The Qur'an flushing stress test

Exercise testing, or 'stress testing' has been employed routinely since the mid—1960s for both the diagnosis and prognosis of coronary artery disease, or 'hardening of the arteries'. For two decades, as both an allied health professional, and a physician, I performed this useful testing modality, which frequently unmasked serious underlying pathology. Inadvertently, Michael Isikoff, a veteran Newsweek journalist, has just performed an important civilizational stress test—simply by reporting an alleged act of 'Qur'an desecration' at the Guantanamo detention center.

The now disproven  Guantanamo Qur'an flushing incident has been a distressingly stupid spectacle, accompanied by, but not responsible for, a tragic outcome—the loss of human life. When Paul Marshall, writing in National Review Online states,

'The spark was lit not by Imram Khan [a Pakistani politician who read sections of the 'offending' article at a press conference], but by Newsweek itself on May 9 when apparently none of its reporters or editors was aware of the effect such a story would have...',

he is in error. The 'spark' Marshall refers to is but a flicker of the undying inferno of deeply ingrained infidel—hatred that pervades the contemporary Muslim world, capable of erupting into a full conflagration of violence, death, and general mayhem at the slightest provocation, in this instance a factitious Qur'an flushing stress test. This is hardly Newsweek's fault, as Paul Marshall contends, nor is it the fault of  'US policies' (which Newsweek and its apologists maintain)—it is a direct result of the Medieval ethos that continues to dominate the early 21st century Muslim world.

Teaching Muslim school children anti—infidel jihad hatred is a lengthy, continuous, and ignoble tradition even within the modern era. As the great linguist and scholar E. W. Lane reported after several years of residence in both Cairo and Luxor (initially in 1825—1828, then in 1833—1835), [1]

I am credibly informed that children in Egypt are often taught at school, a regular set of curses to denounce upon the persons and property of Christians, Jews, and all other unbelievers in the religion of Mohammad.

Lane's nephew subsequently discovered and translated the prayer below from a contemporary 19th century Arabic text, containing a typical curse on non—Muslims, which was recited daily by Muslim schoolchildren in Egypt: [2]
 
O Lord of the beings of the whole world. O God, destroy the infidels and polytheists, thine enemies, the enemies of the religion. O God, make their children orphans, and defile their abodes, and cause their feet to slip, and give them and their families, and their households and their women and their children and their relations by marriage and their brothers and their friends and their possessions and their race and their wealth and their lands as booty to the Muslims: O Lord of the beings of the whole world.

S.D. Goitein, the seminal modern scholar of Islamic civilization, warned a century later, in 1949, speaking of the Arab Muslim world, in particular: [3]
 
Islamic fanaticism...is now openly encouraged...writers whose altogether Western style (was mentioned earlier) have been vying with each other for some time in compiling books on the heroes and virtues of Islam...What has now become possible in educated circles may be gathered from the following quotation from an issue of the New East, an Arab monthly periodical describing itself as the "organ of the academic youth of the East"—
 
"Let us fight fanatically for our religion; let us love a man—because he is a Moslem; let us honor a man— because he is a Moslem; let us prefer him to anyone else—because he is a Moslem; and never let us make friends with unbelievers, because they have nothing but evil for us."

And in 1958, Lebanese Law Professor Antoine Fattal, arguably the greatest scholar of the legal condition of non—Muslims living under the Shari'a, lamented, [4]
 
No social relationship, no fellowship is possible between Muslims and dhimmis...Even today, the study of the jihad is part of the curriculum of all the Islamic institutes. In the universities of Al—Azhar, Nagaf, and Zaitoune, students are still taught that the holy war is a binding prescriptive decree, pronounced against the Infidels, which will only be revoked with the end of the world...

Nearly fifty years after Fattal made his disturbing observations, the sacralized hatred of jihad is still being inculcated as part of the formal education of Muslim youth in Egypt, the most populous Arab country (see this detailed study of Egyptian children's textbooks), and throughout the Arab Muslim, and larger non—Arab Muslim world. Two days ago, May 16, 2005, a report was released which documents the continuous use of Islamic motifs to incite hatred of Jews and Christians by Ibrahim Mudayris, an official Muslim cleric of the Palestinian Authority—whose Gaza dominion was the scene of rioting in the wake of the Newsweek Qur'an flushing allegation. The hideous title of Mudayris' so—called 'sermon' speaks for itself:

Extermination of Jews and Subjugation of Christians— Inevitable Goal of History.

Why can't such unacceptable societal mentalities be identified, and condemned for the murderous actions they engender? What sort of reform of Muslim societies will there be if we in the West act as dhimmis afraid to enunciate the plain truths about such inculcated beliefs and resultant behaviors? Will our discussions remain within the closed circle of pointless arguments about Newsweek's sloppy or 'incendiary' reporting, vs. 'Bush administration policy mistakes', when Medieval—minded fanatics kill and destroy simply because they are told non—Muslim infidels 'desecrated' a paper facsimile (produced by the hundreds of millions in Saudi Arabia) of their 'Holy Book'—facsimiles to which they apparently attach greater importance than truly sacred human lives?

W.H. T. Gairdner in 1909, described the same predicaments which, sadly, still confront the Muslim world today, almost a century later. Gairdner expressed himself eloquently, without a trace of political correctness,

It remains to be seen how soon the reformers will realize the account that must sooner or later be settled between real civil and religious liberty and Mohammedan sacred law or 'Shariat' (including the Koran, and the Traditions)...It remains to be seen... whether the zimmi [dhimmi], (Christian or Jewish subjects) can ever really be accorded equal rights with the Moslem in Moslem states; whether the habit of freedom can be taught; and whether the root of the whole social evil, the position of women, can be touched, while a belief in the Koran remains...But apart from the problematic future, we have the historical past:— by the confession of the entire Moslem world itself, nothing could have been more deplorable from every point of view, moral, social, intellectual, political, and even religious, than the state of all Moslem lands before the reform movement from the West agitated them. This was freely admitted at a Moslem Conference held lately at Mecca...Is this confessed failure, then, due to Islam, or is it not? All that can be said is that Islam had practically had an absolute monopoly of influence where the state of things had been brought about; and that the impulse towards change in no case sprang—apparently could not have sprung—from any purely Islamic source. These are, at least, two solid facts. The 'movements' that spring from purely Islamic sources are typified by names like Abd ul Wahhab, the Mahdi, El—Senussi: And these movements are movements—backwards.

Unfortunately, our present policy—making elites are devoid of Gairdner's insight and willingness to speak publicly with the requisite moral clarity. Let us hope individuals with Gairdner's attributes emerge soon. Their success, or lack thereof may be gleaned some day when a similar (real or imagined) 'blasphemous act' stress test elicits indifference from the Muslim masses, who are no longer incited to xenophobic violence by their own clerical and governmental elites.

*Dr. Bostom is an Associate Professor of Medicine, and the author of the forthcoming The Legacy of Jihad, on Prometheus Books (2005).

Notes
[1] E.W. Lane. An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, New York, 1973, p. 276.
[2] Lane, Modern Egyptians, p. 575.
[3] S.D. Goitein. Commentary, January 1949, 'Cross—Currents in Arab National Feeling', p. 161.
[4] Antoine Fattal. Le Statut Legal de Musulmans en Pays' d'Islam, Beirut, 1958; pp. 369, 372.
[5] W.H.T Gairdner. The Reproach of Islam, London, 1909, pp. 184—186

Exercise testing, or 'stress testing' has been employed routinely since the mid—1960s for both the diagnosis and prognosis of coronary artery disease, or 'hardening of the arteries'. For two decades, as both an allied health professional, and a physician, I performed this useful testing modality, which frequently unmasked serious underlying pathology. Inadvertently, Michael Isikoff, a veteran Newsweek journalist, has just performed an important civilizational stress test—simply by reporting an alleged act of 'Qur'an desecration' at the Guantanamo detention center.

The now disproven  Guantanamo Qur'an flushing incident has been a distressingly stupid spectacle, accompanied by, but not responsible for, a tragic outcome—the loss of human life. When Paul Marshall, writing in National Review Online states,

'The spark was lit not by Imram Khan [a Pakistani politician who read sections of the 'offending' article at a press conference], but by Newsweek itself on May 9 when apparently none of its reporters or editors was aware of the effect such a story would have...',

he is in error. The 'spark' Marshall refers to is but a flicker of the undying inferno of deeply ingrained infidel—hatred that pervades the contemporary Muslim world, capable of erupting into a full conflagration of violence, death, and general mayhem at the slightest provocation, in this instance a factitious Qur'an flushing stress test. This is hardly Newsweek's fault, as Paul Marshall contends, nor is it the fault of  'US policies' (which Newsweek and its apologists maintain)—it is a direct result of the Medieval ethos that continues to dominate the early 21st century Muslim world.

Teaching Muslim school children anti—infidel jihad hatred is a lengthy, continuous, and ignoble tradition even within the modern era. As the great linguist and scholar E. W. Lane reported after several years of residence in both Cairo and Luxor (initially in 1825—1828, then in 1833—1835), [1]

I am credibly informed that children in Egypt are often taught at school, a regular set of curses to denounce upon the persons and property of Christians, Jews, and all other unbelievers in the religion of Mohammad.

Lane's nephew subsequently discovered and translated the prayer below from a contemporary 19th century Arabic text, containing a typical curse on non—Muslims, which was recited daily by Muslim schoolchildren in Egypt: [2]
 
O Lord of the beings of the whole world. O God, destroy the infidels and polytheists, thine enemies, the enemies of the religion. O God, make their children orphans, and defile their abodes, and cause their feet to slip, and give them and their families, and their households and their women and their children and their relations by marriage and their brothers and their friends and their possessions and their race and their wealth and their lands as booty to the Muslims: O Lord of the beings of the whole world.

S.D. Goitein, the seminal modern scholar of Islamic civilization, warned a century later, in 1949, speaking of the Arab Muslim world, in particular: [3]
 
Islamic fanaticism...is now openly encouraged...writers whose altogether Western style (was mentioned earlier) have been vying with each other for some time in compiling books on the heroes and virtues of Islam...What has now become possible in educated circles may be gathered from the following quotation from an issue of the New East, an Arab monthly periodical describing itself as the "organ of the academic youth of the East"—
 
"Let us fight fanatically for our religion; let us love a man—because he is a Moslem; let us honor a man— because he is a Moslem; let us prefer him to anyone else—because he is a Moslem; and never let us make friends with unbelievers, because they have nothing but evil for us."

And in 1958, Lebanese Law Professor Antoine Fattal, arguably the greatest scholar of the legal condition of non—Muslims living under the Shari'a, lamented, [4]
 
No social relationship, no fellowship is possible between Muslims and dhimmis...Even today, the study of the jihad is part of the curriculum of all the Islamic institutes. In the universities of Al—Azhar, Nagaf, and Zaitoune, students are still taught that the holy war is a binding prescriptive decree, pronounced against the Infidels, which will only be revoked with the end of the world...

Nearly fifty years after Fattal made his disturbing observations, the sacralized hatred of jihad is still being inculcated as part of the formal education of Muslim youth in Egypt, the most populous Arab country (see this detailed study of Egyptian children's textbooks), and throughout the Arab Muslim, and larger non—Arab Muslim world. Two days ago, May 16, 2005, a report was released which documents the continuous use of Islamic motifs to incite hatred of Jews and Christians by Ibrahim Mudayris, an official Muslim cleric of the Palestinian Authority—whose Gaza dominion was the scene of rioting in the wake of the Newsweek Qur'an flushing allegation. The hideous title of Mudayris' so—called 'sermon' speaks for itself:

Extermination of Jews and Subjugation of Christians— Inevitable Goal of History.

Why can't such unacceptable societal mentalities be identified, and condemned for the murderous actions they engender? What sort of reform of Muslim societies will there be if we in the West act as dhimmis afraid to enunciate the plain truths about such inculcated beliefs and resultant behaviors? Will our discussions remain within the closed circle of pointless arguments about Newsweek's sloppy or 'incendiary' reporting, vs. 'Bush administration policy mistakes', when Medieval—minded fanatics kill and destroy simply because they are told non—Muslim infidels 'desecrated' a paper facsimile (produced by the hundreds of millions in Saudi Arabia) of their 'Holy Book'—facsimiles to which they apparently attach greater importance than truly sacred human lives?

W.H. T. Gairdner in 1909, described the same predicaments which, sadly, still confront the Muslim world today, almost a century later. Gairdner expressed himself eloquently, without a trace of political correctness,

It remains to be seen how soon the reformers will realize the account that must sooner or later be settled between real civil and religious liberty and Mohammedan sacred law or 'Shariat' (including the Koran, and the Traditions)...It remains to be seen... whether the zimmi [dhimmi], (Christian or Jewish subjects) can ever really be accorded equal rights with the Moslem in Moslem states; whether the habit of freedom can be taught; and whether the root of the whole social evil, the position of women, can be touched, while a belief in the Koran remains...But apart from the problematic future, we have the historical past:— by the confession of the entire Moslem world itself, nothing could have been more deplorable from every point of view, moral, social, intellectual, political, and even religious, than the state of all Moslem lands before the reform movement from the West agitated them. This was freely admitted at a Moslem Conference held lately at Mecca...Is this confessed failure, then, due to Islam, or is it not? All that can be said is that Islam had practically had an absolute monopoly of influence where the state of things had been brought about; and that the impulse towards change in no case sprang—apparently could not have sprung—from any purely Islamic source. These are, at least, two solid facts. The 'movements' that spring from purely Islamic sources are typified by names like Abd ul Wahhab, the Mahdi, El—Senussi: And these movements are movements—backwards.

Unfortunately, our present policy—making elites are devoid of Gairdner's insight and willingness to speak publicly with the requisite moral clarity. Let us hope individuals with Gairdner's attributes emerge soon. Their success, or lack thereof may be gleaned some day when a similar (real or imagined) 'blasphemous act' stress test elicits indifference from the Muslim masses, who are no longer incited to xenophobic violence by their own clerical and governmental elites.

*Dr. Bostom is an Associate Professor of Medicine, and the author of the forthcoming The Legacy of Jihad, on Prometheus Books (2005).

Notes
[1] E.W. Lane. An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, New York, 1973, p. 276.
[2] Lane, Modern Egyptians, p. 575.
[3] S.D. Goitein. Commentary, January 1949, 'Cross—Currents in Arab National Feeling', p. 161.
[4] Antoine Fattal. Le Statut Legal de Musulmans en Pays' d'Islam, Beirut, 1958; pp. 369, 372.
[5] W.H.T Gairdner. The Reproach of Islam, London, 1909, pp. 184—186