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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Charlie Hebdo - Many speak, few listen

The massacre in the offices of French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was a tragedy. Twelve people were murdered and eleven injured when three masked gunman burst into the office and fired on them. Two days later the perpetrators were killed by police, following another siege. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the attack on Charlie Hebdo. (1)

Charlie Hebdo has courted controversy because it often publishes offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. For a number of years, the offices and some of its employees have been guarded by police because the depictions of Muhammad have infuriated many Muslims, with some threatening violent retaliation. On 7 January 2015 that retaliation came in the most tragic of ways. The surviving staff of Charlie Hebdo have sworn to keep the magazine open and to continue publishing its acerbic satire regardless of who it offends.

Interestingly, Charlie Hebdo was happy to offend Muslims but not to offend Jews so much. Charlie Hebdo is taking the 'freedom of speech' high ground over this attack ... but in 2008 the magazine sacked cartoonist Maurice Sinet for anti-Semitism after he made a jibe at French President Sarkozy's son (2). There are two things with this. Firstly, attacking Islam and Muslims is apparently fair game while criticising a politician marrying into a Jewish family isn't. Secondly, it's ok to offend those who have no political power, those who are the fodder in the West's war on terror or the victims of Israel's genocidal policies, but it's not ok to criticise someone with influence. Politicians are constantly the victims of satire and criticism, including Mr Sarkozy. The only reason Sinet was sacked was because his satire dared to ridicule Jews based on a common stereotype. How is that different to the magazine's depictions of Islam? The only difference is that it is probably less offensive, in that it didn't use sexual or perverted imagery. Yet Sinet was sacked.

The attack on Charlie Hebdo is being labelled an attack on freedom of speech. Without doubt, there are less violent ways to resolve issues with those who cause offense. Freedom of speech means that there will always be someone who is willing to push the boundaries of decency and respect. That doesn't mean they deserve to die.

Voltaire once stated 'I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it'.

The attack was followed by an outpouring of anger, sympathy and solidarity for freedom of expression. Twitter was rife with #JeSuisCharlie (I Am Charlie) as people expressed solidarity with the victims. Not all who condemned the attack agreed with Charlie Hebdo's satire, but they were willing to defend its right to freedom of expression.

A free and just society should defend freedom of speech, however, this freedom is a two-edged sword. One person's opinion may offend another. But the other may also say things considered offensive. If we ban speech, where is the line drawn. It is a two-edged sword but one that must exist.

In Australia, freedom of speech came to a head in 2014 when the government considered repealing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act which makes it unlawful for a person to act in a way that is likely to 'offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group' based on 'race, colour or national or ethnic origin'. (3) Many on the right-wing saw this as left-wing, do-gooder, political correctness. The Attorney General, George Brandis, supported repealing 18C and stated that 'people have the right to be bigots'. I agree with him. People do have a right to voice their opinions and this includes the opinions of bigots who, sadly, walk among us still ... even in the more enlightened 21st century. This doesn't mean that offensive comments and behaviour isn't illegal under a host of other laws, such as defamation or incitement to violence.

While Brandis is happy to defend bigots, the conservative government he belongs to wages war on the publicly owned ABC and SBS networks because they don't always give favourable scrutiny to the government, it's policies or even of Australia's actions. Abbott even claimed the ABC took everyone else's side except Australia's when it was covering a story of allegations of abuse of asylum seekers by the Royal Australian Navy (4). Why should it take Australia's side? It's there to report news and make comment (remember, freedom of speech). There should be no 'sides' when it comes to revealing abuse, corruption and criminal behaviour.

The Charlie Hebdo massacre played into the hands of Islamophobes the world over. They predictably blamed all Muslims, blamed the Koran, blamed Islam. Some of these comments came from Christian pastors as if their own religions, creeds, politics or nations aren't guilty of encouraging racism, xenophobia and violence. Grenades were thrown at a mosque in France, a Muslim prayer hall was fired upon and a kebab shop was firebombed.(5)

The Islamophobes seem to have not realised that one of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre was a Muslim. In fact, this particular Muslim, Ahmed Merabet, was a police officer tasked with guarding the offices of Charlie Hebdo; the magazine that regularly attacked his Prophet with some of the most vile imagery and suggestion. Ahmed died protecting the free speech of a magazine that regularly ridiculed and deliberately offended his religion. (6) News of Ahmed's sacrifice was followed by many tweeting #JeSuisAhmed, in support of his selfless actions.

To argue that Islam is opposed to freedom of speech ignores the fact that in his lifetime, the Prophet Muhammad, was subject to abuse and torment. He didn't respond violently. He called his followers to show love and compassion. When was the last time a Muslim country invaded a Western one? Centuries ago. For at least the last 200 years, almost all invasions and incursions have been perpetrated by Western nations, and often into Muslim lands. But its easy for the West to pick on its victims when it fails to show empathy.

One of the problems with racist satire is that it reinforces stereotypes in the mind of the easily led and it erodes empathy for others. This lack of empathy means that most Islamophobes have no understanding of the terror that their nations have inflicted on Muslim countries and people, nor do they care.

The media doesn't help with unbalanced reporting.  Some media reported the Charlie Hebdo attack as the first terrorist attack in Europe since 2005. Apparently, they forgot about Christian terrorist, Anders Breivik going on a bombing and shooting spree that killed 77 people in Norway. Breivik wrote a manifesto in which he demanded the deportation of Muslims from Europe and annihilation of Marxists and multicultralism. His was a terrorist attack. He was a Christian. Where was the outrage from those who rise up every time a Muslim kills an innocent? When terrorists kill in the name Islam, Muslims quickly condemn them, Imams speak out against them. Where was the outrage in the church after Anders Breivik killed in the name of God and an ideology embraced by many Christians?

The day before the Charlie Hebdo massacre, a bombing occurred in the United States at the office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It received very little coverage. (7) Those who were offended by the lack of coverage hit Twitter with #NAACPbombing to bring attention to it. Had Muslims been responsible it would have been international news and no doubt followed by a Twitterstorm of Islamophobic hashtags.

It seems that people have either forgotten, or chosen to ignore, the West's attacks on the media. Before Muslims were attacking Charlie Hebdo, NATO bombed Tanjung, a state-run Serbian television station, killing 10 people and injuring 18. NATO justified it by claiming it ran propaganda from Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic who would later be charged with crimes against humanity. Whatever the justification, the building contained 150 civilians, a number of whom were killed in the attack. (8)

In 2001, the United States bombed the offices of Middle Eastern journalism giant, Al Jazeera in Kabul, killing one employee and injuring another. The USA claimed it was accidental, however Al Jazeera claims that US forces were well aware of its location. (9)

In 2003, the US again attacked Al Jazeera. This time in Baghdad, killing one and injuring another. (10)

In 2005, reports emerged of a leaked memo between then US President George W. Bush and then UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, which indicated Bush's intention to bomb Al Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar. (11) Blair thankfully talked Bush out of it.

The attacks on Al Jazeera were because America felt that their's was the only version of events that should be published. Al Jazeera on the other hand, felt that they shouldn't bend to western propaganda and instead published views and facts that were devoid of undue influence from the USA.

In 2008, Israel deliberately killed a Palestinian journalist in Gaza (12). In the 2012, Israel bombed the Russian TV office of Rusiya Al-Yaum in Gaza during its horrendous bombing campaign(13). In 2014 Israel waged a genocidal attack on Gaza in which more 2,000 people were killed, most of whom were civilians(14). During that war, Israel killed 17 journalists (15), yet hypocritically bemoans the Charlie Hebdo murders.

In 2014, a number of US networks sacked journalists who failed to support Israel and dared to show empathy for the Palestinians who were at that time being bombed incessantly by Israel. (16) The US and its media giants only like freedom of speech when it favours them, their policies or their allies.

Freedom of speech cuts both ways, as does condemnation. Quite rightly, the Charlie Hebdo attack was condemned across the globe. Contrary to what some have said, Muslims across the globe have also condemned the attack (17) (18).

Muslims are in the middle, attacked by extremists abusing their religion, while bearing the brunt of the world's derision.

Muslims in the Middle (16)

If we're going to claim that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was an attack on freedom of speech, then we must condemn all other attacks on freedom of speech. Including the attacks on Al Jazeera and other media by NATO, US and Israel.

The only 'side' we should take is against terrorism, against attacks on innocent people. We should not emulate Prime Minister Tony Abbott's belief that the media should side with Australia regardless of what laws or atrocities have been committed. G.K. Chesteron once stated, "My country right or wrong" is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying "my mother, drunk or sober".

Freedom of speech includes freedom to criticise or roundly condemn what is said. That is not an attack on freedom, if anything it is an exercise in freedom. Being able to speak freely, to write freely, should help each of us be more circumspect in our beliefs and in our actions if we can truly listen to what is being sad, if we can challenge ourselves and what is written to help identify the truth whether it be through satire or biting political commentary. Shakespeare wrote 'Jesters oft prove prophets' otherwise meaning 'the truth is often spoken in jest'. The world has much to learn about itself, to learn why people resort to terrorism, why people are angry, why war in the name of anything is wrong, whether it be religion, democracy, drugs or whatever else. Violence begets violence, hatred begets hatred.

Is anyone listening to the voice of the people, of the victims?

While many are willing to express their freedom of speech they aren't so willing to express their freedom to listen and to learn.

Many speak, Few listen.


1. Al Jazeera, 'Deadly end to sieges', 10 January 2015,, accessed 10 January 2015.

2. New York Times, Basil Katz, 'A scooter, a Sarkozy and Rancor collide', 5 August 2008, Accessed 10 January 2015.

3. Australian Government, Commonwealth Consolidated Acts, Racial Discrimination Act 1975 - Sect 18C, Accessed 10 January 2105.

4. ABC News, Latika Bourke, 'Prime Minister Tony Abbott says ABC not on Australia's side in interview with 2GB', 4 February 2014, Accessed 10 January 2015.

5. The Telegraph, 'Paris shootings lead to firebomb attacks on French mosques', 8 January 2015, Accessed 8 January 2015.

6. World.Mic, Sophie Kleeman, '#JeSuisAhmed Reveals the Hero of the Paris Shooting Everyone Needs to Know', 8 January 2015, Accessed 9 January 2015.

7. Daily Kos, Shaun King, 'Frustrated by lack of mainstream media coverage, #NAACPBombing hashtag goes viral', 7 January 2015, Accessed 9 January 2015.

8. The Guardian, Richard Norton-Taylor, 'Serb TV station was legitimate target, says Blair', 24 April 1999, Accessed 8 January 2015.

9. The Guardian, Matt Wells, 'Al-Jazeera accuses US of bombing its Kabul office', 17 November 2001,, Accessed 8 January 2015.

10. BBC News, 'Al-Jazeera hit by missile', 8 April 2003, Accessed 8 January 2015.

11. The Guardian, Dominic Timms, 'Al-Jazeera seeks answers over 'bombing' memo', 23 November 2005, Accessed 8 January 2015.

12. The Electronic Intifida, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 'Israel forces in Gaza "willfully kill" journalist', 17 April 2008, Accessed 10 January 2015.

13. Sputnik International, 'Israel Airstrike Destroys Russia Today TV Channel's Gaza Office', 16 September 2012, Accessed 8 January 2015.

14. Amnesty International, 'Families Under the Rubble - Israeli attacks on inhabited homes', November 2014, Accessed 10 January 2014.

15. Counter Current News, M.B. David, 'These 17 Journalists Were Killed by Israel', 29 August 2014, Accessed 10 January 2014.

16. World Socialist Web Site, Barry Grey, 'US networks remove reporters critical of Israeli attack on Gaza', Accessed 8 January 2015.

17. On Islam, by Shari 'ah staff, 'How Muslim Scholars View Paris attack (in-depth)', 8 January 2015, Accessed 8 January 2015.

18. Huffington Post, Jaweed Kaleem, 'Why Muslims Are Talking About Islam And Blasphemy After Charlie Hebdo', 7 January 2015, Accessed 9 January 2015.

19. Khalid Albaih, (@khalidalbaih), Al Jazeera, 'Cartoonists react to Charlie Hebdo Attack', 7 January 2015, Accessed 10 January 2015.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bacon and dregs - Pork wars and Christianity

Continuing with the theme about the hypocrisy of the campaigns against Islam, there are a number of people who are waging a 'bacon' war against Muslims. The theory is that because Muslims don't eat pork products, they can be driven out of Australia if some dang fool goes and smears bacon fat on the counter of a Muslim owned shop, or if said fool carries a ham sandwich around (somewhat akin to carrying garlic to repel a vampire ... and about as effective), or throwing a pig's head into the grounds of a mosque.

The world truly has gone mad.

The scary thing is that there really are people who honestly believe these actions will effectively repel Islam. What the hell is wrong with these people? They are the dregs of society, attacking innocent people with idiocy such as this.

Even more so, the Christians who promote these pork wars and think it is their calling in life.

Some argue that Australia is a Christian nation and therefore Halal does not belong. Australia actually is not a Christian nation. For it to be so, there would need to be some official government document to that effect, say like the Constitution. Section 116 of the Australian Constitution indicates that Australia is a secular nation with complete freedom of all religions in which the government can make no religious law either for or against any religion: 'The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth'.

Every religion is welcome and protected in Australia.

Moving on.

Keep in mind that many of the anti-Halal Christians are also Zionists. Which means they worship the modern state of Israel as being a fulfilment of scripture. Let's ignore the fact that it is a Jewish state, so Israel does not worship or even recognise Christ. This in itself goes against the whole purpose of Jesus coming to Earth in the first place to redeem man from sin. But pardon my paralipsis. Back to the topic. In a nutshell this means that the pork war is potentially going to be offensive to Jews, whom many Christians have a great affinity for.

Let's have a quick look at what the bible says about pork and about Christians arming themselves with weapons of mass pork warfare.
  • Leviticus 11:7-8 - and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. 8 Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They are unclean to you.
  • Deuteronomy 14:8 - Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses.
  • Isaiah 66:17 - “Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves, To go to the gardens after an idol in the midst, eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse, shall be consumed together,” says the Lord.
So the bible actually tells Christians they can't eat bacon. Of course, some Christians will argue against this and say that God changed his mind in the New Testament.

For instance, Mark 7:15 says There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.

Many Christians believe that this scripture now sanctifies all food. The scripture points out the obvious, that it isn't food that's important, but how a person lives their life. Those Christians who are living their lives to slander other religions are really just defiling themselves.

So, if Christians now believe that bacon is ok to eat ... then perhaps they might want to consider Acts 10:28 about not calling other people unclean:

Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Funnily enough, many Christians will justify eating bacon because the bible tells them its ok, yet they will complain about eating halal because it's not. There rationale? Acts 15:29 which states ' ... abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, from sexual immorality'. Is Allah an idol? Well ... that could be a long stretch, considering the word 'Allah' is the Arabic word for 'God', and the God worshipped by Muslims is the God of the Jews and of Christians. Hardly an idol. Additionally, putting some context around this scripture, it goes on to advise abstaining from blood. This could be taken to mean abstaining from all meat ... or it could mean to abstain from drinking blood ... you know, as Christians do in communion. Of course, it isn't warning against communion, but other religions did drink blood as a sacrifice to idols. Islam does no such thing.

Christians aren't just attacking Muslims by waging war with pork, but are also attacking halal certification. Halal means permissible. For cattle, this means killing the animal in a certain way while praying over them. Pigs are not allowed to be eaten, so are considered haraam (forbidden).

Romans 14:2-3 tells Christians that they are not to attack others for their culinary choices:

For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.

1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that whatever we do has to be for God's glory ... is attacking Muslims for halal certification or by throwing bacon at them really glorifying God? In fact, 1 Corinthians 10:32 is emphatic about not causing offense to anyone:

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

So do the Christians who attack Muslims think this is some new evangelism strategy? Or do they just not care what the bible is telling them to do? Do they not care about the greatest commandment that Jesus gave them (love your neighbour as yourself).

In the New Testament the disciples traveled around the Middle East and Europe, meeting people from other religions. One of the issues they faced was food sacrificed to idols. 1 Corinthians 10:25-26 clearly says it's ok to eat whatever is sold in the shops.

Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” 27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake.

1 Corinthians 10:27 goes on to direct us to eat whatever is served up to us:

If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake.

So why the concern about halal? Some Christians believe that Muslims worship a false god, so when meat is killed while prayers to Allah are being said, they believe that this is meat sacrificed to an idol. However, eating halal food should be of no consequence for them given the scriptures about everything being pure and clean.

Titus 1:15-16 states that all things are pure and, just like in Mark 7:15, to not have an offensive attitude which disobeys what God has called us to do, namely to do good works: To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

Funnily enough, Christians are called to be do-gooders ... not to do evil ... not to attack others, not to spread hatred.

Some will argue that it isn't halal they are concerned about, but halal certification. They believe that halal certification adds cost to the product. Considering it costs around $1,000 per annum, it would add very little cost to a product. Many others believe that money from halal certification is used to fund terrorism. On 24 November 2014, political journalist, Malcolm Farr appearing on ABC's Insiders program said: 'to those pig-ignorant droogs who shut down a South Australian business because it had halal certified yoghurt selling to Emirates. What stupid, stupid people! If they really think that this money goes to terrorists, they should stop buying petrol'

Ephesians 2:10 - For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Waging a pork war against Muslims is not a demonstration of Christ's workmanship or the good works he created us for.

It is a pathetic demonstration of racism, xenophobia and hatred. It is anything but showing Christ's love for others. If Christians are so concerned about Muslims forcing their ways onto us, then surely the anti-halal and anti-burqa campaigns are forcing the ways of bigots onto others.

What are these people trying to achieve? Do they honestly think that Muslims will put down their Korans because someone throws a pork sandwich at them? These vile and violent actions will only feed hatred and hostility, and possibly fuel reprisal actions. Such vulgar campaigns only serve to create more problems than they solve.

It should be pointed out that not all Christians believe in attacking Muslims. But for those who do, this disobedience of the bible is more of a threat to Christians than worrying about whether or not a packet of M&M's is halal certified, particularly considering that pastors and other influential people are pushing these bigoted views from their pulpits and Twitter accounts encouraging people to tell lies rather than truth, to have fear rather than faith, to hate rather than love.

Before attacking the speck in your brother's eyes, remove the plank in your own.

Other articles

This is one of a number of articles in the 'Remove the plank' series, regarding the hypocrisy of criticising or attacking Islam. Other articles include:

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Truth and lies - Taqiyya in Islam and Christianity

This article is a continuation of the theme regarding how hypocritical it is to criticise Islam, particularly when the criticism comes from Christians. People should remove the plank in their own eye before looking at the speck in someone else's eye.

This article addresses the attacks on Islam regarding lying. Funnily enough, a number of the critics that accuse Islam of promoting deceitfulness are actually lying about it by not correctly explaining the conditions under which lying is considered acceptable.

Islam does have a rule, called taqiyya, which allows hiding one's Islamic faith if it means saving one's life. It appears in Sura 16, verse 106 and says:

Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief... except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith. But those who [willingly] open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is wrath from Allah, and for them is a great punishment.

Taqiyya essentially means disimulation or feigning.

There is also the concept of kitman, which is lying by omission.

One could go into an entire expository just on taqiyya and kitman, but in essence, lying is only permitted in the following circumstances:
  • within marriage to keep the peace 
  • between tribes/nations to keep the peace 
  • to save one's life, so for instance saying they are not a believer - however, their heart has to still be towards Allah
In each occasion, it is in relation to keeping peace or saving lives. Not all Muslims agree with this and believe that those who use taqiyya are afraid of man when they should be afraid of Allah.

Taqiyya is not mandatory. It is not a requirement that needs to be fulfilled. In fact, the Koran condemns lying. For instance:

Sura 2:42 - And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it] Sura 78:35 - No ill speech will they hear therein (in heaven) or any falsehood

Sura 39:3 - Unquestionably, for Allah is the pure religion. And those who take protectors besides Him [say], "We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position." Indeed, Allah will judge between them concerning that over which they differ. Indeed, Allah does not guide he who is a liar and [confirmed] disbeliever.

However, let's look at whether Christians who accuse Muslims of lying may in fact need to look a little closer afield, say at their own bible.

Firstly, there are numerous scriptures in the bible that demand truth, such as:

Proverbs 12:17 - He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit.

Proberbs 12:19-20 - The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy

Proverbs 12:22 - Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.

In Proverbs 6:16 - 19 -  a lying tongue is one of the seven things listed as an abomination to God, as is bearing false witness and sowing discord amongst the brethren.

Yet, the bible contains a number of instances of where lying not only happened, but the liars were blessed by God.

In John 7:8-10, Jesus appears to lie by telling his disciples that he is not going to a feast. Once they leave, he does go to the feast in disguise. There are numerous Christian apologists who will explain this, but I'm not going to expound on context or justification because many of the people who accuse Islam of promoting lying do not give Muslims the opportunity to expound, explain or justify.

Numbers 23:19 states 'God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?'. Some versions translate 'repent' as 'change His mind', so why would Jesus (God incarnate) have said one thing to his disciples and done another?

Peter, the disciple upon whom the church is built, lied about knowing Christ in order to save his own life. In Islam this would be called taqiyya. In Mark 14:66-72, Peter denies knowing Christ three times to avoid being arrested and crucified. In verse 71 he even swears: 'Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this man of whom you speak" '. The story is recounted in the other gospels as well: Luke 22:54-62, Matthew 26:69-75 and John 18:15-18.

Although the bible is emphatic on the fate that awaits liars, Peter was the rock on which the church was built. In fact, not just the rock but he would also be given the keys to heaven. In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus says to Peter: 'And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed[d] in heaven'. Things may have turned out differently if Peter hadn't lied, yet God still saw fit to build His church on a man whose survival is directly related to lying about his relationship with Jesus.

Even Abraham, (the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam), lied to save his life and his wife in Genesis 12:11-13 in which he asked his wife Sarah to tell Pharaoh that she was his sister, not his wife. God plagued Pharaoh for taking a married woman, not Abraham for lying about it. In verse 18, Pharaoh says to Abraham, 'why did you not tell me that she was your wife?'

Abraham did exactly the same thing later on in Genesis 20 in which he told King Abimelech that Sarah was his sister. Abimelech learns that she is actually married to Abraham, at which point, Abraham reveals that he is telling half the truth because Sarah is his half-sister (the daughter of his father, but with a different mother). Again, he told the lie to save his own life (verse 11 - Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife.

Abraham's son, Isaac did exactly the same thing to King Abimelech that Abraham had done. Like father, like son. In Genesis 26:6-7 - So Isaac dwelt in Gerar. And the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, “She is my sister”; for he was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” because he thought, “lest the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to behold.”. 

Liars both, yet God blessed Abraham and Isaac.

How does Abraham and Isaac lying to save their own lives on multiple occasions, differ to taqiyya?

Isaac is later deceived by his wife Rebekah and his second son, Jacob.

In Genesis 27, Isaac is on his deathbed and asks his first son Esau to hunt some game for him and prepare savoury food from it. After this, Isaac was going to bless Esau with his inheritance as the first-born. Isaac had poor eye-sight, so Rebekah encouraged Jacob to deceive his father in order to receive the blessing that was about to be imparted on Esau. Jacob was concerned that if Abraham realised this, he would be cursed for the hoax. Rebekah then tells him to dress up as Esau. Jacob even lied about how God had helped him hunt the game so quickly (verse 20: But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” And he (Jacob) said, “Because the Lord your God brought it to me.”)

Isaac smelled a rat and asked Jacob a number of times if he was really Esau. He even felt him, but Jacob had used the skin of a goat to mimic Esau's hirsuteness. Isaac then blessed him and Esau lost his inheritance. Jacob went on to become a key figure in the bible. Esau not so much.

Isaac deceived Abraham into his inheritance.

In Joshua 2:3-6, Rahab the prostitute hides two spies from the King of Jericho. When he asks her about the location of the spies she lies: 'So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.” Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” 6 (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)'

Some have likened Rahab's actions to those of people in World War 2 who lied to the Nazis in order to hide Jews from their genocidal actions. Again, how is this different to taqiyya? It is lying to save lives. Would Christians lie if Nazis came to the house looking for an innocent person to kill?

The apostle Paul claims that he became 'all things to all men'. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 - 'For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.  Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.'

Some Christians accuse Muslims of using taqiyya in order to win converts to Islam. Yet how are Paul's actions any different? Paul may not directly lie, but he takes on the persona of the people that he is with in order to win converts to Christ.

Not everyone gets away with lying in the bible. Ananias and Sapphira for example, lied about proceeds that they should have given to the Apostles to distribute. According to the verses in Acts 5:1-11, God struck down the couple for lying.

Both the Koran and the bible, at their core, condemn lying with the results that liars and hypocrites will face punishment.

Sura 24:7 - the curse of Allah be upon him if he should be among the liars.

Revelation 21:8 - '... all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death'.

For Islam, lying is haraam (forbidden) and is explained in detail at

To claim that Islam is a religion of lies, that it condones lying is in itself deceitful and a lie. For Christians, it is even hypocritical given the number of times that lying is at the core of critical events in the bible even though the bible also clearly states that lying is not allowed.

The church was founded on Peter, even though he lied about knowing Christ in order to save his life. Three religions are founded on Abraham who lied twice about his relationship with his wife in order to save his life.

Even today, many Christians believe in a lie that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions. The lie: Zionism. Zionism was founded on the lie of 'land without a people for people without a land'. Apart from the fact that millions have lived in Palestine for thousands of years so it was not a 'land without people'. Apart from the fact that the Europeans who stole the land had countries of their own that they already lived in (namely various European nations), so they were not a 'people without a land'. Zionist Christians idolise, almost worship, Israel. Zionism is a sub-cult of Christianity and it is a lie. Why would God send Jesus to save the Jews, crucify him, resurrect him ... if He is then going to re-establish a Christ-less Israel? Jesus was the fulfilment of prophecy, not 20th century Israel. But why let truth get in the way of imperialism.

As has been stated in our other studies, Christians, of all people, should not be criticising Islam. Some Christians will be offended by the contents of this article, yet will have no qualms about offending Muslims by accusing Islam and the Koran of condoning lying. This is hypocritical.

Instead of criticising Islam, Christians should take the plank out their own eye. Do as Jesus commanded: love your neighbour!


Other articles

This is one of a number of articles in the 'Remove the plank' series, regarding the hypocrisy of criticising Islam. Other articles include: