After reading a few of columnist Ralph Peters’ increasingly bizarre articles in the New York Post such as this and this, I felt the overwhelming need to respond because, although it was nice to see Mr. Peters take time off from his usual job of blasting the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, it was a tad disconcerting to see him set his sights instead on American citizens and European Christians whose views on the nexus between terrorism and Islam differ from his own. In these two over-the-top columns he basically accused the West of instigating attacks by Muslim terrorists, thereby aiding and abetting those who seek to destroy liberty, modernity, and moderation.
In the first column, entitled “Islam Haters”, Peters not only compares those with whom he disagrees to the KKK and blast them as anti-Semitic in a text-book exercise in Stalinist intimidation; he also compares the more barbaric passages in the Koran and Islamic tradition to the Old Testament book of Joshua and to Christian tradition! This exercise in moral equivalence is so insidious that it cannot go unchallenged.
The Koran is considered by Muslims to be the eternal word of God Himself as revealed to the Prophet Mohammad verbatim by the Angel Gabriel in 610 A.D. It is revered by Muslims as perfect and universal. The actions of the Prophet Mohammad are also considered divinely inspired and thus perfect. The Judeo-Christian Bible, in contrast was written by men, all of whom were prophets or Apostles but none claimed that what they wrote was dictated verbatim by God (with the exception of the Ten Commandments and quotes from Jesus- both of which are benign, not violent.) There is room in Western tradition, then for interpretation and an allowance for human error. Any deviation from the text of the Koran is considered apostasy under Islamic law- punishable by death; thus when the Koran (in Sura 9:5) commands Muslims to “slay the Idolaters wherever you find them.” It is not a historical narrative of a past battle as in the book of Joshua, but rather a mandate for right behavior in God’s service. It is also, not coincidentally, one of the many Koranic passages often quoted by bin-Laden in justifying his Jihad against the West. I would like Mr. Peters to quote the New Testament passage which authorizes a Christian to commit murder.
In contrast to the messages of love, forgiveness, and tolerance both practiced and taught by Jesus, The Prophet Mohammad advocated and practiced raiding, aggressive warfare (jihad), and the subjugation of infidels and personally ordered the beheadings of bound captives and the execution by stoning of adulterers. To compare religiously-motivated violence by Christians, which is a direct violation of the teachings and example of Jesus, to that of Muslims, which is in-line with the teachings and actions of the Prophet is hence both morally repugnant and logically and historically false.
Mr. Peters claims that Islam was “hijacked” by the practitioners of jihad, who have “perverted a great religion.” Amir Taheri, another NY Post columnist, has also argued that those who quote the Koran to justify violence and oppression have hijacked Islam to achieve political ends. Taheri calls this “neo-Islam”- a political movement, not an expression of religion; however, in Islam there is no distinction between religion and politics. The Prophet himself served as both spiritual guide to Muslims and as head of the Islamic state, as did the Caliphs who succeeded him. And one of the stated goals of the Jihadist movement is a restoration of that same Caliphate under which one man would rule the entire world under sharia, or oppressive Islamic law.
The actions of many terrorists and tyrants are quite consistent with those of the Prophet and the traditions of Islamic law. After the famous battle of Badr, for example, the head of a man named Abu Jahl was presented to Mohammad who then “gave thanks to God.” During the same battle, a man named Uqba was captured, bound, and brought before the Prophet. Uqba begged for mercy imploring of his captor “But who will look after my children, o Mohammad?” The Prophet responded “Hell!” and ordered the prisoner killed. If the Prophet was divinely inspired in all he did, as Islamic doctrine holds, then was not the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi truly serving his God when he sawed off the head of a bound infidel captive such as Nick Berg?
To overlook, as Peters and Taheri suggest, the exhortations to violence, subjugation, and intolerance found in the Koran would create an impossible paradox: Muslims are not given a line-item veto with which to cherry-pick benign Koranic verses (generally those that dictate conduct between Muslims) while dismissing the others (those that instruct believers to mistreat or kill non-believers) as mere relics of a by-gone era. If the Koran is the perfect word of God, as Islam holds, then such discrimination would amount to apostasy- punishable by death under Islamic law; otherwise this act, taken to its logical conclusion would fatally compromise the validity of the Koran itself and expose Mohammad as a false prophet (would God have revealed some untruths to a true prophet?) This exercise in rationalizing the Koran is thus self-invalidating.
This of course is not to suggest that all Muslims are blood-thirsty terrorists, rather that such terrorists do find ample justification for their acts in the Koran and hadith of the Prophet.
Peters also writes with obvious contempt that the “haters” with whom he disagrees have never served in the military, with the implication that they thus have no right to an opinion on the central issue of our generation. I would suggest, as a member of the law-enforcement community, that by his odious logic Peters is thereby precluded from having a legitimate opinion on crime-related issues (including terrorism) since he has never walked a foot-post in an American city.
In his latest rant, entitled “The Eurabia Myth” he excoriates Europeans not for their excessive tolerance of a non-assimilated and hostile Muslim minority; or their irrational genuflection to post-Christian multiculturalism; or their resultant inability to effectively defend themselves, nor aid us in the war on terror. His animus is reserved instead for the tiny and insignificant cadre of neo-Nazi haters whose attributes he broad-brushes across the continent to smear all of Europe.
He criticizes the 15th century Spaniards for expelling the Muslims from their land, but not the Muslim armies that conquered it in the first place; he rightly criticizes the holocaust, but without crediting the hundreds of thousands of European’s who died to stop it or bothering to mention the Arab-Muslim involvement with the Nazi’s; he criticizes the Crusaders for their excesses during their campaigns to re-take Christian lands, but gives the Muslims a free pass for conquering them in the first place; he calls the “Turkish execution of the Armenian genocide” in which more than a million Christians were slaughtered “messy”, while neglecting to condemn such barbarity.
He also refuses to acknowledge the facts about the demographic changes taking place in Europe which threaten to destroy its Christian heritage and commitment to freedom and moderation.
The fact is, Europe’s rejection of its own great Christian history has allowed the intolerant and irrational Muslim fifth column to gain strength daily against a self-indulgent and self-loathing Europe whose elite’s and revisionist historians (aided now by Ralph Peters) have destroyed all sense of pride in the great Western tradition and thus removed the motivation to defend it against the forces of Muslim reaction and hate.
I consider Ralph Peters to be neither a dhimmi nor a dim-wit, but rather a great patriot who served his country with distinction. I also generally look forward to his columns in the Post which are usually full of sober analysis and insightful commentary on military matters. However, these two columns contain neither balance nor context, instead substituting hyperbolic rhetoric for facts and truth. And the levels of dismissive arrogance displayed in these columns are matched only by his staggering ignorance of the true nature of Islam and its most rigorous adherents. Perhaps Mr. Peters should stick to military issues and avoid the bitter social critiques in these two recent deeply flawed and intolerant columns.