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It might be comforting to assume that intolerance is an aberration within Islam but discrimination against Christians or any other non-Muslim is in fact integral to orthodox Muslim teaching, and the more profound issue to the serious-minded is not the existence of sectarianism but its extent.
... I have always endeavoured, as my double duty of believer and sovereign dictated, to follow the precepts of the sacred Book of Islam: precepts of balance, justice and moderation. Although my religious education was very literal, in that I learnt to understand the precepts of the Koran precisely according to the text, we have seen that on several occasions throughout my life, I have felt myself to be very particularly in the hands of the Almighty.
Paris was attacked not because of what the French do, as some Blame-The-West intellectuals claim, but because of what the French are: infidels who refuse to see the light of Islam. The hope is that just as the Prophet forced the Arab tribes to accept Islam in exchange for protection, the infidel nations will also decide that it is in their best interest to submit. Today, however, I see no sign the French tend toward submission. As always, the terrorists may end up like the man who, having won a great many tokens at the roulette table, is surprised when the casino tells him his winnings cannot be cashed.
It's now plain for the world to see how the supreme leader and his fellow power-hungry, mid-level clerics have been abusing the peoples' faith to maintain the big lie that they derive their legitimacy from Islam. Gone is the delusion that one man, Mr. Khamenei, can appropriate the powers of state in the name of God. So the supreme leader has lost his theocratic claim to legitimacy just as his favorite president has lost his claim to popular legitimacy. Because many in the armed forces and Revolutionary Guards are followers of religious leaders who question Mr. Khamenei, he cannot even count on presiding over a typical military dictatorship for long.
Your god isn't real. He's not moral. The Bible isn't moral. Islam isn't moral. None of these religious systems— anything that deteriorates the value of human beings, anything that hangs on to Bronze Age ideals about genocide and slavery and murder and deference to higher powers. None of those things are moral. We've graduated beyond that, and I'm sorry that we've had to drag religions kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but some of you gotta let this stuff go. You're not gonna get anywhere until you realize that it's OK not to be afraid. It's OK to say, "you know, I think slavery is wrong. I think slavery was probably always wrong. I think that you're a good person, and yeah it does sound like a crappy system."
Where are those proud people who will not allow the tomb of Ali to be a target for the bullets of this armed infidel called America? Where are the guardians of (Imam) Hosein's honor, who will prevent the Najaf Seminary and the Iraqi Shiites from becoming targets for the horrible attacks of the infidel bullets? Now the infidels are attacking the most holy cities and countries of Islam.
It (Islam) was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for, in the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and king kneel side by side and proclaim: 'God Alone is Great'… I have been struck over and over again by this indivisible unity of Islam that makes man instinctively a brother.
The champions of militant Islam are, of course, misogynists, woman-haters; they are also misologists — haters of reason. Their armed doctrine is little more than a chaotic penal code underscored by impotent dreams of genocide. And, like all religions, it is a massive agglutination of stock response, of cliches, of inherited and unexamined formulations.
Some Shi'ites are asking that Islam be the only source of laws, which means turning Iraq into an Islamic regime, and that is unacceptable. We accept that the religion of Iraq is Islam, and we must respect Islam and the Islamic identity of Iraqi people. But we think Islam should only be one source of the Iraqi laws.
I have long contended that Islam is unique among the major world religions in having a developed doctrine, theology, and legal system mandating warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers. There is no orthodox sect or school of Islam that teaches that Muslims must coexist peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis. I use the term radical Islam merely to distinguish those Muslims who are actively working to advance this subjugation from the many millions who are not, as well as to emphasize that the stealth jihad program is truly radical: it aims at nothing less than the transformation of American society and the imposition of Islamic law here, subjugating women and non-Muslims to the status of legal inferiors.
The Islamic world from the eighth to the twelfth centuries, and Byzantium from the eighth to the eleventh centuries far surpassed Europe in wealth, territory, military power, and artistic, literary and scientific achievements. Between the eleventh and thirteen centuries, European culture began to develop, facilitated by the "eager and systematic appropriation of suitable elements from the higher civilization of Islam and Bizantium, together with adaptation of this inheritance to the special conditions and interests of the West".
A century after the death of Patrick... there were few Romans left in western Europe. [By the mid sixth century] the whole subtle substructure of Roman political organization and Roman communication has vanished. In its place have grown the sturdy little principalities of the Middle Ages, Gothic illiterates ruling over Gothic illiterates, pagan or occasionally Arian—that is, following a debased, simpleminded form of Christianity in which Jesus was given a status similar to that of Mohammed in Islam.
It's always a tendency to compare our country in my time to the most perfect democracies of the world. I don't mind that. But now, what we hear is "oh let's try to understand these people. After all, Islam is something special," when what they are doing is absolutely contrary to Islam. Now, everybody is trying to say "well, let's try to understand these people", these people who are killing, massacring others, the people they don't like just like flies. But in my case, it is to compare it to the most perfect government of the world.
I define Islam for you in a way that nobody dared do it before me. Islam means obedience to Allah, obedience to Allah means having sincere faith in Him, such a faith means to believe in His Power, belief in His Power means recognizing and accepting His Majesty, acceptance of His Majesty means fulfilling the obligations laid down by Him and fulfillment of obligations means actions (Therefore, Islam does not mean mere faith, but faith plus deeds).
But what do you think would happen if we had burned a copy of the Koran on tonight's show? There would be riots in scores of countries. Embassies would fall. In response to our mistreating a book, millions of Muslims would take to the streets, and we would spend the rest of our lives fending off credible threats of murder. But when ISIS crucifies people, buries children alive, and rapes and tortures women by the thousands—all in the name of Islam—the response is a few small demonstrations in Europe and a hashtag.
Conflict situations are driven by concepts of victory, power, and elimination of inherited culture, and not by the underlying values of civilization. There are many interpretations of Islam within the wider Islamic community, but generally we are instructed to leave the world a better place than it was when we came into it. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture seeks to make a better place in physical terms. This means trying to bring values into environments, buildings, and contexts that improve the quality of life for future generations.
I wish to express my heartfelt horror at the indiscriminate terrorist attacks committed against innocent people of the United States yesterday. While it is still not clear who carried out the attacks, it must be stated that no right thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action: the Qur'an equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity. We pray for the families of all those who lost their lives in this unthinkable act of violence as well as all those injured; I hope to reflect the feelings of all Muslims and people around the world whose sympathies go out to the victims at this sorrowful moment.
Maybe at the very bottom of it... I really don't like God. You know, it's silly to say I don't like God because I don't believe in God, but in the same sense that I don't like Iago, or the Reverend Slope or any of the other villains of literature, the god of traditional Judaism and Christianity and Islam seems to me a terrible character. He's a god who will... who obsessed the degree to which people worship him and anxious to punish with the most awful torments those who don't worship him in the right way. Now I realise that many people don't believe in that any more who call themselves Muslims or Jews or Christians, but that is the traditional God and he's a terrible character. I don't like him.
Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.