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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

MA Khan : Does the Quran Incite Violence? A Debate with Mike Ghouse,

Does the Quran Incite Violence? A Debate with Mike Ghouse,

Part 1




Mr. Mike Ghouse (MBA, MCom), claims his Website, is by a Speaker, Thinker & Writer on Pluralism/Interfaith, Terrorism, Islam, India & peace. He is a well-known Muslim activist based in Dallas and a prolific contributor to many Websites. I have been confronted by him (also noticed him confronting others) on a few occasions that the Quran is a book of peace and that there is no violent verses in the Quran.

Recently a Hindu writer (Dr R Brahmachari), in an e-mail group, commented on why Muslim terrorists bomb and cause harrowing carnage in Indian cities---such as Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Mumbai etc.---one after another that:
“In the eye of Allah, these kafirs [Hindus] are no better than animals and hence He instructs the Muslims to mount any kind of torture and atrocities on them, kill them, burn them and their houses, take their women and children as captives and rape their women and so on. So the Koran says:
  • “We have created, for hell, many genii (races) of men...and they are like brute beasts” (7.179)
  • “Verily, those who disbelieve our signs, we will surely cast them to be broiled in the hell-fire, so often as their skins shall be well burnt, We will give them new skins in exchange, so that they may taste the sharper torment” (4.56)
  • “Whosoever followeth any religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him in this life, and in the next life he shall be of those who perish” (3.85)
  • “I will cast a dread into the hearts of the unbelievers” (8.12)
  • “Therefore cut off their heads, and strike off all the ends of the fingers. This shall they suffer because they have opposed Allah and His Prophet, and whosoever shall oppose Allah and His Prophet, verily Allah will be severe in punishing them” (8.13)
  • “moreover, as for the non-believers, I will punish them with grievous punishments in this world, and in the world is to come” (3.56)
  • “they shall suffer a grievous punishment” (3.77).
  • “They (believers) shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain” (9:111).”

In response, Mike Ghouse as usual threw in his challenge:
It is time to get over the propaganda that has been dished out over the years. There is no such verse in Qur'an, if you have the list produce me one. Not what is handed down to you, but the one you can point to? Remember, finding the truth is one's own responsibility. You have an open challenge here. Let’s clean the slates and live in peace, one person at a time.

Terrorism is committed by individuals and not religions, these are the dirty games played by individuals donning the mask of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus or any one. They have everything to gain to upload hatred between people.

Although I deal with violent aspects of the Quran in my Website, previously I couldn’t take on Ghouse’s challenges because of the scarcity of time. This time I have taken it up. Ghouse has agreed to an open debate with me, which we have agreed to publish in Websites.

In this first installment, I am initiating the debate as follows.
Dear Mike Ghouse,
I am, hereby, taking up your open challenge and opening the debate here.
The said Indian writer has produced a set of Quranic verses, which obviously incite violence. You can see it yourself and still, you deny that there are no violent verses in the Quran. These verses have obviously been picked from the Quran according to my checking of six different translations. May I now ask you the following questions:
  1. Why do you think that these verses do not exist in the Quran?
  2. If you think that they exist in the Quran, why do you think that they do not incite violence?
  3. Allah himself urges Muslims to ‘strike terror into the heart of the infidels’ [8:12]. Why do you disagree with Allah? Who knows better? You or Allah?
  4. Likewise, Prophet Muhammad also said: “I have been victorious with terror.” Why do you disagree with Prophet Muhammad? Do you know better than the Prophet? Why do you think that Prophet Muhammad lied?
Let our debate start from here. I wait for your response.

Mike's Response is posted here and I will return with my reply in Part 2:



Mike Ghouse: I am pleased to respond to the above item by item:

Quoted as: "We have created, for hell, many genii (races) of men...and they are like brute beasts" (7.179)

As a habit, I include at least one sentence(Verse) before and one after the given sentence to give a better understanding of the verse.

7:178 (Asad) He whom God guides, he alone is truly guided; whereas those whom He lets go astray-it is they, they who are the losers!

Mike: It is the belief in all religions, that everything that happens is God's will, the Bhagavad Gita says, even the blade of grass is God's will. Here God is nature, the energy of the creator that makes things happen.

7:179 (Asad) And most certainly have We destined for hell many of the invisible beings [143] and men who have hearts with which they fail to grasp the truth, and eyes with which they fail to see, and ears with which they fail to hear. They are like cattle -nay, they are even less conscious of the right way: [144] it is they, they who are the [truly] heedless!

144 - Lit.; "they are farther astray"-inasmuch as animals follow only their instincts and natural needs and are not conscious of the possibility or necessity of a moral choice. (Quran 7:179)

Mike: All the holy books and the law books reasonably establish the consequences for one's behavior. Indeed, as the law of Karma is understood, those who do not do the right deeds in this life, they are bound to born in less than human form, where they have all the senses of eyes, ears etc, yet fail to grasp the morality as humans. Hell denotes less than desirable life. I will be occasionally referencing Hindu scriptures as the man who has produced this information is of Hindu faith.

I don't see the author's claim and connection in this verse ""In the eye of Allah, these kafirs [Hindus] are no better than animals and hence He instructs the Muslims to mount any kind of torture and atrocities on them, kill them, burn them and their houses, take their women and children as captives and rape their women and so on."

I have no idea what he was thinking when he wrote the less than intelligent statement.

7:180 (Asad) AND GOD'S [alone] are the attributes of perfection; [145] invoke Him, then, by these, and stand aloof from all who distort the meaning of His attributes: [146] they shall be requited for all that they were wont to do!

145 - This passage connects with the mention, at the end of the preceding verse, of "the heedless ones" who do not use their faculty of discernment in the way intended for it by God, and remain heedless of Him who comprises within Himself all the attributes of perfection and represents, therefore, the Ultimate Reality. As regards the expression al-asma' al-husna (lit., "the most perfect [or "most goodly"] names"), which occurs in the Qur'an four times-i.e., in the above verse as well as in 17:110, 20:8 and 59:24-it is to be borne in mind that the term ism is, primarily, a word applied to denote the substance or the intrinsic attributes of an object under consideration, while the term al-husna is the plural form of al-ahsan ("that which is best" or "most goodly"). Thus, the combination al-asma' al-husna may be appropriately rendered as "the attributes of perfection" -a term reserved in the Qur'an for God alone.(Quran Ref: 7:180 )

146- Le., by applying them to other beings or objects or, alternatively, by trying to "define" God in anthropomorphic terms and relationships, like "father" or "son" (Razi).(Quran Ref: 7:180 )

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Quoted as: "Verily, those who disbelieve our signs, we will surely cast them to be broiled in the hell-fire, so often as their skins shall be well burnt, We will give them new skins in exchange, so that they may taste the sharper torment" (4.56)

4:55 (Asad) and among them are such as [truly] believe in him, [72] and among them are such as have turned away from him. And nothing could be as burning as [the fire of] hell:
[72]I.e., in Abraham - implying that they are faithful to his message. It is to be borne in mind that the Prophet Muhammad, too, was a direct-line descendant of Abraham, whose message is confirmed and continued in the Qur'an.(Quran Ref: 4:55 )

4:56 (Asad) for, verily, those who are bent on denying the truth of Our messages We shall, in time, cause to endure fire: [and] every time their skins are burnt off, We shall replace them with new skins, so that they may taste suffering [in full] [73] Verily, God is almighty, wise.

[73] This awesome allegory of suffering in the life to come is obviously meant to bring out the long-lasting nature of that suffering (Razi).(Quran Ref: 4:56 )

Mike: The concept of reward and punishment exists in all human endeavors; Swarga and Naraka have been a part of the Hindu system of belief. Naraka is not a place one would enjoy life, it is a bloody hell. The paradise and the hell exist in all forms of justice. Whether it is religious texts or civil or criminal laws there is always a grim consequence or liberation. What is God's message? What does it mean when Krishna says "Surrender to me?" and What does Jesus or Allah mean when they say "follow me" or "submit to my will respectively?."

It does not mean falling flat on the ground and acting dead, it rather means, following the path of truth, dharma - the golden rule in every religion; treat others as you would wanted to be treated. It is the fear of punishment that is a deterrent from wrong doing, as a result ensuring a fairly peaceful existence. The above verse would be wrong in Qur'aan, IF our criminal laws say there is no punishment for the violent killer, rapists or a thief. Imagine your society without the punishment!

For the 2nd time, I don't see the author's claim and connection in this verse "In the eye of Allah, these kafirs [Hindus] are no better than animals and hence He instructs the Muslims to mount any kind of torture and atrocities on them, kill them, burn them and their houses, take their women and children as captives and rape their women and so on."

Where did he cook this up from? And How many has he fed this? I wish he had made the effort to follow Bhagvad Gita "Finding the truth is one's own responsibility".

4:57 (Asad) But those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds We shall bring into gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide beyond the count of time; there shall they have spouses pure: and [thus] We shall bring them unto happiness abounding. [74]

[74] The primary meaning of zill is "shade", and so the expression zill zalil could be rendered as "most shading shade"- i.e., "dense shade". However, in ancient Arabic usage, the word zill denotes also "a covering" or "a shelter" and, figuratively, "protection" (Raghib); and, finally, "a state of ease, pleasure and plenty" (cf. Lane V, 1915 f.), or simply "happiness" - and in the combination of zill zalil, "abundant happiness" (Razi) - which seems to agree best with the allegorical implications of the term "paradise". (Quran 4:57 )

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Quoted as "Whosoever followeth any religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him in this life, and in the next life he shall be of those who perish" (3.85)

3:84 (Asad) Say: "We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed by their Sustainer unto Moses and Jesus and all the [other] prophets: we make no distinction between any of them. [68] And unto Him do we surrender ourselves."
[68] - The prophets

3:85 (Asad) For, if one goes in search of a religion other than self-surrender unto God, it will never be accepted from him, and in the life to come he shall be among the lost.

Mike : Just as Lord Krishna proclaims " whenever adharma takes over the society, I will re-appear to bring the dharma back", God says in Qur'aan that" to every nation, every tribe, and every community he has sent a messenger to bring the righteousness back whenever the society went astray.

Then Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware of everything we do." Dharma operates when people conduct themselves well and treat others as they would want to be treated. That is when Satya (truth ) triumphs.

If you do not follow what Lord Krishna says or God says, the results are same - adharma prevails.

Qur'aan further adds that " it is your Karma that earns you a place in heaven, not necessarily your prayers and wealth. Prophet Muhammad told his own daughter that she will have to earn her place with her Karma and she ain't going to get a free pass because she is the daughter of the prophet. It is individual responsibility.

For the third time, I don't see the author's claim and connection in this verse "In the eye of Allah, these kafirs [Hindus] are no better than animals and hence He instructs the Muslims to mount any kind of torture and atrocities on them, kill them, burn them and their houses, take their women and children as captives and rape their women and so on."

Where did he cook this up from? And How many has he fed this? I wish he had made the effort to follow Bhagvad Gita "Finding the truth is one's own responsibility".

3:86 (Asad) How would God bestow His guidance upon people who have resolved to deny the truth after having attained to faith, and having borne witness that this Apostle is true, and [after] all evidence of the truth has come unto them? [69] For, God does not guide such evildoing folk.

[69] The people referred to are the Jews and the Christians. Their acceptance of the Bible, which predicts the coming of the Prophet Muhammad, has made them "witnesses" to the truth of his prophethood. See also verses 70 and 81 above.(Quran Ref: 3:86 )

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Quoted as: "I will cast a dread into the hearts of the unbelievers" (8.12)

I will stop at this... I bet, there is a pattern of mis-information here. I call it mis-information because it incites hate among Hindus for Muslims. Right information like right karma would help one heal and create goodness.

If you want me to continue, I will. But I think this should be sufficient, I have responded to similar false claims umpteen times.

Pick up the Quraan translation by Mohammad Asad, or a few others and look directly into it. I did not write any of the above except my comments. It is all from the Qur'aan.

It is another story that the Europeans had paid to mistranslate the Qur'aan and even called it a Mohammadan Religion. Much of it is documented at the blog http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/

Mike Ghouse
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• "Therefore cut off their heads, and strike off all the ends of the fingers. This shall they suffer because they have opposed Allah and His Prophet, and whosoever shall oppose Allah and His Prophet, verily Allah will be severe in punishing them" (8.13)
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• "moreover, as for the non-believers, I will punish them with grievous punishments in this world, and in the world is to come" (3.56)

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• "they shall suffer a grievous punishment" (3.77).

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• "They (believers) shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain" (9:111)."
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Does the Quran Incite Violence? A Debate with Mike Ghouse, Part 2

I am responding below to Mike Ghouse’s reply to Part 1 in this debate.
Let me start by addressing Ghouse’s favorite arguments regarding the Quran, which I encountered in his emails and postings in Websites quite a few times. He frequently says that, in the colonial era or before, the Westerners intentionally mistranslated the Quran to harm Islam. “The Quran was mistranslated three times (by Europeans)”, he asserts. Thereafter, Muslim rulers (as pious as the Saudis, who are main sponsors of translations of the Quran) also embarked on the same mission to mistranslate the Quran, obviously to harm Islam and Muslims, as Ghouse would have it. “The Kings on the Arabian lands had to fool their people too to get their support”, as he puts it.
To him, these translators distorted the Quran so badly that, by reading it, Muslims are becoming terrorists all over the world in the name of Islam—the religion of pristine peace and tranquility. Let me first ask Ghouse a few questions
:
  1. First, what is his scholarship, expertise in Arabic, to judge translations of the Quran of most famous scholars like Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Dr. Muhshin Khan et al.? May I ask, if Ghouse, probably an India-born student of business/commercial studies, is fluent in Arabic or understand Arabic at all?

  2. Secondly, would Ghouse sit in Saudi Arabia and dare distorting the Quran intentionally. I can assure Ghouse that the kind of “gross distortion” he accuses other famous translators with, if he does the same level of distortion of whatever kind sitting in Saudi Arabia, he would not last a day. Well, Ghouse may even give a try of the same at Islamabad, Khartoum, Cairo or Kabul. His is unlikely to last much longer, if at all. Let me inform readers that Muhshin Khan and his co-translator, Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, taught at the Islamic University of Medina, the city of Muhammad, where Islam was born. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, another brilliant translator, was sponsored by the Saudis.

  3. Thirdly, Ghouse has found a good translator in Muhammad Asad (d. 1990), an Austro-Hungarian Jews, who converted to Islam and later ended up in India, where, in the company of fanatic Allama Iqbal, he became a scholar of Islam. “Go to Mohammad Asad’s translation of Quran, it is one of the most accepted translations”, he asserts. In fact, Asad’s translation is not correct enough for Ghouse, as he say: “If I live longer, Insha Allah, God willing, I will do the translation to reflect the intent of the Quran”.
    Although Asad’s credential in Arabic was undoubtedly good, he had no real training in Arabic at its crown centres of Baghdad, Cairo, Saudi Arabia, which scholars like Muhshin Khan and Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali had. Moreover, born in a Jewish Rabbi family and well-acquainted with developments of the 20th-century Europe, I leave it to readers to reflect on how his background could have influenced his English rendering of the Quran and on Ghouse’s wisdom of picking Asad as a more reliable translator.

  4. Fourthly, does Ghouse want to tell us that all the Imams, Muslim clerics—from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world—who keep spewing hatred on Quranic justification, read the Quran in English translations? Do Arabs like Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, late al-Zarqawi and all those Islamic terrorists read the Quran in Arabic? Ghouse would obviously have us believe so.
I must point out another great point of this sagacious Islamic scholar, Mike Ghouse. The University of Southern California [probably with association of CAIR, MSA (Muslim Students of America) etc.] hosts the Compendium of Islamic Text, which says:
There were about 360 idols around the Ka`abah. He pulled them down with his sword while reciting: “And say: ‘Truth has arrived and falsehood has perished for falsehood is by its nature bound to perish.’” (Al-Qur’an, 17:81) Also “Say: ‘Truth has arrived and falsehood neither creates anything new nor restores anything.’” (Al-Qur’an, 34: 49) The idols tumbled on their faces.
On the basis of such info, Wikipedia notes that:
In 630, Muhammad and his followers returned to Mecca as conqueror, and he destroyed the 360 idols in and around the Kaaba.[28][29] While destroying each idol, Muhammad recited [Qur'an 17:81] which says "Truth has arrived and falsehood has perished for falsehood is by its nature bound to perish."[28][29]
But to Ghouse, this information is all false. That means leading Islamic organizations in American, like CAIR and MSA, are out to harm Islam and Muslims, too. It is false even when most of the greatest classical scholars of Islam say so. Ibn Ishaq [Karachi, p. 552], Muhammad’s first pious biographer, says that after capturing Mecca, Muhammad ordered the destruction of all idols of the Ka’ba, shouting out: “Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish”.
But to Ghouse, those greatest were ignorant or were out to harm Islam and Muslims. So, where lies truth? Who knows the truth? It is Michel Wolfe, a non-Muslim filmmaker of our time and the producer of the film “The Message”. When Ghouse asked Wolfe, the latter replied, as Ghouse puts it: “From his (Wolfe’s) understanding the idols were ‘removed’”, not destroyed, the latter remark being “blatantly misleading”.
Allah or Muhammad probably paid a visit to Wolfe lately to furnish him with the correct information. He has no other way to discover this truth. I wonder how Ghouse’s wisdom failed to ask Wolfe as to how he discovered the truth.
Nonetheless, the moral of the story is: You can take over a temple and remove there idols therein, not destroy them. Idolaters of the world can this message of Ghouse home.

Now let me turn to the Quranic verses Ghouse has addressed. I will not respond to his comments on other religious scriptures, because my expertise doesn’t lie there. I have spent the last 5-6 years researching Islam extensively, on which I am confident of commenting. If other scriptures have violent content, they incite violence too.

In explanation of verse 7:179, despite whatever unnecessary things he has written, Asad’s translation still says that the Kafirs, such as Hindus, “are like cattle -nay, they are even less conscious of the right way”. That means a non-Muslim, heedless to Allah’s messages, is worse, more evil, than animals like cattle, which the original author put as: they are “like brute beast.” I need someone explain what’s the difference between the two. Therefore, the claim of the original author that “In the eye of Allah, these kafirs [Hindus] are no better than animals” is roughly right, although he would been accurate had he said “kafirs [Hindus] are worse than animals (cattle)”. That’s what Asad affirms and Ghouse agrees.

Why not Ghouse give a fitting treatment to his non-Muslim neighbor deserving of animals like cattle, nay, worse than cattle as Asad puts it. I grew up in the countryside, we raised cattle. Worse than cattle around us were foxes that grabbed our chickens or spoiled sugarcane plantations. We used to kill them at the first opportunity. Tigers, hyenas, wolves are worse than cattle, too. What treatment would Muslims render, if they happen to come across animals like these in their neighborhood? Heads of the kafirs should roll.
Concerning my quoted verse 4:56, Asad’s translation basically say the same thing: For those rejecting Islam, “We (Allah, there are few Allahs it seems) shall, in time, cause to endure fire: [and] every time their skins are burnt off, We shall replace them with new skins, so that they may taste suffering [in full]…”
This horrible cycle of punishment—that a Hindu, Christian or Jew deserves—would continue for eternity; so vile a people are they. No doubt, Allah’s psychopathic punishment would surpass the barbarity of Hitler by infinite folds. Again, the original author is accurate in emphasizing that Allah has intense hatred of non-Muslims.
I will now touch upon three verses that Ghouse did not address. First verse 3:56:
“…moreover, as for the non-believers, I will punish them with grievous punishments in this world, and in the world is to come.”
The question of how Allah will punish the kafirs in this world? Not by Himself but through the hands of his followers, aka Muslims. Muslims must engage the vile unbelievers in Jihadi wars and inflict grievous punishment on them; and those, who perish in the process, will receive Allah’s succor in paradise (loaded with eternal virgins of immaculate beauty) as says the Quran [Quran 47:4]:
“Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost.”
Next verse 8:13:
“Therefore cut off their heads, and strike off all the ends of the fingers. This shall they suffer because they have opposed Allah and His Prophet, and whosoever shall oppose Allah and His Prophet, verily Allah will be severe in punishing them”.
The message is crystal-clear here. This means, Muslims must endeavor to take hold of those vile unbelievers, who oppose Allah and Muhammad mission (i.e., reject Islam) and “cut off their heads, and strike off all the ends of the fingers.” Allah’s clear words are enough; nothing more is needed to be said on this.
Let me move on the last verse 9:111:
“Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme..”
This can be accurately dubbed as verse of 9/11 attacks. Life of Muslims has been purchased by Allah for fighting in Allah’s cause (i.e., Jihad), in which they must slay and be slain. That is, they must wage Jihad and try their best to slay the kafirs. Obviously some Jihadis would be killed in such holy wars. But this death in Jihad battles, called martyrdom, is no loss for Muslims; instead, it the greatest, the most desirable, thing ever can happen to a Muslim; because, this martyrdom gives him a ticket for straight landing in Allah’s paradise. Getting a ticket to paradise, believe Muslims, is the central aim of their every action in this world.
Some master deceivers of Islam would tell us that Jihad means struggling with the self, which will help them gain paradise. I hope, some of them will come forward and explain to us as to how struggling with the self would result in slaying the kafirs and getting killed in the process. Probably Ghouse can enlighten us on that.
Let me emphasize that Ghouse has done little research on the Quran. Moreover, he is either a good-hearted person with little knowledge of Islam or he is on a mission of deceiving the gullible kafirs. The fact that he said, “However, the verses that have been quoted "as from Quran" are actually manufactured a 1000 years ago and the neocons have been recycling it to malign a religion, that is their business and livelihood”, means that he is undoubtedly out to deceive his willing audience.
Has Ghouse torn away those pages of his Quran that contain these manufactured verses of brutality?
Let me emphasize to the reader that engaging with ignorants or deceivers like Ghouse takes us to no meaningful enlightenment on the subject. Therefore, I may wish to conclude this debate here, unless Ghouse comes forward with some solid, well-researched, arguments that deserve a response.
However, if readers are keen to get a full picture of the incitement of violence (i.e., Jihad) in Islam, I urge them to get a copy of my just-released book, Islam Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery and/or Dr Ali Sina’s Understanding Muhammad.
I believe these book will have strong humanizing impact on radical-minded Muslims, while help everyone understand clearly why the world today is mired in the horror of terrorism.
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http://www.islam-watch.org/MA_Khan/Does-Quran-Incite-Violence-Debate-Mike-Ghouse-MA-Khan-2.htm

 

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