History is best when briefest, so forgive me for omission of a multitude of finer points in pursuit of essence?   Yes, I know the Devil is in the detail, and the Devil has a fairly prominent role in what follows.  Nonetheless….

A Book:Old Bible

The Bible is the result of a collection of manuscripts, Hebrew and Greek, which became an entity about a thousand years after the life of Christ.  It has since evolved and suffered the rigours of translation a few times.   It is the book that props up the table leg of Christian belief, but very few of its followers, even the most devout, could quote it word for word.

Another Book:

imagesThe Quran tabulates the teachings of the prophet Mohammed (and forgive my failure to bless his name when I mention him) as they were handed down to him by the angel Gabrielle – a bit like Moses and the Commandments, if you like.  The work was begun around 610 AD and formalised around 644 AD, twelve years after the prophet’s death.  It has altered remarkably little since – if at all – and good Moslem children learn it by rote, word for word.

Two books.  The one an archive of documents which, although by no means exclusively, forms the basis of Western morality; the other the masterwork of a single author who, if we are to believe his own account, acted as ghost writer for an angel.

Nothing wrong there.  Two ancient tomes, both alike in dignity, but with very different impact upon their readers.  The ‘Christian’ world of the West has diversified, experimented and generally subsumed the original pearls of Biblical faith as parts of a recognised standard of behaviour we might once have classified as ‘God-fearing’.  The faith is old; the code remains.

The Islamic world, by contrast, is as youthful and fresh as ever, and has moved not one inch.   In western terms, because they determine political thinking, the teachings of the Quran are corrosive and dangerous, and the inescapable fact that Muslims should have imbibed the book in its totality by the time they reach their grown-up years makes compromise with Western society extremely difficult.

It seems well-nigh impossible to find a neutral translation from the Arabic where the Quran is concerned, but certain quotations are undeniable.   These concern Moslem treatment of women:

“Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please.” Quran 2:223

“Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other……. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them.”   Quran 4:34

“Call in two male witnesses from among you, but if two men cannot be found, then one man and two women whom you judge fit to act as witnesses…” Quran 2:282

“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment…” Q 24:31.

It requires only a very brief adventure into these texts to gain an understanding of the separation from our society that immigrants from the Moslem world must feel.  It makes the assaults upon German and Swiss women by drunken North African Moslem immigrants no more forgivable but somewhat more understandable if they have been raised to believe women are their ‘fields’: ‘go, then, into your fields whence you please’ can, after all, almost be read as an incitement to rape.  Q.24:31 might have been the text that led an Imam to blame the assaulted women for the crimes on the grounds that they were ‘dressed provocatively’.

My point is this; and I make it without shame.  Population drift has been a fact of history – it nearly always follows wealth from East to West, and it invariably re-shapes whatever it touches to some subtle degree.  But the touch of Islam, at least where it concerns the rights of women, will be anything but subtle.  Devout Islamic migrants cannot conform to our moral code without deliberately flouting religious laws they have learnt to obey to the letter since childhood.   The best they can hope to achieve is a necessary cohabitation with ‘the infidel’.  Whether we are prepared to accept such a dilemma, or whether we are ready to do what must ultimately be essential to prevent it, are vital matters for debate.  It is an issue that affects the USA as much as Europe because in these small-world days migration no longer takes more than the briefest tea break upon the shores of Galway.

In 2015 the borders of Europe were crossed by more than a million migrants from south and east of the Mediterranean, a figure likely to redouble next year.  As climate change bites, this trend is likely to continue.  It threatens the European Union and has already called the Schengen open border agreement into question.

I will inevitably be branded, by those who must have labels, ‘racist’ for this.  I am not.  Nor am I ‘religionist’.  These terms are tools obdurate and unyielding proponents of Islam use to stifle argument.  I have had many Moslem acquaintances who are kind, gentle, and very clever people.  Our greedy little empires need them.  But almost all have made ‘the jump’ and become ‘Friday Moslems’, very, very few manage to balance their participation in our society with devout adherence to their faith.  The sheer numbers, I fear, must overwhelm them as well as us.

burqa

This is a call, I think, to women everywhere to protect and assert those rights they have fought so hard and so long to achieve.   In similar measure the Quran’s position on homosexuality should be challenged.   We are tolerant, but there must be limits.   Do we really want the burqa to ‘veil’ women from public view?  Do we accept a controlling male society that keeps its women indoors and out of sight, or do we insist these attitudes must be changed?

There is much in Islam that is good.  Mohammed’s achievement in unifying religious belief among the pagan Arabs was heroic, but rigid adherence to rules he laid down almost 1400 years ago has the potential to set civilisation back several centuries.  We should all be aware of the direction in which we are being led.

 

 

15 Comments

  1. No other comments yet, I notice, Frederick. Mmmm…
    I think you voice a fair and open-minded opinion here, not a racist one. If people flee their own countries for one perceived to be fairer and less violent, then I think there are a few concessions they should make that will bring them into a better relationship with the country they have fled to.
    I don’t see that as being too much to ask. Women in particular have fought long and hard to be treated as at least almost equal in western society. They need, as you say, to be strong and aware of what they may face in the future that may challenge what progress they have made.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. errm – it’s a slow burner? I’m really trying to highlight the difficulty Islam in particular must face in making those adjustments, but I’m also very aware of the effects of mass migration, which is the issue here. In a sudden influx there are few voices pleading for integration and a tendency to turn inward, seeking comfort in a familiar culture. There are many enlightened migrants, yes, but they tend to be drowned by the mob.

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      1. Yes, true, Frederick.
        Many societies have been greatly enriched by immigrants, either voluntary, or those fleeing affliction, war & ostracism. It is often difficult for them to change, even a little, to integrate into the new host society.
        I think though of our migration from England to Australia and, whilst we shared the same basic culture & language, we still had to integrate into a different world. Not easy, especially for my mother, but we won out by doing it.
        I wonder if the numbers of refugees & migrants makes them believe that they can bring in their own culture, unchanged. But to make a home in another country, they really need to adopt the basic morals and mores of the host country. I suppose it will take time to sort it all out..

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    1. And controversial. Yes, I know. There are issues with the extreme and rather humourless conservatism of the mosques, which have possibly not yet reached America. News and current events programmes over here are peppered with comments from moderate Moslems who claim they are now afraid to visit their local mosque, for fear of the doctrine that is being preached inside.

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  2. I learned a lot from your discussion of the two religious books. together with your quotes from the Quran. It must be hard for the devout follower of Mohammed to accept western culture. Yo didn’t give any quotes about proselytizing but I assume that there are also instructions for this in there. As for those poor refugees – it must be truly horrible to have to flee the place where you grew up and venture to an unknown place just to be able to stay alive and live without fear, of you, or your loved ones, being killed at anytime. Thank you for this insight.

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    1. Continuing rather from my answers to Linda and Carrie, I deliberately concentrated upon the Quran’s teaching concerning women, because I believe that is the most likely spark-point for a confrontation which, unfortunately, I see as being unavoidable. Proselytizing is less a problem than the deliberate isolation of Moslem communities, and the subversive activity within them. Extremist Imams are making significant inroads. I agree the plight of the refugees is terrible, and this is not a ‘Little Englander’ argument – we should welcome them and help them as best we can. But the stream of migrants contains large numbers of young males who are not from Syria. They are purely ‘economic migrants’ seeking those gold-paved German streets, and, of course, not finding them. They are a fertile field for the fundamentalists to plough.

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  3. Provocative post that I am still mulling over. I guess two things come to mind: 1) there are many things in the Bible (both the Jewish Bible and the New Testament) that are very offensive. Mostly we ignore them or reinterpret them. Couldn’t this be true for many modern followers of Islam? 2) there is no doubt that places like Saudi Arabia have oppressive policies towards women, but it was a Christian country (the US) that enslaved black people and a Christian country (Germany) that murdered millions of Jews, not to mention gays, gypsies, and anyone else they saw as flawed. In fact, haven’t all religions at some point in history been used to kill or at least oppress the other?

    I am not suggesting that you haven’t made a valid point about the cultural differences and the need to ensure that society protects women from discrimination. But I think we need to look at our own religious tenets and writings and how they have been interpreted and used for evil as well.

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    1. Thank you for mulling it over. I wholly agree that the Western nations, in the past, have been equally merciless. Religions, of whatever colour, have a lot to answer for, and there are some ugly aspects of our history I would not see repeated. I am seriously concerned that might happen. Is it because of the comparative freshness of Islamic teaching – after all, Mohammed was born nearly six hundred years later than Jesus – that devotion to the prophet is so disciplined and exacting? Whatever the cause, fundamentalism is definitely attempting to take over in the mosques and in education, and this is as much a plea for awareness on behalf of all enlightened Moslems as anyone else.

      We welcome new cultures and their influences – of course we do. Immigration from India, China, the Philippines, The West Indies, Uganda has altered our country not a little, and mostly for the good. But there is a huge problem here, because Islamists have all the means they need to manipulate large numbers of unemployed economic migrants, and they have no interest in integration.

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      1. I think the key reason that we see widespread fundamentalism with Islam (not that there aren’t large communities of fundamentalist Jews and Christians) is the overwhelming poverty and tribalism that oppresses so many born into Islam. When life looks pointless and empty, we fill it with certainty where we can find it, and religion often does that. Certainly the born-again Christian fervor of the Tea Party here in the US comes largely from blue-collar white Americans who feel disenfranchised. And the ultra-Orthodox Jews also feel like outsiders. But neither group is as poor and oppressed as the people living in places in the Middle East that still operate in feudal and sometimes barbaric ways. Perhaps with better education, better standards of living, and better health care we’d see less fundamentalism everywhere. Better mental health care might also prevent those who suffer from mental illness from turning to fundamentalist religious views for answers.

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  4. I agree, Amy. We can always hope, can’t we? There is no doubt, though, that the assaults on women in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden, together with the Paris experiences, has generated a large shift in public sympathies. Germany now acknowledges 60% of those migrants it has welcomed have proved not to be refugees at all, but economic migrants whom they are now seeking to deport. Sweden is admitting to much the same figures, and Denmark is beginning to apply restrictions on immigration the like of which have not been seen since the war. Without doubt this spells the end for a meaningful European community, as country after country resurrects its border controls. As illegal migrants are sought for repatriation they will inevitably go underground, and we need not doubt the fundamentalists will find them there.
    They come to plunder rather than integrate, I’m afraid.

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  5. At the core is putting religion over state. No judgment there, just a realization that Western Civilizations do believe in loyalty to the country where a variety of religions–not just Muslim–put their religion first.

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  6. You raise a lot of important issues, Frederick, thoughtfully and fairly. I do agree with the idea of tolerance with limits. The problem today is that people seem to view tolerance not just as something that is important but as more important than All Other Things, and that makes no sense, ultimately. It demands, for example, that a lack of tolerance be tolerated. But even the tolerant can’t tolerate that.

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