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The war with Islam explained

Link here. The author, very obviously well educated in both the Islamic religion as well as recent Islamic history, describes the real religious meaning of phrases like “Allahu Akbar” and “la ilaha illa Allah” and in the process outlines quite clearly the power-hungry goals of Islam, based on the religion itself.

This is also why “Allahu Akbar” and “la ilaha illa Allah” – both statements of faith that embody the religious concept of the supremacy of Islam and of Allah – are mistranslated. First it was the struggle to establish the supremacy of the monotheistic Islam over the pagan idols of seventh-century Mecca. Then it was a struggle for supremacy over other religions, including monotheistic ones, in the Arabian Peninsula, resulting in the expulsion of non-Muslims, as related in the compilation of hadiths on behalf of the Prophet Muhammad: “I shall take out the Jews and the Christians from the Peninsula”[5] – a ban that is in force to this day against non-Muslim religious institutions. Later it was a struggle against other religious empires, such as the Persian and the Byzantine. However, the rendering of “Allahu Akbar” in the U.S. media as “God is great” omits the aspect of superiority in the word Akbar (which but means “greater” or “greatest,” not merely “great”) and blurs the specific reference to Allah rather than to another deity. In the same vein, “la illaha illa Allah” is often translated in the U.S. media as “There is no god but God” (rather than “There is no god but Allah”). Omitting the supremacy of Allah over all other deities is a mistranslation, and moreover leads to a logical fallacy – reminiscent of Carrollian nonsense verses.

One of the reasons for such mistranslations is the fact that in the modern Western world the struggle for supremacy among religions has almost completely ceased, and to the extent that it still exists, it is nonviolent. Therefore, statements of religious faith that embody a continuing historical struggle for divine religious supremacy lack a modern religious/cultural conceptual basis through which to be understood in the West, and consequently lack a linguistic equivalent. The American media, facing the risk of not being understood in translating these Islamic concepts, prefer to provide an approximate translation, even though these are inherently misleading.

This is not to say that “Allahu Akbar” is uttered only by jihadis continuing the age-old struggle for the supremacy of Islam and of Allah. Over the centuries it has come to be uttered by non-religious Muslims as well, and even by Christian Arabs. In many cases, it carries a variety of meanings – ranging from admiration for what is perceived as a wonderful act of Allah to an expression of shock and horror in the face of calamity.

A translation should always reflect the context, the speaker, and his intent. But what often happens in the U.S. media is that when “Allahu Akbar” is said by a jihadi, it is translated as if said by a non-religious Muslim or a Christian Arab. This is utterly wrong. And when such mistranslations occur time and again, whether intentional or out of ignorance, it results in a profoundly apologetic misrepresentation of the concept, and its cultural and religious meaning.

Note the history as described. Even if there are millions of Muslims who do not wish to conquer, oppress, and eliminate other religions, the fundamentals of Islam end up causing it to do these exact things, eventually. And these fundamentals are once again today driving the religion’s power elites. Woe to us here in the west if we do not heed this reality.

I strongly suggest my readers read the entire essay at the link. He documents his points in great detail, and quite thoughtfully.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.


The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Tom Billings

    Robert, you seem to think this is an exceptional post by MEMRI.

    I confess, I cannot see it as such.

    Yes, scriptural literalism in Islam is strong. Yes, it interacts with the early Caliph’s desires to justify widespread conquest by quoting phrases from the life of Mohammed that justify conquest as being superior to those suras that are more tolerant. Yes, there are translational errors that affect some people’s perceptions of Islam. Yes, the present caliphate revivalists use this to justify their actions.

    But this is hardly news.

    The biggest difference in the history of Christianity and the history of Islam is that Christianity spent 300 years as a persecuted minority, before being captured by the Empire under Constantine. During that time, Christianity established itself, and its scriptures, in several interpretations of Christ’s teachings, outside the demands of the State, and far more interested in spiritual growth than Empire. Those conditions existed for centuries before the Council of Nicea in the 4th century, chaired by Constantine. Constantine and his successors never did succeed in getting all those cats herded into the same pen to purr for their Empire alone, even though their executioners killed more Christian “heretics” than the pagan Emperors ever did.

    In Islam, by contrast, the Caliphs were the ones who organized the collection of suras for the Q’uran, from the Companions of the Prophet, the Sunna, who were very often themselves engaged in portions of the conquest. Thus, people building the new Empire were the people involved in the selection of what got put in the Q’uran, and what did not. Thus, far more than Christianity, Islam and its scripture became a religion in service to Empire, specifically to the Arabized copy of the Roman Empire of Constantinople the Caliphs built.

    To emphasize translations of prominent phrases within Islam as being significant compared to its foundational history is at best obscurantist. At worst, it distracts people from the key point that what industrial society is fighting in World War 4 is old-style agrarian culture bloody-fanged imperialism. Imperial political hierarchies are antithetical to the freedoms of action needed for building and maintaining the worldwide networks of industrial society, on all their levels of action.

    The current progressive movement in industrial society, currently regnant in Wa. D.C., cannot admit this, because they are still steeped in the idea that imperialism is a result of capitalism, ignoring imperialisms’ millenia long history before capitalism. To get people to fight against any revived Caliphate, whether Salafist or Khomeinist, we will have to reacquaint them with the true history of imperialism, which means getting them to reject “the socialist camp”‘s version of imperialism.

  • Localfluff

    I just wouldn’t call the arabs “agrarian”. Nomads without a written language (in the 6th century) are rather stone age. Like the Mongols. The problem with islam is that it remains in the stone age and refuses to tolerate any kind of development in society.

  • Tom Billings: My post was merely to provide just one more factoid to underline what anyone who has an open mind and has been paying the slightest attention these past two decades should know.

    Unfortunately, there are too many people who do not have an open mind, or have not been paying attention. It is therefore important to shove these plain facts in their faces repeatedly so that eventually it will sink in.

  • PeterF

    Praise the lord and pass the ammunition…

  • Laurie

    Mr Billings hits upon an argument that I have been trying to make plain to those within my circle – that, speaking of Christianity, there is a fundamental difference between Christianity and Christendom. One great tragedy of misunderstanding – and one which is happily advocated by state controlled education – is the assertion that the Church was a key agent of war, oppression, and tyranny in the formation of western civilization. Quite the opposite: the state ’employed’ the extant corruption within Church leadership in order to manipulate and control the people – to give war credibility, to ensure the disparity of corrupt power structures … to legitimize the crown.

    The church has, and has ever had, but one commission: to spread the good news, a pledge of life more abundant and yes, the liberty of genuine peace. Even (and perhaps most acutely) today the state wishes to dictate our morals, to replace doctrine with dogma … because love thy neighbour just won’t do when ‘we’ need soldiers.

    During his 2008 campaign for the nomination, Obama spoke at length to a congregation; of substance relevant here, much of his talk centered upon the impracticality of building a politic upon the teachings of the bible. At one point, he stated something to the effect, “or shall we consider the sermon on the mount: a teaching so radical in its implications that it is doubtful the American military could survive its implementation.” Well, he was correct; problem is the sermon on the mount wasn’t directed at nation states, but rather individuals.

    The church and state cannot, and must not mix.

  • pzatchok

    The origin of the name Allah.

    If Allah is the name of God why is it NOT mentioned in the old or new testaments?
    Christianity accepts the name of God from the Hebrew, why doesn’t Islam also accept those same names?

    No Mohamed wanted a monotheistic religion to unit the tribes of the peninsula but the Tribes would not accept an direct alteration of Judaism or Christianity because those religions rules went against the social structure and customs of the people he wanted to control. So he accepted the name of the pagan moon god that was popular in the area and known by everyone and altered it to Allah.
    He then altered a few of the stories and rules of the Judaeo/Christian religion to fit the society of the Arabs and in the end we have Islam.

    One alteration is the Jesus birth.
    Mary gave birth to him not in a stable but in a desert oasis eating dates under a palm tree.

    There is some evidence that teachings of Islam were known before Mohamed came about.

  • Orion314


  • Tom Billings

    Local Fluff said:

    “I just wouldn’t call the arabs “agrarian”. ”

    I wouldn’t call the Bedouin, with whom Mohammed made his first alliance, agrarian. However, the vast majority of Arabs were agrarian farmers right up into the 20th Century. The Arabs encompass the Bedouin. The Bedouin do not encompass the Arabs, even though both have tribal societies.

  • Jwing

    I have a retort: “Allah FUBAR”

  • Localfluff

    @Tom Billings
    My understanding is that it is the stone age bedouin lifestyle which defines islam. They then conquered agrarian cultures, and even the highest standing cultures of their day until the fall of the Byzantines. But the conquered cultures were never integrated, just reduced to their horrible state of today’s tyranny, wars, oppression and backwardness (even inbreeding is a serious problem).

    The islamic treatment of women is similar to their treatment of camels. Although one would’ve thought that they, being cattle nomads, knew better than encouraging inbreeding. But the word of the prophet is above everything else, even the reality and the survival of human kind. Islam hasn’t learned anything in 1400 years. Even some of what the pre-islamic arabs knew back then, has been denied and forgotten. They did learn how to navigate across the desert (navigating by the stars) to connect different cultures with trade. They had something good going before Mohamed. Their low valuation of human life back then can be understood in light of the hard lives they lived. The problem is that they haven’t evolved an inch since, despite tremendous oil riches.

    In Scandinavia 1,000 years ago, the law said that if you kill my brother, I have the right to take revenge on you by killing your brother! To make us even. People died for silly reasons anyway in that time in Scandinavia. Later learnings realized that this wasn’t very good for the brothers, and the law was successively changed. Mainly thanks to Christianity and Great Britain. Not so in the muslim world where learning and change are “haram”.

  • Localfluff

    The way to solve the muslim problem (the Middle East is the only region in the world haunted by wars, terror, tyranny, oppression today) is this:

    1) Create safe non-islamic zones where all people of the region can seek refuge (on the condition that they abandon islam).

    2) Create those safe zones on the oil & gas rich areas of the regions, and at important trade routes.

    3) Encourage post-muslim civilizations for the (converted) non-muslims taking refuge there. Use parts of the UAE model, and some of the indigenous pre-islamic traditions, as components of these new ideals, in order to bring out the best of them.

    4) Blockade the rest of the Middle East from all migration and trade to secure the rest of the world.

    5) Cleanse all of the non-blockaded world from all kinds of muslim presence and influence.

    6) Systematically bomb the muslim world’s threatening weapons systems and leaderships until subordination or extinction, as they choose.

  • Tom Billings

    Local Fluff said:

    “My understanding is that it is the stone age bedouin lifestyle which defines islam.”

    Well, … That is simply the portion of Arab culture least like other cultures. The Ma’arib Dam in southern Arabia in the year 500 AD held the largest capacity artificial reservoir in the world, allowing extensive irrigation. The Arabs contributed Emperors to the throne in Constantinople at times. The Ghassanid Christian Kingdom of Northern Arabia was a significant contributor to trade and defense for Rome in its battles with the Sassanid Persian Empire, and its client kingdom, the Arab Lakshmids. While the Arabs were peripheral to Rome, the economics of agriculture in Arabia guaranteed that the majority of people supporting themselves inside Arabia would be Arabs farming. The Asir region, with Mecca and Medina, extending South into Yemen, was a major trade route, and was always more fertile than the east. The Nejd region of the East with its deserts and the worst of those, the Rub’ Al Khali, was where the Bedouin pastoralists were based. Pastoralists do not exist without the presence of agrarian cultures nearby to trade with.

    Then came the Plague of Justinian, starting in 541 AD. It was the first appearance of “The Black Death” AKA Yrsina Pestis. It probably came up the Red Sea, from the Great Rift valley and the Mountains of the Moon, the Ruwenzori, because of the African Ivory Trade. It moved through Egypt to Constantinople, and eventually killed 40% of the people of Europe, but it did not bypass Arabia. As in Europe, it was the most densely settled areas with their stores of grain that attracted rats, and thus the fleas that fed on the rats, and thus Yrsina Pestis. Since the settled areas lost population, the pastorlists of the Arab periphery, the Bedouins,who were insulated because they could move into the deserts away from the rats, gained more ground, after the people and the rats both had died, between 540 AD and 600 AD than they had ever had in the previous 2500 years. By 620 AD, they thus had more people, and more fighters, than in all that time.

    These were the Bedouin that Mohammed made his most important early alliances with. They were still mostly outcasts from the agrarian Arabs of richer cultures, whose oligarchies were also rejecting Mohammed at the time. The pastorlists of the Bedouin tribes gave Mohammed his first levers to force the oligarchs of the rest of Arabia to allow his missionaries access. They provided his first Generals. Like the Mongols you mentioned, some of those turned out to be battlefield geniuses at the style of warfare cavalry armies backed made possible.

    That did *not* mean that they were the totality of Arab culture. Far from it! They were a peripheral Arab minority that was temporarily larger than it had been in 2500 years.

  • Localfluff

    Tom Billings
    You commit the very grave mistake of assigning the civilizations of the VICTIMS to the stone age bedouines of Muhammed. That dam you mention was build more than a thousand years before islam. Look where the former high culture of Yemen is today! Look where Byzantium (Turkey) is today! Everywhere the terror of islam has arrived, the human cattle “culture” of the stone age desert nomads has totally destroyed society with its blind violence, intolerance and hate of knowledge and change.

    It is true that the arabs traded and that their existence always has been dependent on productive foreign cultures. It is apparent in Europe today with the many thousands of small filthy arab shops with odd unmarked cans of Turkish vegetables, breaking all kinds of consumer, health, tax and employer laws, having their staff of unprofessional family members fully salaried by tax monies, that they have not evolved their trading style at all over the last 1400 years, but degenerated it.

    What is your explanation to why arab “culture” has totally destroyed all societies it has taken over by forced child marriages and massive inbreeding under its intolerant closed clan rule?

  • Tom Billings

    “What is your explanation to why arab “culture” has totally destroyed all societies it has taken over by forced child marriages and massive inbreeding under its intolerant closed clan rule?”

    It is a mistake to describe what did the damage as being Arab culture. Child marriages were standard in many agrarian cultures. Inbreeding keeps wealth in the family, and is only as destructive as a lack of culling through combat allows it to be. The damage came from elsewhere.

    What did the damage, and continues to do damage, is imperialism. Not the wishy-washy definitions of imperialism by socialist camp reactionaries, but the real hardcore bloody-fanged imposition of a centralized State sucking wealth into a central capitol that was exemplified in the 6th century in Western Eurasia by Rome and Persia. People forget just how bad it was, both under them and under the Islamic Empire, the Caliphate. The reason we forget how bad it could get was that Western Europe, from whom we get most of our historical knowledge, was outside those Empires after the 6th century. We suffered through the Dark Ages, and dreamed that the Imperium had been better. It was not! The Caliphate lasted into the 20th Century, and was as bad as the worst Rome had been!

    Indeed, the worst slaughters in the history of Western Europe since the 6th century, …the 30 years War, the Napoleonic Wars, and WW2 were all attempts to reimpose the same sort of universal imperial hierarchy that had once been Rome. We escaped the re-imposition of that Empire!

    Islam did not yet escape their copy of it!

    The Arabized copy of the Roman Empire of Constantinople that was the Caliphate built and reinforced the hierarchies that ground people’s freedoms of action down, and did it right into the 20th Century. It abused religious impulses to do that as continuously as they had seen the Romans of Constantinople doing so in the years before Mohammed died. Look at the history of Rome’s final war with Sassanid Persia in the 26 years between 602 AD and 628 AD. Rome won that war, but at the cost of turning it into the first true “Holy War”.

    12 years before 602 AD Khosrau II had been re-established on his throne after a coup by the Persian Great Houses, by the Roman Emperor Maurice, with lasting gratitude and a peace established thereby. In 602, however, Maurice was murdered by a Roman Army he pushed too far, and the man who led them in revolt, Photus, was made Emperor. Rome now found that the gratitude of Khosrau II was purely personal, towards Maurice. Khosrau II declared war on Rome. Photus, while a good regimental commander, turned out to be a lousy strategist, a worse administrator, and an absolutely paranoid Emperor, who had his best Generals killed rather than give them what they needed for victory.

    By 608 AD Rome was desperate, and turned to Heraclius from the province of Africa (now called Tunisia). Heraclius strove for years, but by 626 AD he was watching the campfires of the Persian Army on the south banks of the Bosporus. He was about to lose. So, he found a way to rally the people and the Church, by proclaiming a “Holy War”. The Church’s Gold plate was melted down in every city and town, and a final Army was raised by priests from their pulpits. The price the Emperor paid was that every bit of intolerance the worst fanatic in the Church had ever desired became law. By the next summer a New Army was ready, new allies had been bought, and Heraclius led them to victory.

    Persia was broken. Khosrau II went mad, was killed by the Persians, and replaced with someone who would sign a treaty giving back everything the Persians had won in a quarter century of fighting. All through this, Mohammed was watching. This was where the idea of Jihad, of “Holy War”, was born. Both Rome and Persia were deeply hurt. If Persia’s government could command only 10% of the strength they had before the Plague of Justinian, Rome’s had won, and could only command 15% of what it had in 540 AD. But Rome’s Holy War had won. Mohammed saw it as the model for the future.

    Mohammed copied the idea of “Holy War” from Heraclius, and his successors built a copy of the Roman Empire around that idea. Their machinations to build and reinforce that Empire were what did the damage, and it has not been healed within Islam in the 82 years since the Caliphate was given its quietus by Kamal Attaturk.

    The damage was done by the Imperial State, warping religion to its needs for war, starting from the day the first Caliph commissioned the Q’uran, and running through such horrors as the Armenian Massacre of WW 1. A true imperial State cannot allow the freedoms of action needed to build the highly productive networks of industrial society around the world, any more than “the socialist camp” could do so. The problem is not *Arab* culture, but agrarian culture, in its most violent form, Empire, that does the damage.

    It is the re-imposition of this Empire that poses the great danger to industrial society in an age of nuclear weapons. Allow either the Salafists, such as ISIS, or the Shiite Khomeinists in Tehran, to guard their Caliphate with nuclear weapons, and Phase 2 of what was predicted as early as 1996 will begin. The Caliphate will threaten with nukes, while encouraging “Ghazis”, …”Holy Warriors”, …to strike out in defense of “the right” of Muslims anywhere in the world to live under Sharia Law. You remember, the Sharia Law crafted under the successors to the Prophet, to impose their rule.

    Arabs lived too long under imperial rule, and have not healed in the few short decades since then. If you don’t believe that, then contemplate the attempts of Western Europe to rebuild Rome, and the horrors that came from those attempts. The only thing that would have been worse for us was imperial success! That success is what Islam, and the Arabs, endured for 14 centuries!

  • Localfluff

    The problem with islam is that is STILL lives in the stone age!
    Back then, child marriages and brutality were kind of justified because almost everyone died young anyway. But the arabs remain in their stone age. They haven’t evolved a bit. Islamic terrorism isn’t “imperial”, it’s a people’s grass root movement. 1,000 rebel groups are active in Syria, it is said. Every clan is a rebel group, firing Kalashnikovs above their heads like apes. Terrorism, tyranny, backwardness IS the arab culture. Long time victims of the arabs, like in Syria and Iran, have become like them. This is the zombie threat for real!

    The Middle East has no leader any more, and can never get one. The last Sultan lost his gamble to enter WWI. The best time the Middle East ever had, in terms of freedom and economic development, was when the victorious Entente occupied it. When after WWII occupation transitioned to dictators, things were still under control for a while. There existed governments to take over. No new government can emerge there, there’s nothing to unite the many many conflicting clans, other than mad chanting. Now that the arab peoples themselves have seized power in much of the Middle East, the horrors of their stone age return with full force. As they do in the many Western European cities they have taken over by numbers and ruthless brutality. Women are cattle. Children are to be married and raped. All LGBTQ are be murdered. Knowledge and change are forbidden. Those are the timeless characteristics of the failed arab “culture”. They have no philosophy of law, or of nature. Actually the arabs are the ONLY failed major “culture” in the world, today at the best of times ever for everyone else!

    It has nothing to do with any empire. It is the popular arab “culture” itself which totally destroys society. Massive inbreeding has multiplied the analphabets on the countryside enough for them to win any election or civil war, without any leadership. There exists no one with whom to negotiate a peace, so there can never be a peace. Either all of them die, or all of human kind dies (ultimately of genetic damages from inbreeding if they win globally and abolish all industry and science, because even nature is rational enough to be anti-islamic).

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