Christians Charged for Knowing Too Much Islamic History

Here we go again. Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were sharing their faith with one of the guests in the hotel they run, the Bounty House Hotel in Liverpool. The guest was a Muslim woman. Seems they didn’t agree about Jesus or Muhammad. The guest was offended that they insisted Jesus is the Son of God and not a prophet of Islam.

In the course of the conversation, Ben Vogelenzang said that Muhammad was a warload. I teach about Islam for a living – been doing for six years – and I’d have to say that’s a reasonable observation based on the historical facts. It has nothing to do with whether or not he was a prophet. The story of Islam from the time of the Hijra until at least the conquest of Makkah (Mecca) by Muhammad’s army is one of battles fought and tribal groups subdued and the Arabian peninsula Islamified at the point of the sword. It is a legacy that Muhammad bequeathed to his successors as the spent the next 120 years doing the same thing through Northern Africa and the Middle East.

Clearly the Vogelenzangs’ guest was not well versed in Islamic history. Either that or the word “warlord” was not reverential enough for the false Prophet.

It didn’t help that Sharon Vogelenzang said that traditional Muslims dress for women is a form of bondage. This was just too much for their guest. Neither the guest nor the Merseyside Police think Sharon is entitled to express this opinion. It constitutes either harassment, alarm or distress in the wording of the statute. So does Ben’s enlightening the guest regarding her ignorance of history.

The Vogelenzangs were interrogated twice by police before being charged. They have appeared in court and are now awaiting trial.

The Latest Excuse for Terrorism

I think anyone would have to admit it was a mild response, by radical Islamic standards. The house and office of Martin Rynja, the UK publisher of The Jewel of Medina has been firebombed. The book, which has already been pulled by Random House in the US, tells the story of Muhammad and Aisha. Aisha was the wife he married when she was nine years old.

Of course there have been the usual fatwas calling for the death of the author, in this case Sherry Jones, but these seem to apply to anyone connected with publishing the book as well. It’s a good excuse to authorise the killing of as many infidels as possible. London-based radical cleric Anjem Choudhary is promising more attacks if the publication of the book goes ahead.

I’m not saying I support the publication of the book. Publishing any literature describing the sexual relationship between a nine-year-old and anyone should be in violation of all sorts of obscenity laws. But that’s not the problem for radical Muslim clerics. The forced marriage of pre-pubescent girls is not uncommon in the countries and cultures in which they were born. No, it’s that whole insult to Muhammad thing.

It’s not insulting to say that he had sex with a nine-year-old – that’s history. It seems it’s just insulting for an non-Muslim to write about him or for someone to novelise him. Apparently the book even tries to put a positive spin on this love story. You’d think the clerics would love that.

Punished for Refusing to Pray to Allah

In my first teaching position, I was at loggerheads with my head of department because she insisted that pupils be taught to put “(PBUH)” – abbreviation for the traditional Muslim blessing “Peace be Upon Him” – after writing the name of the false prophet Muhammad. She was not a Muslim and the handful of Muslim pupils in the school couldn’t have cared less whether anyone did it. Not surprisingly, I would not speak a blessing upon a false, Incarnation-denying, Trinity-denying prophet, nor could I, in good conscience, and in light James 3:1, encourage my pupils to do so.

Sadly, it is all too common practice in teaching Religious Education to teach the rituals of other religions in a kinaesthetic way. For most students there is no conscience issue. They would be just as happy offering incense to Caesar and saying it is nothing and it is meaningless. They wouldn’t know and honestly probably wouldn’t care that many Christians have died for just as much. That former head of department never understood how this violated my conscience and frankly didn’t care.

So why do I mention these things from the shrinking past? Because for some people they are the things of the present. An RE teacher at Alsager School in Cheshire (whose identity is unavailable as Alsager School does not publish staff names on its website or in its prospectus, but who news reports indicate is Welsh) gave detentions to two boys who refused to pray in Allah in Arabic following the Salah ritual motions. They were punished for being “disrespectful to the prophet.”

This was after the teacher had a child produce a bottle of drinking water and began washing her feet with it. The pupils had to wear the relevant headgear. One girl who did participate (though her mother was not happy to learn of it) was told off for not doing it right. Apparently enough of them didn’t do it right, because in addition to the detention given to the two boys, the whole class missed breaktime.

The grandfather of one pupil noted, “But if Muslims were asked to go to church on Sunday and take Holy Communion, there would be war.” This is a bit of an overreaction. We know from a number of recent incidents that there would only be protests in the streets threatening to kill anyone involved, and a significant number of Christians in third world countries would be attacked and killed by local Muslim mobs. Okay, and maybe a few churches would be burned down. Oh yeah, and there would be the official threats against the United Kingdom and any of its allies from various Islamist governments around the world. And admittedly this would be serious enough to warrant a terrorist attack or two.  But honestly, there probably wouldn’t be an actual war.