In response to Mark Sommer's concerns about my pointing out the obvious connection between Mordor and Islam, here:
You raise several points that deserve comment:
1) I have no statement from Tolkien that he was thinking of Islam. You'll notice I used the word, "if."
However, since he denied that LotR was an allegory for WWII, it leaves open the possibility, doesn't it?
The characteristics Islam shares with Mordor are true of all successful totalitarian, militaristic, bloodthirsty ideologies: Cultural and linguistic supremacism, a Dark Lord (Muhammad originally; then the caliphs who succeeded him), slavery and death for all who refuse to join the team, the suppression of truth, etc.
In Tolkien's day, the West was neither ignorant of Islam nor afraid to tell the truth about it, as it is now. Do you think Tolkien was ignorant of Churchill? He observed in 1899:
"Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science -- the science against which it had vainly struggled -- the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome."
What did you know about Islamic theology, jurisprudence, and history before 9/11? "Five pillars? Votes conservative? Not Christian, but "Abrahamic"? In other words, as little as I did?
What do you know now?
2) I'm not "reading into the text based on my own prejudices," I'm reading Tolkien as one aware of world history, current events, and the fact that authors incorporate their own experiences, beliefs, and attitudes into their writings.
Were all those who thought Tolkien was thinking of the Nazis or the Soviets "reading in their own prejudices"?
What race is Islam, again?
3) Is your use of the word, "perhaps" an indication of your acceptance of the fact that traditional, historical, Qur'an-and-sunnah-following Islam is totalitarian in nature, but you're reluctant to say it, or are you unfamiliar with the texts and tenets of Islam but somehow intuitively aware that the religion must have something to do with 1400 years of global jihad against the non-Muslim world?
4) Not all Iranians are the same. Those many Iranians protesting against the government do so for a variety of reasons. Some just want their own Islamic tyrant. Others are Muslims who don't want full shari'a. And others are like martyred Neda, a Christian who wanted true freedom.
What has "democracy" brought in Muslim nations? In Iran, Ahmadinejad won. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, "Palestine," and Iraq, what has "democracy" brought? Movement toward shari'a and away from Liberty and equality.
Democracy only has value if the people exercising it value Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. If those elections are being decided by hearts which belong to Allah, what will be the result but more Islamic tyranny?
5) Where did I claim anything about "all who claim Islam"? I referenced Islam's historical practice. I can show you what Muhammad said and did. And I can relate some of the 1400 years of torture, rape, slavery, and death in Allah's name, a history of which only the West of the last few decades is ignorant.
6) How does the reference to "Christian slavery and imperialism," relate at all to what Islam's god and prophet require? Looks like a red herring.
Even if it is true that some "Christians" have used their religion to oppress and kill others, is it true that Christ's words and deeds require such behavior? Of course not.
However, in the revealed word of Allah and the example of Muhammad, we find numerous Verses of Blood and Death. For example, Sura 9 states: "kill the pagans wherever you find them," and, "Fight against . . . the People of the Book until they feel themselves subdued and pay the jizya." This was the last full chapter revealed to Muhammad, and by that revelation, Allah ended all treaties of peace with the non-Muslim world (if you read the sura for yourself, you'll see that the treaties that were to be honored had . . . an expiration date!
The essential distinction to make is that when "Christians" wage offensive warfare to enslave and slaughter anyone, they do so in violation of Christ's commands and example.
When Muslims wage offensive warfare against non-Muslims over their "unbelief," they do so in obedience to Allah's commands and Muhammad's example.
7) You offer as proof that Islam has not been sanitized reports on the mistreatment of women under Islam. How many of those can you recall? With the new movie out about the stoning of Soraya M., you can probably name her (do you realize that the movie's makers deny the direct Islamic theological justification for such barbarism?). You can probably name Neda Soltani in Iran, since the world watched her murder on YouTube. Perhaps you'll recall the old film Not Without my Daughter; who admits the Islamic foundation of the injustice they endured?
How many stories have you seen about Qur'an-sanctioned wife beating? Ritual Female Genital Mutilation that, though not directly commanded in Qur'an, is derived from the fundamental Islamic mandate against females being anything more than whores and maids to their husbands? Honor killings of daughters and sisters for talking to (or loving!) non-Muslim boys, even in America? The whipping and imprisonment of 75-year-old women for being alone with her nephew-in-law?
What reports have you heard explaining that under shari'a -- Islamic law founded on Qur'an and the words and deeds of Muhammad -- a woman is to receive half the inheritance of a male, her testimony is to count half of a man's, she is unable to refuse gratifiying on-demand her husband's "marital impulse," a woman is to be murdered if she is suspected of "lewdness," a woman cannot report her rape unless she has four male witnesses to the crime (without which, she is admitting to adultery!) and child rape of girls as young as nine is not only permissible, but "pleasing" to Allah, since that is what Muhammad did to little Aisha?
Are you aware that upon assuming power in Iran, its theocrats lowered [the] marriageable age to nine? That they ruled a man can gratify himself with an infant as long as there's no penetration [or] damage?
How many reports have you read on girl's schools being blown up under shari'a in Pakistan and Afghanistan? Of Muslim school girls burned alive because their heads would not be properly covered if allowed to flee the burning building in which they were studying? Of Christian girls being kidnapped, raped, and forcibly married and "converted" to Islam in Egypt? Of Indonesian Christian schoolgirls beheaded to shouts of "Allahu akbar!"? Perhaps you're familiar with what some "not-all-Muslims-are-the-same" Muslims did in Beslan to schoolgirls there.
Do you remember the 'round-the-clock coverage of the Christian women of Sudan experiencing that "not-all-Muslims-are-the-same"-ness when Muslim mujahideen would enter a town and ask, "You Muslim or Christian?" and then rape, slice off the breasts of, and leave to die in the street those who answered wrongly?
This is only the beginning of Islam's crimes against women, Muslim and non-Muslim.
What of its apostates? Non-Muslims?
There may be decent, humane Muslims who genuinely believe in equality of rights for women and non-Muslims and who vigorously oppose waging offensive warfare against "infidels" to establish the rule of Allah.
That, however, is not Islam.
There may be moderate Muslims, but Islam is not moderate.