Sunday, 29 September 2013

11 The First Tribe of Jews

The spoils of the Battle of Badr were divided up with Mohammed taking his usual twenty percent cut. This was, and of course remains, the basis for dividing the spoils of Jihad (the spiritual leader gets twenty percent). Mohammed's followers now began to acquire both wealth and power. This made his religion far more attractive to the desert Arabs. They now began to swell the ranks of his followers even more.

After the Battle of Badr, Mohammed made a few armed raids on tribes allied to the Meccans. He then turned his attention to one of the Jewish tribes of Medina.

I545 there were three tribes of Jews in medina. The Banu Qaynuqa were Goldsmiths and lived in a stronghold. Mohammed said they had broken the treaty signed when Mohammed came to Medina. How they did this is unclear.

I545 Mohammed assembled the Jews in their market and said, “O Jews, be careful that Allah does not bring vengeance upon you the way he did to the Quraysh. Become Muslims. You know that I am the prophet that was sent to you. You will find that in your scriptures.”

 I545 they replied, “Oh Mohammed, you seem to think that we are your people. Don’t fool yourself. You may have killed a few merchants of the Quraysh, but we are men of war and real men.”

I545 the response of The Koran:
3:12 say to the Kaffirs, “Soon you will be defeated and thrown into hell, a wretched home!” Truly, there has been a sign for you in the two armies which met in battle. One army fought for Allah’s cause, and the other Army was a group of Kaffirs, and the Kaffirs saw with their own eyes that their enemy was twice its actual size. Allah gives help to whom he pleases. Certainly there is a lesson to be learned in this for those who recognize it.

I546 a little later, Mohammed besieged the Jewish tribe of Banu Qaynuqa in their quarters. Neither of the other two Jewish tribes came to their support. Finally, the Jews surrendered and expected to be slaughtered after their capture.

I546 an Arab ally, bound to them by a client relationship, approached Mohammed and said, “O Mohammed, deal kindly with my clients.” Mohammed ignored him. The ally repeated the request and Mohammed still ignored him. The ally grabbed Mohammed by the robe and enraged Mohammed, Who said, “let me go!” The ally said, “No, you must deal kindly with my clients. They have protected me and now you would kill them all? I fear these changes.”

The response by The Koran:
5:57O, you who believe, do not take those who have received the Scriptures [Jews and Christians] before you, who have scoffed and jested at your religion, or who are Kaffirs for your friends. Fear Allah if you are true believers. When you call to prayer, they make it a mockery and a joke. This is because they are a people who do not understand

Author’s Comments:
It is a core belief of Islam that the Koran is the perfect word of Allah. The Koran instructs Muslims very clearly, not to take non-Muslims as their friends. They may be friendly towards Kaffirs, particularly in order to gain an advantage for Islam. However, the extent to which a Muslim is a true friend of a Kaffir is the extent to which he is not a Muslim. 

When you are trying to motivate a group of people to commit violent acts against another group, it is important to break ties between them. Any military commander would understand this concept.
During the first Christmas of WW1, the English and German soldiers came out of the trenches, sang carols and shared cigarettes and food. 

The powers that be, made sure that this never happened again. To motivate people to violence; it is important to demonize and de-humanize your opponents and Mohammed did this constantly. He never referred to human beings as a whole but divided the world into Muslims and Kaffirs. Kaffirs are described as the worst kind of creature and any action against them is justified.

The Sira goes on to describe how at this time, Mohammed encouraged his followers to assassinate his enemies and critics. He allowed and even encouraged, them to use deceit in order to achieve their aims. Often, they would gain the trust of their enemies in order to murder them.

From The Sira:
I554 The Apostle of Allah said, “Kill any Jew who falls into your power.” Hearing this, Muhayyisa fell upon a Jewish merchant who was a business associate and killed him. Muhayyisa’s brother was not a Muslim and asked how Muhayyisa could kill a man who had been his friend and partner in many business deals. 

The Muslim said that if Mohammed had asked him to kill his brother he would have done it immediately. His brother said “You mean that if Mohammed said to cut off my head you would do it?” “Yes,” was the reply. The older brother then said, “By Allah, any religion that brings you to this is marvellous.” And he decided then and there to become a Muslim.

It is surprising what most people are capable of. In experiment after experiment, psychologists have found that when a group deems behaviour to be acceptable, the vast majority will go along with things which “civilized” people might consider “inhuman”.

How many Japanese people would think twice before eating whale? How many Vietnamese people would think it wrong to kill and eat a dog? In the early nineties half a million Rwandans were brutally hacked to death with machetes by their compatriots. In the forties six million Jews were wiped out in Europe, mostly by ordinary German folk. Closer to home, in my grandmothers day, children of five or six were being sent up chimneys to clean them, many would never return.

To a modern Western mind these things are abhorrent and yet people just like us are quite capable of doing them. Religions have an especially powerful influence on societies. When people believe they have authority from a divine ruler, they are capable of overriding normal human feelings of revulsion.

 When “everyone else is doing it too,” even the most extreme behaviour becomes easy to justify.
Mohammed was not only a religious leader. The acts which he carried out from here until his death are almost all of a political nature. Through Jihad he became king of all Arabia within just nine years.

The political aspects of Islam bear many similarities with the political aspects of communism or fascism. Such ideologies are very dangerous. Small but fanatical groups which number little more than 5% of the population can seize power with devastating consequences. Once they have power it is often impossible to prize it from them without outside assistance.

Communism lasted around 70 years, Fascism barely a decade but Islam has been around for 1400 years and today is stronger than ever.

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