This past week, Bill Maher got into a spited discussion on Real Time with Sam Harris and actor Ben Affleck on the topic of Islam.
I should state at the outset that I am no fan of Maher.
I think he is an arrogant jerk, but when it comes to Islam, it must be conceded that it takes guts for him to speak out with his criticisms because it puts him at physical risk. Of course, he can impugn other faiths with utter impunity, but that’s a topic for a different discussion. Harris, unlike Affleck, knows a thing or two about Islam.
On this occasion, Affleck took exception to the critical (but true) statements that Maher and Harris made about Islam calling it racist.
Yet, it is indisputable that hundreds of people are dying every day in the name of Islam.
It is also beyond dispute that apostasy, as pointed out by Maher and Harris, are punishable by death under Sharia law.
In fact, there is a section of Sharia called “Hudud Sharia”, which covers so-called “crimes against God”. This includes, not only apostasy, but blasphemy, homosexual acts, and adultery.
The penalty for all of them is death.
These punishments are affirmed by virtually every leading school of Islamic thought around the globe. Of course, ask an imam in America about all this, and you will get a lot of double talk and references to “disagreement” among the scholars, but the truth is that these punishments exist, not just in some moldy old scripture hundreds of years old, but in practice today.
Anyone willing to take the time to read the Koran can see for himself. And those contradictory verses about peace and forgiveness? Well, there is an explanation for that too according to Islamic scholars.
The Koran was not recorded chronologically. It is written in order of the longest suras (chapers) to the shortest. Where there are contradictory verses, scholars have devised the principle of abrogation meaning that the latter verse abrogates the earlier verse. That makes perfect sense because in the earliest days of Mohammad’s prophecy in Mecca, he was spreading his word peacefully. After the powers that were drove him from Mecca to Medina, he turned to war to spread the faith. Accordingly, the verses became more warlike and intolerant. Sura 9 was the last sura recorded before Mohammad’s death. It is also the most violent.
Not only are Sunnis and Shia at each other’s throats (literally), but hate toward Christians and Jews are art and parcel of the Koran and the hadith (the words and traditions of Mohammad). Want an example of a hadith?
Try this: “On the Day of Atonement, the last Jew will hide behind the rock and the tree and the tree will cry out to the Muslim, ‘O Muslim. There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him.'” That hadith is quoted in the charter of Hamas by the way. Today in Europe, Jews dare not walk the streets in Jewish garb lest they be set upon not by Europeans so much as by Muslim immigrants. As a result, Jews are leaving Europe by the thousands. Not a word from Ben Affleck on this. In Egypt, Coptic Christians see their churches burned down, their children kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. Not a peep from Mr Affleck. In Syria and Iraq, Christians are fleeing for their lives lest they be beheaded. Affleck says nothing. In Pakistan, Christians are accused of blasphemy and arrested to be put on trial for their lives or lynched by mobs. In Iran, gays are hanged-not by mobs- but by the government. Affleck has nothing to say about this.
Before Ben Affleck accuses others of bigotry, he should educate himself as to the real intolerance going on in the world today.