by Tyler Cowen
on March 3, 2016 at 2:30 am
in Current Affairs, Data Source, Law
Islamic countries revealed significantly lower homicide, suicide, and overall lethal violence rates than non-Islamic countries.
The full article is here. That is from CrimePsych, via Richard Harper.
Higher beheading rates perhaps?
No beheadings in the UAE.
The Shorter Version – liberal use of capital and corporal punishment, along with no lawyers or appeals, results in massively lower crime rates. Even if that use was historical.
Color me surprised. Who would have thought that the death penalty deters?
The Civil Rights movement comes with a death toll.
For what its worth I live in the UAE and the crime is much lower here than in the U.S.. While of course there are break in’s and the like, myself and most women don’t feel uncomfortable in the least at walking alone in the late night hours. I have also become rather slack about locking my vehicle and have never had a problem.
How is UAE doing with their slavery problem?
The link didn’t work Ismail.
I could have sworn the discussion was about crime rates in Islamic countries. Not sure why you felt the need to bring up a perceived “slavery” problem. Last time I checked their were no slaves in the UAE.
Slavery or human trafficking not only happens in the UAE, it’s a global issue. Slaves can build skycrapers in the UAE, slave prostitutes in West Europe, drug production and trafficking uses slave labor around the world……a few weeks ago there was the issue of slaves used for shrimp production in Thailand. If my memory works, Buddhism is popular over there.
Hmmm, sorry but UAE (Qatar, Dubai et al) are literally being built on the corpses of slaves. And its state-sponsored, not criminal sponsored.
Yes, it’s been documented that construction in the region is under forced labour conditions but I wouldn’t call it an “Islamic” issue. If you know better data, please share: http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/policy-areas/statistics/lang–en/index.htm
There’s an interesting number: “number of victims per thousand inhabitants”. Basically, only in developed economies and the EU the problem has been minimized. In the rest of the world the prevalence rate is the same. page 3 http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/—declaration/documents/publication/wcms_181953.pdf
Yes, freedom of expression if not a given and there may under-reporting of forced labour in Africa, Middle East and Asia, but as of today the highest prevalence rate is found in Central Europe and ex-USSR. Perhaps it’s good, they’re attacking the problem.
I understand why it can be argues that forced labour in Dubai can be worse because it is related to a “legitimate and internationallly recognized” government. But, put on the shoes (if available) of a slave, does it make any difference if the oppressor is a recognized government, a drug trafficker or people with guns in a war zone?
The Americas have the highest homicide rates in the world. Curiously, The problem gets worse as you approach the equator, with Northern North America and Southern South America much less violent than equatorial S. America and Central America. Different types of people were drawn to the temperate zones and tropical zones.
War on Drugs, corruption and gang/cartel violence along the trade route.
Which is why Japan with its strict drug laws, and Singapore where illegal gum is treated like crack cocaine, are bastions of gang violence.
Japan is a culture that follows the rules even when there is no penalty and Singapore is a city state which is at the tail end of a peninsula and therefore not on any contraband route whatsoever. I don’t think they are very useful as points of comparison.
If we executed or tortured people for minor infringements, criminality would almost certainly be lower. Is that the kind of society you want to live in? What if your favourite food gets added to the banned list? Or, your car?
Nathan, homicide rates have risen and fallen in the United States all through the 20th century without regard to the drug trade.
I’m not sure how to reconcile the point, and certainly the statistics you mention cannot be lying (by much, if at all) but I think it is uncontroversial to assert that a lot of homicides are related to turf wars and group-asserted vengeance on the basis of affiliation to gangs which are primarily involved in the drug trade.
Higher than Aftica? What if you removed Venezuela? Bit of an outlier. I know El Salvador and Honduras are particularly violent, but I’ve traveled throughout this region without any worries. I’ve heard that isn’t the case for South Africa, Kenya, or Tanzania.
Mean homicide rates in Tropical and Southern Africa would be about 15 per 100,000 per the UN agency which tracks such things. Likely very soft data. The analogous figure for Latin America would be 25 per 100,000.
Interestingly enough, domestic violence doesn’t exist in Islamic countries either.
And let’s not mention paedophilia…
There’s a big difference between raping five year old boys and having antiquated views on appropriate marriage age.
I think they should get with the times, but claims of “paedophilia” are almost always an exaggeration. Look up the medical definitions. Pedophilia is sexual interest in PRE-PUBESCENT children, which is not common in any country any where.
What makes you think that view is antiquated? And no, I don’t think there is a big difference. Either you think that pre-teens are acceptable sexual partners or you don’t. Everything else seems commentary to me.
If pedophilia is an interest in prepubescent children, how does Aisha, Muhammed’s favorite wife, fit into this? He married her when she was nine. Well, he had sex with her when she was nine. He married her when she was six. Is that, in your opinion, pre- or post-pubescent? He had erotic dreams about her even before the marriage.
And this is Sunnah – this is the role model that Muslims should copy.
An alternative account of the story suggests the marriage was not consummated until well into her twenties.
I approve of the status quo in the West, with criminal sanction against those who sleep with young girls. However, these are not “pedophiles”, for the most part. The reason is that older men can lure them with lollipops and small money, etc., at a time when they should be in school, etc. No, I do not find it repulsive or even particularly bothersome to think that there are men who want to sleep with 14 year old girls, BUT I fully support strong laws which ensure that those girls can be children for longer, and enter into sexual life after they are more able to meet their partners as intellectual equals.
The Qur’an gives minimum requirements (which implicitly suggests protections against an even worse sort of situation). Many Islamic countries have extended this further, to the benefit of girls, for example Iran raised the minimum marriage age to 13 (still too low, I think, but an improvement). I hope they will come around and adopt the legal treatment seen in the west, which protects girls from relationships where they are too intellectually immature to have much hope of being an equal and independent part of the partnership.
Nathan W March 4, 2016 at 12:44 am
An alternative account of the story suggests the marriage was not consummated until well into her twenties.
There is not a single account that claims the marriage was consummated at any other age than 9. There are some Muslim apologetics that recognizes Westerners find this disgusting that try to argue otherwise but they have no basis in the historical record or in the Muslim tradition. You are just, as usual, buying the Koolaid.
BUT I fully support strong laws which ensure that those girls can be children for longer, and enter into sexual life after they are more able to meet their partners as intellectual equals.
Good for you. Why did you feel the need to signal status to the world?
The Qur’an gives minimum requirements (which implicitly suggests protections against an even worse sort of situation).
No the Quran does not. The hadith might but these are essentially irrelevant. The minimum requirement is that she is over six and that sex does not take place before the menarche. As if that happened before Muhammed made it Sunnah.
Many Islamic countries have extended this further, to the benefit of girls, for example Iran raised the minimum marriage age to 13 (still too low, I think, but an improvement).
What makes you think that? They lowered it at the Revolution to 9. Because it was Sunnah and they objected to the Shah raising it. From Wikipedia:
In Iran, sex outside marriage, regardless of age, is illegal. The minimum age of marriage in Iran is 15 for men and 13 for women. Ways around these regulations include temporary marriages (Nikah mut‘ah). With the permission of a court girls may marry at a younger age; during 2010 as many as 42,000 children aged between 10 and 14 were married, and 716 girls younger than 10 had wed.
So you are drinking the Koolaid again.
I hope they will come around and adopt the legal treatment seen in the west, which protects girls from relationships where they are too intellectually immature to have much hope of being an equal and independent part of the partnership.
So you have no answer but trying to change the topic. Fine.
The fact is people who think of 10 year olds as wives are likely to think of them as sex partners. As Muhammed did.
Nathan, whatever your views on the rights and wrongs of forcing yourself on eleven year old girls, don’t you think it likely that in countries where such things are common, the rapes of five-year-old boys might also be undereported?
Yes, SMFS, my opposition to child marriage and laws to prevent sexual predators from grooming teens for sex is clearly status signalling. You read me loud and clear, as usual. /sarc
I said it, because otherwise someone would come along and twist my words into claiming that I approve of adult men treating teens as sexual objects (this is precisely what happened last time this conversation came up).
Adrian – yes, sounds like a pretty plausible theory. However, there is not a society on the planet that approves of raping 5 year old boys, even though in many places and times such things are swept under the rug rather than tackling them head on.
My main point is that we should not group together the statistics of raping pre-pubescent children with statistics on marriage traditions which are no longer acceptable in Christendom.
It would be a shame not to quote this part of the abstract as well:
>Countries with a high level of religious heterogeneity are subject to an increased suicide rate.
So perhaps we can see a part of the reason for low suicide rates in the Dar al-Islam. Not much religious heterogeneity when you kill the infidels as soon as you manage to get critical mass.
The Qur’an is very specific. Religion is not to be by compulsion, and there are explicit protections for “infidels” and their temples. A small tax on non-Muslims, however, long applied. While modern reality includes some violent extremists within some Muslim populations (and history tells us that this is by no means a specific sort of thing to Islam), if they actually read up on their scriptures they should easily conclude that they are going straight to hell for breaking these rules. Conversion by the sword, for example, would be in direct contravention of Islamic scripture, whereas this was practiced during certain periods of European history by Christian monarchs.
But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
— Qur’an, 9:5
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
— Qur’an, 9:29
32 Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. 34 They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him.
35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36 So, as the Lord commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died.
If Jews can refrain from stoning people to death for picking up sticks on the sabbath, then muslims can refrain from killing infidels.
First, I highlight dearmie’s point just below. Here are a few contrary quotes.
Al-Baqarah 2:256 “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion.”
“But if the enemies incline towards peace, do you also incline towards peace. And trust in God! For He is the one who hears and knows all things.” (8:61) The Quran chapter “The Cow,” 2:190, says, “Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.”
Quran 5:69 says (Arberry): “Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Christians, and those Sabeaans, whoso believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness–their wage waits them with their Lord, and no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow.”
What can I say. Religious scriptures are stock full of contradictions. It’s hard to benefit from an impartial peer-review analysis when the words are believed to have come from God himself.
Also, do not forget that the Qur’an was written at a time of much warfare in Arabian areas. While I’m not sure who believes exactly what, it seems likely to me that the words you refer to were intended to be viewed as specific to those who had built up armies to fight against Islam (which, I emphasize, offered things like freedom from slavery for converts, and some basic list of rights for workers and women, which yes, seem backwards today, but at the time were very much an improvement on existing conditions.)
So the verse on killing infidels is interpret-able to alter it’s meaning, but the one about no compulsion in religion is not?
And yes, the other two monotheism’s have incitement to violence. But are they relevant to today’s believers? It’s not just the text that matters, but also what believers make of it. Where are the suicide christian Palestinian freedom fighters, if all religion and all believers are the same?
“Where are the suicide christian Palestinian freedom fighters, if all religion and all believers are the same?”
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist group with a mostly Christian membership, carried out 6 suicide bombings during the Second Intifada: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_Front_for_the_Liberation_of_Palestine#Armed_attacks_after_2000
There was also nothing preventing Christians from joining the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military wing of Fatah and a secular nationalist group, so it wouldn’t surprise me if some of their suicide bombers were Christian, though I can’t confirm that.
But I do know that during the Lebanese Civil War there were several Christian suicide bombers as well as IIRC about 10 suicide bombers who were members of either the Lebanese or Syrian Communist party.
You also may have heard of the Tamil Tigers, who carried out more than a hundred suicide bombings during the Sri Lankan civil war. Tamils in Sri Lanka are about 80% Hindu and 20% Catholic, so it seems likely that some of the “Black Tigers” were Christian. Incidentally, Sri Lanka has a large (10% of the population, or about 2 million people) Muslim population that has been oppressed both by the majority Sinhalese (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_anti-Muslim_riots_in_Sri_Lanka) and the Tamils (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kattankudy_mosque_massacre, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsion_of_Muslims_from_the_Northern_province_by_LTTE). Yet unlike their Hindu and Catholic neighbors, Sri Lanka’s Muslims have yet to carry out even a single suicide bombing.
Nathan W March 3, 2016 at 9:03 am
Also, do not forget that the Qur’an was written at a time of much warfare in Arabian areas.
Was it? Name three wars in the area before Muhammed and his merry men started killing people.
While I’m not sure who believes exactly what, it seems likely to me that the words you refer to were intended to be viewed as specific to those who had built up armies to fight against Islam
Is there nothing you cannot rationalize away? It is amazing how people often build up armies to fight people who destroy their religious shrines, rape their women and carry their children off into slavery. Haters, they must be, all of them.
(which, I emphasize, offered things like freedom from slavery for converts, and some basic list of rights for workers and women, which yes, seem backwards today, but at the time were very much an improvement on existing conditions.)
It is amazing how you believe Muhammed was a socialist. Just like you in fact! He must have been a nice person. Islam did not offer freedom from slavery for converts. It did not give a basic list of rights for workers or women. And no, it did not improve existing conditions except in so far as it tried to ban things like post-birth abortions. You can see this because Muhammed married a rich business woman who ran her own business trading as far as Syria. Choosing to marry Muhammed over the objections of her male kin. Now name another woman who had a similar career after Islam.
A war was on, and it promoted things which vastly improved upon the existing status quo. They seem barbaric now, and it troubles me that the status of Mohammed as the last mention serves as a massive barrier to further improvements, but evaluating the Qur’an outside of its historical context makes it too easy to focus on the bad stuff. It promoted social conscience, minimum requirements for treatment of slaves and women (not good enough to the modern day, of course), protections for religious minorities (presumably the violent parts were directed at those who raised armies against the movement) and others.
I do not think Islam is the best way to do things. But, I think viewing it as an improvement on the existing conditions in Arabia is an important thing, and in failing to do so, it is too easy to focus on the aspects which we find troubling from the perspective of humanist or liberal values.
Among other things, the abuse of Quranic scripture by Arabian kings was hardly any worse than the abuse of Biblical scripture by European kings. It just so happens that Islam has not (yet?) had an enlightenment or civil wars to remove theocratic rule.
I’m not trying to rationalize anything. I’m trying to understand things in their historical context. Islam can do better, and nothing in the Qur’an says that you’re not allowed to treat women or slaves better than specified in the Qur’an, or that the state shall not be allowed to enforce laws which extend upon the improvements introduced by Mohammed. I imagine … had Mohammed thought he could get away with it, he would have banned slavery outright, for example. But he was constrained by the reality he lived in, and presumably could not have imagined a time where things would advance to the point that slavery could be outright banned. But he did go so far as to say that God would smile upon those who freed their slaves, and explicitly encouraged them to do so.
NN, all good points.
The PFLP and Fatah has used it’s attacks for a clear secular purpose: the liberation of Palestine. They have not, to my knowledge, used it to attack areas not claimed by Arabs, in Europe or America. Neither have the Tamils outside their country and that of their occupants.
Yes there are suicide attackers that are non Muslims. But it is Islamist’s that employ them overwhelmingly, and they have a direct doctrinal justification for it. There is no recompense in Christianity for killing infidels, and no provision that if innocents are killed, God will take them to Heaven (and I am aware of the similar procedure towards the Cathars of southern France, singular and in a different era of Christianity as it was).
Moreover, there are non-Arab Christians living in occupied territory today: Cyprus. Yet no suicide violence is apparent, and no such sense of urgent and immense grievance as Muslims Arabs claim for Palestine.
So I think to point still stands: there are specific doctrines in Islam that justify use of violence to occupy foreign lands, punish or kill unbelievers in Islam and they have a clear connection to what is happening in the Islamic world today.
Just found this on wiki’s Propular Front entry:
“According to Politburo member and former aircraft hijacker Leila Khaled, the PFLP does not see suicide bombing as a form of resistance to occupation or a strategic action or policy and no longer carries out such attacks.”
Since the Koran contains a mass of contradictions, selective quotation can be used to demonstrate pretty much whatever you like. In this regard it resembles the Bible.
Beginning with the Prophet’s early invasions and massacres to the First Crusade, the were sixty-eight Muslim conquests, Invasions, and massacres, which, in fact, caused the Crusades.
The Religion of Peace was still at it in 1803. The first war the US fought was against Muslim terrorists in the Mediterranean Sea.
Anyhow, thanks for the early-morning ration of counter-factual group think.
Kings have always used whatever religion was at hand to mobilize people into war. Supposing that there is something unique about Islam in its ability to promote such things is a woefully ignorant understanding of history.
You are correct. Parts of Christendom may have been like this 500 years ago.
Islam persists as an evil system, started by Muhammed, wherein emirs and imams (generally megalomaniacs) collude to jointly rule the world.
Actually, outside Islamic history, very few kings have resorted to religion to foment war, not Darius and Xerxes. And, Islam is the only so-called religion that promises paradise to those who murder for Islam. A Muslim will go to Hell for eating bacon, but to paradise and 72 virgins for beheading a kaffir.
And, that bit about “after they resist.. . ” is taken out of context. The Muslim Mass Murderers would show up and present an ultimatum. If the populace surrendered they were made third class citizens, not “separate but equal.” If they refused it was war.
“Islam persists as an evil system, started by Muhammed, wherein emirs and imams (generally megalomaniacs) collude to jointly rule the world.”
Collude to jointly rule the world? The various sects and leaders in Islam have been at each other’s throats pretty much nonstop since the death of Mohammed. Even in modern times, the overwhelming majority of victims of Islamist terrorism are other Muslims. Of all the accusations that you could level against Muslims, accusing them of jointly conspiring to rule the world is surely the most ridiculous.
“Actually, outside Islamic history, very few kings have resorted to religion to foment war”
So, just off the top of my head, the Mongol conquests, the French Wars of Religion, the Thirty Years War, the conquests and “flower wars” of the Aztecs, the Spanish and Portugese conquests of the Americas, the Taiping Rebellion, and the 20th century wars of Imperial Japan don’t count?
“And, Islam is the only so-called religion that promises paradise to those who murder for Islam.”
“All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested.” – Pope Urban II
“Beginning with the Prophet’s early invasions and massacres to the First Crusade, the were sixty-eight Muslim conquests, Invasions, and massacres, which, in fact, caused the Crusades.”
The Muslim conquest of Jerusalem happened 400 years before the Crusades. It would be less ridiculous to claim that Germany’s invasion of France during World War 2 was a defensive response to France’s role in the Thirty Years War 300 years prior.
I’d also be really interested to find out how the Muslims were responsible for the massacres of Jews in Europe following the announcement of the FIrst Crusade, the sack of Constantinople by Crusaders in 1204, and the Albigensian Crusade against French Cathars.
“The Muslim conquest of Jerusalem happened 400 years before the Crusades. It would be less ridiculous to claim that Germany’s invasion of France during World War 2 was a defensive response to France’s role in the Thirty Years War 300 years prior.”
No it isn’t ridiculous. The explicit motive for the Crusades was to help the eastern Roman Church in defense of it’s Christian lands and to retake Jerusalem. Just because it was occupied 4 centuries earlier does not mean they saw their actions as a liberation. Russians in the mid 19th century were, prior to the Crimean war, speaking of liberating Constantinople, also 4 centuries after the fact.
““All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested.” – Pope Urban II ” -The equivalent of a fatwa, not an equivalent quotation from the Koran. Surely you see the difference? Pope Urban’s thoughts now mean zero to Christians. The Koran is taken, by Muslim doctrine, to be the complete, final, and unalterable word of God, valid through for ever.
The Quran is very specific:
Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites? Allah has cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they have earned. Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him any way (of guidance) 89 They wish that you reject (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So, take not Auliya (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah (to Muhammad). But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you find them.
And the Hadith are not silent either
Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:52:260
Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn ‘Abbas, who said, “Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, ‘Don’t punish (anybody) with Allah’s Punishment.’ No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’
But maybe I am just an infidel who does not get this whole religion of peace thing. What does Islamic scholarship say?
Hanafi – Wait three days to see if they will recant, then if they are men kill them if they are women just beat them every three days.
Maliki – hey you get TEN days, of course female apostates get killed then too
Shafi’i – back to three days, and as a bonus women are to be executed as well
Hanbali – no waiting period required and again both men and women are to be executed
Ja’fari – no waiting period required before killing men, but hey if you are woman apostate you need only live the rest of your life in solitary confinement
But what about those infidel rights?
Surah 4:24 And (also forbidden are) all married women except those whom your right hands possess (this is) Allah’s ordinance to you, and lawful for you are (all women) besides those, provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. Then as to those whom you profit by, give them their dowries as appointed; and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed; surely Allah is Knowing, Wise.
Ma Malakat Aymanukum have a long history of practical slavery (stopped only by the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century). In the Quran itself license is given to enslave married non-Muslim women and rape them.
The Quran itself makes a large distinction between Ahl al-Kitab, people of the Book who are Jews or Christians with a few questionable other monotheists, and mushrik, or polytheists. While the former had the option of paying the jizyah, the latter were literally unforgiveable by Allah himself.
I, however, do get a good laugh about how “if they actually read up on their scriptures”, you do realize that the Taliban, who executes polytheists like Buddhists literally means “students” and that prior to becoming an oppressive military regime were literally doing NOTHING but reading up on the Quran. There are many, many Hafiz who have memorized the entire Quran and I have yet to meet a single one that does not endorse the execution of apostates in Sharia states nor who have met one who believes that polytheists should be afford dhimmi status.
It is the least Quranically literate Islamic societies that have failed to execute apostates and blasphemers.
Good thing Christians don’t pay attention to jurisprudence 1000 years old any more …
Indeed, one of the best (and worst) things about the Protestant Reformation was the downgrading of previous jurisprudence allowing for the rise of a civil legal code that, for instance, did not permit execution for apostates. Of course, a quick google search turns up a nice 1978 Fatwa from Al-Azhar saying:
This man has committed apostasy; he must be given a chance to repent and if he does not then he must be killed according to Shariah.
As far as his children are concerned, as long as they are children they are considered Muslim, but after they reach the age of puberty, then if they remain with Islam they are Muslim, but if they leave Islam and they do not repent they must be killed and Allah knows best.
Having spent time in Cairo, Mosul, Kuala Lumpur, and Djibouti, I can say pretty straight forward that most of my friends there believed that death was the appropriate punishment for apostates. By survey, over 80% of Egyptian Muslims report holding this belief. In general, the Muslims I know supported Shariah and supported more vigorous implementations thereof the more seriously they had studied the Quran.
I get, you like the no compulsion in religion quote, but the Quran straightforwardly says to kill apostates and every major institution of Islamic scholarship have interpreted it thus for over a thousand years and continue to do so to this day.
I mean seriously, would you be willing to land in Riyadh, walk off the plane, then recite the Shahada, and shortly thereafter renounce Muhammad?
Anyways, if you actually go to a Muslim country and talk theology and scripture with them, upon asking about whether they think you should have to convert, one of the most likely first things you will hear is that religion is not by compulsion.
The hadiths are not as influential as you would think. This is a ruling class trying to cajole, frighten or in any other way ensure their hold over the flock. Honestly, I’ve never met a Muslim who even remotely internalizes the crazy shit that in the Qur’an. I know they exist, but are the slimmest of minorities in most Muslim countries. Never mind what the hadiths say, those are the words of people who want to hold on to power, whether it seems that way to them or not.
Nathan you are replying to yourself now? Take a break. It is ok if someone has a different opinion than you.
Nathan should renounce Muhammad on the street in an islamic country and do the same about Jesus in the US. Of course, he won’t because beheading is a serious tax on his bullshit. Yet, he remains here spouting his bullshit because it is very important for him to equate American Christians, whom he despises, with Islamic terrorists and Islamic populations that largely support things like raping their wives and beheading apostates. He should just get it over with and say: “I hate religious people but I give brown religious people a pass because I am racist and have lower expectations for brown people.”
Nathan, I’ve almost given up on you, mate. You need to read the polls, which I think we can take to be reasonably accurate in what they capture about, say, jurisprudence, faith and punishment, in various contemporary Islamic polities. There is indeed adherence to, and a fervent belief in, some of the “crazy shit” in the Koran.
(I certainly acknowledge that there’s crazy shit in the Bible too. But although I live in a nominally Christian country, it means practically nothing insofar as it is not taken literally.)
Keith – I have been openly non-Muslim in every Muslim country I have been to. I have not received so much as a dirty look. Of course, I am not in the habit of visiting countries that are in the midst of civil wars where one or the other side is supported by white people, and I assume that my reception in such circumstances would be less than friendly in certain quarters.
Thomas – I do not despise Christians. I never equated American Christians to Islamic terrorists – American Christians don’t commit violent acts themselves, they vote for people who send out people with big guns to do the dirty work for them. However, I speak out against people who cherrypick lines to justify violence, when the main message of most spiritual thinkers revolves around peace, charity and social harmony.
Much like I’m not dumb enough to show up solo at a KKK rally and try to shout them down, I’m not dumb enough to show up in a terrorist hotbed to start shouting them down.
Think I’m a hypocrite? You have no idea what I say when I come across a legitimate sounding Muslim who expresses a preference for violence.
Do you doubt that Muslims are too busy with their own internal differences to really care about the “infidels”? During revolution round 2 in Tahrir Square in Egypt, I walked through a million person crowd of mayhem, and not a single person in the crowd could have cared less who this white guy was or why he was there – they were too busy with their own disputes. Of course, if you send in a Western army and pick sides in their conflict, anyone on the side picked by the West will despise us for it, thinking it is none of our God damned business.
This is the opposite of the view held by 100% of non-Muslim Indians I know.
Also, ask the infidel Jews of Medina (the Banu Qurayza) what their experience with their buddy Muhammad was like.
Actions, not words.
Muslims and Hindus have BOTH, on occasions which are relatively rare given the 1 billion + population of the country, been at each other’s throats for quite some time now. I distinctly remember conversations at Jama Masjid in New Delhi, where you will easily encounter Muslims who are interested in discussing theology and scripture with Westerners, with a view to promoting their non-extremist views.
Out of a few hundred million people, to be sure, some crazy things happen. Then again, we don’t count up all the mass murders in America and count them all against Christianity.
I’m not saying that all is well in all Islamic places. I’m saying that the characterization that Muslims are GENERALLY inclined to violence is wholly inaccurate. No more so than others, I would argue, although circumstance (e.g., massive foreign intrusion in their domestic politics, a la “God Save the Queen” line which sings “confound their politics”) means that CURRENTLY there is more violence happening there.
Nathan W March 3, 2016 at 5:14 am
The Qur’an is very specific. Religion is not to be by compulsion, and there are explicit protections for “infidels” and their temples.
I am enjoying Nathan as an Islamic Scholar. That is the great thing about the Left. They don’t need to study, they know all the answers! The Quran is specific. About a lot of things. But it also has a principle of progress – later versus often say something different to earlier versus. Muhammed in Mecca was much more liberal than when he moved to Medina. So Medina had a Jewish community. Muhammed lined them all up along a trench and told them they could become Muslims. One accepted. The rest were beheaded. How is that not forced conversion? Muhammed’s behavior is also Sunnah – the role model for all Muslims. Copyable. What he did, others should do.
You know, Muslim scholars have great big books on theology. They have been writing them for about 1500 years. They are quite clear about these sorts of things. Why do you think you know better?
“A small tax on non-Muslims, however, long applied.”
Small? Not actually the reality is it? By the way that tolerance only extended to Jews, Christians and Sabaeans. Not Yazidis.
“While modern reality includes some violent extremists within some Muslim populations (and history tells us that this is by no means a specific sort of thing to Islam), if they actually read up on their scriptures they should easily conclude that they are going straight to hell for breaking these rules. ”
You think Islam is Christianity. Why would they conclude they would go to hell for breaking this rule, assuming this rule existed at all?
“Conversion by the sword, for example, would be in direct contravention of Islamic scripture, whereas this was practiced during certain periods of European history by Christian monarchs.”
Conversion by the sword is actually standard Muslim practice. Always has been. Still is.
“By the way that tolerance only extended to Jews, Christians and Sabaeans.”
In practice it extended to pretty much all non-Muslims in Muslim lands who accepted Muslim rule. Hence why there are a billion Hindus in India even though 90% of India was ruled by Muslims for 400 years. Not that the Mughals were models of tolerance by any means, but they clearly did not have conversion by the sword as a standard practice. If they had, how many Hindus do you think would be left today?
This wasn’t a later innovation either. The earliest (Rashidun) caliphates extended Dhimmi status to Zoroastrians in Iran and Hindus and Buddhists in Afghanistan.
The “No Compulsion” verse is a Medinan verse, by the way, and as far as I can tell no major Islamic scholar, not even the Jihadi favorite Ibn Taymiyyah, has ever considered it to be abrogated.
Hinduism survived largely because the Mughals had an emperor who utterly ignored Quranic orthodoxy and even started his own syncretic religion, Din-i-Ilahi, which was promptly labeled as blasphemy by the leading Quranic scholars of the day. Further in contravention to the clear teaching of the Quran, the Mughals under Akbar had abolished the jizyah. Many other deviations from the Quran were acknowledged by the Mughals at the time (Akbar literally believed that no one faith could know all truth).
Akbar syncretistic abandonment of Quranic Islam was maintained through his successors (who were admittedly weak rulers) until Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb, well he decided that enough was enough and decided to go back to the Quran. Thus began the largest scale demolition of Hindu temples in the history of the world. Oh and a large number of religious leaders, including the 9th Sikh Guru were executed. Of course this lead to open warfare and the disintegration of the Mughal Empire as the Marathas utilized the suppression of Hinduism to build an empire thanks the mass open revolt.
If you want to discuss whether or not the Quran truly holds to no compulsion in religion, I would suggest you start by looking at Islamic states that were held to be orthodox by Quranic scholars of the time.
In practice, Islamic scriptures were discarded, much to the anguish of contemporary Quranic scholars, until such time as the infidels could be compelled to convert.
Nathan made a very bold claim that the *Quran* specifically forbid compulsion and included protection for infidels and their temples. When challenged with the actual text of the Quran, the policies of a self-admitted syncretic empire seem just a wee bit beside the point.
NN March 3, 2016 at 5:45 pm
In practice it extended to pretty much all non-Muslims in Muslim lands who accepted Muslim rule. Hence why there are a billion Hindus in India even though 90% of India was ruled by Muslims for 400 years.
90% of India was not ruled by Muslims for 400 years. Like the statues in Bamyan and the Sphinx there is a limit to persecution when numbers are high. No pagans survived in Arabia. We used to have the text of Muhammed’s letter to the Omanis telling them to convert or die. The numbers in India meant that some limited toleration had to be extended because there were just too many to kill. Devout Muslims like Aurangzeb tried to change that.
The earliest (Rashidun) caliphates extended Dhimmi status to Zoroastrians in Iran and Hindus and Buddhists in Afghanistan.
Evidence for Afghanistan? Certainly when the last pagans in Kafiristan were forcibly converted it met no condemnation from the Muslim world.
Sure but he did not mean it in the Nathan sense either. No one ever has. Muslims forcibly convert because Muhammed did. It is Sunnah.
“Evidence for Afghanistan?”
This page has a pretty detailed history of Buddhism under Islam in Afghanistan: http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/study/history_buddhism/buddhism_central_asia/history_afghanistan_buddhism.html
Treatment varied from time to time and ruler to ruler, but for the most part Buddhists were treated like Dhimmis of other faiths and tolerated as long as they remained loyal and paid the jizya. Because of this, Buddhism survived in Afghanistan under Muslim rule for several centuries.
For example, here’s a description of Buddhist practice in Bactria after it was conquered by the Umayyad Caliphate:
“Five years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, in 637, the Arabs defeated the Persian Sassanids and founded the Umayyad Caliphate in 661. It ruled over Iran and much of the Middle East. In 663, they attacked Bactria, which the Turki Shahis had taken from the Western Turks by this time. The Umayyad forces captured the area around Balkh, including Nava Vihara Monastery, causing the Turki Shahis to retreat to the Kabul Valley.
The Arabs allowed followers of non-Muslim religions in the lands they conquered to keep their faiths if they submitted peacefully and paid a poll tax (Ar. jizya). Although some Buddhists in Bactria and even an abbot of Nava Vihara converted to Islam, most Buddhists in the region accepted this dhimmi status as loyal non-Muslim protected subjects within an Islamic state. Nava Vihara remained open and functioning. The Han Chinese pilgrim Yijing (I-ching) visited Nava Vihara in the 680s and reported it flourishing as a Sarvastivada center of study.
An Umayyad Iranian author, al-Kermani, wrote a detailed account of Nava Vihara at the beginning of the eighth century, preserved in the tenth-century work Book of Lands (Ar. Kitab al-Buldan) by al-Hamadhani. He described it in terms readily understandable to Muslims by drawing the analogy with the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest site of Islam. He explained that the main temple had a stone cube in the center, draped with cloth, and that devotees circumambulated it and made prostration, as is the case with the Kaaba. The stone cube referred to the platform on which a stupa stood, as was the custom in Bactrian temples. The cloth that draped it was in accordance with the Iranian custom for showing veneration, applied equally to Buddha statues as well as to stupas. Al-Kermani’s description indicates an open and respectful attitude by the Umayyad Arabs in trying to understand the non-Muslim religions, such as Buddhism, that they encountered in their newly conquered territories.”
“No pagans survived in Arabia.”
Were the Christians any better in Europe? Religious minorities persisted throughout the Middle East well into the 20th century, evidence that Islam has long had a degree of tolerance in a great number of places. Until the last couple centuries, far more so than Christian nations.
Anyways, what I oppose is tarring them all with the same brush. No, I do not plan to go to Riyad to preach against violent extremism. But speaking out against present streams of violent extremist thought, or approving of military action against their real world manifestation, is much different from claiming that they are generally representative of all Muslims.
On another note, it is a much different thing to ask a question like “The Qur’an says in one place something about killing those who leave Islam [not those who were never Muslim]. Do you agree with this?”, and to put a knife or gun in their hands, show them the apostate, and ask them if Allah actually wants them to do the deed. Push come to shove, I would be stunned beyond belief if much more than a few percent of global Muslims actually believed it was the correct action, and expect that instead the vast vast majority would instead prefer to defer to Allah’s judgment.
Violent radical interpretations should be opposed. Tarring all Muslims with the same brush is not conducive to moving forward on the matter.
On the whole, the lethargic hot and dusty Muslim countries have lower violence than the firey and hustling criminals of Latin America, yes. Kind of inactive, sleepy and low energy places in general. Another good reason for their Muslims to stay there (and not move to other places where they quickly acquire high violence, hubris and self righteousness).
Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis and Somalis must be so relieved to hear this
On a serious note, so many Muslim countries are Arab, so that will skew these studies. My guess is that this is a particularity of Arab culture, not Islam per se. – Not a lot of violent crime in peacetime, but plenty of corruption. Similarly you see a lot of studies skewed because there are five Nordic countries which are very similar instead of just one.
The pattern also shows up in Non-Arab Muslim countries, as far as I can tell. Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, has a per-capita homicide rate that is about 1/7 of New York City’s or. to compare it to another major city in Southeast Asia, 1/5 of Bangkok’s.
Glancing at a map of countries by intentional homicide rate (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c9/Map_of_world_by_intentional_homicide_rate.svg, darker means more murders per-capita), the only Muslim-majority countries with high homicide rates are failed states like Iraq, Sudan, and Pakistan (note that the map uses data from before the start of the Syrian civil war), and ex-Communist Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan where most people are Muslim in the same way that most Norwegians are Christian (http://www.pewforum.org/2012/08/09/the-worlds-muslims-unity-and-diversity-2-religious-commitment/), and which have a lot of the same problems that other former Soviet Republics have.
Now, it is entirely possible that this is all just a coincidence, but merely eyeballing the map that I linked to above seems to indicate a pretty clear pattern. I have a really hard time coming up with any plausible explanation other than religious/cultural factors for why Algeria has a per-capita homicide rate comparable to Western Europe.
The 1990s civil war and its ongoing effects could possibly explain a higher homicide rate in present day Algeria. Say, during the war there would be a certain number of people who grew accustomed to using violence to get their way, and to lethal retribution.
Perhaps you misunderstood me. Algeria’s per-capita homicide rate is exceptionally low, equal to or lower than many Western European states, despite it being much poorer and, like you say, less than 20 years removed from a major civil war.
These are reported rates remember. Have you been to Jakarta? I’m not necessarily sure the same statistics gathering and record keeping techniques are feasible there versus NYC.
That’s why I used homicide rates for comparison. All other crimes are subject to various biases regarding reporting rates and definitions, but murder tends to be consistently reported worldwide because human corpses are heavy and hard to dispose of, and it is usually easy to tell that a corpse has been murdered even if you can’t determine who did it.
Homicide may well be under-reported under conditions of civil war or other state failure, but those don’t remotely apply to modern Indonesia.
In the case of the first three, i think Washington and Riad are the ones to blame no?
The only Muslim country I’ve been to is Turkey, but street crime there appeared to be minimal. Some vendors of souvenirs would simply leave their merchandise out on the sidewalk all night with no worries of it being carried off while they were away.
The Turks were also pretty decent drivers, and showed a lot of courtesy for vehicles traveling at different speeds. On winding roads, drivers in S-class Mercedes would patiently queue up behind trucks and tractor-pulled wagons until the slower vehicles reached turnouts, at which point the road-blocking vehicles would quickly pull over to free up those behind them.
I would not want to experience the tender mercies of the Turkish criminal justice system, however.
Hmmm. I’m remenbering this aphorism: in Appalachia, people are very courteous, because each one knows everyone around him is just as hot-headed as he is.
When I was younger, I visited nightspots and chased skirt in many capitals, on various continents. One thing I could be certain of: I was safer on a Friday or Saturday night in the US than just about anywhere else. Why? Because in Europe, say, in Spain, Sweden, Denmark, England, France, Russia, Poland, Finland, etc etc. there were always fist fights, or — at worst — spontaneous knife or bottle fights. Every. Single. (Weekend) Night.
But in the US, one never knew just who might be armed. It takes a special class of idiot, of which I was never one, to get involved in a confrontation when the outcome could be far more serious than a punch or three in the face.
I lived in Istanbul for 2 years. They do lock up their stuff at night. Their business neighbors look after each other.
I thought Turks drove aggressively. I was in for a shock when I arrived, but I hear that it’s worse in other places like, Egypt and India.
Thanks to the movie, Midnight Express, The Turks reformed their penal system. I’ve heard that prisoners, especially foreign ones, have better treatment than prisoners in America.
Muslim societies tend to be tribal and crime is kept in check by traditional methods like the threat of vendetta. The flipside is that when Muslims move to the West where traditional social controls are weak, their crime rates go through the roof: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/immigrant-crime-in-germany/
This seems about right. Arab societies are authoritarian nationally and tribal locally, which entails a great deal of social coercion and brutal punishment.
Remove the restraints and the underlying nature reveals itself.
I would add that most of America and Canada too is very peaceful and safe without the need to restrict freedom. Homicide stats are skewed by certain cities.
Except that vendetta is a prescription for high levels of violence.
Maybe vigilantism, but not tribal vendettas. It’s one thing to worry that some guy will show up on your doorstep for breaking the law. It’s another thing altogether to worry that ten guys will.
It makes me wonder why violent crime is so high in Pakistani cities like Karachi, up until a couple of years ago it was up there with Medellin in the glory days of the cartels.
Just ask the CIA…Since US invaded Afganistan opium production has sky-rocketed or not?….
Of course crime rates are lower in quasi-dictatorships…
“Countries with a high level of religious heterogeneity are subject to an increased suicide rate.” Heterogeneity (and not just religious) has so many negative markers one wonders how America has survived this long. Or: will survive much longer. Maybe there is a tipping point for heterogeneity and we have crossed it.
On the other hand: Noah Smith’s recent column in Bloomberg View considered the tendency to see historical economic patterns that likely don’t exist or can’t be proven even if they do exist. http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-03-02/we-get-fooled-by-economic-patterns-that-don-t-exist In a homogeneous economy I would expect a greater likelihood of a pattern because, being homogeneous, people tend to act alike. Not so in a heterogeneous economy, where many different actors are likely to act differently. Maybe it’s the heterogeneity of the American people and economy that is its strength, as different actors act differently and produce fewer historical patterns.
On the other hand: Even in a homogeneous economy there is almost always an identifiable subgroup that can be blamed for whatever befalls the economy, such as Jews in Germany being blamed for wrecking the German economy.
North Korea also apears to have low crime rates.
Was just about to say the same thing. Authoritative regimes usually do have less crime.
They are, after all, called police states.
Or they just make up the figures they report………..
Its all about the submission. Why does it seem like Tyler is always preaching to the masses to submit to the smarter people, bigger government, etc. etc.
Is it possible that the number of suicides is grossly under-reported in certain countries with strong religious taboo about it ?
When you look at the rates (on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_death_rate because the article is gated) you see that Egypt and Syria report 0.1 suicide per year and 100.000 persons, which is astonishingly small (Switzerland has 11, for instance).
I was going to point this out as well. It is a very taboo subject and it most likely is underreported with the deaths being labelled as anything else.
I have read that cultural influences also skew numbers on infant mortality stats as well.
Not just possible but documented.
Religious taboos create very large undercounts.
Firearms availability creates very large _relative_ overcounts (by household, but region and by country). EG the research out of Australia established no net reduction in suicide for the decade after their mass firearms confiscation, but rather a huge and persistent increase in self caused death ruled accident, actually suicide misclassified as accident.
That Arab countries have low homicide rates absent a general breakdown in public order is no surprise to anyone whose made a cursory look at international crime statistics. Now, what happens when you take people who’ve been subject to certain social controls and put them in a different environment? (Cologne, anyone?).
We MUST bring more muslims here to pacify our violent societies!
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