In a recent article on Mic.com (a site devoted to providing news to Millennials), a writer tries to teach us “facts” about Islam that are not “facts” at all, but rather a set of obfuscations at best, and lies at worst.
The article, written by a certain Sarah Harvard, is titled “The 4 Essential Facts About Islam You Really Need to Know.” In it, she goes over four facets of Islam that are meant to present the religion as being feminist, tolerant, and totally peaceful.
Yet clearly Ms. Harvard’s intellect, it would seem, is not Harvard-esque at all. For these claims are far from the truth, and to push them is to feed us deliberate misinformation that should be labelled, “fake news.”
(Before beginning, I should note that this blog post is not an attempt to single out or smear Islam, per se. Being cognizant of the fact that many non-Islamic religious texts contain violent and disagreeable passages in them, I merely aim to refute this Mic.com article’s insinuation that Islam is nothing but feminism, tolerance, and peace).
Now, let us go over Sarah Harvard’s four claims:
Claim #1: “Since its founding, Islam has not only promoted but benefited from women’s rights.”
If this claim nearly made you jump out of your pants, you are not alone.
Central to this claim is the story of Khadjia, Mohammed’s first wife, who was a successful merchant in Arabia. Incidentally, Sarah Harvard doesn’t dwell on the fact that Mohammed had several other wives throughout his lifetime. In fact, at one point, he most likely had nine simultaneous wives!
And although Khadija was Mohammed’s first wife, what the article does not mention is who Mohammed’s favorite wife was. For she was a girl named Aisha, who was aged six when she was betrothed to the Prophet (yes, six, as in: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
Mohammed consummated the marriage when Aisha was aged nine.
Remember, the Prophet Mohammed was allegedly sent as a moral and ethical model for all of mankind to follow. Hence, this fact alone should render any claims about Islam’s feminism to be totally absurd.
Yet the list of various oppressions against women outlined in the Islamic texts is certainly not limited to Mohammed’s predilection for minors. For among many other things, the Islamic texts have supported the following ideas:
- A man’s right to simultaneously have up to four wives.
- A woman’s right to only have sexual relations with her one husband, while men are permitted to have sexual relations with multiple women, including their other wives and their female slaves.
- Rules requiring women to cover their bodies and lower their gaze when in the presence of male non-relatives.
- A man’s right to have sex with his wife whenever and however he wants (with certain restrictions including sodomy and sex during female menstrual cycles).
- A man’s right to prefer young girls, especially virgins.
- Women having inferior mental intellect to men, and thus requiring double as many witnesses as do men.
- One man being entitled to the inheritance of two women.
And so on.
I will be the first to admit that none of the above counter-arguments are anything novel in their revelations. But it is painstaking to need to constantly repeat these facts to obscurantists who insist that Islam is inherent good for women.
Claim #2: “Contrary to Popular Belief, the Quran Forbids Forced Conversions to Islam.”
Ms. Harvard justifies this claim based on one of the most cited verses from the Quran, i.e. verse 256 from Surah 2: “There is no compulsion in religion.”
Perhaps Ms. Harvard is simply unaware of the concept of abrogation in the Quran. Abrogation, in a broad sense, is a concept whereby one verse in the Quran or Sunna are directly contradicted by another. By the 9th century, there was a consensus among Islamic religious scholars that verses that come chronologically later in Islamic texts abrogate (supersede) earlier contradictory verses.
Surah 2 chronologically lies in the early Medina period of Mohammed’s life, a time when Mohammed and his disciples were under constant threat. However, Surah 9 falls chronologically later than Surah 2, at a time when Mohammed had consolidated his power and Islam was far stronger.
Here we see a couple of verses that directly contradict Surah 2, verse 256:
“Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful"
“Forgiving and merciful,” indeed.
Then there is Surah 9, verse 29:
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”
Now, remember, since Surah 9 falls chronologically after Surah 2, these verses from Surah 9 abrogate Surah 2:256.
Even if certain individuals may dispute the abrogation of Surah 2:256, Ms. Harvard nonetheless presents as fact what is dubious at best.
Claim #3: “Islamic belief requires Muslims to respect the Bible and the Torah, since both contain the word of God.”
Here, the lies go into full overdrive. Ms. Harvard claims that the following verse, Surah 4, verse 136, is evidence that, “the Quran orders respect of the Bible and Torah”:
“O you who have believed, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down upon His messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before. And whoever disbelieves in Allah, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray.”
Now, one can only believe that Ms. Harvard intended that no one would actually read this passage, let alone examine it in further detail. For not only does it not allude to the Bible or Torah at all, it actively scolds those who “disbelieve in Allah” i.e. those Muslims who claim to be Muslim and yet don’t fully strive to strengthen their “iman” (a knowledge in the heart, a voicing with the tongue, and an activity with the limbs- according to Mohammed).
She then cites Surah 3, verse 384, which states:
“We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendents, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him.”
So far, so good. However, this verse is followed by verse 385, which states:
“And whoever desires other than Islam as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers."
In other words, in Islam, one can accept the Holy books of the Torah and Bible, but people who do not accept Allah as God and Mohammed as his messenger will be punished in the afterlife.
Personally, that doesn’t sound too hot to me.
At least Ms. Harvard gratuitously adds a photo of an anonymous Muslim holding a Quran and Bible together:
Claim #4: “In the Quran, God preaches universality and tolerance for all cultures and traditions.”
Here, Ms. Harvard cites Surah 49, verse 13, which reads:
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”
However, this is but one verse that teaches peace and tolerance, among many others that clearly do not. Below, one can view a sample of these. Special attention should be paid to the verses from Surah 5 and Surah 9, which abrogate Surah 49:
Most religions have unsavory bits in their texts. But it would be absurd, for example, to publish an article alleging that the Old Testament is nothing but feminism, tolerance, and peace. It would be even more scandalous to write such an article by cherry picking (small) parts of the text in order to convince us of broader points that we know are dubious at best and downright incorrect worst.
And yet this is exactly what Sarah Harvard has done in this article on Mic.com. Hence it begs the question as to why this is happening.
My guess is that the Regressive Left constantly feels the need to defend Islam, since it views Muslims as a monolithic group of victims. Yet in doing so, it has to resort to lies, rather than engage in a more honest discussion that would be far more constructive in guiding us forward.
Wikipedia defines “fake news websites,” as: “deliberately publish[ing] hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation.”
And if Sarah Harvard’s article is not “propaganda,” and, “disinformation,” then I don’t know what is.
So when will we start calling out this type of denialist claptrap for what it really is, i.e. “fake news?”