Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Stephen Stein killing the messenger

Ann Coulter can be harsh. She offends. She can be merciless.

Ann Coulter tells the truth.

Her use of hyperbole and sarcasm is often misunderstood as mean-spiritedness or cruelty by the reading--and logic--impaired.

The only thing actually heartless about Ann Coulter's commentary is that she tells the truth without compromise and in a way that makes plain the absolute absurdity (and immorality) of her criticism's target. That is what so enrages her critics on the Left (her critics on the Right are just cowards).

In the following article, Rabbi Stephen Stein demonstrates his inability (or unwillingness) to tell the truth about Islam (and his own relgion) in falsely criticizing the courageous Wafa Sultan.

The attempted demonization of Ms. Sultan by comparing her to Ms. Coulter for daring to expose those forces whose divinely-ordained goal is the destruction of everything Free People hold dear is shameful and inexcusable.

Still, in the equating there is a kind of compliment.

Islam's Ann Coulter:
Stephen Julius Stein is a rabbi at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, where he also directs inter-religious programming.

June 25, 2006

RECENTLY I WAS one of about 100 L.A. Jews invited to attend a fundraiser for a Jewish organization that seeks to counteract anti-Israel disinformation and propaganda. The guest speaker was Wafa Sultan, the Syrian American woman who in February gave a now legendary interview on Al Jazeera television, during which she said that "the Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations" and "I don't believe you can reform Islam."
Islam is the world's most prolific and pugnacious propagator of that putrid propaganda, but does Stein realize this?

Sultan is (mostly) right--technically, Allah began the Clash of Civilizations--actually, the War Against Humanity--fourteen hundred years ago when, through his false prophet he commanded the faithful to fight against, subdue and humiliate, and kill non-Muslims to make the world Islam. And the murderous pedophile himself stated, "Far from mercy, far from mercy those who change the religion after me."

In light of this, a good, pious Muslim must war against non-Muslims, and no, Islam can never change.
The audience warmly greeted Sultan, a psychiatrist who immigrated to Southern California in 1989. One of Time magazine's 100 "pioneers and heroes," she said she was neither a Christian, Muslim nor Jew but a secular human being. "I have 1.3 billion patients," she quipped early in her remarks, referring to the global Muslim population. Sultan went on to condemn inhumane acts committed in God's name, to denounce Islamic martyrdom and to decry terror as a tool to subjugate communities. Those statements all made perfect sense.
Here Stein repeats the awful stupidity of equating Islam's deity with the God of the Bible, a false argument Islam traditionally uses to try to make gullible, "tolerant" Westerners even less willing to scrutinize its obviously perverse doctrines.
Then this provocative voice said something odd: "Only Arab Muslims can read the Koran properly because you have to speak Arabic to know what it means — you cannot translate it." Any translation is, by definition, interpretation, and Arabic is no more difficult to accurately translate than Hebrew. In fact, the Hebrew of the Bible poses many more formidable translation problems than Arabic. Are Christians and Jews who cannot read it ill-equipped to live by its meanings?
The "only Arabic-speakers get it" argument is one often heard from Muslims who wish to deceive potentially-aware non-Muslims into thinking their Book from Hell doesn't say what it so clearly and tragically does.

Not only this, but--just as with translations of especially Hebrew--some of the force of the language is lost in the translation. For example, where in the Qur'an Allah tells a man to beat his wife if she does not listen to him, some translators will render it as "(lightly) beat her."
Another surprising remark soon followed: "All Muslim women — even American ones, though they won't admit it — are living in a state of domination." Do they include my friend Nagwa Eletreby, a Boeing engineer and expert on cockpit controls, who did not seek her husband's permission to help me dress the Torah scroll? Or how about my friend Azima Abdel-Aziz, a New York University graduate who traveled to Israel with 15 Jews and 14 other Muslims — and left her husband at home?
Sultan's remark is only surprising to Westerners who have for too long lived blithely unaware of what the rest of humanity has suffered at the hands of Islam for the past one and one-half millennia.

Allah has made clear that women do not enjoy rights equal to men including, but not limited to:
    1) A man has the right to beat his wife if she displeases him;

    2) It takes four male witnesses to substantiate adultery, meaning that women raped under Shari'a are often punished instead of the rapist;

    3) Women do not have the same inheritance rights as do men under Islam;

    4) A woman's testimony does not equal a man's;

    5) A woman "possessed by a man's right hand" (taken as a spoil of war) is freely his for the raping; and,

    6) female children as young as nine are open season for the sexual gratification of their pedophilic "husbands" following the example of Mohammed, who said that Allah gave to him his six-year-old bride Aisha, and with whom he consummated their "marriage" when she was nine and he in his fifties.
Stein continues:
There is no subjugation in the homes of these and other American Muslim women I know. They are equal, fully contributing members of their families.
Here again is the suicidally-foolish citing of Western exceptions that demonstrate Allah's rule. One only needs to look at the mandates of Islamic "sacred" texts and their implementation (Shari'a) to know that under Islam, those women will most likely not enjoy such independence. And it's worse if they're non-Muslims who really get to experience the peace and tolerance of Allah (which often consists of kidnappings, rapes, forced marriages and conversions, and generic persecution and humiliation).
The more Sultan talked, the more evident it became that progress in the Muslim world was not her interest. Even more troubling, it was not what the Jewish audience wanted to hear about. Applause, even cheers, interrupted her calumnies.
How can one be interested in what does not, cannot, nor ever has existed? (I suppose Western multiculturalists are fascinated with peaceful Islam, so it is not impossible!)

And as for "calumnies?" It is Stein who is here guilty of slander. Sultan told the truth and he condemns her for it.

Perhaps the audience is significantly more aware of Islam than is the rabbi.
Judea Pearl, an attendee and father of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, was one of the few voices of restraint and nuance heard that afternoon. In response to Sultan's assertion that the Koran contains only verses of evil and domination...
If Sultan stated that the Qur'an contains only verses of evil and domination, she would be guilty of only a minor, technical error. Though Islam's "holy" texts contain some benign verses, the overarching theme sounded by Allah and his apostle in Qur'an and Sunnah is: War against the world to make it Islam. There is no other option for those who will not convert or willingly submit to its rule.
...Pearl said he understood the book also included "verses of peace" that proponents of Islam uphold as the religion's true intent. The Koran's verses on war and brutality, Pearl contended, were "cultural baggage," as are similar verses in the Torah. Unfortunately, his words were drowned out by the cheers for Sultan's full-court press against Islam and Muslims.
If Pearl/Stein thinks "proponents" is a synonym for "liars" and "uphold" a synonym for "falsely assert," then he is right.

Pearl should realize that it is that "cultural baggage"--the command of Allah and the example of his false prophet as found in Qur'an and Sunnah--that slaughtered his son like an animal.

(And what a sterling defense of the word of YHWH by Stein!)
My disappointment in and disagreement with Sultan turned into dismay. She never alluded to any healthy, peaceful Islamic alternative.
That's because there isn't one. Stein's disapproval should be directed where it is warranted: at Islam, the cause of all this suffering and death, not at a messenger.
...You might wonder why a rabbi is so uneasy about Sultan's assault on Muslims and Islam. Here's why: Contrary to practically every mosque in the U.S., the Islamic Center has a regulation in its charter barring funding from foreign countries. As a result, it is an American institution dedicated to propagating an American Muslim identity. Maher and Hassan Hathout are the philosophical and spiritual pillars of the mosque. They also have been partners of Wilshire Boulevard Temple rabbis and others throughout L.A. for decades.
And will this group be condemned as apostates by traditional, mainline Islam? The rabbi himself cites this group as an exception to "practically every mosque in the U.S." Does this support Stein's criticism of Sultan, or her criticism of Islam?

And who are the Hathouts? From The Counterterrorism Blog:

Maher Hathout is the Senior Advisor and one of the founders of MPAC. Hassan Hathout served as MPAC’s President and co-founded the Islamic Center of Southern California with his brother, Maher. The Islamic Center of Southern California is MPAC’s sister organization and publishes MPAC’s publication, The Minaret. ...“Hassan Hathout is a close disciple of the late Hassan al-Banna of Egypt.” ...A March 1998 Minaret article titled, “In Appreciation of Dr. Hassan Hathout,” also details Hassan’s ties to al-Banna:

“My father would tell me that Hassan Hathout was a companion of Hassan al-Banna…Hassan Hathout would speak of al-Banna with such love and adoration; he would speak of a relationship not guided by politics or law but by a basic sense of human decency.”

In 1997, Maher Hathout delivered an address at the State Department on emerging Islamic trends....

“In his [Hathout’s] view the reformists, represented by leaders like Jamaluddin Afghani, Muhammad Abdu, Mohammad Iqbal, Hassan al-Banna and Maududi, Ghannoushi, Erbakan and Turabi, have advocated a pluralistic society that would work for peace and justice for all. They have, however, according to Dr. Hathout, been ignored, despite the fact that ‘they represent the masses and speak their language.’”
And who is Hassan al-Banna, the subject of Hathouts's adoration? Again from The Counterterrorism Blog:
In 1928, Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood, a rigidly conservative and highly secretive Egyptian-based organization dedicated to resurrecting a Muslim empire. According to al-Banna, “[i]t is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.” Al-Banna also gave the group the motto it still uses today: “God is our purpose, the Prophet our leader, the Quran our constitution, jihad our way and dying for God our supreme objective.” The 9/11 Commission Report describes the Brotherhood’s influence on Osama bin Laden, stating that “Bin Laden relies heavily on the Egyptian writer Sayyid Qutb.” Qutb is one of the most influential, early Brotherhood theoreticians. The 9/11 Commission Report also describes the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence on Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman: “In speeches and writings, the sightless Rahman, often called the “Blind Sheikh,” preached the message of Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones, characterizing the United States as the oppressor of Muslims worldwide and asserting that it was their religious duty to fight against God’s enemies. An FBI informant learned of a plan to bomb major New York landmarks, including the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. Disrupting this “landmarks plot,” the FBI in June 1993 arrested Rahman and various confederates.”
And who is Turabi? More from TCB:
It is ironic Hathout is lauding Hassan Turabi as a reformer. A prominent Muslim Brotherhood member, Hasan al-Turabi was the head of the National Islamic Front, which the U.S. government has condemned for supporting terrorism, launching a genocidal war in southern Sudan, and for continued human rights violations. Turabi also gave Osama bin Laden sanctuary in Sudan. As part of his plan to turn the country into a global militant Islamist base, Hassan Turabi invited Bin Laden to Sudan in 1991. The two, bounded by a personal friendship and shared ideology, began a close financial and military cooperation that lasted until Bin Laden left Sudan in 1996.
Stein continues:
The Hathouts' mosque has twice endorsed pilgrimages to Israel and the Palestinian territories, its members traveling with fellow L.A.-area Jews and Christians. It invites Jews to pray with them, to make music with them, to celebrate Ramadan with them. This is the mosque whose day school teaches students about Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah alongside lessons in Arabic and the Koran. Recently, the Islamic Center joined the food pantry collective of Hope-Net, helping feed the hungry and homeless.
All commendable activities. How then would the rabbi explain the severe contradiction between Hathouts' personal and ideological connections and their apparent acts of good will? Could it be that they are carrying out peacefully Islam's goal as explicated by al-Banna? Could it be that they are engaging in taqiyya? Is Stein aware of Mohammed's declaration that "War is deceit"?
Make no mistake: I am not an Islamic apologist.
It sure sounds like it.
But Sultan's over-the-top, indefensible remarks at the fundraiser, along with her failure to mention the important, continuing efforts of the Islamic Center, insulted all Muslims and Jews in L.A. and throughout the nation who are trying to bridge the cultural gap between the two groups. And that's one reason why I eventually walked out of the event.
What is indefensible is Stein's condemnation of someone risking life and limb to expose the dangers posed by traditional, Qur'anic Islam, thereby unwittingly aiding its jihad against us.

One cannot bridge a "cultural gap" with a group dedicated to its destruction and subjugation.
Here's another: As I experienced the fervor sparked by Sultan's anti-Muslim tirade and stoked by a roomful of apparently unsuspecting Jews...,
There was an "unsuspecting Jew" in the room, but it wasn't one of those cheering Sultan.
...I thought: What if down the street there was a roomful of Muslims listening to a self-loathing Jew, cheering her on as she spoke of the evils inherent in the Torah, in which it is commanded that a child must be stoned to death if he insults his parents, in which Israelites are ordered by God to conquer cities and, in so doing, to kill all women and children — and this imagined Jew completely ignored all of what Judaism teaches afterward?
This is a false analogy. First, the command for warfare in the Old Testament was specific and limited to one time, place, and target. Second, there are Muslims down the street, across the city, and in every state listening not to some "self-loathing Jew," but to their god and his false prophet making these timeless, universal statements:
Allah and the false prophet Mohammed on warfare to make the world Islam:
"...fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful" (Qur’an 9:5).

"Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of Believers..." (Qur'an 9:14).

"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (Qur'an 9:29).

"Say to the Unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from Unbelief), their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them). And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that they do" (Qur'an 8:38, 39).

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not" (Qur'an 2:216).

"Allah's Apostle said: 'I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah'" (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 24).

“Muhammad said, ‘A single endeavor of fighting in Allah’s Cause is better than the world and whatever is in it’” (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 50).

"Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home)...But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward..." (Qur'an 4:95).

“A man came to Allah’s Apostle and said, ‘Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad in reward.’ He replied, ‘I do not find such a deed’” (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 44).

"Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme" (Qur'an 9:11).

"O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For Allah hath power over all things" (Qur'an 9:38, 39).
Allah and his (false) prophet (considered the "ideal" man in Islam) on terrorism:
"Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): 'I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them'" (Qur'an 8:12).

“Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been made victorious with terror. The treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand’” (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220).
Islam on Mohammed's raping of his nine-year-old "wife" and justifying it by saying Allah ordained it:
“My mother came to me while I was being swung on a swing between two branches and got me down. My nurse took over and wiped my face with some water and started leading me. When I was at the door she stopped so I could catch my breath. I was brought in while Muhammad was sitting on a bed in our house. My mother made me sit on his lap. The other men and women got up and left. The Prophet consummated his marriage with me in my house when I was nine years old” (Tabari 9:131).

“Allah’s Apostle told Aisha [his six-year-old bride and nine-year-old sexual "partner"], ‘You were shown to me twice in my dreams. I beheld a man or angel carrying you in a silken cloth. He said to me, “She is yours, so uncover her.” And behold, it was you. I would then say to myself, “If this is from Allah, then it must happen”’” (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 87, Number 139-40).
The "divine" command for beheading:
"Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): 'I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them'" (Qur'an 8:12).

"Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost" (Qur'an 47:4).
How Allah deals with prisoners of war:
"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter..." (Qur'an 5:33).
For those who claim the god of Islam is the God of the Bible, Allah doesn't think so:
"In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: "Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every - one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things" (Qur'an 5:17).

"They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them" (Qur'an 5:73).

"The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth" (Qur'an 9:30)!
Mohammed on the immutability of Islam:
"I heard the Prophet saying...'Far removed (from mercy), far removed (from mercy), those who changed (the religion) after me!'" (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 174).
Mohammed on freedom of religion:
"Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him" (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57).
And on truthfulness:
"War is deceit" (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 268).
Stein concludes:
In a world far too often dominated by politicians imbued with religious fundamentalism of all flavors — Jewish, Christian, Muslim — we need the thoughtfulness, self-awareness and subtlety that comes from progressive religious expression. We have that in Judaism, in Christianity — and in Islam, right in our backyard. If only Sultan, applauded in many quarters yet miscast as a voice of reason and reform in Islam, were paying attention.
Would the rabbi consider Moses a fundamentalist? Jesus?

Islam is in our backyard, and there is subtlety there, but little awareness of others on the part of Mr. Stein.

How will lying--I mean, "progressive religious expression"--about Islam's core doctrines and traditional, historic practice bring about its much needed reform? And how can the West defend itself against Islam when a religious leader as gullible as the rabbi is afforded a public platform forum by a major newspaper for the dissemination of his libel?