Grapes with Large Eyes and Big Boobs

I’m a fan of Cracked. But they don’t understand artistic creation at all, have a very wrong concept of plagiarism and plot hole, and they have a tendency to make huge claims based on little evidence. And they also don’t understand Islam. This belongs to a photoplasty which was published on April 28th, but I saw it today.It’s called 40 Myths We Believe Now Due to Tiny Mistakes Years Ago. Now Cracked does have tendency to call true things myths, and it happens here as well, in two photos related to Islam.

This is the first image:

266675_v1

  • It is true that Jihad also has a peaceful meaning, referring to the inner struggle of the believer to become virtuous. However, it’s completely false to suggest it doesn’t have a violent war-like meaning as well.
  • In many verses the Koran praises those who are killed for Allah, and no matter how hard you struggle internally you won’t get killed.
  • Koran uses the word “mughateleh” and not “hurb” to refer to war, and it uses that many times. I couldn’t find a source to indicate how many times, but it’s a lot.
  • This is clearly written by someone with a vast knowledge of Arabic language yet willing to lie about words (hurb instead of mughatele).
  • Even if it’s wrong to interpret jihad with referring to war (it’s not), it’s still not a “mistranslation”, since Arab speaking people use it that way as well.

266639

 

  • There’s no conclusive evidence that Koran is in Aramaic dialect. One dude claimed this in a book, and the majority of scholars disagree with him. Check the Wikipedia page for reference. Actually, it is said that there are many dialects of Quran, so claiming to know the dialect of Koran is shoddy at best.
  • The same book also argues that Koran has a Christian origin, which shows how bullshit it is.
  • You have just blown yourself to pieces and your reward is a handful of fucking grapes? What an asshole god!
  • Too bad for the creator of this image is that hurs are described physically in great detail. This is one example from Koran: “And besides them will be chaste women, restraining their glances, with big eyes” (source) And also So if hur really means grape, we need to conclude that Allah rewards martyrs with grapes who have large eyes and big boobs. Which quite a ghastly prize.

Does Cracked.com fact-check everything so thoroughly? Or is it that like all non-Muslim apologists for Islam, they are eager to jump on every bullshit to support the claim that Islam is a peaceful religion?

About Kaveh Mousavi

Kaveh Mousavi is the pseudonym of an atheist ex-Muslim living in Iran, subject to one of the world’s remaining theocracies. He is a student of English Literature, an aspiring novelist, and part-time English teacher. He is passionate about politics, video games, heavy metal music, and cinema. He was born at the tenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He has ditched the Islamic part, but has kept some of the revolutionary spirit.

  • http://georgeworroll.wordpress.com gworroll

    Their photoplasties are user generated.

    I’ve found that the articles they write themselves are fairly solid when I do fact checking. Not perfect, but the main sin is hyperbole for comic effect. I’d trust them more than Fox News, at least for the staff generated content.

    I do roll my eyes at some of the claims in the photoplasty contests, though. Some of them are just flat out wrong- these examples could at least be argued.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    The same book also argues that Koran has a Christian origin, which shows how bullshit it is.

    ??? Buddhism has a Hindu origin, Christianism has a Judaic origin, Mormonism has a Christian origin. Though there are some meanings in which that claim can be rendered as bullshit, in at least some it makes sense to claim that a new religion originates in whatever creed dominated the place and time where/when that tradition split.

    (Obviously that applies much less to religions begun de novo such as Scientology and Raeleanism, but Islam does clearly represent a ramification of the “Abrahamic” tradition.)

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      No I don’t mean in that sense, he argues as if some Christian monks wrote Koran

      • Pierce R. Butler

        I’ve tried to get a handle of the origins-of-Islam/historicity-of-Mohammed question, and each book I’ve read has left me feeling more ignorant than before.

        My tentative conclusion: the beginnings of Islam have been multiply obscured, first by the dust kicked up at the time, then from revisionism in the eighth & ninth centuries (CE) by caliphs glorifying their own dynasties, incrementally thereafter by Muslim theologians, and now by sensationalist quasi-historians and (I suspect but can’t prove) Zionist propagandists. A few genuine historians are trying to probe the mysteries, but most lack adequate linguistic skills and background, while the handful of specialists are held back by scholarly diplomacy, a need to not-offend the keepers of historic manuscripts, and the very legitimate desire to keep a clear distance from those sensationalists and propagandists.

        • Blanche Quizno

          You’ve identified the enormous cloud of suspicion that hovers heavily over ALL religions’ origins. Why are the Dark Ages dark? Because there’s no information from those centuries. Why not? The Catholic Church destroyed it all to better substitute its Church-friendly hagiography that is now unfortunately regarded as actual history. How to fix this problem? GOOD QUESTION, given what a stranglehold these enormous and still enormously powerful religious corporations have over the field of scholarship.

          And this is because nearly every single one of my colleagues has entered this discipline (biblical scholarship) qua Christian or Jew. (True, they sometimes exit as something else, but that’s another story altogether.) … Now we can better identify what is not well with biblical scholarship. Composed almost entirely of faith-based researchers on one extreme and “secularists” on the other, the field itself is structurally preconditioned to make heretical insight difficult to generate and secular research nearly impossible. … Assume for a moment that you are an atheist exegete. Now please follow my instructions. Peruse the listings in Openings. Understand that your unique skills and talents are of no interest to those institutions listed there with the words “Saint” and “Holy” and “Theological” and “Seminary” in their names. … the position was filled by a graduate of a theological seminary. Realize that those on the search committee who made this choice all graduated from seminaries themselves. … http://www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?articleId=503

          For most people who study the Bible the concern remains, as it has always been, to yield results that are helpful and informative for religious believers. http://tinyurl.com/mgnv8d

  • René

    I see that you have been thoroughly indoctrinated with the classical story of the history of Islam, Keveh. More and more Western Arabists lean towards Luxenberg’s findings. For instance there are NO indications that a Mohammad ever existed.The name Mohammad may well have referred to Christ, as it means “the annointed one” My personal expectation is that the Mohammed story was fabricated by Meccan sales people in competition with other places of worship.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      *sigh*

      Who are these “Arabists?” Do they agree with his theory of big boobs on grapes?

      Mohammad means “the one who is praised”. There’s no anointed in his meaning.

      And there is no doubt that Mohammad existed. This came up here before and I looked into it, and it’s faulty. Denying he existed is as rational as denying the moon landing. He became the emperor of the whole Arabs, his immediate successors who were his relatives (Omar and Osman were his father-in-laws) conquered parts of the world like Iran and Egypt and Syria. What you people don’t get is that Mohammad is not like Jesus, which is separated from the rise of Christianity with centuries. He was a political leader too.

      They say there is no contemporary evidence that he existed. Although that is not 100% true, yes, there is little contemporary evidence about Mohammad. But do you know why it’s false to conclude he didn’t exist? Because every great middle eastern person I think of, whether ruler or poet or mystic, there’s no contemporary evidence for them. There’s very evidence left for them in general.

      So I’m going to conclude that no human existed in Middle East before 19th century.

      But, there’s tons of evidence to support that there was a man who rose and migrated to Medina and then beat the crap out of Meccans and conquered Arabia, and then his successors conquered the world. There is little evidence however that he claimed he was a prophet, so maybe he didn’t. There’s much evidence to suggest he didn’t mean Islam to be a new religion, and most probably it’s true. Maybe 99% of things we are told about the man is legend.

      However, he did exist, and that’s final.

  • Blanche Quizno

    Oh barf. “Muslims are just Christians who didn’t get the Jesus memo.” Sorry – fail.

    What happens is that every religion we know has come into being as a rejection of an established religion. Judaism separated from the religions surrounding it, with specific instructions for how the Israelites/Hebrews/Jews would be *different* from those heathens. Not eating pork was one; not engaging in child sacrifice was another, but THAT one kept recurring over and over. They seem to be over it now. Christianity arose as a backlash against Judaism; Islam arose as a backlash against both Christianity and Judaism, though to a lesser degree than Christianity. Given that Christianity was repressive,censorious, rabidly intolerant, and given to destroying everything it could get its hands on (especially libraries), early Islam expressed its difference in the tolerance and value of learning that led to “The ink of the scholar is more precious than the blood of the martyr” becoming a guiding principle and not just empty cliché. Thus we were blessed with the Islamic Golden Age, aka the Islamic Renaissance which, thanks to returning Crusaders, kicked off the Renaissance in the West. But the brilliance of early Islam died out when the all-powerful caliphs, worried about their empire splintering and collapsing into civil war, decided that *everything* must be aligned with and inspired by the Qur’an. Ever since, Islam has been a backward, barbaric, cruel, primitive mess.

    Buddhism arose as a backlash against Hinduism. The Protestant Reformation arose as a backlash against the Catholic Church. The Mormons were an offshoot of Christianity. Look at *any* sect of Christianity, and you’ll find that it originated as an offshoot of some other sect of Christianity. For example, the Seventh Day Adventists arose out of the Millerite movement, an 1800s sect that prominently featured failed “Second Coming” predictions. The Seventh Day Adventists spawned the Seventh Day Adventist Reform movement and the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, which in turn spawned the Branch Davidians, best known for their prophet David Koresh and the Waco, TX, siege. And so it goes.

    It makes no difference to the Troo Beleevers whether their Christ or their Muhammed even existed in real life. None of them signed up because they’d carefully reviewed the evidence, especially the contemporary accounts (or lack thereof *ahem*) and decided that it was just *THAT* obvious that not only did this person actually exist in a known and verifiable form but that he was just *THAT* superlative in every sense (again, based on actual, tangible, reliable evidence) and *THAT* is why they saw converting as the obvious choice.

    If that were the case, we wouldn’t be sitting here with all the major religions in decline and only able to prop up their numbers by counting their members’ newborns as full-fledged members and keeping their names on the books until they die (or, in the case of the Mormons, until their 110th or maybe 120th birthdays). No religion is showing it can increase its membership by appealing to educated adults. The only category of belief that is growing worldwide is non-belief, and that is growing despite there being no organized movement. People are leaving organized religion without being proselytized by atheists, without being pressured by unbelievers, without heathen infidels knocking on their doors at inconvenient times to ask them if they’ve considered NOT believing in religion/gods. No effort, yet all this result – it’s no surprise the religious are both outraged and panicked.

    BTW, René. back then, “anointed one” didn’t mean anyone in particular or anyone special. The Jewish term “moshaich” (“messiah”) referred to every king, every priest, even to inanimate objects such as altars – anything that was anointed in an anointing ceremony. The Christians’ “Jesus” was never officially anointed – it was a defined ceremony that was performed by the High Priest using a specially blended oil recipe that was only allowed to be used for that purpose. So the Christians’ “Jesus” was no anointed one, and not a “Christ” in any sense that any self-respecting, knowledgeable Jew would accept. Just…no. Likewise Muhammed. Unless he was anointed in a special anointing ceremony presided over by the Jewish High Priest (fat chance), he was not a “moshaich” or “anointed one” or “Christ”. Cyrus the Great of Persia was a “messiah” because, as a legitimate king, he had been anointed to his position, even though it was not technically a Jewish anointing. Neither Jesus nor Muhammed (even if they existed) had such an anointing – they were both commoners and thus any claim to attach the status to them is invalid and illegitimate. You can like them all you want, but that doesn’t mean they get status they were never awarded, that they never earned or deserved.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      I think Islam wasn’t a backlash against Christianity or Judaism but the idolatry religion of the Jaheliyya Arabs at that times, and maybe not even a backlash, but a reform movement.

      Also, I strongly disagree with your reading of Islam and Renaissance and tolerance, but that’ll be a subject of a future post.

      • Blanche Quizno

        Kaveh, I do not intend any disrespect. I am simply pointing out that any new religion that makes a point of codifying what the present religion is doing wrong and identifies itself on the basis of NOT doing what that other religion is doing wrong IS most definitely a backlash against that religion.

        Protestant Christianity is a really easy example – Martin Luther nailed his criticisms of the Catholic Church to the communal bulletin board for all to see, and it went from there. Backlash, pure and simple.

        Here are some passages from Islam that identify how Islam is identified as the original religion, by clarifying where the Jews and Christians went wrong and continue to BE wrong:

        2:87-89 And verily We gave unto Moses the Scripture and We caused a train of messengers to follow after him, and We gave unto Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty), and We supported him with the Holy spirit. Is it ever so, that, when there cometh unto you a messenger (from Allah) with that which ye yourselves desire not, ye grow arrogant, and some ye disbelieve and some ye slay? And they say: Our hearts are hardened. Nay, but Allah hath cursed them for their unbelief. Little is that which they believe. And when there cometh unto them a scripture from Allah, confirming that in their possession – though before that they were asking for a signal triumph over those who disbelieved – and when there cometh unto them that which they know (to be the truth) they disbelieve therein. The curse of Allah is on disbelievers.

        2:92-96 And Moses came unto you (Jews) with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), yet, while he was away, ye (you Jews) chose the calf (for worship) and ye were wrong-doers. And when We made with you a covenant and caused the Mount to tower above you, (saying): Hold fast by that which We have given you, and hear (Our Word), they said: We hear and we rebel. … And thou wilt find them greediest of mankind for life and (greedier) than the idolaters. (Each) one of them would like to be allowed to live a thousand years. And to live (a thousand years) would be no means remove him from the doom. Allah is Seer of what they do.

        2:113-114 And the Jews say the Christians follow nothing (true), and the Christians say the Jews follow nothing (true); yet both are readers of the Scripture. Even thus speak those who know not. Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they differ. And who doth greater wrong than he who forbiddeth the approach to the sanctuaries of Allah lest His name should be mentioned therein, and striveth for their ruin. As for such, it was never meant that they should enter them except in fear. Theirs in the world is ignominy and theirs in the Hereafter is an awful doom.

        2:120-121 And the Jews will not be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, till thou follow their creed. Say: Lo! the guidance of Allah (Himself) is Guidance. And if thou shouldst follow their desires after the knowledge which hath come unto thee, then wouldst thou have from Allah no protecting guardian nor helper. Those unto whom We have given the Scripture, who read it with the right reading, those believe in it. And whoso disbelieveth in it, those are they who are the losers.

        2:140 Or say ye that Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes were Jews or Christians ? Say: Do ye know best, or doth Allah ? And who is more unjust than he who hideth a testimony which he hath received from Allah ? Allah is not unaware of what ye do.

        2:159 Lo! Those who hide the proofs and the guidance which We revealed, after We had made it clear to mankind in the Scripture: such are accursed of Allah and accursed of those who have the power to curse.

        2:161 Lo! Those who disbelieve, and die while they are disbelievers; on them is the curse of Allah and of angels and of men combined.

        2:211 Ask of the Children of Israel how many a clear revelation We gave them! He who altereth the grace of Allah after it hath come unto him (for him), lo! Allah is severe in punishment.

        4:47-48 O ye unto whom the Scripture hath been given! Believe in what We have revealed confirming that which ye possess, before We destroy countenances so as to confound them, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers (of old time). The commandment of Allah is always executed. Lo! Allah forgiveth not that a partner should be ascribed unto Him. He forgiveth (all) save that to whom He will. Whoso ascribeth partners to Allah, he hath indeed invented a tremendous sin.

        4:50-52 See, how they invent lies about Allah! That of itself is flagrant sin. Hast thou not seen those unto whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given, how they believe in idols and false deities, and how they say of those (idolaters) who disbelieve: “These are more rightly guided than those who believe”? Those are they whom Allah hath cursed, and he whom Allah hath cursed, thou (O Muhammad) wilt find for him no helper.

        4:61 And when it is said unto them: Come unto that which Allah hath revealed and unto the messenger, thou seest the hypocrites turn from thee with aversion.

        3:52 But when Jesus became conscious of their disbelief, he cried: Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah ? The disciples said: We will be Allah’s helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear thou witness that we have surrendered (unto Him).

        See? They’re both wrong. Stereotypically greedy Jews, too! The Jews and Christians persisted as Jews and Christians instead of converting to the new Allah religion which had proven – PROVEN! – to them just how wrong they were, so they’re cursed. Backlash. Jesus was a Muslim. BOOM. You’ll notice that’s an identical parallel to how Jesus says Moses wrote about HIM (John 5:46). The new backlash religion claiming their interpretation is and was the only correct one all along, from the beginning.

        Here we see that Christianity was already trinitarian and featuring the cult of Mary-worship:

        4:115-117 And whoso opposeth the messenger after the guidance (of Allah) hath been manifested unto him, and followeth other than the believer’s way, We appoint for him that unto which he himself hath turned, and expose him unto hell – a hapless journey’s end! Lo! Allah pardoneth not that partners should be ascribed unto Him. He pardoneth all save that to whom He will. Whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah hath wandered far astray. They invoke in His stead only females; they pray to none else than Satan, a rebel

        And don’t think you can squeak in a deathbed conversion, neither!!

        4:18 The forgiveness is not for those who do ill-deeds until, when death attendeth upon one of them, he saith: Lo! I repent now; nor yet for those who die while they are disbelievers. For such We have prepared a painful doom.

        “I invite [those] who haven’t read the Quran to simple read the book. Take out a highlighter and highlight those lines that counsel the believer to despise infidels, and you will find a book that is just covered with highlighter.”– Sam Harris

        These people COULD have sought a return to orthodox Judaism for themselves, of course, but they didn’t, perhaps because there was still a very strong tribal/ethnic component to Judaism. They simply modified that Hebrew chassis to suit themselves, strongly refuting Christianity while making up their own rules to suit themselves just like the Christians did before them.

      • abear

        I’ve seen a convincing argument that a rift in Christianity greatly aided the acceptance of in areas of the former Roman-Byzantine empire.

        There was friction between the factions about the acceptance of the Trinitarian Doctrine, and the authorities in Constantinople had alienated many by attempting to force the matter. North Africa, Syria and Mesopotamia accepted Islam to a large degree fairly early in the movement.

        That, and Xtianity’s similarities to Islam, however slight, no doubt added to the spread of the latter.

    • Alena

      The Bible doesn’t say whether or not Jesus was anointed by a Jewish Priest. But it does say He was anointed by God. Mark 1:10, “As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove.”

    • wRog

      The general problem with the “backlash/rebellion” theme is that you ALWAYS (in pretty much ANY field of endeavor, not just religion) have to distinguish what you’re doing from what everybody else has been doing, otherwise nobody has any reason to pay attention to you. This is Marketing 101: Establish your brand.

      “Christianity arose as a backlash against Judaism”

      I’d say Christianity would be better characterized as the attempt by Paul and his successors (*) to sell Judaism to Hellenistic audiences, the theory being that if there were some way of leaving out all of the annoying bits that the Romans and Greeks generally couldn’t deal with (e.g., the circumcision rite, the dietary rules, the “chosen people” tribalism) and that don’t Really Matter anyway, you’d have something that could really catch on.

      Things get confused because you *also* at the time had factions of Judaism that were eyeing the Daniel/Isaiah Calendar Rollover, looking for SOME kind of change w.r.t. the priesthood and its accomodation with Rome, factions whose efforts eventually led to the Jewish rebellion against Rome, one such faction POSSIBLY being the pre-Paul version of Christianity (i.e., of Peter/James) that Paul was at odds with, but which we don’t really know much about because it got bulldozed with the rest of Jerusalem in the war…

      … that later Christians then identified with in order to establish their legitimacy

      Reasoning by (doubtless faulty) analogy I might then make the leap that Islam was a similar attempt to come up with a version of Christianity/Hellenized-Judaism that would be palatable to Arab/Bedouin audiences, except that Mohammed (**) evidently decided far more radical changes were needed, and so went for a complete rewrite rather than incorporating prior scripture directly.

      (*) i.e, the ones who came up with the idea of making Jesus historical and wrote the gospels to support that narrative, and yes, I’m waiting on the edge of my seat for Richard Carrier’s book, how could you tell?

      (**) read The Actual Author of the Quran if one is of the opinion that this is a distinct person from The Prophet.

    • wrog

      What happens is that every religion we know has come into being as a rejection of an established religion. Judaism separated from the religions surrounding it

      The origin of Judaism is a whole ‘nother can of worms.

      For one thing, it came out of an earlier dark age (i.e., the one that followed the Bronze Age Collapse of 1200 BC rather than the Western Roman Collapse of 250-450 AD). Meaning there’s another thousand years of obfuscation in there and thus we have VERY LITTLE information about what Judaism might have separated from. … assuming it separated from anything at all, as opposed to developing organically out of whole cloth as the tribal religion of the Israelite nomads that settled Palestine/Canaan in the 13th-12th centuries BC

      Never mind the possibility that the Jews invented the whole concept of scripture-based religion, by which I mean a religion having a document as its authority and where it’s for everyone to read, not just the priestly caste. You need a certain base level of literacy for that to work, something we really didn’t have prior to ~800 BC and the Phoenician invention of the alphabet.

  • René

    I was wrong with “the anointed one”, sorry for that and for misspelling Kaveh’s name. “Mohammed” apparently signifies “praise-worthy”. As for who these Arabists are, to name a few Gerd R. Puin, Volker Popp, Thomas Milo, Eildert Mulder.I think in all some twenty dissidents who have meetings on a regular basis. Among other things they hold the view that the Arabic inscriptions of the Dome of the Rock are antitrinitarian CHRISTIAN texts.

    By the way if you want to SEE the grapes, go here: http://copticliterature.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/coptic-paradise/

    And then there is Tom Holland, who spent a lot of time investigating in the Middle East and couldn’t find a shred of evidence for a historical Mohammed. His book: Islam: The Untold Story is worth a read.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      This book has been brought up on this blog and I talked to real academicians and they all agreed that the book is as scientific as the Da Vicnci Code. As I’ve said,he reaches a very wrong conclusion based on some half truths and ignores the entire history of Middle East.

      About those twenty dissidents though, although they sound a lot like conspiracy theorists, I will look into them more.

      • René

        I know one of them personally, Thomas Milo, and I assure you he (and Eildert Mulder) is no conspiracy theorist. Thomas is a highly achieved academician and as a typographer of high-quality Arabic fonts a very welcome guest in the Middle East. As a member of the Unicode Consortium he is right now on a plane to San Francisco to attend the Unicode Conference.

        • Blanche Quizno

          René, on a whim I bought Tom Holland’s book “Persian Fire” and I am loving it so much I just last night checked his other books and decided to go get the Islam one today!!

        • Kaveh Mousavi

          I promise to look into it, don’t worry.

      • Pierce R. Butler

        … I talked to real academicians and they all agreed that the book is as scientific as the Da Vicnci Code…

        Have any of them written reviews in English that the rest of us could read?

        René @ # 5: … Tom Holland… couldn’t find a shred of evidence for a historical Mohammed. His book: Islam: The Untold Story is worth a read.

        Holland’s In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire reached a different conclusion: that Mohammed clearly existed, but lived around the Dead Sea region (based on Quranic allusions to “the footsteps of Abraham” and the salt pillars of “Sodom” as local phenomena). As I said above, reading of early Islam provides little but a history of shifting sands.

        • Blanche Quizno

          THAT’s the Holland book I am planning on getting today – “In the Shadow of the Sword.” Does Holland have another book on Islam – and one in which he reaches the opposite conclusion about the historicity of Muhammed? Are you certain that Holland is not simply treating the belief system’s postulates as a given and using those to explain later developments in that culture without weighing in on the specific doctrines/tenets’ factual basis or lack thereof?

    • Pierce R. Butler

      His book: Islam: The Untold Story is worth a read.

      Any ideas as to why nothing by that title shows up on a search for books by Tom Holland at Amazon.com?

      • Blanche Quizno

        No book with that title by ANY author comes up O_O

        • http://dontlinkmebro F [i'm not here, i'm gone]
          • Blanche Quizno

            Yeah, that’s it. Anybody seen it?

          • Steve Watson

            Yes, and it is worth a watch. However there was only the one episode aired before it was pulled and as far as I am aware the following episodes are unavailable. ‘In the Shadow of the Sword’ and Islam:_The_Untold_Story are basically a book/film tie in; they come out as being somewhat opposed to one another because with the tv series being pulled you only get one third of the book’s whole argument. Holland is a reasonable generalist introduction to the topic but as is usual you will obtain a finer grained and nuanced understanding if you follow up his sources.

  • AsqJames

    I’m no expert on the meanings of “jihad” (or indeed words in general), but I’ve read many arguments in this vein and it strikes me that the most equivalent English word might be “crusade”.

    cru·sade (kro̅o̅-sād′)

    n.

    1. often Crusade Any of the military expeditions undertaken by European Christians in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims.

    2. A holy war undertaken with papal sanction.

    3. A vigorous concerted movement for a cause or against an abuse.

    If a person engages in a crusade/jihad, or a book/ideology advocates crusade/jihad, what matters is not the word they use (except in marketing terms), but the cause they are espousing and the actions they advocate. A crusade/jihad against world hunger or in favour of universal education through peaceful campaigning and activism is great. A crusade/jihad against fluffy kittens or in favour of slavery, or which advocates violence to achieve its goals is not.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    You have just blown yourself to pieces and your reward is a handful of fucking grapes? What an asshole god!

    That does seem absolutely fitting the Allah character though!

    Too bad for the creator of this image is that hurs are described physically in great detail. This is one example from Koran: “And besides them will be chaste women, restraining their glances, with big eyes” (source) And also So if hur really means grape, we need to conclude that Allah rewards martyrs with grapes who have large eyes and big boobs. Which quite a ghastly prize.

    Classic line there. LOL. :-)

    • Blanche Quizno

      StevoR, I think what it REALLY means is that Allah will allow these most deserving of martyrs to watch, with large eyes, as Allah eats those grapes himself (with much lip-smacking and juice dripping off his chin into his beard). Because the martyrs are big boobs. Suckers.

      See how important it is to have the right interpretation??

  • René

    Blanche, enjoy the book. Thomas Milo is critical of it, as in it Tom Holland is apologetic with regards the tradionalist viewpoint. But I learned a lot things I didn’t have a clue of.

    It’s a shame that Mulder’s and Milo’s book The Disputed Sources of Islam (my translation of its Dutch title) has not yet been translated to English. (Anybody here who knows how to get a grant from the RDFRS for that?) The book is very interesting and convincing.

  • Blanche Quizno

    Alas, René, I can’t read Dutch beyond street signs and the occasional menu offering – my German’s way rusty. If it were in French, I’d be good to go! If The Disputed Sources is online in Dutch, though, I can painstakingly work my way through sections using babelfish.com, so if there are particular pages that have the content you feel is most important, please direct me to them and I’ll get bizay!

  • René

    I must apologize again. I mixed up the title of a documentary (Islam — The Untold Story) and the title of Holland’s book (The Shadow of the Sword). I have attended the presentation of the book, here in Amsterdam. IIRC, he stated that all evidence for a historical Mohammad was hearsay upon hearsay. I will have to read it again.

    • Pierce R. Butler

      Then please disregard my query at 5.2 above.

      My futile hunt for “Islam: The Untold Story” at least informed me that Holland is also a prolific novelist – and apparently a rather cheesy one (sex robots, Lord Byron as a vampire, etc, etc). :-(

      • Blanche Quizno

        Okay, first of all, we’ve got at least TWO “Tom Holland”s – one who writes histories (Rubicon, Millennium – the End of the World and the Forging of Christendom, that Islam one, Persian Fire, The Forge of Christendom: The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West) and one who writes triathlon and fitness books and is “a renowned Exercise Physiologist & Certified Sports Nutritionist, author, DVD host and elite endurance athlete committed to helping people better their lives through fitness”. There is also a youngish screenwriter named Tom Holland.

        *le sigh* I was *HOPING* that there was a Tom Holland the historian, and a Tom Holland the cheesy vampire and sex robot novelist, but alas, they DO seem to be the same person. Have to give him props for flexibility or range or having a wide repertoire or something, though, right? Read Persian Fire!!!!!

  • René

    I overlooked your comment, Blanche. If I can find the time, I might have a go at a paragraph that I found most illuminating in Mulder/Milo. A basic understanding of Arabic script is necessary — that the script is defective and that some pairs of letters were indistinguishable without the later addition of diacritical dots.

  • René

    I think I answered Pierce’s question in 7-something. (God, I hate nested comments.)

    • Pierce R. Butler

      Yah, this is getting ridiculous. Thanks for straightening out your previous comments!

  • René

    An English-language interview with Holland in Holland re: the presentation of book: http://www.debalie.nl/agenda/programma/tom-holland%3A-islam-+-the-untold-story/e_9397184/p_11059230/

  • http://wordsgood4598.wordpress.com/author/wordsgood4598/ wordsgood

    Kaveh, I am unfortunately short on time right now, so can’t track down any more of your articles at the moment. (I plan to though!) But I noticed that you are physically in Iran…so this is just a quick note of support for your courage for being an atheist and blogging about it. I really hope this is not your real name and that you stay safe. That’s all. :)

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      Thanks :) It’s not my real name.

      • Blanche Quizno

        Wait – you’re an atheist in Iran? Please, PLEASE, emigrate NOW!! Before it’s too late!!

        • Kaveh Mousavi

          That’s easier said than done :)

          • Blanche Quizno

            I know, but now I’m worrying :{

  • René

    Blanche, read the spaghetti. The answer should be there. :(

  • René

    I, whole-hartedly, second wordsgood. Disagreeing with Kaveh, tho’, is kinda fun.(

    Really, it is.)

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      In what way it is fun? :D

  • René

    The fun bit started with your assertion “However, he existed, and that’s final.” (Coherent) source please.

  • http://wordsgood4598.wordpress.com/author/wordsgood4598/ wordsgood

    Kaveh, I was pretty sure it wasn’t your real name, but I had to check, just in case! I’m a worrier and it scares me that your in one of the most dangerous places on earth right now to be an apostate from Islam, or an atheist, or a freethinker, or a writer, or a blogger…and you are all of the above!

    Rene and Blanche, it states very clearly in “About Author” screen, that Kaveh is an ex-Muslin Iranian living in Iran. Check the top left hand of the screen for every article you read in the FreeThoughtBlogs site, and you will notice a large box titled “About the Author,” which contains a mini-bio about the writer behind the post. :)

    I don’t want hear about your becoming Raif Bafwadi’s new cellmate! Though, I do agree the only way things will ever successfully change in any theocracy or other tolitarian regime, is from the inside. The people living in it I lran and other stifling regimes, need to be the loudest voices for change. But you are in the least feadible position to do so, while also carrying the biggest risk. Again, I applaud your courage and beg you to please take every possible precaution!

    I hear so much hoopla from others, even friends and family, who say places like Canada and the US are not *really free* – to which I say you might not like the laws, *elected* officials or many otherthings about our respective countries, but the flat out truth is that we are all free to say what we want and bash our own government’s – publicly – and our very lives, as well as those of our loved ones, are not at risk. (At least not by the gov’t. Kaveh’s, and other people like him (I assume?) – are in constant danger of losing their liberty, torture, and even their very lives.

    I choose to blog under a pseudonym not because I fear legal repercussions or being attacked by radical thugs claiming to have better morals than everyone else, but rather to avoid drama with family who don’t particularly like or aprrove of what I have to say. (Plus I just find it easier to say what I mean to, without over-censoring myself, blogging with a pseudonym!)

    But back to Kaveh, now…

    Here’s the part where as a safe Westerner who’s free speech and personal beliefs are guaranteed rights, am frequently lost…do people like yourself want the West to help you gain independence? In the media, we hear about how the West is still so imperialistic and we need to mind our own business, but then whenever there’s a conflicts pitting government’s – even those that came to power through sheer physical force and in no way represented (presumably) the citizens majority wishes for leadership – we hear reports about how the West is failing those fighting “for freedom.” Like Syria right now. Hell, I can’t even be sure the media knows which side represents who!

    Yes, I realize I’m asking for a seemingly simplistic answer to complex situations. But what I’d really like, just for the purpose of *this query,* is to know what you, Kaveh, think the West should do to for you and like minded Iranians, that would help free you from the stranghold of your post-revolutionary theocracy government? If anything?

    Stay safe!

  • anbheal

    @6 AsqJames — Why would a crusade against fluffy kittens be so wrong?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Yes, the word “jihad” means “struggle” — but “struggle” is an incredibly vague and all-emcompassing concept, and yes, it does include terrorism, systematic social discrimination, pogroms, and all-out war and all the horrors that come with it. So when you say that “jihad” is not limited to all-out war, you’re not really saying much.

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