The Mecca Mystery: Probing the Black Hole at the Heart of Muslim History by Peter Townsend

mkrnhr

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Both Spencer and Townsend are biased in their thinking and it shows in their writing. One has to filter out the data from opinion or a historical criticism of the origins of islam becomes a systematic hate for muslims.
One funny thing I noticed in Spencer's book is that he emphasises the "Christianisms" influences on early Islam and almost downplays the influences of "Judaisms" influences. For instance, he notes several times that early Omayad coins have crosses (also the famous inscription dedicated to Muawiyah) but doesn't talk at all about the Omayad coins having Jewish symbols like the menorah and the stone tumulus. I wonder why.

Edit: Silly typo + the inscription to Muawiyah:
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Joe

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What I think we need to keep in mind about books that attempt to explain the "rise of radical Islam" over the last few decades is that the authors' reason for writing them cannot be disconnected from global events of the last 25 or so years. To understand a recently arisen political/religious phenomena, you would think it natural to look at the previous era - in this case, the period from the start of the 20th century to the 1980s - to understand what was happening directly preceding the appearance of the phenomena and perhaps understand the conditions that helped to give rise to it. Yet authors of these books don't do that, instead, they jump back 1,400 years to see what was happening with Muhammad and then 'extrapolate' forward the 1400 years since then. That doesn't seem like a reasonable or objective approach and to me suggests an agenda.

"Radical Islam" today is not fundamentally a religious phenomenon, it is a POLITICAL one. Religion is just the gloss that lends legitimacy an acts as an attractor to suck people in. There is not ONE major event in the 'calendar' of radical Islam over the past 40 years that does not have the fingerprints of "Western values" all over it. Explain radical Islam to me in that context first, strip it away, and then talk about Islam and Muslims today. The problem is you can't do that in any realistic way because many Muslims and their thinking today are a product of that era and you simply can't dissociate the two. But you can do it theoretically, and when you do, you realize that there probably wouldn't be much that is interesting (or certainly inflammatory) to say. And you would be unlikely to sell many books on the topic.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an apologist for Islam or Muslims, I'm just not inclined to take the bait that is being offered where I should 'pick a side'. I'm all for exposing the truth (or lack of it) as regards major religions, but I draw the line at lending my support (in whatever way) to what looks like a clear 'divide and conquer' agenda. The "problem" in the world today (and perhaps always) is psychopaths in positions of power who instinctively know that setting normal humans at each others' throats is the best way to ensure they do not identify the real source of the problem, and direct their energies towards dealing with it.
 

SlipNet

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I'm probably naive, but there's never been a better time to wriggle free from monotheistic shackles and pursue truth in all its forms. The predations connected to ideological possession are becoming more and more apparent, and that includes religion. Whether Mohammed was a real person or not will be sorted out eventually, but I think he was a classic creation. Every new movement needs its avatar, after all.
 

seek10

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Ok so I've read the above-mentioned book.
The problems with this approach of finding evidence in scripture from way back then to make the case that the terrorism/mass migration that's going on now is 'natural' to Muslims are obviously - to us anyway - manifold. The core premise these critics of Islam seem to be promoting is that 'Islam is, was and ever shall be evil, period'. But this leaves out mountains of evidence that positive things came out of 'Islamic culture' during the intervening millennium.

Townsend has a chapter dedicated to answering the gamut of criticisms he and other 'Islamophobes' receive. I was particularly interested in reading what he had to say to those who point out that none of us would even be discussing the evils of Islam if GWOT and the ME wars hadn't happened.
Townsend seems to be not happy with so-called "special" treatment media gives to Islam. This is not correct given that "Islamophobia" media promoted since 911.

But what if the events that demand our respect never happened? What if, to take but one example, pilgrimage to Mecca is not an ancient rite, but something that was invented long after the death of Muhammad to strengthen the political position of Arab leaders of a later generation? If this is the case, then all the week-long ‘Hajj Special Reports’ produced by Muslim employees of Western media outlets (non-Muslims are not allowed to enter Mecca) are more than a little redundant. Perhaps the time has come for the kind of searching questioning of supposed certainties that Christians, Jews and Hindus have long been accustomed to. When it comes to these faiths, new documentary discoveries and even wildly speculative hypotheses are boldly proclaimed as earth shattering and ground breaking in the print and broadcast media (think for example of the amount of positive attention the revisionist ‘Jesus Seminar’ enjoyed in the media).
I find it interesting he mentioned about " Charlee Hebdo" incident as Muslim act. If he use similar approaches for modern day terrorist attacks ( lone gun man, mental conditions that make them ineffective to create disproportional damage, post attack Orwellian laws, inability to prevent or catch them despite sophisticated monitoring available etc.) he must be asking "who benefits from all these and are they even capable of doing this". If he goes with this logic, he has to come to conclusion that Western intelligence agencies are behind it. Most of these terrorist attacks originated due to cold war empires' battle in Afghanistan in 80's when Western agencies used Muslim countries for creating "militant supply chain". But, saying Western intelligence involvement magically becomes "conspiracy". I guess, that's why he can't go there.
 

genero81

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Don't get me wrong, I'm not an apologist for Islam or Muslims, I'm just not inclined to take the bait that is being offered where I should 'pick a side'. I'm all for exposing the truth (or lack of it) as regards major religions, but I draw the line at lending my support (in whatever way) to what looks like a clear 'divide and conquer' agenda. The "problem" in the world today (and perhaps always) is psychopaths in positions of power who instinctively know that setting normal humans at each others' throats is the best way to ensure they do not identify the real source of the problem, and direct their energies towards dealing with it.
Yes exactly. The true puppet masters, at third level anyway. The little people are emotionally hooked into one cause or another certain that is where the problem lies. Forever ignorant and easily swayed. If we could ever get enough people to understand that... who knows what that might lead to.
 

Laura

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And one of the problems is the fact that Islam, from the very beginning, was political propaganda and this makes it oh so easy to utilize as a weapon. Back in those days, you really couldn't separate politics from religion because all political acts were inspired by "the god". In a funny way, it may almost be true if you consider 4D archetypes. The earliest form of Christianity was also political as exemplified in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Judaism was political and was imposed on Jews during Maccabean times with the retrojected myths to justify taking over the land and forcibly converting everyone.

Paul's Christianity was something altogether different but it could not avoid being tarred with the political brush in some respects. One wonders what it was like before the Empire's editors went to work on the texts; well, you can get some ideas about this from text criticism, but so much was lost or destroyed.

What is disturbing is that Islam appears to have been exempted from scholarly studies for the most part, for a very long time, and that business about Charlie Hebdo was bizarre. People have been drawing cartoons about Judaism and Christianity for a long time, but one can't draw cartoons about Muhammad? Of course, one wonders about it being a false flag to make Muslims look bad, but on the other side, it's politically incorrect to blame Muslims for anything these days. You know, Islamic Extremists were supposed to have done 911, but let's invite them all in and elect them to Congress. It's all very confusing. And certainly intended to be confusing.

In any event, Spencer is a trained scholar and the work he did in his book "Did Muhammad Exist" was good even if there was a bias against going deeply into Judaism's influence on Islam. Townsend corrects that to some extent. And Spencer does provide the translated texts in longer versions.

Kevin MacDonald began his three volume study of Judiasm with no bias and at the end of it, was pretty anti-Judism. I'm not sure that it is really correct to say that being anti-Judism is anti-Semitic. Douglas Reed collected the data and did some studies and ended up anti-Judaism also. It's possible that Spencer and Townsend began their studies of Islam in the same way and came out the other side anti-Islam and that pushed them into the Zionist camp. Zionism is purely and simply another example of using religious myths for political reasons. Most Zionists don't give a hoot about religion for themselves, but they shamelessly use it to manipulate their followers. What is odd about that is that some of the most religious Jews are anti-Zionist too.

But, having said all that, there is something very disturbing about Islam at its core and the fact that it is still used within Muslim countries as "the law". (Stoning, head chopping, hand chopping, multiple wives, instant divorce, treatment of women, etc.) That those things still exist as laws of a country, just boggles the mind. And that the entire international community doesn't reject this behavior is also mind-boggling. But then, Israel is a fully apartheid state too. I won't even start on what is obviously askew in the US and Europe.

And one question that keeps bugging me is this: Jews are supposed to control the US media, right? So why is the US media so anti-Trump if Trump is such a good "friend of Israel"? Jews are supposed to control Hollywood; why is Hollywood so anti-Trump? None of it makes any sense at all.
 

luc

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I haven't read the book(s) yet, but it seems this is a hopelessly complicated issue. To make it worse, I'd like to throw the following into the mix:

I don't like the tendency of the left to blame everything that is wrong with Islam and Muslim culture on the West. Yes, this is true insofar as some of these problems aren't really problems of Islam/Muslim culture such as false-flag terror attacks organized by the West itself. But other than that, this whole "the West created those problems in the first place" seems at least very one-sided.

The tendency of the left has always been to blame collectives for the shortcomings of individuals, which I think is a direct result of materialist, atheist and collectivist thinking. See Bertold Brecht's famous dictum "food first, morals second". We see the same thing playing out when the left blames crime on poverty, pedophilia on childhood trauma and bad circumstances on oppression. But we know this isn't true, and that you can be virtuous or vile no matter the circumstances. It's an individual choice that is related to your religious outlook in the broadest sense of the term.

So if you look at Muslim culture, beliefs and behavior and you want to blame the West for those, you run into the same problems the leftists run into with their identity politics. How far do you want to go back? Would it be different had America not invaded Iraq? If it hadn't supported Saddam, or the Mujaheddin? If the Brits hadn't created all those nations in the Middle East? If the Crusades hadn't happened? Does any of this justify the more outrageous Sharia practices? Is the West responsible for the moral shortcomings of Saudi citizens? Or of any Muslim individual who's a religious zealot? What level of suffering by the individual justifies moral shortcomings, if any?

It seems to me that when judging Islam as a religion, it might be a matter of figuring out to what degree there is fodder for ideological possession and pathological corruption in there, and to what degree there is a philosophy of strengthening of the individual moral resilience.

I still can't make much sense though of the "it's forbidden to criticize Islam" doctrine that we see in the West; and the strange parallel ban on criticizing Zionism. It seems clear though that there is some major and clever messing with our minds going on.
 

goyacobol

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I have not read the book yet but have enjoyed the reviews. I have noticed that reincarnation is a missing part of Islam as well as a weak link in Christianity.

Here is a description I have found about reincarnation in Islam:

Ruling on belief in reincarnation
Praise be to Allaah.
What is meant by reincarnation or the transmigration of souls is that when the body dies, the soul moves to another body, where it will be happy or miserable as the result of its previous actions, and thus it moves from one body to another. This is one of the falsest of false beliefs, and one of the worst forms of kufr or disbelief in Allaah, His Books and His Messengers. For belief in the Hereafter, the Reckoning, Paradise and Hell are among the things that are well-known in the teachings of the Messengers and in the words of the Books which were revealed to them. Belief in reincarnation is tantamount to disbelief in all of that.

The Islamic understanding of the Resurrection is stated clearly in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). For example, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning]:

“Everyone shall taste death. Then unto Us you shall be returned”

[al-‘Ankaboot 29:57]

“To Him is the return of all of you. The Promise of Allaah is true. It is He Who begins the creation and then will repeat it, that He may reward with justice those who believed and did deeds of righteousness. But those who disbelieved will have a drink of boiling fluids and painful torment because they used to disbelieve”

[Yoonus 10:4]

“The Day We shall gather the Muttaqoon (the pious) unto the Most Gracious (Allaah), like a delegation (presented before a king for honour).

And We shall drive the Mujrimoon (polytheists, sinners, criminals, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah) to Hell, in a thirsty state (like a thirsty herd driven down to water)” [Maryam 19:85-86]

“Verily, He knows each one of them, and has counted them a full counting.

And everyone of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection (without any helper, or protector or defender)”

[Maryam 19:94-95]

“Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). Surely, He will gather you together on the Day of Resurrection about which there is no doubt” [al-Nisa’ 4:87]

“The disbelievers pretend that they will never be resurrected (for the Account). Say (O Muhammad): Yes! By my Lord, you will certainly be resurrected, then you will be informed of (and recompensed for) what you did; and that is easy for Allaah”

[al-Taghaabun 64:7]

And there are other clear and unambiguous verses.

There are innumerable references in the Sunnah which mention and confirm the Resurrection, and give details concerning it. For example, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “You will be resurrected barefoot, naked and uncircumcised.” Then he recited (interpretation of the meaning): “As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it. (It is) a promise binding upon Us. Truly, We shall do it” [al-Anbiya’ 21:104]. (Then he said:) “And the first one to be clothed on the Day of Resurrection will be Ibraaheem…” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3100; Muslim, 5104).

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “In man there is a bone which will not be consumed by the earth, and from it he will be regenerated on the Day of Resurrection.” They asked, “What bone is that, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “The tailbone.” (Narrated by Muslim, 5255).
I mention this because I think that the idea of one shot at eternity is a very frightful concept that lends itself to control and domination.

Personally, there was little to glean from the Christian bible about reincarnation for me except for the reference about the man who was born blind:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+9&version=KJV said:
John 9 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
It made think how could he be born blind for his sins if he did not have a previous life? Jesus did not say there is no such thing as reincarnation. At the minimum at least there were people who did have reincarnation on their mind to ask that question. Most Christian scholars probably will refute the reincarnation idea I think.

The Cs have said there was no accurate depiction of Jesus in the bible although there was a composite story put together which largely depicted Caesar's life and an unknown teacher who still answers prayers to Jesus in a kind of suspended state of timelessness.

Anyway, it was a question that made me question the truth or validity of the bible. For many Hindus the caste system has probably not made reincarnation such a fair concept. Even the concept of reincarnation has been abused and misused to the extent we all have to question our programming no matter what religion we are born into so to speak it would seem.

I am not so sure about anything either but the Cs do mention karma and reincarnation. After all how do we explain reincarnation and karma when there is no "time". A bit tricky I think. But I think the concept of karma and reincarnation is a more reasonable/fair concept for now.

It is interesting that some kabbalists seem to accept the concept of reincarnation.

The Mystics Were Believers
Three Kinds of Reincarnation
In the kabbalistic literature three types of reincarnation are mentioned:

1. gilgul, transmigration proper, in which a soul that had previously inhabited one body is sent back to earth to inhabit another body.

2. ibbur, “impregnation,” in which a soul descends from heaven in order to assist another soul in the body.

3. dybbuk, a generally late concept, in which a guilt‑laden soul pursued by devils enters a human body in order to find rest and has to be exorcised.

The philosophical difficulty in the whole doctrine of reincarnation lies in the problem of what possible meaning can be given to the identity of the soul that has been reincarnated, since the experiences of the body determine the character of the soul. How can the soul that has been in two or more bodies be the “same” soul?

[Gershom] Scholem has suggested that it was this difficulty which led the Zohar to postulate the existence of the tzelem (“image”), a kind of “astral body” which does not migrate from body to body and which therefore preserves individual identity. We are here in the realm of the occult, as, indeed, we are in the whole area of reincarnation.

Some modern Jews are attracted to the occult and believe in reincarnation. Otherwise the doctrine has had its day, and is believed in by very few modern Jews, although hardly any Orthodox Jew today will positively denounce the doctrine. This doctrine of reincarnation shows how precarious it is to attempt to see Judaism in monolithic terms. Here is a doctrine rejected as a foreign importation by a notable thinker such as Saadiah, and upon which other thinkers, including Maimonides, are silent, and yet, for the kabbalists, it is revealed truth.
 

genero81

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Paul's Christianity was something altogether different but it could not avoid being tarred with the political brush in some respects. One wonders what it was like before the Empire's editors went to work on the texts; well, you can get some ideas about this from text criticism, but so much was lost or destroyed.
Thank God for the occasional friend of humanity, though few and far between they are.
 

Joe

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I think that one of the the things that bothers the critics of Islam is that not enough people see the problem with the ideology. And that is a problem - just as many people aren't aware of the problems with communism. But the deeper problem is the pathology behind the ideology. Without seeing that, it's too easy to fall back into a conflict of identity groups, which is exactly what Islamists do.
Sure, there is pathology in Islam, but it can be said that there is pathology in the old testament too. But then again, you don't see too many fundie Christians chopping off heads and abusing women etc. (well, not much anyway). So isn't the real problem the people who adopt and interpret literally the pathological aspects of Islam? That is to say, isn't the problem the Muslims themselves, or at least those that adhere to a more extreme version of the Koran?

In that case, isn't the obvious solution to either change the way the Koran is taught (to all 1.2 billion Muslims just to be sure), or just remove from the gene pool those in whom the extremist teaching finds fertile ground (there might be some collateral damage on that one) ?

Either way, I think we need to be at war with Islam to one extent or another. That might sound a bit scary in France, with 15% of the population Muslim, and other EU countries with a relatively high % of Muslims. And sure, there'll be a bit of a mess as the civil war breaks out, and sure, everyone will suffer to some extent, but it'll be better in the end when we can all march forth into the glory of a new society cleansed of the scourge of Islam. Things will be so much better, because at least the psychopaths in power won't have anything to use to divide us, right?

:umm:
 
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Joe

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I still can't make much sense though of the "it's forbidden to criticize Islam" doctrine that we see in the West; and the strange parallel ban on criticizing Zionism. It seems clear though that there is some major and clever messing with our minds going on.
No doubt. I've said this many times before (in different places) but consider the fact that for the past 17 years, Western peoples have been bombarded with pretty shocking evidence that Muslims are a bit terroristy, headchoppy, intolerant and may have an inclination to force all of the West to convert or die. On the heels of that information blitz, Western people are currently being asked if they will accept large numbers of Muslim 'refugees' - who may or may not be of the head-choppy persuasion - into their towns and cities. Some poopoo the 'negative stereotyping' and want to accept the Muslim 'refugees' with open arms, others (perhaps a majority) are a bit leery of the idea for obvious reasons, and when they make their stance clear, that latter demographic are called Islamophobes, nazis, racists, fascists etc.

What part of any of that is NOT a set up?
 

loreta

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What is surrealistic is that during 17 years Occident bombarded and destroyed Muslims cities and countries, and thanks to their "terrorists" made us feel afraid of Islam, etc. And now oh, don't say a word against them! don't even think that they can be bad or mean. Welcome! It is always a contradiction to make people lost, insecure, not knowing the reality, not knowing exactly what is the right thing to think. They play with the mind of the people because they see us as rats. In the past till very near Muslims were the bad guys, now they are the good guys. Like in the movies, bad cop, good cop. To confuse. To make us tremble with confusion. But them, them they have fun.
 

Joe

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Either way, I think we need to be at war with Islam to one extent or another. That might sound a bit scary in France, with 15% of the population Muslim, and other EU countries with a relatively high % of Muslims. And sure, there'll be a bit of a mess as the civil war breaks out, and sure, everyone will suffer to some extent, but it'll be better in the end when we can all march forth into the glory of a new society cleansed of the scourge of Islam. Things will be so much better, because at least the psychopaths in power won't have anything to use to divide us, right?

At least someone agrees with me!

Pro-Brexit activist said all Muslims should be removed from UK
 

Approaching Infinity

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Sure, there is pathology in Islam, but it can be said that there is pathology in the old testament too. But then again, you don't see too many fundie Christians chopping off heads and abusing women etc. (well, not much anyway). So isn't the real problem the people who adopt and interpret literally the pathological aspects of Islam? That is to say, isn't the problem the Muslims themselves, or at least those that adhere to a more extreme version of the Koran?
Don't know for sure, but it seems to be a wider cultural thing going on there. Jewish and Christian cultures haven't practiced biblical forms of justice for millennia (though Christians have definitely come up their own versions at one time or another!). And there are probably many Jews (and Christians too) who would have no problem returning to the old ways given the opportunity, but the cultural environment isn't right for that. Contrast that to Saudi Arabia, where those forms of justice have a long history.

One of the points Lobaczewski makes about religion is that texts and traditions can contain pathological material kind of like a dormant virus. It's there waiting to be exploited given the right conditions. It seems to me there's just more fertile ground in the Middle East, given historical trends and the 'totalizing' nature of Islam.

In that case, isn't the obvious solution to either change the way the Koran is taught (to all 1.2 billion Muslims just to be sure), or just remove from the gene pool those in whom the extremist teaching finds fertile ground (there might be some collateral damage on that one) ?
Probably the former is the best option! But Muslim reformers are fighting a losing battle at the moment. Luckily there are some. For example, I just listened to Dave Rubin's interview with "The Imam of Peace". It's worth watching or listening to. I wish they'd gone more in depth, but Tawhidi points out some of the problems facing the Muslim community. The thing is, if there were more people like this guy, there would be no 'hook' for the neocon crazies' agenda, IMO.

 
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