Taliban’s Coercion Betrays Qur’an

By Aloysious MoweVisiting Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center Sufi Mohammed and the Taliban betray a studied ignorance of Islamic scripture, law, … Continued

By Aloysious Mowe
Visiting Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center

Sufi Mohammed and the Taliban betray a studied ignorance of Islamic scripture, law, and history, in the claims that they make for the imposition of Shari’a in Pakistan. In his repudiation of Pakistan’s democratic institutions, Mohammed is quoted as saying that “the Qur’an says supporting an infidel system is a great sin.” He does not substantiate this because he cannot do so: the Qur’an makes no mention of an Islamic state, does not prescribe any system of government, and is silent even about the structure and nature of religious authority in Islam (hence the enduring divide between the Sunni and the Shia branches of Islam, which began with a disagreement about who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad, and how this succession should be managed). That a democratic political system that makes room for a plurality of views and beliefs is un-Islamic has yet to be demonstrated. It is because they cannot convince that the Taliban resort to violence and intimidation.

Pope Benedict XVI’s address in Regensburg in September 2006 is probably doomed to lie on the garbage heap of history because of the hostile reception it received when the Pope cited derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad made by the Emperor Manuel II Paleologus. It is regrettable that poor advice and worse management on the part of his closest collaborators resulted in the burial of Pope Benedict’s important message in Regensburg about religious belief and violence.

Manuel II decried the use of force and violence in religion because violence is incompatible with the nature of God: “God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature…Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats…To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…” For Benedict, the decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.

Benedict connects the Greek word for “reason” – “Logos” – with the “Logos” of Christian theology, which describes the Christ, the self-revelation of God, as “the Word”. He says, “Logos means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason.” Discourse about belief, whether between different faiths or within a faith community, should be grounded in persuasion and reasoned discussion.

The Qur’an repeatedly emphasizes individual responsibility in matters of belief. “Whoever accepts guidance does so for his own good, whoever strays does so at his own peril. No soul will bear another’s burden, nor do We punish until We have sent a messenger” (17:15). There is no sense here of a state or a juridical system that metes out punishment to sinners. Instead there is an invitation to righteousness, and if there is punishment it comes from God, though only after God has mercifully sent a messenger to warn the people. The locus classicus for such a situation is that of Jonah sent to warn the people of Nineveh. Jonah was an instrument of persuasion, not an agent of destruction.

This theme recurs in Qur’an 36:17, where God’s messengers say to a hostile crowd to whom they have been sent to call back to the right path: “Our duty is only to deliver the message to you.” We find in another place, Qur’an 35:18-26, a summing up of the Prophet’s mission. He is sent as a bearer of good news and warning, just as every faith community has had a messenger sent by God to bring them to righteousness.

Punishment lies not in the hands of these representatives of God. They are sent “only to warn”, and every person must bear his own burden and be responsible for his own destiny. Coercion has no place in religious belief. The Qur’an says this forcefully in 2:256: “There is no compulsion in religion.”

This recurring theme of personal responsibility and non-coercion is consistent with the Qur’an’s attitude towards apostates. Despite the fact that some radical Muslims insist that death is the only proper penalty for those who apostatize from Islam, the fact is that the Qur’an, while bemoaning those who leave the true faith, never prescribes a penalty for apostasy in this life. In fact, it is clear from 4:137, which refers to those who leave the faith, then return to it, but then leave again, that apostates are assumed to be living peacefully and unmolested in the community of believers. How else could they have the opportunity to apostatize a second time?

The Muslim scholar, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, writes in “Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari’a,” that religious observance can only be genuine if it is not subject to coercion via the State’s imposition of Islamic law: “In order to be a Muslim by conviction and free choice, which is the only way one can be a Muslim, I need a secular state.” Compliance with God’s law cannot be coerced by fear of state institutions, nor should there be a possibility that it be faked simply to appease the state’s officials. “Belief in Islam,” says An-Na’im, “or any other religion, logically requires the possibility of disbelief, because belief has no value if it is coerced.”

An-Na’im does not suggest a separation of religious belief from public policy. The state is a political institution that is supposed to be influenced by the interests and concerns of its citizens, and this includes their religious and ethical commitments. The proper realm for religious conviction, however, is not the state but politics, which is the art of persuasion and negotiation in questions of policy. The state itself should remain resolutely secular, meaning that it is neutral regarding doctrine, and that its essential institutions and concepts, such as constitutionalism, human rights, and equal citizenship, act to safeguard the human rights of minorities, even minorities of one.

Those who wish to impose Islamic law on all and sundry act as though the Shari’a is a clear and unambiguous artifact known in all places and for all times by every Muslim person. Islamic law has never functioned in this manner. There has long been a multiplicity of schools of law in Islam, each with its own method and doctrine, and often disagreeing with one another on even basic matters that the uninformed take to be immutable and essential Islamic rules, such as those regulating the consumption of alcohol. Islamic law is not laid down; rather, it is worked out in the dynamic interplay between different schools, between scholars of the past and those in the present, between one text and another.

An-Na’im reminds us that the exercise of state power always involves individual human actors, each one of whom has a personal perspective on the matters at hand. The process of formulating and implementing public policy and legislation therefore “is subject to human error and fallibility, which means that it can always be challenged or questioned without violating the direct and immediate divine will of God.” It is for this reason, says An-Na’im, that public policy and legislation should be supported by civic reason rather than through state coercion.

It is characteristic of Islamic law that legal opinions and judgments are classically closed by the formula, Allahu ‘alam: God knows best. It is that space for error in the all too human effort to articulate a divine law that the Taliban seek to close off. In doing so, they set themselves against the wisdom of Islamic tradition.

Aloysious Mowe, S.J., is International Visiting Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University.

By Aloysious Mowe | 
April 23, 2009; 9:12 AM ET

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  • Mary_Cunningham

    I’m sorry, Dr. Mowe, but how do you propose to ban the Taliban? Do you have the troops to invade Pakistan? You’ve already got troops in two Muslim countries, one of whom is Pakistan’s neighbour–NATO has been in Afghanistan for seven years–and the Taliban is still intact.If Pakistan is disintegrating, then some firm authority is going to rise from the chaos. So long as new terrorist training camps don’t spring up–and they can be dealt with by alliances with competing war lords–the west is safe. Don’t know how Israel is going to manoeuvre a bombing of Iran in the face of a chaotic Pakistan, though.

  • hsnkhwj

    The Taliban are semi-literate or even illiterate ignorant people. I wonder if the Pakistanis (or their Army) will ultimately confront them and eliminate their ideology.

  • iampdavis2

    Dear Doctor Mowe,

  • jquinlan29

    Followers of fundamentalist Christianity and Islam use religion as a thinly disguised excuse to exercise power over half the population – women. “Religion” is used to abuse, shame, impoverish and enslave thinking human beings in the name of “god”. Men who can refuse education to females, whip them in public, kill them in the name of “honor”, are not practicing religion, they are using it to be sadists. Until we recognize and refuse to go along with that, fundamentalists of every religious stripe will continue to abuse and enslave half the people.

  • hsnkhwj

    Remember the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan statutes of Buddha under their version of Sharia Law that it is forbidden in Islam to draw human figure for it might lead to idol worship? But this notion is in direct conflict with the Islamic view “to you your faith, to me mine”. Islam prohibits imposition of views on other religions.By destroying the statutes of Buddha they broke Islamic law. If Muslims are against idol worship, it is their prerogative but they should not impose their view on people of other faiths.The Taliban are semi-literate ignorant people. They missed the opportunity to develop tourism at Bamiyan. Imagine thousands of Buddhists and other tourists would have come there, stayed in hotels, eaten food there etc. etc. As a result, hundreds or even possibly thousands of Muslims could find jobs there.After all Egypt has the biggest source of revenue from tourism–tourism generated by pre-Islamic Egyptian culture.This is why I call Taliban bunch of semi-literate or illiterate people who have no problems growing poppy (drugs that are strictly prohibited under Sharia law)but were enthusiastic about destroying the statutes of Buddha. They have no plans to to find avenues to feed their population.Such people are a disgrace to Islam. The Indian sub-continent also has a lot of semi-literate Muslim clerics.

  • colinnicholas

    It’s like 9/11 never happened.

  • Arif2

    The Taliban are Muslims, the Taliban leaders are little Mohammeds, they carry out the message of terror taught by their “last” prophet Mohammed. Taliban are your worst enemy if you are Western, they carry out the true message of the Koran and Mohammad.Arif

  • Gaby1

    The Taliban consists of a bunch of lunatic men who have believe they have eaten wisdom with a silver spoon. If I had my way they would soon be disposed off, preferrably by a bunch of irate women who would give them their just deserts.First shave them, then rip their turbans off, then ….. Oh well, I don’t think that would be polite to write in a blog….but whatever fantasy comes to your mind…..

  • clearthinking1

    IS THIS SATIRE?What exactly constitutes demonstration of intolerance? Is the history of violence and the innumerable conflicts associated with Islam around the world today not convincing evidence? This type of apologist approach to the issue of violence and Islam is the biggest obstacle for a solution. Selectively quoting the Koran will not fool anyone, especially the Taliban. There is plenty in the Koran to justify violence against nonbelievers.

  • beforegod

    Nice subject. Besides those very very few WOMEN who are accidentally born into a MAN’s body or MAN born into a WOMEN’s body that, Even though I’m not a Talibani Sympathizer , at least they forbid “Same-Sex Couples” or the non-straight people from openly or publicly flouting “Natures God“ & God‘s Nature via “Same-Sex-Entanglements.” Especially when advertising their “Sexual Preferences” & “Sexual Orientations” in Public and especially in front of young kids or young adults whom, even though not born or otherwise destined to be gay, can become entangled by the crowd they hang with etc.. So that part of SHARIA has one good nugget . Else they [fundamentalists] are Nut-Cases!

  • abhab

    WP asks:No! I do not agree.

  • colinnicholas

    Even after the single most religious act of my lifetime – the taking down of the World Trade Center by devoutly religious idiots – religion is still with us. It actually got stronger, as Islam demands our total attention – and Christianity not to be undone, has claimed its spot in the limelight too.

  • beforegod

    Thank G-D that the IDOL-Hating ISLAMICS, via Moslim/Muslim/Muzlmens.., Did Not1st Step-Foot on [any] AMERiCAN Soil 1st. IF, the SULTAN Islamic Turks would’ve stepped foot in America 1st, instead of Cortez & ontarage then the AMERICAN-INDIAN-NATION, not like they did in Malaysia or indonesia, would’ve been “forced” into ‘Submiting’ to ALLAH, not YAWEH instead. And would’ve instead DESTROYED, like Taliban did with the Buddhist MAMIYAN relics and thus would’ve Forbade, by Lashings, Stoning or worse, Death, All American-indians to Build/erect or Worship their Pre-Judeo-Islamic [Holy-i] ‘TOTEM-POLES” etc..! Imagine No Incas Temples standing in Mexico City etc..Interesting: Please see French & NonFrench GUYANA, S.America about Musloms there.

  • beforegod

    Please: A Moment of Silence.Today is the ARMENIAN Mass Massacre a.k.a Holocaust of 1,000,000 ethnic Armenians by the Islamic Turkish atrocities commited around World War One , before and after.Thank You.

  • ThomasBaum

    COLINNICHOLAS You wrote, “So now we have faith pages galore for the superstitionists who deny reality-as-we-know-it,”I imagine that, in your opinion, I am one of the “superstitionists who deny reality-as-we-know-it”.I do not deny any of the physical reality around us but I also say that there is more to reality than you think that there is.I have met God and you apparently haven’t, I have also met satan and apparently you haven’t, what this means is that I have experienced more of reality than you have.Before I met God, I didn’t say that I knew God was real but if asked, I would say that I believed God was real.There are many that seem to think that the two words, believe and know, are one and the same and mean the same and they do not.There are many that say they speak for God and know either nothing or next to nothing about God.When someone belittles another, who is belittled?As I have said, God looks at the person, not the label. Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • colinnicholas

    TBaum;You might not believe this Thomas, but I just got back from the edge of the Universe, and guess who I ran into? Yes, God! I met Him in Alpha Centauri and just like you said – He was so loving, kept hugging me and tousling my hair and grinning. What a Guy! When I told Him I was from Earth – He asked about you Thomas. He said to tell you He still loves you. So you weren’t kidding were you Thomas? You really Do know God. And to think I used to believe you were crazy.

  • justillthen

    colinnicholas,I am in no way impressed by your arrogant ridicule of Thomas Baum. You suck. Have a small and tiny little bit of a heart, you judgmental and self righteous atheist. Prove to me that TBaum is a lying toad. Prove, conclusively, to anyone that TBaum is deluded. You can not. Can not. Can Not . So you vent with ridicule and derision. How christian of you, colinnicholas.It is well within my realm of possibilities that he could have experienced both God and Satan, and you could have experienced neither. Have you considered that as potential or possible? That you, negating in your mind the potentiality of the Divine, close receptivity to the Divine? (I am not here saying that the Divine is definite, but I am speaking in potentialities.) Then it is easy to ridicule the spiritually optimistic.I find it repulsive that you, having judged what you have not the information to judge, slight another (possibly) genuine human.

  • jrconrad13

    Lunitics, lunitics all. This is why religion is so dangerous. It allows people to believe whatever they fancy. Religion and reason are on opposite sides of the fence.

  • beforegod

    JRCONRAD13;”Lunitics, lunitics all. This is why religion is so dangerous. It allows people to believe whatever they fancy. Religion and reason are on opposite sides of the fence.”Yes, “Religion [WRONG] Spoils everything!”Nice nice very nice.

  • beforegod

    On, The Islamic-sins perpetrated by the “Conspirators” of the so-called “PALISTINIAN-REFUGEE” [Problem? Or NO-Problem?].Today I read an article on this Blogg’s Sister site, ‘postglobal’ by Mr. Ignatius et al, describing how JORDAN KINGs? ABDULLAH met with KING? [Mr.] OBAMA and presenting his? [57 Islamic States; not all Arab/Beduins] so-called “PEACE-PLAN” via “Recognition” , if ISRAEL settles the 2-state Palestinian-Refugee Problem/ Quandary/ Dilemma. Before WE begin, Please note & see: The 2-Kings & I. And May the Real ABDULLAH please stand-up: (#1)It is said that with some people IF you give them a “inch” they will want a mile [Similar said]. Guess what? The Whole Truth: : [JORDANs] King, forever, ABDULLAH wants a “Quick/Fast?” settlement to the PALISTINIAN-REFUGEE Question or ELSE NO-DEAL. But Mr. Abdullah did not tell King Obama that he is afraid-of-(wild)Palestinians because in 25 years time, Jordan will have a Majority (52%) of Palestinian CITIZENRY! ANDThe Whole Truth:: Sunni [SAUDIs] King, forever, ABDULLAH also wants a “Hasty?” settlement because He also is Afraid of Palestinians infiltrating and “double-Agent like” working for the Mullahs of Shia-IRAN. ANDThe Palistinian “Over-population” threat is real and no dilemma. I.e., please see the GAZAN’s 1.6 Million and ½ that via their 750,000 Kids that are under 18. Hence Why Judeo-Jew-Israeli’s are NOT going to live or mix with Judeo-Islami-Gazans or Judeo-Islami-W. Bankers.Did You know That the PALISTIANIAN-PEOPLE(?) have it made? And that there is NO “REFUGEE-PROBLEM”?Continued:

  • beforegod

    Continued: Exposing the Palestinian Refugee HOAKs via the “Betrayal Of the [Their] Koran” not ours:The FACT/REALITY and no more delusion and no more telling lie’s (by self-serving, self inflicting/causations via Hamas/Hizbulla nut cases & Saudi, Jordanians, Lebanese, Egypy etc..) as if there be misery, Poverty, Apartheids? etc.. of the plight/situation/question of the of the so-called “Palestinian-Refugee Problem?”.NOTE: According to the U.N. of which Islam is Abused/Used (please see both DURBAN-1 & DURBAN-2 compromising’s therein by Palestinians sympathizers who have it made because “As Refugees” [STATUS?} Any Palestinian can be Automatic Citizens of 53 Arab Nations with FREE EDUCATION, ROOM/HOUSE/BOARD & JOBS… Including Switzerland etc.. TRUTH: PAKISTAN is on “Stolen-Landa” from Peaceful INDIA since pre & post 1945,46,47,48,49+. And now Through “The VANGUARD OF ISLAM” (Thanks to Physicist Mr. KHAN (KING)), and by proxy via Suni-Pakistan’s “A-BOMB” that the WAHABi House of Suni-SAUDI Arabia & Company, owns THE-BOMB already! The UNVIELING: Saudi Arabia via their ventriloquists WAHABI Theocrats, not bureaucrats, Hold the “Keys” [maftayack] to the 2-Mosques, but also the Keys to the gates of Jerusalem’s Christian Holy-Sepulchral by proxy. They, also by proxy, own the Tomb of JOSEPH et al great Patriarchs of the “YAHUDi (ANCIENT Jews) but not the State of Israel (MODERN Sabras) history. So what belongs to the ‘House Of Saud” , also belongs, by proxy to AL-QUAEDA, TALIBANS, MUHAJEENS, HIZUBBULA, HAMAS, SUNI’s, SHIA’s ; all ISLAM. Point:Trivia: Did You know that “TOURISM” industry is bigger than any nations illicit Drug Trade? So, this is what Arabs are fighting about! Greed, Money, Power, Control of some-one or group or clans/tribe of same or differing religions etc. And did you know that the 1st Book of the Quran.Koran is called “THE-COW”. Yes, one of it’s ’Surah’ sais, “There is NO compulsion of Religion (or in religion)..” Yet, the House of Saud wants JERUSALEM as Islams Capital , by PROXY, via manipulating their (not our) Palestinian ISLAMIC Brother/Sisters by them well financed “Resisters, “Men without a Nation?, Allah Akbars, “Matyres” etc..Solution: In Hebrew “SOV-LA-NUUT” means Patience” (not only a virtue). So if Israel waited 61 Years or is it 2,039 Years from time of the destruction of [“PRE-Abrahamic-ISLAM”] the 2nd Temple 70 BCE?, then Israel will wait another 61 years to negotiate with the TALIBAN & Iranian MULLAH’s by Proxy, with Palistinian Hamas’s & Hizbullah’s etc..

  • ThomasBaum

    JUSTILLTHENThank you for your comments.Some people write on these sites that people that are “religious”, in their opinion, are arrogant and the fact is that some who consider themself religious are but the fact also is that one does not have to be “religous” to be arrogant.As I have said: God looks at the person, not the label.I do not consider myself either “religious” or “spiritual”, I just happen to be someone who is human and definitely one who has faults and have done things that I consider wrong and can’t place the blame on others for what I have done.I am Catholic and I cherish my Catholic Faith but I do not look at it as a religion even tho many do and this includes both Catholics and non-Catholics.It says in the bible that True Religion is: “Taking care of widows and orphans”, which to me means taking care of those that are worse off than ourself, so since all of us all worse off than everyone else in one way or another than it is to look out for one another. This does not mean forcing oneself on another or intruding on another.God gave us reason and I believe that God expects us to use our God-given reason.I have chatted with people on these sites with varying degrees of beliefs/non-beliefs and I have noticed and commented on that some who consider themself atheists are more “Christian” where it counts than some who consider themself “Christian”.There is a difference between atheist and anti-theist and sometimes it seems that some of each but more so the anti-theist’s can’t get past their prejudices to even read and think about what others write that happen to either think differently or have had different experiences in life.I am not saying that prejudices and/or pre-conceived notions are limited to non-believers, quite the contrary, what I am saying is that non-believers are not free of these as some would have others believe. I do have one advantage and that is that I do not have to believe that what happened in my life, actually did happen but for that matter, no one else has to believe it either.As I have said many times: God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliation or lack thereof and It is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.It seems that there are going to be quite a few from all spectrums of belief/non-belief that are in for quite a shock.It isn’t magic and it isn’t about a bunch of rules and regulations but it is about a relationship between God and man (mankind) and between man and man (mankind that is).Even if someone knows God’s Name that does not mean that someone knows anything else about God.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • colinnicholas

    Justillthen;O Justil, you have wounded me deeply. I stood on my window ledge for hours trying to decide whether to toss myself off, or go on living with your cruel comments ringing in my ears. Finally I jumped, but landed on my feet on the front lawn – unhurt! It was a miracle! and I felt God’s presence all around me, and knew He had saved me and wanted me to go on living and loving and singing His praises for all to hear for ever and ever.What hurts me most Justil, is you don’t believe me. You believe Thomas Baum is on speaking terms with the Creator of The Universe, just because he says he is. You really believe that. But when I say that I too chat with God – you insult me.Thomas Baum and I feel very privileged to be the only two people in the world to have actually met God. Very Privileged.Even Einstein never had that honor, and he is said to have been the most intelligent and most perceptive human on the planet, in the last century. Likewise Charles Darwin who searched for God everywhere – in plants and animals and found only a world where evolution ruled and God was unnecessary.The pope too has never had the pleasure of meeting God, like me and Thomas have. So I can understand why some might be skeptical about our claims.But what do they know? They’re just stupid thinkers. All they do is think, think, think. And argue, and read, and study. That’s no way to find God. You just gotta believe, and love Him, and all will become apparent. Just surrender to Him and feel the love. Those dumb scientists haven’t got a clue, but me and Thomas know better.

  • Bios

    No matter how hard Mowe & Co try to make people understand that violence does not belong in Islam, people will continue to believe it does as long as reality proves different.

  • Bios

    Hi Thomas & Justill,

  • Bios

    You’re right, Tomkk, in the US debating Judaism is to be immediately considered antisemite. In Canada it’s different and even in Europe there is more open discussion.

  • Jerry_Fresno

    Some times is possible to imagine the world has gone mad—how wonderful is separation of state and church!

  • rosemarie98

    The author’s claim that it is Taliban which is distorting the Islamic holy book koran is really questionable based on the facts we have today. If author’s claim is true, how do you explain al qaeda, hamas, LET, Hezbollah and numerous others?There are 57 intolerant Islamic nations with little or no minority, and severely restricted rights for them. If violence and terror is not in koran, then how come it happens every day in Muslim world?

  • angolaau

    Then why did the people of Islamic faith allow the Taliban to take such a strong hold in Afghanistan?Who is funding them now?You want to say that only the Taliban believe in sharia law.That’s not true.

  • raduodogi

    I am amused by the people decrying Islam and how they most often tend to be the very same people that tried to create a theocracy during the Bush years. But I guess a Christian theocracy is more acceptable,huh?

  • brucerealtor@gmail.com


  • FamillePetersen

    Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, etc. The list is long of Muslim countries who coherce faith and permit no other perspectives to be presented. The Taliban is not unique, they are only slightly more aggressive in their techniques.

  • MSHasan

    I am a muslim, and from what I know from my childhood, being taught by my school teacher grandfather, the author is absolutely right. The religion I know and follow, is not anything like what the Taliban or any number of groups all over the muslim world represents. Only the people from those parts of the world know how small the minority do these groups actually represent. However, the question being asked by others is legitimate – how can a religion represent something different from what the groups that are claiming to establish the religion appear to represent. I know the answer to this question; but what I do not know how to convince others here – and everywhere in the non-muslim world – that the truth is different from what they see every day on the newspapers and television. It is really unfortunate, that the taliban gets to claim the mantle of Islam when the people most cruelly dominated by them are actually other muslims.

  • MPatalinjug

    Yonkers, New YorkDon’t tell me that the Taliban in Afghanisan and Pakistan are totally ignorant of what the Qu’ran teaches.As a matter of fact, it is the Taliban who are proving true and faithful to the teachings of the Qu’ran, particularly in the way women and “infidels” are to be treated.(Women are likewise to be “maltreated” according to the Jewish and Christian bibles; but women suffer more under the Qu’ran.)Millions of children were educated in “madrassas” in Pakistan. Now Pakistan is reaping the bitter fruits of those madrasses: the Taliban are gaining ground in Pakistan, and, tragically, the secular government of Mr. Zardari is in a “downward spiral.”Pakistan is incressingly getting to be a breeding ground for terrorists. The terrorists who recently bombed that 5-star hotel in Mumbai were Muslim Pakistanis, probably graduates of madrassas and taught to kill “infidels” or non-believers in Allah and Islam.Obviously there is a dichotomy between the Islam preached by the author of this essay, and the Islam of reality as preached and enforced by the Taliban.Mariano Patalinjug

  • Rubiconski

    What ANOTHER anti-Islamic piece in WaPo? Say it ain’t so.

  • jailkkhosla

    When the Quran (read Mullah Muhammad who founded Islam)talks about guidance it means the misogynistic and other evil teachings in the Quran.For example 4:34 which symbolizes the lower caste status of Muslim women and commands men to beat up their wives.When a poetess, Asma bint Marwan criticized Mullah Muhammad, he had her murdered.Both democracy and women are feared by Islam because its founder, Mullah Muhammad, feared freedom of choice and feared the power of women.The Taliban are stringently following the true Islam and the teachings of Mullah Muhammad.

  • rizwan061

    I am quite agree with Dr.But sory to say no one want to know the reason of taliban.Just go back for two dacade what USA did in Afganistan they permote taliban against northn alliance.Pakistani nations paid a lot against this so called war against terorism thousand of inocent pakistani died.we have nothing to do with these taliban actually they are not taliban they are criminal paid from different countries. We are only know Islam means peace nothing elese.

  • Usama1

    This author plays a game of subterfuge. The reality is global political agendas are at work in Pakistan, namely 50 years of American interference and subjugation of the people of Pakistan gave life to the Taliban. Because America put its regional interests before the interests of the people of the region, this led to America supporting decades of military dictators and military elite in Pakistan. As a result, an elite dominated the nation and reenforced a mafia style rule. Democratic institutions gave freedom to mafia style domination using the military, intelligence, and so forth (this is obvious in Italy, but exists in most developing Muslim countries that experienced the same circumstances of foreign interference). What can resist the corruption of civil secular society that includes major government institutions like the military? In Muslim countries, only Islamic movements devoid of government involvement can. In the case of the Taliban, the Pakistani govt worked with, infiltrated, and used various Islamic groups to their own ends. The ISI supplied the Taliban with weapons and foreign $$$ in order to take Afghanistan. But America forced Pakistan to dump the Taliban, severing the vital link which enabled the ISI to control and manipulate them. But the movement still has life because Pakistan is still dominated by a corrupt mafia. Hating the Taliban is not going to solve anything. They have a legitimate grievance: Pakistan is led by a corrupt mafia which perpetuates the misery of the entire 150 million people. And America perpetuates this corrupt status by continually interfering and imposing its regional interests. Even destroying the Taliban will not solve this problem. Other movements will surface to resist the corrupt mafia. In the end, secular Western law reveals itself to be too weak to overcome mafia corruption. America’s experience with Wall St financial collapse gained public attention but the corruption is still unresolved. For poor Muslim nations like Pakistan, secular Western law also serves as a beachhead to foreign interference and corruption (which the history of colonization has proven all to clearly). To Muslim people, Shariah is the superior law to bring law, order, peace and stability. Its no surprise that to the majority of Muslim people around the world, were they given a fair opportunity (ie Algeria) they would prefer Shariah.

  • shahjahanbhatti1

    According to my understanding of Islam as a Muslim, all Taliban will go to hell simply because they hate women and children. They hide truth therefore they are kafirs.

  • rosemarie98

    All polls taken of Muslims show that they love Osama bin laden, think 9/11 was justified for American intervention in Middle-east politics (Gallup poll right after 9/11).If Muslims in America were to be polled, they would also blame the jews for the 9/11 attack.

  • drbmsharma

    The views expressed by the respected author are welcome to represent the basics of Islam. While on the basis of assumption of non interference and freedom, one even must not give any views/ comments on any of the views expressed by anyone. People must have freedom to read, interpret and follow. But this has not happened in any religion so far. There are intermediaries and these are driving the whole religious system in a given direction. Coming back to Islam : there are two groups basically: those who are bent upon interpreting and implementing Islam they understand and unformtunately that is path of violence, torture and to an extent against freedom; but this sort of percentage is right now very limited. The other group which looks like moderate conveys that Islam is as good system and religion as others are. Islam has been reformed by Sufis and others; however there are certain directions which seems to be non-implementable and these are not consistent. So Islam and its followers are segmented and the situation is that in view of many constraints: lack of education/ literacy etc.; mostly the understanding has been through others/ Intermediaries. So if one wants to enhance education amongst followers of Islam; there are known inherent constraints. The countries where other religions are there; situations on awareness is little comfortable and hence an objective view appears to surface in the media and that brings little more awareness about good part of Islam to others. However, the trends are moving in highly dangerous directions, if one takes the example of Pakistan and nothing much appears to be done to control and influence such Islamic institutions as Taliban. Perhaps a global conference of Islamic Scholars have to debate:

  • mikekent

    Trying to separate the Taliban from Islam and the Koran is like separating the SS from the Nazi party and Mien Kauf

  • kevinad

    If you want to know about Islam, don’t judge it by the people, judge it by the Qu’ran more so than anything else and to a lesser degree, Muhammad (pbuh). These are the only two sources by which you should judge Islam. People are imperfect so we can be mislead if we are not careful, would it be fair to judge Christianity by Jerry Fallwell or Tammy Faye Baker…probably not but they say they are Christians. What I’m saying is don’t judge it by the people, judge it by what it says it is and don’t take things out of context and just pull the part you want without quoting the entire paragraph, or surah if necessary. People who are quick to bash the Qu’ran are ones who have probably never read so much as a single ayat, you just go by what you heard someone say, dont be so ignorant, research for yourself and be weary of the author of whatever you’re reading. Most of you don’t even spell Qu’ran correctly but you’re quick to try to quote something from it. Have you ever tried to understand Islam or do you just know that its not what you grew up believing so it must be wrong? How often do most of you even think about God in a single day? Probably not as often as you should. A Muslim starts their day off, first thing with prayer to the creator of us all, not to say that makes a Muslim any better but common sense would suggest that those nearest to God are those who call on him in the good and bad times and in their hearts try to live according to God’s will, sure we will be challenged and some challenges you win, some you loose but that is why we ask for and should exibit mercy and forgiveness, were it not for god’s mercy, we would all be doomed.As for the Taliban…be careful of who you let dictate your religion to you, read and understand for yourself. The Taliban has trangressed the bounds set out in Qur’an. Al-Qur’an is not evil, no more than the bible is evil it’s those who twist it for their own agenda that are evil.Lakum deenukum wahliya deen!

  • beforegod

    Continued: Commentary on; “Thank G-D that the IDOL-Hating ISLAMICS, via Moslim/Muslim/Muzlmens.., Did Not 1st Step-Foot on [any] AMERiCAN Soil 1st. IF, the SULTANic Islamic Turks and Beduins/Arabs/Moors would’ve stepped foot on America 1st, instead of Judeo-Christs Cortez & the Spaniards ontarage, that included 1st Judeo-Jews, then the AMERICAN-INDIAN-NATION, as we know it today, like Islam did with jungle-people Malaysia or indonesia (not Arabs); would’ve been “forced” into ‘Submiting’ to Islams [Abrahamic] ALLAH version and not the Abrahamic YAWEH version nor the [Vedic] ISHVARA version.. So All Pre-Islamic Idols, temples, Art, Artifacts of the Aztec, Incas, Mayans CULTureet via Americans Pre-Islamic & ancient “Nature God” or “God Nature” or “God Spirit” or “Spirit God” religion/Worship would’ve been “FORBIDDEN” Outlawed and destroyed by them Barbarian “AL TAQIYA”ists, not “ZION”ists, not “HINDUTVA”ists, whom tried to takeover the Old-World 1492 +/-.Fact: The reason why ISLAM can never take Any-credit for Not discovering the “New-World” is because Islam via Superstitions (of the “Flat-Earth” Fear), like it’s HARAM (not Kosher/Hallal) to eat PIG/Swine that thry failed to persue further West than CORDOBA!Thank God for America, the REAL “PROMISED LAND” , not Middle-East, not Europe, Not Asia Major/Minor..!PS: Last night WE watched Mel Gibsons [TRUE] account via “APOCALYPTO.” So, Cave/Mountain dwelling People like in Afghanistan or Desert nomad/Beduins People like in Arabia have “STOLEN” Abrahamic Judeo-ISLAM as religion to “CIVILIZE”? their Animal behaviors, but copy cat Al-Islam does not have Judeo-Jew, Judeo-Christian, Judeo-Hindu nor Judeo-Buddhism to enjoy Freely/Truly.

  • vandaluna

    Colin and Thomas:Religion is the problem, not spirituality. When we define ourselves by religion we deny our true nature… that of our own incarnation of god.No difference between Islam and Christianity (and any other religion) except for about 500 years (the crusades and inquisition, remember them?) The Bible, as well as the Qu’ran, promotes violence. That the Taliban and others act on a literal interpretation of the Qu’ran is simply their justification for their fear-based agenda. Because someone ascribes to any given religion does not mean they have any sense of spirituality. People are generally insecure and want control or to be controlled and the frustration of fear and lack of control results in violence. We can view the fear/control concept at work in the U.S. with the Bush and Obama presidencies. It is just handled differently than it is in the Middle East.People who want peace and a loving, non-violent world exist in every religion and nation.

  • Garak

    beforegod wrote: “Please: A Moment of Silence.Today is the ARMENIAN Mass Massacre a.k.a Holocaust of 1,000,000 ethnic Armenians by the Islamic Turkish atrocities commited around World War One , before and after.”This is not entirely correct. The Young Turks carried out the Armenian Holocaust, and they had a secular orientation. True, the Islamic Sultans, especially Hamid the Bloody, carried out massive pogroms just before the Armenian Holocaust, even those were primarily racist in nature. For CCNL’s eyes only:Judaism’s foundation is genocide of non-Jews. The Jewish bible clearly states that Jews are commanded by their god to kill non-Jews:”When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you may nations…then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy.” Deuteronomy 7:1-2.”…do not leave alive anything that breaths. Completely destroy them…as the Lord your God has commanded you…” Deuteronomy 20:16.Hitler, being a true, good Christian, concluded the genocidal underpinnings of Judaism and Christianity with the Final Solution. So Herr Hitler was just being a good Christian, fertilizing this stench of Judeo-Christian genocide throughout Christendom with the words of the Bible. Praise Jesus for Zyklon B!The Nazis, when emulating those heroic Jews of the Old Testament, at least spared the animals. And the Nazis never created a concentration camp has vast as Gazauschwitz.And who funds this, the largest concentration camp the world has ever seen? Our own christian USA, gladly led around on its leash by The Israel Lobby while singing praises of Armageddon and the Second Coming. The Zio-fascists require Americans to bow2Israel, and we do. Christians praise the Israeli Reich, insisting that it implement its Final Solution to The Palestinian Problem. Christians pray for genocide. Christians thank their god for genocide. Christians weep with joy at the thought of genocide. Christians rapture at the thought of genocide.Muslims have nothing on Christians for sheer blood lust. Even the sacrament of holy communion is blatantly blood lust vampirism. Drink my blood and ye shall rise to kill again. Pope Dracula!The world will never know peace as long as monotheism exists. Time to eradicate it and all its manifestations, starting with the Zio-fascist entity running Gazauschwitz.

  • Kingofkings1

    Thanks for this mishmash of fallacies and misstatements

  • yallips1

    There are a lot of pious platitudes about Islam in these pages. But, the practice of Islam heavily supported by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. is a violent form represented by the Taliban. In Afghanistan they were flourishing a decade ago destroying everything civil and these were financed by Saudi Arabia in the name of supporting religious education. Saudis support 90% of all Madrassas throughout the Middle East, Asia and even in the U.S. From what we know during the past few decades, Islam has caused more misery and deaths in this world than any other religion. It is not because all Muslims are evil; it is because they allow their religion to be used by extremists for their objectives. It would be a great day when all societies abandon organized religions which has caused so much misery in this world during the past two millennia. Taliban is today’s manifestation of religion being used for political ends. Let us hope this too will pass.

  • beforegod

    The Reason Why GOD (by 1,000 names & no more by 99 names) did-NOT let ISLAM discover U.S.A. but instead blessed the Judeo-Christians & Judeo-Jews to “Manifestly” “Discover” AMERICA 1st, Today a.k.a the “Promised” or NEW-WORLD; is because Middle-Ages era of Islam got Greedy and sinned and failed to see the “Message”, by GOD itself, of their own backwards thinking RELIGIOUS JEALOUSY sickness; not fit for a potentially MODERN WORLD.Interesting Fact: ISLAM via WAHABI-KABBA Saudi Arabia/Beduins [like Vatican, is the seat of Islam] kingdom? have lots of Money. Actually If Islam pools all their GOLD & PETRO/Wealth together; would be, probably, the richest Pewople/Religion on Earth! But There’s a saying, “Better to be Intelligent and poor & Happy, than to be Rich and Stupid.”POINT: In the Modern-World, where Judeo-Jews & Judeo-Christians et al have also been adjusting/Modernizing their Bibles/Tenach etc.., thatthe “AL TAQIYAH”ists (Islamic Zionizm = Nazizm), includes All of this Planets 57 Islamic Nations, as a whole (added together) that they have the Least PATENTS, the Least INTELLectual-PROPERty-“RIGHTS” and the least “Wonders of the World” Discoverys or Engineering results for the GOOD OF MANKIND, not Unkinds!Example: Non-Islam, build/built Sky Scrapers like the World Trade Center (onl;y to be jealously destroyed in order to get ATTENTION, Atomic Nuclear, Expansion Bridges, Bio-Tech, Astronomy, Medicine, Math, Discovery of 1st Oil in Pennsylvania then ME etc.. So, QUESTION Al ISLAM Wahabi’s Besides “Stealing”-The-Abrahamic Realigion, or Copy-Cating it et al, Or PAKISTAN stealing land from Peacefull INDIA proper;What GOOD did you, as a “People of Religion” or is it “Books” condone to todays ‘MODERN-WORLD” , not Backwards since, say Post 1492 or is it post 1948??? Show US (non Islam) the Money? Show Us the PATENTS? Show Us how Smart , as a whole, you really are??????

  • victorlove1

    Why is it that the people who seek freedom from oppressive regimes or religious dictators are so weak that you are unwilling to die for it, but you “casually” accept the idea of some one else dieing for your freedom, then the U.S. can’t help you.This is the reason Pakistan and Afghanistan will fall back into the hands of the taliban, We cannot GIVE you freedom, You have to want it, then you have to fight and die to earn it, then you have to fight to keep it!If that was my daughter getting whipped in the street, there would be 2 dead taliban

  • jacktdaw2002

    No Muslim would do what these barbarians are doing. If they are Muslims, then by doing this they are not true Muslims.Besides, Islam doesn’t oppress people—Muslims do. The only answer in Pakistan is more Islam and fewer Muslims.

  • beforegod

    G A R A K: You still don’t get it! C C N L is correct when IT tells US (the World) the TRUTH. That Today ‘… via most religios Scholars? have agreed & rendered their Own Bibles/Chumash’s includes the Geeta as belonging on the heap of MYTH piles …” [Similar said]. Note: Even the Bible shows how GOD itself has Changed It’s mind. hence the Abrahamic residual Characters ISHMAEL & ESAU lost opportunity because of TEMPERMENT or (neg) Attitude of Family!? So too, the KORAN is changable. So, “AL TAQIYAH” (Islamic-Zionizm = Nazizm) equation via Al ISLAM Distraction conspiracy’s or tactics is going to be left-behind or is being so. And like a bunch of Jealous? or stubbern? or ignorant? Kids in the class are “… SPOILING EVERYTHING..”.Note: Islam complains about The 18 Million EBERu Judeo-Jews, still existing (hence SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST blessings by GOD) living in different nations and the MODERN-State of Israel (S.S. America is her Mother Ship) on Earth today, among 6.6 Billion non-Jews? (includes Agnostics & Atheists). WHY? Because for every 1-pound or 1-Kilo of Judeo-Yahud or 1 Zion’s Brain is worth 1/1.2 Billionth of 1 Judeo-Islamic AL TAQIYAHist (aka Islamic Conquest of World, not via Jewish Zion conquest) Brains!Note: In Islam there is nothing but Compulsion. Only they say one thing and do another. aka Islam has SPLIT MINDED Sickness’s.Again: HISTORY is OUR (non islams) JURY/JUDGE/WITNESS! Besides STEALING/HIJACKING the Abrahamic Judeo-Jewish Faith (because ISHMAEL & ESAU was rejected, for-a-Reason?) and INVADING LANDs, and Stealing non-islamic Atomic Nuclear Patents etc.. via “MY RELIGION” attitudes, does not make Islam Intelligent not Authentic nor unique!. SoStupid People are Dangerous! So Whats in your Head, not Wallet? Please: CHANGE & MODERNIZE the Koran/Koran or else be left behind & become more dangerous by the decade! Hence, the international “AL TAQIYAH” Conspiracy, aka, like Communizm, “Islamic-Zionizm” must change/conform or die if ye again invade us, directly or indirectly.Important Reality: The “KABBA” (an ex-Idol Pagan like worshiping & Jinn fearing Arab/Beduin Center rebuilt around 630 AD) and “AL AQSA DOME” (Sits On Stolen-Land taken around 691 AD) can always be destyroyed , like the World Trade Center etc.. w/out nuclear weapons!

  • samchannar

    Dear Dr. Mowe,The only situation in which the goodness and greatness of Quran and Islam comes out is when you are a minority. Shariah is very personal then. Change the scale and you see a very different Islam. Check out the world statistics. How many non Muslims are left in any of the majority Muslim countries? Then Shariah is the law for believers, and any non-believers still left. Every other religion and system have progressed and adapted along with the centuries. You alone are still stuck in the 7th Century nomadic Arabia. Please spare us the details.

  • hyjanks

    Religions my vary in belief systems, dress of the believer, culture, etc., but one thing remains constant among all followers of their particular faiths: Cherry picking of religious text to support anything under the sun.

  • eidekay

    I am an Indian Muslim and am very concerned that most Muslim Nations including India have a built in suspicion even hostility by majority community towards the Muslims. Only a very tiny minority of Muslims carry out atrocious acts like the barbarian terrorists called Talibans. I also lived in Pakistan to realise soon the polluted atmosphere and corruption that permeates all over the country sowing and infact flaming the seeds of extremism. These extremists always look at everything from their green-glasses to condemn anyone who does not act or behave like them. If People of Pakistan do not tackle the fundamental problems of illiteracy, poverty and unemployment in an ever growing population of Pakstan, it will soon become a headache for rest of the World. Pakistani people must also get rid of big landowners so called waderas who control and manipulate gullible illiterate tenants and 90% of the population.This problem is also to a much reduced extent prevails in nearly all Muslim countries except Turkey which is because of its high literacy and relative prosperity to rise above the religious foundations of the country.

  • rcvinson64

    Religion is the problem. People of most faiths have or are being persecuted. However, once they come into power, they become the persecutors. “Think like me or die” is the basis of most faiths. I find them all tiring.

  • CCNL

    Muslims demonize themselves via the history of Islam as seen in their founder, an illiterate, hallucinating, warmongering, greedy and lust-filled, long-dead Arab. As long as the Worst Book Ever Written is the operating manual of Islam, Muslims of any stripe cannot be trusted. To be fair, the OT is the Second Worst Book Ever Written. It differs from the koran in being mostly fiction. The Ten Commandments are its only saving grace. The NT has a small bit of wholesome history but 70% of the passages are embellishments added to create a deity out of a simple preacher man. There “ain’t” many pages left once the embellishments are removed. Said authentic passages would fill less than fifty pages making it simply a very short story of the life of said simple preacher man.

  • PanhandleWilly

    Mr. Mowe…better idea…why don’t the moslems fix islam…tell us when it’s a done deal.

  • dennisl591

    The Muslim Cult of Death Worship hates Women, are Barbaric and Insane Homicidal Religious Maniacs. There is no Love in their Theology.The Taliban deserve nothing but a swift erasure from the Human Race, by any means possible and as soon as possible.

  • cpatwork

    The picture of a bearded person in a black turban on the WaPo home page seems to be that of a Sikh person, not a Taliban. Please go and verify that it is indeed Taliban before you post it. As you are aware, they are completely separate groups of people.

  • awabnavi

    Every war in which the Muslims can participate in is this Commandment — “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.” and therefore conversely in can be taken to mean that you just can not fight against those who do not fight against you — be they Muslims or non-believers. NO WHERE DOES IT STATE POINT BLANK “KILL ALL THE DISBELIEVERS IN THE WORLD.” Verses are frequently quoted out of context to argue that Muslims are obliged to kill all disbelievers.

  • awabnavi

    Every war in which the Muslims can participate in is this Commandment — “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.” and therefore conversely in can be taken to mean that you just can not fight against those who do not fight against you — be they Muslims or non-believers. NO WHERE DOES IT STATE POINT BLANK “KILL ALL THE DISBELIEVERS IN THE WORLD.” Verses are frequently quoted out of context to argue that Muslims are obliged to kill all disbelievers.

  • skramsv

    It would be a great day if all religions could defeat the extremists that have polluted and distorted the religion. Islam does not have the exclusive on hate groups bent on destroying all of those who do not blindly believe as they say.

  • maries1199

    There are hundreds of millions of muslims who do not know who or what is a TALIBAN yet because of their faith, they have come to be symbolised by a group. Check any where in the Quran and tell me where TALIBAN is even mentioned. But Islam and muslims are evil because of the TALIBAN. It is a scary phenomenon and for a country as advanced, sophisticated and educated like the USA, I wonder what would come next. Perhaps in the not too distant future, muslims might be rounded up and placed in the concentration camp. What a world!

  • MSHasan

    We muslims need to acknowledge the state of our societies, which is I think somewhat close to the dark ages of Europe. There is no denying that the barbaric acts are being committed in the name of Islam, and in most cases, to the muslims. There are excuses, for sure. Muslim religion is currently one the most persecuted. Muslim countries are being plundered or their resources. Most are ruled by dictators, which in most cases established and nurtured by the very governments that are engaged in war against muslim extremists. As have always happened throughout history, persecuted are being labeled as brigands for fighting the persecutors.However, we have to acknowledge that there is only ruins for us muslims at the end of this cyclic process. There is a catch 22. The oppression – of us by our own or by others – should end first, by armed struggle, if necessary, in order to get our societies better. But the image of our societies run by barbaric people is the very excuse that is used to perpetuate oppression. Which way this cycle can broken first? I do not know. There are various examples in history, though. Gandhi, Sir Syed Ahmed of India, Kemal Ataturk of Turkey, and more recent Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Where is our Gandhi, Ataturk or Mandela of our time?

  • dcaparna

    Post editors: Why do you have a picture of a Sikh man next to a story about Muslims? If he is indeed Muslim, can you identify him? He is wearing the traditional Sikh turban and beard. Aparna Kumar (a secular Hindu)

  • dcaparna

    Post editors: Why do you have a picture of a Sikh man next to a story about Muslims? If he is indeed Muslim, can you identify him? He is wearing the traditional Sikh turban and beard. Aparna Kumar (a secular Hindu)

  • seattle_wa

    There is no way to convince me that there’s any difference between “the Taliban” and “the rest of Islam”. Hatred is hatred. Terrorism is terrorism. Treating your women like swine is ridiculous, whichever side of the mosque you kneel in.Islam is nothing more and nothing less than a relic of the Dark Ages. Every day in every way, members of Islam prove this to be true.

  • swatkins1

    The most incredibly heinous crimes have been committed in the name of religion. All religions. The most recent was perpetrated by al quaeda and the right wing christian hate-mongers of the conservative party of the united states.

  • mascmen7

    Read an objective life of Muhammad. Nowhere will you read what current day Muslims practice. Islam has become hijacked by crazed and ignorant thugs who use violence to force people into their satanic beliefs. Islam is more dangerous than the communism of Obama.

  • vinceporter

    Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are what they are, not what their so-called holy books say they are. Theirs is a history of violence, criminality, and cruelty. Christianity and Judaism have refined their violence, but they, too, invoke god’s name in their wars. I fail to see a lot of difference in the god-sanctioned mayhem that comes from an F-16 or the god-sanctioned violence that comes from a suicide bomber. The world would be better off without any of them.

  • dunkberg

    Ah, RELIGION!For many years I sidestepped getting involved in religious practice, and it’s just recently I’ve come to recognize the source of my hesitation. I regard every religion I’ve met in over seven decades as intrinsically dishonest in their preachments.Through the years I’ve been preached to by perhaps 200 preachers; some with advanced degrees in theology who’ve held a pulpit for 30 years, and some who were still-wet-behind-the-ears teenagers who “found Jesus” last week. Never, not once, have I heard a preacher leaven his discourse by saying something like, “I believe,” or, “Our church teaches that . . .” Now when information is presented in that didactic manner, people – especially the young – often conclude that the speaker is speaking knowledge – that what’s being said is based in fact! Of course religious belief is just that – belief, and has no basis in fact. I personally feel this is dishonest and thus have no desire to associate myself with it. Perhaps the travails associated with religious fanaticism could be entirely avoided by teaching our children the skills of differentiating belief from fact, and in the course of that instruction making clear the imaginary basis of all religious belief.This is not to say we should inveigh against religion or religious belief, but perhaps every preacher should be required to make the disclaimer: “Information in this sermon is based in belief, NOT FACT.”

  • dunkberg

    Ah, RELIGION!For many years I sidestepped getting involved in religious practice, and it’s just recently I’ve come to recognize the source of my hesitation. I regard every religion I’ve met in over seven decades as intrinsically dishonest in their preachments.Through the years I’ve been preached to by perhaps 200 preachers; some with advanced degrees in theology who’ve held a pulpit for 30 years, and some who were still-wet-behind-the-ears teenagers who “found Jesus” last week. Never, not once, have I heard a preacher leaven his discourse by saying something like, “I believe,” or, “Our church teaches that . . .” Now when information is presented in that didactic manner, people – especially the young – often conclude that the speaker is speaking knowledge – that what’s being said is based in fact! Of course religious belief is just that – belief, and has no basis in fact. I personally feel this is dishonest and thus have no desire to associate myself with it. Perhaps the travails associated with religious fanaticism could be entirely avoided by teaching our children the skills of differentiating belief from fact, and in the course of that instruction making clear the imaginary basis of all religious belief.This is not to say we should inveigh against religion or religious belief, but perhaps the problem would be solved if every preacher was required to make the disclaimer: “Information in this sermon is based in belief, NOT FACT.”

  • colinnicholas

    Bios; Thanks for your comments at April 26. 1:14 AM. Of course I was trying a different tack, satire or humor, I’m sure anybody reading my comments might have thought I was religiously deranged like you-know-who.But religion is like that. Believers believe the wildest fantasies. A loving invisible Skygod, Life after death, a Devil who runs a place called Hell where the Skygod sends ‘sinners’ to be barbecued for all eternity, a place called Heaven or Paradise where all the goodguys go to live for ever and ever (after death), celestial virgins handed out to Martyrs who slaughter infidels for Allah. They say ‘you can’t make this stuff up’. But they DO make it up. They make it all up. Then they teach little children that it’s all TRUE, and they’ve got them forever.That’s what I call a sin.

  • colinnicholas

    Charles Darwin wrote;“It is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, while the brain is impressible, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason.” Charles Darwin in “The Descent of Man.”A great observation from the Great Observer. It is also a comment on the power of childhood religious indoctrination, and raises the question is it ethical to fill our children’s heads with irrational superstitious beliefs?I think it’s outrageous that we allow it to happen.

  • colinnicholas

    Dunkberg;I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • xiphihumeralis

    Islam is on the march, with or without your blessings. Just ask the bigots who “lived” before you.

  • evangel7

    The Taliban are practicing true quranic Isalm. All the so-called moderates are infidels according to the Qur’an and the Hadith.

  • steviana

    So this is God’s nature: “God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature”. Are these God’s words or is it an interpretation of “God’s words” by mere mortals?If “God is not pleased by blood” how come there is so much “smite” this and “smite” that in the Old Testament? Or is it that really, truly, “God is not pleased by blood” but God just did it?Indeed if God is so infinite in everything that we mortals cannot understand, as so many Christian preaches claim, is it possible God is everything that everyone who ever invokes his name says he is, the good, the bad, the loving, and the blood thirty; whether that God is the Christian God or the Muslim God, or the Hindo God, or whatever?To me the real issue is whether we were created in his image or is God created in our image?

  • davidmatthews

    I actually believe that the Taliban represents the future of Islam. The fundamentalists are afraid of losing power and they fear women gaining power. They feel that women are controlling the Western world and are destroying it for selfish reasons. In addition, fundamentalism is spreading as youth without jobs are being captivated by anti-Semitism and anti-American and anti-Hindu sentiments. Bigotry spreads much faster than love. I think that the Talibanization of Islam is inevitable and will drag the entire world into chaos and violence.

  • alstl

    The problem with this logic is that most of the Taliban are uneducated and susceptible to radical teachers. The same is true of both the far left and right in America. Currently it is the left which is running the show.

  • chandragupta

    Islam has been hijacked, misinterpreted, and misused supposedly by the “extemists”. I find this term amusing since Islam IS extreme. If anyone doubts that, read the Quran. Then there are supposedly the “moderates”. They know exactly what they are into, but will try to pull the wool over the world’s eyes, and hope if they repeat the mantra about the hijacked religion often enough, people will eventually believe it. True “moderates” would rise up and expose Islam instead of defending it. Intellectual honesty is rare anywhere in the world but it is non existant among muslims.

  • telesonic

    I’m not an atheist, but I believe today’s religions are deeply dysfunctional. They should be abandoned or thoroughly reformed. Unfortunately either option will require a world-wide crisis, probably involving war and social disintegration. The same principle that applies to our energy use and damage to the environment: human beings won’t change unless circumstances force them to. As long as religious people can get away with their backward practices without suffering negative consequences, they will hang on to their primitive beliefs. When they begin to suffer, avoidably, they will progress. I hope this crisis won’t be a conflict between Islam and everything else.

  • imhodudes

    The Taliban owes its popularity not to its interpretation of Islam, but to providing in much of Afghanistan a form of governance far, far superior to the corrupt and rapacious warlord fiefs that it succeeded often in replacing. Yes, educated women were forced away from their livelihoods, but they no longer had to constantly fear rape or worse. Men could walk from one block to the next without being robbed by the local gang. And the Taliban were for the large part beyond the greed and corruption that they replaced, even though we would much prefer our democracies to what they created.As awful as chemotherapy is to those experiencing it, we still must value it for the cancer it replaces. Consider carefully what will remain if the chemotherapy is removed.

  • optimist3

    It is fitting that the man pictured beside the headline on the introduction page, is a Sikh, and not a Muslim as would be appropriate. Speaks poorly of the Post online editors…

  • Martial

    Difficult is gainsaying a popular variant of a religion. The appeal of the religious beliefs of the Taliban and Al Queda, Wahabiism, and the State religions of such entities as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, must be understood. In Rome the populace enjoyed the leonine consumption of criminals. It is hard to compete with the Persian stoning of adulterers and adulteresses or the beheading and lopping of limbs so popular in Saudi Arabia. Until the West better satiates sadistic urges native to the human heart, the joy of radical Islamism will be unmatched. Bullfighting and dogfighting might serve this purpose, just as the sacrifice of cattle substituted for the tossing of children, some perhaps deserving, into flames. Instead of condemning Michael Vick, society might have done well to compliment his ingenuity.

  • Martial

    The Qur’an itself is not much worse or better than the bible; it’s all how you use the thing. As to those who argue no one is allowed to debate Judaism, that simply is untrue. On thread after thread, the same stuff about the Talmud is posted. Of course, the real roots, e.g., the five books of Moses, are not generally attacked. What those who are convinced that Judaism is sacrosanct should do is to be original. Why not go after Christianity?

  • PanhandleWilly

    IM wrote:You’re completely deluded. The Taliban are just another warlord faction. How can you even begin to defend anything the Taliban pursue? You can’t have read more than a line or two about what the Taliban do to make the completely moronic statement you made.

  • fabricmaven1

    I am a 62 year old white female. Raised with Catholicism until I reached a pont in my life where I could see that all fundamentalism is founded on the belief that women must be controlled. I see that a woman’s ability to create life has a lot of power and it has to be controlled by the other half who merely deposit the “soldiers”. All fundamentalists beleve that women must be owned and managed to prop up their belief in their male superiority over feminine energy. Most religious beliefs make men more valuable than women. I live in a country that will not pay a woman for the same “job done” as it pays men. This is one of the many ways this country still shows contempt for women. Sadly, for the women still ruled by Islamic belief it is more blatant and reprehensible. The Taliban refuses to allow even primary education for young girls. To be able to read and write, to be able to add and substract threatens their belief that women are no more than breeding stock to further Islam’s agenda. I live in Virginia and republican legislators try every year to do the same. Control women’s reproductive abilities.I am not trying to narrow the scope of this articles intent. I am just asking that readers acknowledge that most religious beliefs cannot function without the subjucation of women and their ability to create life.

  • jayrkay

    Do we need to comment on Islam and Talibans.Islamic clerics have played havoc among their own kind.Imposing Sharia laws is like imposing Smallpox or Leprosy.People who are deep believers of their religion should face ALLAH, ask for forgiveness for transgressing the excesses. I have never come across a muslim who has been following all the tents of Islam, this applies to catholics,Hindus- where do’s and Dont’s are in the edicts of these religions. It is like SKUNK requesting another of its kind to forgive and stop smelling

  • MinnieB9

    No troops to defend any country that won’t let us have a Hooters, a Ham sandwich or a mug of American hooch.

  • chrisfox8

    That was a terribly interesting article. For faith to be sincere it cannot be coerced. What a pity we have so little of that kind of thinking in our own discourse. I’m going to skip reading the comments for peace of mind.

  • sairadecent

    You are writing against taliban, What about the Americans,….Are they doing good in all over the world.See how they destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq, they are having wars…why? What they want to show…Before going against the Talibans first try to understand the Religeon Islam then move ahead see the teachings of Islam and then make a comparison between the Talibans and the Americans you will find which one is the worst.

  • sairadecent

    I think the Americans Army and the Americans terrorism should be banned…

  • arotnemer

    Can anyone answer this – where does the money and the arms for the Taliban come from? Is it from any government? Is it from a particular sect within several countries (e.g. the Wahabi)? Could people in the West be unintentionally supplying them? If we can find the source of the flow we can help stop it.

  • arotnemer

    Second thought: Pakistan should have an open debate between moderate and Taliban. Why? I believe the moderates would win, thus marginalizing the taliban.

  • arotnemer

    Last thought: Good reading material is Benazhir Bhutto’s “Reconciliation” which was published right at her death. It rebutes extremist ideology.

  • abhab

    Someone calling himself Abmivira asserts the following:“NO WHERE DOES IT STATE POINT BLANK(in the Muslim scriptures) “KILL ALL THE DISBELIEVERS IN THE WORLD”. Qur’an:9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”

  • adrienne_najjar

    All very well and good. So explain to me why the masses of regular muslims don’t rise up and squash these miserable pigs who want to destroy the world with their BS phony religious rationale for their viscious criminal behavior.

  • bevjims1

    Imposing God’s law is to raise one’s self to the level of God. A sin in any religion. The Taliban believe they are doing God’s work, as though God needs their guidance. But there will always be those who pretend to work for God. The problem is those who support them with food, shelter and money. The Taliban and other right wing extremists could not organize without the support of peaceful people. Supporting those who kill in the name of God is to work against God. Those who support extremists of any type are working against God. God does not need anyone’s help. For those living under Sharia and Taliban law, they get what they deserve if they do not struggle agaainst it.

  • rc115shepherd

    It is normal to ponder in wonderment the moral and ethical dilemmas of mankind. And to always be found wanting, failing, and trying again in the search for knowledge or certainty, upon which to found a civilization.But reason is hard to come by. Government in Pakistan merely continues the transformation of the will to power of the successors of the Ottoman Sultans, local petit princes, and the former global empires of the west. Their rule was more absolute than anything the west has conceived since the Reformation, until communism and National Socialism. But those within the Islamic world who wish to impose the rule of religion merely want to correct the single most important core deficit in all the successive despotic governing institutions of the Islamic world; especially those which have a thin coat of paint of western modernity; their bedrock foundation in personal corruption and anti-integrity by the officers of those governments, at every level and station of authority therein. It is this pervasive stink of institutional dishonesty and illegitimacy that propels the Taliban, and all the other proponents of the imposition of Islamic law to seek a “new deal” in an old and established system.But they do this in the context of a “will-to-power” that is their only touchstone and frame of reference as to; “how the game is played”. To all these actors, the “people” are believed to be without a sense of reason (or a sentiment which is to be respected); and those who would seek to change the people’s governance do so with the abolitionist’s total disregard of their (the people’s) wishes. Until this point of view changes; all changes will be attempts at force to impose the will of some new set of actors upon the “people”, whose views (whatever they may be) matter not at all.

  • beforegod

    Who needs to kill or get killed over “TAUTOLOGY”, aka Man-Made Old time Religion???Definition of TAUTOLOGY:NEEDLESS repetition of an idea, Statement or WORD (of a god?).Example: I’m the Son of [A] MY-Mother (not EVE) or I’m the Daughter of [A] My-Father (not ADAM).Example: Be good, not Bad. Eat or perish.Note: Better To-Eat pork etc in order To-SURVIVE than to Not-BELIEVE [in Tautology]. So eating a [Man-Made; Zero G-D , innate-Made] Quran/Korans or a Bible or a Geeta books is not going to give anyone sustenance! Includes Reading them Tautology’s.Please Everyone: G-D is in ALL “IT”s Children, includes “IT”s INVISIBLE-SCRIPTURE written inside of Us ALL! So Who needs more Tautology??

  • trident420

    Religious wackos misrepresenting their holy texts? Making it up as they go, cherry picking information and removing contextual balance when it suits them?Say it isn’t so.

  • beforegod

    ON: The Dangers of “PSYCHIC-DRIVING”EXAMPLE:”God the omniscient and omnipresent MUHAMMAD (pnuh)”God the omniscient and omnipresent MUHAMMAD (pbuh)God the omniscient and omnipresent MUHAMMAD (pbuh)God the omniscient and omnipresent MUHAMMAD (pnuh)God the omniscient and omnipresent MUHAMMAD (pbuh)God the omniscient and omnipresent MUHAMMAD (pbuh)God the omniscient and omnipresent MUHAMMAD (pnuh)God the omniscient and omnipresent MUHAMMAD (pbuh)”God the omniscient and omnipresent””MUHAMMAD (pbuh) (pbuh) (pbuh) (pbuh)…”PS: So Islam; WE Know, WE know … Already WE know G-D iNNATELY/NATURALLY! We know We know .. Already! Please Stop the Brain-Washing!!!

  • shark2

    Mary_CunninghamTo know the realities needs honesty and hardships. Most of the things that we read on the media as baised.

  • dabrack

    GOD wants me to love and obey Him, but it is my free will that decides. He will help me when I am weak but He sends no one to force me. The Islamists believe their GOD demands obedience and they must force people to obey, using violence when intimidation is not enough. This is not religion, it is a cult – a political cult. I cannot understand why any sincere Muslim does not band with others and confront these non-believing bullies. We will help them, but it is clear only they can defeat these terrorists.

  • Martial

    There are scoundrels and idiot movements in all religious faiths. The unthinking Christian is almost proverbial. The hypocritical Jew is no less present among us than the hypocritical Muslim; look up Madoff and Abramoff. One of my most wonderful online experiences was on http://www.washingtonpost.com, going through the story of Joseph with a Muslim, comparing and contrasting Sura 12 with Genesis 37 – Genesis 47. By seeing the little differences and what they meant to each religion, the story became ten times as powerful and beautiful. The backdrop was one of those vindictive and fun Israel Palestine “discussions”, which generate an online version of nuclear warfare.

  • beforegod

    PS: So Islam; WE Know, WE know … Already WE know G-D iNNATELY/NATURALLY! We know We know .. Already! STOP forcing on yourselves what WE (not only You) Know!WE don’t need MUHAMMAD to tell Us IT is so! Like wise, to tell Us, on a Modern Internet -World What We are in NATURE GOD or GODs-NATURE or how to behave therein & there from!. WE do not need TAUTOLOGY via Man-Made books stuffs & Things to tell Us.. Chumash’s/Bibles, Qurans/Korans, Geeta’s/Sruti’s Kangyur’s/Kengyur’s Tripitaka’s etc..!!WE Don’t need Vails/Burkas, Kufi’s/HeadScarves etc..! WE don’t need 24/7 minarets (mosque towers w/loud-Speakers now) to blast-TAUTOLOGY over the entire Umma/Community! WE don’t need Double-Standards Psychosis’s ; One for believers & another for non Believers etc..! So, Please Stop the Brain-Washing! Stop the Brain Washing! G-D is getting MAD! Please;Stop Killing or get killed over someone-else’s TAUTOLOGY (not OUR(s)!

  • bcass05

    Islam means “submission”. A Muslim is “one who submits”. We westerners and non-Muslims scratch our heads in disbelief at what Muslims will submit to–evil rulers, tyrannical laws, history re-writers, 21st center hateful philosophies, bombers, war, and on and on. Those who have the means and are more discriminating in their submission tend to leave their homelands and live in other lands with more choices.No number of quotes from Quran by non-Muslims, no pronoucements from liberal Muslim teachers, no application of reason will solve this problem. Muslims themselves must decide from within their own ranks that to which they will submit and that against which they will rebel. Until then, non-Muslims will continue to be mystified at what weight of the past Muslims are willing to shoulder.

  • CCNL

    Dictionary: im·pos·tor or im·pos·ter (ĭm-pŏs’tər) n.e.g. Shark2 (previous comments) aka Farnaz aka Farnaz2 aka Observer12 aka Observer31 aka Yael1 aka ivri5678 aka Billy8 aka nadinebatra aka stadtbear aka Spark1 aka Masumian MA? aka Ma’sumian? aka Sheikhazdeh-Zavareh? aka Spidermean3 aka Farnazmansouri1.

  • ThomasBaum

    BIOSYou wrote, ” I’m sure you can understand that saying that you met God & Devil is a somewhat unusual comment.”Actually, I think that it is way past “unusual”, but nevertheless it is true.Meeting God and meeting satan are not the only things that I write on these postings or speak about in person.You wrote, “Enough for someone to doubt it and think it might not be true.”I agree but it is important to me and I needed to know and not just to believe to even attempt what God chose for me to do.You wrote to Justillthen concerning me, “The fact that you are demanding conclusive proof that Thomas is delusional is worthless ‘cause the onus is not on the rest of the world but on Thomas.”Actually, the “onus” is not on me but on God and in His Time and in His Way, “proof” will be given.You wrote, “Otherwise, we can just believe or not.”, concerning my statement about meeting God and meeting satan.It is not important whether anyone believes that I have met God and have met satan, God gave me a “job” to speak and I am trying to do my “job” and somehow God will see me thru.I say my “job” but I actually look at it as Our “job”, God and I, because I know that there is no way that I can do it alone.Thanks for your posting.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • beforegod

    C C N L:Please, S T O P!Stop “Dry-Snitching” or discriminating on the Monikers!This is what ‘Moderator’ Susan Jacobs et al, was trying to tell/say/convey.So leave alone “Blogger” FARNAZ{1,2..}, or IVRi5678 , whatever please or ELSE, you will be destroyed! Ha! Ha Ha Ha Ha!How old are you?

  • beforegod

    C C N L:What’s Happening CYBER-Freund?

  • ThomasBaum

    VANDALUNAYou wrote, “Religion is the problem, not spirituality. When we define ourselves by religion we deny our true nature… that of our own incarnation of god.”I don’t think of it as religion or for that matter as spirituality but as a relationship.When you wrote, “our own incarnation of god”, if I understand you right that would mean that we would have to be God first to be “incarnated” and I know that I am not God, I believe that I was created in the Image of God and that every other human being past, present and to come are also created in God’s Image, which is Love since God is Love.You wrote, “No difference between Islam and Christianity”.There are quite a few differences and one of the Big Differences is that “Christianity” declares that Jesus Is God-Incarnate whereas islam says that Jesus is merely a prophet.As I have said before, God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof and that it is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.God looks at the person, not at the label.You wrote, “People who want peace and a loving, non-violent world exist in every religion and nation.”This is true.Even tho there are plenty that look at “Christianity” as a religion or some other way, to me it is part of God’s unfolding Plan for the Salvation of All and the coming of “the new heavens and the new earth.”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • bevjims1

    shark2 wrote: “As far the case for the taliban, they are muslims and they want to live according to their faith – what is the problem?.”No problem as long as they live it willingly and allow those who live under their laws to agree. However they are imposing their laws at the point of a gun. Do you not have an issue with that?shark2 wrote: “Homeland security of US? when you will respect them they will respect you and no one will go to shake that security.”They deserve no respect. The supported and protected those who attacked America. shark2 wrote: “If on the other hand you try to educate them as per west they will resent and killing and keeping forces will not solve the problem either.”Do you think that has not been tried? shark2 wrote: “The wayout is to talk to them and forge a peace deal.”Deals are two way things. The Taliban are not interested in deals. They are interested purely in power, the power over people to enforce how they think and live.shark2 wrote: “Now if the Us and Nato has other targets in mind such as oil, encircling china, the central asia resources then this is dishonesty to cry taliban taliban.”Just remember that America is a Taliban target. They have said as much. They are beyond trying to deal with. They must be crushed and they will be crushed because no one without a piece of the Taliban’s power wants to live under the Taliban. It is Islam itself however which prevents Muslims from fighting the Taliban. “Surrender” is the requirement after all. Those with the most power seem to be the most respected among religious Muslims. Why is that? That is not morality, that is barbarity.

  • CCNL