s revelations should know that swift is God’s reckoning.” (Chapter entitled The Imrans – Sura 3)
‘You shall not wed pagan women, unless they embrace the faith. A believing slave-girl is better than an idolatress…’ (Chapter entitled ‘The Cow’ – sura 2).
‘Believers, retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed: a free man for a free man, a slave for a slave, and a female for a female.’ (Chapter entitled ‘The Cow’ -sura 2).
‘Remember the words of Lot, who said to his people : “Will you persist in these indecent acts which no other nation has committed before you? You lust after men instead of women. Truly, you are a degenerate people.”‘(Chapter The Heights -sura 7).
In that small selection – and the Koran is jam-packed with similar injunctions – we have anti-Semitism, homophobia, sanction for the subordination of women and the right to beat them and general calls to strike down non-Muslims. In short the Koran contains much which is illegal not only in terms of the behaviour it sanctions for Muslims, but also in terms of breaching the laws regarding racial incitement.
The genesis of Christianity and Islam are very different. Christianity spent several centuries as a persecuted religion. This eventually resulted in a quietest mentality whereby the religion was practised in the main as a private devotion which did not challenge the state. The emperor Constantine then made it the state religion of Rome in the early fourth century whereby it became an instrument of state. This brought it under another form of control.
Islam’s development was the reverse of Christianity. From the first it was an aggressive, expansionist religion which spread itself through war. It was an elite ideology which lacked the refining period of persecution experienced by Christianity to make it meek. It remains so to this day.