The Religion of Peace

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TROP is a non-partisan, fact-based site which examines the ideological threat that Islam poses to human dignity and freedom.








Jihad Report
Aug 12, 2017 -
Aug 18, 2017

Attacks 41
Killed 206
Injured 351
Suicide Blasts 6
Countries 18

The Religion of Peace

Jihad Report
July, 2017

Attacks 179
Killed 1275
Injured 932
Suicide Blasts 37
Countries 25
List of Attacks

It's far easier to act as if critics of Islam have a problem with Muslims as people than it is to accept the uncomfortable truth that Islam is different.

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The Quran

List of Attacks

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2001 (Post 9/11)

Charbonnier
"I’d rather die standing up
than live on my knees."
Stephane Charbonnier
(1967-2015)




Games Muslims Play

 The Quran Can Only
be Understood in Arabic


The Game:

The Quran can only be fully understood in Arabic.  One cannot criticize Islam without knowing Arabic.



The Truth:

Although Muslims often tell critics of Islam to "read the Quran," they are usually unprepared for what happens when their advice is heeded.  An honest translation of Islam's most sacred book generally reinforces negative opinion.  The fallback is to then claim that the Quran can only be understood in Arabic.

This popular, yet transparent effort to insulate Islam from intellectual critique isn't well thought out.  In the first place, the Quran was translated from Arabic by Arabic speakers: devout Muslims whose linguistic expertise far exceeds that of the armchair apologist who pretends to know better.  If anything, these translators err by subjectively toning down the literalism.  The idea that they would deliberately mangle an interpretation to cast Islam in an unflattering light is laughable.

Another problem is that it is fundamentally impossible for anyone to learn a language that cannot be translated into the only one they do know, which means the apologists who insist that one "must learn Arabic” in order to understand the Quran are refuting their own premise.  If Arabic can be learned, then it can be translated.  If it can be translated, then there is no need to learn it.

While every language has its nuances, how is it that Arabic is the only one with words and phrases that are literally untranslatable?  More importantly, why in the world would Allah choose to communicate his one true "universal" religion for all people in the only language that cannot be translated for all people?  Even the vast majority of Muslims and their imams do not speak Arabic.

How suspicious is that this linguistic "discovery" was made only recently – and that it corresponds quite remarkably with the contemporary rejection of Islamic practices that were considered acceptable up until Islam's recent collision with Western liberalism.  In fact, the argument that hidden and alternate meanings exist to unflattering Quranic passages (eg. justifying slavery, the inferior status of women, sexual gluttony, holy warfare, wife-beating, and religious discrimination) has a close similarity with the level of embarrassment that modern scholars have about the presence of such verses in the Quran!

No other world religion claims that it can only be fully understood in one language.  Neither is the same level of effort required to "explain" primary messages.  While the Bible is generally distributed as is by various Christian groups, for example, it is rare to find a Quran that does not include voluminous and highly subjective commentary deemed necessary to explain away the straightforward interpretation of politically-incorrect passages.

An additional problem is that apologists want to have it both ways.  On the one hand they declare that (for some strange reason) the "perfect book" can't be translated and that Allah's perfect religion thus cannot be understood by most of humanity without a battery of intercessors and interpreters.  Then they turn around and blame the reality of Islamic terrorism on this same "necessary" chain of intermediaries by claiming that the Osama bin Ladens of the world have simply gotten bad clerical advice, causing them to “misunderstand” the true meaning of Islam (in the most catastrophic and tragic way imaginable).

Of course, another irony is that, as a Saudi, the Quran-toting Osama bin Laden was a native Arabic speaker – as are most of the leaders and foot soldiers in his al-Qaeda brotherhood of devout Muslims.  In fact, many critics of Islam are Arabic speakers as well - a fact that is often ignored by the apologists, who find Arabic linguistic skills relevant when they are lacked by critics (not that the pundits have ever been known to care about whether a critic of the Bible speaks Hebrew or Greek).

At this point the beleaguered apologist might offer the weak claim that the Quran can only be understood in Classical Arabic, an obscure Quraish dialect which has not been commonly used in over a thousand years and is known only by a few hundred people alive today (generally Wahabbi scholars, who are - ironically enough - accused of taking the Quran 'too literally'). 

It is hardly plausible that the differences between classical and modern Arabic are of such significance that peace and tolerance can be confused with terrorism, but even if this were true, it merely begs the question all the more.  Why would such a “perfect book” be virtually impossible for the rest of us to learn - and susceptible to such horrible "misinterpretation" on an on-going basis?

Really, it isn't hard to see through this childish game, particularly since the rules are applied only to detractors and not to advocates.  Apologists never claim that Arabic is a barrier to understanding Islam when it is lauded as a "religion of peace," no matter how less knowledgeable the fans are from the critics.  Neither do they qualify the claim that "Islam is the fastest growing religion" with the caveat that new converts (or the vast majority of existing Muslims) don't understand Islam since they can't read the Quran in Arabic.

Obviously, the real reason for this myth is that the Information Age is now making the full history and texts of the Islamic religion available to a broader audience, and the contents are highly embarrassing.  Pretending that different meanings exist in Arabic is a means of self-assurance and saving face.

Further Reading

Why the Quran was Revealed in Arabic (David Wood Video)

Games Muslims Play Index

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