After reading this short article I had to ask, where do I sign up to\nthis charming religion?\n\nIan\n\nTHE DEAD HAND OF ISLAM\n(By Colin Maine)\n\nThere has been a resurgence of Islam recently. This has plunged the\ncountries where this has happened into the dark ages. They have been\nset back a thousand years.\n\nIn THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD dated 13.2.79 it was reported that\nPakistan is going to bring back stoning. Moslems caught drinking\nalcohol will be given 80 lashes, and thieves will have either their\nfoot or hand cut off.\n\nIn Iran men are sent to the firing squads on charges of "warring\nagainst God and his emissaries". Courts have frozen pending divorces\nby women.\n\n"Three girls' secondary schools were closed after being raided by\nKhomeini's supporters, and unveiled women were being attacked in the\nstreets...Women who were protesting about Khomeini's speech telling\nwomen in the government to wear clothes covering hair, neck, arms and\nfeet, were threatened with shouts of 'get dressed or get beaten'."\n\nAlso in Iran, Moslem demonstrators shouting "purification by fire",\nset alight the red light district in Tehran. Prostitutes were\nattacked, brothels, bars and nightclubs looted.\n\nAn Abadan cinema was set alight and 377 people were burnt alive. Those\nwho set fire to it closed the exit doors from the outside, and\nsystematically set it ablaze at its four corners. NEWSWEEK, September\n4, 1978 reported that there had been 30 cinema fires in Iran in the\nprevious month.\n\nIt was reported on February 6, 1978 that the 23-year-old Princess\nMisha was executed in Jiddah either for marrying a commoner or\nadultery.\n\nIn Malaysia Moslem fanatics have been invading Hindu temples and\nsmashing their images and gods. This could start a religious war.\nThere are some Moslems who are demanding that the Islamic punishment\nof stoning and whipping be imposed.\n\nOn the Australian Broadcasting Commission radio news on May 9, 1979 it\nwas reported that in Iran militant Moslems announced that they\nintended to convert the world to Islam, and that their first task was\nto "root out deviations."\n\nThese events are not as Moslems apologists assert, aberrations but an\ninevitable outcome of the basic teachings of Islam. All can be\njustified either by the KORAN or by the HADITHS-\-the traditions\nconcerning the acts and sayings of Mohammed. Both are considered a\nguide as to how life should be ordered in an Islamic society.\n\nThe KORAN was written down 20 years after Mohammed's death, and the\nfirst HADITH 220 years after his death. Many HADITHS were invented in\nthe intervening years to support a particular course of action.\n\nAccording to both HADITH and KORAN, Islam must be the world's most\noppressive religion. It is undemocratic; it is puritanical; it is\nbarbarously punitive; it oppresses women; its laws are cruel to\nanimals; it is intolerant towards other religions; it is\nanti-intellectual; it places restrictions upon art.\n\nCRUEL PUNISHMENTS\n\nCRUCIFIXION. This is permitted by the KORAN for "Making war against\nAllah and his messengers".\n\nFLOGGING. 100 lashes is given for adultery or fornication. 80 lashes\nis given for bearing false witness. (Here this is only mentioned in\nreference to charges against chaste women).\n\nFlogging is also given for drinking alcohol. No punishment is\nprescribed in the KORAN for this. It merely states that it is a sin\nand an abomination. In practice in many Moslem countries, 80 lashes is\nthe penalty for merely drinking a glass of wine.\n\nYet there is no mention whatever in the KORAN about drugs, and in\ncountries like Iran where alcohol is strictly forbidden, there are\nestimated to be 2 million drug addicts; heroin and hashish are openly\nsold in the streets, and ''addicts huddle by an open drain with rags\nover their heads inhaling amid a stench of stale urine."\n\nMUTILATION. "As to the thief, male or female, cut off his or her\nhands." So not just one hand is to be cut off but both of them.\n\nWOMEN TO BE IMMURED. "If any of your women are guilty of lewdness,\ntake the evidence of four reliable witnesses from amongst you against\nthem; and if they testify, confine them to their houses until Death do\nclaim them, or Allah ordain for them some other way." So for some\nvague sexual trifle women can be locked up for their entire life.\n\nPENALTY FOR MURDER. The KORAN seems to regard sexual misdemeanours as\nbeing more reprehensible than murder. For killing another human being,\none has only to make a compensation to the relatives of the person\nkilled. These are the only references I could find in the KORAN to\npunishment, so for most crimes we have to rely on the HADITH.\n\nSTONING. Though there is no mention in the KORAN about stoning for\nadultery, Mohammed did use the punishment according to a HADITH. One\naccount says that a man who had become a Moslem confessed to\nfornication. Mohammed ordered him to be stoned at the Musalla (Mosque\noutside Medina). When the stones struck him he ran away, but he was\ncaught and stoned until he was dead. Then Mohammed spoke well of him\nand prayed over him.\n\nAnother HADITH relates that a Jew and Jewess were brought before\nMohammed for fornication. Omar relates:\n\n"They were stoned on the level ground and I saw the man leaning over\nthe woman to shield her from the stones."\n\nI find this story rather far fetched, as it relates that the Jew was\nbrought a BIBLE, and was told to read from it. He is supposed to have\ntried to cover the words about stoning with his hand. He would have\nbeen extremely stupid to have tried to do this in full view of a group\nof Moslems, as this would only draw attention to the words.\n\nWomen will be happy to know that it is considered laudable to spare\ntheir modesty should they be stoned. A hole dug, and she is buried up\nto her waist before she is killed by having rocks thrown at her.\n\nThe DICTIONARY OF ISLAM says that stoning "has become almost obsolete\nin modern times." So this religion is becoming more repressive, not\nless. The victims will be happy to know that they will get the full\nfuneral rites.\n\nTHE OPPRESSION OF WOMEN\n\nIslam is very harsh on women, particularly in sexual matters. The\nKORAN says: "Your wives are as filth unto you. So approach your filth\nwhen or how ye will." The word 'filth' comes from till-\-to work by\nplowing, sowing, and raising crops from.\n\nSo a man can have sex with one of his wives at any time, and in any\nway that he wants. The woman does not have similar rights. As\npunishment, the KORAN says that if women are disloyal their husbands\nshould refuse to sleep with them. Sexuality in women seems to be\nconsidered undesirable. The KORAN ways that slaves girls should be\n"chaste, not lustful." In the Moslem heaven men will be given\ndark-eyed virgins who are perpetually young. There is no mention of\nwomen being provided with virile young men, so they had better take\ntheir knitting with them as there will be little else to do. The only\npleasures described in the KORAN are sitting on thrones, walking\nthrough gardens eating fruits, and drinking heavily wine (which does\nnot even intoxicate).\n\nAs Ramon Lull said of it: What will their paradise be but a tavern of\nunwearied gorging, and a brothel of perpetual turpitude?"\n\nISLAM HYPOCRITICAL ON SEX\n\nThe Moslem religion is completely hypocritical on sexual matters and\nit is all in favor of the men. The mere performance of ceremony\npermits a man to have sex with any of his four wives in any manner and\nat any time.\n\nAlso the KORAN permits men to use women captured in war for their\nsexual amusement. They can also be bought. Mohammed himself received\ntwo slave girls as a present from the governor of Egypt. One he gave\nto a man called Hassan, and the other he kept for himself, and she\nsubsequently had a son by him. The KORAN allows a Moslem to have as\nmany concubines as he wants.\n\nThe SOCIAL LAWS OF THE KORAN says: "...he is permitted to cohabit with\nhis female slave. In this case nothing is said as to number; they are\nallowed to him without any restriction whatever."\n\nYet Islam punishes women more severely than men for sexual offenses.\nIn a Moslem country this year a man and a woman were flogged for\nadultery. The man got 25 lashes and the woman 100 lashes.\n\nOn June 19, 1979 it was reported in THE AUSTRALIAN that an Iranian\nwoman was executed for having illicit sexual relations. The man\ninvolved got a lighter sentence. The report said that the woman was\nput to death by her mother, father and a brother.\n\nThough he placed such severe restrictions on women, Mohammed himself\nhad as much sex as he wanted. His wife Ayesha who he married when she\nwas 10, and he was 53 said of Mohammed: "He loved three things, women,\nperfume and food, and of the first two he had his heart's desire.\n\nMohammed had 11 wives, as well as concubines, even though he\nrestricted his followers to four wives. A 'special revelation' from\nAllah permitted him to have as many wives as he liked. Oddly enough\nhis revelations always seemed to tell him the sort of things that he\nwanted to know.\n\nWe have already seen that women can be punished for lewdness with life\nimprisonment. Yet the following verse of the KORAN says: "If two men\namong you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and\namend let them both alone."\n\nAs two men are mentioned this must only refer to homosexuality. One\ntranslation says "punish them lightly".\n\nWhen he tires of one of his wives a Moslem can get rid of her by a\nmere verbal formula. The SOCIAL LAWS OF THE KORAN says "The ceremony\nof divorce among Muhammedans is very simple, the husband merely saying\n'Thou art divorced' or 'I herewith dismiss thee'." The KORAN does not\ngive a woman the right to a divorce for any reason whatsoever.\n\nWomen are also oppressed in other ways, and are regarded as being\nvery much inferior beings. The KORAN says that men are a degree above\nthem and that they should be obedient to their husbands, and that for\ndisloyalty they can be beaten.\n\nTHE VEIL\n\nIt was Mohammed who imposed the veil on women. Millions of women\nthrough large parts of the world in the last 1200 years have never\nbeen able to go out without wearing the veil.\nI have myself spent 1-1/2 years in Aden, not far south of the area\nwhere Mohammed spent his life. I have seen women completely covered\nwith veils that cover their entire faces in humidity so high that as\nsoon as one puts on a shirt it is soaking with sweat.\n\nIf they had appeard unveiled they would probably have been killed. It\nis worth noting that the Moslem religion mostly exists in countries\nthat are near the Equator, so this impost_ tion of the veil is not a\ntrivial matter.\n\nCLITORECTOMY\n\nThe Islamic law says of circumcision and clitorectomy, "It is an\nobligation for men and women to do it for themselves and their\nchildren, and if they neglect it, the Imam may force them to it for it\nis right and necessary."\n\nIn THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD of January 16, 1979 there was an article\non clitorectomy (female circumcision) in Egypt. Nawal Alsa'adawi, the\nEgyptian gynaecologist and psychiatrist, was reported to have said:\n"You can't separate sexual oppression from political and religious\noppression."\n\nIn an article on the practice it was claimed that nearly all of the\nyoung girls in Egyptian villages, where most of the people live, are\ncircumcised. The article went on: "This circumcision is, in effect,\ncastration of women. For the women the pleasure of sex is gone."\n\nSome of the girls bleed to death. Others develop abcesses. The article\nclaimed that the religious establishment found her view too\nthreatening. Nawal defended Islam, and claimed that it was not\nresponsible for these circumcisions, and that Mohammed was progressive\nin regard to women. I have shown in my section on this that this was\nnot the case. She could hardly do otherwise in a country as religious\nas Egypt. She has enough of a problem trying to prevent these\nmutilations from taking place, without challenging the very basis of\nthe religion itself.\n\nWOMEN BEFORE ISLAM\n\nWomen had a much higher status in Arabia before Islam. There are\naccounts of women fighting in battles, riding across the desert,\nvisiting men alone, and taking part in public debates.\n\nEach of these stories ends with the words: "This was before the\nApostle received the revelation about veiling." The freedom women\nenjoyed before Islam is shown by the example of Khadija, Mohammed's\nfirst wife. She was an heiress, and business woman, and she proposed\nto him.\n\nWomen took a great part in the apposition to Mohammed. One of his\nforemost opponents was Hind the wife of Abu Sofian, the leader of the\nMeccans.\n\nWhen Mohammed finally marched on Mecca and captured it, Abu Sofian\nmade a speech to the people telling them that it was useless to oppose\nthe Moslems. Hind jumped up beside him and shouted: "Don't take any\nnotice of this fat old fool. A fine protector of his people he is."\n\nA poetess called Asma who lived in Medina wrote some satirical verses,\nmaking fun of her fellow citizens' adoption of Mohammed as their\nreligious leader. These were passed from mouth to mouth, holding him\nup to ridicule. Moham med arranged for her to be assassinated. She was\nstabbed in her tent, surrounded by her five children.\n\nINTOLERANCE TOWARDS OTHER RELIGIONS\n\nIslam is the only religion in the world which teaches that converts\ncan be won at the point of a sword. The KORAN says that those who\nwon't accept Islam are to be killed. "When ye encounter the\nunbelievers, strike off their heads, until ye have made a great\nslaughter among them."\n\nThe KORAN says: "Fight those who believe not in Allah" and that\nMoslems are to fight against non-believers until "there prevail\njustice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere." We have already\nseen what kind of 'justice' exists when Islam is established as the\nreligion of a country.\n\nThe KORAN says: "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike, but\nit is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you." "If\nanyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah),\nnever will it be accepted of rim." The KORAN continues: "How many\npopulations have we destroyed."\n\nA great deal is made of the tolerance of Islam towards Christianity\nand Judaism. This is exaggerated. Islam was more tolerant towards\nthese two religions than it was towards paganism, but that is not\nsaying much.\n\nMohammed regarded the Christian doctrine of the trinity as being the\nworship of three gods. Also that the central teaching of\nChristianity-\-that Jesus is the son of God-\-is blasphemous. The KORAN\nsays that those who believe these two things will go to hell. The\nKORAN says: "O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians\nfor your friends and protectors. They are friends and prtectors to\neach other."\n\nIt should be remembered that the Moslems delivered an entirely\nunprovoked attack on many Christian countries. When they took\nChristian Constantinople the streets ran with blood. A great part of\nthe Moslem empire consisted of countries that had formerly been\nChristian.\n\nJust before Mohammed died, he expressed the wish that there "not\nremain any faith but that of Islam throughout the whole land of\nArabia." In accordance with his wishes the Jews and Christians were\nexpelled from that country.\n\nPAGANS ATTACKED\n\nThe pagans bore the brunt of Islamic fury. Sir William Muir says of\nthese: ". . .but for the rest the sword is not to be sheathed till\nthey be exterminated, or submit to the faith which has become superior\nto every other religion."\n\nThe KORAN says: "...fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them."\nAnother translation says: "Kill those who ascribe partners to God."\nAgain, the KORAN says that pagans are unclean. Other translations use\nthe word 'polytheist' instead of 'pagan' and one translates this verse\nas 'polytheists are filth'.\n\nThis is sometimes considered to be justified as most people are\nignorant of the nature of the religion of Arabia before Islam. The\nimage conjured up is of hideous idols, and human sacrifices, and\ncorrupt priesthood. This is not borne out by the facts.\n\nThere was no religious prejudice or persecution before Mohammed and\ncharities existed to look after orphans; they also collected money to\nbuy the freedom of slaves.\n\nThe Meccans did not turn against him until he attacked their gods, and\nannounced that their ancestors were in hell.\n\nGlubb says that the attitude of the pagans towards their temples and\nimages were similar to that of the British to Westheimer Abbey, and\nother similar places in England\n\nIt is worth noting that there was no priesthood in the paganism of\nArabia of the time. Though Islam is not supposed to have priests, the\nequivalent has developed in most Moslem countries, and a religious\nestablishment has arisen, which in many of them has enormous power. So\nin this respect Islam was a retrograde step.\n\nAlso the god concept of Islam can hardly be an improvement on\npaganism, as even though Allah is called 'the merciful, the\nbeneficent', this is hardly borne out by his action in torturing all\nnon-believers in hell forever. A description of the Moslem hell will\ngive some idea of the nature of the sort of god they believe in.\n\nTHE MOSLEM HELL\n\nIn the Moslem hell one's skin is constantly being renewed after being\nroasted through so the victim can "taste the penalty." They will be\nwearing a garment of fire. They will eat foul fruits and be made to\ndrink boiling water. Over their heads will be poured boiling water.\nThe water is not just boiling but foetid and "in gulps will he sip it,\nbut never will he be near swallowing down his throat. Death will come\nto him from every quarter, yet will he not die; and in front of him\nwill be a chastisement unrelenting." It will last forever, and it will\nnot be lightened and he will be in despair. They will beg for death\nbut it will be denied. As if that were not enough-\-"there will be\nmaces of iron to punish them,"\n\nINDIA\n\nThe intolerance of Islam towards polytheism (the worship of more than\none god) has drowned the world in blood. This was particularly the\ncase in India. In most parts of the world the pagans found it easier\nto give in and become Moslems. But the Hindus were prepared to fight.\n\nWhen the Moslems got to India they attacked the Hindus, killed them,\nand destroyed their temples and images. In Kanauj alone 10,000 temples\nwere destroyed, and 50,000 Hindus were killed.\n\nThe Hindus Bet on with each other quite well. There has been very\nlittle conflict between the various sects of that religion. As far as\nthey are concerned a man can worship anything he wants or nothing at\nall. Hinduism is very tolerant in the matter of religion.\n\nThe religious strife between Moslems and Hindus is still continuing.\nAn eyewitness to the religious fighting during the British Raj states:\n\n"The moment the crowd decided that one of the opposite religion had\nbeen killed, then everyone in one form of dress would turn on the\nothers... Thousands upon thousands an hour being killed, and of course\nit was a most terrifying sight. They'd pick up any weapon they could,\nthey shouted, they smashed, they always tried to whittle out the\nopposition so that they were heavily outnumbered... Or you could go\nacross Harrar Bridge, and you could see them being laid on their\nfaces, with their heads poking out over the bridge, and being beheaded\ninto the river, and their bodies being thrown in afterwards. Of\ncourse, at ter the riot the river was practically choked with dead\nbodies ..."\n\nIn the years since Islam was first established vast numbers of people\nmust have died as a result of its teachings. Glubb estimates that\nperhaps one or two people might have been killed in a normal Bedoin\nraid. In the religious wars that took place when Mohammed proclaimed\nJihad (holy war) many millions have been killed.\n\nWhen India was granted independence over 1,000,000 were killed in the\nstrife which broke out between members of the two religions.\n\nEven as I write these words reports are coming in from all over the\nworld-\-in India, Indonesia, Iran, the Philippines, North Africa-\-of\nMoslems fighting each other, and the members of other religions. One\ndoes not read of Buddhists, Jains, Parsees fighting members of other\nreligions. It's always the Moslems who are involved-\-apart from\nProtestants and Catholics fighting each other in Northern Ireland.\n\nOne can only conclude that there is something about this religion that\ncauses this to happen. This is the 'holy' book of Islam, the KORAN,\nthat incites its followers to attack and kill those who belong to\nother faiths.\n\nTHE SUPPRESSION OF KNOWLEDGE\n\nOne myth that is widely believed is that Islam promoted knowledge, but\nthis is not the case. In later centuries a high civilization did\ndevelop in Moslem countries, but this was despite Islam, not because\nof it.\n\nGibb says: "The struggle to subordinate all intellectual life to the\nauthority of religion went on for many centuries in successive regions\nof the Muslim world."\n\nIn the first and second centuries of Islam "a Moslem's duty was to\npractice Islam and not medicine." The KORAN and the mosque remained\nthe basis of Arab education until the Abbasids initiated a great age\nof learning in the 9th century.\n\nArab civilization was built on that of Greece, Persia, and Rome. Islam\ninitially set these back. It is said that the Moslems preserved the\nknowledge of the Greeks, but it was already being kept by the\nByzantines, and Moslems merely continued this process. All the\nevidence indicates that Islam was a danger to Greek thought, and that\nit was just a lucky accident that it survived at all under this\nreligion.\n\nIn 744 the rationalist Caliph Yazid 111 decreed that the doctrine of\npredestination should give way to that of free will. Then in 762 the\ncapital of Islam was moved to Baghdad, in Persia, and civilization\nbegan again to flourish in the middle east. This owed more to the\nancient civilization of Persia, which had already been 1,000 years old\nwhen Mohammad was born, than it did to Islam.\n\n"... Persian songs, as well as Persian ideas and thoughts, won the\nday...and paved the way for a new era distinguished by the cultivation\nof science and scholarly pursuits."\n\nThe Islamic world has sunk back into ignorance again, and even in such\ngreat universities as Al-Azhar at Cairo-\-the largest Moslem university\nin the world-\-the KORAN is the basis of education. In many schools the\nchildren learn nothing else. The KORAN remains the basis of the law,\nand the foundation of the Moslem legal, judicial, and political\nsystem, and the guide to every aspect of life.\n\nISLAM UNDEMOCRATIC\n\nAnother myth about Islam is that it promoted equality. In reality\nIslam permitted the ultimate inequality-\-slavery. As Muir says of\nMohammed: "He rivetted the fetter." "There is no obligation whatever\non a Moslem to release his slaves.' Mohammed himself had slaves-\-17\nmen and 11 women.\n\nOne of the early Caliphs, Omar "insisted on a medieval Apartheid with\nthe Arabs as master race."\n\nIn subsequent years the Arabs had one of the worst records as slavers,\nand this has continued right up till the later years of the 20th\ncentury and may still be going on. Some of the worst feudal regimes in\nhistory were based on Islam as is the present regime in Saudi Arabia.\n\nMohammed himself set a procedure for this by ruling Arabia as absolute\ndictator. Nutting says: "Mohammed concentrated all power, temporal and\nspiritual in his own hands, and had combined in himself the offices of\nlawgiver, chief judge, and commander, head of state and head of\nchurch."\n\nHe never bothered (or Allah never revealed to him) to convey the\nmethod by which he was to be succeeded. After his death this led to\nthe bloody wars between the Shitite and Sunni Moslems.\n\nDON'T PRAY FOR RELATIVES\n\nOn returning from a raid against a tribe called the Banu Lahyan,\nMohammed stopped at the grave of his mother. The following\n'revelation' prevented him from praying for her soul: "It is not\nfitting for the Prohet and those who believe, that they should pray\nfor forgiveness for pagans, even though they be next of kin ... "\n\nCRUELTY TO ANIMALS\n\nAccording to Moslem halal rites, when any animal is slaughtered, the\nman who kills it must face towards Mecca, and say a prayer when he\ncuts its throat. It is essential for the animal to bleed to death, and\nit must be fully conscious, and cannot be tranquilized, or stunned.\n\nISLAM GROVELLING\n\nThe very essence of Islam is a supine acceptance of a grovelling\nacceptance of one's lot. The word tIslam' itself means submission.\nThat is the will of Allah. They believe that nothing happens without\nHis permission, so there is no point in trying to do anything about\nimproving this life.\n\nThe doctrine of predestination is taught in the KORAN, 9.51 and in\nother passages.\n\nISLAM AND ART\n\nIslam had a bad effect on art, as Mohammed disliked painting, music\nand poetry. Luckily, the liking of the Arabs for the last two of these\nwas too great for his influence to have much effect. It was on\npainting and sculpture that Islam had the worst influence, as all\nrepresentations of either human or animal forms were forbidden, so\ntheir art was restricted to mindless patterns.\n\nMohammed said that those who decorate their tombs and churches with\npaintings "were the worst part of all creation."\n\nMOHAMMED\n\nThe example of the life of Mohammed is taken, with the KORAN, as a\nguide to how life should be lived. It is therefore very important to\nconsider his character, and acts. When I began writing this pamphlet,\nI did not think that I would like Mohammed. But the more I read about\nhim the less attractive did I find him.\n\nHe was guilty of the worst crimes any man can commit-murder. On one\noccasion he had the entire male population of a Jewish tribe, the Bani\nQuraizah, massacred and then had the women and children sold into\nslavery. Every book on Mohammed mentions this incident, and the KORAN,\n33.26 refers to it.\n\nMohammed had people killed for the most trivial reasons. A man called\nKinana ibn All al Huquiq, who was the leader of a Jewish tribe whose\nfort was captured by the Moslems, tried to conceal the fact that he\nhad gold. When an informer told Mohammed of this he had Kinana\ntortured by having hot coals put on his chest till he was nearly dead,\nand then he was killed.\n\nA man called Al Nadhr, who was a teller of tales, used to say of\nMohammed to his audiences: "Are not my stories as good as his?" For\nthis Mohammed orderd that his head be struck off. After the battle of\nBadr a man called Uqba was taken prisoner. When he was being taken\naway to be executed he said to Mohammed: "What will become of my\nlittle children." Mohammed replied: Hellfire."\n\nIt might be thought that I am quoting from books which are hostile to\nMohammed. This is not so. Only Muir's book is slightly hostile to him.\nAll the others go out of their way to portray him in a favourable\nlight. We have enough evidence in the KORAN of Mohammed's cruel\nnature, in the punishments he ordered, his descriptions of hell, and\nhis incitements to his followers to kill people.\n\nThough he ordered the horrible mutilation of the cutting off of hands\nfor theft, he was himself one of the biggest thieves in history. A\n'revelation' from Allah permitted Mohammed to keep one-fifth of the\nspoils captured from the towns his followers invaded, and the caravans\nthey raided.\n\nHe was incredibly prudish. At Medina it was the practice to fertilise\nthe female date palm tree by hand. Mohammed was so disgusted by this\nthat he forbade his followers to practice it. The result was that\nhardly any of the trees bore fruit, so he had to rescind his order.\n\nAt the same time he was extremely lecherous, as can be seen by the\nlarge number of wives he had. Karl Brookelmann, in his book, HISTORY\nOF THE ISLAMIC PEOPLES, says that Mohammed's death was brought on by\n"an excess of pleasuretaking in the harem."\n\nThe only thing that can be said in his favour was that he did on\noccasion refrain from killing people. I can't myself see that to be a\nparticularly great virtue.\n\nIt might be wondered how a man with this sort of character could\nbecome so admired, and could attain the position he did. What is not\nrealised is that many people of the time detested him.\n\nAfter ten years of preaching in Mecca he only had acquired 70\nfollowers. When he secured a base at Medina, he used the same methods\nas Hitler or the American gangster Al Capone to establish his\nreligion. All the accounts that tell us of him are biased in his\nfavour, as death or exile awaited anyone who criticised Mohammed or\nthe KORAN when Islam became the state religion of Arabia.\n\nIt might be said that Mohammed was a man of his time. but we must\njudge him according to the standards of today, not those of 1200 years\nago. We should try to improve on the\n\nethics of the past. Moslems claim that Islam is a religion for our\ntime, and it is by the ideals of this century that we should measure\nit, not by those of the 7th century.\n\nAccording to these standards Mohammed was a cruel barbarian, merciless\nand fanatical. He introduced religious hatred into large parts of the\nworld that before were tolerant on such matters. He curtailed the\nfreedom of women. He endorsed slavery. He broke up families. He\nordered cruel punishments. The world would have been a better place if\nhe had never been born.\n\nFrom publication of the Rationalist Association of N.S.W. 58 Regent\nStreet, Chippendale, N.S.W. 2008, Australia.