No, You’re Not Taking Those Verses ‘Out of Context’

Mar 10, 2015

by Ali A. Rizvi

I recently posted the following statement to my Facebook timeline:

“The worst of beasts, in our view, are the followers of Allah—those who believe in Islam. They’re the ones you make treaties with, but they break those treaties every time because they have no fear of the law.”

The statement, of course, is blatantly bigoted hate speech against Muslims. But it is not something I have written. It is a passage from the Quran, verses 8:55-56, with references to disbelievers replaced by “followers of Allah” and “those who believe in Islam.” You can read the original verse here.

Several commenters jumped on it, accusing me of taking these verses “out of context.”

“It’s a warfare verse,” said one. “It’s like taking a sentences out of a military book. If you are at war, then I think its fair that you can say it. But it is only applied in self-defense. You have to have a just reason for it.”

Okay, I told him. Let’s change the context then. Suppose the U.S. is at war with ISIS or Al Qaeda, and the president says:

“The worst of beasts, in our view, are the followers of Allah—those who believe in Islam. They’re the ones you make treaties with, but they break those treaties every time because they have no fear of the law.”

Does that read any better?

“It does if the fight is on the land of the one being attacked,” he replied. “The aggressor can be identified easily by where the war takes place. What if the attacked people are fighting in self-defense?”

Fine. Let’s suppose ISIS or Al Qaeda has attacked New York City, and the president says, in response:

“The worst of beasts, in our view, are the followers of Allah—those who believe in Islam. They’re the ones you make treaties with, but they break those treaties every time because they have no fear of the law.”


The commenter persisted. “But the verse wasn’t for the general public. It was for the soldiers fighting in the war. It is only talking about people who break treaties.” And so on.

I won’t repeat the passage again. The point was obvious: however you paint the modified quote, it still reads as hate speech against all Muslims. There is no “context” that justifies labeling an entire people “the worst of beasts.”

And herein lies the problem: if there were a book that talked about Muslims the way the Quran talks about disbelievers, heads would roll. Literally.

The primary argument we hear against critics and satirists of religion like the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists—who satirized all religions, not just Islam—is that their speech “offends billions of people.”

But what about the religions they’re targeting? The Abrahamic holy books—respected and revered by billions worldwide—prescribe the killing of disbelievers (Quran 8:12-13, 47:4; Leviticus 24:16); order their adherents to fight and enslave those with differing beliefs, a la ISIS (Quran 9:29-30, Deuteronomy 20:10-18); endorse wife-beating (Quran 4:34) and the stoning to death of non-virginal brides (Deuteronomy 22:20-21); order women to quietly submit to the authority of men (1 Timothy 2:11-12); and mandate the public lashing of fornicators (Quran 24:2) and the killing of homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13).

Who should really be offended here? If hate speech were really the issue, these books would be the first to go.

When confronted with these facts, apologists will often respond by saying these texts should not be read “literally”—a concern that is certainly well-founded considering their contents. They know how terrible these books would sound if they weren’t liberally “interpreted” (read: distorted, sanitized), or read the way one would read any other book. When the literal word of a deity requires repeated, long-winded explanations from his human followers simply to prevent it being interpreted to mean what it actually says, it doesn’t make a great case for divine authorship. If anything can mean anything, the whole thing becomes meaningless.

The reality is, religious moderates take their scripture “out of context” more than they’d like to think. Islamic apologists, for instance, like to quote the verse 2:256, which says there is “no compulsion in religion.” They won’t tell you (and many don’t know themselves) that the very next verse, 2:257, says that those who do choose to disbelieve will be “companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.” You’ll also hear them quote verse 5:32, which says, “Whoever kills a soul…it is as if he had slain all mankind. And whoever saves one—it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” But again, if you read on to the very next verse, 5:33, you’ll see that Allah wants anyone opposing him or his messenger to “be killed or crucified…their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides,” for “causing corruption.”

What is more offensive? Those words? Or those who choose to reject and criticize them?

It is true that a religion should not be defined by the actions of its adherents. However, it can be defined by the contents of its canonical texts—like the Quran, which is the one thing common to all Islamic sects and denominations, fundamentalist or moderate. The fact that most Muslims are non-violent doesn’t automatically erase all of the violent verses from the Quran, in the same way that that Jews eating pork or having premarital sex doesn’t mean either act is suddenly allowed by the Jewish faith. In the words of Alishba Zarmeen: most humans are more moral than the scriptures they hold sacred.

Fear of causing offense is not a sound reason to stop calling out hate speech, whether it comes from Tea Party Republicans, the KKK manifesto, or the Quran and Bible. And the misinterpretation/metaphor/out-of-context excuse is just that—an excuse. It doesn’t make these texts read any better.

83 comments on “No, You’re Not Taking Those Verses ‘Out of Context’

  • Precisely, hate advocacy is hate advocacy and those books are the mother load of hate and intolerance.
    The excuses must be called out for what they are and ended.

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  • Also (in the original “disbelievers” version), the phrase “no fear of the law” is often mis-interpreted by the followers. They take it to mean that disbelievers have no fear of common civil/criminal law (act law-less), where-as what it actually means is, disbelievers have no fear of gods law. Which makes sense of course, since they don’t believe in said god!

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  • This pretty much nails it.
    I had a discussion the other day with an ardent Christian that went back and forth over months. I presented him with evidence out of his own holy book showing the contradictory messages it contained. Initially he would try and obfuscate and water down his arguments with irrelevant drivel. I haven’t heard form him on the subject for awhile. There is nothing like simple, obvious evidence to get people to recorder their position- if they are willing to listen, rather than preach. jcw

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  • How is a simpleton like to me to take Noah’s flood or the burning lake, or whatever torture Allah has in store for me, ‘out of context’ ?

    I’m afraid with me, the Mafia method doesn’t work.

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  • Clearly these Abrahamic religions deserve to have their books re-written and have the hate-speech filled versions banned.
    If they don’t fix the book, ban the religion.

    Of course this wont happen, so why bother going on about it?

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  • Mark Mar 10, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Clearly these Abrahamic religions deserve to have their books re-written and have the hate-speech filled versions banned.
    If they don’t fix the book, ban the religion.

    The whole notion, that tales from mythology are a basis for modern philosophy or ethics, is ridiculous.

    Fundamentalists claim their books are “history”, but evidence shows that usually, they have in fact been repeatedly re-written over the centuries, with no original contemporary eye-witness versions written in the first place!

    BTW: The OP ink-blots seem to be some sort of illustration, on how believers “interpret” their texts!

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  • hi guys,

    beg to differ with you, for the simple reason that this article makes a big category mistake. a religious book is already written and is what it is. however, certain interpretations and religious practices are and should be illegal ie polygamy, stoning etc. however, unless you’re going to do a Joseph Stalin or a Mao, you cannot stop people believing and thinking what they like, however stupid you or I may find some of these beliefs.

    the bit that worries me about some of this analysis is that it kind of plays into a certain pro war Islamophobic narrative. i mean, there was no need to draw pictures of the prophet really, were there? it was not about free speech, it was deliberate and provocative. i fear that while ordinary atheists are not islamophobic, famous atheists are playing into a riacist and islamophobic narrative. as does this article.

    the ultra atheist in America who shot those muslims students undoubtedly read many articles such as this.

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  • John Mar 10, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    the bit that worries me about some of this analysis is that it kind of plays into a certain pro war Islamophobic narrative.

    Not really! There are real reasons to regard Islamic fundamentalism dangerous as anyone in countries over-run by ISIS knows.

    i mean, there was no need to draw pictures of the prophet really, were there? it was not about free speech, it was deliberate and provocative.

    Anticipated lunatic reactions, do not require the sane to pander to the lunatics! Similarly we are not going to destroy all the ancient statues of gods, because nuts in ISIS don’t like them!

    i fear that while ordinary atheists are not islamophobic, famous atheists are playing into a riacist and islamophobic narrative. as does this article.

    Silly islamophobic claims are the regular responses to criticism from those who have no evidenced basis, or reasoned answers,- as is usual with religious groups “taking offence” at criticism of their views or actions.

    the ultra atheist in America who shot those muslims students undoubtedly read many articles such as this.

    That sounds like drivel made up by the US media. The evidence is that the shooting arose from a gun culture, a dispute over car parking, and ill tempered confrontation by someone who happened to be an atheist.

    There is plenty of anti-Islam and anti-atheist hype in the US media!
    The whole notion of “ultra atheists”, is an invention of the self-deluding, right-wing, fundamentalist, religinuts!

    Their claims are as ridiculous as the concept of “ultra-non-stamp-collectors”, or “ultra non-fairy-believers”!!

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  • “”If anything can mean anything, the whole thing becomes meaningless.

    What is the sound of two hands clapping?

    It could be a hammer hitting a nail square on its head, or maybe it’s just me applauding Ali Rizvi for another excellent analysis.

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  • There is every reason to draw the cartoons. It’s to show the flaws/contradictions and to make fun of the subject material. Just because someone really REALLY believes in the made up, does not mean that it’s free from criticism. Those cartoons are criticism of the visual variety. Religion is an ideology that is no different than any other ideology, except that it is claimed to originate from a deity as opposed to being created from people. And in all seriousness… an all powerful deity really could deal with this on its own instead of allowing others to violently oppose criticism. The reason religion comes down so hard on criticism/mocking, is that it shows how weak the religion is to begin with (and that no god is going to set the record straight).

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  • If Christians would not put such ridiculously high expected standards on the bible, they would have no nearly so much trouble. Just like civil law, they would discard obsolete sections, chuckling to themselves at how backward their ancestors were. They refuse to admit it was written by uneducated, ignorant people who had much more primitive notions of morality than themselves so they are baffled and embarrassed by all the errors and inconsistencies.

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  • Very good! Law has to evolve (not least to be fair to all rather than just the powerful), even that suggested 2000 years ago. As far as I can work out it has changed from time to time as no-one seems to have an original text – Nicky Campbell’s show on BBC Sunday mornings mentioned the existence of women in biblical versions from 200AD which have since been erased – Apostle Mary for example.

    The next simple defence I hear of the major religions is that if they weren’t the truth, why have they lasted 2000 years? I usually suggest that they have been used to support some political (or Kingly) authority from time to time but is there a clearer explanation? When you think about it this suggestion is quite a neat use of the principle of natural selection!

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  • 16
    Outrider says:

    It is true that a religion should not be defined by the actions of its adherents. However, it can be defined by the contents of its canonical texts

    Why? Any interpretation of the text – literal, figurative or a mixture – is a subjective assessment of a source without the possibility of corroboration. To try to assert that any given take on the hokum is ‘right’ is meaningless. The only valid definition of ‘Islam’ is the sum contribution of the people claiming to be Muslims to the world, similarly for ‘Christian’, ‘Hindu’ and the rest.

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  • I don’t understand why you’ve quoted my text with that response. While it’s patently obvious the evolution of the political science inherent in each is traceable through history, the present day publication and dissemination of their ‘modern’ product is what most concerns us. I believe, in modern times, the language used is simply too ‘evil’ to tolerate and should be made illegal, much like anti-Semitism and Nazi symbolism. After all, these texts effect exactly the same result… and this result has been repeated aplenty enough already.
    I’d rather all religion was illegal, but that’d take centuries of consistent global policy to achieve. Instead, we must respect the madness gifted them but respecting their ‘God-given right to hate’ is simply obtuse and inconsistent with modern law regarding publication of ideologies.

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  • Mark Mar 11, 2015 at 8:53 am

    I don’t understand why you’ve quoted my text with that response.

    What I am highlighting is the conflicting interests of up-dating social attitudes which you advocate, and the preservation of historical documents in their original forms, or modified forms from antiquity, in the study of ancient cultures.

    We don’t “up-date” Aztec history to remove the nasty bits, although we disapprove of them.

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  • “there was no need to draw pictures of the prophet really, were there?”

    Drawings were made of other religious characters, politicians etc. too. They are drawn to provoke questions and to spark debate. This is what freedom of speech is all about. You should not single out anyone or anything for fear of coursing “offence”.
    You seem to be implying that Islam is different to every other religion on the planet and there should be special treatment set aside for Muslims.

    It is this fear of offending Muslims and being classed as “Islamophobic”; political correctness gone mad, that has lead to situations here in the UK like the sex trafficking by Muslims of young Caucasian teenagers in Rotherham and Oxford.

    “you cannot stop people believing and thinking what they like, however stupid you or I may find some of these beliefs.”

    With all due respect, you won’t if you don’t allow the free speech to enable them to question their own beliefs!

    “the ultra atheist in America who shot those muslims students undoubtedly read many articles such as this”

    I have read many articles such as this and have NEVER read anything recommending or instructing that anyone should be killed, so it is unlikely that Craig Stephen Hicks was motivated to do so by such articles. Gun culture and neighbour dispute is the most likely scenario. However religious texts are full of hate speech and justifications by their God to kill anyone who doesn’t comply with it’s teachings. Fortunately most people don’t take these literally these days (apart from the likes of lunatics like ISIS). Oh is that too offensive?

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  • When the literal word of a deity requires repeated, long-winded explanations from his human followers simply to prevent it being interpreted to mean what it actually says, it doesn’t make a great case for divine authorship.

    This. A thousand times this.

    A corollary is that, just because someone can now come up with a way to explain away all the horrible things in the holy scriptures doesn’t give them the right to declare that their interpretation is actually the correct one instead of the interpretations that were actually taught acted upon for thousands of years. Make up your own deity and start your own religion if you like, but you don’t get to show up after all this time and claim that the way a particular religion has actually been taught and practiced throughout its entire history wasn’t “true” Christianity or “true” Islam in the first place.

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  • Most of the dogmatic defenders of “Biblical inerrancy” know very little of the way that the Bible they defend came into existence. The so-called “word of God” was edited together from a collection of documents, over a period of time. All available materials were not included and those that were selected have been altered, sometimes by transcription errors and sometimes deliberately. (The Qu’ran was the product of a similar human editorial process.) These facts are well established by modern scholarship. The sensible response is to treat the Bible and all other “sacred” texts as interesting works of literature. There may be some wisdom in there, but human perception is required to distinguish it from the rest. The Bible is not a simple instruction manual for a moral life.

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  • To apply the same process to the Bible elicits the same responses. Take Psalm 14:1:

    “The fool hath said in his heart, There is a God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (I just changed one word, “no” to “a”, in the first sentence.)

    Or Romans 14:23:

    “Everything that comes from faith is sin.” (I changed “does not come” to “comes”.)

    Or Hosea 13:16:

    “The people of Israel must bear their guilt, because they have obeyed their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.” (Changed “Samaria” to “Israel” and “rebelled against” to “obeyed”.)

    So yes, clearly it was silly (first verse), untrue (second verse), and bigoted (third verse) to begin with, and believers will take you to task for quoting any of the changed versions, but still inexplicably defend their original version.

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  • During the two or so years of chats I had with the YEC fundamentalist friend I used to know 20 years ago the thing that stood out most to me was the sheer amount of cognitive dissonance going on inside his head all the time. He would not budge from his position that the Bible was perfect, inerrant, every word dictated exactly by an infallible god to whoever was writing it down. However when I pointed out obvious errors and contradictions his fallback position was they couldn’t be errors because the bible is perfect so they must be things that god has not yet seen fit to explain fully and hopefully one day he would do so.

    If one can simply skip over every problem so glibly it’s obvious that facts and evidence play no part in affecting such a person’s mindset and therefore it’s a waste of time invoking them.

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  • Ali wrote :

    It is true that a religion should not be defined by the actions of its adherents.

    No. I don’t think it’s true. Contrary to what Ali writes (being understood that everything else he says is perfectly brilliant !), one should define a religion by the actions of its adherents.

    Or rather : one should define a religion… by what it doesn’t prevent its adherents to do !

    I find much more accurate to judge christianity –or islam– this way. For example : when I read the (expurged and cautiously selected) so-called “canonical” gospels’ precepts, I can assure you that I countersign them quite wholeheartedly : in it, you read that you shouldn’t kill your mother, you should love your neighbours, and stop stoning adulterous women ! ! !

    Far out !

    In the qu’ran, you’ve got all these “meccan” surahs, which almost make “Little House on the prairie” look like a vicious story…

    But did these “sacred” texts, supposed to make the world a better and more ‘virtuous’ place, succeed ??

    Nope. They ALL failed miserably.

    None of them ever prevented their adherents to wage horrendous wars, ignominous tortures and unforgivable mass murders and repression.

    You know… there is an old saying that goes : “One judges a tree by its fruits”.

    Let’s consider that wise proverb…

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  • The Bible commands smiting, the Qur’an striking; both extol violence.

    It seems to me that there are basically two ways to interpret scripture: metaphorically or literally; clearly the charmer in the desert purported to be decapitating people is following instructions to the letter.

    Further to this article I recommend Sam Harris’s “True Believers”.

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  • Unfortunately, as I was trying post an edit, that tab asking for suggestion blocked my attempt.

    I failed to use the definite article in the title of Sam Harris’s piece: “The True Believers.”.

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  • 29
    Michael says:

    Fear of causing offense is not a sound reason to stop calling out hate
    speech, whether it comes from Tea Party Republicans, the KKK
    manifesto, or the Quran and Bible.

    I know you’re trying to come across as nonjudgmental, neutral, “above the fray,” politically correct, etc., but you fail.

    The Tea Partyers, as unpalatable as you may find their platform, neither advocate violence nor did they ever engage in any. The K.K.K. is a tiny outfit of looney tunes, confined to an exiguous geographical area. The Klan has also not engaged in anything other than sporadic and very low-level violence for many, many decades.

    The Bible, while full of ominous and odious B.S., has not spawned dozens of terrorist groups all around the world who perpetrate a half dozen incidents of slaughter every single day. Even those who do take the Bible literally (and there are millions) do NOT go around stoning people or even just flipping over blackjack tables in casinos or counters in banks.

    The Koran, on the other hand, is both taken literally by hundreds of millions of people, many of whom translate its prescriptions and proscriptions into everything from lopping off heads of “apostates,” to throwing gays off tower blocks, to stoning adulterers, to executing “spies” in short shrift, to “peaceful” misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and so forth.

    Therefore, cut this politically-correct crap and call out Islam for what it is: modern-day Nazism, uniquely so among the world’s ideologies at present.

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  • The statement you quoted from my piece simply says these sources contain hate speech, which they do. It doesn’t make any other claims. So it stands.

    That’s not to say that the Bible hasn’t led to any atrocities – anyone living in the 11th to 15th centuries will tell you it has. Even today, the continued settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories has no good secular argument supporting it – but Exodus 23:31-32, Deuteronomy 1:8, and Genesis 15:18-21 certainly do. (Google them.)

    The only difference between the Muslim world and the Judaeo-Christian world is that the former hasn’t yet successfully achieved secularism – the separation of religion and state. Fortunately, the latter largely has. When it hadn’t, it was in much the same situation as the Muslim world is today. I do agree with you about rejecting scriptural inerrancy – that’s the first step to achieving secularism in the Muslim world.

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  • If passages from holy books do not mean what they seem to mean, but need interpreting, then they are no different from a collection of scattered chicken bones ‘interpreted’ by the voodoo queen.

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  • I believe, in modern times, the language used is simply too ‘evil’ to
    tolerate and should be made illegal, much like anti-Semitism and Nazi

    I agree the ideas are evil. But ideas shouldn’t be suppressed just because I, or you, or even most people, think they are evil. Isn’t that a judgement each of us has a right to make after reading the text?

    There is no-one I trust to decide on my behalf what speech I am entitled to listen to. The world is not a better place because hate speech (or any other kind) is banned.

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  • Of course there’d be conflict.
    However, the sacrosanct and immutable nature of religion is nonsense as they’re How-to manuals, not exercises in accurate and impartial historical recording.
    I’m not suggesting the ‘original’, historical work is changed, only that it’s copies for dissemination and population indoctrination no longer include murderous hate speech. It’s especially peculiar in countries that have laws against murder. Seriously, how can one ever rationalise giving ‘kill anyone different’ instructions to children?

    Anyway, i still don’t understand why you bothered. Obvious problems with the religious are obvious.

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  • In any event, any person making modern day decisions based on Any text written THOUSANDS of years ago and acting on them is a lunatic. There’s a lot to learn in the stories from different scriptures, but they are, in the end, just that… Stories. The Greeks had Zeus, the Egyptians with Ra. The Hopi had a handful of gods and “modern man” defines this all as “mythology” – stories used by primitive cultures to explain human creation and other subjects ancient man couldn’t help to understand. Why should the Bible or Q’uran be viewed any differently?

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  • What I do not understand is the following claims mad by pious Muslims about the Quran:

    1) Famously it was uncreated – presumably to mean it was always there, even before it was revealed to MO and before him, to the prophets who preceded him.

    2) It is eternal and is true for all time

    3) Of course oft repeated quote that it is clear to one and all

    There are several more but for now lets deal with these 3 only. I also never see the critics of Islam challenging the apologists and the steadfast pious on these three scores.

    A) If 1) & 2) are true how is it that there is so much about what has supposedly passed on before MO and during MO’s life time in quite detail. Such all the ayats which purportedly contextualized for MO’s battles during his lifetime. Also all the crap about what was already there in OT. There wasn’t a hint of anything that was portending to MO getting poisoned by the Jewess. There is on whole chapter (not very long I grant) of the torture of ABu Lahab & his wife. What morality was that intended for – or just to scare the fucking shit out?

    B) If 2) is true why are there any temporal passages at all. By that I mean convenient revelations to get MO out of his pickles, which were only revealed during the times he was in them pickles. Such as allowing him to lay the pipe on Zainab or Mary the Copt. For that matter why were there any passages about morality during the wars. How is it these war verses were not clearly delineated as to their contexts.

    C) If 3) were true why do we need these apologists to constantly interpret passages to mean entirely different from what the words actually imply (aka literal interpretation). That, next begs the question how is it that they no it very clearly which passages are to be read literally and which ones not so literally. Is there a super-duper-cliff-notes that tell them the literal ones from the metaphorical ones. Jeesh where do I get a copy of the Quranic cliff notes. Lastly, but by no means finally, how is it that such clear text cannot be correctly into any other language except leaving them in Arabic. Which again we are told the infidels cannot master it as well as the pious ones. If we infidels cannot master the Arabic, then how is the claim 3) true at all.

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  • 41
    Michael says:

    Even today, the continued settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories has no good secular argument supporting it.

    I think you’ll find, if you bother to research the matter, that it is the other way around: Hardly anybody makes NON-secular arguments for the continued occupation of the West Bank and even for the maintenance of the settlements themselves. (That makes perfect sense, given that more than a half of Israelis are secular.) The most often trotted-out arguments are that of “security” and parallels being drawn with Gaza–both of which I sympathize with and both of which are ultimately wrong–with the “god gave us this land” remaining the preserve of a nutty fringe. In any event, even the most extremist of settlers do not go around beheading, enslaving, raping, bombing, and stoning Palestinians, nor–with exceptions you could literally count on the fingers of one hand–do they advocate any such deeds.

    You are entirely correct though to note that very many ideological platforms and scriptures (religious, political–Right AND Left–, cultural, etc.) contain hate speech. I submit to you, however, that that is immaterial for anything other than an academic discussion. What matters is which of them are consistently used by their followers wherever they be to engage in some of the most subhuman and anti-human behavior we have witnessed in modern history. Like it or not, only the Koran fits that bill.

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  • More to the point, what ‘god’, supposedly the creator of ALL things, including of course all mankind, then proceeds to instruct on the pursuit of lethal conflict, setting one group of his supposed ‘creation’ against another? Furthermore, what all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful ‘god’ needs puny humans to carry out his dirty work for him?

    It is so obvious that the hostile intent and its execution as documented in islamic scripture were conveniently and entirely for the benefit of those who expressed it, but who evaded personal responsibility by attributing it all to the will of ‘god’. The whole business is as intellectually infantile as it is sinister.

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  • Again, I said “no GOOD secular argument supporting it.” The secular arguments for settlement expansion are weak and baseless. This is why it’s opposed by virtually every Western country, including all Democratic AND Republican administrations in the United States dating back to Johnson. The only reason settlements continue is to cater to religious Jews – a strong voting bloc.

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  • I’ve now referred to the passages cited in this very helpful article, and I eagerly await their use in exchanges between rationalists and religious apologists about the peaceful nature of religions, especially the current bully on the block.

    Incidentally, a UK MP has broken ranks/cover and employed the term “religious apologists”, so perhaps there are at last some signs of an awakening among our elected representatives.

    Christianity has been to a certain extent contained for a few hundred years now, but the vacuum that that containment created has now been filled by Islam.

    What is the matter with us?

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  • 46
    AdOculos says:

    I don’t disagree with you about Islam but you need to take off those rose coloured spectacles with regard to Christianity.
    The religious Christian Fundamentalists in the USA and elsewhere are just as bigoted and dangerous as the Islamic ones and it is only because there is a secular political and legal system in place that religious hate crimes are not more widespread.
    George Bush and Tony Blair were both strongly religious and both used God to justify their invasions in the Middle East (whatever the rights and wrongs of those situations)
    I get the impression that you do not see how bad Christianity can be because it does not affect you personally.

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  • I’m thoroughly fed up with all the hand wringing about how radicalization takes place: is it the Imams/police/schools/racism/society in general/historic events/parents etc etc etc?

    I venture to suggest that the clues are to be found in the pages of the Muslim instruction manual.

    And another thing which gets on my nerves is the conflation of race and religion: I’ve recently heard it done by both the head of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, and former Minister for Faith and Communities, Baroness Warsi.

    Do they do it unwittingly? Or is it deliberate?

    If the former, does it mean that their not on top of their brief? And if the latter, that they’re obfuscating?

    Either way, I don’t think it’s good enough.

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  • I would stick my neck out and say that these children have not even read the Koran Stafford. I was listening to LBC today and I am a little worried that the police do not really know the reason but hope I am wrong. The reasons are, all those things you dismissed above and my experience. I posted a couple of videos on YouTube of a rally I went to against the PKK. To be honest, I got carried away with my photography and forgot about the nationalistic side of things. Because of that video, I was sent videos and congratulations by an unknown but obviously muslim ‘Brother”. I never replied to the sender but had a dozen emails in which it looked like I was being groomed. The videos depicted muslims being killed. Defenceless muslims by the Americans and Jews. Some did make my blood boil but realising what the intentions were, and I was a little frightened by this anonymous contact, I just let it go and they soon stopped. A young mind might not have had the knowledge to prevent their feelings taking over. I am wondering if this is used in all cases and if the police know about it?

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  • Your experience sounds really frightening Olgun; and as you say, had you not had sufficient maturity and knowledge you might have succumbed to the blandishments.

    I didn’t intend to give the impression that I was dismissing any of the reasons I listed, I was simply trying to say that the fundamental conditioning comes from the holy books; almost anything can be read into what they convey when it comes to the unbeliever, outsider or “other.”.

    Religions tend to infantilize and coddle, but life’s tough, and “stuff happens”, the trick is to move on.

    I think expressions such as “chin up”, “chest out” and “best foot forward” carry what might be termed therapeutic subtexts.

    There’s no point in bearing grudges, but “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord” carries a subtext too, albeit a negative Old Testament one.

    What’s needed is a bit more turning of the other cheek; now, that conveys a very positive, powerful message indeed.

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  • I have no doubt in my mind that the religious side comes last Stafford. It is the tool it has always been to rally the troops. You can argue that it is also the beginning because it serves to isolate in foreign countries which then generates these feelings of not belonging. Religion does not allow for full integration but we live together/apart in most countries, peacefully. Throw in some politics and then we get the violence and murder. Don’t forget these are mainly muslims killing muslims fighting for land and power. I hate religion for what it is. A stupid man made idea that makes no sense and for its divisiveness. If it wasn’t there then nationalism would be used or any other difference that comes our way. Politics does not deserve a get out of jail free card.

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  • This OP brings up a constant source of frustration when discussing the words from people’s sacred holy books. The inane notion that because it is brought down from the divine in some fashion its words are somehow beyond criticism and are simply not understood by those who don’t believe. This bizarre reflex to retreat into faith somehow being more important than reason therefore whatever interpretation we have of holy text if it is not their version, it is wrong. Regardless of how flawed their reasoning is and regardless of how badly they interpret the very same text.

    It is a blatant and sad attempt to keep their books above reproach and their arguments perfectly, hermetically sealed in faith. And completely unacceptable if you wish to have your position taken seriously.

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  • The Koran and the hadiths are very much like today’s video games. They contain violent content and inevitably invite imitation from immature minds or those with underlying psychopathic tendencies.
    The question in each case is how to deal with the potential harm : by banning …. or restricted access…. or accompanying ‘health’ warnings on the cover …?

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  • So you guys all claim to believe in science and reason. Let’s look at how the actual data matches up to the hypothesis.

    Lets pick a Muslim nation, one that is a pariah in most of the world community and a Christian nation, one that essentially dictates most of the important uses of deadly force for political ends (which btw, is the unbiased definition of terrorism). I’m talking of course of Iran and the United States. And while the US is not (yet) a theocracy I don’t think it is that much of a stretch to call it a Christian nation. Virtually all of our elected officials are Christians for example.

    So let us look at the record of that pariah state Iran. In the last half century they have invaded no one. Although they were invaded (with US approval and support) by Iraq.

    Now lets look at the US over the last half century. They have waged a terrorist campaign against Cuba since the 1960’s. They supported for nun raping and killing “freedom fighters” in El Salvador and Honduras as well as torture regimes through much of central and south America. And lets look at how the US treated the pariah state Iran. It is hard to imagine but there actually was a secular, democratic government in Iran in the 50’s. It was overthrown by the CIA who installed the Shah a man who quite literally made a science out of torturing political opponents. Indeed much of the responsibility for the rise of fundamentalist Islam in places like Afghanistan, Iran, and elsewhere in the middle east was nourished and supported by the democracy loving US. Of course I could go on about Iraq and countless other US war crimes as well.

    I have no love for Islam or any religion. As I said in a comment on another thread essentially any religion can be used to justify evil. To claim that one is somehow more evil is just playing to the cheap seats. Also, I recognize that as a citizen of the US it is my responsibility to be most critical of my own nation. Sam Harris can pontificate all he wants about how awful Islam is but he will never change anyone’s mind or accomplish anything constructive. Where as if he actually cared about democracy and justice he would be most critical of his own nation, where he actually could influence the intellectual and moral climate here. Of course that would require that people like Harris and Rizvi were principled intellectuals rather than the shills for US hegemony that they are.

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  • Yes we do believe (or rather, we TRUST) science and reason, and I think also many of us disapprove of much of US foreign policy over the past fifty years or so. I think your diatribe here rather misses the point of this specific article and the issues it raises.

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  • And don’t forget the IRA and all of its offshoots where still advice until very recently.
    Or al the Christian on Christian violence during the troubles.
    In my opinion this was all very recently, until at least a generation has passed

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  • To add to what Red Dog is saying – we also need to examine several other facts. Like why has Islamic state managed to take hold in certain countries and why does Iran have a hard line Islamic govt? And to do that you need to look further back into history. The removal of an elected government and it’s replacement with a hated Shah in Iran for example. What would it be like if that hadn’t happened and it’s political development allowed to continue along the liberal route it was on? The funding of religious extremists in Afghanistan against the USSR in the seventies as well. If they’d been wiped out with a small amount of soviet help would we have had Al Quaida? And so on. Hard liners fill political vacuums. A lot of those vacuums have been left by western Govts. You run the risk of over emphasising the Koran to suit an agenda when reality means a hell of a lot of politics needs consideration. That’s not a scientific approach at all.

    Then there are the other facts. Like the fact that a lot of the latest atrocities in the UK have been committed by recent converts to Islam, radicalised in prisons. rather than those reared with the Koran. Like the facts that the techniques used to radicalise newer, younger recruits to this hard line violent ideology use grooming techniques similar to those used by paedopbiles and cults often on children of moderately Muslim fairly liberal parents. That they resort to pictures from Gaza and good looking ‘warriors of justice’ long before they get to quotes from the Koran.

    Then there are the simple facts that many of the hard line Islamic states were once liberal and forward thinking many years ago but were also peopled by a Muslim population reading exactly the same quotes. The Koran hasn’t changed but it’s followers certainly have.

    Lastly there is the simple fact that that verses ARE quoted out of context. It is vile but I suspect that there are also quotes that say the opposite. Just like the Bible where contradictory quotes abound. From killing non believers of a jealous God thru to turn the other cheek! And if you’re still unconvinced just think of how many Richard Dawkins tweets have been taken out of context to make him sound as bad! I’m not apologising for the hatred in holy books just pointing out they are a mass of contradictions and not one single quote can be taken isolation if the books are not coherent, consistent wholes.

    This is an oversimplified analysis that isn’t helpful or useful at all. Nor is it scientific or reasoned. It’s a quote out of context to suit a very specific agenda. It does not add to the understanding of any issues at all.The only and best way to counter anything is full understanding of what is going on. That’s science I’m afraid. Not cherry picking quotes cos you don’t like religion. And perhaps to find and use other quotes against that one. Holy books can be used for anything cos they contain contradictions.

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  • Talk about quote mining and taking things out of context.

    This specific piece of the Quran refers to a historic event, the covenant of peace Muhammed made with the Followers of the Book (Judaism)upon entering the Medina, which the Muslims say the Followers of the Book then broke. ( allegedly, both sides probably have different versions, I am on neither side).

    The full context is …

    8 55
    Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are those who have disbelieved, and they will not [ever] believe –

    8 56
    The ones with whom you made a treaty but then they break their pledge every time, and they do not fear Allah .

    8 57
    So if you, [O Muhammad], gain dominance over them in war, disperse by [means of] them those behind them that perhaps they will be reminded.

    8 58
    If you [have reason to] fear from a people betrayal, throw [their treaty] back to them, [putting you] on equal terms. Indeed, Allah does not like traitors.

    8 59
    And let not those who disbelieve think they will escape. Indeed, they will not cause failure [to Allah ].
    8 60
    And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.

    8 61
    And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah . Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.

    How about a discussion about the concluding verse, showing Islam is a religion of compromise and peace?

    8 61
    And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah . Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing

    ( and please do not come back with a list of the evils of Islam blah blah. I am not an apologist for Islam, merely trying to clarify the facts)

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  • This would be all well and good, if muslims merely regarded the koran as a 1400-year-old somewhat fanciful and one-sided history of a local Arab tribal dispute, rather than investing it with absolute and timeless significance..

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  • A lot of the Quran is indeed a commentary on specific historic events, and verses such as the above have always been interpreted within the specific context in which they were made. This is the normal way of reading any book, taking note of not only what is being said but also what it is being said about and in what context.

    And if they invest it with timeless significance are you saying Islam is a religion extolling the timeless values of compromise and peace as per 8 61? And if so, what is wrong with that?

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  • I would have to respectively disagree with you on that one Olgun.
    I can’t think of any political systems/ ideologies that encourage martyrdom with the promise of a better life ” on the other side “. This is what makes religious beliefs so dangerous.

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  • People have used ancient texts to justify their treatment toward other people and countries for centuries. There are good instructions and ill informed instructions written down that cause people to do right or remain incorrect in thinking. We need a serious history lesson as to why some words were written and why we are divided still to this day in mind. Good is good, right is right and we should help and instruct one another as we advance in understanding about what we need to do that brings rest from divisions of all kinds.

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  • A thought about the idea of “interpretation” in this context:

    The word “of” itself can have various meanings. In the sentence, “Have you received word of the King?” it means “about”. Thus the phrase “the word of God” could reasonably be taken to mean “the word about God”, which is a bit more honest.

    The idea that an omnipotent, omnipresent being capable of creating galaxies and species would need to write a book that, for most of history, the overwhelming majority of humans would, simply by virtue of illiteracy and language barriers, have been unable to read, is patently absurd and unlikely to be defended by many religious teachers.

    Indeed, the word “bible” simply means “book”…

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  • Not to forget that the copywriters, proofreaders, financiers, translators, printers, distributors, “marketers” and advocates of such publications and the instructions contained within them were themselves adherents…

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  • I think the writer has picked up the one translation that serves his goal. I reckon the whole argument of this article is flawed because it is based on an inaccurate translation. I mean, in Arabic, the verse is far from mentioning the word “beasts”.. In Arabic, the word “Beasts” is “wohoosh”, but in the verse, the word “Dawab” is used .. The word “Dawab” from the root “d b b” refers to whatever and whoever move on “legs” in Arabic including Humans. There are many variations of the translation of this verse indeed. You can see the one I think reflecting the proper Arabic meaning here

    Others here.
    I personally do not find a reason for translating it “beasts” as in some of the translations! ..

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  • (looks like my previous comment vanished)! I am repeating.. Here is, I think, the proper translation of the verse .. As an Arabic speaker, I have no idea where you can understand the meaning “beasts” from the word “dawab” (the word used in the original Arabic verse) which is allegedly the arabic word for “beasts”!!! . “dawab” refers to whatever and whoever moves on legs.. I think the whole argument of the article is thus flawed..

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  • @azmy_gowaid

    (looks like my previous comment vanished)!

    Hi Azmy

    That can happen when a post contains multiple links. It’s part of the site’s spam detection system. If it happens to you again, please don’t worry or repost your comment – your comment will appear as soon as a moderator is online to approve it.

    The mods

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  • Azmy Gowaid
    Feb 8, 2016 at 4:51 am

    As an Arabic speaker, I have no idea where you can understand the meaning “beasts” from the word “dawab” (the word used in the original Arabic verse) which is allegedly the arabic word for “beasts”!!!
    “dawab” refers to whatever and whoever moves on legs..

    Would the term “animals” (Vertebrates and Arthropods in terms on biology), be more appropriate than “beasts”?

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  • @aliamjadrizvi

    I think you missed my point (or perhaps I was not clear enough). The word “dawab” from the root “d b b” [whose meaning: to step on earth] applies to whoever and whatever moves on legs, AND THAT INCLUDES HUMANS.. The word “beasts” in Arabic is “wohoosh” or “dawary”, which is not used in the Arabic text of this verse. If you wish to understand “beasts” as “animals”, then the Arabic word for “animals” which Quran repeatedly uses is “An’aam”, why it is not used in this verse then? So the verse as I understand it in Arabic tries to say: ” This type of people are the worst who walked on this earth”.. Apart from agreeing or disagreeing with that, the verse does not say “they are the worst of beasts” .. SOME translators choose to use the word “beasts”, it is their issue, they just imposed their own feelings of hate/or their own understanding on the Arabic text! They want to understand it this way! But the Arabic text of the verse does not say “beasts” or “animals”.. So there is no “hate message” in the Arabic text as for me. You can see here multiple translations for the text from different translators ( To me, the first is the closest, although not really the meaning I understand personally from the Arabic text ..

    About the rest of problems in Quran, I have been in and out of belief in God multiple times, looked at religions (Islam included) with skepticism several times in my life. When I was researching the issue of Quranic warfare in depth I realized that Quran as a book is highly contextual and often tied to certain incidents. Whether it is a divine book or a man-made book, I learned that many parts of it cannot be understood as a generalization, rather associated to particular events. (the one you quote at the start of the article is one of these). I have learned by my own research that there is a whole branch of Islamic studies called “Elm Al-Tanzil”, which translates to ” the study of revelations” relating much of Quranic text to certain historical incidents in the life of Muhamad, and thus, they remain specific to these events, not general. Although I have “heard” of this as a kid at school, I never bothered. Only when I looked in depth I found out. This is the conclusion of my research on the book. And yeah, looking at translated versions on my way, they are all harboring “chatastrophies” and very often translators obviously impose their own perception (or the point of view of whatever exegetic school they follow) on the Arabic text, which is very often generic and multimeaning .. In many parts, translators choice of words is different from what I personally perceive from the Arabic text..

    Whether divine or not, a hollistic look to the Quran in some depth contradicts the “warfare book” perception. When ISIS and other Muslims (no matter how many) base their views about non-Muslims on the historical-specific warfare verses overshadowing the message of the rest of the book and a whole branch of Islamic studies (e.g. study of revelations), that’s their issue! pretty much how Stalin and Linen based (or claimed to base) lots of their genocides on Carl Marx thoughts and books.. What I want to say is: when a group of people read/learn a book and miss (or claim to miss) what the book really tries to say, they are to blame not the book! At least that is my opinion.

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  • @azmy_gowaid That’s quite a lot of intellectual acrobatics. The verse is fairly straightforward, and even if you translate it as “all living things,” the point of this entire article still holds: “The worst of all living things…” Unless you’re saying the verse means all living creatures are the worst ever to walk on this Earth, which would be nonsensical.

    At the end of the day, I do wish most people quoted your lengthy defense of the verse, attempting to show that the verse is the exact opposite of what it looks like to us at face value. Sadly, people don’t quote Azmy Gowaid. They quote the Quran and hadith.

    Your explanation only goes to show that the writer of this verse is either very inarticulate, or incompetent at his writing. Not becoming of an omnipotent deity.

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  • @aliamjadrizvi

    Sadly, people will always quote this verse and others the same way you, Al-Qaeda and ISIS, alike, do. Because the majority of people – by human nature – tend to favor simplistic thoughts rather than intellectual depth and mind work (you even call that “intellectual acrobatics”).

    Also, I am neither defending Quran as you claim nor attacking it, I have no personal interest either way. Just looking at the facts as I see them and in my point of view.

    In discussing your arguments, I will start from your last comment about “the incompetence” of the writer of the book, then will return to the verse in question. You need to be careful when you throw such confident words. I know you can find many western intellects ridiculing Quran same way, but indeed what matters most in this field is the view of specialist scholars. By ‘specialist’ scholars I mean these who made sure to study Arabic and approach Arabic/Islamic culture and history right from the main source first, in order to investigate Islam and Quran (and Islamic historiography) themselves – not through the vision of translators or the eyes of former scholars. Names like Hamilton Gibb, Montgomery Watt, Goethe, Gustav Le Bon, and Laura Veccia Vaglieri belong to such brand of scholars.

    Let me start with this quote by Katherine Mommsen, the renowned Goethe scholar and the professor at Stanford University:

    “Goethe was very sensitive to the linguistic beauty of the Koran. Even in his late years he praised this beauty in the ‘West-Eastern Divan’ where he says: ‘The style of the Koran is severe, elevated, formidable, in parts truly sublime’. If one is acquainted with Goethe’s way of expression, one knows that the words ‘truly sublime’ belong to the highest attributes which he could assign to a literary landmark.”

    Goethe, you know, is one of the most important polymaths in history, and a great poet who studied Arabic in depth, and when a world-class peot speaks of the literary merits of a book, we should take that seriously!

    Hamilton Gibb, the famous Arabist from University of Oxford, comments on the issue:

    “Though, to be sure, the question of the literary merit is one not to be judged on a priori grounds but in relation to the genius of Arabic language; and no man in fifteen hundred years has ever played on that deep-toned instrument with such power, such boldness, and such range of emotional effect as Mohammad did.”

    Also, Arthur John Arberry the British orientalist who also translated the Quran comments:

    “The influence of the Koran on the development of Arabic Literature has been incalculable, and exerted in many directions. Its ideas, its language, its rhymes pervade all subsequent literary works in greater or lesser measure. Its specific linguistic features were not emulated, either in the chancery prose of the next century or in the later prose writings…”

    I can bring you many other quotes this way. What I want to conclude here is that Quran in the Arabic version is of inimitable style and very articulate composure (in the point of view of many Muslim and non-Muslim specialists). I know you do not see this as you are not an Arabic speaker, but it is indeed partially the mistake of translators who did not suffice to date on the task, besides their frequent bias to particular exegetical schools.

    Speaking of depth and translations, have you ever heard of how many readers fails to value a very deep literary masterpiece like “Brothers Karamazov”, deeming it boring and shallow? Many end up like: I cannot understand why on earth this unimpressive redundant book is a famous novel or why the author is at all deemed a great one!”. The situation is even much worse when this is a translated version of the novel.

    Drawing an analogy, why is it that you expect a book to be of divine origin (from an omnipotent deity) only if it tells you facts simple and straightforward? Knowing human nature and our greed and joy to investigate, ponder, and philosophize, I would expect a candidate divine book to provoke my mind to think in depth, investigate, cross-link, and look beneath the lines, rather than be an easy read giving me easy facts and compelling evidence of its divine origin right in the face!

    Assuming God exists, why would he (gender is irrelevant here) give me a powerful mind and a complex universe to investigate when he is to send me a book that harbors every striking evidence of his existence, answers to all my questions, and on top of that sends me the unquestionable evidence he is the writer of the book? This would be a very contradicting plan in my view. So I do not think the Quran is easy and straightforward, free of multi-meaning verses or even superficially contradicting ones. Quran has all these and on top many unsolved mysteries. The book itself asserts that (verse 26:4). These indeed add a ‘divine touch’ to the book rather than reducing its value. To me, if a book comes from the same origin the universe comes from (assuming that’s deity) and the book attempts to tell me about myself and the universe without giving any final answers, it is not implausible to expect the book to harbor challenges to my mind. It even should challenge my mind same as the universe does! (if you are interested I can expand more on this thought in another comment)..

    So back to our talk on the verse (8:55): you have chosen to take the verse out of its narrative individually and presented it as a hate speech to the whole non-believing humanity, while you titled your article “No, not out of context”!.. You failed (or insisted not to) see the narrative of the verse – the 5 verses that follow up to 8:61 as @steve pointed out – which expands on “who are those described as the worst of living creatures in the sight of God” – the verse relates to those “who broke their treaties and declared war” in that particular incident. Many (if not most) Muslims indeed understand it this way. It is even too clear to hide when one approaches it within its narrative.

    So, if you really wish to reverse the verse it would be (I declared previously there is no use of the word ‘beasts”):

    “The worst of those who stepped on earth, in my own view, are those of the followers of Allah who you make treaties with, but they break those treaties every time because they have no fear of the law.”

    And this version I cannot call “a hate speech” against anyone! Go ahead and speak of (the specific) traitors what they really are!

    However, you can keep going ahead with your own understanding of the verse (overshadowing the clear narrative), in a way that matches the intellectual status of an ISIS fighter. That is your own freedom!

    In short, the way you chose to read the verse (in purpose or spontaneously) is not much better than the way one of those “inattentive” readers chose to read “Brothers Karamazov”. Indeed it is a matter of personal taste and conclusion to like or dislike a book, value it or ridicule it, and Quran – any book – is not an exception. However, it is only clever and experienced readers who know they need to approach each book in a way that suits its nature, purpose, and style before they can claim to possess an “informed” conclusion about it.

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  • Who are true Muslims…..?.?.?..?.?
    “Muslim: There are over 1.6 billion Muslims in the World, soon we shall overcome the Infidels and rule the world.

    Atheist: Would it include Ahmadis & Qadiyanis?

    Muslim: No, Ahmadi dogs have got nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: How about those Barelvis visiting graves and worshipping the dead?

    Muslim: Barelvis are infidels. They have got nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: What do you think of ISIS, who are all Sunnis?

    Muslim: They have got nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: How about Shias, following 12 Imams, offering prayers differently, bathing in blood and calling names to Abu Bakr & Umar?

    Muslim: Kafir, Kafir, Shia Kafir have nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: In yesterday’s Newspaper, there was a headline about a Prayer Leader raping a 5 year old boy and afterwards killed him by hanging with a fan?

    Muslim: These Prayer Leaders are bringing a bad name to Islam, they have got nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: There is another sect which denies all the Hadiths and follows nothing but Quran, yeah, known as Parvezis?

    Muslim: Parvezi followers have nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: It is heard that Prophet Muhammad married Ayesha when she was 9 and Prophet was 53?
    What about triple​ talak and halala marriage system??

    Muslim: These are all fabricated Ahadith.

    Atheist: But these are in the books of Ahadith compiled by Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim and considered to be RIGHT by Ahl-e-Hadith?

    Muslim: Ahl e Hadith has nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: Taliban are killing in Pakistan like no body’s business…

    Muslim: They are Deo-Bandi Kharjis, they are the agent of India, Israel and America – they have nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: How about those mystic Sufi Saints…

    Muslim: Those so called mystic Sufis don’t follow Islam by the book and hold beliefs which lead to infidelity, thus they have nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: What is your opinion about Liberal & Progressive Muslims?

    Muslim: They have gone astray, they include Seculars that have nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: How about the Saudi Salafi & Wahhabi groups?

    Muslim: They are extremists and Jihadists , they have nothing to do with Islam.

    Atheist: What do you think of killing non-Muslims?

    Muslim: Islam is a religion of PEACE, killings have no place in Islam.

    Atheist: But Jihad is ordered in Quran in very clear words?

    Muslim: You are taking it out of context.

    Atheist: BUT, Jihad is the 6th Pillar of Islam.

    Muslim: Islam has nothing to do with Islam…”

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  • The only people who believe that a book, any book, can be holy are the people who have not read it!
    That is to say, having (out of context) portions of a book read to you ( by people with an agenda?) is not the same as reading it yourself. Nobody, of whatever religion, with an average intelligence, can possibly read beyond the FIRST TWO CHAPTERS of Genesis without realising that it is obviously a. badly written. b. by multiple authors and c. intended to mislead.

    But, the important factor here is that the bedrock of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is that the Bible is the innerent word of god. If it is not the innerant word of god then all that followed is valueless.

    Surely the only sacred thing in this life is life, all life.

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  • Unfortunately, this whole article is based on a very silly mistranslation. Any person fluent in Arabic could tell you with certainty that the verse refers to “those who disbelieve”. Even if you don’t speak Arabic, just click on the link to the verse and a correct translation is there. This is actually just another run of the mill hateful verse directed at non-muslims…

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  • @OP – The reality is, religious moderates take their scripture “out of context”
    more than they’d like to think.
    Islamic apologists, for instance,
    like to quote the verse 2:256, which says there is “no compulsion in religion.”

    . . . . Which seems rather strange in view of this situation!

    A Saudi woman has reportedly lost a legal battle to marry the man of her choice after her family objected because he played a musical instrument.

    Relatives of the woman, a bank manager, refused to allow her to wed the man, a teacher, saying his oud (lute) playing made them “religiously incompatible”.

    A lower court backed that view, and its verdict has now been confirmed at appeal, a lawyer and local media say.

    Some people in the conservative Muslim state say music is “haram” (forbidden).

    Despite that, Saudi Arabia has a distinctive musical tradition – in which the oud features – and public concerts by Arab and Western artists are permitted.

    . . . . when Saudi lawyer Abdul Rahman al-Lahim discussed it in a video on Snapchat.

    He said a woman from Unaiza, in the Qassim region, had asked him two years ago to file a lawsuit against her brothers because they had refused to give their permission for her to marry a man who “once played the oud and so was not considered religious”.

    A court in Qassim had ruled in favour of the woman’s family, he added.
    The newspaper Okaz cited the judge as saying:
    “Because the suitor plays a musical instrument he is unsuitable for the woman from a religious point of view.”

    An appeals court recently upheld the verdict, making it final.

    Under Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system, adult women must obtain permission from a male guardian – usually a husband, father, brother, or son – to apply for a passport, travel outside the country, study abroad on a government scholarship, get married or even leave prison.

    MMmmm ! No compulsion in Islamic theocracies!!! 🙂

    Obviously a “religion of freedom”, as well as “a religion of peace”! (according to “ink-blot interpretation” apologists)

    @OP – The primary argument we hear against critics and satirists of religion like the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists—
    who satirized all religions, not just Islam—
    is that their speech “offends billions of people.”

    Has this woman no regard for her brothers’ poor little offended feelings over HER choice of an insufficiently religious husband? 🙂
    Perhaps those “big tough brothers”, cry themselves to sleep at nights at the thought of her listening to traditional music!!!

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