In his website, Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician, posted an article – My message to Muslims, which deserve some response. Here below is my response to him.
In your message to Muslims you mentioned about your unpleasant experience visiting Egypt in 1982 as an 18-year old almost penniless student. Any wise person would have advised you not to undertake such a journey into a foreign land when you can’t speak the language of the people you visited and don’t have any local guide or acquaintance to help you, let alone being penniless. It was a stupid decision. And yet, as your first impression you were ‘overwhelmed by the kindness, friendliness and helpfulness of its people.’ Doesn’t it say a lot about the defining character of these warm-hearted people who in spite of their dire poverty and living under one of the worst despots of our time made you feel so welcome?
You were surprised to see how frightened people had felt when it was announced that the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was coming to visit Sharm el-Sheikh. Is it difficult to understand how this western puppet was perceived in his country? You wrote, “It was a weird experience; Mubarak is not considered the worst of the Islamic tyrants…” Mubarak was a tyrant who did not follow the dictates of the Qur’an. If he had, he should have known that tyranny is one of the worst sins in Islam. [See my books - Islamic Wisdom, and Wisdom of Mankind - for many citations on this subject.] And yet, like a brain-dead moron who has learning disabilities, you equated the attitude of the Egyptian people towards Mubarak with those of ”the 7th century Arabs … in the presence of Muhammad, who, as several verses describe, “cast terror into their hearts’ (suras 8:12, 8:60, 33:26, 59:12).” Bravo! What a discovery!
You may like to read my book – Muhammad: the Messenger of Allah – An Exposition of His Life for Curious Western Readers – (available in the Amazon.com) to judge how Muhammad’s (S) contemporary Arabs felt about him. The poem below from poet Hassan ibn Thabit (R), an erstwhile ardent enemy of Islam, is sufficient to belie your allegations.
By God, no woman has conceived and given birth
To one like the Apostle, the Prophet and guide of his people;
Nor has God created among his creatures
One more faithful to his sojourner or his promise
Than he who was the source of light,
Blessed in his deeds, just and upright. (Sirat Rasulallah by Muhammad Ibn Ishaq)
As a diehard friend of Israel, you should know that one of the great Rabbis once advised a charlatan: “Don’t get too excited about the Talmud unless you are a believing Jew who leads a kosher life.” Any student of the tafsir and tawil (interpretation) of the Qur’an would likewise tell you that the Qur’anic verses are not to be cherry picked to suit one’s whims. They have a Speaker, an audience, time, place and context.
The verse 8:12 was revealed in the context of the Battle of Badr when the pagan (Mushriq) Arabs from Makkah came to attack the nascent community of believers in the outskirts of Madinah. In the said verse, Allah inspires the Angels saying: “When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve.”
The verse 8:60, cited by you, likewise is all about making necessary preparations to defend against the attack of enemies. If it had not been for the defense of the faith put up by those early Muslims, there would not have been any Muslim today. The verse 33:26 and the preceding ones are about the Battle of Khunduq when a section of Jews living in Madinah violated their treaty of peaceful coexistence with Muslims and committed treason by aiding the Arab Mushriqs. It reads: “And those of the People of the Book who aided them - Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts.” They were punished for their treason.
Your reference to verse 59:12 again shows your dismal ignorance. It says, “If they are expelled, never will they go out with them; and if they are attacked (in fight), they will never help them; and if they do help them, they will turn their backs; so they will receive no help.” Here Allah is talking about the hypocrites amongst the Muslims who aligned themselves with the enemies of Islam. If a fight broke out, these hypocrites true to their innate nature would even abandon their clients.
So, I fail to see the connection of those verses in relation to how Egyptian Muslims felt about their tyrant ruler – Mubarak, who behaved like the Pharaoh. They were terrorized by Mubarak, much like how the German Jews must have felt about the visit of Hitler and his Nazi henchmen to their towns.
During your visit to Cairo, you found the city dirty and its inhabitants poor compared to Israel. Your instincts told you that ‘it had something to do with the different cultures of Israel and Egypt.’ Comparing any Israeli city with a mega city like Cairo that is inhabited by more than ten million people is silly and naive. In spite of all the wealth that America enjoys, a visit to any major city, including my own one in Philadelphia, would show gaping holes of poverty, crime and filth. There are places you won’t like to walk into and then there are places you would rather avoid driving through even during the daytime. There are many homeless people here in the USA that sleep on the footpaths and who eat out of trash cans near restaurants and grocery stores. Never mind the high unemployment situation these days, even in the early 1980s while living in California I noticed such sad incidents first hand. If these be the reality inside the most prosperous nation on earth, do these failings speak about American culture or some other more obvious indicators? I am sure Holland is not immune from such problems either.
If you are thinking about the economic aid that Egypt receives from the USA, you ought to know that the annual aid is equivalent to a per capita share of a meager $2.60 (2009) in a country with a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of $5,400 (in 2008). That is less than 0.05 percent. In contrast, the per capita share that Israel received from the USA – governmental and non-governmental - is more than a hundred times. While ordinary Egyptians remained jobless and hungry, the puppet regime of Mubarak was selling natural gas to Israel at less than a fair market price, let alone charging too little for use of the Suez Canal. It was simply too convenient to have this brutal and anti-people dictator stay in power, a process that was to continue for nearly three decades, thanks to the material support provided by Israel and other western governments. It does not take a genius to understand why ordinary Egyptians felt betrayed by the so-called bastions of democracy. Yes, there was that ‘conspiracy’ to keep Mubarak in power.
You mentioned that as a dirt poor traveler, you drank untreated water which caused diarrhea. You went to a hostel and rented a spot on the floor for two dollars a day. You complain about the miserable state of the hostel, but forget that at that paltry sum, you should have considered yourself lucky to have found a roof over your head. I doubt if you could rent any space in 1982 for that cheap price in Holland. You audaciously complain: “Once Egypt had been the most advanced civilization on earth. Why had it not progressed along with the rest of the world?”
One can only pity a foolish penniless traveler like you who goes to visit a foreign country and then complains about his miserable condition! Granted that Egypt has not ‘progressed’ much, but can you honestly say that under similar conditions a visitor to your native Holland would have received better service? Whom are you kidding?
Mr. Wilders, for Egypt’s lack of ‘progress’, whatever that means, you lashed out at Muslims by quoting Winston Churchill, a British soldier and war correspondent for the British Raj who later became Great Britain’s Prime Minister. You quote Churchill as saying, “Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities – but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it… No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.”
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in our planet, and this, in spite of her unmistakable Christian culture. Is Christianity to be blamed for her lack of progress? How about Ethiopia, Central African Republic, the Solomon Islands, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Congo – six of the ten poorest countries in the world - all with Christian majority population?
Well, such bigotry ridden words from the mouth of the foremost colonist of his time should not surprise anyone. Lest we forget, it was Churchill who as the Prime Minister starved millions of Indians to death in the Bengal famine of 1943. He brought this holocaust – arguably the first and the worst of the 20th century - upon these people and yet had a selective amnesia not to mention anything about this monumental crime in his self-serving six-volume memoir ”The Second World War” for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. (According to Dr. Gideon Polya some 6 to 7 million people died in the province of Bengal and her contiguous provinces as a result of the famine that lasted from 1942 to 1945.)
The ‘man-made’ famine has long been one of the darkest chapters of the British Raj. In her book “Churchill’s Secret War”, Madhusree Mukerjee, like a good problem-solving engineer, uncovered evidence that Churchill was directly responsible for the appalling suffering. Analysis of World War II cabinet meetings, forgotten ministry records and personal archives show that some of India’s grain was also exported to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to meet needs there, even though the island wasn’t experiencing the same hardship; Australian wheat sailed past Indian cities (where the bodies of those who had died of starvation littered the streets) to depots in the Mediterranean and the Balkans; and offers of American and Canadian food aid were turned down. India was not permitted to use its own sterling reserves, or indeed its own ships, to import food. And because the British government paid inflated prices in the open market to ensure supplies, grain became unaffordable for ordinary Indians. Lord Wavell, appointed Viceroy of India that fateful year, considered the Churchill government’s attitude to India ‘negligent, hostile and contemptuous.’ “It wasn’t a question of Churchill being inept: sending relief to Bengal was raised repeatedly and he and his close associates thwarted every effort,” Mukerjee wrote. “The United States and Australia offered to send help but couldn’t because the war cabinet was not willing to release ships. And when the US offered to send grain on its own ships, that offer was not followed up by the British,” she added.
Churchill was a racist and a bigot. He derided Gandhi as a ‘half-naked holy man’ and once told the Secretary of State for India, Leopold Amery: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion (Hinduism).” The famine was their (Indians) own fault, he declared at a war-cabinet meeting, for ‘breeding like rabbits.’
In spite of his hostile remarks against Muslims, it is well known amongst researchers that Churchill favored Islam over Hinduism. “Winston’s racist hatred was due to his loving the empire in the way a jealous husband loves his trophy wife: he would rather destroy it than let it go,” wrote Mukerjee.
As I have stated elsewhere these European colonizers – Dutch, British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgians, Russians and Italians – were inherently racists and bigots, as are today’s Zionists in Israel. The life of colonized people did not matter to them. By the way, in India, that famine of 1943 was not the only one that was man-made to punish her people. Mention must also be made of the Bengal Famine of 1769-1779 in which 10 million people were starved to death in a very systematic way, which was nothing short of genocide, by the English colonial administration. That was 1 in 3 amongst the population of 30 million dead – planned and executed with the intent of containing any future rebellion from able-bodied Bengalis. As noted by Amaresh Misra in his book “War of Civilizations: India AD 1857” an estimated 10 million people died in British reprisals for the 1857 Indian rebellion. Another 700,000 people of Orissa died in the famine of 1866.
So the hostile and unkind statement of a racist and bigot colonist against the colonized people should not be the litmus test by which the latter should be evaluated.
Mr. Wilders, you say that you do not hate Muslims, but feel saddened by ‘how Islam has robbed them of their dignity.’ What a ludicrous claim! What was the status of Arabs before Islam? Did Islam exalt them or rob them of their dignity when these Arabs became the torchbearers of knowledge, when your ancestors in Europe led a savage life?
To support your thesis, you mention the 2002 fire accident in Saudi Arabia where some 15 school children died. Obviously the action of the Saudi guard who refused to let these girls leave the school campus because they had not worn their headscarves is wrong and simply inexcusable. However, when you take this worst example to denigrate the faith of 1.6 billion human beings, it is not analysis, but shows paralysis of your intelligence.
You say that “girls are not valued highly in Islam; the Koran says that the birth of a daughter makes a father’s “face darken and he is filled with gloom” (sura 43:17).” There you go again! You cherry-pick a verse from the Qur’an to suit your evil thesis that ‘Islam is inhumane’. If you had studied the verse well, you would have known that this verse has everything to do with the Mushriqs of Arabia who not only didn’t like female children but would even bury them alive. In contrast, Muhammad (S), the father of 4 daughters himself, elevated the status of women giving them property rights, something that was unheard of in those days. There are numerous Prophetic Traditions on the treatment of women which you can read from my books. I shall quote below just three to prove you wrong.
Muhammad (S) said, “One who brings up two girls right from their childhood till their maturity will appear on the Day of Judgment attached to me like two fingers of hand (entering paradise).” [Muslim: Anas (R)]
Muhammad (S) said, “O Allah, I declare sinful any failure to safeguard the rights of two weak ones, namely, orphans and women.” [Nasa’i: Abu Shuraih Khuwalid ibn ‘Amr al-Khuza’i (R)]
A man came to the Prophet (S) and asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, which person of all people is best entitled to kind treatment and the good companionship from me?’ He (S) answered: ‘Your mother.’ The man asked: ‘And then?’ He said: ‘Your mother.’ (The man asked again:) ‘And after her?’ He said: ‘Your mother.’ (The man asked:) ‘And after that?’ He said: ‘Your father.’ [Bukhari and Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (R)]
As to your other comments about your personal beliefs or unbelief, and preference for an anthropomorphic God, I won’t waste my time trying to dissuade you. Suffice it to say that you have an abysmal ignorance of and unfathomable hostility towards Islam. You need to educate yourself from the proper sources and not from some intellectual frauds who tied their knots with the devil. Let me share with you some basic concepts about Islam, starting with monotheism:
“All praise belongs to God who has no equal and no peer and Who is far sublime to bear any similarity to His creatures.
He (God) was before anything came into existence and will remain after everything has come to an end.
As His (God's) Being is Eternal, therefore, no time could be imagined to say that He existed since then, similarly no period could be assigned for duration of His Existence.
To assign a place to Him (God) by considering Him within or over a place means to subject Him to the limitations of space and to allot Him an importance secondary to space, it also means to believe that some place can exist outside the sphere of His Omnipresence.
He (God) was seeing even when there was no created thing to see. He is One and Alone, because He has no companion who could keep His company or whose absence He would miss.
He is One but not a numerical unity which can be mathematically and logically subdivided.
He (God) did not originate His creatures to strengthen His Kingdom or to arm Himself against the change of circumstances, or defend Himself against His rivals and enemies.
Bringing into existence of the Universes has neither tired Him (God), nor origination of the nature has exhausted Him, neither He felt helplessness and deficiency in having complete control over His creatures, nor He ever had any uncertainty about the program of creation; He never doubted about His decisions.
He (God) has not permitted human mind to grasp the Essence of His Being, yet He has not prevented them from realizing His presence.
He (God) knew the very details of everything before He brought everyone of them into existence.
He (God) has not incarnated Himself into His creatures, and it cannot be said that He is part of the Universe or things created by Him; neither He is far away from His creation nor is He aloof from it without having control over it.
God has never left any human being without guidance and education from His Prophets, without a Holy Book, without conclusive, effective and certain proof of His Godhood and without a clear and bright path to His Realm.
When God created mankind He was not in need of their obedience and prayers, neither was He nervous of their disobedience. Because disobedience or insubordination of men cannot harm Him, similarly obedience of obedient people cannot do Him any good. He is beyond the reach of harm and benefit.” [Nahjul Balagha: Ali (R)]
“The first step of religion is to accept, understand and realize God as the Lord; the perfection of understanding lies in conviction and confirmation, and the true way of conviction is to sincerely believe that there is no God but He. The correct form of belief in His Unity is to realize that He is absolutely pure and above nature that nothing can be added to or subtracted from His Being. That is, one should realize that there is no difference between His Person and His attributes, and His attributes should not be differentiated or distinguished from His Person. Whoever accepts His attributes to be other than His Person has actually forsaken the idea of Unity of God and believes in duality. Such a person in fact believes Him to exist in parts.
“Islam means obedience to God. Obedience to God means having sincere faith in Him. Such a faith means to believe in His power. A 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 action.
“It is a religion whose followers compete with and try to surpass each other in goodness and virtue. Confirmation of truth and justice are its ways, enlightenment of humanity is its chief object, to expect and to face death boldly and nobly is one of the main items of its teachings. This world is the place where Islam wants to prepare you for high positions in Hereafter, therefore, the Day of Reckoning will be the day when its true followers will surpass others and heaven will be their reward.” [Nahjul Balagha: Ali (R)]
Mr. Wilders, your comments about Muhammad (S) are untrue and show your deep-seated prejudice. Read the Bible, esp. the book of Numbers (Ch. 31), to understand the treatment of the conquered people by the Old Testament Prophets. As I’ve said earlier, Islam could not have survived without the sacrifice of and active resistance from its noble defenders against their foes. Have you heard about Bilal ibn Rabah, Sumayya, Khabbab bin al-Aratt, and Habib ibn Zayd al-Ansari? If you have not, read my book – The Book of Devotional Stories, Islamic Book Trust, Malaysia.
Muhammad (S) and his followers were persecuted and forced to migrate. When attacked they fought back and won the battle of both might and mind. And yet, when he conquered his city of birth, he forgave his enemies. Why show such compassion against enemies, if he wasn’t merciful? You won’t be able to show me a single example of such nobility from the past and the present. In all those battles that Muhammad (S) led, the total death count was miniscule compared to those killed by religious followers of Moses (AS) amongst the children of Israel for their idolatry. And as any Christian evangelist would tell you there won’t be too many surviving after Jesus returns. It would be an era of mass slaughter, beginning with the Jews. If Muhammad (S) is a mass murderer, what epithets do you have in store for Moses (AS), let alone Jesus (AS) – the son of Mary?
Are you also aware of the fact that Mary, the mother of Jesus (AS), was only 12 to 14 years old when Joseph the carpenter who was 90 years old married her? In contrast, A’isha bint Abu Bakr (R) was 19 years old when Muhammad (S) consummated the marriage with her. If Muhammad (S) is a pedophile, what about St. Joseph, and how about the Biblical Prophets? Were they child molesters? Was Jesus a homosexual, too, as hinted by early fathers of Christianity (see also: Gospels according to Mark 14:49-52 and John 13:23)?
You say that Islam is opposed to freedom. Freedom to do what – harm and insult others – something that you have mastered, or colonize, kill and plunder vast territories of Asia, Africa and Latin America – something that the Dutch and other western governments committed to enrich them? Islam says that God has given inborn disposition to human minds to shape themselves either towards good or towards evil. [Nahjul Balagha] Man is, therefore, not compelled by determinism (jabr). He is also not given absolute freedom (qadar) to defy the laws of nature. But the matter is a via media between the two.
You say that Muslims are a fatalistic people. It is a wrong reading of their attitude. As believers they know that nothing happens without God’s will. Thus, they use the phrase InshaAllah. Are you aware of the Epistle of James 4:15, where it says that people should remember that they never know what tomorrow will bring, and 'Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”'? Is this statement in the so-called NT any different than what is contained in the Surat Al Kahf (18):24: "And never say of anything, 'I shall do such and such thing tomorrow. Except (with the saying): 'If God wills!' And remember your Lord when you forget...'"? So, why this silly accusation against Muslims?
Your ignorance is simply pathetic. You may like to read my lecture on ‘Islam and Co-existence’ at the interfaith meeting at Vanderbilt University, Nashville. Also, read my article – What I didn’t say and Missionary Myopia – in response to chauvinistic comments made by some fundamentalist Christian Islamophobes.
You said that ‘most Muslims never raise their voice against the radicals.’ Not true. Islam is opposed to extremism. Muslims have been raising their voices against extremists of all kinds – Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Just visit The American Muslim website to view how wrong you are.
As a pin-headed racist and a bigot, you can claim whatever you like, but surely you are no lover of freedom and liberty. Your obscene xenophobia has shown that you are a curse to humanity, even to your own people. The people with wisdom already see in you a Dutch reincarnation of Hitler against its Muslim inhabitants. You, surely, suffer from extreme prejudice, dementia, paranoia and hallucination and need a check with a good psychiatrist to treat your mental health. The sooner the better!
By the way, I don’t hate you, but hate your evil activities that divide our world into hateful camps. That is not the future that is desirable to any sane human being.