Here’s something I don’t get. In yesterday’s South China Morning Post there are four stories on Islam. Now, the SCMP is a pretty middle-of-the-road paper, neutral to slightly left of centre. It is by no means an anti-Islam paper, let alone touched by “Islamophobia”. Still, five stories in one day, all about violent acts carried out in the name of Islam. These are the headlines:
1. “Al-Qaeda in Iraq calls for Jihad”
2. “Muslims torch churches in Java”
· and today the follow up about the stoning murder of the Christians, while shouting “Allahu Akhbar” and watched by police who do nothing.
3. “3 car bombs kill 4 in Iraq”
4. “Chechen rebel claims he ordered airport bombing”
· This is the Islamist Doku Umarov, who said “God willing we will make this year a year of blood and tears for you.”
5. “Advocate for Muslims guilty of beheading [his wife].”
· Muzzamil “Mo” Hassan blames Islam (and his wife) for his murder of his wife. He said a "religion of patriarchy" in the domestic-violence system had "unleashed a bloodbath on American women because battered men have no legal way out".
And then I turn on the BBC to hear story of Muslims who have killed members of the Ahmadi sect of Islam, because they’re considered not “proper” Muslims.
That’s six stories about blood and violence in the name of Islam, in one day and from Islam-friendly media. And that’s a normal days’ news.
So, here’s the thing I don’t get.
How could someone convert to this “religion”?
I understand how people are born into it; they don’t have much choice. Indeed leaving Islam is dangerous, even unto death for apostasy. If you’re born into the “Religion of Peace” and if you have doubts about it, you’re better off to keep the doubts to yourself, keep your head down and be a Muslim in name only. Or to be a pious Muslim, or a part time Muslim, or whatever. But to convert? That means a conscious decision to follow a “religion” that wreaks the sort of havoc above and which does so again and again and again.
For yesterday’s news was nothing unusual in the litany of stories on Islam: blood soaked, bigoted and hateful.
How then does the convert think, “yes, that’s the religion for me”?
Before you make your final decision, wouldn’t you go on to read something about it, starting with the Koran? It you did that, you would find all the doctrine that explains, justifies and calls for the violence and hatefulness you’ve seen in the press. It’s all there, the call for the blood and bigotry, the justification for it.
So you do that, you read the doctrines of Islam, and you still think “yep, that’s the religion for me”. I don’t get it.
By the way, the Muslim word for a convert is a “revert”. That’s because they believe that everyone is born a Muslim and become Christian, Jew or atheist by mistake, and when they realise their mistake they “revert” to Islam.
That belief is consistent with the birth of Islam itself. For its birth was the biggest reverse takeover in the history of Man. Muhammad learned a scrambled version of Judaism and Christianity, had it “revealed” to himself by his imaginary friend, the “Angel” Gabriel, and then proceeded to heap calumny on those two pre-existing religions – Judaism and Christianity – for having “perverted” the true message of Islam, which was around “forever”, including via Jesus, who was – according to this grossest of reverse takeovers – a prophet of Islam. In some readings he’s also the first “martyr” (Shaheed) of Islam!
In this theology, it’s only consistent that a convert to Islam is called a “revert”. But, as I say, I don’t get it. Unless you’re of a bloodthirsty and bigoted mindset.