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:

James White's Comments Rebuke Arguments of Jay Smith and David Wood

James White made some important statements about arguments against the Quran and the Prophet which are being used by Christian  apologists - these statements if applied consistently condemn the methods of  Jay Smith and David Wood as inconsistent and unfair.

We've all seen wild-eyed Christian apologists on the internet coming out with attacks against the Prophet such as the thighing hoax , necrophilia claim or the claim of cross dressing. All of those mentioned are from David Wood. But the polemics of Jay Smith, Usama Dakdok or Joseph Najm from ABN would all tie in with James' criticism of arguments against Prophet Muhammad.

To be honest, they could have been from many more Christian polemicists, that's how rampant this abandonment of fairness, truth, and respect for others and oneself actually is  amongst internet Christian polemicists. One thing that is clear, Muslims have been looking  at each other perplexed due to the noticeable lack of Christian elders, pastors or even their more mature colleagues to rebuke them or make some sort of statement about polemics that are quite frankly embarrassing to any Christian with a shred of desire for truth, accuracy, consistency and fairness.

We know it's difficult for a Christian to come out and do so due to the way Christian apologetics to Muslims works - it's herd mentality and group think. The person who doesn't join in winds up having less support, less popularity and I'd imagine less cash!

So it's great to see James R White making these statements about Christians using unfair and inconsistent polemics against the Quran and the Prophet.

I've personally spoken out against the polemic that Paul of Tarsus performed a homosexual act during a circumcision. I was told they (those who propagate that polemic) only do so because "they (the Christians) do it to us (the Muslims)".  Clearly, there's a vicious circle of malicious polemics. 

If the video does not play, please see here

James does not name Christians who attack Islam with unfair and inconsistent arguments who he claims "threw him under the bus" but that's immaterial here. It's important to know, if you apply James White's statements consistently and are familiar with the methodologies of David Wood and Jay Smith then one would conclude his statements about unfair and inconsistent attacks on the Prophet and the Quran would at the very least apply to a bulk of their work. There's no two ways about it. Anybody who has seen their arguments knows they operate on an inconsistent and unfair paradigm. I just hope some church elders can pull them aside and talk to them.

I think James White and those Christians who are of a similar mindset will agree with this piece 100% :

How Jay Smith, Beth Grove, Usama Dakdok and David Wood contribute to the apostasy of Christians

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

Is Saying “al-salaamu ‘alayka ayyhu’l-nabiyyu" in Tashahhud Shirk?

This is a low-level internet polemic which really involves ignorance or a complete shut-down of any desire to accurately represent the Muslim faith on the part of the person making such an argument.

The polemicist isolates one statement in a part of the Muslim prayer called the tashahhud: “al-salaamu ‘alayka ayyhu’l-nabiyyu (peace be upon you, O Prophet)”.

The polemicist then proceeds to make a song and dance about it claiming it means Muslims pray to Muhammad. Yep, that’s their argument!

A few thoughts on this:

1. The Muslim prays to God alone. In fact, the Salah is commenced with the recitation of Surah Al Fatihaha. Verse 5 is rendered in English: “You [God] we worship, and You [God] we ask for help”.

Thus from the very beginning of the prayer it is evident the prayer is to Allah.  Why would Muslims later on in the prayer decide to, all of a sudden, start praying to Prophet Muhammad especially given the fact the Quran teaches against this action?

The Quran teaches us not to invoke another with Allah. Only Allah should be invoked. “So invoke not with Allah another ilah (god) lest you be among those who receive punishment” [Quran 26: 213]

And we are taught only the Creator and not the creation should be invoked in Quran chapter 16:

20. Those whom they (Al-Mushrikun ) invoke besides Allah have not created anything, but are themselves created. 21. (They are) dead, lifeless, and they know not when they will be raised up. 22. Your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God Allah, none has the right to be worshipped but He). But for those who believe not in the Hereafter, their hearts deny (the faith in the Oneness of Allah), and they are proud. 

2. If the polemicist is consistent with this argument then they will also say we worship ourselves and other Muslims at the congregational prayers too as the sentence after in the tashahhuud goes “peace be upon us...”! Obviously we aren’t worshipping ourselves and those in the congregation with us! We don't believe those in the congregation can hear our prayers!

3. The polemicist doesn’t even understand the statement “al-salaamu ‘alayka (peace be upon you)” – it’s obviously not a prayer to Prophet Muhammad. Shaykh Uthameen explained this very simply – to be honest you really don’t need a shaykh to tell you that statement is NOT a prayer to Prophet Muhammad p but rather a supplication to Allah to bless the Prophet:

Are the words “al-salaamu ‘alayka (peace be upon you)” a statement or a supplication? I.e., are you stating that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is in a state of peace or are you asking Allaah to grant him peace? The answer is that it is a du’aa’ (supplication) in which you are praying to Allaah to send peace upon him. This is a statement which is serving as a supplication. [Source]

4. Muslims don’t believe the Prophet is even listening to the prayer so how can Muslims be trying to pray to Prophet Muhammad? When Muslims ask Allah to bless the Prophet it gets conveyed via the angels. Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah beautifully states,

We say: if you send salaam upon him from the farthest ends of the earth, your salaam will reach him, because Allah has appointed angels who travel about the earth, and if anyone sends salaams upon the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), they convey that salaam to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). So if we say now, “O Allah, send blessings and peace upon the Messenger of Allah,” our salaam will be transmitted to him. In prayer we say, “Al-salaamu 'alayka ayyuha'l-nabiyyu wa rahmat-Allahi wa barakatuhu (Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings),” and the salaam is transmitted to him…

For the hadith he refers to concerning the angels transmitting the salaam to the Prophet:

The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Allah has angels who go around on earth, conveying to me the salaam of my ummah.” [Sunan Nasaa'i, Saheeh Al-Albani] [Source]

5. The polemicist again doesn’t show a familiarity with the prayer as after two sentences after the statement in question the Muslim asks Allah to send blessings upon the Prophet in a similar way Prophet Abraham was blessed:

`Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala aali Muhammadin, kama sallaita `ala  Ibrahima wa ala aali ibrahim...[O Allah, send your graces, honour and mercy on Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you did with Ibrahim and his family...] 

Now think about it, if the Salah involves "praying" to Muhammad then why does it  after two statements go to a supplication beginning with "O Allah" to bless the Prophet? It’s obvious the prayer is to Allah!

On a side point, the asking of blessings to be sent to Prophet Muhammad p is in accordance with the divine command in the Quran (ref. 33:56). It actually benefits us to ask as we receive blessings for it! It’s very interesting to note the Bible talks about those who bless Abraham in a positive way, according to the Bible, God says this, whilst addressing Abram (Abraham):

I will bless those who bless you,and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:3 NIV)

The fact that our Prophet taught us to mention "like Abraham" when asking Allah to send blessings on our Prophet  maybe in reference to this special status Abraham had as parsed from Genesis 12:3.

[May Allah send more peace and blessings upon Abraham and Muhammad pbut]

5. Lastly, any academic and fair minded person will acknowledge Islam forbids praying to the creation and that Islam is based on the principle of monotheism. Everybody who knows something about Islam knows this right? I don't need to pull out a quote from an academic. Let’s go to our Jewish brothers. Rabbi Tovia Singer states Islam is definitely not idolatry – Muslims worship one God.


“Believers! Send your Blessings on him” – Resource for Salawat on the Prophet

Do we say say Al Salamu Alaika in /tashahhud?

Why Islam

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Jonathan McLatchie + Liz Mooney: Biblical Age of Consent


This is something  that I want to zone in on. It is at the back end of the EF Dawah video discussion with Elizabeth Mooney. I caught it in Jonathan McLatchie's 4th (fourth) video in his commentary on that discussion (yes I wound up listening to a bit more of that commentary - it's about 5 hours in total there's no way I'm listening to it all!)

Western Secularist polemics being dressed up as “Christian”

Elizabeth Mooney states the Prophet had a 6 year old wife and then asks if that is somebody you think you should follow Hamza Myatt states there are two schools of thought: the first being the marriage was conducted at the age of 6 and the consummation/living together began when the parents of Aisha ra deemed  her of age (the Sahih Hadith record Aisha stating her age was 9 at this time) Hamza states the other opinion has her older and gives the figure of 13/14 at which Liz still objects to.

Let’s stick to the first one – there’s no need to consider what other opinions may or may not say. Liz wasn't even willing to accept 13/14. I have no problems with the age in the Sahih Hadith tradition. It’s not a problem if one can contextualise and is willing to show elements of fairness and academic rigour. What Liz is doing here is a back-projection of cultural norms in today’s West and using them unfairly to produce a polemic. To be fair to her this did not originate from her; this is sadly something that Christian missionaries and apologists pass onto their co-religionists uncritically and it spreads like wild-fire. The reality is the Prophet’s marriage to Aisha is not unBiblical and that practice in marriage would have been considered the norm in Jewish cultures at the time of Jesus (and even earlier, Moses).

I’ve written on this topic before using Prof. Geza Vermes but in short, the custom back then was to marry the girl (prior to her having come of age) and waited years till she came of age before sending her to live with her husband. It’s exactly the same as the marriage of Aisha to Muhammad p Aisha's parents decided when she was ready to live with the Prophet after betrothal. She had been betrothed to somebody else prior to her betrothal to the Prophet showing the cultural norm taking place here.

Betrothal of minors was a Jewish norm awaiting for maturity

Standard Jewish practice at the time was the betrothal of minors – females attained maturity at the age of twelve or whenever they started to menstruate.
Quite apart from the subordinate status of women in Jewish Law, in the rabbinic era and no doubt earlier too, the bride-to-be was by definition a minor, a person not yet of age. It should be noted that in the Mishnaic-Talmudic legislation girls attained majority when they started to menstruate, or on the day after their twelfth birthday, whichever came first. In the rabbinic perspective, majority and attainment of puberty were coterminous. By the age of twelve years and six months a young woman became, in the terminology of the rabbis ‘mature’ (bogeret), and was expected already to be married. In any case, by then her father no longer had the right unilaterally to betroth her.
Now, the marriage of Aisha and Muhammad has helped Muslim jurists to form marriage laws around minors which is similar to those of our Jewish friends throughout history. Here’s Dr Jonathan Brown:

... It was most appropriate for the bride, groom and the bride's guardian to determine the appropriate age for intercourse. The norm that the ulama did come to consensus on was only a general guideline: they prohibited sexual intercourse for girls 'not able to undergo it,' on the basis that otherwise sex could be physically harmful. If the groom and his wife or her guardian disagreed about her capacity for sex, a Shariah court judge would decide, perhaps after a female expert witness examined her. This was also based on the Prophet's marriage to Aisha. The couple had concluded the marriage contract when Aisha was only six but waited to consummate the marriage until she reached physical maturity. ..A Scottish physician resident in Aleppo in the mid 1700s noted how families endeavoured to marry their children off (i.e. complete the marriage contract) at a young age but that they would not consummate the marriage until the girl 'had come of age''. Historical evidence from nineteenth-century Ottoman Palestine suggests that the husbands having sexual intercourse with wives before they reached puberty did sometimes occur. But it was rare, condemned socially and censured by Shariah court judges. Shariah courts in French Algeria in the 1850s considered it equally despicable. 'Misquoting Muhammad', Jonathan A.C Brown, Kindle p143

In fact, the Qur’ān clearly stipulates that marriage can only take place between individuals who have matured in their biological and psychological development (puberty). In reference to footnote 1 which cites Quran 4:6.

So why is this type of polemic never directed at our Jewish friends? Why don’t Christian polemicists say Judaism is false because it doesn’t conform with 21st century Western norms?

Inconsistency: The Prophet's marriage is not against the Bible

The inconsistency goes deeper. Prophet Muhammad’s marriage is not in opposition to the Bible; the Biblical age of consent according to Jonathan McLatchie’s colleague is puberty. So somebody like Elizabeth Mooney is really not being helped by Christian apologists like Jon who either don’t know this or just don’t speak up.

Age of marriage is puberty according to the Bible.We have already seen Ezekiel 16 being used as a proof text by a Christian apologist to show the Biblical age of consent is puberty: ...Your breasts were formed and your hair grew, you who were naked and bare. 8 " 'Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love... [taken from Ezekiel 16] "...Thus, we have a biblical text establishing puberty as the minimum age for marriage..." [See here for more from the Christian apologist]

In this section I will also throw in a couple of quotes of interest that I sourced from “Brother of Jesus”, a commentator on BT:

“The Bible gives us no indication as to the age of marriage for women, which would not be appreciably different from the age at which childbearing begins. However, based on the tenuous calculations of the marriage age of certain Judean kings (e.g. Josiah: age 14; Amon: 14) and the rabbinic stipulation of twelve as the minimum age of marriage for girls and thirteen for boys, an early age for marriage can be presumed (de Vaux 1961: 29). Similarly, the relatively short life spans of the ancient world, particularly in plague epochs, would lead to the conclusion that marriage took place soon after puberty, with betrothal preceding marriage perhaps by many years.” (Meyers, C. L. (1996). Procreation, Production, and Protection: Male-Female Balance in Early Israel. In Charles E. Carter & Carol L. Meyers (eds.), Community, Identity, and Ideology: Social Sciences Approaches to the Hebrew Bible. United States: Eisenbrauns. p. 507)

“The Bible gives us no information about the age at which girls are married. The practice of marrying the eldest first was not universal (Gn 29:26). On the other hand, it seems certain that girls, and therefore presumably boys too, were married very young; for centuries this has been the custom of the East, and in many places it still obtains to-day. (De Vaux, R. (1997). Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions (John McHugh, trans.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. EerdmansPublishing Co. p. 29)

Can cultural oddities be used as polemics?

Polemics like these are not only inconsistent but are actually self-refuting  as they can be applied to our great grand parents’ generation and the rest of our ancestors . Ironically, this type of argument may be applied to us (including Liz, Jon and co.) by future generations. Surely, that’s a sign of a failed argument:

Non-Muslims would serve themselves better by contemplating the Prophet's teachings of monotheism and righteousness, and the Book he presented as God's revelation, rather than dwelling on what is, at most, a socio-culturally historical oddity... ... In Shakespeare's classic play Romeo and Juliet, Juliet was only thirteen, yet her mother tells her that “ladies of esteem” younger than her are already mothers.[2] According to the “Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society,” both Christian Canon law and European civil law considered seven years as the age of consent, but judges in medieval England would approve marriages based on mutual consent at ages even lower than 7.[3] As recently as the nineteenth century, ages of consent of 13 to 14 were common in Western countries.[2] Now, we are responsible for acting in accordance with our conscience, and our own societal norms may well factor into this, but it may be a bit presumptuous to pass judgment on people of the past and future, and those of other cultures. People in the future may well look on some of our mores as bizarre. [Danesh Juyandeh]

“Is that somebody you should be following” - Liz Mooney.  Jesus according to Trinitarians allowed what???

Look, this goes beyond ages of consent. This issue of inconsistency is not only offensive to Muslims and an impediment to sincere dialogue in the Christian-Muslim discussion room but it’s  problematic as it’s setting Christians up to leave the Abrahamic tradition. Liz found the idea of an older man even marrying a 13/14 year old problematic  and questioned following Prophet Muhammad p by asking whether one should follow a man who had such a marriage but if we extrapolate that and apply it to what Trinitarians believe about Jesus then she’s condemning the “Trinitarian Jesus” (so too are the Christian apologists and the right wing bigots who use this polemic) and is setting up a standard which will ultimately leave the one who applies that standard consistently to reject the Bible and Biblical figures. Jesus according to Trinitarians:

~Allowed the severe beating of female slaves as long as they got up after a couple of days [Exodus 21:20]

~Ordered the killing of children, infants and WOMEN  [1 Samuel 15:3]

And seen as we have mentioned our Jewish brothers, the Christian who applies that standard consistently will end up at the door of the synagogue questioning Jews for following Moses as the Bible teaches he ordered the killing of boys and of non-virgin women [Numbers 31:17]

Why the Muslims?

The question has to be asked, why are Christian apologists  predominantly using these flawed and offensive arguments against Muslims? Come on, there has to be a reason.. right? Why aren't they telling the Sikhs their religion is false because Guru Gobind Singh married a 12 yr old. Why aren’t they telling the Jews their religion is false because the rabbis allow sex with 12 year old girls? Why aren’t they not telling Jews about what Moses did in the OT and asking them to reject him as a Prophet?

Why not?

And closer to (their) home, why aren't they not knocking on their co-religionists' doors and yelling at them to stop following the Trinitarian view of Jesus as that teaches he allowed the beating of females and even the killing of children and women. If you’re a Muslim who comes across that type of argument just stand up to it. It’s literally an internet argument that folk like the EDL use to offend Muslims - yes Tommy Robinson and co. come out with that drivel (I’m not linking Liz or Jon with that band of racists and thugs - I'm highlighting the level of the polemic!)

So why are Christian apologists using such low-level arguments? And why aren’t folk like Jon not saying hang on here folks we need to stop using inconsistent arguments to try and convert Muslims into believing in the Trinity idea?

Why not? And again, why not?

I say it’s because there’s a load of group-think and herd mentality taking place in Christian apologetics (to Muslims) right now and nobody is willing to go against the grain and start calling inconsistent arguments (and those based on total fabrications) out. They allow these arguments to fester and spread amongst their apologetics and missionary communities. They tell us they have the Holy Spirit but I just don’t see anything holy in these arguments.These arguments are unholy - they are intellectually dishonest, inconsistent, offensive, unChristian and unBiblical.

I know Jon’s friend has recently rebuked James White for inconsistency, nasty treatment of Christians and arrogance despite having bit his tongue for years (indicating just how difficult it is for a Christian apologist to go against the grain and speak out against obviously problematic behaviour amongst Christian apologists).

Folks, don’t you not see how self-refuting your argumentation style actually is? You say you have the Holy Spirit and you want us to believe you yet we see the offensive and inconsistent arguments you allow to spread and propagate. Self refutation.

Message to Jonathan McLatchie

You had an ideal opportunity to say: hold on, this argument is invalid, it’s offensive, unfair and it will lead to Christians leaving Christianity if it is applied consistently. Why did you not say such? Ask yourself...

There was a segment where David Wood was being championed by one or more of your (Jon’s) colleagues, Wood is the guy who plagiarised an Islamophobic  Coptic Christian priest and spread the sex with a dead body lie. He’s the same bloke who totally misunderstood the Arabic and claimed Prophet Muhammad was a cross-dresser (in the process he actually wore his wife’s nightwear on camera contravening the Biblical law against crossdressing), not to mention the thighing hoax amongst other such claims. anybody who looks at David Wood's (as well as Jay Smith's) arguments critically will see the inconsistencies and how they arm Christians with standards that will inevitably mean the consistent will leave Christianity

I don’t understand why Muslims are still waiting for a Christian who claims to have the Holy Spirit to actually speak up and clean up the offensive  polemics that are rampant in Christian apologetics. You know about the Trinity channel you work with – they’ve  had Christians on there wanting to nuke Muslims or use Iraq to have a proxy war with Iran nevermind firing wild-eyed polemics at Muslims. Perhaps them just showing us "love"?

Hmm, I know Christians talk big about love but I don’t see it coming from Christian apologists towards Muslims. Or perhaps love is redefined as trying to get young Muslims to cower in corners, belittlement, mockery and slanders when it comes to dealing with Muslims. Can we have a Christian, PLEASE, who is sincere and courageous enough to clean Christian polemics up and regulate Christian apologists/polemicists a little. Please...

Blog: Jonathan McLatchie, yes it is Islamophobic to say what you said...

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!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Bart Ehrman and James White to Debate Whether Jesus was Yahweh According to the New Testament Authors?

There could be a debate on the horizons. James White challenged Dr Bart Ehrman to a debate on whether the New Testament authors thought Jesus was Yahweh. Well, it turned out Dr Ehrman was notified of this challenge by a comment on his blog and he has now responded opening the door to a possible debate.

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I'm not sure why James never contacted Dr Ehrman but if he's serious and he was not just offering a load of bluster for his followers who make up his echo chamber one would expect him to be rushing to email Dr Ehrman to set this debate up. Considering Dr Bart Ehrman called James White offensive and not a nice chap I think James would do well to take some of Sam Shamoun's advice to ensure the interaction, this time round, goes off smoothly and yields a meaningful dialogue without any negative baggage and resentment.

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This is the type of argument James White would expect to come up against in a debate on the theology of the New Testament authors from Dr Bart Ehrman.

How Jay Smith, Nabeel Qureshi, Sam Shamoun and David Wood Contriubute to the Apostasy of Christians

A Question of James White's Consistency Re Prof. JR Daniel Kirk and Bart Ehrman

Was Ignatius Trinitarian: Rudolph Boshoff, James White + Jonathan McLatchie (Muslim Responds)

Saturday, 10 December 2016

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

Jonathan McLatchie and his colleagues have produced lengthy videos and they are in at least three parts. I can’t cover every point but will offer a few responses and bits of commentary on the journey (I only managed to cover about 30 mins of the first part but I suspect much of their later comments will be repetitive or on a similar theme)

This is a lengthy response, just in case you want to read selected bits scroll to the relevant section:

1. A message to Elizabeth Mooney encouraging her to look into the Trinity doctrine and the arguments against.

2. The mockery and belittlement of Hamza Myatt and an understanding of the culture at Speakers Corner

3. Dr Chris Claus' asked to apologise for his accusations of cowardice, "attacking women" and of intimidation tactics.

4. A discussion on the resurrection claims of the minimalist movement

5. Biblical and Quranic preservation

6. Hadith, and the Isnad from St John to Polycarp to Irenaeus to Eusebius

7. Comments on the importance of manuscripts for Hadith, Quran and the Bible

8. Concerns young Montenegrin Vladimir Susic could be radicalised by Islamophobic Christian groups on the net.

9. My theory on why Hamza Myatt was the subject of a demeaning double standard (controversial!)

10. James White and consistency

11. A few words for Jonathan McLatchie

1. Firstly a message to Liz Mooney

I don’t know you – you seem like a pleasant person so I hope you will look into what “the other side” has to say and help build bridges between sincere Muslims and Christians. I understand you’re new to Christianity; I would ask you to look into the doctrine of the Trinity with respect to its historical origins if you have not done so yet. This is a major dividing line between Muslims and Christians. Please see

2. Jonathan, Chris and Vlad belittling and mocking Hamza
So this is an inescapable observation. Jonathan McLatchie and his two friends (Valdimir Susic and Dr Chris Claus) accuse Hamza of belittling Christians but then proceed with a theme (the bits I listened to anyway) to mock and belittle Hamza Myatt and Muslim apologists in general.

I understand this was probably due to them trying to get a bit of “revenge” for what they may have perceived to have been an uncomfortable experience for Elizabeth Mooney but come on lads – you folks come off really childish. You come across as three blokes (well two blokes and one 15 yr old – sorry Vlad had to point that out) trying to white-knight for Liz. I doubt she wanted you peeps come out with the metaphorical pitchforks and torches running towards Hamza.

What I’ve gathered from Speakers Corner is that the bigger personalities try to keep the focus on a subject and thus can be militant about keeping their “opponent” on topic. I understand why they do this; it makes for a better dialogue and it helps the viewers at home follow the dialogue. Far too often those dialogues are frustrating due to interruptions, diversions and a lack of structure. Hence, people like Hamza Myatt try to rigorously instil structure and sideline diversions and interruptions. This may unsettle some people initially but it’s not done for nefarious purposes. I’m sure Liz can understand that.

Beth Grove, Jay Smith, Hatun Tash and co. all do similar. But they bellow down from a ladder at Muslims who don’t have a great grasp of the English language. Beth has come across rude and aggressive towards Muslims in the past. Where are the white-knights for those poor Muslims?

It’s the way things are at that venue. It's not my cup of tea but I like watching some of the encounters and I like the Muslim personalities there. I do a lot of editing of footage from that venue and I get what it's all about. Jonathan should get it too. Thus there’s no need to try and portray Hamza as public enemy #1. Leave him alone guys.

I personally like it when a Muslim keeps the dialogue on track and right now I’m into the way Hashim and Mansur zone in on the doctrine of the Trinity and other related beliefs – these are the first things a Muslim notices about Christianity. Its doctrine concerning God needs to be discussed as this is a foundational difference between the two faiths.

As for the dialogue, it was a mismatch and Jonathan and co perhaps saw it as such hence their lengthy video responses. Liz was in a dialogue with a veteran of that platform and she has pretty recently delved into Christianity. There’s no blame in not being experienced in Muslim-Christian dialogue but there is blame in not wanting to learn and seek the truth. If Liz leaves having learnt something then she has “won”.


3. Chris Claus’ Accusations of Intimidation, Cowardice and “Attacking Women”

Dr Chris Claus' comments in the audio discussion with Jon and Vlad as well as his Facebook comments were offensive.

I would urge Dr Chris Claus to retract and apologise for his comments about the two gentlemen to the left of Liz and his unacceptable allegation levelled at Hamza of “attacking women”.

In the audio he claimed the two gentlemen listening in were intimidating her. Chris, I’d imagine the two gentlemen you spoke about would not appreciate such a smear. Crossing one's arms on a cold day whilst standing still is hardly intimidation and the other benign looking guy on the far left is similar in size to Liz – hardly Brock Lesnar intimidation going on there.

This seems to be an issue with Chris; did Chris ask Liz whether she was intimidated by those two or did he assume that about her? And what about those two poor guys he’s smeared? I strongly suspect they are just really decent and friendly guys.They look like pretty good lads - spending their time trying to learn. Good on them. Their integrity and reputation needs to be defended. I highly doubt they had any other intention but to listen in on the conversation. And Chris, I doubt they are hired by Hamza to crowd the opponent in some sort of tactic of intimidation as you alleged on FB

Another point, how do you know they weren’t Christians or some other non-Muslims? I don’t recall seeing any footage of them declaring their religious convictions – you do get some brown Christians (Paul of Tarsus, anybody?) jk
On top of that, Chris, your claims on social media of Hamza being too scared to debate don’t do you any favours and the allegation that “he is attacking women at a park” is unacceptable and offensive.

I’ll leave it to you to retract and apologise to Hamza.

Right, I think that’s all the loose ends tied up. Let’s focus on some real apologetics. Finally!

For reasons of time I’m not going to cover all the claims the three Christian apologists made.

4. “I’m a Christian because of the resurrection narratives”  - discussing the resurrection claims and a familiar comment on the crucifixion narrative

Liz Mooney states she is a Christian because of her investigations into the Resurrection narratives.

This seems to me to be a minimalist approach adopted by people like Dr Mike Licona. I don’t understand this line of reasoning. I don’t get how a corollary of the belief that Jesus resurrected is faith in the NT canon, the Trinity doctrine, the incarnation doctrine and Paul’s prophethood.

As for the resurrection story, I don’t see Dr Mike’s claims about the resurrection of Jesus narrative to be convincing. In fact he does not champion the biggest resurrection story in theGospels (that of the many saints in Matthew). Bishop NT Wright stated there were Church Fathers who thought they could go into Jerusalem and talk to these resurrected saints thus for these Church Fathers this resurrection story was a historical event. If the author of Matthew made such a huge resurrection story up, or if he borrowed it from an oral tradition floating around at the time then; is it not plausible that there were people willing to fabricate resurrection stories into the oral/written tradition of the time? Thus is it possible the resurrection story about Jesus was fabricated to be a physical and literal resurrection or simply some sort of conjecture after he was seen in visions or seen physically after being saved from a crucifixion?

And why is Dr Licona not trying to prove the resurrection story of the many saints is historical? It’s because his faith does not revolve around it so he marginalises it just like he does with doctrines like the Trinity and Traditionalist Inerrancy. Rest assured if we found a NT manuscript saying the resurrection of the saints is integral to Christian salvation there will be a number of Christians trying to prove it to be historical in the same way Dr Licona operates with the Jesus resurrection narrative.

Dr Licona is a minimalist who has tried to reduce the amount of convincing he needs to do in his preaching to Atheists (and uncertain Christians) hence why he goes down that path. Dr Bart Ehrman would point to the contradictions in and around the crucifixion story and the post resurrection narratives to highlight the lack of reliability of the accounts and he would also state the historical methodology Licona claims to be using does not deliberate on miracles as likely possibilities.

Dr Ehrman would say Christians changed their stories to try and convince people into the faith, hence the resurrection accounts.

I think I recently saw an email in which  a colleague in online apologetics is due to publish an in depth survey into 1st century views amongst Christians concerning the crucifixion. I understand a lot of Christians take the superficial swipe at Muslims of “ all the historians agree the crucifixion is a historical event” but for us Muslims there’s a supernatural component to this – a  component historians who use the naturalist method will not factor into their thinking. This quote sourced from Blogging Theology is apropos to some of the superficial polemics against Islam:

The distinguished Christian philosopher and believer in the crucifixion Rev Professor John Hick, was honest enough to admit,

‘Historically it is very difficult to dispute the qur’anic verse since presumably it would not be possible for observers at the time to tell the difference between Jesus being crucified and his only appearing to be crucified – unless what is suggested is that someone else was crucified in his place.’

5. Biblical and Quranic Preservation

I think I heard the argument of the number of manuscripts – the NT being the best attested book in antiquity. The audio is horrendous but I’ve addressed Andy Bannister’s claim via a video by putting him alongside a NTtextual critic. In any case, Dr Sami Ameri mentions the NT manuscript number is not that high in comparison with the number of Quranic manuscripts we have – we have an estimated 250,000 despite the Quran being copied from the 7th century (centuries later than the NT). And here's Dr Brown:

The majority of Western scholars also affirm the Quran's date of origin and overall textual integrity. See Behnam Sadeghi and Mohsen Goudarzi, 'San'a' 1 and the Origins of the Quran'. Misquoting Muhammad, Jonathan A.C Brown, Kindle, Loc. 868

As for the preservation of the New Testament I don’t think the issues around the preservation of the NT are as profound as a childish telephone game and I, right now with my personal outlook on the NT  texts, wouldn’t be surprised if the Gospel of Mark we have today is pretty close to what the author of Mark originally wrote. And similarly for the text that was given to the community by the editors of 2 Corinthians.
I do have certain contentions with the NT’s preservation which I’m not going to get into here . I think a couple of big issues that many seem to overlook:
1. Canonicity and Inspiration. The original authors did not consider their written work to be inspired. This idea of inspiration came about later on.  The process of canonisation and the criteria for such is extremely murky and just seems to be a community decision thus in reality nobody with any authority ever declared these documents to be inspired.
2. Failure of the Church Fathers vs the Success of the Sahaba (Companions)
Muslims know the contents of the Quran, whilst Christian scholars have admitted they do not know the content of the NT for certain – they believe they have the NT preserved in the manuscript tradition BUT when it comes to the variants the Christians are NOT certain as to which variant is from the original NT which may also be an issue for the Christian belief he Holy Spirit guides Christians in Scripture not the mention the idea of Self Authentication of the Bible.
This is really down to a failure of the Church Fathers and a lack of oral tradition with reference to the NT. Whilst the existence of the oral tradition of the Quran and the efforts of the Sahaba thanks to divine providence leaves Muslims secure in what the contents of the Quran are.
Hamza touched on the lack of stability of the NT text today. I think us Muslims need to be awfully careful when making this point (to ensure no immature critics latch onto it and go on a spree of attacking unsuspecting internet Christians with it) as it is a faith destroying point for our Christian friends. The NT text is still POSSIBLY subject to change.
The Bible is not a closed text. There has been a relatively recent precedent of whole chunks of the NT being relegated to possible forgery status as per the findings of Dr Von Tischendorf in the 19th century (cf. John 7:53-8:11 and Mark 16:9-20). They are finding new manuscripts regularly. There is nothing to stop another unique find relegating other parts of the NT to possible forgery (scribal addition) status. What if that happens in 50 years time regarding John 1:1-18 and John 20:28? All it would take would be a discovery of an early MSS of said texts omitting such verses or rendering different wording in those verses to the extent of changing the apparent meaning of the text.

And what of all those Christians who passed away believing in those texts prior to the discovery at Sinaiticus? And what was the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives?

It's clear Christians cannot have complete confidence in their NT texts.

6. Hadith – John and Isnad Chains to Irenaeus from Polycarp
OK, this is getting really long now and I don’t really fancy going through more of the video picking out points but I recognise this to be an important area of discussion. There were a few comments coming from all three of the critics about  Hadith. I’m ging to be lazy and copy and paste a comment I made on Blogginh Theology to a critic who was trying to attack the Ahadith literature in an effort to defend the NT. IIRC it was on Eric Bin Kisam’s post on Hadith on BT.
Before I paste that I want to talk about this idea of a written isnad (chain) from John through Polycarp to Irenaeus. It’s discussed in this video. The two points to come out of the video on this subject: the claim of Polycarp and Papias having associations with John are thought to be fabrications by Dr Bart Ehrman (reasoning for this is given in the video) and secondly the claim of a chain of transmission from John to Irenaeus militates against the idea that John was a Trinitarian as Irenaeus seems to be a Unitarian as shown via a clip of Dr Dale Tuggy.
Just to add another point – it’s not a chain of transmission as there wasn’t an oral transmission and how do we get from Irenaeus (d. 202) to Eusebius (who was born 60 years after Irenaeus died)? Given Irenaeus’ work is dated from 175 to 185 CE it means there could be more than a gap of 100 years between Eusebius' receipt of the documents and Irenaeus’ penning of such. In Hadith studies that would relegate the tradition to having a missing link (or in this case more than one missing link) and the missing links are  anonymous here thus really posing problems for the acceptability of the tradition that Polycarp was the student of John. The two Church Fathers did not directly communicate so Eusebius cannot vouch for the historicity of the claims - another problem. Eusebius is reliant on written sources coming his way – who gave them to him is unknown ( unknown narrator/s!). We’ve already seen how Christians changed the texts of and fabricated texts in the name of Ignatius of Antioch. What makes anybody think this didn’t happen for the text Eusebius received?
All this uncertainty is due to a lack of an oral tradition and a chain of transmission. We don’t have the time to get into the reliability of Eusebius but what’s been offered here is plenty of food for thought.
7. Talking Manuscripts for Haith literature and the Quran (as well as the Bible)

Right here’s an old comment concerning Hadith vs NT that I wrote on BT – check things up if you’re unsure (I wrote it quickly and I’m not a scholar):

You’re comparing apples with oranges. Muslims aren’t reliant on manuscripts to reconstruct any text – be it the Quran or the Ahadith books. Yet Christians are reliant on manuscripts to do so – to the extent that they call the Bible they have today a theoretical construction and the manuscrpts they collect are called “witnesses”. In our tradition, the witnessing is done orally through transmitters. That’s a key difference here.

Sahih Bukhari was heard and transmitted by 90,000 Muslims from Imam Bukhari himself (as mentioned by one of his students). The way the early Muslims did transmission of Hadith was the teacher having the student read from the student’s text back to the teacher or vise versa (the names of both individuals were known). Again contrast this with the way the “witnesses” of the Bible came into being, there was no checking – an anonymous person was just writing the text himself (in fact we don’t know the name of ANY scribes of the NT).

You also asked for manuscripts of Sahih Bukhari. As I’ve alluded to the finding ancient manuscripts aren’t important for the Muslim methodology BUT I want to point out that according to the article I read Manjana (an Orientalist scholar) said the oldest manuscript he came across was written in 370AH. This, with respect to the tradition of Bukhari, is earlier than ANY complete Bible (NT) we have!!!

You mentioned you want an extant and complete manuscript of Bukhari prior to the 11th century (roughly 300-400 years after Bukhari) yet this date is roughly on par with the earliest complete NT (which I believe is Sinaiticus, mid 4th century CE). So if you want something earlier for Bukhari albeit Muslim methodology not reliant on the manuscript tradition I’m sure you will want something much more earlier for the NT – earlier than Codex Sinaiticus. Thus, I believe you will not trust the NT until you discover something much earlier.

For more info, see the article on IslamQA: He is asking for the original copies of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. [Sorry I’m having tech probs here and am in a rush so cannot link it – may link it later if I check back on this thread]

NB. I find your comments about the Quran to be absurd. How can Uthman’s destruction of manuscripts mean that the Quranic text we have today is not the one which we had at the time of Uthman? You do realise all the companions were in agreement with Uthman’s actions – thus we can certainly be confident that the Quran we have today is the same as the companions verified and agreed upon it. What more can one ask for? Be consistent, who agreed and verified the NT texts? The original authors never even believed what they were writing was “inspired” thus nobody was walking around with the same care, urgency and respect for those texts as that of the Quran. Not only that, we know the idea of inspiration for those texts began to spring up decades or even centuries afterwards – so much so that Sinaiticus contains books (epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas) which aren’t even considered inspired to this day – there was huge debate over Revelation and the shorter epistles of Paul. This dispute was around at the time of Eusebius where books such as James and Jude were still being debated (amongst others).

Look, it’s obvious Christians would love to have had companions of Jesus agree on their text – it’s not the case. In fact, they don’t even have the companions of the authors of the NT books agree upon and control the dissemination of the text. It’s not the case.

PS Don’t bring up Ibn Masud. It’s been done to death and it’s tiring continually explaining this to Christians.

...Seriously you're just being insincere now or you're utterly unaware of Muslim responses. The Ibn Masud stuff has been done to death. Just seek it out and read up - after doing so you will see why I've dismissed it. The same applies to the Hadith you refer to.

The reason why we don't make a big deal about the manuscript tradition of the Quran as it was never important. Manuscripts were just used as aids for memorisation. Nobody was thinking, hold on folks we need to preserve these manuscripts so people in the future can have a Quran. It was and still is a living transmission. With the Bible it's different and now you guys are scratching around in rubbish heaps (yes the one in Egypt where the majority of MSS were found was a rubbish heap) trying to RECONSTRUCT (yes, the scholars say they try to theoretically construct the NT using available MSS) so much so that textual criticism scholars have given up on the original text.

As for your claim about NT books being debated; they were being debated because originally the authors didn't think their books were inspired and/or the immediate audience. These books ended up being included in the canon based on majority rule and it was all finalised in 397 at the council of Carthage. This actually militates against the belief the Holy Spirit guides Christians in Scripture as there were generations of Christians who did not even know what to consider inspired or not in those days where the Church was debating and deliberating.

In summary, we have a book which all Muslims accept as being complete and having been agreed upon by the companions (yes all of them) and agreed upon by every generation of Muslims thereafter coming to us through mass transmission. That's the Quran. Whilst on the hand the Christians have a book that none of the companions of Jesus nor their subsequent companions ever saw nor sanctioned. The subsequent generations never agreed upon what the Bible was (i.e. what should be in included) and it has never been considered complete since modern textual criticism - even to this day. Scholars look for new MSS every day trying to add to the Bible or at the very least find new "witnesses" to help verify the current text as the current text is not considered to be reliable nor complete. That's the Bible.

There's a world of difference. Christians would love to have a similar situation for their Bible as Muslims have for the Quran. This envy does not work both ways - Muslims would not want to be in the position of the Christian.

Be sincere brother. You'll admit this to yourself at the very least.


8. Vladimir Susic

You’re a young man, please be mindful of allowing an “us vs them” attitude to stultify you. A lot of this group mentality attacking and belittling Muslims on the internet from folks like Sam Shamoun, CP, David Wood etc. Is part of the clash of civilisations mentality and it demonizes Muslims. Jonathan himself had to be told off for propagating hoax-propaganda of “sharia-no-go-zones” in Europe and for intimating Muslims in Britain are a fifth column waiting to butcher Christians.

You’re from the Balkans and this region has within our lifetime had a bloody conflict between Christians and Muslims where Muslims were massacred.

The obvious concern here given your geographical location is this type of negative propaganda against Muslims and Islam has the potential to fuel further resentment between communities.

On top of this, Sam Shamoun recently posted on one of my YT vids explaining why he acts the way he does. In his formative years a Muslim belittled him and the Christian faith – this left Sam scarred and  partly motivated him to get into polemics against Muslims and Islam. The end result is now a  middle aged man who posts nonsense about Muslims on the net like Muslims can have sex with animals, dead women etc.

Look, Vlad, there’s a bigger world out there. As you gain more life experience you’ll see the need for Muslims and Christians to work together. In Western Europe there’s an onslaught on religion by the secularists. Dr Ali Ataie has told us the Christians aren;t our biggest enemy. The major threat to faith is Atheism and secular humanism right now.

Don’t allow people to snare you into little circles of angry Christian fundamentalism that lashes out against Muslims for reasons of ideology and/or cash.

Muslims and Christians need to work together
9. The response to Hamza Myatt was a microcosm of my theoretical landscape

I saw a comment from Hamza stating he has been misrepresented by Jon.  I don’t have the time to look into much more of this.

Muslims need to stand up for each other.  Sadly right now I detect a general trend amongst Christian apologists (I’m speaking generally here offering my observations) where they look down on Muslims and look up to Atheists/secularists.

A lot of this is due to the idea of a clash of civilisations so the Muslim is otherized to the extent that we receive comments from folk telling us we can’t be British and Muslim and not to mention the veiled death threats we receive from such folk. With the Atheists/secularis, they are seen by the Christians to be their intellectual superiors, their professors, their family members, their friends  and part of the fabric of the West (in fact the engine room and pioneers of the modern Western world).

Whilst Muslims are seen as pretty much the opposite thus when they see Muslims out-debating a Christian it turns their world upside down. The same happens when aboriginal Westerners convert to the faith of Islam.

I’ll give you a couple of examples to illustrate this. Tom Holland upon making the claim of Christianity being the root of Western civilisation Christians were fawning over him. Little did they realise his main focus was on the “Christian” teaching of separation of Church and State (something that  in the West has ironically precipitated  the rise of faithlessness and secularism!). Folks like John Calvin would not have agreed but nevertheless the Christians were lapping it up – their superior (a secularist) dropped a bit of praise on them. If a Muslim had done the same I doubt the same servile attention would have been given to him/her.

Just look at the arguments! Christian apologetics has invested billions into trying to convert secularists and they have employed their greatest thinkers in the West to try and engage with Atheists, Nones, etc. They’ve employed sophisticated arguments and have even compromised their faith principles (relented on female pastors, gay clergy, gay marriage, marriage after divorce if the ex is still alive, turned a blind eye to sex outside of marriage, loosened the concept of modest dress, minimized the Bible, etc.) in an effort to accommodate and bring into the Christian fold the secularists. They prize the secularist because the secularist is their superior, their family member and their professor/fave celeb.

But contrast that with what they do to Muslims. The Muslim is the other. Not a superior like the secularist. Not an equal. But a lesser specimen. They speak of Muslims as though Muslims are dimwits – this is reflected in the low level polemics of folk like David Wood and Sam Shamoun (cross dressing, sex with dead aunt, sex with animals, terrorism, polygamy etc.).  

Let me say it as I see it. These are my opinions. Not facts but simply my opinions.

In fact, James White and Jay Smith have pretty much given their opinion which conforms to my observation as to how many Christian missionaries are viewing Muslims consciously/subconsciously. They haven’t employed any of their great thinkers to dialogue with us but instead sent Christian missionaries who exploit asylum seekers, engage in the camel method of evangelism and various levels of contextualisation methods. There’s no concerted effort to engage with us intellectually. Their arguments amount to little more than mockery, abuse, otherization, low level polemics and/or emotional arguments (often taking advantage of the situation in the Middle East which was in large part created by Western interventionism but hey, they don’t bank on the Muslim to know this as the Muslim is assumed to be a lesser intellect).

Sometimes it’s said in a subtle way; in the West we learn to think critically but in the East they learn differently like critical thinking is exclusive to the “Christian” West (we know it’s the secular West but our Christian friends like to misappropriate the West to themselves whilst talking to us to try and impress the Muslim (shhh don’t tell the secularist what the Christian does in their absence)

So I say good on folks like Hashim, Hamza, Imran, Zakir Hussain, Mansur and Paul Williams for turning the worlds of some upside down. And good on the others who are following their lead whether on the net or in person.

I find it interesting that there’s an outcry because Hamza had the temerity to try and control a conversation with a young Christian lady. He’s being accused of “attacking women” and of intimidation tactics.

But when folks like Jay Smith and Beth Grove go beyond what Hamza did by bellowing down at confounded tourists who happen to be Muslims from little ladders it’s just a case of ahh those Muslims like it that way because they like to hear confidence and volume rather than logic. As we saw recently Jay Smith's colleagues (and by deduction colleagues of Jonathan McLatchie) aren't averse to delivering volume to Muslim ears in aggressive manners - check out Christian Peoples Alliance's Sid Cordle in action on, ironically, Hamza! Where's Jonathan and co to white-knight for Hamza? Nowhere. You see, Muslims aren't afforded white-knights in this arena.

Jay Smith can be suspected of making up malicious lies about Muslims in the park which endanger the lives of Muslims in Britain and in the rest of the West but there’s not a peep of public condemnation from anybody. No white-knights in sight coming to the aid of the Muslims. Yet we see three blokes invest more than 3 hours (and possibly still counting) up in arms because Hamza had a bit of a one sided discussion with a Christian lady.

I somehow doubt the same would’ve happened if it was an Atheist who bumped into Liz Mooney that day at Hyde Park 

The two chaps (suspected of being Muslims) braving the cold to listen in and learn from the teachings of Hamza were smeared as “intimidating” yet the followers/workers of Jay Smith who crowd old Muslim men who don’t know English well enough to even produce a coherent and meaningful response aren’t seen as intimidating.

Beth Grove can be rude and aggressive at Speakers Corner but when Muslims heckle, which is traditionally part of the course there, they are denounced as uncivilised (oh yeah I’ve seen some of the YT comments to that effect).

Maybe I’m seeing something that is not there. Or maybe others see what I see. It’s my personal view. I’m not saying all Christians are like this – I’m not even saying Jon or Chris are like this. I’m saying this seems to be an interesting area for folk to think about and debate. IF it is the case perhaps it’s not even done consciously by those involved. IF it’s not the case tell me why not. Let’s have a discussion. I’m seeing different standards being applied and I’ve been seeing this sort of stuff for a while now.

Is it possible Hamza has been a victim of double standards here – double standards operated by Christians?

10. James White and consistency

There was talk which seemed to present James White as a paragon of consistency. This is far from true – James gets caught up in inconsistency on a regular basis. He's consistently inconsistent.

He lambasts the idea of Functional Subordination yet JohnCalvin believed in subordination within the Trinity doctrine. James White is a Calvinist! The issue here is White probably doesn’t know (he’s not a scholar and I had to find this info. about John Calvin from Prof. Wayne Grudem)

White promotes/is friends with folk from the “Muslims treat women badly” cabal yet this doesn’t fit with distasteful and immature comments about Brigham Young’swives.

White lambasts others for attacking him yet he’s constantly berating Christians who don’t agree with him (as well as Muslims). Recently Prof. Leighton Flowers, the Arminianist, criticised him for his mocking , uncharitable and disrespectful comments in dialogue (those somments were mild in comparison to some of the stuff he comes out with). Is it any wonder we see three young men, Jonathan McLatchie, Vladimir Susic and Dr Chris Claus, followers of James White, exhibiting the same characteristics of James White; mockery, uncharitable comments, and belittlement of the "opponent"?

As for James' apologetics he’s not even consistent on his approach to Biblical preservation. In his attempts to turn the negative of no controlling authority over the NT transmission into a positive he attacks controlled textual transmission forgetting the OT was transmitted in a controlled manner!

My first interaction, not a pleasant experience considering he started belittling me as I was new to the game and had the audacity to correct him, was noticing he was using a translation of a Quranic Verse which was from his then teacher Sam Shamoun ( a bloke who doesn’t know Arabic either). This translation was not in conformation with any of the many known translations available. He used Shamoun's “translation” because it fitted his agenda at the time to build a polemic/rebuttal from and insulted me for calling him to account.

Do you want me to go on. I’ve been going on for a while so let’s leave it.

11. Message to Jonathan McLatchie

Jon, I’ve been informed you’ve recently been blocking people on social media again. I don’t think that’s the way to go about matters. Blocking people who you have even debated in the past is again just another way of closing doors on folk. Up to you if you want to take my advice.

I did notice, however, you blocked somebody suspected of being a Christian who was abusive in the comment section of one of your YT vid responses to Hamza. Fair play to you for not allowing such abuse of Muslims on your platform but I can’t help notice you haven’t censured Sam Shamoun who has again recently been calling us “sewage”. Also can you, with a clear conscious, say the videos you share on social media of Wood et al aren't offensive to Muslims too?

I understand it's more difficult with bigger personalities as you’re new to forging a career/reputation in Christian apologetics so coming out and rebuking folks like David Wood, Sam Shamoun and others you work with/for may seem like self harm but isn’t the “Gospel” not meant to go beyond concerns for oneself – I thought you peeps were meant to die for Jesus rather than even lie to save your lives. So what’s all this with the reluctance to censure your colleagues?

Staying on this theme, your colleague and friend Sam Shamoun recently denounced Dr Bassim Gorial’s ABN as money hungry and lacking integrity. Will you not at least try to look into this just in case Sam’s comments are referencing some sort of profiteering from donations – donations you help to bring in by volunteering to appear on ABN.

I must also take exception to this attitude that Hamza is afraid to debate. I don't think it was you who made the claim, to be fair to you. But you know, as well as we do, you've struggled in many apologetics interactions with experienced apologists - folks can see the Jonathan McLatchie section on my blog, the YT video responses to Jon by myself, Aqil and Darkness2noor (see our respective channels), Ijaz Ahmed and also see one of Jon's earlier dialogues at the park with Paul Williams and Mansur. For purposes of clarity, it's not because you are less intelligent or something like that.

Folks like David Wood censor and ignore responses on the net from people experienced in apologetics and they continue repeating the same old refuted arguments (not to mention inconsistent arguments as they backfire against the Bible) in the hope young and less informed Muslims are swayed by them. Perhaps this is giving the impression that Muslims are afraid. I don't know what it is but it's annoying; nobody is afraid.

Jon, finally have a read of this, I personally think James White would agree with what I'm saying here and I'd imagine folks like Richard Zetter and yourself will quietly nod in approval of my point:

How Jay Smith, Nabeel Qureshi, Sam Shamoun and David Wood Contriubute to the Apostasy of Christians