Honour thy neighbours, and enemies

You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do –  Anne Lamott

ABOUT the time Jesus was born, the head rabbi of Jerusalem was a wise man named Hillel.

According to one story, a Greek philosopher, who considered Hillel to be a religious enemy, made a bet that he could make the great rabbi lose his temper.

He found out what time Hillel had his bath, and then stormed into his house at that time every week demanding to see the rabbi because of a great emergency.

When Hillel emerged, cold and wet, he would ask him a foolish question, such as, “Why do so many Babylonians have bald heads?” or “Why do Africans have such wide feet?”.

Hillel refused to get angry. He simply said, “You ask an important question”, thought for a moment or two and then answered.

Finally the Greek philosopher lost his cool and cursed Hillel, saying, “You made me lose my bet that I could make you lose your temper”.

Hillel replied: “Better that you should lose your bet than that I should lose my temper.”

Then and there the Greek offered to convert to Judaism — but only if Hillel taught him the whole law while standing on one foot.

Hillel lifted one foot and said: “Do not do to others what is hateful to you. That is the whole of the law — the rest is just commentary”.

The Greek, expecting something more philosophical, went away in disgust. He missed the point. The golden rule proclaimed by Hillel and, a little later, by Jesus — to treat others as you would want to be treated — is essential wisdom.

Jesus knew how the spiritual principle worked. He knew that whatever we put out — love, tolerance or hatred — we get back.

But tolerance for others, especially for those with different opinions, is a rare beast. Religious persecution against men and women of all manner of religions is increasing throughout the world.

In India, Hindu extremists are attacking Muslims and Christians. In Sri Lanka, radical armed Buddhists have stopped prayer meetings of Christians and Muslims.

Both Christians and Muslims are under violent attack by militant Buddhists.in Myanmar.

China’s government has been more evenhanded. It discriminates against most religious communities.
Often, the worst persecutors are religious fundamentalists.

Salman Rushdie once observed that fundamentalism was not about religion. It was about power.

Jesus’s challenge to love our neighbours is only fully understood when we realise our neighbours are probably the people we like least in all the world, the ones whose religious opinions offend us, and whose political opinions make us angry.

It follows that we must give our neighbours and enemies the same honour and respect we give to those we hold most dear.

German pastor Martin Niemoller, who fought against the Nazi regime, warned against being indifferent to persecution in a poem: “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
“Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.
“Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
“Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”


71 thoughts on “Honour thy neighbours, and enemies

  1. “…… to treat others as you would want to be treated — is essential wisdom.”

    Shouldn’t we (within reason) treat others as THEY want to be treated ? Why should our views and preferences be considered the ideal to be foisted on everybody else ?


      • I think the point Bubba is making is that if you take the golden rule as ascribed to Jesus in the New Testament, it has a flaw. “Do to others what you want them to do to you” only works if the doer and the “doee” want the same thing.

        Assuming Jesus was quoted correctly, he would have been better off saying:

        “Do unto others what others want done unto themselves.”


      • “Yeah but if we treat others as we wish to be treated it surely covers the bases.”

        The NT version covers the basics, but the gospel according to Stu covers all bases. A practical example is demonstrated by the fact that not everyone will get Canberra Raiders paraphernalia from me for Xmas this year.



      • Oh, I can picture the disdain on my wife’s face as she opens up her present to find a 2016 home jersey or a Mal Meninga garden gnome!


      • In the late 80s and early 90s there were Big Mal gnomes. Sadly, you can’t get them anymore. I can’t even find a picture of one!


      • Hey Bryan,

        So when my vegan brother turns up for dinner I should offer him a good sized steak done to a T on the webber because that’s what I would want ?


      • “to treat others as you would want to be treated”

        Can refer to consideration not just actions. You take a persons needs into consideration just as you would want your needs taken into consideration. So for a vegan friend I fulfill his dietary requirements of no meat and I hope when he puts on food he fulfills my dietary requirement of halal food being vegan or otherwise.


      • Hey Bryan,

        If you’re respecting others wishes then you are treating others as they want to be treated.


      • Hey Dom,

        Nobody needs vegan or halal food. That’s a preference not a need.

        If I came around to lunch at your place I wouldn’t expect a nice crisp pork belly with a crisp ale to wash it down with.


      • Thanks for the clarification Bubba. A Muslim can eat pork if they are in danger of starving and there is nothing else to eat.


      • Hi Bryan,

        Thanks. From my point of view people aren’t rocks to be moved or problems to solve but independent autonomous systems (for the most part) quite capable of making their own decisions and determining their own preferences.

        And how we treat others should be independent of any payback or reward.


    • We often split hairs when we know we should take as understood the basic meaning of a rule or any saying. ‘Do as you would be done by’ is a rule in religions everywhere, but is normally treated with common sense.

      To remove an offender from a position does not mean you would want that for yourself. It should not apply to you if you are not an offender.

      Witches were tortured into confessions then burned before they could recant, ensuring that they got to Heaven. We all want to get to Heaven, right?

      It’s true that a lot of harm has been done historically, in the name of helping other people. So yes, sometimes it takes more than common sense to apply the Golden Rule the way it is intended. It often takes more wisdom than we have..


      • Political analyst Tod Lindberg, in his book, The Political Teachings of Jesus, sees the man from Nazareth as a profound thinker and a man of great political insight. He says his teachings are the “unacknowledged bedrock’’ of the modern world and the basis of democracy.
        He proclaims the simple genius of the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. It is the ethical core of Jesus teachings
        Lindberg says the philosophy offers a coherent account of how to live in the world. More importantly, it is a “revolution in the idea of freedom’’.
        Observing the rule requires us to see others as our equals deserving of equal rights and dignity. It requires us all to be part of a community of goodwill.
        “By assuming the other’s equality, you win for yourself recognition of your own equality voluntarily, with no government imposition,’’ says Lindberg.
        Lindberg points out that there are variations of The Golden Rule in other religious philosophies. But they are generally stated negatively – don’t do to someone else what you dont want done to you. Jesus philosophy is positive. And, Lindberg says, offers a greater range of possibility for mutually beneficial interaction than any other philosophy.


      • A much more accurate definition of the Golden Rule is: Treat others with the same consideration and respect that you wish to be treated. It does not mean do to others exactly what you like to be done to you

        “Ethic of Reciprocity” passages from various religious texts

        Bahá’í Faith:
        “Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not.” “Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself.” Baha’u’llah

        “And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself.” Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.

        Brahmanism: “This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you”. Mahabharata, 5:1517 ”

        “…a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?” Samyutta NIkaya v. 353
        Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18

        “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12, King James Version.
        “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31, King James Version.
        . . . . . . …and don’t do what you hate…”, Gospel of Thomas 6. The Gospel of Thomas is one of about 40 gospels that circulated among the early Christian movement, but which never made it into the Christian Scriptures (New Testament).

        “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you” Analects 15:23
        “Tse-kung asked, ‘Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?’ Confucius replied, ‘It is the word ‘shu’ — reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'” Doctrine of the Mean 13.3
        “Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.” Mencius VII.A.4

        Ancient Egyptian: “Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.” The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109 – 110 Translated by R.B. Parkinson. The original dates to circa 1800 BCE and may be the earliest version of the Epic of Reciprocity ever written. 2

        Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517

        Islam: “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” Number 13 of Imam “Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths.” 3

        “Therefore, neither does he [a sage] cause violence to others nor does he make others do so.” Acarangasutra 5.101-2.
        “In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” Lord Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara
        “A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. “Sutrakritanga 1.11.33

        “…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”, Leviticus 19:18
        “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary.” Talmud, Shabbat 31a.
        . . . . . “And what you hate, do not do to any one.” Tobit 4:15 4

        ““Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
        “To those who are good to me, I am good; to those who are not good to me, I am also good. Thus all get to be good.”

        “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself.” Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5
        “Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.” Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29

        Native American Spirituality:
        “Respect for all life is the foundation.” The Great Law of Peace.
        “All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One.” Black Elk
        “Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself.” Pima proverb.

        Roman Pagan Religion:
        “The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves.”

        “The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form” Munetada Kurozumi
        “Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God.” Ko-ji-ki Hachiman Kasuga

        Compassion-mercy and religion are the support of the entire world”. Japji Sahib
        “Don’t create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone.” Guru Arjan Devji 259
        “No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend.” Guru Arjan Dev : AG 1299

        “The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven’t the will to gladden someone’s heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone’s heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this.” Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.

        “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien.
        “The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful.” Tao Teh Ching, Chapter 49.

        Unitarian Universalism:
        “The inherent worth and dignity of every person;”
        “Justice, equity and compassion in human relations…. ”
        “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;”
        “We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Unitarian principles. 1,2

        “An it harm no one, do what thou wilt” (i.e. do what ever you will, as long as it harms nobody, including yourself). This is called the Wiccan Rede

        Yoruba: (Nigeria):
        “One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.”

        “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself”. Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5

        “Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.” Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29


      • Not just world religions, either.

        Aristotle: “We should behave towards friends, as we would wish friends to behave towards us.” (This is a restricted version of the golden rule limited only towards friends. (Greece; 4th century BCE)

        Epictetus: “What you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others.” (Turkey; circa 100 CE)

        Kant: “Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature.” (Germany; 18th century CE)

        John Stuart Mill: “To do as you would be done by, and to love your neighbor as yourself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality.” (Britain; 19th century CE)

        Plato: “May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me.” (Greece; 4th century BCE)

        Socrates: “Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you.” (Greece; 5th century BCE)

        Seneca: “Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors,” Epistle 47:11 (Rome; 1st century CE)

        “…critical intelligence, infused by a sense of human caring, is the best method that humanity has for resolving problems. Reason should be balanced with compassion and empathy and the whole person fulfilled.” Humanist Manifesto II; Ethics section.
        ” Humanists acknowledge human interdependence, the need for mutual respect and the kinship of all humanity.”
        ” Humanists affirm that individual and social problems can only be resolved by means of human reason, intelligent effort, critical thinking joined with compassion and a spirit of empathy for all living beings.”
        “Don’t do things you wouldn’t want to have done to you, British Humanist Society.

        “20: Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you.” This is one of the 21 moral precepts that form the moral code explained in L. Ron Hubbard’s booklet “The Way to Happiness.”

        The Yorubas of West Africa: “He who injures another injures himself.”

        Moroccan tribesmen:
        “He who has done something will have it done to him.”
        “He who sows good will reap peace.”
        “What you desire for yourself you should desire for others.”

        Bakongo (a.k.a. Kongo people; an ethnic group found in West Africa from the Repubilc of Congo to Angola):
        “If you see a jackal in your neighbor’s garden, drive it out. One might get into yours one day, and you would like the same done for you.”
        “O man, what you do not like, do not toy our fellows.”

        From the Upanishads — the foundational document for Indian Brahmanism (circa 700 BCE):
        “Let no man to do another that which would be repugnant to himself; this is the sum of righteousness. A man obtains th proper rule by regarding another’s case as like his own


    • Hi Bryan,

      Earlier you said that “If we expect to be treated with respect then we should show respect to others”

      I would phrase it as – if treating people with respect is important to you then you should treat people with respect, but you shouldn’t expect anything in return.


      • Hi Bryam

        There could be a misunderstanding (on either of our parts) in which case I’ll try to explain my position more clearly.

        Earlier you said ” “If we expect to be treated with respect then we should show respect to others”. Another way of putting that is “If we show respect to others then we should expect to be treated with respect”

        In other words there is a quid pro quo payoff happening. If we treat others with respect then they will treat us with respect.

        I don’t see it that way I believe that if treating others with respect and care is important to you then you should treat others with respect and care.

        BUT I don’t think that you should expect a a return on that. Heck if you really respected people you’d be very happy they made their own decisions, even if you perceive those decisions to be against your interests or disrespectful to you.

        As I said earlier I think that (in general) people are independent autonomous systems capable of making their own decisions, even if those aren’t the decisions I’d make.


      • Well I agree I don’t think you should expect a return on it either. I don’t think that’s what it means.
        I think it means we should treat people with the respect that we would wish to be treated with. It’s not an immediate quid pro quo payoff. Do you see the difference?
        I think we’re saying the same thing really.


      • Yeah I might be overly fixating on your earlier comment which started ““If we expect to be treated with respect………”


      • But it’s not easy to treat someone with respect when you see them treating others with disrespect. How can you treat someone with respect who first puts another down then puts the boot in?


      • If treating people with respect is important to you then treat people with respect.

        If treating people based on how they treat others is important to you then treat people based on how they treat others.


  2. Good to reflect on the reality that, if I believe in a Creator, then I need to remember that all of us are children of that same Creator. The challenge then is to see all people as a part of that creation.


  3. The power of doing onto others as you would have them done onto you. It can change sentiment.

    Fwd: Below are FB posts by non Muslims in context of Chennai floods that say :

    # We were not willing to give our homes for rent to Muslims in our localities . Today Muslims are opening up their mosques and providing us shelter . I wish no more babri masjids are demolished, it would help us for another calamity.

    FB post by Sankara Rama Bharathi –
    ” Rains of Humanity”

    A mom just called her son from a mosque where she has been sheltered and fed . She said ‘I am feeling safe and also watching how Muslims pray their Lord from the behind .. Am also praying to God during that time ….

    This rain has flooded my city with humanity .. our people are escaping the traps of death today.. In dangerous times like these, our popular media has made us to believe that the rescuer is an action hero like Arjun, Sarath Kumar & Vijayakanth and the villains are bearded Muslim youth . But today, I witness that these bearded Muslim youth are spread across the nook and corner of the city & have daringly ventured into areas where the army & administration were hesitating .. I see these youth are rescuing any victim men, women, children & old age folks , pulling out dead bodies and distributing food . As I sit in refuge in a mosque today, I seek forgiveness from Allah for many a times believing that these good hearted youngsters were terrorists ”

    A muslim engineer from Crescent Engineering college was helping to rescue the flood victims. He swam and rescued a non Muslim woman from a dangerously stranded place and moved her to a safe spot. She was in labour pain at that time and by grace of Allah delivered the baby safe . As a mark of gratitude to Br. Younus for saving their lives, the parents Mohan & Chitra have named their new born son ‘Younus’ . – this is a headline in the Tamil daily paper today.

    # All cow eaters, please go to Pakistan – This is Communalism
    #All affected by rains, please come to the mosque – This is Humanism
    not a single government officer or politician has visited us for all these rain battered days .. A few strangers knocked out doors yesterday and gave us food . I have never seen those Muslims before .


      • The guys in video were apparently stopped and harassed by Police. Love to know why they were stopped. Officially it was disturbing the peace issue.

        Muslim charity furious after volunteers travelling to Stereosonic music festival to preach against drug use were stopped and searched by 100 police and a SWAT TEAM
        Muslim charity group stopped and raided for police
        IDO homeless run were reportedly on their way to preach against drugs
        They were heading towards the music festival Stereosonic in Sydney
        The festival is notorious for its high number of drug arrests

        PUBLISHED: 13:10 GMT, 29 November 2015 | UPDATED: 20:07 GMT, 29 November 2015


      • This could be the reason

        Writer | Activist | Student of Economics, Arabic & Islamic sciences. Media representative, Hizb ut-Tahrir.

        IDO Sydney “Sheikh Abu Adnan ” connected with Syria and ISIS!

        Australia.Alhamdulillah, over $500,000 was collected at last night’s IDO Sydney for Syria dinner – well above the $300,000 target. One brother donated $50,000; others $25,000, and I would say a majority present gave $1000 or more. The community donated very generously, and this was not exceptional. We see this this generosity in donation at every such event, be it for charity for Muslims abroad, for building masajid or for any other Islamic cause.
        Muslims sacrifice generously for their causes, alhamdulillah. This shows relation to, and adoption and ownership of, their causes, and the willingness to sacrifice. And it is proof of the iman and goodness prevalent in the Ummah. As the Prophet (saw) said sadaqa is a proof of iman. It’s also a humbling reminder to those who make flawed deductions to conclude that the Ummah is far away from her Islam, nay some go so far to conclude that she in being punished for being away from Islam! How they are deluded!
        The truth is there is great khayr in the Ummah and her attachment to Islam increases by the day. What she lacks is the leadership for that potential to be actualised. May Allah decree for her a swift victory, and may He accept the sadaqa of all who gave.


      • I noticed one of the responses of the Hindus was

        In dangerous times like these, our popular media has made us to believe that the rescuer is an action hero like Arjun, Sarath Kumar & Vijayakanth and the villains are bearded Muslim youth . But today, I witness that these bearded Muslim youth are spread across the nook and corner of the city & have daringly ventured into areas where the army & administration were hesitating

        I can see it happening here as well.


    • more from same FB page
      In the wake of calamity, Chennai is “One”. It has only one religion, “Humanity”; It has only one enemy, “Water”; there is only one aim “Help”. And they did it in style. When they were offering help, they didn’t ask whether you are “Hindu” or a “Christian” Or a “Muslim”. They didn’t ask whether you are “Rich” or “Poor”. They didn’t ask whether you are a “Tamlian”, “Malayalee”, “Telugu”, “Kannadiga” or “North Indian”. Only one question they asked; “Do you need any help?”
      The rich people; my neighbors who never interacted with anybody in the neighborhood in last 4 years; opened the gates of their huge house. The man stood outside and welcomed people to his house. “We will eat whatever we have. We will share whatever we have. You can stay here until the water recedes”; that all he had said.. He accommodated around 35 people in his house. He is a Hindu Brahmin. He provided mat for the Muslims to do Namaz. He allowed Christians to pray in his Pooja room.


      • alexie on December 10, 2015 at 20:31 said:
        The guys in video were apparently stopped and harassed by Police. Love to know why they were stopped. Officially it was disturbing the peace issue.
        The less we know of others, the more we are afraid of them, especially if the media feeds that fear. The White Coats were stopped to appease frightened Australians, then sent on their way, with nothing incriminating found whatsoever. Public relations – the police are looking after you!.


      • For strewth

        Why would over 100 police be watching these so called white coats. My replies must have been too subtle for you.

        Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation) is banned in virtually all Arab nations in the Middle East, such as Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. It is banned in Tunisia and Libya, and also Turkey. It is regarded as such a threat that it is even banned in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which are already cauldrons of extremism. It is banned in all the former Soviet states in Central Asia, and since February 2003 it has been banned in Russia. It has been banned in Germany – on account of its anti-Semitism and its desire to use force for political ends – since March 2003, and it is also banned in the Netherlands. Yet in Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia, the group remains free to operate. In Britain in August 2005, then-prime minister Tony Blair announced his intentions to ban the group. Hizb’s reaction was to conjure up a veiled threat – a vision of angry young Muslims instigating riots across Britain should the group be proscribed. Blair’s extremist advisers from the Muslim Council of Britain opposed the ban and said they would only accept it if the right-wing BNP party (British National Party) were also banned.


    • MUSLIMS Inside A Hindu Temple near MANDAVELI Cooking Uppama And Tamarind rice…Christians goin to Distribute it..And the Truck driver is SARDAR ji
      Proud to be an Indian …


    • Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in a number of countries. Demands for it to banned here in Australia – by adding it to a list of 19 other terrorist organisations – have intensified this week, particularly after an interview on ABC’s Lateline in which a spokesman for the group refused to directly condemn the acts of Islamic State


    • Australia’s race discrimination commissioner has slammed a controversial Islamic group over its claims “de-radicalisation” amounts to forced assimilation.
      Hizb ut-Tahrir held a large conference at Bankstown in south-western Sydney on Sunday and told the more than 500 men, women and children who attended that Muslims were being demonised over their faith.
      “Deradicalisation has come to mean making Muslims less Islamic, more Western, more secular, more submissive to secular, Liberal political … norms,” Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar said.
      “It is nothing more than an agenda of forced assimilation justified by exaggerated fears of a security threat.”
      But Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said this was “absurd”.
      Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner.
      Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner. Photo: Eddie Jim
      “Hizb ut-Tahrir’s views on citizenship are a rejection of our liberal democratic values and a denial of Australian multiculturalism,” he said.
      “They further confirm this group’s extremist agenda.”
      Dr Soutphommasane said that when migrants became citizens, they chose to become a part of the Australian community.
      “There’s nothing oppressive about committing to our democracy, abiding by the law, and respecting the rights of others.
      “Our multiculturalism means that everyone has a right to express their cultural heritage but also accepts the responsibilities of being an Australian citizen.”
      The federal government has reportedly abandoned plans under consideration by former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir.
      Federal Social Services Minister Christian Porter told Sky News earlier this week the Hizb ut-Tahrir comments were “unhelpful, divisive and fundamentally ill informed”.
      “The recruitment process of radical organisations is to put in the mind of the people they seek to recruit that there is widespread prejudice amongst Australians against Muslim Australians.
      “That level of prejudice simply does not exist in Australia.”

      Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/race-discrimination-commissioner-tim-soutphommasane-labels-hizb-uttahrir-views-absurd-20151102-gkpazj.html#ixzz3tzVD6fpP
      Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook


  4. “Salman Rushdie once observed that fundamentalism was not about religion. It was about power.”

    As we walk out on to the street, exchanging jangling pleasantries after a gruelling conversation, it seems odd – disturbing – to see him walking into a car alone. As he drives away, I think of an old quote Rushdie is fond of. In Saul Bellow’s novel The Dean’s December, the central character hears a dog barking wildly somewhere. He imagines the barking is the dog’s protest against the jarring limitations of dog experience. “For God’s sake,” the dog is saying, “open the universe a little more!”

    That, too, is Rushdie’s message in this fight between the democratic-Muslim ideals of his grandfather and the psychotic-Muslim delusions of his assassins. It is a fight between people who want to open the universe a little more, and those who want to shrivel the universe into the stultified vision of one book and one man who lived in a desert more than a millennium ago.


    • As a history undergraduate at Cambridge, 20 years before he wrote The Satanic Verses, Rushdie had written about this historical Muhammad and wondered why 1,400 years ago the prophet temporarily accepted the first false revelation as true. One possible answer, Rushdie argued, following certain western scholars of Islam, was that Muhammad was a political figure who, briefly, realised that his shaky Mecca power base could be made more secure if the monotheistic religion he founded could make accommodations with followers of then-popular pagan deities. But this makes the founder of Islam look more like canny politician than divine vessel, a seeming slur on Islam at the moment of its birth. Worse yet, in Rushdie’s novel the tempted prophet is called Mahound, a derogatory name used by crusaders.

      For many Muslims Rushdie was attacking their religion and mocking its prophet. “I don’t mock Muhammad,” says Rushdie. “I treat him as someone who behaved pretty well. When he came back to Mecca in triumph he didn’t kill many people.”


  5. I watched documentary about the 10th anniversary of the Cronulla riots. The journalist interviews people who in some way witnessed or were involved in the riots, both Muslim Lebanese Australians and others of other backgrounds who fought against each other.
    The best part was at the end when it showed the improvements in the area and how the beach front is now conformed with many nationalities and families on the beach. How did this occur? Some very brave young Muslim Australians joined the local life saving club. The club designed and made Muslim female swimming outfits. These young people did more for the community then the very suspect white coats (IDO) guys in the video above. There was true integration of cultures, give and take.


  6. On last monday I said to my wife pell would call in sick.
    He is apparently more fearful of fellow Homo Sapiens than a all seeing all knowing all powerful entity he and other believers claim exists .


  7. I see Shermon is calling for a riot if the Cronulla riot 10th anniversary BBQ does not go through. I am going to watch TV tonight so I can watch the AFP raid his house. All the news broadcasts should have it. 🙂


    • Look what happened the day before the riots.

      A friend wrote as follows:-
      “‘I’ve just listened to Paul Sheehan and he puts the case that the Lebanese men took over a section of Cronulla beach and claimed it as their own.
      “That by itself would have caused massive resentment amongst the Cronulla surfies. As a teen, Cronulla was our most accessible beach but kids from my part of Sydney were definitely not welcome there. The beach was not ours to enjoy. Our presence was barely tolerated. Long before ten years ago there were territorial fights between the surfies, the mods and the Revesby Sharps. Fighting over the girls was an added extra but it was all about possession of territory.

      “I remember the Cronulla riots very well. The incident of disrespect to a couple of girls happened a couple of days before the riot that was shown on the video. Those numbers of people literally wanting to do a bit of Leb bashing didn’t get there by accident. It was a premeditated and organised event and reinforcements came in droves from nearby beach suburbs and further afield. Mobile phones were used to get the word out. They were egged on by Alan Jones on the radio who really should have been prosecuted for his part in it all.

      “The response was foreseeable. The Lebanese were enraged and organised their own counter attack, also using mobile phones. They were met by greater numbers of police than were present the day before and arrests were made. They didn’t get to beat up anyone but they did vandalise cars all along Anzac Parade on their advance on Cronulla. They caused a lot of damage.

      “It was only the police who prevented deaths on both occasions.

      “There is nothing good to commemorate here.”


      • I wonder if people jump on the ‘religion’ bandwagon, when religion may have little to do with it.

        Only 54% of Lebanese is Muslim, divided almost equally in half as Sunni and half as Shia.
        There is a small amount, 5%, of Druze.

        ALL the rest are Christian, of one sort or another. The largest sect is Maronite, 21%. Others make up 20%


      • Strewth, you might like to relook at those figures. I assume you mean actually figures in Lebanon. Also look back as to how much it has changed over the last 30 years. Makes interesting reading.


  8. “German pastor Martin Niemoller, who fought against the Nazi regime, warned against being indifferent to persecution in a poem: “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
    “Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.
    “Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
    “Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

    It is interesting that Islam persecutes Jews first and consitantly. Although Iran says death to America first with Israel second. There is some commentary that aligns Muslims terror with fascism, that it is simply the new fascism. World war two began with Germany invading Poland, then parts of Czechoslovakia. The world sat back and did nothing. The Germans continued on and the world realised that war was inevitable. Sadly, with so much Muslim terror around the world, we cannot sit back and do nothing. The world is now sitting up and taking notice. The narrative is slowly changing. The language is changing and people are realising it is no longer the Jews only.

    Some Muslims know this and are helping out Australian security organisations in hunting down the terrorists.

    Egypt’s Sisi: Islamic “Thinking” Is “Antagonizing the Entire World”

    “I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!

    That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!

    Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

    I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.

    All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.

    I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”


    • Hi Alexie

      It is interesting that Islam persecutes Jews first and consitantly.

      Lets have a look at history. The stuff they leave out in the classroom.

      In 638, just a few years after the death of the Prophet pbuh, an army of his followers surrounded Jerusalem. The city Patriarch, Sophronius, handed over the city after a brief siege. There was only one condition; that the terms of their surrender be negotiated directly with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second Khalif of Islam.

      ‘Umar entered Jerusalem on foot. There was no bloodshed. There were no massacres. Those who wanted to leave were allowed to, with all their possessions. Those who wanted to stay were guaranteed protection for their lives, their property, and their places of worship in the ‘Umariyya Covenant.

      For the first time in its long history, Jerusalem had been spared a bloodbath.

      It is said that ‘Umar accompanied Sophronious to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and that he was offered a place to pray in it. ‘Umar declined, fearing it might establish a precedent which would threaten the church’s continued use as a Christian house of worship. He prayed instead to the south of the church, now the site of the Mosque of ‘Umar in Jerusalem.

      ‘Umar then asked to be taken to the site of Al Aqsa Mosque. Accompanied by hundreds of Muslims, to his disappointment he found the area covered in dust and debris. The Bishop took him to the site (known to the Jews as Temple Mount), which to Umar’s disappointment was being used as a garbage dump. This is because under the Christian rule at that time, Jews were not allowed to worship or even enter Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa site.

      On seeing the state of the Al-Aqsa site, Umar said:

      “Allah (God) is Great, I swear by the one who holds my soul in his hand that this is the Mosque of David which the prophet of Allah described to us after his night journey.”

      A huge timber mosque which held three thousand worshippers was erected on this site in the time of ‘Umar, at the southernmost wall of the Noble Sanctuary.

      Umar Al Khattab allowed the Jews back into Jerusalem and allowed them access to the temple mount which the Christians of that time used as a rubbish dump. The place where Jesus chased the money changers out with a stick was used as a rubbish dump. Do you see the irony ?


    • The Christians regained Jerusalem after the first crusade. They were told whoever killed a Jews that refused baptism had all their sins forgiven.

      What happened after the 2nd Crusade when Jerusalem was liberated again ?

      Saladin allowed Christian pilgrims to visit Jerusalem without official papers. He posted soldiers for their safety. He commanded that every kindness be extended to his guests, and he enjoyed conferring with the bishop and allowed him to visit Bethlehem and Nazareth and to leave behind Latin priests and deacons.

      He returned to Damascus in mid-November 1192 and was greeted with jubilation. Crowds followed him through the streets. Poets praised him, calling him the great protector who had spread the wings of justice over all and spoke of his having rained gifts on his people “from the clouds of his munificence and kindness.”

      He returned to be greeted by Jubilation. Sounds like the Jewish people were happy to live under peace again. You said constantly persecuted. Don’t sound like persecution to me.


    • Surah 9 speaks of removing corruption from the land. The Romans persecuted the Jewish people. The Muslims opened Jerusalem up to all again.

      The Jews persecuted during the Spanish revolution fled to Muslims lands. There are Jews in Iran that refuse to migrate to Israel no matter how much money is thrown at them.

      Iran’s Jews reject cash offer to move to Israel | World news | theguardian.com

      History states the Muslims freed Jerusalem and allowed the Jewish people back in. The Muslims gave the Jewish people a haven from forced baptism. Sure there were Jewish people not happy to be under Islamic rule but what people are happy to be governed under others.

      I would just like to end by clarifying I do not believe the Christians of that time represent the teachings of Jesus or Paul.


    • I had detailed in 2012 to you the persecution the US has committed against Iran.

      I’ll detail again here.

      Relations were cordial between Iran and US up until World War 2. The US were seen as the more favoured Western country by Iran. After World War 2 the relationship soured when the government of Mohammad Mossadeq was overthrown by a coup organized by the CIA.

      “rising internal tensions and continued deterioration … might lead to a breakdown of government authority and open the way for at least a gradual assumption of control” ***

      *** Gasiorowski writing in Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran, Edited by Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne, Syracuse University Press, 2004, p.230-1

      The good old US behind the scenes manipulating. Hopeful for Iran to have rising tensions and general deterioration. I guess they got that in spades.

      Jimmy Carter providing several billions dollars support for Suddam Hussain war against the Iran also didn’t help relations with the US. In 1982 Ronald Reagan continued supplying weapons etc to Iraq for the express purpose to invade Iran.

      [audio src="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shakinghands_high.OGG" /]

      Fuzzy video of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam. It is a pity we never heard Saddam’s version of events.

      The US used Iraq as a pawn to attack Iran. We all saw what happened to Iraq after it served its purpose.

      On July 3, 1988, near the end of the Iran–Iraq War, the U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes shot down Iranian Airbus A300B2, which was on a scheduled commercial flight in Iranian airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. The attack killed 290 civilians from six nations, including 66 children. USS Vincennes was in the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Earnest Will. The United States initially contended that flight 655 was a warplane and then said that it was outside the civilian air corridor and did not respond to radio calls. Both statements were untrue, and the radio calls were made on military frequencies to which the airliner did not have access.

      Washington Post, January 11, 2008, “Iranian Boats May Not Have Made Radio Threat, Pentagon Says,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/10/AR2008011000692_2.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2008011001831 1988: US warship shoots down Iranian airliner

      Who is persecuting who ? Can you imagine what would have happened if it was the other way around ? There would have been over 100,000 Iranians dead in a war against terror.


    • Let us pray for Muslims. My wife and I pray daily for the Islamic world. Many Muslims are coming to Christ, often through the sovereign manifestation of Christ through dreams and visions. (See link below.) We pray that even the most radical Muslims may find forgiveness and life in Christ……..Ps. Francis Frangipane



    • The Radical Christian


      It would be both arrogant and foolish to limit the problem of terrorism to Muslims only. The fact is, many religions have had discomforting experiences with zealots and terrorism. Yet it is uniquely the Muslim religion that has produced entire armies of radical terrorists. How do we address this?

      The Problem
      a man might be a nominal Christian, mostly unaffected by spiritual things, until one day he reads the Bible, and he finds a spiritual fire has been ignited in his heart. If that man remains in his new conviction, he will increasingly pattern his life after Jesus Christ — that is, he will become more loving and forgiving and more willing to invest his life in seeing others redeemed as well. He will, in short, increasingly become more Christlike. As Jesus predicted, “The works that I do, [My follower] will do also” (John 14:12).

      However, if a nominal Muslim begins to read the Koran, and if he continues his daily readings and prayers, at some point he will increasingly surrender toward obeying all of Mohammed’s teachings. Within this man’s devotional life he may ultimately seek to possess true Islam — that is, total submission to Allah. Within this small group of zealots, a smaller percentage will embrace not only the teachings of Mohammed but his works as well. Just as the follower of Jesus ultimately seeks conformity to Jesus, so the committed Muslim will prove his faithfulness by obeying even the militant extremes of Islam. The works Mohammed did the follower of Mohammed will also do.

      And this is the problem: the Christian who becomes increasingly like Christ is being conformed to a redeemer; the Muslim who becomes increasingly like Mohammed is being conformed to a military leader……..Ps. Francis Frangipane





      Outwardly, the Muslim zealot may have originally presented himself to others as a man both courteous and nonthreatening. When he seeks employment he shows himself as one who disavows violence — he is sincere, for his religion at this stage is nominal. But as time passes and as he becomes more committed to Islam, he will begin to view non-Muslims as infidels instead of just neighbors or coworkers. He will justify the violent impulses he feels because the Koran tells him such impulses should be followed.

      Remember, I am not speaking of all Muslims but only a small fraction. What I am saying is that the radicalization of at least a small minority of Muslims is almost inevitable. For the normal growth of an unrestrained, fully committed zealot will eventually conform him to the founder of his religion.

      This means that as long as there are people reading the Koran, there will be a small percentage who pledge themselves to spread Islam, even by use of terrorism. We who live in the predominantly non-Muslim world will have to cope with the violence of these self-radicalized “true believers.”

      Some Considerations
      Are you a moderate Muslim, a man or woman of spirituality and refinement? Then you must decide that you do not want violent Muslims — people motivated by hatred and blood lust — to represent you. You must denounce and expose radicals — even the son or daughter in your own home. The first line of defense against radical Muslims must be moderate Muslims.

      [Let me interject here that I know there are many Muslims — perhaps tens of thousands — who have helped expose radicals in their communities. We applaud your courage.]

      Are you Christian? You must guard against prejudging all Muslims by the violence manifested by the few. Remember, here in the Western world, a number of people turned to Islam as a reaction to the sinfulness and scandals in the Church. Now, however, in this present atmosphere, these same people are beginning to harbor doubts about their decision. Let us, therefore, make sure our communication with Muslims is the expression of Christ’s love.

      Ps. Francis Frangipane


  9. Dom, You and your anti-western hatred and bias is obvious. I wonder if you would do some information for us on Saudi Arabia and its constant funding of terrorism around the world?

    The US is indeed stupid in getting into bed with the Saudis over oil.

    “Saudi Arabia agreed to provide material aid to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, along with continued funding to bin Laden through Saudi charities and businesses. In return, al-Qaeda agreed not to attack Saudi targets.”

    “Yet in the years leading up to 9/11, numerous US military and intelligence officials, including the late senior FBI counter-terrorism official, John O’Neill, complained that intelligence investigations into the terror ties of Saudi royals were being “blocked” for political reasons from Washington. There were “always constraints on investigating the Saudis,” which had worsened under the Bush administration.”

    Saudi elite financing was the pre-eminent factor in the rise of Islamist militant groups in the region, both before and after 9/11, until today. “We’re talking about a huge level of corruption,” he said on condition of anonymity. “This money doesn’t just flow to militants. It also buys off political leaders, including American and European government officials who should know better. Intelligence agencies have tracked billions of dollars of Saudi funding to extremists, but their investigations are consistently killed.”

    The great unrest in the middle east and in particularly Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Egypt, can be traced back to the decline in state power in the backdrop of droughts, sectarian terror and oil decline.

    The Saudis have decided that rather than learning lessons from Iraq etc it will drive war in the region in an effort to control itsdominance.

    These realities mean that Saudi Arabia is heading toward economic failure as the oil runs out and the world moves towards solar.
    There are some within the royal family who wish to make changes to better move into the future. There is now a delay in a 109 billion dollar solar project due to funds running out.

    It is fascinating thought that the Saudis wish to stop terriorsim, of which it sponsors most of it.

    The “muslim” coalition will tackle “the Islamic world’s problem with terrorism and will be a partner in the worldwide fight against this scourge” said Saudi Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud at a press conference in Riyadh.

    Arrangements would be made for “coordination with friendly peace-loving nations and international bodies for the sake of supporting international efforts to combat terrorism and to save international peace and security”, he added.

    More than 10 other “Islamic countries” had expressed support for the coalition, including Indonesia, it said.

    “These countries have procedures to go through before joining the coalition, but out of keenness to achieve this coalition as soon as possible, (this alliance of) 34 countries has been announced,” said the Saudi minister.

    HMMMM, we shall see.


    • The United States has deemed Saudia Arabia a friend so they enjoy being not held accountable for their crimes as all friends of the US enjoy.


  10. “Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends… [and] the Saudis, the Emirates, etcetera. What were they doing?…. They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied, [they] were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.”

    More recently, the Saudi role in promoting extremism has come under renewed scrutiny. Calls for declassifying the redacted 28 pages of the 9/11 congressional commission have been getting stronger. And statements from the lead author of the report, former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, suggest they are being hidden because they “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as the principal financier” of the 9/11 hijackers. He has been unusually explicit, “Saudi Arabia has not stopped its interest in spreading extreme Wahhabism. ISIS…is a product of Saudi ideals, Saudi money and Saudi organizational support, although now they are making a pretense of being very anti-ISIS.”

    In fact, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, made a similar observation about her husband’s flogging: “the Saudi government is behaving like Daesh [a derogatory Arabic term for ISIS].” About 2,500 Saudis are thought to be in ISIS’ ranks.

    Ensaf Haidar’s quip exposes a deeper truth. One could reasonably argue that the House of Saud is simply a more established and diplomatic version of ISIS. It shares the extremist Wahhabi theo-fascism, the lack of human rights, intolerance, violent beheadings etc. — but with nicer buildings and roads. If ISIS were ever to become an established state, after a few decades one imagines it might resemble Saudi Arabia.

    How does Saudi Arabia go about spreading extremism? The extremist agenda is not always clearly government-sanctioned, but in monarchies where the government money is spread around to various princes, there is little accountability for what the royal family does with their government funds. Much of the funding is via charitable organizations and is not military-related.

    The money goes to constructing and operating mosques and madrassas that preach radical Wahhabism. The money also goes to training imams; media outreach and publishing; distribution of Wahhabi textbooks, and endowments to universities and cultural centers.


  11. Wahhabism to ISIS: how Saudi Arabia exported the main source of global terrorism

    Yet although IS is certainly an Islamic movement, it is neither typical nor mired in the distant past, because its roots are in Wahhabism, a form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia that developed only in the 18th century. In July 2013, the European Parliament identified Wahhabism as the main source of global terrorism, and yet the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, condemning IS in the strongest terms, has insisted that “the ideas of extremism, radicalism and terrorism do not belong to Islam in any way”. Other members of the Saudi ruling class, however, look more kindly on the movement, applauding its staunch opposition to Shiaism and for its Salafi piety, its adherence to the original practices of Islam. This inconsistency is a salutary reminder of the impossibility of making accurate generalisations about any religious tradition. In its short history, Wahhabism has developed at least two distinct forms, each of which has a wholly different take on violence.


  12. The Saudi Wahhabis are the real foe
    We must take our fight to the preachers and financiers of terror.
    By NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB 11/16/15, 6:01 PM CET Updated 11/22/15, 7:47 AM CET
    Since 2001 our policy for fighting Islamic terrorists has been, to put it politely, missing the elephant in the room, sort of like treating symptoms and completely missing the disease.

    Policymakers and slow-thinking bureaucrats stupidly let terrorism grow by ignoring the roots. So we lost a generation: Someone who went to grammar school in Saudi Arabia (our “ally”) after September 11 is now an adult, indoctrinated into believing and supporting Salafi violence, hence encouraged to finance it — while we got distracted by the use of complicated weapons and machinery.

    Even worse, the Wahhabis have accelerated their brainwashing of East and West Asians with their madrassas, thanks to high oil revenues.


  13. Pingback: Shrine of the Báb, Haifa, Israel | Perfect Buildings Blog

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