Michael Schildberger Lost Battle to Prostrate Cancer

Veteran broadcaster and former A Current Affair host Michael Schildberger has died.

The Channel Nine and ABC journalist and personality was suffering from prostate cancer and passed away in a Melbourne hospital this morning with his children by his side. He was aged in his 70s.

Schildberger became a familiar face on Australian television after taking over as host of A Current Affair in the 1970s.

He joined Nine in 1955 as a copy boy and completed a journalism cadetship before climbing the ranks to become director of news.

Schildberger later joined the ABC and presented 3LO-774's popular morning program.
Later in life he started his own media production company and penned an autobiography, The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

He was diagnosed with cancer 14 years ago.
Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to Schildberger on talkback radio this morning.

His son Nick told ABC 774's morning host Jon Faine his father had astounded doctors with his lengthy fight against the disease.
"He was a very kind generous man, and also a very strong man," Nick Schildberger said.

"He didn't let things get him down. He was the most positive and optimistic person I know. He refused to give up.

"Unfortunately the cancer, in the end, took over and he was unable to fight any more."

More on Michael Schildberger

Sphere: Related Content

Mexican Gang Attack Sir Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney has been left “shaken up” after a gang attacked his tour bus.

The 67-year-old star had to be rescued by police in Mexico after the youths surrounded his vehicle and jumped up and down on the roof after a concert at the Foro Sol stadium in Mexico City on Saturday.

A source said: "At first his security team thought it was just swarms of fans but when people started scaling the bus, the situation changed in a flash. Paul and the team were shaken up.”

According to reports, the troublemakers left the scene as soon as they heard police sirens.

The singer’s management team are now reviewing his security.

Paul recently admitted he is happy to carry the “weight” of fame.

He said: “Fame can get pretty annoying but now I have rules, I've finally grown up and finally realised I've got rights. I'm happy to talk to people on a one to one human basis but the minute they turn me into this celebrity that I'm pretending not to be for that minute, I sort of say no, I'm not going to do that.

"I will just go shopping or go to the movies on my own, and I like that. It is very much a balancing part of my life." 

Sphere: Related Content

Emigration Increasing the rate of Infanticides in Senegal

In Senegal women who become pregnant outside of marriage - their husbands living abroad - commonly kill their babies out of fear and shame.
Husbands' absence is one of many factors contributing to infanticide in Senegal, where many young women with unwanted pregnancies see eliminating the child as their only option, authorities and researchers say. Abortion is illegal in Senegal and clandestine abortion is also common.
Poverty, sexual promiscuity and ignorance about contraception are other factors, but the common thread is severe shame around unplanned pregnancy particularly by extramarital relations, according to sociologist Aly Khoudia Diao in the capital Dakar.
"Infanticide has become the antidote to illicit affairs [that result in pregnancy] - to avoid gossip and shame to the family and to hide infidelity, especially when the woman is bound by marriage," said Diao.
In the city of Louga, capital of Louga region 200km north of Dakar, at least two babies are known to have been killed by their mothers since October 2009, with five cases of infanticide registered in 2008, according to Moustapha Ndour, gendarmerie commander.
"These infanticides are linked to emigration," he said. "The men leave their wives - who are very young - for two, five, 10 years."
One Louga woman recently charged with the crime is married to a man living abroad, Ndour said. "She did not want anyone to ever see the child, which is why she threw the body into a well." Infants' bodies have turned up in wells and in the streets; some are buried.
More than 20,000 men from Louga city - or 10 percent of the population - live in Europe or the United States, Amadou Fall, deputy mayor, said. Six in 10 youths remaining are unemployed, and women make up 80 percent of the population, according to Fall.
Diao estimates from his research that 30 to 40 percent of women with unwanted pregnancies commit infanticide. "It is a worrying statistic, and it's growing," he said. No national statistics are available, Justice Ministry spokesperson Cheikh Bamba Niang said.
"Five to 10 percent of these are linked to emigration," Diao said. "Sex is a physiological need. Some of these women marry quite young and sooner or later they will be pursued by other men. And in a moment of weakness they commit adultery."
Women with unplanned pregnancies often have no one to turn to, according to Fatou Sarr Sow, gender director at Dakar's Cheikh Anta Diop University.
"These girls submit to the social pressure, the fear of shaming the family," she said. "They have no place to go to talk about their situation; they are alone in their misfortune." She said infanticide is common in rural zones, where illiteracy is high.
Diao said many young women start wearing ample clothing and withdraw from friends and family once the pregnancy starts to show. Some move to another locality, where at least one relative is aware of the situation.
Senegalese women who emigrate also have extramarital sexual relations, he noted. "But [if they get pregnant] they have abortions because they are no longer restricted by the country's socio-cultural constraints."

Sphere: Related Content

Men who do more housework get more sex

MEN who do more housework get more sex. It's official. And women who do more housework get more sex, too. A new US study of almost 7000 married couples shows that couples who work hard, play hard.

''Go-getter'' couples who devote lots of time to paid work and household chores still make sex a priority, the study says. Published in the Journal of Family Issues, the study rebuts the view that the ''time crunch'' has killed passion stone dead.

''As life gets busier and time gets tighter, a select group of go-getter spouses can successfully balance multiple time commitments,'' say the authors, Constance Gager, of Montclair State University, New Jersey, and Scott Yabiku, of Arizona State University.

The study shows that sexual frequency averaged 82.7 times a year, or 1.6 times a week, although there was wide variation. Age and the duration of the relationship dampened sexual frequency, as did being Catholic compared to being Protestant. The presence of small children reduced frequency but older children were associated with more frequent sex.

Women on average did 41.8 hours of housework a week, almost twice as much as men, and 19.7 hours of paid work, bringing their total labour to 61.5 hours compared to 57.1 hours for men's total work hours. The more time spent on housework, the more sex the men and women reported.

The study found if slothful women and men - those who did housework for only 16 hours and two hours a week, respectively - increased their effort to match the high performers (women who did 68 hours and men 45 hours a week) they could expect to have sex 15 more times a year.

As well, men and women who spent more time in paid work reported more sex, leading the researchers to conclude that ''individuals may be achievers across multiple spheres''.

Barbara Pocock, the director of the Centre for Work and Life at the University of South Australia, in a study of Australian working women found resentment over housework killed libido.

''Women's feelings about their husband were shaped by perceptions of fairness around housework,'' she said.

''If the resentment factor was high that's when their sex life was not great. The best sex aid a man could use was a vacuum cleaner.''

She also wondered about the sex lives of those women - about one-third - who say they feel ''almost always rushed and pressed for time'', especially mothers who did more than 20 hours a week of paid work.

The US researchers say their findings debunk the theory that time spent on some pursuits, such as jobs or housework, must be stolen from other areas, such as sex. ''The much-lamented speed-up of everyday life … does not appear to have adverse effects on sexual frequency,'' they say.

But the quality of the sex? The researchers said they don't know whether sex has also speeded up and is not very satisfying.

Sphere: Related Content

Is John Travolta Calling it Quit With The Church of Scientology?

Following the tragic loss of his possibly autistic son Jett, back in early January, John Travolta has reportedly been questioning Scientology.

There have been strong rumours coming out of Scientology that John Travolta is disappointed that the religion was not able to help his son more,

Although Jett Travolta allegedly suffered from seizures since a young age, he wasn’t treated with medication as Scientology doesn’t typically condone the use of drugs.

Well, so far there are no confirmed reports from the family that there’s any truth to these rumors. But if it is true and John Travolta is considering leaving, the negative consequences of his departure will likely be great thanks to Scientology’s standard operating procedure to expose all the dirty, little secrets that their members were forced to confess to during the many, many hours of “auditing.” The cult keeps detailed records of these confessions so that they can use the information against those wanting to leave in order to blackmail them into staying in the cult.

But his rep Paul Bloch tells PEOPLE. "There's no change in the relationship between the Church of Scientology and John," says Bloch. "He is a member and it's as it was, now and forever."

However, should John Travolta decide to leave, he won’t be on his own. A website has gone up calling on people to pledge to stand by him after he’s out, It’s OK, John – we’ll back you, especially if you stand up and expose the cult for what it really is, helping to ensure Scientology can’t destroy any other lives.

Sphere: Related Content

Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend and Kathy Bates in French Kissing

When Rupert Friend played the dashing Mr Wickham in Pride & Prejudice, it seemed he might sweep Keira Knightley's younger onscreen sister, Lydia, off her feet.

Of course, it was Knightley herself who succumbed to the actor's charms while making the 2005 film and the pair have been an item ever since. Not that anyone would know, because, like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, they are rarely photographed together.

Friend may have had onscreen romances with two of the world's most beautiful women - Michelle Pfeiffer in Cheri and Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria - and be evolving into a star himself but don't expect him to talk about his own relationship. Still, the soft-spoken 27-year-old is interesting in his own right and turns out to be quite a boozer, much like Cheri, his young man-about-town in Stephen Frears' film.

Set in early 20th-century Paris during a decadent a time known as the belle epoque, Cheri is based on a 1920 book by Colette, who lived the liberal life of her times.

Her story recalls a time when wealthy courtesans helped dictate the latest fashion trends after bedding the wealthiest and noblest of men.

As one might imagine, the courtesans weren't the best of mothers and this certainly is true of Cheri's mother, Madame Peloux (Kathy Bates), who soon realises her son is mediocre husband material.

A sharp dresser, Cheri has never contemplated any form of discipline and has managed to get by thus far on his looks and money.

When his mother palms him off to her courtesan friend Lea (Pfeiffer) so the older woman might instruct him in society's ways, the last thing anyone imagines is their falling in love.

After more than six years of living together, an ageing Lea must relinquish her aloof lover to an arranged wife. While he doesn't seem to mind, she is devastated.

"Cheri's a path-of-least-resistance guy and he's incredibly greedy," Friend notes.

"He believes he has the dowry from his wife; they can have a child or whatever and he can carry on with his diffident ways. He's also a product of his society and realises that for social acceptance, to climb up the social ladder, he needs a wife and family. He is quite callous."

Beneath Cheri's impeccably clothed exterior lies a sad, empty man - a character Colette created to reflect not only the courtesans but the high-class society in general.

"It seems like they don't have a care in the world, that they're bored rich people," Friend muses. "But underneath there's a deep undercurrent of vulnerability and yearning. Anita Pallenberg [the swinging '60s icon plays a former courtesan turned opium den owner] puts it concisely: 'You have everything you could possibly want but it doesn't mean a thing."'

Friend admits being nervous when approaching his most extensive love scenes to date.

"Michelle's an icon but I didn't really grow up watching films and I discovered her in Tim Burton's Batman Returns, in Frankie and Johnny and in Scarface rather late. I imagined her as someone who only exists up there on a magical screen, in Hollywood, so it was like stepping into the screen when sharing scenes with her. I was terrified - I mean, I would be crazy not to be."

Pfeiffer, 51, an old-hand at movie intimacy, was happy they went straight into the love scenes without much ado. "I wouldn't say I get nervous doing it but because it's uncomfortable I like to get it over and done with," she admits, laughing. "Still, the scenes were very important to the story, so we didn't want to give them short shrift."

Stephen Frears, who reunites with his Dangerous Liaisons writer, Christopher Hampton, as well as Pfeiffer for similarly raunchy period material, had taken a risk on casting Friend, a relative unknown, to play a 19-year-old. The actor's thin, almost feminine beauty helps him look much younger.

"Rupert sort of blossomed through the film," Frears says.

Given his distaste for the media focus on his girlfriend, it's understandable that Friend has adopted a low-key approach to his career, which began in The Libertine alongside Johnny Depp and also saw him with a blond dye-job playing a Nazi officer in The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.

He likes to transform into characters and audiences should look forward to his portrayal of Prince Albert, the man Queen Victoria (Blunt) mourned for half her life.

"When I first met Emily, I had to audition with other potential Alberts," he recalls.

"It's rare that an actress is allowed to choose but the director wanted to see if there was chemistry in place. I was filming The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas so it was a bit of a stretch. But she chose me."

The rest, of course, is history.

Sphere: Related Content

The Qur’an Says that Other Religions are Cursed by Allah

Buddhists in Thailand, Jews in Israel, Christians in Indonesia, Hindus in India... Why is Islam at war with every major world religion, when none of these religions are at war with each other? Part of the reason is that the Qur’an is specific about the inferiority of other faiths and the hatred that Allah harbors for their people.

Although it is common for Muslims to become upset about anyone “insulting” their religion, here is what the Qur’an says about Jews and Christians:

The Jews call Ezra a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (9:30) (See also Bukhari 8:427), one of the last things Muhammad ever said on his deathbed was "May Allah curse the Jews and Christians.”)

The Qur’an specifically addresses Christians, Jews, Polytheists (Hindus) and atheists:

Christians are blasphemers (5:17, 5:73) who have invented a lie about Allah (10:68-69). Inventing a lie about Allah is the worst of sins (7:37, 29:68) and for this reason Christians are condemned to Hell (10:70). Although one (early Medinan) verse seems to say that righteous Christians will go to heaven, this is abrogated by later verses that make it very clear that Christians must cease being Christian (ie. reject the Trinity) or suffer eternal torment for their beliefs (5:72-73).

Jews are also cursed by Allah (5:13), in one of his final pronouncements. The Qur’an goes on to assure Muslims that Jews are wicked (4:160-162) – so wicked, in fact, that they have somehow managed to do the impossible (18:27) and alter the word of Allah (2:75). Jews are “fond of lies” and “devour the forbidden” (5:42).

The Qur’an assures believers that Jews and Christians have “diseased hearts” (5:52). Allah even takes credit for the enmity between them (5:14). Only Jews and Christians who submit to Islamic subjugation and pay the Jizya are protected in this world (9:29 & Ibn Ishaq 956).

Hindus are polytheists. Although Muhammad didn’t know any Hindus (and neither did Allah, apparently) the Qur’an still manages to lay the groundwork for the 1000 year ethnic cleansing campaign against the Hindu people that is estimated to have taken tens of millions of innocent lives. In Islam, polytheists are worse than all other religion. Those who join idols (14:30) or false gods (11:14) to Allah also invent a lie about Him (29:17) and will burn in Hell. Even believing in other divine entities along with Allah is an unforgivable crime (4:48, 40:12).

Atheists believe in no god, which is even worse than believing in the wrong one (Muhammad and his successors had atheists put to death - Bukhari 84:57). Merely questioning the existence of Allah is a testament to one’s impiety (25:21), even as Muslim arrogance is encouraged in the Qur’an. Muhammad always answered probing questions merely by telling the inquiring party that they would go to Hell if they didn’t believe in him (36:49-64).

Anyone who gives up his religion is a “perverted transgressor” (3:82). Perverted as well is anyone who denies Allah (40:63). Freedom of conscience does not exist in Islam. Muhammad clearly prescribed the death penalty for apostates (Bukhari 52:260).

While contemporary Muslim apologists often speak of “dialogue” (meaning a unilateral arrangement in which they tell you about Islam while you listen) the Qur’an speaks of Jihad instead:

Listen not to the unbelievers, but strive (Jihad) against them with the utmost strenuousness. (25:52)

What would be the point in hearing anything a non-Muslim has to say... or even talking with them for that matter? Allah has already sealed their hearts and condemned them to Hell:

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 (2:6)

For those wondering why Allah would even make infidels if their ultimate destination is Hell, Muhammad said that the purpose of some (Jews and Christians, at least) was to take the place of Muslims, so that they would not suffer there (Sahih Muslim 6666).

The Qur’an Says that People of Other Religions are to be Violently Punished in This World

Allah himself fights against the unbelievers (9:30), so why should Muslims not fight in his cause rather than in the cause of evil (4:76)?

Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies and others besides, whom ye may not know (8:60)

Strive hard (Jihad) against the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge indeed. (66:9, See also 9:73)

Muslims are to expect a reward in this life as well as the next (4:134), so it makes sense that unbelievers should be punished in this life as well:

…He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him there is no guide. For them is a penalty in the life of this world, but harder, truly, is the penalty of the Hereafter… (13:33:34)

All beings on heaven and earth will be forced to bow down to Allah, either willingly or by force:

And unto Allah falleth prostrate whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly (13:15)

Those who resist Islam will be humiliated:

Those who resist Allah and His Messenger will be among those most humiliated. (58:20 - The context for this verse is the eviction of the Jewish tribes of Medina and the confiscation of their wealth, land, and children by Muhammad).

Non-Muslims are to be fought until religion is only for Allah:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah… (8:39 – “Persecution” in this context means resistance to Islam – defined in the prior verse as an unwillingness to believe (see verse 38). This passage was “revealed” following a battle that Muhammad deliberately provoked. Verse 2:193 essentially says the same thing and was also “revealed” at a time when the Muslims were not under physical attack).

Non-Muslims are to be encroached on and pressured by the Muslims:

See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? (13:41 - See also 21:44)

And He made you heirs to their land and their dwellings and their property, and (to) a land which you have not yet trodden, and Allah has power over all things. (33:27, See also Bukhari 53:392)

Allah will grant Muslims authority and power over all other people:

Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion... (24:55)

(Muhammad's companions continued to self-fulfill this prophecy with an aggressive and senseless military expansion that left a trail of bodies from Spain to India).

Allah provides instructions to Muslims for dealing with unbelievers who are unwilling to accept Islamic rule:

Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them." This because they contended against Allah and His Messenger: If any contend against Allah and His Messenger, Allah is strict in punishment. (8:12-13)

Other verses of violence may be found here.


The pattern of violence and aggressive disregard for human suffering that is persistent in Muslim history and contemporary attitude toward non-believers reflects the message of the Qur'an, which is one of personal superiority and arrogance.

In our modern world, Muslim dominance is characterized by the oppression and discrimination of non-Muslims, while Muslim minorities within larger societies are distinguished by varying degrees of petulant demand, discord and armed rebellion. Few Muslims are uncomfortable with this blatant double standard, in which Islam either plays the victim or unapologetically victimizes others, depending on its position - and the reason is obvious.

Islam is a supremacist ideology in which the role of non-believers is subordinate to the position of Muslims. Those who resist Islamic rule are to be fought until they are fully humiliated and forced to acknowledge their inferior status either by converting to Islam or by paying a poll-tax and otherwise accepting the subjugation of their own beliefs.

There is simply no other religion on earth that draws such sharp distinction between its own members and others, or spends as much time condemning and dehumanizing those who merely choose not to follow its dogma.

So much about Islamic terrorism and the general indifference of the broader Muslim community toward the violence makes sense only against this dual nature of Islam. Yes, the apologists are correct in saying that Islam teaches love and kindness, but they fail to add that this applies only to the treatment of those within the Muslim community. Loyalty to one's own identity group is valued above all else and empathy for those outside the faith is optional at best and even discouraged.

The Qur’an meets every criterion by which we define hate speech. Not only does the message inspire loathing and disregard for others, but the Qur'an mandates the superiority of Islam, even if the means of establishment are by force.

If this is a "misunderstanding" of Islam by modern-day "radicals," then it is an error that the founder of Islam made as well. In his later years, Muhammad directed military campaigns to subjugate other tribes and religions, "inviting" them to Islam at the point of a sword and forcing them to pay tribute nonetheless. He set in motion the aggressive military campaigns that made war against all five major world religions in just the first few decades following his death.

Islam incorporates the ultimate devaluation of non-Muslims by teaching that while a Muslim may be punished with death for murdering a fellow Muslim (Bukhari 83:17), no Muslim can be put to death for killing a non-Muslim (Bukhari 83:50). The Qur’an’s "Law of Equality," which assigns human value and rights based on gender, religion and status, is the polar opposite of equality in the sense intended by Western liberal tradition, which ideally respects no such distinction.

One can always find apologists willing to dismiss the harsh rhetoric of the Qur'an with creative interpretation, tortuous explanation or outright denial, but their words and deeds almost always belie a concern for Islam's image that does not extend to Islam's victims - at least not with the same sense of urgency - thus proving the point.

Of course, there are also exceptional Muslims who do not agree with Islamic supremacy and sincerely champion secularism and respect for all people. Some even find verses or fragments of such to support their independent beliefs. But, for these people, the Qur’an as a whole will always be a constant challenge, since it explicitly teaches the distinct and inferior status of non-Muslims.


Sphere: Related Content

Allah Himself Prevents Non-Muslims from Understanding

It would make no sense if Allah gave the people that he hates an opportunity to avoid his wrath. The Qur'an says that Allah deliberately puts obstacles in the way of unbelievers to keep them from accepting the truth:

If Allah wished, he could provide guidance to every soul:

If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance (32:13)

But, instead he sets a veil over the hearts and coverings over their ears:

Verily We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand this, and over their ears, deafness, if thou callest them to guidance, even then will they never accept guidance. (18:57) – See also 17:46 & 45:23

Allah even uses chains and barriers to prevent unbelievers from believing:

Certainly the word has proved true of most of them, so they do not believe. Surely We have placed chains on their necks, and these reach up to their chins, so they have their heads raised aloft. And We have made before them a barrier and a barrier behind them, then We have covered them over so that they do not see. And it is alike to them whether you warn them or warn them not: they do not believe. (36:7-10)

For the same purpose, Allah also fills the hearts of unbelievers with doubt:

No soul can believe, except by the will of Allah, and He will place doubt (or obscurity) on those who will not understand (10:100)

Allah Actually Causes Non-Muslims to Sin

Not content with merely preventing unbelievers from knowing the truth (which is enough to condemn them to Hell) the Qur'an says that a hateful Allah also causes unbelievers to commit the very sin that he will later punish them for:

And if Allah please He would certainly make you a single nation, but He causes to err whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases; and most certainly you will be questioned as to what you did (16:93)

Although Satan tempts Muslims, it is Allah himself who causes unbelievers to err.

…and whomsoever Allah causes to err, you shall not find a way for him. (4:143)

Allah intentionally sends the people that he hates astray:

…and Allah sendeth him astray purposely, and sealeth up his hearing and his heart, and setteth on his sight a covering? Then who will lead him after Allah (hath condemned him)? Will ye not then heed? (45:23)

Allah even sends demons to inspire unbelievers to commit further bad deeds (that he can later hold against them):

See thou not that We have set the Evil Ones on against the unbelievers, to incite them with fury? (19:83)

Allah tricks unbelievers into thinking that they are doing good deeds, when, in fact, they are merely deepening their own eternal punishment with bad deeds:

As to those who do not believe in the hereafter, We have surely made their deeds fair-seeming to them, but they blindly wander on. (27:4) See also 39:23, 6:39, 35:8, 13:27 & 14:4)

Allah recruits Satan to join Him into fooling unbelievers into thinking that they are doing good:

On the contrary their hearts became hardened, and Satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them. (6:43)

The joke is on non-Muslims, of course, who will protest on Judgment Day that they did everything they thought was right – but are sent to Hell anyway:

Then would they offer submission (with the pretence), "We did no evil (knowingly)." (The angels will reply), "Nay, but verily Allah knows all that ye did; "So enter the gates of Hell, to dwell therein. (16:28-29)

The Qur’an Says that Non-Muslims Should Not be Taken as Friends

Given that Allah hates non-Muslims to the extent that he would prevent them from knowing the truth, cause them to err and then condemn them to eternal torture for their unbelief and misdeeds, it would make little sense if he intended Muslims to treat unbelievers by the same standards that they treat each other here on earth.

The Qur’an says that no true Muslim would ever love anyone who resists Islam, even if it is a family member:

Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. (58:22)

There are at least nine places in the Qur’an where believers are warned not to befriend non-Muslims:

O ye who believe! Take not for friends unbelievers rather than believers: Do ye wish to offer Allah an open proof against yourselves? (4:144)

In fact, anyone who does take a non-Muslim as a friend could be accused of being an unbeliever as well:

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. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. (5:51)

Muhammad said that unbelievers have it out for Muslims. They may appear harmless or friendly, but, in reality, they harbor corruption and evil intentions:

O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse (3:118)

For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies (4:101)

Those outside of Islam are really helpers of evil against Allah:

The Misbeliever is a helper (of Evil), against his own Lord! (25:55)

Instead of befriending non-Muslims, Muslims are ordered to fight them:

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. (9:123)

The Qur’an tells Muslims that they will spend eternity mocking the suffering of non-Muslims as they are tortured in Hell:

And the dwellers of the garden will call out to the inmates of the fire: Surely we have found what our Lord promised us to be true; have you too found what your Lord promised to be true? They will say: Yes. Then a crier will cry out among them that the curse of Allah is on the unjust. (7:44) – Muhammad got an early start on this by personally mocking his dead enemies following the Battle of Badr (Ibn Ishaq 454)

One does not befriend those over whose suffering they will later rejoice, nor does it make any sense that Muslims would befriend those whom the Qur'an labels "enemies of Allah" by virtue of their unbelief.

Sphere: Related Content

The Qur’an Dehumanizes Non-Muslims and Says that They are Vile Animals

The Qur’an dehumanizes non-Muslims, describing them as “animals” and beasts:

Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures. (98:6)

Surely the vilest of animals in Allah's sight are those who disbelieve, then they would not believe. (8:55)

Verse 5:60 even says that Allah transformed Jews of the past into apes and pigs. Verse 2:65 continues the theme.

Verse 7:176 compares unbelievers to "panting dogs" with regard to their idiocy and worthlessness.

A hadith says that Muhammad believed rats to be "mutated Jews" (Bukhari 54:524, also confirmed by Sahih Muslim 7135 and 7136).

Verses 46:29-35 even say that unbelieving men are worse than demons who believe in Muhammad.

The Qur’an Says that Allah does NOT Love Unbelievers

Christianity teaches that God loves all men, but hates sin. The Qur’an never says this. Instead it explicitly declares that Allah does not love those who do not believe in him:

For He loves not those who reject Faith (30:45)

Allah only loves those who obey Muhammad (at least according to Muhammad):

Say: "Obey Allah and His Messenger": But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith. (3:32)

Whereas Christianity teaches that God loves the sinner, but hates sin, the wrath of Islam's god is placed squarely on the person:

Surely Allah does not love any one who is unfaithful, ungrateful. (22:38)

Verses 11:118-199 say that Allah does not bestow mercy on everyone. For this reason, he chooses not to guide some people:

And Allah's is the direction of the way, and some (roads) go not straight. And had He willed He would have led you all aright. (16:9)

For those whom Allah does not love, there will be the most terrible of eternal torments:

Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (4:56)

As we shall see, Allah hates unbelievers so much that he even leads them into sinning and actively prevents them from believing in him, thus ensuring their fate.

The Qur’an Says that Non-Muslims are Destined for Eternal Torture in Hell

Although nowhere does the Qur’an say that Allah loves those who don’t believe Muhammad, there are over 400 verses that describe the torment that he has prepared for people of other religions (or no religion):

And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers (3:85)

The relative worth of non-Muslims is that they are but fuel for the fire of Hell:

(As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire (3:10)

As they are fueling the fire, unbelievers will be tormented by Allah’s angels on his command:

“O ye who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire whereof the fuel is men and stones, over which are set angels strong, severe, who resist not Allah in that which He commandeth them, but do that which they are commanded.” (66:6)

It doesn’t matter how many good deeds an unbeliever does, because they count for nothing with Allah:

The parable of those who reject their Lord is that their works are as ashes, on which the wind blows furiously on a tempestuous day: No power have they over aught that they have earned (14:18)

Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works? They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter): vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any weight. That is their reward, Hell, because they rejected Faith, and took My Signs and My Messengers by way of jest. (18:103-106)

Muhammad told his people that anyone who rejects his claim to be a prophet will go to Hell:

Surely those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and (those who) desire to make a distinction between Allah and His messengers and say: ‘We believe in some and disbelieve in others’, and desire to take a course between (this and) that. These it is that are truly unbelievers, and We have prepared for the unbelievers a disgraceful chastisement. And those who believe in Allah and His messengers and do not make a distinction between any of them-- Allah will grant them their rewards (4:150-152)

In Christianity, punishment in the hereafter is directly tied to sin and ‘wickedness.’ There is relatively little said about Hell, but the emphasis is on personal suffering for selfish or cruel deeds. In Islam, Hell is a punishment for merely not believing Muhammad’s personal claims about himself. In contrast to the Bible, every 12th verse of the Qur’an speaks of Hell and vividly describes Allah’s wrath on unbelievers:

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. (22:19-22)

No one could torture a person in this way without hating them intensely. Neither can Allah’s intense loathing for unbelievers help but affect the Muslim attitude toward those outside the faith.

The personal superiority of Muslims is confirmed by the contrasting picture painted in so many places in the Qur'an in which they are rewarded with the greatest of earthly comforts in heaven, while the unbelievers concurrently suffer horrible torment (see Sura 56 for just one example).

Sphere: Related Content

Why the Islamic Violence? Why the Indifference?

When Islamic terrorists massacred 186 children and 148 other non-Muslims on the morning of September 3rd, 2004 at a schoolhouse in Beslan, Russia, very few Muslims celebrated the high-profile event and some even took the time to denounce it. But, in a community renowned for its peevishness, there was very little passion over the routine slaughter of innocents in the name of Islam.

While rumors of a Qur’an desecration or a Muhammad cartoon bring out deadly protests, riots, arson and effigy-burnings, the mass murder of non-Muslims generally evokes yawns. In the six years following 9/11 more than 10,000 acts of deadly Islamic terrorism were perpetrated, yet all of them together fail to provoke the sort of outrage on the part of most Muslims that the mere mention of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo inspires.

This critical absence of moral perspective puzzles many Westerners, particularly those trying to reconcile this reality with the politically-correct assumption that Islam is like other religion. The Judeo-Christian tradition preaches universal love and unselfishness, so it is expected that the more devout Muslims would be the most peaceful and least dangerous... provided that Islam is based on the same principles.

But beneath the rosy assurances from Muslim apologists that Islam is about peace and tolerance lies a much darker reality that better explains the violence and deeply-rooted indifference. Quite simply, the Qur'an teaches hate.

Consider the elements that define hate speech:

* Drawing a distinction between one’s own identity group and those outside it

* Moral comparison based on this distinction

* Devaluation or dehumanization of other groups and the insistence of personal superiority

* The advocating of different standards of treatment based on identity group membership

* A call to violence against members of other groups

Sadly, the Qur’an qualifies as hate speech on each count (despite the best intentions of many Muslims).

The holiest book of Islam (61% of which is about non-Muslims) draws the sharpest of distinctions between Muslims and non-believers, lavishing praise on the former while condemning the latter. Far from teaching universal love, the Qur'an incessantly preaches the inferiority of non-Muslims, even comparing them to vile animals and gloating over Allah's hatred of them and his dark plans for their eternal torture. Naturally, the harsh treatment of non-believers by Muslims is encouraged as well.

So, what does the Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be the literal and eternal word of Allah, really say about non-Muslims?

The Qur’an Distinguishes Muslims from Non-Muslims and Establishes a Hierarchy of Relative Worth

The Qur’an makes it clear that Islam is not about universal brotherhood, but about the brotherhood of believers:

The Believers are but a single Brotherhood (49:10)

Not all men are equal under Islam. Slaves and the handicapped are not equal to healthy free men, for example (16:75-76). The Qur’an introduces the “Law of Equality,” which establishes different levels of human value when considering certain matters, such as restitution for murder (2:178).

With regard to Islam, the Qur’an tells Muslims that they are a favored race, while those of other religions are “perverted transgressors”:

Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. (3:110)

As we shall see later, Allah condemns non-Muslims to Hell based merely on their unbelief, while believers are rewarded with the finest earthly comforts in the hereafter, including never-ending food, wine and sex (56:12-40). In fact, much of the Qur’an is devoted to distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims and impugning the latter.

The first sura of the Qur'an is an example of this. It is a short prayer that is repeated by devout Muslims each day and ends with these words:

Keep us on the right path. The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray. (1:6-7)

Muhammad was once asked if these words pertained to Jews and Christians. His response was, "Whom else?" (Bukhari 56:662).

Since Allah makes such a strong distinction between Muslims and those outside the faith, it is only natural that Muslims should incorporate disparate standards of treatment into their daily lives. The Qur’an tells Muslims to be compassionate with one another but ruthless to the infidel:

Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves… (48:29)

Allah intends for Muslims to triumph over believers:

And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way to triumph over believers [Pickthall – “any way of success”] (4:141)

The only acceptable position of non-Muslims to Muslims is subjugation under Islamic rule:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (9:29 Jizya is the money that non-Muslims must pay to their Muslim overlords in a pure Islamic state.)

A common criticism of many Muslims is that they often behave arrogantly toward others. Now you know why.

Sphere: Related Content

Angry Monks brawl at Church of Holy Sepulcher

The first time I heard of a feud among the monks at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it was about a serious distrust among them. It was so bad that they could not trust each other with the key to the Church that they had to give it to a Muslim. However, that was years ago as they are back in the news.

Israeli police have had to restore order at one of Christianity's holiest sites after a brawl broke out between monks in Jerusalem's Old City.

Fighting erupted between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Christ's crucifixion.

Two monks from each side were detained as dozens of worshippers traded kicks and punches at the shrine, said police.

Trouble flared as Armenians prepared to mark the annual Feast of the Cross.

Tapestries toppled

Shocked pilgrims looked on as decorations and tapestries were toppled during Sunday's clash.

Dressed in the vestments of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian denominations, rival monks threw punches and anything they could lay their hands on.

The Greeks blamed the Armenians for not recognising their rights inside the holy site, while the Armenians said the Greeks had violated one of their traditional ceremonies.

Israeli policemen scuffle with an Armenian altar boy during a fight at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on 9 November2008
Clashes between Christian sects in the ancient church are not uncommon

An Armenian clergyman said the Greek clergy had tried to place one of their monks inside the Edicule, an ancient structure which encases the tomb of Jesus.

"What is happening here is a violation of status quo. The Greeks have tried so many times to put their monk inside the tomb but they don't have the right to when the Armenians are celebrating the feast," he told Reuters TV.

The Armenians had been preparing to commemorate the 4th Century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus.

A Greek clergyman said: "We protested peacefully, we stood here in the middle and we claimed that we shall not leave the procession finished unless they leave our guardian be inside. This didn't happen and in that moment the police interfered."

Six Christian sects share control of the ancient church and the BBC's Wyre Davies in Jerusalem says confrontations between them are not uncommon, but rarely descend into violence.

Sphere: Related Content