Middle ground

Islam, like any other religions, is not inherently violent, Aslan asserts


Middle ground
by varjavand

How to Win a Cosmic War
God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror

by Reza Aslan


How to Win a Cosmic War is Dr. Reza Aslan’s newly released book after the successful publication of his first. In this book, he offers a detailed examination of Jehadisim and Islamism as two widespread Islamic movements with different ideologies and agendas. Although religious fanaticism has been blamed by the majority of observers for the violence and the deadly attacks against the U.S. and other Western countries, Dr. Aslan tries to defend religion as a decisive force that, if utilized prudently, can play a constructive role in mobilizing the masses toward a peaceful emancipative cause. No religion, including the religion of Islam, promotes violence and sanctions unjustified attacks against innocent people, “… no religion is inherently violent or peaceful; people are violent or peaceful” the author says. Throughout the book, Reza explains how both the ill-conceived doctrine of the Bush administration and the misguided beliefs of the organized Jihadist groups like Al-Qaeda have changed the nature of the war on terrorism and transformed it into a cosmic war, a divine struggle with an important mission that is neither political nor economic; it is rather the fulfillment of a much bigger spiritual cause. “Once cast as a cosmic war, a conflict conveys a sense of importance and destiny to those who find the modern world to be stifling, chaotic and dangerously out of control” one researcher says. A war that cannot be won through military might should have not been waged to begin with. According to Dr. Aslan, the best way to win a cosmic fight is to “refuse to fight in it.”

Throughout his book, the author keeps reminding us of the unavoidability of religious movements, especially in many Muslim countries, as a legitimate development that, if given the opportunity, may evolve into a democratic and responsible political force or governing body as we have seen in Turkey. The greatest threat to world peace, he believes, does not come from Islamic movements but from “religious trans-nationalist movements” best typified by the nascent borderless movement branded in the Unite States as Jihadism.

In his book, the author carefully examines the historical roots of the religious movements in different Muslim countries, especially in Egypt, and the events that have led to the rise and the demise of many such movements. His meticulous research on the theoretical foundation of such movements is indeed scholarly, revealing, and enlightening. In particular, he tries to explain why the two Islamic movements, Islamism and Jihadism, once close cousins, have split into two separate, opposing, or even hostile, movements with different worldviews. He writes that today “Islamism remains a nationalist ideology, whereas, most Jihadists want to erase all borders” and become global. In a nutshell, Islamism, like Harakat al-Muqāwamat al-Islāmiyyah, Hamas in Gaza is a national movement that draws its strength from the suffering of Moslem Palestinians and their unbearable living conditions under the Israeli occupation. In other words, the plight of Palestinian people has become a bonding factor, a drive to the creation of Hamas and similarly the Hezbollah. Jihadist, on the other hand, is a global movement that does not recognize any boundaries. It “seeks a deterritorialized Islam” according to the author, thus launching a cosmic war which “… in its simplest expression refers to the belief that God is actively engaged in human conflicts on behalf of one side against the other.” And, it is because of this divine involvement that ultimate victory is presumably guaranteed for the Jihadists.

The treatment of Muslims by the Bush administration, the war with Iraq and Afghanistan, and the doctrine of preemptive strike against Islamic countries have given the Jihadists the necessary grounds to represent themselves as the sole defender of the faith against the forces of those who contemplate the obliteration of Islam, the Crusaders in particular, thus justifying their destructive campaign against the U.S. and its allies. “There is no doubt that the policies of the Bush administration have only strengthened Jihadism and increased its appeal, particularly among Muslim youth.” However, the author expects that with a new administration in power and our new president “who finally understands that the only way to win a cosmic war is to refuse to fight in one” there is a hope that “the ideological conflicts against militant forces in the Muslim world” will be reformulated “not as a cosmic war between good and evil but as an earthy contest between the advocates of freedom and the agents of oppression.”

In so far as the war on terrorism is fought as a cosmic war, it cannot be won through conventional warfare because there are no specific enemies with a clear agenda, no one knows what the Jihadists want and what they ultimately try to achieve. “There is no central front to the war on terror because their (Jihadists’) identity cannot be centered on any territorial boundaries” and “indeed, it is their utter lack of interest in achieving any kind of earthy victory that makes them such a distinct and appealing force in the Muslim world.” Furthermore, Jihadism is a social movement as the author emphasizes repeatedly. “Yet whatever military success the United States and its allies have had in disturbing al-Qaida’s operations and destroying its cells have been hampered by their utter failure to confront the Global Jihadism as a social movement.” Accordingly, success in the war on terrorism “requires a deeper understanding of social, political, and economic forces that have made Global Jihadism such an appealing phenomenon, particularly to Muslim Youth.” “It is a battle that will be waged not against men with guns but against boys with computers, a battle that can be won not with bullets and bombs but with words and ideas.”

Dr. Aslan’s rigorous examination of the key factors that transform young men into zealous Muslims willing to sacrifice their lives, determined to challenge the existing world order, and serving as the conduit for horrific attacks against innocent human beings helps us to better understand Jihadism and why it should be considered a social movement. The author argues that it is the demonization of Muslims in many Western countries like the UK that changed otherwise peaceful Muslims like Hasib Mir Hussain - one of the four terrorists who carried out a suicide attack by detonating a bomb on a bus that exploded in Tavistock Square in London killing 13 including himself - into violent Jihadists. “It may have been anger and humiliation and a deep-seated feeling of inequality that led Hussain to Global Jihadism” he declares.

Pivotal to the central theme of his book is the argument that “in this new, emerging century, as the boundaries between religion and politics are, in part of the world, becoming increasingly blurred, we can no longer afford to view the religious movements as inherently different from any other groups of individuals who have linked their individual identities together with the purpose of challenging the society.” He continues to say: “The truth is that religion has certain qualities that make it a particularly useful tool for promoting social movement activism.” Religion can provide unity among people who belong to different ethnicities, cultures, languages, etc. “most significantly, religion’s ability to sanction violence, to declare it permissible and just to place it within the cosmic framework of order versus chaos, good versus evil, is indispensable to the success of social movement.”

He seems to suggest that while the fear of Jihadism is warranted, the fear of Islamism is overblown. Islam, like any other religions, is not inherently violent. It is the humiliation and the hectoring of young Muslims that adds fuel to the fire of violence and not the teachings of Islam per se. Thus, terrorism is a symptom of much deeper problems that drive some Muslims into despair and anger and into taking revenge out of desperation. We want to make sure the sources of terrorism do not remain undetected or untreated. Imposition and the use of force make Jihadists resentful, defensive, and more determined.

In the final Chapter of his book, Reza Aslan presents his “Middle Ground” viewpoint, his optimistic argument that the Islamist groups if allowed to take active part in social and political processes “albeit within certain accepted parameters” not only soften their otherwise uncompromising views but “they can evolve into responsible political actors committed to democratic ideals of human rights, women’s rights, government accountability, the rule of law, pluralism, and judicial reform.” Doing so also weakens the support for the extremists according to the author. Therefore, given the chance to choose between bad and worse, “Islamism is the preferable middle ground. It may in fact be the antidote to Jihadism.”


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more from varjavand
Amil Imani


by Amil Imani on

Before the advent of Islam, the Arabs were idol worshipers.  One of the historians by the name of Vaqqidi said that the Arabs had 360 Gods for each day of the year and the largest and the main God was called “Allah.” They were pagan, a polytheistic culture. Interestingly enough, not many Muslims want to accept that Allah was already being worshiped at the Ka’ba in Mecca by Arab pagans before Muhammad came along. So that’s where Allah comes into the picture. Eventually this idol becomes Islam’s God. When the Muslims say: Allah-o-Akbar or God is great, in reality they refer to this large statue which was worshiped by the Bedouins in the Arabian Peninsula. Islam is paganism cult wrapped in monotheistic dogma


Captain, pleeeeeeeeese...

by Ostaad on

kane and the other fellow sure don't have a clue about what Aslan is talking about. They hate elsam and mosalmaans (as we call it in Iran), so they just regurgitate some nonsense about "Islam" and then go to bed.

Since the 20s the Iranian society has being told eslam was a reactionary way of thinking and we needed to Westernize like Turkey and become like Italy or something like that. Aslan is saying eslam can be the substrate and democracy/secularism can be the overlay that completes the political system. His is a recipe an aabghousht made up of 60% eslam and 40% democracy/secularism (these are rough estimates and purely products of my own imagination).

That, in my opinion, is very doable and even desirable for Iran in order to keep its political space in the region and in the world. Iran as a society has doggedly stayed religious. This means religion is here to say whether in Iran or all over the world. There's no time better for the growth of religion than a good old depression. 



Capt Kashani!

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Kashani says: "Guys just make sure to be here Monday night and blast this un-Iranian Fascism lover in the chartroom at 6 PST."

Kashani, make sure you have Mr. Shishaki play in the ultra right team (The Fascist team consisting of pro AIPAC right wingers, etc.). He can help with "basting"!


AA, I hear you...

by Ostaad on

God should either be twitting you guys, or it's over for all of us. Anyway, will you please text us if you hear from God, ever?

Regarding the "allah-o-akbar" message, I think it's brilliant. The mollah's can't say anything about that, therefore they can't "filter" it.

Great is God.


Mission Statement of Mr. Imani's Gang

by capt_ayhab on

Excerpts from MISSION statement of Mr. Imani's KKK gang.


[Therefore, I find it both my sacred duty and inalienable right to indict Muslims as either criminals themselves or accessories to the crimes, seek justice for my people, and warn others of the dangers of Islamofascism in all its forms.]

Sounds a lot like Aryan Nations and KKK's Mission statement, just replace the word Muslims with Jews and Blacks. here is how:

Excerpts: with all due respect to Jews


[It shall only be these individuals who will be willing - and capable - to change the world in a significant way... To redress the imbalance caused by the Jew and their hubristic sycophants and restore this earth to a state of cosmic harmony.]




Amil Imani

by Anonym (not verified) on

The attacks you make on God only submerges you more into darkness. The kind you will never escape from.


Mr. Amil Imani

by capt_ayhab on

I have read many of your blog in support of your convictions which is totally your right, however,  seems like you have found new outlet to demonstrate your true hatred for 1.4 Billion Muslim around the world.

Is this how your belief teaches you the tolerance and love? By demonizing Muslim?

I do have another link for you to add to your favorite so you can have easy time finding hate filled passages about Islam, You are gonna love it ;-) Your paranoia is astonishing.




Mr. kane

by capt_ayhab on

Not that I agree with Mr. Aslan, but regards to your statement of calling Christianity religion of love and peace, can you explain few items for me?

1. Was HITLER a Muslim?

2. Was Stalin a Muslim?

3. What do your say about concept of [AN EYE FOR AN EYE] in Christianity?

4. Explain the Crusades and how Christians slaughtered 40,000 Muslim men, women and children in one night? Yet when they were defeated after few years, they[Christian] were given safe pass from Jerusalem?



P/S Islamophobia is pure RACISM, and reading is fundamental

Amil Imani

الله، در کدام سوراخ پنهان شده ای؟

Amil Imani


الله، در کدام سوراخ پنهان شده ای؟
الله، آیا تو را هم به زندان اوین برده اند؟
الله، آیا تو را هم با کابل برق و باتوم کتک زده اند؟
آلله، آیا تورا هم شکنجه داده اند و ناخهایت را همه کشیده اند؟
الله، آیا چشمانت را در آورده اند و دندانهایت را در هم شکسته اند؟
آلله، آیا به تو هم تجاوز کرده اند که از شرم و ننگ دین خود پنهان شده ای؟
الله، پس چه شد آن بهشتی که به مسلمانان خودت وعده داده ای؟
الله، آیا همه این بود و اینها همه خاسته های تو هستند؟
الله، کو آن بزرگواری و عدل و عدالت اسلامی تو؟
الله بخشنده ومهربان، اَژدهاک خونآشام کیست؟
الله، خون این همه جوانان بیگناه بر گردن چه کیست؟
الله، چه کسی یا چه کسانی باید از نفرین این جوانان بترسند؟
الله، آیا دلیری تو همه در چپاول و تازش و تجاوز و فریب و ریاست؟
الله عالم، چه کسی یا چه کسانی شرم و ننگ جنایتها را باید بر گردن بگیرند؟
الله، این همه تازی گری برای چیست که بندگانت به خود هم کوچکترین مهرورزی ندارند؟

الله لا شریک، خوب گوش کن
میخاستم بندگانت را نفرین کنم
الله، میخاستم تورا هم نفرین کنم
الله، مرا آرزویی در دل و در سر بود
الله، میخاستم آرزو کنم که آن بندگانت
همان بندگان تازی و تازی پرست تو همه
یکباره به سرنوشت این جوانها دچار شوند!

اما نه، نه، نه!
نه الله نه، نه، نه
نه، نه دیگر نیازی نمی بینم
الله، به نفرین من دیگر نیازی نیست
الله، من بیش از این خود را گناهکار نمیکنم
الله، دین من در زندگی همان ''دیین'' من است
الله من بیش از این به بندگان تو توهین نخاهم کرد
نه الله، دیگر هیچ نیازی به نفرین ها و توهین های من نیست
الله، من بیش از این خود را در برابر ''دیینی'' که به زندگی دارم گناهکار نمیکنم
الله، همیشه خاست تو این بوده تا بندگانت چشم و گوش بسته غلام و کنیز حلقه بگوش تو باشند
الله، من دیگر نفرین نمی کنم، دیگر توهین نمی کنم، من اکنون دیگر آگاه به خاست الهی تو شده ام که چیست.
الله، من دیگر در کار و خاسته های تو دست درازی نمی کنم و می گزارم بندگان تو خاستهای الهی تو را بر آورده کنند
الله، خاست تو آنچنان مقدس است که بندگان تو برای خشنودی تو از همه چیز خود میگزرند تا به تو برسند
الله، بندگان تو برای خشنودی تو دیگران و یکدیگر را قربانی می کنند تا به تو شرف یاب گردند
الله برکت بده به این شکنجه ها و اعدامهایی که تنها و تنها برای توست
الله، بپزیر این نزر ها و قربانی هایی که همه برای خاست توست
الله، بندگان تو برای خرسندی تو یکدیگر را چپاول می کنند
الله، دنیا و دین و رسول و خاندانش بر تو مبارک باد
الله، ای اکبر عالم، این تجاوزها همه در راه توست
الله، ای با عدالت، متبرک باد خون آشامی تو
الله، ای بخشنده و ای مهربان عالم ها
الله، ای بخشنده و مهربان عالم ما
الله، از پناهگاه خود بیرون بیا!
الله همه ی بندگانت تشنه ی دیدار تواند
الله بشنو که نام تو را بانگ می زنند'' اشهد ان لا اله الا الله''
الله بشنو که رسول تو را بانگ می زنند'' اشهد ان محمد رسول الله''
الله این تو بودی که راه و رسم الهی خود را به رسول گرانقدرت آموختی تا رستگار شود
الله این رسول گرانقدر تو بود که راه و رسم الهی تو را به مردمش آموخت تا رستگار شوند
الله، بندگانت ۱۴۰۰ سال است که رستگار شده اند و می خاهند رستگاری خود را هم قربانی تو کنند
الله، برکت بخش به بندگانت و بپزیر نزر و قربانی های آنان را که چشم به راه تو ایستاده اند
الله، فراخان آن موجهای ۱،۳ میلیارد بندگانت را که می خاهند تو را هم رستگار کنند
الله من دیگر از این پس سکوت می کنم و نفرین نمی کنم تا رستگار شوی
الله، ای اکبر مادام العمر، من دیگر به تو و بندگانت کفر نمیگویم
در سکوتم تا تو و بندگانت رسالت خود را به پایان برسانید
الله، الله،،،،،،،،،،،،،،،،،،،،، ،،،،،،الله اکبر


Dear Commenter;

by varjavand on

Dear Commenters:


Even though, understandably, most of your comments and bitterness are aimed at the IRI, this book is not about Iran and its Islamic government. Whereas, the name of Iran is mentioned only once in this book, there is no single reference to the IRI in the entire book. I too would like to voice my opinion about the central theme of the book, however, I will be out town all day today.

Have a safe and happy Fourth July, Reza Varjavand





by jeromeco on

Each One of us is Personally responsible for The Choices We Make / It is not Any One elses’ Responsibility but Our Own how We react to Anothers’ Perspective / To say that Bush  or Britain is Responsible for the Jihadist Choices of some Humans to take Human life is to remove from those Humans Who Chose to Kill the Total Personal Responsibility that they and those who in any way encouraged or enabled them actually had /It actually is really simple / We Each Are responsible for the state of Our Shared Planet / When We Refuse to Take Our Own Personal Responsibility to say “No!” to Any Hurtful behaviour towards Any Human Being We demonstrate what We Have Learnt /If We get serious about contributing Our own Gifts & Commitment to Appropriate Love & Compassion to Each Human Being with Whom We Are Faced With then We Will have to choose to move out of Our comfort zone & be prepared to stand nakedly in front of all those other perspectives whose  paucity of compassion, wisdom & understanding are staring at us on every street corner and tv screen where We See Violence Happening Today


Amil Imani

"I did it for Islam but it wasn't easy to kill people."

by Amil Imani on

July 3, 2009 "I did it for Islam but it wasn't easy to kill people. We have to remember who they are though - they're deceitful people who are against the Islamic Revolution."

A member of Iran's Basij militia feels a rumble of conscience and tries to rationalize it away. "Basij militiaman: 'I hoped it would never come to shooting them'," from France 24, July 3:

The Basij militia has been blamed for extreme brutality in the violent aftermath of the contested June 12 election in Iran. A Basij commander, who volunteers for one of the Tehran branch of the militia, describes his account of one the bloodiest clashes, on June 20.

Iran's Basij militia is a pro-government volunteer force which comes to the aid of the regime when unrest hits the streets. It was established by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 during the Iran-Iraq war. During the last three weeks the Basij has been called upon by the government to quell the post-election protests, in which at least 20 people were reported to have been killed. The opposition says the figure is much higher.

Mehdi (not his real name) is a 39-year-old Basij commander and a former classmate of one of our Observers from Tehran (who prefers not to be mentioned). Mehdi led a mission in the city centre, close to the Tehran military base, on June 20, one of the most violent days of the clashes.

I did shoot at people myself. I am a military man I have to obey my orders. The crowd was attacking us like crazy people; throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. We had to protect ourselves; to show we were serious, and we did warn them, shouting several times, before opening fire. But they continued to attack. I don't remember who I shot, I just tried to shoot at the people's feet.

Later, we moved back and went behind the vans in middle of the street and I ordered my unit to shoot into the ground in the hope of scaring the crowds from coming closer.

I hoped it would never come to shooting them. That night, I had a nightmare in which the protestors threw me on a fire. It's come back several times, and I can see the faces of the people I was ordered to shoot. I've asked a very spiritual mullah to pray for me.

I did it for Islam but it wasn't easy to kill people. We have to remember who they are though - they're deceitful people who are against the Islamic Revolution. You can't expect us to stay calm when they want to overthrow our regime."



Mr. Aslan you are wrong

by kane on

I respect you as a great thinker and scholar, but i like to tell you Islam, unlike any other religion, is violent. Unlike Moses and Jesus, the prophet Mohammad was a warior. As you know the Koran came down to him in two different cities in Mecca and Madinah. When you compare the chapters koran talks about love and peace when it came down to him in Mecca, but when he moved to Madinah as a form of Exodus the tone of Koran changes to "kill" and "take". If you do not believe me you can watch the movie Fitnah in which introduces you to lots of verses about killing non-believers. When I was a high school student in Iran we had priodic guest speakers mainly Mullahs who basicaly told us that Islam is the religion of Prayer and Sword. If Islam were not a religion of violence then Salman Rushdi shouldn't have gone to hiding. I dare you Mr. Aslan to challeng or question Islam and I bet you you will face the same fate as Salman Rushdi. Please Mr. Aslan do not be an Islamic apologist.


Mr. Aslan you are wrong

by kane (not verified) on

I respect you as a great thinker and author. I would like to remind you that unlike other religion Islam is very violent. Take Mohammad the prophet, he was a warrior unlike Moses and Jesuse. As you know Koran came down to Mohammad in two cities both Mecca and Madinah. If you compare the chapters in Koran those that came down on him during his stay in Mecca were all about love and peace, but when he moved to Madinah as a form of Exedous the tone of Koran changed to "kill" and "take" ETC.There are lots of verses in Koran that promote voilence toward non-belivers. If you do not believe me just watch the movie called Fitnah which I am sure you have seen the movie. When I was a high school student in Islamic Republic of Iran we had priodic guest speakers mainly Mullahs, and all of them with no exception have told us that Islam is a religion of prayers and sword. your claim is contrary to thir believes. Here is another reason to my claim, if Islam is not a violent religion then Salman Rushid shold not have gone to hiding. I dare you Mr Aslan to question or challenge Islam and you will face the same faith as Salman Rushdi. Please Mr, Aslan do not be and Islamic apologist.

David ET

At the end Islam serves what you want it to be

by David ET on

almost like other religions. Look at Bible and Torah, stoning, etc etc

Go to Italy and see how strong Christianity exists or latin America or USA , or Israel and Judaism or Islam from Middle East to Malasia...

See the crimes that have been done and is being done in name of morality, judaism, hindusim, christianity, athiesm etc 

You can be a capitalist, socialist, totalitarian, gay, democrat , terrorist.... and think it is OK with Islam and if you do not agree with me , ask and I will give you live and active examples of each of them and all claiming to be representing THE  TRUE ISLAM

Religions are made by man and have all the goods and bads that come from man and are used by both good and bad men also


Islam will not leave Iran nor Iran will leave Islam , not in our lifetime 

But Iranian, Muslim or not, have proven to be OK with a secular system that respects and allows freedom of religion and Iranians do not have problem with seculars running the government

One can not compare the ancient nation of Iran with more recently created countries such as Iraq , pakistan etc.

Iran has kept its identity and core beliefs , culture and nationality long before and does not need Islam or anti-Islam to keep its identity.

Iranians have learned much through history and have proven that they will mainatain their core nationality and culture even if it takes 200 years!

There is an easy test one can make these days in Iran :

Show someone the cruel beating of innocent people , or attacking residentail homes while innocent people are sleeping by forces of Islamic Regime and ask 

Is this Islam?

If they say , yes it is, then ask for their home address, because you and your friends want to bless them with Islamin  teaching too!  . see if they give it to you which means they dont believe that is Islam and they are just using it to justify 

and if they say no this is not Islam then say : then the hell with Islamic Republic who is giving the tools , order and protection to the people who are doing it

back to subject: My point is , secularism is not enemy of religion but it protects the ones who believe (or not) in religion and the answer is education but not extremism of one sort or another..

Educate , provide accsess to information, say your piece peacefully  but LET PEOPLE DECIDE and dont force anything on them: religion or anti 


useful idiots?

by Anonymously this time (not verified) on

as opposed to useless idiots like Amil Imani and its editors?

Amil Imani

Islam's Useful Idiots

by Amil Imani on

Islam enjoys a large and influential ally among the non-Muslims: A new generation of “Useful Idiots,” the sort of people Lenin identified living in liberal democracies who furthered the work of communism. This new generation of Useful Idiots also live in liberal democracies, but serves the cause of Islamofascism—another virulent form of totalitarian ideology.

Useful Idiots are naïve, they are foolish, they are ignorant of facts, they are unrealistically idealistic, they are dreamers and they are willfully in denial or deceptive. They hail from the ranks of the chronically unhappy. They are anarchists, they are aspiring revolutionaries, they are neurotics who are at war with life, the disaffected alienated from government, corporations, and just about any and all institutions of society. The Useful Idiot can be a billionaire, a movie star, an academe of renown, a politician, or from any other segment of the population. Arguably, the most dangerous variant of the Useful Idiot is the “Politically Correct.” He is the master practitioner of euphemism, hedging, doubletalk, and outright deception.

The Useful Idiot derives satisfaction from being anti-establishment. He finds perverse gratification in aiding the forces that aim to dismantle an existing order, whatever it may be: an order he neither approves of nor feels he belongs to.

The Useful Idiot is conflicted and dishonest. He fails to look inside himself and discover the causes of his own problems and unhappiness while he readily enlists himself in causes that validate his distorted perception.

Understandably, it is easier to blame others and the outside world than to examine oneself with an eye to self-discovery and self-improvement. Furthermore, criticizing and complaining—liberal practices of the Useful Idiot—require little talent and energy. The Useful Idiot is a great armchair philosopher and “Monday Morning Quarterback.”

The Useful Idiot is not the same as a person who honestly has a different point of view. A society without honest and open differences of views is a dead society. Critical, different and fresh ideas are the life blood of a living society—the very anathema of autocracies where the official position is sacrosanct.

Even a “normal” person spends a great deal more energy aiming to fix things out there than working to overcome his own flaws and shortcomings, or contribute positively to the larger society. People don’t like to take stock of what they are doing or not doing that is responsible for the conditions of which they disapprove.

But the Useful Idiot takes things much farther. The Useful Idiot, among other things, is a master practitioner of scapegoating. He assigns blame to others while absolving himself of responsibility, has a long handy list of candidates for blaming anything and everything, and by living a distorted life, he contributes to the ills of society.

The Useful Idiot may even engage in willful misinformation and deception when it suits him. Terms such as “Political Islam,” or “Radical Islam,” for instance, are contributions of the Useful Idiot. These terms do not even exist in the native parlance of Islam, simply because they are redundant. Islam, by its very nature and according to its charter—the Quran—is a radical political movement. It is the Useful Idiot who sanitizes Islam and misguides the populace by saying that the “real Islam” constitutes the main body of the religion; and, that this main body is non-political and moderate.

Regrettably, a large segment of the population goes along with these nonsensical euphemisms depicting Islam because it prefers to believe them. It is less threatening to believe that only a hijacked small segment of Islam is radical or politically driven and that the main body of Islam is indeed moderate and non-political.

But Islam is political to the core. In Islam the mosque and State are one and the same—the mosque is the State. This arrangement goes back to the days of Muhammad himself. Islam is also radical in the extreme. Even the “moderate” Islam is radical in its beliefs as well as its deeds. Muslims believe that all non-Muslims, bar none, are hellfire bound and well-deserve being maltreated compared to believers.

No radical barbaric act of depravity is unthinkable for Muslims in dealing with others. They have destroyed precious statues of Buddha, leveled sacred monuments of other religions, and bulldozed the cemeteries of non-Muslims—a few examples of their utter extreme contempt toward others.

Muslims are radical even in their intrafaith dealings. Various sects and sub-sects pronounce other sects and sub-sects as heretics worthy of death; women are treated as chattel, deprived of many rights; hands are chopped for stealing even a loaf of bread; sexual violation is punished by stoning, and much much more. These are standard day-to-day ways of the mainstream “moderate” Muslims living under the stone-age laws of Sharia.

The “moderate” mainstream of Islam has been outright genocidal from inception. Their own historians record that Ali, the first imam of the Shiite and the son-in-law of Muhammad, with the help of another man, beheaded 700 Jewish men in the presence of the Prophet himself. The Prophet of Allah and his disciples took the murdered men’s women and children in slavery. Muslims have been, and continue to be, the most vicious and shameless practitioner of slavery. The slave trade, even today, is a thriving business in some Islamic lands where wealthy, perverted sheiks purchase children of the poor from traffickers for their sadistic gratification.

Muslims are taught deception and lying in the Quran itself—something that Muhammad practiced during his life whenever he found it expedient. Successive Islamic rulers and leaders have done the same. Khomeini, the founder of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, for instance, rallied the people under the banner of democracy. All along his support for democracy was not a commitment of an honest man, but a ruse. As soon as he gathered the reins of power, Khomeini went after the Useful Idiots of his time with vengeance. These best children of Iran, having been thoroughly deceived and used by the crafty phony populist-religionist, had to flee the country to avoid the fate of tens of thousands who were imprisoned or executed by the double-crossing imam.

Almost three decades after the tragic Islamic Revolution of 1979, the suffocating rule of Islam casts its death-bearing pall over Iranians. A proud people with enviable heritage is being systematically purged of its sense of identity and forced to think and behave like the barbaric and intolerant Muslims. Iranians who had always treated women with equality, for instance, have seen them reduced by the stone-age clergy to sub-human status of Islamic teaching. Any attempt by the women of Iran to counter the misogynist rule of Muhammad’s mullahs is mercilessly suppressed. Women are beaten, imprisoned, raped and killed just as men are slaughtered without due process or mercy.

The lesson is clear. Beware of the Useful Idiots who live in liberal democracies. Knowingly or unknowingly, they serve as the greatest volunteer and effective soldiers of Islam. They pave the way for the advancement of Islam and they will assuredly be among the very first victims of Islam as soon as it assumes power.

Ari Siletz

Recent evidence for Alsan's idea

by Ari Siletz on

Thanks varjavand for the review. Aslan says, "...we can no longer afford to view the religious movements as inherently different from any other groups of individuals who have linked their individual identities together with the purpose of challenging the society.”  The rooftop "Allah O Akbar" cries of Iranians who are these days protesting against the IRI is good evidence that Aslan is right about the unifying power of religion in fighting injustice, even if that injustice is being commited in the name of the same religion.  


Farhad Kashani, Private Pilot and the likes

by Bache Tehrooni (not verified) on

I don't think that you people really know what is going on in Iran, do you? Is it because you've been away from there for many, many years?

Islam IS separate from the Iranian Government. IRI can call themselves whatever they want. Look at youselves, you think yourselves as freedom lovers and you are nothing but extremists.

The difference between you and IRI is that people like you don't like what you 'think' Islam is, and IRI likes what they 'think' Islam is.

It's all a matter of mentally seeing thinks far ahead and extremists can only see a few feet in front of them.

I am not a fan of Mr. Aslan, but I think that he has got it right in this aspect.

Take Afghanistan for example. Up until 1970's they were a quiet people and a quiet country. When the barbaric Soviets invaded, War and the murder and oppression of Moslems started, and up until now has turned that country into the Afghanistan you see today. Don't tell me that Taliban just grew out of the ground. They were created by the West to confront the Soviets. But now, even the West doesn't know what to do with them. Needless to say that Afghanistan then became the hot spot for terrorists and the likes.

Next time before you get to the keyboard and make a fool of yourselves, sit, take a deep breath and think. Openning your hearts would be of great help too.

Also STOP ASSOCIATING PEOPLE YOU DON'T LIKE with IRI. It is plain stupid and most people on this site can see right through you.

Farhad Kashani

Private Pilot and Fred,

by Farhad Kashani on

Private Pilot and Fred, guys, absolutely right.


This Reza Aslan for years has been using sneaky tactics posing himself as a “scholar” (as if being a scholar means you know more anyways!) to justify and apologize for dictatorial regimes such as IRI.


This anti American, anti Iran, pro Fascism socialist, who was loved by Leftist media and brought in by like-minded people like Jon Stewart and others the last few years to perpetuate anti American pro IRI propaganda, demeaned America and its struggle against Islamic Fundamentalism Terrorism. I’ve seen him debate and talk. He has no respect for other’s opinion, as whoever is a follower of regimes such as IRI should be, and is very impolite and thuggish. He is a best example of what an IRI supporter is like.


At a time when our people been suffering like no one else by the hand of the Islamic regime, these people come out and try to soften the image of the regime. You don’t see these people say 1 word in condemnation of IRIs murders for 30 years. But they have the audacity to come out and change the subject to defend Islam, so somehow, possibly the murderous regime who says is Islamic, can get a break! They think the audience is naïve!


The pathetic thing is they think their propaganda still works! They don’t know the joke is on them.


Guys just make sure to be here Monday night and blast this un-Iranian Fascism lover in the chartroom at 6 PST.



I agree Islam is NOT inherently violent

by terry (not verified) on

there are individuals who under the disguise of Islam decide to commit violent acts.... But I'll let Abdul Baha Explain it,,,,


Now we come to Muhammad. Americans and Europeans have heard a number of stories about the Prophet which they have thought to be true, although the narrators were either ignorant or antagonistic: most of them were clergy; others were ignorant Muslims who repeated unfounded traditions about Muhammad which they ignorantly believed to be to His praise.

Thus some benighted Muslims made His polygamy the pivot of their praises and held it to be a wonder, regarding it as a miracle; and European historians, for the most part, rely on the tales of these ignorant people.

For example, a foolish man said to a clergyman that the true proof of greatness is bravery and the shedding of blood, and that in one day on the field of battle a follower of Muhammad had cut off the heads of one hundred men! This misled the clergyman to infer that killing is considered the way to prove one's faith to Muhammad, while this is merely imaginary. The military expeditions of Muhammad, on the contrary, were always defensive actions: a proof of this is that during thirteen years, in Mecca, He and His followers endured the most violent persecutions. At this period they were the target for the arrows of hatred: some of His companions were killed and their property confiscated; others fled to foreign lands. Muhammad Himself, after the most extreme persecutions by the Qurayshites, who finally resolved to kill Him, fled to Medina in the middle of the night. Yet even then His enemies did not cease their persecutions, but pursued Him to Medina and His disciples even to Abyssinia.

These Arab tribes were in the lowest depths of savagery and barbarism, and in comparison with them the savages of Africa and wild Indians of America were as advanced as a Plato. The savages of America do not bury their children alive as these Arabs did their daughters, glorying in it as being an honorable thing to do.[1] Thus many of the men would threaten their wives, saying, "If a daughter is born to you, I will kill you." Even down to the present time the Arabs dread having daughters. Further, a man was permitted to take a thousand women, and most husbands had more than ten wives in their household. When these tribes made war, the one which was victorious would take the women and children of the vanquished tribe captive and treat them as slaves.
[1 The Banu-Tamim, one of the most barbarous Arab tribes, practiced this odious custom.]

When a man who had ten wives died, the sons of these women rushed at each other's mothers; and if one of the sons threw his mantle over the head of his father's wife and cried out, "This woman is my lawful property," at once the unfortunate woman became his prisoner and slave. He could do whatever he wished with her. He could kill her, imprison her in a well, or beat, curse and torture her until death released her. According to the Arab habits and customs, he was her master. It is evident that malignity, jealousy, hatred and enmity must have existed between the wives and children of a household, and it is, therefore, needless to enlarge upon the subject. Again, consider what was the condition and life of these oppressed women! Moreover, the means by which these Arab tribes lived consisted in pillage and robbery, so that they were perpetually engaged in fighting and war, killing one another, plundering and devastating each other's property, and capturing women and children, whom they would sell to strangers. How often it happened that the daughters and sons of a prince, who spent their day in comfort and luxury, found themselves, when night fell, reduced to shame, poverty and captivity. Yesterday they were princes, today they are captives; yesterday they were great ladies, today they are slaves.

Muhammad received the Divine Revelation among these tribes, and after enduring thirteen years of persecution from them, He fled.[1] But this people did not cease to oppress; they united to exterminate Him and all His followers. It was under such circumstances that Muhammad was forced to take up arms. This is the truth: we are not bigoted and do not wish to defend Him, but we are just, and we say what is just. Look at it with justice. If Christ Himself had been placed in such circumstances among such tyrannical and barbarous tribes, and if for thirteen years He with His disciples had endured all these trials with patience, culminating in flight from His native land -- if in spite of this these lawless tribes continued to pursue Him, to slaughter the men, to pillage their property, and to capture their women and children -- what would have been Christ's conduct with regard to them? If this oppression had fallen only upon Himself, He would have forgiven them, and such an act of forgiveness would have been most praiseworthy; but if He had seen that these cruel and bloodthirsty murderers wished to kill, to pillage and to injure all these oppressed ones, and to take captive the women and children, it is certain that He would have protected them and would have resisted the tyrants. What objection, then, can be taken to Muhammad's action? Is it this that He did not, with His followers, and their women and children, submit to these savage tribes? To free these tribes from their bloodthirstiness was the greatest kindness, and to coerce and restrain them was a true mercy. They were like a man holding in his hand a cup of poison, which, when about to drink, a friend breaks and thus saves him. If Christ had been placed in similar circumstances, it is certain that with a conquering power He would have delivered the men, women and children from the claws of these bloodthirsty wolves.
[1 To Medina.]

Muhammad never fought against the Christians; on the contrary, He treated them kindly and gave them perfect freedom. A community of Christian people lived at Najran and was under His care and protection. Muhammad said, "If anyone infringes their rights, I Myself will be his enemy, and in the presence of God I will bring a charge against him." In the edicts which He promulgated it is clearly stated that the lives, properties and honor of the Christians and Jews are under the protection of God; and that if a Muslim married a Christian woman, the husband must not prevent her from going to church, nor oblige her to veil herself; and that if she died, he must place her remains in the care of the Christian clergy. Should the Christians desire to build a church, Islam ought to help them. In case of war between Islam and her enemies, the Christians should be exempted from the obligation of fighting, unless they desired of their own free will to do so in defense of Islam, because they were under its protection. But as a compensation for this immunity, they should pay yearly a small sum of money. In short, there are seven detailed edicts on these subjects, some copies of which are still extant at Jerusalem. This is an established fact and is not dependent on my affirmation. The edict of the second Caliph [1] still exists in the custody of the orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, and of this there is no doubt.[2]
[1 Of Umar.]
[2 Cf. Jurji Zaydan's Umayyads and Abbasids, trans. D. S. Margoliouth.]

Nevertheless, after a certain time, and through the transgression of both the Muslims and the Christians, hatred and enmity arose between them. Beyond this fact, all the narrations of the Muslims, Christians and others are simply fabrications, which have their origin in fanaticism, or ignorance, or emanate from intense hostility.

For example, the Muslims say that Muhammad cleft the moon, and that it fell on the mountain of Mecca: they think that the moon is a small body which Muhammad divided into two parts and threw one part on this mountain, and the other part on another mountain.

Such stories are pure fanaticism. Also the traditions which the clergy quote, and the incidents with which they find fault, are all exaggerated, if not entirely without foundation.

Briefly, Muhammad appeared in the desert of Hijaz in the Arabian Peninsula, which was a desolate, sterile wilderness, sandy and uninhabited. Some parts, like Mecca and Medina, are extremely hot; the people are nomads with the manners and customs of the dwellers in the desert, and are entirely destitute of education and science. Muhammad Himself was illiterate, and the Qur'án was originally written upon the blade bones of sheep, or on palm leaves. These details indicate the condition of the people to whom Muhammad was sent. The first question which He put to them was, "Why do you not accept the Pentateuch and the Gospel, and why do you not believe in Christ and in Moses?" This saying presented difficulties to them, and they argued, "Our forefathers did not believe in the Pentateuch and the Gospel; tell us, why was this?" He answered, "They were misled; you ought to reject those who do not believe in the Pentateuch and the Gospel, even though they are your fathers and your ancestors."

In such a country, and amidst such barbarous tribes, an illiterate Man produced a book in which, in a perfect and eloquent style, He explained the divine attributes and perfections, the prophethood of the Messengers of God, the divine laws, and some scientific facts.

Thus, you know that before the observations of modern times -- that is to say, during the first centuries and down to the fifteenth century of the Christian era -- all the mathematicians of the world agreed that the earth was the center of the universe, and that the sun moved. The famous astronomer who was the protagonist of the new theory discovered the movement of the earth and the immobility of the sun.[1] Until his time all the astronomers and philosophers of the world followed the Ptolemaic system, and whoever said anything against it was considered ignorant. Though Pythagoras, and Plato during the latter part of his life, adopted the theory that the annual movement of the sun around the zodiac does not proceed from the sun, but rather from the movement of the earth around the sun, this theory had been entirely forgotten, and the Ptolemaic system was accepted by all mathematicians. But there are some verses revealed in the Qur'án contrary to the theory of the Ptolemaic system. One of them is "The sun moves in a fixed place," which shows the fixity of the sun, and its movement around an axis.[2] Again, in another verse, "And each star moves in its own heaven."[3] Thus is explained the movement of the sun, of the moon, of the earth, and of other bodies. When the Qur’an appeared, all the mathematicians ridiculed these statements and attributed the theory to ignorance. Even the doctors of Islam, when they saw that these verses were contrary to the accepted Ptolemaic system, were obliged to explain them away.
[1 Copernicus.]
[2 Cf. Qur'án 36:37.]
[3 Cf. Qur'án 36:38.]

It was not until after the fifteenth century of the Christian era, nearly nine hundred years after Muhammad, that a famous astronomer made new observations and important discoveries by the aid of the telescope, which he had invented. [1] The rotation of the earth, the fixity of the sun, and also its movement around an axis, were discovered. It became evident that the verses of the Qur’an agreed with existing facts, and that the Ptolemaic system was imaginary.
[1 Galileo.]

In short, many Oriental peoples have been reared for thirteen centuries under the shadow of the religion of Muhammad. During the Middle Ages, while Europe was in the lowest depths of barbarism, the Arab peoples were superior to the other nations of the earth in learning, in the arts, mathematics, civilization, government and other sciences. The Enlightener and Educator of these Arab tribes, and the Founder of the civilization and perfections of humanity among these different races, was an illiterate Man, Muhammad. Was this illustrious Man a thorough Educator or not? A just judgment is necessary.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 17-25)


What hell?

by 1 Hamvatan (not verified) on

Is this guy lives in lala land? This guy has no idea what so ever about Islam. He is blind to the truth about Islam, Islam is what you see in Iran.You like it? go live there and if you dare, say those things there, see how many people are going to laugh at you. Al-Qaeda is another loser group of terrorist much like Islamic regime of Iran. That is all.

“Islamism is the preferable middle ground". Bilakh!!

Private Pilot

This dude (Aslan) is even more dangerous than real Mullahs !!

by Private Pilot on

OK, at least the real Mullahs know what kind of crap they really believe in.  Dudes like this fellow who has memorized a few verses of Qoran, convineintly neglects to mention  that Muhammad himself waged wars against his enemies every 2 months during his life after declaring his imaginary talks with the old fool up in the sky.... And that NO country in the world EVER accepted the Islamic faith but only subsequent to MILITARY attacks, and no Islamic ruler EVER kept his power but through brutal shear force.... Now dudes like this enjoying the safety and security offered by the "INFIDELS" in the sunny Southern California try to white  wash the barbarism of the Islamic culture, and brand their version of Islam  -- whatever new crap that might be   and the moronic liberals believing in "moral equivalancy" of all ideologies gobble up their bullshit.  I'd take people like Ahamdinejad and Khamenei any day (and twice on Sundays) over IDIOTS like this Aslan dude !!!!  


Private Pilot


The good Islamists

by Fred on

The creative writing teacher can wordplay and split hair as much as he wants like in this passage of his:

Islamism and Jihadism, once close cousins, have split into two separate, opposing, or even hostile, movements with different worldviews.”

The problem Iranians and ever since then the world at large have been facing and the bane of every day life is power in the hands of Islamists. Call them whatever you want as long as religion is not totally separated from state, the problem in Iran and the world will not be resolved.

The creative writing teacher must either not understand the basis for pluralism and democracy or he is just another slick book pusher who has found out what sells, like where he prophesizes about the good Islamists: 

“they can evolve into responsible political actors committed to democratic ideals of human rights, women’s rights, government accountability, the rule of law, pluralism, and judicial reform.” 

The creative writing teacher needs to brush up on the progression of Islamists behavior before and after taking power in Iran. The latter-day gelled hair Ali Shariati wannabes need to try to sell their nicer kinder version of Islamism to Iranians in Iran and see how far they get.

The reality in Iran is quite different than the make-believe world of NIAC lobby, Daily Show and CNN.