288/434 : Why Islam Cannot Reform
Following 9/11, in order to try to discover for myself the true nature of this purported Religion of Peace, whose ardent followers had just been responsible for the worst attack ever to take place on American soil, I began to research Islam. I started by reading the Qur’an, at the painfully slow rate of 5 hate-filled pages a day. It soon became apparent that this revered Book of Peace had more in common with Mein Kampf than with the New Testament. In fact, there were many similarities between the two. Both were filled with violence and threats of violence, both shared an arrogant contempt for those who dared to disagree with their authors, both advocated for the complete and utter subjection of all unbelievers, and sought an eventual worldwide hegemony.
Both are difficult books to endure. And basically for the same reasons: incessant redundancy, awkward literary style and structure, an annoying tendency to digress and wander off subject; and, although both books were written by undeniably powerful and charismatic leaders, both displayed a fundamental lack of basic literary ability.
However, for me, the most difficult part of the laborious challenge of the Qur’an was in wading through page after page of the incessant and obsessive hatred and violence — by this author’s count, of the 434 total pages in my Penguin Classics version of the Qur’an, 288 pages contained some form of usually quite graphic violence, invariable directed against the unbeliever or the apostate.
For me, the question had been resolved. Resolved by the power of unquestionable numbers. 288/434. No longer could anyone ever convince me that the Qur’an is a Book of Peace, that had merely been misinterpreted. Numbers don’t lie, people do.
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