THE WEST AND ISLAM: by Mark BrahamNews Weekly
No alternative but to defend our values
, April 29, 2006
Australia is fortunate that the vast majority of its Muslims are law-abiding citizens, says Mark Braham. Elsewhere in the world, however, even in Europe and North America, the clash between Islam and the West has become increasingly intolerant.Ptolemy II Philadelphus reigned as king in Alexandria 285-246 BC. He was a patron of both the Greek and Egyptian religions and sought to increase his library and aid scientific research. Thus, in order to understand the Torah, he compelled 70 sages to translate the Torah (Pentateuch) into Greek.
In order to prevent collusion, the 70 scholars were put in separate chambers, isolated from each other. The 70 translations were, word for word, identical. Thus the Septuagint, in the Greek translation, became a standard work for the early Christians. The Latin version, the Vulgate, was traditionally ascribed to St Jerome in the late 4th century.
Thus, by the time Muhammed (c.570-632) arrived and began to preach what later became Islam, 800-900 years had elapsed during which the Septuagint translation of the Jewish Bible had been accepted by the Christian world, its accuracy undoubted.
Western scholars doubtless thought that a Bible, even in translation, could hardly become the foundation for a new religion based on the claim that vital information about its alleged founder had been, in some cases, inserted; in others, changed to turn the original on its head.
The Western scholars were mistaken: that is precisely what Islam proclaims. And guess who the forgers were? "The Jews"! Moreover, the 70 translators had, over 800 years earlier, not only foreseen the birth of Muhammed, but had somehow managed to defeat Ptolemy II and agree not only on mistranslations but on a number of false entries!
For example: "Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she had born to Abraham, mocking. So she said to Abraham, 'Drive out this slave-woman with her son, for the son of that slave-woman shall not inherit with my son, with Isaac!' The matter greatly distressed Abraham regarding his son. So God said to Abraham, 'Be not distressed over the youth of your slave-woman! Whatever Sarah tells you, heed her voice, since through Isaac will offspring be considered yours. But the son of the slave-woman as well will I make into a nation for he is your offspring.'" (Gen 21:9-13)
"There was a famine in the land ... and Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines, to Gerar. Hashem appeared to him and said, 'Do not descend to Egypt; dwell in the land that I shall indicate to you. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your offspring will I give all these lands, and establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father: 'I will increase your offspring like the stars of the heavens; and I will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your offspring, because Abraham obeyed My voice, and observed My safeguards, My commandments, My decrees, and My Torahs.'" (Gen 26: 1-5)Absurd claim
This absurd claim of Islam, that these passages were Jewish forgeries, is probably news to most Muslims who, even if they had thought about it, would follow the example of the slightly more than two out of three Germans who voted against Hitler in the last pre-Hitler era free election in November 1932, and put their doubts into the "too hard" tray.
In Australia, although as an Orthodox Jew I reject the term "luck", we remain the "lucky country". Although we have our Islamists, the vast majority of Australian Muslims are law-abiding citizens who, in sharp contrast to their fellow Muslims in most democracies, including those of the Commonwealth, are not seeking to separate themselves into enclaves living under sharia
Contrast this with a report on "The Culture War" by academic and author, Dr Phyllis Chesler:
"The Culture War is a very hot war: no prisoners are taken, no mercy is shown. And there are now penalties for trying to tell the truth about the danger of jihad
or about the barbaric and pathological nature of militant Islam today.
"Indeed, if you try to discuss the Islamic religious and gender apartheid and its dangerous proliferation into Europe and North America (i.e., there have been honor killings in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago, Jersey City, Toronto, as well as all over Europe and in the Muslim world), this is what will happen to you: If you tell these truths in the Arab and Muslim world, you'll be beheaded, probably tortured, certainly jailed, exiled if you are lucky. Many Muslim and Christian dissidents have suffered precisely this fate. There are no more Jews there, as the Islamist Caliphate rendered the entire Arab Middle East Judenrein
[cleansed of Jews] long ago.
"Try to say this in Europe and you might be butchered, as Theo Von Gogh was, or simply imprisoned in purdah
, veiled, or threatened, forced to go into hiding, or honor-murdered as so many Muslim girls and women are.
"Try to tell the moral tragedy that the United Nations represents, or the even greater tragedy that the word 'Palestine' has come to represent objectively - and therefore in a non-politically correct way - on European and on North American campuses, or on the increasingly left-dominated liberal media airwaves, and you may not be shot on the spot, but you will be slandered and called a 'racist' and a 'fascist'. I have been called both." (Phyllis Chesler, "The War for Civilization", The Jewish Press
, November 2, 2005).
Another voice for sanity, our own Janet Albrechtsen, in an article headlined "Hope in heretical voices", finds that, at last, moderate Muslims are speaking out against the backward Islamic world. She quotes Wafa Sultan "on Al-Jazeera television, of all places, who recently delivered a provocative and brave self-critique of Muslims. ...
"Sultan criticised the Muslim world for its backwardness, for shunning knowledge and progress, and for embracing terrorism. She said it was time for Muslims to stop the self-pity and to stop blaming others as justification for Muslim violence directed at the West. The blame, she said, lay squarely at the foot of Islamic clerics who encouraged followers to reject progress and instead resort to violence." (The Australian
, March 22, 2006).Tony Blair
Meanwhile, Tony Blair laid it on the line, Churchillian style, when he told a special joint sitting of our Federal Parliament on March 27, "If we want to ensure our way of life, there is no alternative but to fight for it." Which means staying in Iraq until the new government and security forces are confident of keeping order.
Such a prospect is neither impossible nor that far away if one heeds reports from such as Miranda Devine who has been receiving information from an obviously informed front-line solider who writes, "Baghdad is not burning down around my ears. Things were tense a while back, but the violence was within limits." Hence her column, "From Iraq's front line, it looks like the media has lost the plot" (Sydney Morning Herald
, March 19, 2006).
But it is not only the media which has lost the plot; our academics are living in a dream world in which multiculturalism is restricted to all the good things of life: food, drink, clothes, sport, entertainment ...
Sure, this works well on a cruise ship or on a holiday overseas. But it does not work when Muslims reject the liberal and democratic Western lifestyle that has grown out of societies rooted in Judeo-Christian values.
Kevin M. Dunn, a geographer at the University of NSW, complained recently, in Studia Islamika
, the Indonesian journal for Islamic studies, that only one in six Australians has a good understanding of Islam (Sydney Morning Herald
, March 20, 2006).
I would put the figure at one in several hundred, including Kevin Dunn. For example, how many understand the background to the Muslim claim that, in all the biblical reference to the sons of Abraham and God's Promised Land, Islam has falsely attributed the inheritance to Ishmael, father of the Arabs?
How many are aware that Muhammed married a Jewess, Safiya bint Huyah, after he had beheaded her father, her husband and the entire village, then forced Safiya to convert to Islam before he married her?
But the "Lost Plot Award", which should earn them a gold medal from the President of Iran, must surely go to Ziauddin Sardar and Dr Mark Baker, a Muslim and a Jew respectively. Baker, who teaches a course on genocide at the University of Melbourne, writes an article on "Islamophobia" (Australian Jewish News
, March 24, 2006), in support of Sardar's cover story in the left-wing UK New Statesman
(December 5, 2005) predicting, "The next Holocaust would be against Muslims."
The Nazi Holocaust could only have taken place in unique, unrepeatable circumstances. These included wartime censorship, secrecy, relatively primitive communications, political and strategic priorities, closed doors to refugees, fears of increasing anti-Semitism in Allied countries, thwarting of orders (from Churchill) to bomb Auschwitz.
The extraordinary mixture of motives, good and bad, that seemed on analysis to dovetail into a unique conspiracy to create the Holocaust, has defeated normal historical analysis and explanation. I can personally vouch for the fact that, although I served in Europe from January 1944 until mid-1945, and was aware that Italian Jews had been taken away to German "labour camps", I had no knowledge of the death camps until I arrived back in London on leave in mid-1945.
As for the comparison between today's "Islamophobia" and the Nazi motivation for the Holocaust, this is quite obscene. Jews, even radical Zionists, did not go around slaughtering innocents, crashing aircraft into buildings, placing bombs on buses, and rewarding the families of suicide-bombers with untold wealth.
The Jewish world regarded German Jews as "more German than the Germans". No ethnic or religious minority in Germany flocked to the colours in World War I quicker than Jews.
In World War II, many went to the death camps wearing their medals, some with iron crosses. In a bizarre order, former front-line soldiers were allowed to travel in passenger trains, not goods trucks, to the gas chambers.Hitler Youth
My late friend, Henry Lippmann OAM, who was transported to Australia on the ship, the Dunera
, told me that, when he was at school in Berlin in the 1930s, he had wanted to join the Hitler Youth, but was ineligible.
As for Mark Baker's comparison between sharia
law and Jewish law (as interpreted by "extremist elements"), I suggest Baker attend classes in Judaism.
One must wonder what he does teach about the Holocaust at Melbourne University. Does he teach, for example, that "extremist elements" in the death camps used up their fractional ration of margarine to light wicks to celebrate Chanukah
; that, though being slowly starved to death, they fasted and spent the day praying on the Day of Atonement; that they went to the gas chambers, their faith undiminished, reciting prayers?
Does he explain the Holocaust, covering the explanations of all authorities, such as the internationally-renowned scholar, the late Rabbi Avigdor Miller? His histories and biblical commentaries are sold throughout the world, but of course they are only valued by the "extremist elements".
It is not a new problem. All the Prophets, whose works are still studied today, were "extremist elements". I have a strong suspicion that their books will outlast Baker's.