Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Robert Spencer vindicated...by Saudi cleric

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch is often accused of misrepresenting Islam, more often than not by people who know little or nothing about the religion. One of the points of Muslim doctrine I've seen him challenged on is the "no compulsion in religion" statement in the Koran. Mr. Spencer has explained in his books and in many columns the practice Islamic armies had of offering their opponents the options of converting to Islam, accepting second-class status by paying the Jizya tax, or death in battle. Sounds pretty compulsory to me.

In a Muslim theology column in Arab News, Mr. Spencer's arguments are vindicated, by a Saudi Muslim cleric, although the cleric insists there is "no compulsion in religion".
They gave the people three choices: to accept Islam freely, which would mean that they join the Muslim community and become part of it; or to pay the jizyah, or tribute, to indicate that they will live in peace with the Muslims continuing to follow their own religions. If they accepted neither course then the only way left was to fight. This was the case throughout Muslim history. How else can people explain the uninterrupted existence of religious minorities everywhere in the Muslim world throughout 14 centuries of Islamic rule?
No compulsion...riiiight.

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