Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Does Surah Al Fateha Curse Jews and Christians? Christian Missionary Claim Refuted!

Right, let’s swiftly put this this polemic to bed and highlight gross inconsistency and what appears to beintellectual dishonesty. Polemicists like Jay Smith and Pastor Tony Costa claim Surah Al Fatiha (the chapter in the Quran) is a prayer cursing Jews and Christians. They claim the last Verse of the Quran is a curse on the Jews and the Christian.

This is not true at all - read it for yourself.

Anybody with scintilla of comprehension and fairness can see that it is not a curse. A curse is when one prays for bad to fall upon a person: Muslims are not asking for God to be angry with Jews and Christians here!

Pastor Tony Costa states he finds this “disconcerting” as he shockingly styles the prayer in Surah Al Fateha as “systemic cursing of Jews and Christians” that “vilify Jews and Christians” [Timeframe 5.50] whilst Jay Smith’s team spin it as “the cursing prayer”! 

My response to Tony is that you need to actually read the text for yourself and comprehend it rather than going off what some Christian polemicist is saying on the internet. No need to feel disconcerted about Muslim prayers, Tony.

However, Tony Costa in his written work, has said Paul of Tarsus (in Galatians 1) curses anybody who does not teach the same Gospel as him:

There are such things as divine curses in the Bible where God for instance pronounces judgment on those who pervert and preach a different Gospel (see Galatians 1:6-9), or brings a curse on those who do not love the Lord Jesus (see 1 Corinthians16:22). [Pastor Tony Costa]

Here's Paul of Tarsus in his own words:

8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Tony Costa and his Trinitarian missionary colleagues will believe Paul’s words are a curse against Muslims, Jews, Unitarian Christians, Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons as the aforementioned do not accept the Trinitarian view of Jesus.

Tony Costa, if consistent, would find Paul’s words in Galatians to be “disconcerting” and a “systemic cursing of Jews” which “vilify” Muslims, Jews, Athests, Hindus, Sikhs, etc.

Perhaps Tony forgets what he writes in his academic work when he is in the company of polemicists against Islam? From this example, it seems, he totally forgets academic standards, intellectual integrity, fairness and comprehension skills when he puts his anti-Islam hat on.

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?

Why Islam

Synoptic Gospels and the Idea of a Pre-Existent Jesus?

This will come as a shock to most people to learn that New Testament scholarship is broadly in agreement that the gospels of Matthew and Luke do not portray Jesus as preexistent and have no awareness of the notion of the Incarnation of God. In the light of Christian teaching about the origins of Jesus this is surprising as both gospels have extended birth narratives where such ideas would naturally be mentioned. Here is an extract from a recent academic discussion from Yale University in the USA

Page 209 from the Conclusion of King and Messiah as Son of God: Divine, Human, and Angelic Messianic Figures in Biblical and Related Literature, by Adela Yarbro Collins and John J. Collins – both professors of biblical criticism and interpretation at Yale University.

Christian Inconsistency Around Arguments for Prophet Muhammad in the Bible

Jonathan McLatchie makes a noteworthy admission and argument which Muslims who argue for Prophet Muhammad being in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible/Tanakh) will be interested in.

Jon acknowledges the Messianic prophecy claims conservative Christians preach are not direct prophecies but what he would consider allegorical, “foreshadows” or “typologies” (although he does think there are some direct prophecies). An example he cites is Hosea 11:1 which the author of Matthew 2:15 believed to be a prophecy of Jesus:

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. [Hosea 11:1]

Jonathan recognises upon “inspection of the first two verses of Hosea 11, however, reveals that the context is not Messianic at all!”

Jonathan, however, does accept it as a prophecy. A typological prophecy:

What is going on here, one might ask? Is Matthew attempting to pull the wool over our eyes and dupe us into thinking that this is a prediction of the Messiah, earnestly hoping that his readers will not take the trouble to look up the text for themselves? Of course not. Rather, Matthew takes this text to be fulfilled typologically.

But, here’s the thing: if this is your standard and you accept this as a prophecy then you don’t have any reason to reject Zakir Hussain’s arguments for prophecies about Prophet Muhammad p in the Old Testament (and the New Testament) if your consistent. Really, just have a look at Zakir Hussain's arguments and you’ll notice that they are much more convincing than Matthew’s “prophecy” claim.

Based on a cumulative argument of “typological coincidences” of this nature, Jonathan argues it points to divine orchestration:

The numerous typological 'coincidences', of which but a few examples are briefly described above, militates strongly against hypothesis (2). The occurrence of so many correspondences between Jesus' life as reported by the gospels and the Hebrew Scriptures surely can only either be the product of divine orchestration, or human design in the telling of the stories

But hold on, a Muslim could make the same case for Zakir Hussain’s arguments!

Bart Ehrman sums up the situation around Messianic prophecy claims:

You can go through virtually all the alleged messianic prophecies that point to Jesus and show the same things: either the “prophecies” were not actually predictions of the future messiah (and were never taken that way before Christians came along) or the facts of Jesus’ life that are said to have fulfilled these predictions are not actually facts of Jesus’ life. [Bart Ehrman]

My point, thus far, is to highlight the manner in which Christians argue against proponents of prophecies for Prophet Muhammad in the OT is utterly inconsistent. If they were consistent in their rejection of those arguments for Prophet Muhammad in the OT they would reject the allegorical approach they accept for Messianic prophecies; that would be bye-bye to Matthew’s alleged Messianic prophecy leaning on Hosea 11:1.

Deliberate misdirection?

However, the elephant in the room is that of making up prophecies or being overly keen to find prophecies and ending up with claims that are just baffling. Firstly, we know the author/s of the Gospel of John changed stories for theological reasons (i.e. the day of the crucifixion story). We’ve also got the spear thrust story in John and the story of the guard in Matthew which aren’t considered to be historical – those narratives would have been added for theological/apologetical reasons.

But seen as Jonathan is solely focussing on prophecies let’s focus on Matthew's prophecy claims. Jonathan McLatchie doesn’t want people to believe “the gospel authors deliberately set out to deceive and mislead people into believing their accounts to be recalling real history” but the author/s of Matthew seem/s to be making up prophecies or at the very least being victim/s of some of the source material used to compose the Gospel.

One example would be the use of Zech 9:9 in Matthew 21 where the author depicts Jesus riding on a donkey and a colt:

The Hebrew text for this Old Testament prophecy talks about one animal which is described twice, but its Greek translation uses “and”, meaning two animals instead. Matthew relied on the Greek translation of the Old Testament so he made Jesus ride on two animals. He had to change the earlier part of the story to make Jesus order his two disciples to bring a donkey and a colt. The fact that Jesus could not have ridden on two animals at the same time did not bother Matthew! [Dr Loauy Fatoohi]

And the claim of a prophecy of one to be called a “Nazarene” in Matt 2:

Like other prophecies quoted by Mathew, there is a serious problem with this prophecy: it does not occur anywhere in the Old Testament! [Dr Louay Fatoohi]

Perhaps another example for the notion the Gospel authors were shaping their narratives on their interpretation of the Scriptures (the OT) would be the narrative of Jesus being born in Bethlehem:

But the authors of the Gospels were themselves influenced in their telling of Jesus’ story by the passages of Scripture that they took to be messianic predictions, and they told their stories in the light of those passages.

Take Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. A couple of times on the blog I’ve talked about how problematic it is to think that this is a historical datum. It’s true that both Matthew and Luke say that Jesus was born in that small village. But Mark and John do not assume that this is true, but rather that he came from Galilee, from the village of Nazareth. Moreover, Matthew and Luke *get* Jesus born in Bethlehem in radically different and contradictory ways, so that for both of them he is born there even though he comes from Nazareth. Why don’t they have a consistent account of the matter?

It is almost certainly because they both want to be able to claim that his birth was in Bethlehem, even though both of them know for a fact he did not come from Bethlehem, but from Nazareth. Then why do Matthew and Luke want to argue (in different ways) that he was born in Bethlehem? It is because in their view — based on the Old Testament prophet Micah 5:2 — that’s where the messiah had to come from. And so for them, Jesus *had* to come from there. They aren’t recording a historical datum from Jesus’ life; they are writing accounts that are influenced by the Old Testament precisely to show that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament.
[Bart Ehrman]

Paula Fredriksen: Paul was NOT a Trinitarian

Did Peter Believe in the Trinity?

Jonathan McLatchie + Liz Mooney: Biblical Age of Consent

Thoughts on the Hamza Myatt, Liz Mooney, Chris Claus and Jonathan McLatchie Exchanges

Debate Analysis: Abdurraheem Green and Jonathan McLatchie on Trinity and Tauhid - IERA and Apologetics Academy

The Laziest Debate Review of Inamullah Mumtaz - Jonathan McLatchie on "Is Jesus God"

Jonathan McLatchie Using Atheist Arguments to Attack Quran

Christian Polemicist Jay Smith and The Christian Apologetics Alliance Debunked Again

Jay Smith Disturbs Muslims, Honor Killings

Did Jonathan McLatchie Copy Nabeel Qureshi?

Hate Speech at St. Timothy's Parish Church, Middlesbrough (UK)

Christian Voice ‘Mosque Watch’

UK Church Hosts Speaker Inciting Hatred and Fear of Muslims!

Paul Williams Disapponted in Jonathan McLatchie

Does Jonathan McLatchie Believe the Bible Teaches a Flat Earth?

Jonathan McLatchie and Alexander the Great - Christian apologists take note!

Paula Fredriksen: Paul was NOT a Trinitarian

DH Can you speak to the problem of anachronism and its effect on understanding Paul?

PF I’m a historian, and the most grave “original sin” for a historian is anachronism. What that means is that you lift something out of its historical context and put it in a different historical context, and so misinterpret it. If in addition we think of Paul as an orthodox Christian, we will only misinterpret him that much more. He’s living in a period where he’s not thinking in a Trinitarian manner. The idea of the Trinity hasn’t been conceived yet. His letters will have Jesus Christ in them; they will have God the Father in them; he will talk about the Spirit of God. Those are the textual origins that will be used to formulate the doctrine of the Trinity, but Paul’s not thinking in a Trinitarian way.
People reading Paul assume that he’s hostile to Judaism because he’s the “inventor” of Christianity. In fact, he’s still imagining himself as a Jew and he’s presenting Christianity in continuity with Judaism. The fact that Paul is such a huge figure for Christianity makes it almost impossible for us not to interpret him anachronistically when we look at him, because it’s so important that his message speak immediately to modern Christianity. If we allow ourselves to see how much his message actually cohered with first-century Judaism, then we have to relinquish an immediate connection between him and us, between this ancient Jewish messianic movement and the modern church. [Source]

Old Testament or Matthean Prophecies?

...Matthew claims the Messiah was going to be called a Nazarene:

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. (Matt 2:21-23)

Like other prophecies quoted by Mathew, there is a serious problem with this prophecy: it does not occur anywhere in the Old Testament!

I had been suggested that the use of “prophets” instead of “prophet” in the passage above is Matthew’s way of indicating that he is giving “a paraphrase of the sense of more than one passage rather than a quotation of a specific verse” (Miller, 2003; 115; also Davies & Allison, 1988:275). There is no evidence that this is the case, as 2:23 is the only prophecy that Matthew attributes to the unidentified “prophets”. Of the remaining 12 alleged prophecies that Mathew quotes , 6 are attributed to Prophet Isaiah, 2 to Jeremiah, and 4 to an unidentified “prophet”. It is unclear which “prophets” Matthew meant, but there is no evidence that the use of this plural term indicates that Matthew paraphrased more than one Old Testament passage. [ See: The Mystery of the Messiah, Louay Fatoohi, Loc 2080]

Matthew links Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to a prophecy:

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
b] to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[
d] in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
[Matt 21:1-11]

The Prophet that Matthew mentions in Zechariah:

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
[Zech 9:9]

The Hebrew text for this Old Testament prophecy talks about one animal which is described twice, but its Greek translation uses “and”, meaning two animals instead. Matthew relied on the Greek translation of the Old Testament so he made Jesus ride on two animals. He had to change the earlier part of the story to make Jesus order his two disciples to bring a donkey and a colt. The fact that Jesus could not have ridden on two animals at the same time did not bother Matthew!

Significantly, the versions of this story in the other three Gospels, which are not influenced by the Zechariah prophecy, are different. According to Mark (11:2,7) and Luke (19:30, 35), Jesus wanted and rode a colt. John (12:14), on the other hand, states that Jesus found and rode a donkey. This is yet another example of how Matthew fine-tuned his Gospel to fulfil Old Testament prophecies.

It is also significant to note that, unlike Matthew, none of the other three Evangelists link Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a colt to the prophecy in Zechariah, or indeed to any other supposedly Messianic passage.

...Matthew’s fascination with linking events in Jesus’ life to alleged Old Testament prophecies aims o show that Jesus was the fulfilment of those prophecies. This link, the Evangelist thought, would strengthen the believers’ faith and convince the Jews that Jesus is the awaited Messiah and would make them follow him. Matthew was so keen on pursuing his endeavour that he often distorted and misused Old Testament passages. He changed them and took them out of context to make them fit his purpose. He even made them up! [See: The Mystery of the Messiah, Louay Fatoohi, Loc 2114]

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Response to Converted2Islam Vision of Jesus Claim

Ex Muslim, Neil Littlejohn (formerly known as Ismaeel Abu Adam),  is now claiming to have had a vision of Jesus. He even wants to take a polygraph test (a lie detector test). Look an Ex Muslim claiming to have seen Jesus is nothing new, the conman Kamal Saleem has peddled a story of Jesus appearing in a vision (well actually he has peddled at least 3 versions of that story) while charismatic folks like Zak Gariba claim to speak to Jesus!

Claiming Jesus is appearing to you is a sure fire way of getting some attention in the charismatic Christian movement and, let's be frank, a bit more cash in donations if that's what you're asking for.

My focus here is, did Neil see the devil. Neil's description of Jesus doesn't tie in with what most people would expect of a Middle Easterner living in 1st century Palestine - Neil has more of a Hollywood type of image of Jesus in mind.

In this video we ask people to consider whether Neil is lying, wishful-thinking or simply conned by the devil.

If the video does not play, please see here

Nabeel Qureshi: True Christians Can Perfom Miracles Greater than Jesus!

Muslim Indonesian Women Tricked By Christiam Missionary Men?

Muslims Becoming Christians in Lebanon? Missionary Bus-Start Scandal Bites Again?

Christian Missionary Propganda About Asmirandah Zantman's 'Conversion' (Indonesian Actress)

Oldest British Convert to Islam, Br Mohamed Keith-Kinglsey Cunliffe?

Faith Change: Islam rapidly grows as Christianity declines in UK

Slovakians converting to Islam

Notes from Sean Finnegan's interview with Patrick Navas: Is the Trinity Biblical

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?

Why Islam

Nabeel Qureshi: True Christians Can Perfom Miracles Greater than Jesus!

I think RZIM's Dr Nabeel Qureshi's exegesis of John 14:12-14 would be lapped up by the Prosperity Gospel crowd. It's essentially telling Christians that they get anything they want if they pray to Jesus (a man!) and ask him for whatever they want. Here's the Gospel passage Nabeel Qureshi uses to claim Christians can perform miracles greater than those given to Jesus:

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Video of Nabeel Qureshi talking about miracles and John 14

If the video does not play, please see here

To be fair, I know another strand of Christianity would exegete this passage as referring to preaching the "Gospel" rather than works of healings etc.

Having said that, Nabeel is effectively giving a falsification test for judging who is a "true" believer in Christianity: they should be able to perform greater works (miracles) than Jesus. Well, Nabeel (other Christians) why aren't you guys down at your local hospitals healing the deaf, blind, disabled and terminally ill? Why haven't we not seen you guys in war zones bringing peace to war-torn lands? Why haven't you not ended poverty in deprived areas of South America, Asia and Africa?

There are over 2 billion Christians worldwide, Nabeel Qureshi, surely thinks at least 10% of them are "true" Christians. That would be at least 200m Christians. Why is it that we are more likely to see Christians online (some of whom are Nabeel's friends) spewing hatred against Muslims rather than in hospitals trying to heal people or in warzones bringing an end to innocent people being bombed by imperialist forces like America, Russia, ISIS etc.?

JD Hall: Nabeel Qureshi is making Christians look Stupid

Muslim Indonesian Women Tricked By Christiam Missionary Men?

Muslims Becoming Christians in Lebanon? Missionary Bus-Start Scandal Bites Again?

Christian Missionary Propganda About Asmirandah Zantman's 'Conversion' (Indonesian Actress)

Oldest British Convert to Islam, Br Mohamed Keith-Kinglsey Cunliffe?

Faith Change: Islam rapidly grows as Christianity declines in UK

Slovakians converting to Islam

Notes from Sean Finnegan's interview with Patrick Navas: Is the Trinity Biblical

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?

Why Islam

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

JD Hall: Nabeel Qureshi is making Christians look Stupid

Nabeel Qureshi is criticised by pastor JD Hall of Pulpit and Pen on the Polemics Report.

If the video does not play, please see here

Pulpit and Pen's Pastor JD Hall criticises Nabeel Qureshi's dream and prophecy stories, charismatic leanings and possible links to Prosperity Gospel teachings, views on Catholics and his association with Bethel Church. JD Hall also touches on Nabeel 's former religious affiliation (the Ahmadiyya group). Excerpt is from the Polemics Report.

Muslim Indonesian Women Tricked By Christiam Missionary Men?

Muslims Becoming Christians in Lebanon? Missionary Bus-Start Scandal Bites Again?

Christian Missionary Propganda About Asmirandah Zantman's 'Conversion' (Indonesian Actress)

Oldest British Convert to Islam, Br Mohamed Keith-Kinglsey Cunliffe?

Faith Change: Islam rapidly grows as Christianity declines in UK

Slovakians converting to Islam

Notes from Sean Finnegan's interview with Patrick Navas: Is the Trinity Biblical

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?

Why Islam

ABN Trinity Channel Preacher Claims Chrisians Can Perform Miracles John 14:12-114

Muslims need to be aware of this type of Christian missionary preaching. Some Christians are now claiming "true" Christians can perform greater miracles than Jesus. This missionary makes these claims based on John 14:12-14 12

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Asaad Faraj claims he and his Christian buddies brought a dead person back to life by praying to Jesus (a man!)
If the vide does not play, please see here

Muslim Indonesian Women Tricked By Christiam Missionary Men?

Muslims Becoming Christians in Lebanon? Missionary Bus-Start Scandal Bites Again?

Christian Missionary Propganda About Asmirandah Zantman's 'Conversion' (Indonesian Actress)

Oldest British Convert to Islam, Br Mohamed Keith-Kinglsey Cunliffe?

Faith Change: Islam rapidly grows as Christianity declines in UK

Slovakians converting to Islam

Notes from Sean Finnegan's interview with Patrick Navas: Is the Trinity Biblical

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?

Why Islam

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Response to Lizzie Schofield on British Muslim "Integration"

Christian missionary, Lizzie Schofield of the Pfander Centre for Apologetics, cites snippets from Dame Louise Casey’s review into integration in Britain in a piece which Lizzie argues Islam is behind the lack of “integration” of Muslims in Britain:

“Though she doesn’t spell it out, Islamic theology is one of the major “factors at play” here. What is the link between integration and how Muslims interpret their religion?”

As a Christian missionary she signs off with a call to shoehorn the “Good News” (presumably she means Trinitarian Christianity) into this affair as a solution. In this piece, I will make a few points to assist people (including Christian missionaries like Lizzie Schofield and Beth Grove) to view this notion of "integration" with more nuance, introspection and consistency. Here's a key of the points to reflect on:

1. Defining terms; when we say "integration" do we mean "assimilation"?

2. Irony: Dame Louise Casey, Trevor Philips and Sid Cordle would not consider evangelical Christians like Lizzie to be "integrated" fully into British society and EU society!

3. Are Muslims "integrated": Thoughts from David Cameron, Dr Timothy Winter and anybody fair-minded who lives in the UK.

4. Does internet propaganda from the likes of Jay Smith contribute to some Muslims cutting themselves off from the rest of society?

5. What about the Orthodox Jews in Britain? Why is Lizzie not saying the same about this group?

6. Dame Louise Casey doesn't agree with Jay Smith propaganda against Islam either!

7. Discussing the Christian Reformation, Calvin's Geneva and the end product of the Reformation.

1. What is “integration”? Lizzie doesn't explain this buzzword!

The question is, is there really a problem with Muslims and integration in the UK? Lizzie is intent on believing Britain has a problem with Muslims and integration. Before getting into this, let’s focus on this amorphous term “integration”. Has anybody really defined it? Everybody has their own definition of whether somebody is “integrated” into British society as the term is vague. What does it mean? What is Lizzie calling for when she speaks of “integration”?

Rafael Behr hits the nail on the head on the problems around defining this word “integration” and the more sinister meaning it can take on - "assimilation"

...Anyone who tries to measure 'integration' ends up relying on definitions that are either banal (how many members of a minority speak English) or economically functional (how many have jobs). If politicians want something more profound - a convergence of behaviour towards shared habits and a limit on egregious displays of difference - the correct word is assimilation.

If we are to use the word assimilation rather than integration every religious community has a problem as the majority culture in Britain is secular. This would be a problem for Lizzie's group and ultimately mean they are not "integrated" into British society.

2. Ironic: Dame Louise Casey’s review would indicate Lizzie's colleagues are not “integrated/assimilated” into Britain + Trevor Philips' comments on Christians and "integration”

Dame Louise Casey’s words are problematic for a socially conservative Christian as in reality their stance on homosexuals rights would be deemed problematic in “mainstream” Britain thus viewed as a lack of “integration/assimilation” on the part of Lizzie and co. (ref. her colleague Jonathan McLatchie calling gay marriage “madness” and his view of the church-disciplining practicing homosexual Christians):

It is more straightforward to condemn criminal acts but more difficult to challenge or act on behaviours that fall into ‘grey’ areas along this spectrum – where one person’s arranged marriage is another’s forced marriage; where one person’s loving relationship is another’s coercive control; or where one person’s religious conservatism is another’s homophobia. We need an honest debate in society about this spectrum.

Trevor Phillips, somebody who may know a thing or two about “integration”, the former head of the EHRC, writes about British Christians who are trying to revive the Church as believing in a religion which is incompatible with modern society:

"I think there's an awful lot of noise about the Church being persecuted but there is a more real issue that the conventional churches face that the people who are really driving their revival and success believe in an old time religion which in my view is incompatible with a modern, multi-ethnic, multicultural society," Phillips said.

Another screech of inconsistency, Jay Smith's preaching partner, Sid Cordle teaches Christianity is not compatible with EU's idea of Human Rights

Upon realisation that Lizzie’s friends aren’t “integrated/assimilated” into Britain, I wonder if she would make the following statement about Christianity:

“It would be in everyone’s interest, surely, to find a convincing liberal interpretation of Islam, which would both unite Muslims as well as provide a neat solution to the integration problem?”

Lizzie would be looking for a liberal interpretation of Christianity right now or calling for Christians to switch to a new worldview, if consistent. One that allows gay marriage, sex before marriage, dating before marriage, abortion, no dress code for women etc.

3. But what about the Muslims? Are Muslims “integrated” in Britain?

Again, it depends on how you define the word. We’ve already seen Christians are being considered to be not “integrated” in Britain based on a certain definition. So, for Muslim also, it just depends on how you define the word, "integrated"

Dr Timothy Winter (Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad) of Cambridge University wrote a fascinating piece on the issue of Englishness and Islam. You should read it. He cites a poll which suggests Muslims score higher than the “general population” for indicators of Englishness thus providing robust argumentation Muslims are integrated based on those indicators:

In 2009, the Gallup organisation carried out the largest ever survey of opinions amongst British Muslims, to determine their position on various indices of identity and citizenship. In general the results were not surprising to the community’s leaders, although they occasioned some puzzlement in the popular press, which likes to see Muslims as a seething crucible of alienation. For instance, it emerged that 77% of Muslims identified ‘very strongly’ with the UK, compared to only 51% of the general population. 76% of Muslims expressed confidence in the police, compared to 65% of the wider public. Only 3% of Muslims felt that other religions were threatening their way of life, compared to a national British figure of 25%.

On these fairly standard citizenship indicators, then, our Muslim communities tend to score very highly, compared to the current British norm.

Here, David Cameron (the former PM) flips the script on all this “are Muslims integrated” malarkey after staying with a Muslim family in Birmingham. Dr Winter writes:

Listen to David Cameron, for instance, after his brief stay with a Birmingham Muslim family:

Family breakdown, drugs, crime and incivility are part of the normal experience of modern Britain. Many British Asians see a society that hardly inspires them to integrate. Indeed, they see aspects of modern Britain which are a threat to the values they hold dear – values which we should all hold dear. Asian families and communities are incredibly strong and cohesive, and have a sense of civic responsibility which puts the rest of us to shame. Not for the first time, I found myself thinking that it is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the British Asian way of life, not the other way around.

Cameron’s fair-minded words remind us that virtues are universal. Muslim communities should be true to their own social vision, because in doing so they can witness to a less individualistic and more spiritual form of life which England seems to have let go.

Notice Dr Winter’s subtle point of Muslims resonating with an older and perhaps now an almost bygone generation of Brits.

So there you go, all this Muslims don’t integrate stuff is all quite subjective but in reality on a reasonable definition of “integrate; Muslims do integrate!

In reality I don’t need to check studies or polls on this matter. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve seen different parts of the UK. Muslims do integrate. I think folks who say "Muslims don't integrate" either have an agenda, are unfamiliar with Muslim communities or have an unreasonable definition of “integrate” which is more correctly termed “assimilate”.

I’d suggest Lizzie to get out more. Up sticks and move into Tower Hamlets, the NorthWest or Birmingham. Go on Lizzie, go for it.

4. The minority of Muslims who don’t “integrate”, why is that? More irony, does Lizzie’s Pfander Propaganda rhetoric play a role?

Perhaps Lizzie missed Dame Louise Casey’s important comments about the perpetuation of Islamophobic rhetoric making some Muslims feel unwelcomed here (thus obviously contributing to those Muslims retreating in their communities where they feel safer and more comfortable)

5.25 .Media portrayal of events, issues and communities can also be key in keeping the population as a whole informed of issues they might otherwise be unaware of and influencing attitudes. It was put to us by some organisations in submissions to the review that negative media portrayals of Muslims in Britain were contributing to Islamophobic sentiment and a demonization and alienation of British Muslims, making some feel unwelcomed and blamed in particular for terrorist acts and a wider threat to British society.

I put it to Lizzie, her colleagues' rhetoric about Muslims is Islamophobic (see Jay's unproven and dangerous allegations against British Muslims at Hyde Park and Jonathan McLatchie portraying British Muslims as a fifth column pretending to be peaceful waiting to persecute Christians). Rhetoric which does put Muslims in danger as it has the potential to rile up the impressionable amongst the right-wing to attack old men and women wearing the hijab:

Islamophobic hate crime attacks, discussed later in this report, can be disproportionately targeted at women. This appears to relate to more visible and identifiable forms of cultural dress, such as wearing a hijab, veil, niqab or burkha [Dame Louise Casey]

In fact, stats show 20% of Muslim women feel unsafe in Britain. Lizzie may want to factor that into why some Muslim folks are living more insular lives.

Perhaps Lizzie would like to reflect on all this and the role of her colleagues in making Muslim women and old men feel unsafe in their own country – yep Britain is theirs too.

On top of this physical threat, if the person doesn’t have the language ability and comes from a poor rural area in Asia/Africa in which they have had little or no schooling it may be a bit presumptuous of us to ask them to go out and mingle!

5. But what about the Jews, Lizzie? Are they "integrated"? Why so silent?

Why is Lizzie not writing articles about how British Orthodox Jews need to drop Judaism and adopt Trinitarianism because they aren’t “integrating” into British society?

I wonder what Lizzie has to say about this:

Walking around Stamford Hill, it is the geometry of family relationships that you notice. There are groups of mothers uniformly dressed in the mandatory dark coats and long skirts, and wearing the wigs that are an obligation for married women, pushing prams, a handful of children in tow. There are groups of men, but seldom men and women together.

Modesty is paramount to the Haredi, and the mingling of the sexes is strictly regulated. Unmarried boys and girls will have little contact with the opposite sex outside their families. At concerts and wedding parties men and women will always be separated. A Haredi man will avoid making eye-contact with any woman other than his wife, and would never shake hands.

Among the Gerer, the more traditional will observe the rule that even husbands and wives should not be seen walking on the street together [Telegraph]

Note: I don't have an issue here with British Jews following these practices. Lizzie, if consistent may have an issue with all this. This begs the question, why is she not writing about Jews as well as Muslims?

You'd think Lizzie and her colleagues would have pounced on this snippet from the Independent about Jewish Orthodox councils in Britain:

Jewish Orthodox councils in the UK are “institutionalising marital captivity and upholding discriminatory religious laws” that victimise women and secular alternatives need to be introduced by politicians, according to an academic study being launched in Parliament.

6. Dame Louise Casey is at loggerheads with Pfander Films’ propaganda: Honour Killings

Jay Smith has been known to argue “honour” killings are due to Islam as part of his missionary propaganda over the years. I think Lizzie should be made aware of this. At least Dame Louise Casey has more honesty and knowledge than Smith to make this crucial point which is odd considering Jay Smith is often styled as an expert on Islam by his missionary colleagues. She also does away with the FGM and forced marriage myths (which I’m not sure whether Pfander Films has perpetuated in the past – I wouldn’t put it beyond Jay Smith):

7.19 Female genital mutilation, forced marriage and so-called ‘honour’ based crimes are among the worst harms that some may try to justifying the name of religion when they are more clearly cultural choices connected very directly to countries or regions of origin. They jar even more heavily outside their place of origin not just because they are criminal acts under our laws but also because they are so clearly at odds with the human rights we value and have fought for. As such, they are sharp indicators of a lack of integration.

Dame Louise Casey offers more statistics which militate against other elements of propaganda against Muslims from Christian polemicists. Considering Jay Smith and his cohorts constantly intimate Muslim men as abusive to women it’s of extreme interest that the stats don’t reflect this. In fact, if we were to play off ethnicities and their proportional representation of faith we would conclude more Christian women are the victims of domestic violence than any other religious demographics. Note: White British according to the 2011 census were 64% Christian.

Data from the Crown Prosecution Service (for 2015-16) indicates that those prosecuted for domestic abuse were overwhelmingly male (92%), while 71% were White British and 74% aged between 25 and 59 years

Data collected by Women’s Aid, providing a snapshot of 128 refuges and 96 community-based services for the week 21 to 25 September 2015, show a different profile among victims of domestic violence who turn to services for help. White British victims made up 41% of refuge users, followed by people of Asian/Asian British ethnicity (18%) and Black (14%) victims. Community-based services showed a different profile: again, the largest group was White British, this time at 67%, followed by people of Asian/Asian British ethnicity at 9% and from Other White ethnic backgrounds at 6%...

If there was a Muslim equivalent of Pfander, they would ask "Lizzie, do you think Exodus 21:20-21
is inspiring some of these Christians to hurt women?" Exodus 21:20-21for those unaware is, in the view of the Trintiarian, a  text that shows the preincarnate Jesus allowed female slaves to be beaten severely as long as they got up after a couple of days.

7. Lizzie Schofield and the Reformation

Hmm, I’m awfully unconvinced  by the way Lizzie talks about reformations so simplistically. She speaks about the Reformation of Christianity as going back to the texts via the concept of sola scriptura. She then equates this to a Christianity which is more in-line with modern Western society.

Hold on Lizzie, the Reformation in the 1500s led to the Enlightenment movements of the 17th and 18th century. This proliferated a Deistic outlook and beyond this were the two products which our society is drowning in today; materialism and atheism. Hardly something to be proud of Lizzie! See here for more on the Reformation.

But again, lest we get ahead of ourselves let’s go back to the Reformation. Lizzie did disassociate herself from Martin Luther alluding to his “dodgy views” (I assume she was talking about his views on Jews) but what about the other guy who played a huge role in the Reformation, John Calvin? The Protestant idea of Sola Scriptura didn’t stop him from a setting up a theocracy at Geneva which punished people for not attending church and which promoted the death penalty for heretics and blasphemers. Witchcraft was a capital crime, people were forced to attend church, women were jailed for arranging their hair to a certain height, fornication was punished and adultery carried the death penalty. That was John Calvin's Geneva.

John Calvin’s Geneva would have had Lizzie punished for something or another – I’d suspect it would have been heresy as she has made a few statements which would be deemed heretical by folks of theology.

Lizzie asked to think more deeply and meaningfully

The idea that the Muslims who don’t integrate are somehow leaning on Sayed Qutb's work is indicative of  how Lizzie is out of touch with Muslims communities in Britain!

Come on Lizzie, stop with the propaganda and the simplistic approach, let’s focus on a more meaningful discussion. How about we start with primary-level theology, do you fancy chatting about Islam’s pure Abrahamic monotheism in comparison with the 4th century idea of the Trinity? Let’s talk about it, it’s something which divides us.

Did Peter Believe in the Trinity?

The "Council of Nicea and the Trinity" Myth Refuted

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Muslim Refuses to Troll Christmas

Last Sunday (18.12.16), I must have been one of very few people who attended a mosque (to worship) and went to a church (not to worship) in the space of 5 hours.

The mosque’s morning prayer was, as usual, spiritual providing out-of-this-world experiences. It was more sombre and emotional as it included a moving supplication for the Muslims in Syria and Burma (the Rohingya people) given the recent news of suffering, persecution and fear subjected to our brothers and sisters over there.

I didn’t have to wait too long for the church service at a local historic church I visit from time to time. I listened to the reverend’s sermon

The sermon was focussed on Mary (perhaps surprising for a Protestant church) – an attempt to draw inspiration from Mary’s life and reinvigorate the status of Mary. Inevitably Christmas was mentioned followed by a pushback against materialism in this holiday period. The Reverend spoke of his own household being one that actively limits materialism and debt at this time of the year to one present each via a secret Santa.

What struck me was the mention of Christmas and the condemnation of consumerism simultaneously. It struck me because I had a thought for a blog recently. A thought that I am not proud of. A thought to post about Christmas and go tit-for-tat with the insensitivity of a look-at-me Christian polemicist, David Wood.

He mocked Muslims and Ramadan by labelling it a month of gluttony. My thought was to talk about the gluttony during the festive period here in the West. The Christmas festive period! Surely it would be easy for me to cobble together some stats showing how the consumption of food and drink increases during the month of December along with the amount of money spent. That post would really get David’s followers thinking.

But no! The Reverend saved me from being a bigot hurting people’s religious sentiments like that. He spoke against consumerism and impressed on us all that this period is not about gluttony, greed or individualism.

Whether I had a serious intention of making such a bigoted and hurtful post against my Christian friends is unknown as I get a number of ideas for blog posts and the majority of them never materialise. Perhaps the idea would have been lost to brain dust without the words of the reverend. God knows best. But I needed to hear that reverend say what he said.

So let’s say it together: Christmas and Ramadan are not about gluttony, greed, excess or consumerist culture. They are not about gluttony. They are real religious events for real religious people. They will continue to be so despite the efforts to commercialise them.
Here's David Wood trolling Muslims by attacking Ramadan
If the video does not play, please see here

Conversions to Islam

[QURAN MIRACLES] The Miracles of the Number 19 in Quran | Dr. Shabir Ally

People having dreams and visions showing Jesus is not divine

David Wood Attacks Ramadan. Acts 17 Apologetics Refuted

David Wood trolls Muslims by claiming Ramadan is all about gluttony. David gets his facts wrong again. Here's a hard-hitting response to David:

If this video does not play, please see here

And here's a point-by-point response to David Wood by Aqil Onque (including a debate challenge):

Conversions to Islam

[QURAN MIRACLES] The Miracles of the Number 19 in Quran | Dr. Shabir Ally

People having dreams and visions showing Jesus is not divine

Friday, 23 December 2016

Meaning of 'salah' and 'Salaam'

The linguistic meaning of salah is to pray and to supplicate. When it is said, salla 'alaa (صلى على) like the above ayah, it gives us three meanings:
  1. To incline to someone and pay attention to them out of love.
  2. To praise someone (thanaa' ثناء).
  3. To pray for someone.
When salah is used for Allah ta'ala (i.e., when Allah does “salah” on someone) it means:
  1. Allah loves that person.
  2. Allah praises that person.
  3. Allah sends blessings, His Pleasure and Mercy on that person.
When the creation does salah it means that they pray to Allah to send blessings on that creation. They seek forgiveness for them and ask Allah to send good to them. The meaning of love and praise is also understood in this meaning.Salawaat is plural of salah.
We are commanded in this ayah to do two things:
صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ
“send your salah on him” this means that we ask Allah to send blessings on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and ask Allah to praise him in the manner that he guided us to do.
There is a small difference of opinion amongst the scholars on the meaning of sending salah; the majority state that it means 'mercy from Allah, prayers for forgiveness offered by the angels, and duaa offered by humans.' The other group of scholars such as Ibnul Qayyim, Abul Aliyah and shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen state that the meaning of sending blessings on the Prophet is to ask Allah to praise him in the assembly of the Angels.
Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah states,
The best that can be said concerning this is what Abu'l-'Aaliyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The salah (blessing) of Allah upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is His praising him among the “higher group” (the angels). So what is meant by Allahumma salli 'alayhi (O Allah send blessings upon him) is: O Allah, praise him among the higher group, i.e., among the angels who are close to Allah.

Al-Sharh al-Mumti', 3/163, 1641
Both of these meanings can be taken as the definition because it is all included in the linguistic meaning of sendingsalah, and Allah knows best.
وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
and offer tasleem as it should be (offered)“. The linguistic meaning of tasleem is to offer greetings of peace. It also gives a meaning of asking for peace and security. This meaning comes from the root word of tasleem and the word salaamah. The two meanings of tasleem are:
  1. 'May as-Salaam (The Perfection, One who Gives Peace and Security) be with you', meaning may His Blessings be upon you.
  2. 'May you be secure, peaceful and safe.”

For the rest please see: