They Are Neither ‘Losers,’ ‘Nihilists,’ ‘Worshipers Of Death,’ Nor ‘Sick Cowards’

– But Rather Believers And Idealists Who Commit Horrific Murders For A Cause And Sacrifice Their Lives For A Utopian Future: A World Ruled By Their Faith

By: Yigal Carmon, MEMRI

Just like Barack Obama, Francois Hollande and David Cameron, who denied that the jihadi bombings in the West were in any way connected to religion, Donald Trump and Theresa May now also insist on mischaracterizing the jihadi phenomenon, calling the jihadis by different names such as “evil losers” (Trump) and “sick cowards” (May).

During his campaign Trump spoke in different terms (“radical Islamic terrorism”) – but since then he has evidently adopted the approach favored by the other Western leaders, who consider any reference to the religious roots of terror as “unhelpful.” Like them, he is apparently motivated by the understandable need to avoid offending 1.4 billion Muslims.

So first, let’s put forward the true, if “unhelpful,” definition. The jihadis who perpetrate these horrific crimes are neither losers, nor nihilists, nor worshippers of death, nor sick cowards. On the contrary, the overwhelming majority of them are devout and fanatic believers. They are idealists who sacrifice their lives for the sake of a utopian future: a world ruled by their faith. The attacks they commit are extreme acts of piety. They seek to emulate the dedication of the early believers in order to revive the glory and grandeur of the past. In fact, as part of their training, many suicide bombers adopt a pious lifestyle: they immerse themselves in prayer, help the needy in their society, pay all their debts,[1] and become moral and religious role models for others (see the Appendix of this document for the last statement of the suicide-bomber Hanadi Jaradat, who committed mass murder in a Haifa restaurant and began her will with the religious formula, “in the name of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate”).

Contrary to the approach of the Western leaders, who blame the evil character of the perpetrators while absolving the faith they follow, the truth is that these perpetrators, by the standards of their own belief, are virtuous people who follow the directives of the Koran [48:29]: “Be fierce towards the infidels, merciful towards each other.” The problem lies not in the perpetrators’ innate character but in some of the core values of their religious belief system. Indeed, their faith – any faith – includes elements that are beautiful alongside elements that are malevolent. Denying that these malevolent elements are part of the faith, as the Western leaders do, is wrong. It is such denial that is unhelpful; in fact, it is self-deception.

Can the mischaracterization of the terrorists’ acts actually achieve the goal of avoiding offense to the world’s Muslims? The answer is no. Faced with the Western leaders’ statements that totally disassociate the jihadis’ acts from their religious roots, the world’s Muslims can only conclude that Western leaders do not understand their faith and have the intellectual conceit to mischaracterize it. In fact, this mischaracterization denies some of the core values that underpinned the great achievements of Islam in which Muslims take pride: the establishment a great civilization and the building of not one empire but several in the course of history.

It would be far more respectful to Muslims to acknowledge that these values (of self-sacrifice and extreme dedication aimed at spreading the faith by force) were the basis of Islam’s expansion, just as the spread of Christianity, after the Emperor Constantine established it as the state religion, was based on a similar process of imposing the faith by force. However, Christianity has since renounced these values. Christianity does not deny its past, but it has jettisoned the element of coercion. Similarly, Western leaders must not denigrate the Muslim past by denying its core values, but rather should demand that Muslims follow the same path: realize that some violent values that underpinned their civilization and glorious past are incompatible with modern morality. Western leaders should therefore demand that contemporary Muslims focus on other aspects of their faith (as Christianity has done), and totally reject imposing their religious utopian vision by the force of arms.

Western leaders cannot expect to defeat “terrorism” in their countries when they deny and evade acknowledging the roots of the jihadi phenomenon: the deep connection of the attacks to the faith. Admitting this connection will not only be more respectful to Muslims, it will also be conducive to reforms and useful to Muslim reformists, who acknowledge that the terrorists’ ideals come from within: from the houses of worship, the schools and society at large. Being truthful towards the Muslims is more respectful than denial. It will also be much more helpful, since only discarding the completely unnecessary hypocrisy regarding the roots of Islamic terror will help Muslims adopt a normal attitude towards their past: pride in its achievements, along with the necessary criticism of the archaic values that led to these achievements. Muslims should accept a post-caliphate role for themselves[2] just like all European states have reconciled themselves to post-imperial status. This is an admittedly painful process but it is an unavoidable one. The most senior Muslim religious leaders should seek a Muslim aggiornamento (a bringing up to date of the religion) along the lines of the reforms introduced by Pope John XXIII.

These messages should be delivered by Western leaders openly and insistently, in lieu of the intellectual evasion and denial practiced today. It should be emphasized that this demand is not addressed exclusively to Muslims. It is a demand that the West and Christianity have applied to themselves, and therefore have every right to demand it of the Muslim world. Only thus will the ideological base of jihad be eradicated and “terrorism” significantly decline. Needless to say, this is a long-term process, but it is nevertheless the genuine solution to the problem and the only way to produce results.

In translating this insight into concrete policies, two steps seem to be immediately necessary.

First, Western leaders must cease the hypocritical denial of jihad’s deep connection to faith, and firmly and openly demand that the leaders of the Muslim world take significant steps to reform the religion. 

Second – and this is up to them alone – they must enact legislation to stop the jihadi use of the Internet, which has been powering the spread of jihadi ideology for over a decade. They must disregard all the corporate excuses, that this is impossible or incompatible with free speech. Free speech does not permit incitement to murder, including faith-based incitement. They should honor the international conventions against genocide and not allow the Internet companies to flout the laws of democratic countries. For a detailed strategy for purging the Internet of jihadi incitement, see MEMRI Daily Brief No. 126, An Internet Clean Of Jihadi Incitement – Not Mission Impossible, May 1, 2017.

Comment: This prescription doesn’t go near far enough. They should criminalize anything supportive of Islamic supremacy or of Jihad whether the stealth kind or the violent kind. It should be a crime to promote Islam.

Appendix: The Will of Hanadi Jaradat

The following is the transcript of the videotaped “last will and testament” of HanadiJaradat, who carried out the Maxim Restaurant suicide bombing in Haifa on October 4, 2003. The transcript was posted on the Islamic Jihad website, at http://www.qudsway.com/Links/Jehad/7/Html_Jehad7/hinadi/hinadi2/hinadi_qudsnet_003.htm

“The last will and testament of the Martyr Hanadi [Jaradat], before she set off to carry out the Haifa operation:

“In the name of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate, prayer and peace be upon the master of mankind, our master Muhammad, may Allah pray for him and give him peace:

“The Exalted One said [in the Koran]: ‘Do not consider those who died for the cause of Allah as dead, rather as alive, at their Lord sustained.’ [Koran 3:169]. Verily, Allah’s words are true.

“Dear family, whom the Lord of the world will reward as He promised us all in His Holy Book [with the words], ‘Give glad tidings to those who persevere.’ [Koran 2:155]. Indeed, Allah promised Paradise to those who persevere in all that He has brought upon them – and what a good dwelling Paradise it is.

“Therefore, reckon my sacrifice in anticipation of the reward of Allah, praised and exalted be He, to you in the Hereafter. I should not be too valuable to sacrifice myself for the religion of Allah. I have always believed in what is said in the Holy Koran, and I have been yearning for the rivers of Paradise, and I have been yearning to see the glorious light of Allah’s face. I have been yearning for all this ever since Allah bestowed guidance upon me.

“My loved ones, for whom I wish to vouchsafe [for entering Paradise] on the great Day of Judgment, I have chosen this way of my own full will, and I have striven greatly for this, until Allah bestowed martyrdom upon me, Allah willing. Martyrdom is not [given] to everyone on earth; rather, it is for those who are honored by Allah. Will you then be grieved because Allah honored me with it? Will you repay Allah with [thoughts] which He will not like, nor will I like? Reckon my sacrifice in anticipation of Allah’s reward for you in the Hereafter, and say, ‘There is no power or might save by Allah. We belong to Allah, and it is to Him that we return.’

“All of us are destined to die, and no one lives forever on this earth. However, he who is intelligent responds to Allah’s call. This is only a land of Jihad, and we live in it for Jihad, so that perhaps we will be able to remove the injustice under which we have been living in recent years.

“I know that I shall not bring back Palestine. I fully know this. However, I know that this is my duty for Allah. Believing in the principles of my faith, I respond to the call. I now inform you that, Allah willing, I shall find what Allah has promised to me and to all those who take this path – gardens which Allah promised us, in which we will live forever, Allah willing.

“Having believed in this, how do you think I can accept all the passing worldly temptations? How can I go on living on this earth when my spirit has become attached to an Omnipotent King? My entire aspiration has become to see the glorious light of Allah. It is His land and it is His religion, but they want to extinguish His light. We all know this.

“It is therefore my duty to the religion of Allah – and my obligation to Him – to defend it. I have nothing before me other than this body, which I am going to turn into slivers that will tear out the heart of everyone who has tried to uproot us from our country. Everyone who sows death for us will receive death, even though it be a small part [of what they deserve].

“We are still weak in the estimation of the powerful one. But we have our faith. Our belief makes us renew our covenant with our Lord and our land. Our war against them is a war of faith and existence, and not of borders. You know this well.

“My dear beloved father, please honor my desire and reckon my sacrifice in anticipation of Allah’s reward for you in the Hereafter.Whoever helped me to reach Paradise shall be rewarded by my vouchsafing for him [to enter Paradise]. Make me always reassured and proud of the father whose daughter I am, before my Lord and all mankind. I pray thee, dear father, by Allah’s glory, give me rest in my grave, and do naught but reckon my sacrifice in anticipation of Allah’s reward for you in the Hereafter. For Allah giveth and Allah taketh away, and we belong to Allah and to Him we all return.

“Dear mother, I wish to Allah that you will persevere, my mother, for I love you because you have always been endlessly giving. Allah willing, you shall continue to be this way. Reckon my sacrifice in anticipation of Allah’s reward for you in the Hereafter. I am going to be with Fadi, Salih, and Abd Al-Rahim and all those whom Allah has chosen to be near him. Reckon us all as sacrifices in anticipation of Allah’s reward for you in the Hereafter, and say, Allah, redeem me from my plight and reward me for my plight and give me good recompense for it.

“I ask everyone to forgive me for whatever I may have done [to offend them]. For my part, I have already forgiven everyone, and I ask of you the following: Pay 50 dinars to a dress shop in Jarash, pay 100 dinars to so-and-so in Qabatiya, and give 10 dinars [to charity] for my soul [as atonement], for I have forgotten a debt of a few piasters in Jordan and I do not remember it, and pray always for me for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness and contentment. May you always be content with me, my parents, and au revoir in the gardens of Paradise.

“Allah said, ‘Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world’s life for the Hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward’ [Koran 4:74].”

[1] According to the Hadith, this is one of the duties of the mujahid. See Rudolph Peters, Islam and Colonialism: The Doctrine of Jihad in Modern History (Religion and Society, no. 20). The Hague and New York: Mouton Publishers, 1979, pp. 11, 12, 18.

[2] Saudi reformist Turki Al-Hamad made similar arguments in an interview that aired on Rotana Khalijiyya TV on July 13-14, 2015. He said: “Take a look at any Islamist group – they are always saying that their number one goal is to reestablish the Caliphate. The Caliphate is history. It is over and done with.”

Interviewer: “It is impossible to revive it.”

Turki Al-Hamad: “Impossible. You cannot lump together a Malaysian, a Saudi, and an Egyptian, and impose a caliph upon them, giving him absolute authorities. This is impossible, but they refuse to accept it, and they live the myth of the Caliphate. I call it a myth because it will never happen. Ultimately, they will hit the brick wall of reality. A nation state is the foundation for everything. If you make it stable and prosperous, and if this state guarantees people’s rights, it can become a model state. If each state were to focus on its own affairs, the world would be a beautiful place. But if each state tries to impose its own model upon the rest of the world, disorder ensues, and Iran is an example.”

June 5, 2017 | 26 Comments » | 59 views

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  1. BINGO. Rather than point the finger at Islam, the West vilifies the perpetrators. If that wasn’t bad enough they also absolve Islam by calling it a religion of peace or saying such acts are a perversion of Islam.

    Trump is skirting the edges by calling for the destruction, not only of the terrorists but of their ideology as well. Unfortunately he doesn’t go on to identify the ideology as Islam.

    Everyone purports to solve the problem by avoiding the problem.

    Israel is no better. She supports Abbas rather then to call him out for his murderous incitement.

  2. xx

    Correction,…tsk tsk..to make such a silly mistake, in a monumental article. The Emperor Constantine did NOT repeat did NOT establish Christianity as the State Religion. He allowed it-previously persecuted- to become a recognised religion, just like all the others. He’d noticed that the bishops had great control over their “flocks” and decided to use that to help in controlling his ever more unruly domains.

    It was the Emperor THEODOSIUS, about 45 years after the death of Constantine who formalised Christianity as the State Religion, and from then on the persecutions of all those who were not Christians, began. (In Spain, far from Constantinople, they began for Jews, according to Zeitlin, about a century earlier). It’s probably easily found on the internet.

    There is even a tale-that has morphed into “fact”, that Constantine on his deathbed, converted to Christianity, but the actual details of his last moments have been detailed thoroughly, as were those of ALL the Emperors and important rulers, and it can be sought out and read. A monk was sitting by his death bed for a couple of days, exhorting him..He of course had been in a coma for days. But the monk averred that at the very last moment , with his very last breath, Cinstantine converted. When asked how that could be, since he was comatose for so long, the monk said that when he took his last breath, he “seemed to twitch his eyelid…..”

    That’s a true account, look it up if you wish. There was a book written by a historian whose name I can’t remember , but it was a weighty tome I got from a good library, and he researched the matter fully, turning up the deathbed scene.

  3. The founder of Islam, Muhammad himself, was exactly such a coward.

    Psychopaths feel that the best solution to any threat is instantly give in to it because then the additional fear of it is over, and “only” the pain remains!

    It’s what ALL masochists habitually do: to pretend to be able to “control” their fears, BY causing and/or allowing others to cause (criminal negligence) the very same worst-case scenario problems which cause the pains they fear the most!

    This is also what islam means by “Submission!”

    “Defensively pre-emptive” psychopathic masochistic hypocritical criminals aren’t “sick,” they’re *sickening.*

    (Their choices to always attack thereby innocent other people first makes them criminals, not as liberals prefer “victims too”)!

  4. Jihadi’s are losers and cowards. They do worship death and not life.

    In my mind it is very obvious that the West needs to declare war on the jihadis. They clearly have gone to war on the west.

    The way to fight in the UK, USA, France, etc. is by passing war acts which allow for administrative detention of jihadis. They need to authorize all possible surveillance methods to find and capture these people.

    33 NATO countries I believe I read have been attacked by jihadis. Why has NATO not declared war on the jihadis.

    The west needs to learn the methods that Israel has learned to protect themselves from these terrorists. Triple ring protection around popular sites to minimize the possibility of a terror attack. Administrative Detention when going to court would reveal sources and methods of finding terrorists. Administrative Detention when one identifies a terrorist likely to act before they act.

    They need to learn from Israel’s mistakes also. Once a terrorist is put in prison never let them out. Same mistake USA is making at Gitmo letting terrorists out to fight again.

    Actually working together with “moderate” Muslims and engaging them can be helpful and she be encouraged.

  5. Let us call a spade a spade in our language even if it means the opposite in their language!

    “33 NATO countries I believe I read have been attacked by jihadis. Why has NATO not declared war on the jihadis”. Could it be because of economic interdependency?
    After all the ME is a significant source of energy and commerce (weapons, cars etc.) for many countries of the EU. The “Siamese concept”!!!

  6. I don’t think that Muslims will take well to ‘infidels” lecturing them that they should reform their religion. Perhaps the solution is to label the enemy “Islamic supremacism” or “the Islamic supremacist movement,” (“ISM” for short), and leave it ambiguous or up to Muslims themselves to decide if the ISM movement is the true Islam, or some sort of extremist misreading of it.

  7. Hypnosis of the human instinct creates liberals as well as human reprobates. It’s a non denominational cancer of destruction
    and one size fits all.

    Through the Looking Glass we can see how we wish Israel would have simply called the kettle black and went full throttle to our enemies and told Abbas, ” ALL BETS ARE OFF!” ACCORDING TO OUR JEWISH LAW, WE ARE NOT PERMITTED TO EVEN SIT AT THE TABLE WITH OUR ENEMIES. All past attempts to negotiate with you have all failed and we are finally returning to the Law of our Book.

    The LAND OF ISRAEL IS NOT NEGOTIABLE by Israel, by yourselves, or any of the nations. Our Law declares that ‘THE LAND IS MINE, SAITH YHVH’. He has given it to the Children of Israel forever in our covenant. We were boldly mistaken to forget His mandate and for this, we apologize to our people and to the nations involved in former and current negotiations.

    As evident from the miraculous victories Israel has been blessed to witness, we rejoice in our 50th Anniversary of celebrating the unification of Jerusalem, The Capital City of
    Our G-D. The God of Israel is His Name.

    Because we have breached His commandments, we have suffered
    tragedy upon tragedy in the cold blooded murders of our citizens by certain Arab terrorists living among us in Israel.

    One by one and ten by ten we watched them murdered in the streets, murdered in the sanctity of their homes and synagogues, murdered in restaurants and murdered by knives, by guns and by vehicles plowing down pedestrians.

    It is not possible for you to live among us. You have rejoiced over the deaths of our citizens and you teach your children to
    plan our destruction. THE DAYS OF OUR HYPNOSIS IS OVER.

    and now.. my comment on the article of Yigal Carmon:

    It’s fine to give a diagnosis and explain the reason for the ailment. Until such time as the rest of the Muslims community, Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR are called out of the Dugout and onto the field… where we can watch them play ball and begin to openly JOIN THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM…. we have no choice to not only call these vile murderers what they are. They are not the noble, peaceful, generous, loving Muslims they delude themselves to portray; they are sub-human neanderthals; throw backs to the Dark Ages and they must be stopped by people who call themselves citizens of modern civilization. Will the Brotherhood and Cair step up to the microphone? We can’t hear you from your distant balcony seats, but we know you are there.

    Stand up and pledge your allegiance to fight with us, or
    we must pledge our allegiance to fight against you.

  8. @ Ted Belman:
    @ Bear Klein:
    The author said:

    “First, Western leaders must cease the hypocritical denial of jihad’s deep connection to faith, and firmly and openly demand that the leaders of the Muslim world take significant steps to reform the religion.

    Second – and this is up to them alone – they must enact legislation to stop the jihadi use of the Internet…”

    In other words, he is advocating persuading the villains to stop being villains. Actually, Trump is possibly making a tiny bit of headway with that behind the scenes.

    http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Report-External-pressure-forces-Qatar-to-expel-Hamas-mebers-494680

    First Norway and Denmark and Now, Quatar. Even Saudi Arabia’s demands have been moderated though they are still unacceptable.

    However, even the author — and Trump — are not grappling with the underlying problem which is that, unlike Christianity, Islam has no internal motor for change. In fact, re-interpretation is regarded as apostasy under Islamic Law and punishable by death. That’s why actual Islamic reformers are in hiding or have a lot of body guards. No idea how many there are but it’s certainly not any of the leaders who the author is talking about persuading, nor according to the Pew Center polls is it most Muslims in the world today, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.

    Bear is saying we can’t wait to persuade them. We must treat, at a minimum, openly Shariah-Supremacist Muslims among us the way we treated ethnic Germans in WWI, ethnic Germans and Japanese during and right after WWII, Anarchists in the 1880s and 1920s and Communists during the Cold War, not to mention British Loyalists during the American Revolution, and I agree with him. How many of our people must die while we try to reform an antagonistic civilization from without that knows how to lie when necessary and that has, with the help of the Left, penetrated what the Left called “the belly of the beast” — Us. No pun intended. The whole idea of Jihad as an internal spiritual struggle came about during the late Ottoman period under European pressure — look how long that lasted.

    China is going even further and I can’t say I mind:

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/china-bans-ramadan-observance-in-muslim-region/

  9. :
    The beauty of jihad is that it is commonly waged against jihadis.

    The gift that keeps on giving.

  10. There is also a practical military intellectual, and currently lazy incompetence at NON- work. Any form of violence for a policy end is war and if its tactics are counter-productive to that policy aim then the tactical method in question – eg. “terrorism” makes no sense for turning off the target population, and needs changing.

    We have enough observed evidence since the London Blitz, The Allied Bomber Offensive over Germany, the Ulster troubles, and the Arab harassing of Israeli civilians with random street violence of bombs, car accidents and knifings – all tried in Israel by the Salafis and Jihadis and all failed so far but they are still tying them now in the West; to know that random and so apparently irrelevant to the victims violence only ties political grievance knots tighter and makes it more difficult to make a peace.

    It therefore makes political sense as part of fighting the Salafi /Jihadi armed missionary campaign to challenge the jihadis as to what they are doing? to what aim? If they are out to promote Islam then pushing: hate of modernity, misogyny, hijabs and head-banging prayers is not constructive given one catches flies with honey rather than vinegar. Violence just makes people close up with to themselves. Opening minds is a matter of peaceful example and mutual win – win advantages, so what does Islam offer besides “killjoy puritanism?” and rigid authoritarianism that froze the Moslem World into stagnation from the 16th to 20 th centuries?

  11. The seventh § of Ygal Carrmi article is a big ” wishful thinking ” speech ; the arab & muslim leaders SHOULD renounce the caliphate as a political goal ? No kidding ? Those very leaders are up their neck in financing the biggest jihadist propaganda machine since the soviet union . And ALL the western countries are up their neck in selling their own airwaves frequencies and satellites and know-how to the Arabsat televisions network . Just over europe , you have at least four BADR satellites payed by Arabstat the sauidi consortiu to broadcast 130 ( yes one hundred and thirty ) arab and islamic televisions channels plus 400 radios stations . And each of those channels are delivered right to the family TV set , in the living room , with very provocative religious sermons by Yusuf Al Qaradawi and co…to single out the very “respected ” Al Jazeera , owned by Emir Al Tahni of Qatar . So there is no need anymore for Western Polices forces to survey the extremists mosques when the vey hateful djihadi propaganda is broadcasted unfiltered, uncensored to the millions of TV dishes in Europe . And by the way France has been the most active country to join forces with this djihadi propaganda machine . Since Chirac and Sarkozy the four BADR staellites have been sent into space by french rockets ” Ariane ” lauched from french Guyana , and well furbished with french communications devices ( Thales ). For reward france has been since 2012 attacked more than thirty times , at least 250 french citizens have been killed in the djihadi offnsive , but NO ONE , really NO ONE will raise an eyebrow abouth the france-arabsat dirty connection . Too much money, too many crony deals between the french military-industrial complex and the saudi-qatari money . That’s the sad reality . And to add salt on the open wound , BADR is the battle of 624 where 300 mohamedans warriors killed a thousand of Qurayshi merchants between Mecca and Medina . The merchants were unbelievers , the warriors were believers , does it rings a bell in western medias . NO !

  12. There are two different English languages being heard around the world and the words have opposite meanings even though they sound the same. Secular English is heard in the West and religious English is heard in Muslim countries in the Middle East. When President Trump says the word “peace” the Western world hears “pluralism and tolerance,” the Muslim world hears “when the world is all Muslim and ruled by sharia law.” When President Trump says the word “terrorist” the Western world hears “jihadi violence,” the Muslim world hears “any violence against Islam.” Words matter. Speaking English in the Muslim world is like speaking the language of opposites – the words have the opposite meaning of what the speaker thinks he is saying. Unless President Trump understands what his words mean to the Muslim world as defined by Islam he is not saying what he thinks he is saying. In grammatical terms this confusing dynamic is equivalent to using homonyms with an opposite meaning. So, the word sanction can mean to ratify or its opposite to penalize. The word oversight can mean to supervise or its opposite to overlook. Speaking the language of opposites can be very dangerous politically. Words matter.

  13. @ Edgar G.:

    Wrong!!!

    The christianity cult first appeared in the early part of the 4th century CE. That remark may well raise some eyebrows, because it differs markedly from what you have almost certainly always believed to be the case. All the history books say the earliest christians were 1st century Hebrews, don’t they? Well they would say that, though: this is what the churches want everyone to think. And never forget, the churches controlled all publishing and printing for centuries: even into the early 20th century in some countries. But, like so much else about christianity, it just ain’t true.

    Let me enlighten you about the real origins of the cult. To understand how, when, and why the new “religion” was created, a little knowledge of Roman history is needed. In the year 306CE, the emperor Constantius I (“Constantius Chlorus”) was on campaign in Britain, but he fell ill and died at Eboracum (modern York). His son, Constantine I, was proclaimed emperor by the army, but there were many other contenders competing for the Throne and it was a long time before he was established as sole ruler.

    In brief, what happened is this. From 306 until about 313, there was a period of great confusion during which all but one of the other contenders were eliminated, until only a chap called Licinius remained. He was too powerful and had too much support for Constantine to be able to overcome him, and a kind of uneasy accommodation was reached in which the two men divided the empire between them, with Constantine ruling the west half and Licinius ruling the east. But this compromise didn’t last very long and in 314 civil war broke out between the two halves of the divided empire. The civil war raged, on and off, for ten years, until Constantine finally defeated and captured Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis in September 324; the unfortunate Licinius was imprisoned, and eventually executed. This left Constantine, finally, in full control.

    But having succeeded in removing all opposition and consolidating his position as emperor, Constantine found that he had inherited something of a poisoned chalice. For almost twenty years there had been no proper government throughout the empire. All the machinery of government had been severely disrupted during the long period of confusion and, most critical of all, the military had been unavailable to exercise proper control because the troops had been distracted into fighting each other. “Home rule” or “self-determination” are not modern ideas and, during the two decades of the civil war, all the satellite states of the empire had been taking advantage of the disruption to agitate, to a greater or lesser degree, for independence from imperial Rome. Constantine’s empire was quite literally tearing itself apart, just as the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian empires had before it and many others have done since – most recently, in our own time, the Soviet and Yugoslav unions (Czechoslovakia is probably unique in history as a federation of states that has succeeded in separating peacefully).

    Constantine was determined that this should not happen. But his military was too stretched to put down by force all the uprisings and rebellions that were now occurring in all parts of his empire. Furthermore, after nearly twenty years of civil war, it was not a time for more fighting, more killing, more destruction. No: it was a time for reconciliation, for rebuilding; he needed to unite and control his empire, but he needed to find a peaceful way to do it. Constantine must have passed many sleepless nights worrying at this problem: and then he hit on a brilliant strategy: he would create a new religion – one ostensibly of “peace and love”, but with plenty of fear in it, to provide the control element he so desperately needed.

    Until that time, there was no single religion in the Roman empire. The temples of the mythological Roman gods still stood in Rome and their priests still practised their ceremonials there, but in other parts of the empire all the local cults still operated and, despite the official Roman opposition to them, in practice even the Roman soldiers stationed in different parts of the empire (many of whom were locally-recruited mercenaries anyway) had their own Romanised versions of the local cults. Surprising as it may seem (especially to christians), the Hebrew religious tradition was the only widespread, established “religion” that existed at that time. There were Hebrews everywhere, a result of the two major deportations we suffered in the course of our history – first at the hands of the Babylonians in 597 and 586 BCE, and then at the hands of the Romans themselves in 68 CE. But the Hebrew tradition was totally unsuited to Constantine’s purpose, because it has no fear elements at all, just One kind, merciful and loving God.

    The Hebrew culture did, however, provide Constantine with a useful basis for his new religion. People everywhere knew that the Hebrews existed and had a collection of ancient Books, written in their own language, which were believed to contain God’s Own Message to humanity, received directly from God Himself – but since nobody else could actually read or understand the Hebrews’ language, and because the Hebrews generally kept very much to themselves, nobody else knew very much if anything about what those Books were about. Constantine gleefully took advantage of this. He assembled a committee of Byzantine theological scholars and ordered them to make a translation of the Hebrews’ Scriptures into Greek (the language of scholarship at that time), which – together with some new, supplementary writings that the committee would compose themselves – were to form the basis of the new “religion”. To give his new Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures greater authority, Constantine passed it off as the legendary “Septuaginta” translation.

    The christian churches have always claimed that the “gospels” are eyewitness accounts of actual events, written by men who were there at the time and saw it all happen – and that three of the four (Matthew, Mark, and John) were themselves Hebrews. This is never questioned by christians, but it simply isn’t true. It cannot be. There is massive evidence within the writings themselves that not one of them could possibly have been written by a Hebrew. Equally false is the claim that these documents were originally written in Aramaic (the common vernacular throughout the Middle East in the 1st century CE) and only latertranslated into Greek, the original Aramaic source-texts then somehow being “lost”. This last assertion is preposterous: quite apart from the internal evidence that the writers didn’t even speak Aramaic, if the earliest christians were at the same time practising Hebrews, as is claimed, would they really first have translated the source-documents of their new “faith” into the hated pagan Greek language, and then allowed the original texts in their own language to be “lost”? This was never done with any of the Books of the Hebrew Scriptures – why then should it have been done with the “new testament” documents? We Hebrews are (and have always been) fanatical about preserving our Holy Books: this claim simply does not hold water. Furthermore, no trace has ever been found of any copies of the “gospels” in Aramaic, and the earliest copies in Greek that have ever been unearthed date from no earlier than Constantine’s time. All the evidence points to their having been composed, in Greek, around 325 CE, and by non-Hebrews.

    To be effective as a tool for control, the new religion needed substantial “fear” elements. Constantine’s committee adopted the pagan Graeco-Roman concept of “Hades” or the “Underworld” (which had previously been conceived as the “resting-place” of the souls of the departed) and turned them into a place of torment were “unbelievers” were condemned to spend the rest of eternity enduring unspeakable suffering; this was to be presided over by the most fearsome of all demons, who was given the title of the “Prosecuting Angel” of God’s Divine Court, the “satan”, which is mentioned in the Scriptures in only two places: once in the writings of Z’charyah (Zechariah) in the “Book of the Twelve Prophets”, and again in the Parable of Iyyov (Job). Ridiculous stories were invented about “Satan” (the title now having been turned into a personal name), based on a totally deceitful misrepresentation of Isaiah 14:12, claiming that he had originally been an Angel but had “rebelled against God” and had been “cast out from Heaven”, creating a new domain for himself called “hell” to be the “place of torment” God apparently colludes by sending “unbelievers” there. LOL

    The deception was almost complete, but there was still one element missing – the good guy, the only one who could “save” you from unspeakable eternal suffering in “hell” at the hands of “Satan”. Who else but God’s own begotten son! Once again, Constantine’s team took advantage of the little about Hebrew culture and beliefs that was generally known by the common people, while playing on the general ignorance of what it was all really about. Everyone knew that the Hebrews had been promised in the Scriptures that one day God would send them a “messiah” who would re-establish the ancient Monarchy and reign over them as their King. But nobody knew what the word “messiah” really meant. The term “messiah” (which derives from the Hebrew mashiy’ah), together with its literal Greek translation ??????? (christos), were incorporated into the new religion with a newly-invented “meaning” assigned to them: they now became the title (and the Greek form, written capitalised, eventually came to be seen as the surname) of “God’s son”. Involved and totally implausible stories – the “gospels” – were composed about this character, backed up every step of the way by “proof-texts” quoted from the “old testament”, showing how God’s Own Prophets had prophesied every detail of “his” life. But there is just one small problem: every one of these “proof-texts” is a phony, artificially manufactured deception accomplished by a combination of false translation, often using just part of what the Prophet had said, and taking the passages “quoted” totally out of context. There are numerous examples of this – five in just the first two chapters of “Matthew” alone (1:22-23, 2:5-6, 2:15, 2:17-18, 2:23).

    Having created his new religion, Constantine was now ready to foist the deception upon his unsuspecting subjects. But he still had one problem to overcome. There were Hebrews everywhere all over his empire, and they were not likely to take kindly to his new religion, which relied so heavily on the distortion and wholesale falsification of everything they held Holy. Constantine was a pragmatic man and knew he couldn’t possibly exterminate them all (it had been tried several times before, but miraculously they always seemed to survive) and, in truth, he didn’t want to anyway. The Hebrews were useful people: they tended to be artisans, craftsmen and professionals, the kind of people who made significant contributions to his taxation revenue and they were – in the main – honest, law-abiding, peaceful and inoffensive people. But he foresaw that they were going to be a big problem when he tried to launch his new religion; they could not be silenced, but they could be discredited. To achieve this, the stories in the “gospels” were written in such a way as to depict the Hebrews of the 1st century as thoroughly disreputable people: crude, uncultured, cruel, turning on their own “king” and baying for his blood, and with wicked and corrupt leaders. That did the trick: after all, who was going to listen to the very people whose hands were covered with God’s own blood? It’s a sad fact that the roots of all modern antisemitism (i.e. hatred of Hebrews) can be traced directly back to christianity’s “gospels”

  14. @ Philippe:
    Al Gore sold his television station to Al Jazeera here instead of Glen Beck. He later went to court because they didn’t pay him.

    And they turned around and sued him for fraud and misrepresentation. Two birds of a feather, eh?
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2014/09/al-jazeera-america-sues-al-gore-195805

    They also wound up in court because of all kinds of workplace sexism and anti-semitism issues.

    Al Jazeera America Faces New Anti-Semitic, Sexist Claims in Lawsuit
    http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/former-al-jazeera-exec-files-multi-million-dollar-lawsuit-against-channel-1201517575/

    Never learned what became of that? I wonder which prevailed, Justice or Islamofauxbia.

  15. What you leave out Yamit is the first response to it all, and that is the historical fact that it was The God of Israel who evicted Israel from His land, not once but twice. Try explaining that and you’ll have to re-write your essay.

  16. @ yamit82: The Septuagent was compiled in the third century BCE, Constantine was born at the end of the 3rd century CE. See:

    “Seventy-two Jewish scholars were asked by the Greek King of Egypt Ptolemy II Philadelphus to translate the Torah from Biblical Hebrew into Greek, for inclusion in the Library of Alexandria.[11]

    This narrative is found in the pseudepigraphic Letter of Aristeas to his brother Philocrates,[12] and is repeated by Philo of Alexandria, Josephus[13][14] and by various later sources, including St. Augustine.[15] The story is also found in the Tractate Megillah of the Babylonian Talmud:

    King Ptolemy once gathered 72 Elders. He placed them in 72 chambers, each of them in a separate one, without revealing to them why they were summoned. He entered each one’s room and said: “Write for me the Torah of Moshe, your teacher”. God put it in the heart of each one to translate identically as all the others did.[5]

    Philo of Alexandria, who relied extensively on the Septuagint,[16] says that the number of scholars was chosen by selecting six scholars from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

    History[edit]
    The date of the 3rd century BCE is supported (for the Torah translation) by a number of factors, including the Greek being representative of early Koine, citations beginning as early as the 2nd century BCE, and early manuscripts datable to the 2nd century.[17][18]

    [23][23]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint

    “The Septuagint

    In 3515, Eretz Israel was under the sway of the Egyptian Ptolemaic kings. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, a great lover of books and wisdom, painstakingly acquired a vast library. Knowing of the great fame of the Torah, he ordered 72 sages to come to Alexandria. When they arrived, he isolated each one to prevent collaboration, and demanded that they translate the Torah into Greek. Divinely inspired, they all provided identical translations, especially for verses that if understood literally could easily be misconstrued. For example, the verse which literally reads “And they saw the G?d of Israel” (Exodus 24:10) was translated “And they saw the glory of the G?d of Israel,” which is indeed figuratively accurate, for no human can see G?d directly.

    While the assimilated Jews of Alexandria rejoiced at the opportunity to display Jewish wisdom to the Greeks, the rabbis viewed this event as an unmitigated disaster for the Jewish people, for putting holy words in the hands of non-Jews who did not understand the Torah’s inner meanings turned the Jewish Bible into ordinary literature. Sadly, history has borne out the sages’ fears. Christians have distorted and falsified Scripture to comply with their own theology and justify their persecution of the Jewish people. Even now, missionaries seek to entrap Jews with spurious interpretations of the Bible.”
    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2833942/jewish/Greek-Influence.htm

    “So the Greeks wanted a copy and set about translating it. Called the Septuagint after the number of translators it required (“septuaginta” is Greek for “seventy”), the text is far from perfect. The Hebrew Torah had not settled down into a definitive version, and a number of mistranslations creep in for reasons ranging from political expediency to confusion. For instance, the Hebrew Torah is ruthlessly anti-Egyptian; after all, the founding event of the Hebrew people was the oppression of the Hebrews by the Egyptians and the delivery from Egypt. The Septuagint translators—who are, after all, working for the Greek rulers of Egypt—go about effacing much of the anti-Egyptian aspects. On the other hand, there are words they can’t translate into Greek, such as “berit,” which they translate “diatheke,” or “promise” (in Latin and English, the word is incorrectly translated “covenant”).

    Despite these imperfections, the Septuagint is a watershed in Jewish history. More than any other event in Jewish history, this translation would make the Hebrew religion into a world religion. It would otherwise have faded from memory like the infinity of Semitic religions that have been lost to us. This Greek version made the Hebrew scriptures available to the Mediterranean world and to early Christians who were otherwise fain to regard Christianity as a religion unrelated to Judaism. Even with a Greek translation, the Hebrew scriptures came within a hair’s breadth of being tossed out of the Christian canon. From this Greek translation, the Hebrew view of God, of history, of law, and of the human condition, in all its magnificence would spread around the world. The dispersion, or Diaspora, of the Jews would involve ideas as well as people.”
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-ancient-greeks-and-the-jews-jewish-virtual-library

    Constantine did not make Christianity the state religion but he did preside over the beginning of the transition.

    “Constantine was the first emperor to stop Christian persecutions and to legalise Christianity along with all other religions and cults in the Roman Empire….Constantine was the first emperor to stop Christian persecutions and to legalise Christianity along with all other religions and cults in the Roman Empire.
    In February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan, where they developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow the faith without oppression.[216] This removed penalties for professing Christianity, under which many had been martyred previously, and returned confiscated Church property. The edict protected from religious persecution not only Christians but all religions, allowing anyone to worship whichever deity they chose. A similar edict had been issued in 311 by Galerius, then senior emperor of the Tetrarchy; Galerius’ edict granted Christians the right to practise their religion but did not restore any property to them.[217] The Edict of Milan included several clauses which stated that all confiscated churches would be returned as well as other provisions for previously persecuted Christians.
    Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena’s Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life.[218] Constantine possibly retained the title of pontifex maximus, a title emperors bore as heads of the ancient Roman religion priesthood until Gratian (r. 375–383) renounced the title.[219][220] According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone.[221] Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from certain taxes), promoted Christians to high office, and returned property confiscated during the Diocletianic persecution.[222] His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica.
    Apparently Constantine did not patronize Christianity alone. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), a triumphal arch—the Arch of Constantine—was built (315) to celebrate his triumph. The arch is decorated with images of the goddess Victoria. At the time of its dedication, sacrifices to gods like Apollo, Diana, and Hercules were made. Absent from the Arch are any depictions of Christian symbolism. However, as the Arch was commissioned by the Senate, the absence of Christian symbols may reflect the role of the Curia at the time as a pagan redoubt.[223]
    In 321, he legislated that the venerable day of the sun should be a day of rest for all citizens.[224] In the year 323, he issued a decree banning Christians from participating in state sacrifices[225] Furthermore, Constantine’s coinage continued to carry the symbols of the sun. After the pagan gods had disappeared from his coinage, Christian symbols appeared as Constantine’s attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum,[226] as well on the coin itself.[227]

    Constantine burning Arian books. Drawing from a 9th-century manuscript.
    The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having great influence and ultimate regulatory authority within the religious discussions involving the early Christian councils of that time, e.g., most notably the dispute over Arianism. Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring where possible to establish an orthodoxy.[228] His influence over the early Church councils was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity; what proper worship and doctrines and dogma consisted of was for the Church to determine, in the hands of the participating bishops.[229]
    Most notably, from 313 to 316 bishops in North Africa struggled with other Christian bishops who had been ordained by Donatus in opposition to Caecilian. The African bishops could not come to terms and the Donatists asked Constantine to act as a judge in the dispute. Three regional Church councils and another trial before Constantine all ruled against Donatus and the Donatism movement in North Africa. In 317 Constantine issued an edict to confiscate Donatist church property and to send Donatist clergy into exile.[230] More significantly, in 325 he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified), most known for its dealing with Arianism and for instituting the Nicene Creed.
    Constantine enforced the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea against celebrating the Lord’s Supper on the day before the Jewish Passover (14 Nisan) (see Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy). This marked a definite break of Christianity from the Judaic tradition. From then on the Roman Julian Calendar, a solar calendar, was given precedence over the lunisolar Hebrew Calendar among the Christian churches of the Roman Empire.[231]
    Constantine made some new laws regarding the Jews, but while some of his edicts were unfavorable towards Jews, they were not harsher than those of his predecessors.[232] It was made illegal for Jews to seek converts or to attack other Jews who had converted to Christianity.[232] They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves.[233][234] On the other hand, Jewish clergy were given the same exemptions as Christian clergy.[232][235]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great

    Licinius worked with Constantine to legalize Christianity. He did nothing on his own.

    “Licinius I (Latin: Gaius Valerius Licinianus Licinius Augustus;[note 1][2][3] c. 263–325) was a Roman emperor from 308 to 324. For most of his reign he was the colleague and rival of Constantine I, with whom he co-authored the Edict of Milan that granted official toleration to Christians in the Roman Empire. He was finally defeated at the Battle of Chrysopolis, before being executed on the orders of Constantine I.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licinius

    Examples of pre-Constantine Christian art.

    https://bucks.instructure.com/courses/200544/files/2585778?module_item_id=1474381

    But this was interesting:

    “In the Early Christian Church, the presumption that the Septuagint was translated by Jews before the era of Christ, and that the Septuagint at certain places gives itself more to a christological interpretation than 2nd-century Hebrew texts was taken as evidence that “Jews” had changed the Hebrew text in a way that made them less christological. For example, Irenaeus concerning Isaiah 7:14: The Septuagint clearly writes of a virgin (Greek ????????, bethulah in Hebrew) that shall conceive.,[42] while the word almah in the Hebrew text was, according to Irenaeus, at that time interpreted by Theodotion and Aquila (both proselytes of the Jewish faith) as a young woman that shall conceive. According to Irenaeus, the Ebionites used this to claim that Joseph was the (biological) father of Jesus. From Irenaeus’ point of view that was pure heresy, facilitated by (late) anti-Christian alterations of the scripture in Hebrew, as evident by the older, pre-Christian, Septuagint.[43]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint

    Mohammed pulled the same number, claiming we Jews had changed the scriptures (to exclude him) , and he just happened to have a correct version in his pocket.

    I wonder if the whole mess started in a misunderstanding based on grammar. Is it possible that in the Koane Greek spoken by the Jews of Alexandria at the time, the word for a virgin and for a young woman was the same? We have a word like that in English, no longer in use: “maiden.” A woman’s hymen, in fact, used to be referred to as a “maidenhead.”

  17. @ Sebastien Zorn:@ Ted Belman:

    Sebastien, you understood the gist of what I am recommending in your words,

    Bear is saying we can’t wait to persuade them. We must treat, at a minimum, openly Shariah-Supremacist Muslims among us the way we treated ethnic Germans in WWI, ethnic Germans and Japanese during and right after WWII,

    Those who qualify as the enemy are jihadis, meaning that they advocate imposing Sharia on the society at large, affiliate with ISIS, Al Quida, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood or other recognized Jihadi terror groups, advocate the destruction of the society, imposing a Caliphate or aiding those that would be subject to arrest and detention.

    This is a war identify the actual enemy, who are the jihadis and fight them everywhere. Enlist Muslims who are not jihadis to help in the battle. Such as Trump as done with Al-Sisi of Egypt. Let them and other Muslims who want to reform the religion try their best. Until or if this happens fight the enemy jihadis.

    All conduct whether online or elsewhere can be investigated.

  18. @ honeybee:
    erudite

    or perhaps

    avion travel – aria di te

    https://youtu.be/ul4VH5nwmTM

    Awesome instrumentals, including Jazz violin and trumpet which blend into each other seamlessly.
    Thank you. I can’t find a translation of the lyrics but I like this song. Lyrics are usually nonsense anyway.

  19. @ Philippe:

    Phillipe: This information is explosive… to learn of satellites hovering all over Europe beaming Islamic propaganda
    into every home which has a television or radio (vehicles have radios also)… and which can ‘affect’ and influence a culture and agenda into an entire continent. Considering that these programs are mostly spoken in Arabic, Europe has no idea of what is being told. This is like a million trojan horses entering the gates.

  20. @ yamit82:

    xx
    Having read your mostly irrelevant essay, I must disgree with you, as later, down the page Sebastian Zorn does with more detail.. For your information, except for a few minor nothings I have read and have in my possession just about everything you posted, no matter which wikipaedia source you got it from. I know all about the turmoil in the Empire, which I’d already mentioned above, and the division into the Eastern and Western Empires etc.etc. I have nearly 100 books all written by scholars, about the origins of Christianity and, it’s progression; about Constantine and Maxentius and the battle of Milvian Bridge where Eusebius, the famous “pious fraud” and myth maker, told, at the end of the 3rd century, of the vision of a cross that Constantine and his forces saw, which gave him a leaning to Christianity.

    This was part of the fable that Constantine was the first Roman Christian Emperor, which of course he was NOT.

    I may have overlooked it, but I didn’t see in your essay mention of the First Council of Nicaea, where it was decided which path mainstream Christianity would follow, and presided over by Constantine.

    If you’ve read about it, as I have you will have seen that it was really a battle royal, with a variety of conterstants, in which several “bishops” were murdered, stabbed to death by religious rivals over their differing interpretations, of which by then,there were many. (There is even today, still existing, a group of the followers of John the Baptizer, living near the banks of the Euphrates called, I think, Mandeans….

    The original Christians were NOT called Christians, they were under a variety of names, like the Ebiyonim, and etc. It did not become a different group from the Jews until after Bar Cochba. In fact ostraca have been found on which were written where his subordinates were commanded to “put them in chains”, because they will not suppport the War. Those put in chains are reliably accepted as having been early Christians, still not called by that name. But that was when the observable division came about.

    I always found it a fascinating subject, and spent many years collecting material for a book on those origins, which however, I was not able to complete owing to family matters intervening at the wrong time.

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