The case against banning the Koran


Non-Muslims occasionally raise the idea of banning the Koran, Islam, and Muslims. Examples this month include calls by Geert Wilders, a political leader in the Netherlands, to ban the Koran (which he compares to Hitler’s Mein Kampf) and two Australian politicians, Pauline Hanson and Paul Green, demanding a moratorium on Muslim immigration.

[To suggest that we ban the interpretation by Islamists rather than Islam or the Koran stretches the imagination and the intellect. TB]

What is one to make of these initiatives?

First, some history. Precedents exist from an earlier era, when intolerant Christian governments forced Muslims to convert (notably in sixteenth-century Spain) and others strongly encouraged conversions, especially of the elite (as in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Russia). In modern times, however, with freedom of expression and religion established as basic human rights, efforts to protect against intolerance by banning the Koran, Islam, or Muslims have conspicuously failed.

In perhaps the most serious contemporary attempt to ban the Koran, a Hindu group argued in 1984-85 that the Islamic scriptures contain “numerous sayings, repeated in the book over and over again, which on grounds of religion promote disharmony, feeling of enmity, hatred and ill-will between different religious communities and incite people to commit violence and disturb public tranquility.” The taking of this demand, known as “The Calcutta Quran Petition” to court prompted riots and deaths in Bangladesh. The case so alarmed New Delhi that the attorney-general of India himself took part in the proceedings to oppose the petition which, not surprisingly, was dismissed.

This early petition set the standard in terms of collecting objectionable Koranic verses. Other efforts have been more rhetorical and less operational. The most consequential was by Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands to end Muslim emigration. Had he not been assassinated in 2002, he might have ridden his issue to the prime ministry.

Roberto Calderoli, coordinator of Italy’s Northern League, in 2005 wrote that “Islam has to be declared illegal until Islamists are prepared to renounce those parts of their pseudo political and religious doctrine glorifying violence and the oppression of other cultures and religions.”

British MP Boris Johnson pointed out in 2005 that passing a Racial and Religious Hatred Bill “must mean banning the reading – in public or private – of a great many passages of the Koran itself.”

His observation prompted a Muslim delegation to seek assurances (which it received) from the Home Office that no such ban would occur. Patrick Sookhdeo of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity in 2006 called for prohibiting one translation of The Noble Koran: a New Rendering of its Meaning in English, because “it sets out a strategy for killing the infidels and for warfare against them.”

Other Western countries witnessed lesser efforts: Norway’s Kristiansand Progress party in 2004 and Germany’s Bundesverband der Bürgerbewegungen sought to prohibit the Koran in 2006, arguing for its incompatibility with the German constitution. “Stop the Islamification of Denmark” demanded in early 2007 the prohibition of parts of the Koran and all mosques, calling them unconstitutional. Australia’s Catch the Fire Ministries argued in 2004 that because “The Koran contradicts Christian doctrine in a number of places and, under the blasphemy law, [it] is therefore illegal.”

Elsewhere, individual writers have made these same demands. Switzerland’s Alain Jean-Mairet is the strategist of a two-part plan, popular and juridical, with the goal that “all the Islamic projects in Switzerland will prove impossible to fulfill.” In France, an anonymous writer at the Liberty Vox Web site wishes to ban Islam, as does Warner Todd Huston in the United States.

The 2006 movie V for Vendetta by the way, portrays an England in the future in which the Koran is banned.

MY TAKE? I understand the security-based urge to exclude the Koran, Islam, and Muslims, but these efforts are too broad, sweeping up inspirational passages with objectionable ones, reformers with extremists, friends with foes. Also, they ignore the possibility of positive change.

More practical and focused would be to reduce the threats of jihad and Shari’a by banning Islamist interpretations of the Koran, as well as Islamism and Islamists. Precedents exist.

A Saudi-sponsored Koran was pulled from school libraries. Preachers have gone to jail for their interpretation of the Koran. Extreme versions of Islam are criminally prosecuted. Organizations are outlawed. Politicians have called for Islamists to leave their countries.

Islam is not the enemy, but Islamism is. Tolerate moderate Islam, but eradicate its radical variants.

The writer is director of the Middle East Forum.

August 29, 2007 | 8 Comments »

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8 Comments / 8 Comments

  1. We should quote this book’s vicious material as widely as possible so everyone will know what militant “Islam” really is.

    So we do, but we have a handicap when the foremost Western political and religious leaders embrace the murderers, looters and rapists, kiss the Koran and call it “the religion of peace tolerance and love”. Do these people or their advisers ever read anything, except their own selfcongratulatory speeches?

    The way Muslims and their leaders behave, I think we must and will sooner or later conclude as did the mediaeval Spaniards: Decapitate every single one of them without exception and regardless of category.

    Paul Fregosi’s book on Jihad in Europe is very enlightening and instructive and should be recommended reading for everyone with a political, academic or journalistic aspiration.

  2. Banning the Koran would be wrong. The problem is not the Koran but the right to challenge the evil of the Koran.

    Due to political correctness, all such debate in the media is taboo. While no teaching of the Bible and the Torah is off limits to critical examination (and rightfully so)such an examination of the Koran is met with legal, verbal or physical violence.

    The reality is that the Koran is a book of evil. The teachings of the Koran are the teachings of an evil murder, rapist, child abuser, beheader etc – Muhammad not any God/Allah. As such Islam is not a religion but an ideology.


    1. Killing, murder, slaughter of all infidels that have not converted to Islam.

    2. Killing, murder, slaughter of all apostates of Islam.

    3. Islam orders death for Muslims and possible death for non-Muslim critics of
    Muhammad and the Quran and even sharia itself.

    4. Muslims deserve death for doing any of the following (Reliance of the Traveler pp. 597—98, o8.7): (1) Reviling Allah or his Messenger; (2) being sarcastic about ‘Allah’s name, His command, His interdiction, His promise, or His threat’; (3) denying any verse of the Quran or ‘anything which by scholarly consensus belongs to it, or to add a verse that does not belong to it’; (4) holding that ‘any of Allah’s messengers or prophets are liars, or to deny their being sent’; (5) reviling the religion of Islam; (6) being sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred Law; (7) denying that Allah intended ‘the Prophet’s message . . . to be the religion followed by the entire world.’

    5. Islam allows the ownership of slaves – it is a law of ALLAH.

    6. ALLAH permits the raping of female slaves. Indeed in Islam – rape is not a sexual weapon – it is a weapon of war. Having murdered the woman’s man, Muslims can now – sanctioned by the law of ALLAH complete their final humiliation and domination of her body.

    7. ALLAH sanctions the seizing, looting and pillaging of property of murdered infidels.

    8. ALLAH demands a share of the proceeds realized from the sale of women and children and looted property. It is the law of ALLAH.

    9. ALLAH condemns most Muslim women upon their death to the fires of hell.

    10. The ALLAH depicted in the Koran is no ordinary god. He is the greatest slut master of the entire universe. ALLAH has created a deviant sexual paradise filled with virgins with big breasts and big eyes. These virgins re- generate as virgins every time a believer has sex with them. These righteous Muslim killers and murderers of ALLAH are blessed with eternal hard-ons. They are permitted by ALLAH to engage in all forms of orgies, group sex, and sexual depravity.

    11. ALLAH permits the following crimes to be committed in His name and greater glory. (1) Women and children are enslaved. They can either be sold, or the Muslims may ‘marry’ the women, since their marriages are automatically annulled upon their capture. (2) Muslims may have sex with slave women. Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son—in—law, did this. (3) Women and children must not be killed during war, unless this happens in a nighttime raid when visibility was low. Not as an act of mercy but as a commercial decision. They are money and sex on the hoof. (4) Old men and monks could be killed. (5) A captured enemy of war could be killed, enslaved, ransomed for money or an exchange, freely released, or beaten. One time Muhammad even tortured a citizen of the city of Khaybar in order to extract information about where the wealth of the city was hidden. (6) Enemy men who converted could keep their property and small children. This law is so excessive that it amounts to forced conversion. Only the strongest of the strong could resist this coercion and remain a non—Muslim. (7) Civilian property may be confiscated. (8) Civilian homes may be destroyed. (9) Civilian fruit trees may be destroyed. (10) Pagan Arabs had to convert or die. This does not allow for the freedom of religion or conscience. (11) People of the Book (Jews and Christians) had three options (Sura 9:29): fight and die; convert and pay a forced ‘charity’ or zakat tax; or keep their Biblical faith and pay a jizya or poll tax. The last two options mean that this immoral money flows into the Islamic treasury, to fund Muhammad’s jihadist army so why would Muhammad receive a revelation from God to dry up this money flow?

    12. ALLAH rewards suicide bombers and other killers and murderers Islamic martyrdom which guarantees Paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah.

    14 All unbelievers are to be sentenced to Hell for all eternity.

    15. Murder is only wrong if the victim is a fellow Muslim.

    16. ALLAH teaches that women are fields to be used by men as they will.

    17. ALLAH teaches that women are worth one half of a man.

    18. ALLAH sanctions men to beat their disobedient wives.

    19. ALLAH does not allow Muslims to be friends with the infidels.

    20. ALLAH sanctions that Muslims must disown family members who reject Islam.

    21. Thieves have their hands cut off.

    22. ALLAH ordered that prisoners of war must be killed until all Arabia was conquered for Islam.

    23. ALLAH sent the Angel Gabriel with his merry band of warrior Angels to bring war, death and destruction to the enemies of Islam.

    24. ALLAH created a law allowing Muhammad to marry his adopted son’s wife. This law applied to all Muslim men.

    25. ALLAH created a law abolishing adoption.

    26. ALLAH created a law allowing Muhammad to rape slave women.

    27. ALLAH created a law allowing Muhammad to possess more then 4 wives.

    These are just some of the criminal teachings of ALLAH. Of course, these are not the teachings of any ALLAH. No ALLAH who is ALLAH would ever teach the evil and criminality of the Koran. These are the teachings of Muhammad. The ALLAH of the Koran never existed. He was created by Muhammad. Muhammad was ALLAH.

    All violence in the Koran is not the teachings of ALLAH. All references in the Koran to war, terror, violence are not the words of ALLAH. Waging war in the name of ALLAH and to the greater glory of ALLAH to spread Islam as the word of ALLAH is an obscenity against ALLAH himself. All teachings in the Koran are evil and an obscenity

    Larry Houle

  3. For those of you who still advocate and believing that there will be “moderate” Islamist, dream on. Do you not understand that the philosophy between Islam and Judaism and Christianity, is not compatible? The followers of Islam only understand power and force; therefore, reasoning is a waste of time and the time expanding this demeanor only gives the Islamist time to become more powerful. It is past time for all freedom loving countries to stand up and say”enough”.
    War is the only option and the answer is the total destruction, as Bill Narvey says. We get weaker and they get stronger so why are we waiting. Wake up Governments and smell the roses.

  4. The taking of this demand, known as “The Calcutta Quran Petition” to court prompted riots and deaths in Bangladesh.

    Doesn’t this behavior prove that those who proposed banning the koran were correct? It’s very ironic how muslims always respond in protest to criticism that their “religion” is violent and intolerant, by perpetrating violence.

  5. Charles, your comment is well reasoned. The problem with your suggesting a successful war against 200 million radical Islamists is essentially made impractical for the same problematical reason you identify with D. Pipes suggestions.

    Neither solution will be acceptable to the West, at least not until the situation reaches a life and death critical point.

    First the West is presently pathologically war averse, especially as regards the notion of an all out bloody deadly clash of civilizations. That in part at least accounts for the West’s very limited engagements against only specific elements and adherents of radical Islam.

    The fear is that to do more could be the spark that could upset the Muslim world that might then react potentially with violence and with the Arab oil producers reacting by again destabilizing the world oil economy and using oil related economic warfare as regards both production and prices to hurt the West.

    The West, especially the EU, still recalls the painful consequences of the actions taken by the OPEC nations in 1973. Worse still is the fear that a more concerted and broader effort to go after radical Islamists and their human and financial support infrastructure, could set off a full blown war of civilizations.

    Secondly, the West is extremely sensitive about what it says or suggestions it might make as regards Muslims that could be seen as an offence to Muslims or Islam. Undoubtedly for a Westerner to call for revision of the Koran by excision of many passages, will be met with anger and that too could spark an angry and perhaps deadly confrontation as you have stated.

    The West’s reaction to radical Islam has been a mix of limited actions to counter same and efforts to submissively appease Muslims. In furtherance of that submissive approach the West has become extremely sensitive and accomodating of Muslim sensibilities, without demanding a quid pro quo from Muslims for any such concessions in their favor.

    In that regard we have been witnessing Europe’s transformation so well recorded and explained by Bat Ye’or and we can see disturbing, if not alarming signs of the same thing happening here in North America.

    Meanwhile, the growing and increasingly threatening, dangerous and deadly juggernaut of radical Islam keeps coming at the West and the West continues to tolerate hemmoraging its blood and life force, believing and hoping it will not have to resort to all out war to make that hemmoraging stop.

    The West is ultimately going to reach a point where it can no longer put off making the decision it pathologically still abhors making and which it hopes against hope it will never have to make.

    That decision is to either save Western culture as is by committing all it has to blowing away all of radical Islam or to be overwhelmed, consumed and transformed by radical Islam from what it is into something the West surely does not want to be.

    Many are increasingly having nightmares about such end of Western days scenario. Many more will have to see such dark vision of the the future before the West reaches that critical juncture in its history and can know and hopefully it still has the power to decide whether that road for the West ends or goes forward into the future.

  6. Pipes is increasingly skating on thin ice with his synthetic distinctions between Islam and Islamism. Here, he attempts to distinguish between “inspirational” passages in the Qur’an and “objectionable” ones.

    And who will decide which is which?

    It would seem that Bin Laden, Zawahiri and the estimated 200 million violent or violence-sanctioning Muslims in the world find suras like 4:89 extremely inspirational; will they be denied their holistic view of Islam? Will Jewish scholars like Pipes persuade them of the error of their ways?

    In the past, Pipes has admitted that no moderate Islam exists. Failing a reformation, no moderate Islam will be forthcoming.

    The only path to reformation within Islam is for their holy books to undergo a transformation — for the violent passages to be excised or heavily reinterpreted on behalf of the Muslim masses.

    So we are essentially back to the notion of banning the Qur’an in its current state.

    Will the 200 million allow the perfect word of Allah to be adapted?

    No, not without a fight.

    So we are also back to the notion of a long war where ultimately, the 200 million will have to be killed or so completely defeated and demoralized that they no longer have any power to influence outcomes.

    Only a massive military defeat of these Muslims will clear the playing field for the tiny nascent group of “Moderate Muslims” Pipes has put so much of his faith in.

  7. “Tolerate moderate Islam, but eradicate its radical variants”
    If what I often hear is true, and “moderate Islam” is yet to be invented, then “eradicating its radical variants” equals eradicating Islam wholesale.

    Which would be fine by me.

  8. Pipes says:

    Islam is not the enemy, but Islamism is. Tolerate moderate Islam, but eradicate its radical variants.

    So we turn to the Koran of Moderate Islam where we read the following unabrogated moderate commandment free of any radical Islamist interpretation:

    … slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, ,,, (Sura 9:5)

    As I understand Pipes, he accepts Koranic hate mongering when it comes from his moderate Muslim friends, or perhaps he tolerates being moderately killed by moderates, or perhaps he recommends conversion to Islam, which would solve his problem anyway.

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