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Muslim intolerance

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In Friday's "Real Time" interview with Rep. Keith Ellison (the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress), Bill Maher quoted from Sam Harris' book, The End of Faith, saying

"On almost every page, the Quran instructs observant Muslims to despise nonbelievers."

To which Rep. Ellison replied

"That's absurd, ridiculous, and untrue."

But is it? Let's open a Quran and see.

The Quran isn't a very big book. Its 114 chapters (or surahs) take up only 400 or so pages. And yet there are 534 intolerant passages, including over 200 verses that include these words (or a variant thereof): "And for the disbelievers, Allah has prepared a painful doom."

Here's what Allah says about disbelievers in the Quran.

  • Allah loveth not the disbelievers. Quran 3:32
  • Allah (Himself) is an enemy to the disbelievers. Quran 2:98
  • Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Quran 4:56

But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads, Whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; And for them are hooked rods of iron. Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning. Quran 22:19-22

So clearly, Allah despises disbelievers.

But what about Muslims? How does the Quran instruct Muslims to view disbelievers?

  • As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not. Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom. Quran 2:6-7
  • Those who disbelieve, and die while they are disbelievers; on them is the curse of Allah and of angels and of men combined. Quran 2:161
  • Slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. Quran 2:191
  • Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Quran 3:28
  • Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil. Quran 4:76
  • They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them. Quran 4:89
  • In truth the disbelievers are an open enemy to you. Quran 4:101
  • O ye who believe! Choose not disbelievers for (your) friends in place of believers. Would ye give Allah a clear warrant against you? Quran 4:144
  • The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom. Quran 5:33
  • O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Quran 5:51
  • O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers. Quran 9:23
  • Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey's end. Quran 9:73
  • O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him). Quran 9:123
  • Never be a helper to the disbelievers. Quran 28:86
  • Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. Quran 48:29
  • Thou wilt not find folk who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brethren Quran 58:22
  • O ye who believe! Choose not My enemy and your enemy for allies. Do ye give them friendship when they disbelieve. Quran 60:1
  • O ye who believe! Be not friendly with a folk with whom Allah is wroth, (a folk) who have despaired of the Hereafter as the disbelievers despair of those who are in the graves.Quran 60:13
  • Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey's end. Quran 66:9

So Sam Harris had it about right. On almost every page, the Quran instructs observant Muslims to despise nonbelievers. It's not absurd, ridiculous, or untrue. (Open a Quran and see for yourself.)

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