Many analysts believe that the radical organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood will gain great influence with a change of government in Egypt.
A closer examination of the secretive group provides insight as to why its possible climb to power has Western observers so uneasy.
Before Osama bin Laden formed al Qaeda, he belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood. So did his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri and the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
In addition, the terrorist group Hamas identifies itself as the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch.
Why are there so many jihadists drawn to the Brotherhood? The group’s official motto may tell the story.
* Allah is our objective.
* The prophet is our leader.
* Qur’an is our law.
* Jihad is our way.
* Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Egypt, with the goal of spreading Islamic Sharia law worldwide and uniting all Muslim nations into one Islamic super state. It was eventually banned in Egypt, but for the past several decades has worked behind the scenes to the point where it’s now considered the most influential Islamist organization in the world — with chapters in more than 100 countries.
“It has been repressed in Egypt and in many other countries where the Brotherhood has affiliates and entities,” said retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Myers, who has called the Brotherhood an “insurgency movement.”
“The state security services work against them because they are a subversive insurgent organization and they conduct terrorist acts and have been involved in violence as well,” Myers told CBN News. “Seeking to overthrow and change the governments where they’re represented.”
Although the group has been severely repressed in Egypt for years, it represents that country’s most organized and powerful opposition force.
Former FBI Special Agent John Guandolo told CBN News the United States must become more aware of the Brotherhood’s growing influence.
“Here in the United States, virtually every prominent Islamic organization is controlled and led by the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Gunadolo. “Why this is key, is because they see that they are going to destroy our Western civilization from within.”
The Brotherhood’s immediate goal, though, is an Islamic state in Egypt — and an end to that country’s peace treaty with Israel.
@umersultan There is no error in what was posted. All of it is completely accurate and comes directly from accepted authentic Islamic scholars, just not from Islamic Apologists that are obeying their religion through Taqiyya. When Osama bin Laden says Islam will dominate the world and that all is justified by the Qu’ran, Hadith, Sunnah/Sunnat and Islamic Apologists say Islam is a religion of peace, it is bin Laden who is being truthful.
And before you find it necessary to start quoting the Qu’ran about its peaceful Suras, they are subject to abrogation.
It is because Christians, and many Muslims, do not understand this doctrine of abrogation coupled with the nonchronological order of the Quran that they do not understand what is going on in the Islamic world at this time. On the one hand, many Islamic leaders will claim that their religion is a peaceful one, and quote passages from the Quran to prove it. On the other hand, other Islamic leaders will call for terrorism and jihad and base their call on the same Quran. Most of us would view this a simple matter of how the Quran is interpreted, but such is not the case. The peaceful passages within the Quran are found in the early days of Muhammad’s recitations, during a time when he felt that his new religion would be a unifying factor among “People of the Book” (Jews, Christians and Muslims). When his doctrine was ultimately rejected by Jews and Christians he turned on them and “was given” new “revelations” of war and hate to replace the former ones of peace. The surahs, which teach jihad against Jews, Christians and unbelievers, are all found in the later time frame of the Quran. Passages of a later date include 2:190-193,216; 4:74,89,91,95,101-102; 5:33,51; 8:12,39,60,65,67,69; 9:5,29,30,73; 47:4; 59:2-4,5,14 and 61:4. While such passages are scattered throughout the Quran, they are all chronologically of later origin and have, according to the doctrine of abrogation, replaced the former teachings on peace.
Two huge processes are happening right before our eyes. One is the Arab liberation revolution that is instigated by Islamic tyrants to be that seek to impose strict Sharia Law and end freedom, free speech and all that is non-Islamic. After half a century during which moderate Arab leaders have ruled the Arab world, their control is weakening. After 40 years of decaying stability, the rot is eating into the stability. The Arab masses will no longer accept what they used to accept. The Fundamental Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood are seeing their chance to seize control in the false name of “the people”.
Processes that have been roiling beneath the surface for about a decade are suddenly bursting out in a scripted show of violence and rioting. Modernization, globalization, telecommunications and Islamization have created a critical mass that cannot be stopped. The example of a possible democratic Iraq is awakening others, and Al Jazeera’s accurate broadcasts are fanning the flames. And so the Tunisia fell, Cairo is falling and other Arab moderate states will fall.
The scenes are similar to the Palestinian uprising of 1987, but the collapse recalls the Soviet collapse in Eastern Europe of 1989. No one knows where the uprising will lead. No one knows whether it will bring Islamic Tyranny or a modified Sharia compliant democracy. But things will never again be the same.
The old order in the Middle East is crumbling. Just as the revolution in the 1950s brought down the Arab monarchism that had relied on the colonial powers, the 2011 revolution in the square is bringing down the Arab leaders who were dependent on the United States.
The second process is the acceleration of the decline of the West. For some 60 years the West gave the world imperfect but stable order. It built a kind of post-imperial empire that provided relative quiet and maximum peace. The rise of China, India, Brazil and Russia, like the economic crisis in the United States, has made it clear that the empire is beginning to fade.
And yet, the West has maintained a needed sort of international hegemony that has helped temper the radicalism of Islamists and assisted to maintain the moderate Arab leaders such as Mubarak in the Middle East. Just as no replacement has been found for the dollar, none has been found for American leadership. As Stealth Jihad has taken hold in the West, the Western countries’ show only a very poor handling of the Middle East. Right before our eyes the superpowers that maintained the freedoms the world has known, especially in the Middle East are becoming dhummi to the Tyranny of Islam.
There are no excuses for the contradictions. How can it be that Bush’s America understood the problem of repression in the Arab world, but not the deep seeded threat of Islamic Tyranny represented by the Muslim Brotherhood and its off shoots such as Al-Qaeda , and Obama’s America ignored it until last week and now is taking sides against freedom and moderate leaders such as Mubarak? How can it be that in May 2009, Hosni Mubarak was an esteemed president whom Barack Obama respected, and in January 2011, Mubarak is a dictator whom even Obama is casting aside? How can it be that in June 2009, Obama didn’t support the masses who came out against the zealot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while now he stands by the masses who are coming out against the moderate Mubarak?
There is one answer: The West’s position is not a moral one that reflects a real commitment to human rights. The West’s position reflects the adoption of Jimmy Carter’s worldview: kowtowing to benighted, strong tyrants while abandoning moderate, weak ones.
Carter’s betrayal of the Shah brought us the ayatollahs, and will soon bring us ayatollahs with nuclear arms. The consequences of the West’s betrayal of Mubarak will be no less severe. It’s not only a betrayal of a leader who was loyal to the West, served stability and encouraged moderation. It’s a betrayal of every ally of the West in the Middle East and the developing world. The message is sharp and clear: The West’s word is no word at all; an alliance with the West is not an alliance. The West has lost it. The West has stopped being a leading and stabilizing force around the world.
The Islamic Tyranny revolution will fundamentally change the Middle East. The acceleration of the West’s decline will change the world. One outcome will be a surge toward China, Russia and regional powers like Brazil, Turkey and Iran. Another will be a series of international flare-ups stemming from the West’s lost deterrence. But the overall outcome will be the collapse of North Atlantic political hegemony not in decades, but in years. When the United States and Europe bury Mubarak now, they are also burying the powers they once were. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the age of Western hegemony is fading away and with it the last hope for freedom, human rights and decency. It is the beginning of perpetual violence, oppression of woman, Christians, Jews, loss of free speech, loss of freedom, and war.
Muslim Zombies Spreading Islam
There is no God but Allah because we are deceived.
False God Allah’s false prophet is Mohammad, damnable be his name.
If you do not accept our false God, we will kill you because Islam is a religion of peace.
If you tell the truth about the false God Allah, we will kill you because Islam is a religion of peace.
If you tell the truth about our pedofile, murderer, rapist, thief false prophet, we will kill you because Islam a religion of peace.
If you tell the truth about the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ, we will lie that Jesus was not the Son of God and the Savior of the world, and we will kill you because Islam is a religion of peace.
If you question that Islam is the religion of peace, we will lie to you as Mohammad taught. This is called Taqiyya, then we will kill you because Islam a religion of peace.
If you stop being deceived and leave Islam, we will kill you because Islam a religion of peace.
If a Muslim woman disobeys a Muslim man, we will kill you because Islam a religion of peace.
Suddenly, Washington is consumed with a question too long ignored: Can we safely do business with the Muslim Brotherhood?
The reason this question has taken on such urgency is, of course, because the Muslim Brotherhood (or MB, also known by its Arabic name, the Ikhwan) is poised to emerge as the big winner from the chaos now sweeping North Africa and increasingly likely to bring down the government of the aging Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak.
In the wake of growing turmoil in Egypt, a retinue of pundits, professors and former government officials has publicly insisted that we have nothing to fear from the Ikhwan since it has eschewed violence and embraced democracy.
For example, Bruce Reidel, a controversial former CIA analyst and advisor to President Obama, posted an article entitled “Don’t Fear Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood” at the Daily Beast. In it, he declared: “The Egyptian Brotherhood renounced violence years ago, but its relative moderation has made it the target of extreme vilification by more radical Islamists. Al Qaeda’s leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, started their political lives affiliated with the Brotherhood but both have denounced it for decades as too soft and a cat’s paw of Mubarak and America.”
Then, there was President George W. Bush’s former press spokeswoman, Dana Perino, who went so far on January 28th as to tell Fox News “…And don’t be afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This has nothing to do with religion.”
One reason we might be misperceiving the MB as no threat is because a prime source of information about such matters is the Muslim Brotherhood itself. As the Center for Security Policy’s new, best-selling Team B II report entitled, Shariah: The Threat to America found:
“It is now public knowledge that nearly every major Muslim organization in the United States is actually controlled by the MB or a derivative organization. Consequently, most of the Muslim-American groups of any prominence in America are now known to be, as a matter of fact, hostile to the United States and its Constitution.”
In fact, for much of the past two decades, a number of these groups and their backers (including, notably, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal) have cultivated extensive ties with U.S. government officials and agencies under successive administrations of both parties, academic centers, financial institutions, religious communities, partisan organizations and the media. As a result, such American entities have been subjected to intense, disciplined and sustained influence operations for decades.
Unfortunately, the relationships thus developed and the misconceptions thus fostered are today bearing poisonous fruit with respect to shaping U.S. policy towards the unfolding Egyptian drama.
A notable example is the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). A federal judge in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial – which successfully prosecuted the nation’s largest terrorism financing conspiracy – found that CAIR was indeed a front for the Ikhwan’s Palestinian affiliate, Hamas. Nonetheless, Fox News earlier today interviewed the Executive Director of CAIR’s Chicago office, Ahmed Rehab, whom it characterized as a “Democracy Activist.”
True to form, Rehab called for the removal of Mubarak’s regime and the institution of democratic elections in Egypt. This is hardly surprising since, under present circumstances, such balloting would likely have the same result it did in Gaza a few years back: the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood and the institution of brutally repressive theocratic rule, in accordance with the totalitarian Islamic politico-military-legal program known as shariah.
An important antidote to the seductive notions being advanced with respect to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – and, for that matter, in Western nations like ours – by the Ikhwan’s own operatives, their useful idiots and apologists is the Team B II report. It should be considered required reading by anyone who hopes to understand, let alone to comment usefully upon, the MB’s real character and agenda.
For example, Shariah: The Threat to America provides several key insights that must be borne in mind in the current circumstances especially:
* “The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928. Its express purpose was two-fold: (1) to implement shariah worldwide, and (2) to re-establish the global Islamic State (caliphate).
* “Therefore, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood have the same objectives. They differ only in the timing and tactics involved in realizing them.
* “The Brotherhood’s creed is: ‘God is our objective; the Koran is our law; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.’”
* It is evident from the Creed, and from the Brotherhood’s history (and current activities)…that violence is an inherent part of the MB’s tactics. The MB is the root of the majority of Islamic terrorist groups in the world today.
* The Muslim Brotherhood is the ‘vanguard’ or tip-of-the-spear of the current Islamic Movement in the world. While there are other transnational organizations that share the MB’s goals (if not its tactics) – including al Qaeda, which was born out of the Brotherhood – the Ikhwan is by far the strongest and most organized. The Muslim Brotherhood is now active in over 80 countries around the world.
Of particular concern must be the purpose of the Brotherhood in the United States and other nations of the Free World:
* “…The Ikhwan’s mission in the West is sedition in the furtherance of shariah’s supremacist agenda, not peaceful assimilation and co-existence with non-Muslim populations.”
* “The Ikhwan believes that its purposes in the West are, for the moment, better advanced by the use of non-violent, stealthy techniques. In that connection, the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to establish relations with, influence and, wherever possible, penetrate: government circles in executive and legislative branches at the federal, state and local levels; the law enforcement community; intelligence agencies; the military; penal institutions; the media; think tanks and policy groups; academic institutions; non-Muslim religious communities; and other elites.
* “The Brothers engage in all of these activities and more for one reason: to subvert the targeted communities in furtherance of the MB’s primary objective – the triumph of shariah.”
In short, the Muslim Brotherhood – whether it is operating in Egypt, elsewhere in the world or here – is our enemy. Vital U.S. interests will be at risk if it succeeds in supplanting the present regime in Cairo, taking control in the process not only of the Arab world’s most populous nation but its vast, American-supplied arsenal. It is no less reckless to allow the Brotherhood’s operatives to enjoy continued access to and influence over our perceptions of their true purposes, and the policies adopted pursuant thereto.
The ideology of Islam fully implemented under Sharia Law, consistent with the koran, sira and hadith, condemns freedom (speech, conscience, religion association, press, petition of government), forbids equality (between men and women, muslims and non-muslims) and denies traditional sovereignty (national boundaries, secular law, native culture). Any form of sharia, implicit (in mosques and ‘at home’) or explicit (as practiced in UK civil courts, as promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the United Nations), denies human rights to women, children and non-muslims. Therefore, allowing sharia in this Constitutional Republic or any non-islamic nation violates our basic laws of freedom, including freedom of choice. The tenets of islam as codified in sharia are supremacist, discriminatory and misogynist; they invite or encourage deception toward non-muslims and mandate perpetual hostility to that which is not islamic. Sharia must be banned as being unConstitutional and its promotion labeled seditious, as it calls for the replacement of man-made law with “divine” sharia.
Whatever in islam that may be spiritual and promote the salvation of the soul is of little interest to me, unless and until it affects non-muslims, at which point it becomes political doctrine. And if this political doctrine calls for harm, subjugation, taxation, terrorizing and death, it is a free-people’s right and obligation to resist.
Speak about islam and sharia in this way. Challenge your listeners not to believe anything about islam that is not consistent with the foundational texts of islam and its body of law, for to do so is to be deceived and ignorant.
ORIGINAL POSTING Website:
Jeff Dunham – Achmed the Dead Muslim Terrorist
Islam is more than a religion or even a cult, it is a totalitarian system that rules by fear and violence. This fight we have with Islam is not about land, Islam does not co-exist,it does not assimilate into the society in which it lives, it’s mission is to conquer and rule completely, until it makes the whole world muslim. When muslims hold the majority in any land, like the serpent it rises up and strikes.
Bill Aimed at Protecting S.C. From Foreign Law Introduced in Legislature
by W. Thomas Smith Jr. 01/26/2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A legislative initiative aimed at preventing “a court or other enforcement authority” from enforcing foreign law in the Palmetto State was introduced today in both the S.C. House and Senate by Rep. Wendy Nanney (who drafted the bill) and Sen. Mike Fair respectively, who say the bill will preempt violations of a person’s constitutional rights resulting from the application of foreign law.
Legislators and other proponents of the bill say America has unique values of liberty which do not exist in foreign legal systems. Yet foreign laws are increasingly finding their way into U.S. court cases, particularly in the area of family law, involving divorce and child custody where, for instance, Islamic Shariah Law has been invoked in several U.S. states.
According to Christopher Holton with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy (CSP), “There are numerous examples in dozens of states in which parties to such a dispute attempted to invoke Shariah.”
David Yersushalmi, general counsel to the CSP, argues it’s not just “patently bad foreign laws [creeping into our court systems],” it’s that once in the system, the state’s police power would be used to “enforce laws that could never pass federal or state constitutional muster.”
Fair agrees, which is why he introduced the bill in the Senate.
“S.C., like other states, recognizes the need to assert the fact that our state and U.S. constitutions are the basis for civil law in our country,” says Fair. “Some locales have been threatened by the encroachment of foreign law into local, state and or federal law despite obvious violations of our constitutions. A growing concern is the immigration of people who are accustomed to their religion and their civil laws being inextricably connected. For those newcomers to our state, this bill will be helpful to them as they are assimilated into our culture maintaining complete freedom to worship as they please.”
Nanney, who introduced the bill in the House with 20 sponsors and co-sponsors, says that “in speaking with several family court judges, I’ve learned that foreign law has been invoked here in S.C.” She adds, that foreign law includes not just foreign religious law, but foreign secular law from various countries.
Problem is few South Carolinians – or Americans for that matter – are aware of this, until now.
Similar bills were successfully supported last year in Louisiana and Tennessee.
Mr. Smith is a contributor to Human Events. A former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor, he writes about military/defense issues and has covered conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq and Lebanon. He is the author of six books, and his articles appear in a variety of publications. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Christians Under Siege: The Challenge of Religious Pluralism in the Muslim World
Conflicts and killings from Africa to Southeast Asia have brought into sharp relief the significant threat to religious minorities in some Muslim societies. While constitutionally entitled in many countries to equality of citizenship and religious freedom, religious minorities in the Muslim world increasingly fear the erosion of their rights — and with good reason. Interreligious and inter-communal tensions have flared up not only in Egypt and Malaysia but also in Sudan, Nigeria, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan. Conflicts have varied from acts of discrimination, to forms of violence escalating to murder, to the destruction of villages and mosques.
Majorities of Muslims and Christians embrace religious diversity. However, a significant minority of hard-line conservative, fundamentalist, and militant Muslims — like their counterparts in Christianity and Judaism — are not pluralistic, but rather strongly exclusivist in their attitudes toward other faiths and even fellow believers with whom they disagree. As recent events in Egypt and Pakistan illustrated, these myopic religious worldviews can turn ugly.
The Coptic Christian community in Egypt is an ancient faith group whose presence in Egypt predates the coming of Islam. Relations between Copts and Muslims in society had generally been good. However, in recent decades, extremists have targeted Copts and the government. While the government has addressed their status as a security issue, it has failed to respond to the desire of Egypt’s Christian Copts for full equality of citizenship: equal treatment with regard to building their churches; appointment into top positions, and non-discriminatory policies.
In the past year, extremists have again targeted Coptic Christians. In the town of Nag Hamadi in southern Egypt, seven people were killed when gunmen sprayed automatic fire into a crowd of churchgoers after a Coptic New Year’s eve midnight mass on Jan. 7, 2010. Officials believed the attack was in retaliation for the November rape of a Muslim girl by a Christian man. But in December 2010, Egyptians were shocked when Muslim militants slaughtered 25 and injured another 100 Coptic Christian worshipers in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve.
The magnitude of the atrocity triggered an unprecedented public outcry. Egyptian government officials, Muslim religious leaders, the media, and civil society moved quickly to condemn the attacks. Islamic leaders and groups from the Muslim Brotherhood to Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sheik of al-Azhar (Egypt’s highest religious authority) and the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, along with the Coptic Pope Shenouda III, all came out with strong condemnatory statements and calls for Egyptian unity. Across the country Egyptians rallied to the defense of the Coptic community, its freedoms and its security. Thousands of Muslims turned out at Coptic Christmas eve mass services on Jan 6, 2011 around the country for candle light vigils and to serve as human shields and protect Coptic churches as they celebrated their Christmas. In Pakistan the assassination of a major politician who opposed its blasphemy law and its aftermath signaled any even more critical and worrisome threat.
A Christian woman, Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of four was sentenced to death on charges of insulting Islam, in a case stemming from a village dispute. This case is not an isolated incident; allegations of blasphemy against the Prophet or desecration of the Quran have often been used against Christians in local disputes.
Asia Bibi, believed to be the first woman sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, strongly denied the charges and requested a presidential pardon. In November 2010 the Lahore High Court in Pakistan barred President Asif Ali Zardari from issuing a pardon. The issue resurrected calls in Pakistan and internationally for the recall of the blasphemy law. The violent reactions of militant religious leaders and mosque preachers triggered the assassination of Salmaan Taseer — the governor of Punjab and an outspoken critic of the blasphemy law — by one of his bodyguards who shot him 27 times on 4 January 2011. The assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, admitted that he was influenced by the fiery sermons of militant preachers who had denounced Taseer. According to Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, an internationally recognized expert on Sout Asian politics:
Taseer’s death has unleashed the mad dogs of hell, inspiring the minority of fanatics to go to any lengths to destroy the democratic, secular and moderate Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We Pakistanis are at the edge of a precipice and as a consequence the stability of the entire region is at risk. Not a single registered mullah in the city of Lahore with its 13 million people was willing to read Taseer’s funeral prayers, because they were too scared to do so. Five hundred lawyers have signed up to defend Taseer’s killer Mumtaz Qadri, but Taseer’s wife cannot find a single criminal lawyer to prosecute him. It is hard to see which judge is even likely to pursue the case to its obvious conclusion.
Shockingly, the assassin has been greeted as a celebrity and hero. The extent of extremist influence, its power to turn out large street demonstrations and to intimidate liberal reformers could be seen in mass street rallies like that in Karachi where more than 40,000 people took to the streets in his support. At the same time, a notable number of more mainstream as well as militant religious leaders were quick to come out against repeal of the blasphemy law and the government has been quick to retreat, declaring it would never amend the law. The deafening silence of marginalized liberals and reformers, who fear to speak out, and political parties has been testimony of the extent to which extremists have been able to threaten and intimidate, target, issue death threats and kill. This is nothing new. Two of Pakistan’s prominent reformist Islamic scholars and popular television preachers, Dr. Tahir al-Qadri and Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, have been forced in recent years to flee the country and live in exile in Canada and Malaysia.
Muhammad Tahir al-Qadri authored a 600 page fatwa, an exhaustive study of what the Quran and Islamic sources have to say about the use of violence, terrorism, suicide bombing. Qadri categorically and unequivocally rejects all acts of illegitimate violence, terrorism and every act of suicide bombing against all human beings, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. He also distances himself from all, whether fellow prominent religious leaders or Muslim youth, who have the potential to be radicalized, who would seek to justify and excuse suicide bombing and terrorism for any reason.
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, who fled to Malaysia last year after police foiled a plot to bomb his Lahore home has publicly opposed the blasphemy laws since the assassination of Salmaan Taseer. Like al-Qadri’s condemnation of terrorism and suicide bombings, Ghamidi attacks the blasphemy law on religious grounds, maintaining it has no foundation in either the Qur’an or the Hadith — the sayings of the prophet Muhammad.
Religious tolerance and equality of citizenship remain fragile both in secular Muslim countries and in self-styled Islamic states. Mainstream Muslim religious and political leaders and the media need to not only condemn religious extremism and terrorism, as many have done nationally and internationally, but also speak out against those mainstream religious leaders and others who continue to advocate religious exclusivist theologies or doctrines and their implementation in law and society.
Critical is the implementation of reforms in religious thought, in law, and in society to ensure equality of citizenship. Both Muslim and Christian religious leaders will need to work more closely on religious and curricula reforms for madrasas, seminaries, schools, and universities and utilize mass media, the internet, and other avenues of popular culture. Failure to do so will not only feeds the growth of religious extremism but also contributes to the mentality of sectors of mainstream society, the estimated 500 to 800 lawyers, who offered to represent the self-confessed killer, and the physicians, teachers, police and others who have also publicly supported him.
The plight of Christians and other minorities in some Muslim countries in the face of a significant and dangerous minority of religious extremists and the failures of political and religious leaders threatens both the safety and security of religious minorities and the very fabric of Muslim societies.
Note: This post was co-authored by Sheila B. Lalwani.
Prof. John L. Esposito, author of The Future of Islam, is University Professor of Religion & International Affairs at Georgetown University and founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Sheila B. Lalwani is a Research Fellow at the Center.
Qu’ran Sura 67. Al-Mulk (The Sovereignty, Control)
3. He Who created the seven heavens one above another:
Islam has seven heavens? To which do these correspond to 9 Levels of Hell: Dante’s Inferno?
Dante Alighieri’s ‘Inferno’ is the most recognized and popular non-religious description of hell and its various levels, and frankly he has done a great job! Written during the medieval period from 1307-1321, Dante Alighieri has brilliantly described the 9 levels of hell in simple and believable words making the entire piece of work very approachable and believable. Below are the different levels of hell described in ‘Inferno’ by Dante.
Dante describes that he found himself in the woods through which he found a passing beneath an arch, through which he entered ante hell and once he entered the arch, it couldn’t be seen. The upper hell is also referred to as ‘Nowhere’ and is known to exist outside the Acheron river of pitch black, heavily flowing water. Dante said that people who have failed to make any choices in life are found running in this place forever, trying to reach to an end which can’t be reached, constantly bitten by invisible worms and insects and stung by wasps. Dante also saw some bronze jars scattered in the mud with spirits of people trapped inside and faint voices seeking help. Dante also said that anyone who contacted river Acheron would be trapped for ever in the freezing cold river, trying hard but unable to move making the experience quite uncomfortable and scary. Dante saw a ferry run by Charon, a tall old man with eyes like burning coal and long white beard, who carries everyone who wants to cross the river Acheron and go to the first circle of hell.
Level 1: The Limbo
The Limbo is the first circle of hell, consisting of pleasing white Mediterranean style villas and plain green fields, the air is clean and fresh, there is peace and beauty, but still there is a certain sadness in the atmosphere. This is so because the limbo is the place for people who are not exactly sinners. These spirits reside here because there was lack of hope and eternal believe in God. People who were born before the time of Christ, the un-baptized, the infants who still bear the burden of the original sin etc are the people who reside here. Dante was accompanied by Virgil, a famous Roman poet who also belonged to this circle. Dante saw many famous personalities like Caesar, Brutus, Socrates, Aristotle and many classy poets and thinkers in this level.
Level 2: The Lustful
Dante explains the next level of hell as a place for those who sinned through their sexual lust excessively. All the souls that resided in this level were of those who gave their sexual passion and lust more importance than the love of God. Dante explains that these souls are punished by whirling eternally in a cloudy and murky air by a strong air current. The harsh winds lashes at these souls and they keep on spinning through the air in darkness endlessly. Dante saw the souls of great lovers like Helen, Cleopatra, Tristan etc in this level. He also saw the souls of unsuccessful lovers standing on the ground, trying to get caught in the gale.
Level 3: The Gluttonous
If you know what are the seven deadly sins, you would know that gluttony is one of them. The souls of the Gluttons who failed to utilize the gifts given to them by God in a meaningful and higher way, and wasted their lives in consuming excess and giving nothing but garbage in their lives, are the ones who reside in the third level of hell. Dante describes this level as a gigantic garbage dump, the atmosphere being freezing with rain and stinking snow with the damned spirits lying in the freezing icy paste, swollen and lewd.
Level 4: The Spendthrifts and The Hoarders
This level is for the people who were hoarding and wasting wealth and other necessary things all their lives without realizing the importance of sharing and saving. In this level, the souls are divided into two furious mobs, punished by carrying heavy boulder like weights on their back which represents the wealth that they accumulated in their life. The 2 mobs tend to clash with each other, with each side screaming , ‘why hoard’ and ‘why waste’? These souls keep on rolling and pushing weights for eternity as punishments in never ending rage. Dante also saw the souls of some priests, popes and cardinals who had extreme greed for material wealth rather than spiritual wealth.
Level 5: The River Styx
Dante describes this level to be covered by a thick fog with a stinking swamp which is ankle deep. The wrathful and the gloomy and depressed souls reside in this level of hell. These souls are filled with anger and wrath due to which they constantly keep on attacking other souls and at times bite themselves too. Dante also saw some bubbles forming in the slime which are supposedly the souls of the sullen and gloomy who failed to accept the spiritual awakening when they were alive and chose to stay in the gloomy and depressing darkness. Therefore, as punishment, these souls are buried under the stinking water of river Styx.
Level 6: The City of Dis
Level 6 is where you actually arrive to the city of Dis where reside the ‘Arch-heretics’. These were the people who denied in the afterlife and the immortality of the soul. The city of Dis consists of huge iron walls and burning tombs all around the landscape. There is also a huge white marble mausoleum with slabs imprisoning an unbeliever with their birth and death date listed along with their name. There are groans, curses, whimpers and rage noises coming from the tombs.
Level 7: The Violent
This level is meant for the spirits who sinned in violence. This level is divided into 3 circles according to the type of violence that one is condemned for. These circles are explained as under.
1. The River Phlegethon: [This sure seems to be where most Islamic Jihadists would be - editors note]
This ring is for the tyrants and the murderers, especially those, who in the form of homicide, malice and destruction, incorporated violence not only in their own lives, but also made others suffer. This ring consists of river Phlegethon which consists of boiling blood and smells of strong fresh and clotted blood. As these people played with blood when they were alive, this level punishes them to be immersed in the boiling blood forever. The depth of immersion depends upon the degree of sin from ankle length to over the head. This level also consists of people for whom violence was a part of their duty and they happily enjoyed it. Dante also saw an island at this level consisting of officials who let the criminals loose on purpose, and also people who murdered due to a reason which can be considered ‘justified’. These people are suppose to keep the souls under their feet too injured to fight or try to get up. So, although, they are not boiling in blood, they still are not in a happy or peaceful place.
2. Violence Against Self: The next ring in level 7 of hell consists of those souls who committed violence against themselves which includes, suicide, gambling etc. The souls of the suicides are fastened in thorny trees with black leaves. These trees are constantly torn by Harpies, the overseers of these damned souls. When these creatures feed upon the damned souls by tearing and biting their leaves and limbs, the wounds in the tree bleed. Only when the souls encased in the trees bleed, can they speak and express their pain. The punishment is that these souls who destroyed their own bodies and the chance to express themselves when they were alive should be condemned to stay in human form and given the chance to express themselves only when they bleed and get destroyed by the Harpies. You will also find the souls of people who destroyed their wealth in gambling, running through the deep dark forest, chased by a group of wild dogs who tear them apart, when caught. A stream of River Phlegethon flows to this ring as well.
3. Violence Against God: The last ring of the 7th level of hell is for those who sinned in violence against God and nature. These are the souls of the blasphemers, sodomites and usurers. The violent blasphemers against God are stretched naked with their face upward on the ground with the burning rain pouring over them. They also shout and curse God. The sodomites wander in the hot sand for eternity, naked and squatting with their arms. The usurers who were violent against art and nature lie crouching on the hot sand with concealed identity and money bags hanging from their necks. They wear fine dresses, the colors of which express their family shields but this signifies that they were so concerned with material goods that they ended up loosing their actual identity.
Level 8: Malebolge
This level is for those who were fraudulent in their lives, who betrayed the people who put their trust on them. This level is divided into 10 bolge depending upon the kind of fraud and betrayal one has done.
1. Panderers and Seducers: This is where the souls of the seducers and the panderers reside, even pimps, movie producers, emotional rapists are found here. These souls are condemned to walk endlessly driven by the lashes of tall horned ugly looking demons.
2. Flatterers: This bolge consists of the souls of advertisers and people who falsely flattered when they were alive. The structure of these souls are altered physically in such a way that whenever they speak, excrement comes out as their punishment.
3. Simoniacs: These are the people who corrupt the holy things. These souls are punished by laying upside down in a hole filled with oil. Only their feet is visible and the rest of the body is immersed in oil. The flames of fire pour on their feet. Simoniacs include the new age gurus claiming and ‘selling’ enlightenment, Pope Nicholas II etc.
4. Fortune Tellers: This section consists of the fortune tellers, the soothsayers and the sorcerers. They are punished by twisting their necks backwards so that they always move forward by moving backward. Even teachers who referred a slow reader as ‘dyslexic’ and predicting a child’s educational future are found here.
5. Grafters and Barrators: Here lie the soul of the people who stole once trusted, and those who took money adopting unethical ways. These souls are immersed in boiling pitch. They fear to take their heads out as the demons will tear them into pieces with their powerful claws and pitchforks.
6. Hypocrites: The sixth bolge of the eighth level is to punish the hypocrites. These souls wear heavy leaden robes and have hoods covering their eyes. They look defeated, weary and are in great pain. The punishment is to walk round and round in a narrow track for eternity. If the sinner stops to walk, the cloak becomes more hot.
7. Thieves: This is the widest bolge than all other in this level. These souls wander naked and are constantly attacked by snakes which when bite the souls, turn the souls into flames and ashes, after a few seconds, these ashes are again turned into shades and again attacked by the snakes. Many a times, the shade bitten by the snake turns into a human soul and the soul bitten turns into a snake. This keeps on happening resulting in unending chasing and attacks all the time.
8. False Counselors: All you can find in this bolge are the bright flames burning all over the place. These flames are supposed to be the souls of the false counselors and therefore will keep burning like this for eternity.
9. Sowers of Discord, Scandal and Schism: In the words of Dante, “And just as their sin was to rend asunder what God had meant to be united, so are they hacked and torn through all eternity by a great demon with a bloody sword. After each mutilation the souls are compelled to drag their broken bodies around the pit and to return to the demon, for in the course of the circuit their wounds knit in time to be inflicted anew.”
10. Falsifiers: All the souls that have sinned falsifying in life, are plagued with all types of illnesses including STD’s, rabies, leprosy and are forced to drag themselves on the ground in order to move forwards because their illness has made them so weak.
Level 9: Cocytus
The last level of hell is meant for the traitors which also happens to be the place where Satan resides himself. Dante defines that the frozen pool of coytus seems to be like a sheet of glass and the freezing breeze takes away all the warmth present in the atmosphere. These winds are from the wings of Satan flapping eternally to freeze the souls to chilling ice with their heads facing up and their eyes frozen with tears. Lucifer, the other name for Satan has 3 faces colored, red, yellow and black. Each of the face is chewing a famous traitor. The red face is said to chew the soul of Judas Iscariot, the black face is chewing Marcus Brutus and the yellow is chewing Caius Cassius Longinus who took part in the conspiracy against Caesar.
So these were the different levels of hell explained in the non religious description in Dante’s Inferno. Before that we also had a look in what the Bible had to say about the levels of hell. As mentioned earlier, these are all interpretations and attempts to know what happens when you die? What is the truth about hell or heaven? The reality is that no one can know this for sure, unless one experiences it on its own. Though reading and researching helps us make a picture, the levels of hell, is yet again another mystery that will be solved in its own time. To conclude I would like to quote a saying by Saint Augustine,”It is my opinion that the nature of hell-fire and the location of hell are known to no man unless the Holy Ghost made it known to him by a special revelation”, (City of God XX.16). Hope you enjoyed reading it.
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