Islam's threat to freedom and a rational society

Islam: a delusion that you can base your life around, so long as ethical standards, reality, science, music, song, dance, the visual arts and our shared environment are of no concern to you.
People have a right to live under whatever delusion they choose so long as they fulfil their obligations to the remainder of the biosphere; but the increasing lack of tolerance being demonstrated by many Muslims around the world in recent years is very worrying.

The problem is not limited to a sub-set of intolerant Muslims, or to a number of increasingly fundamentalist governments, but is written into Islam's holiest book. Islam's attitude to art, one of humanity's most noble pursuits, is particularly concerning.

I hope that this page might make some people who are considering taking up Islam have second thoughts and that it might give some who are thinking of leaving Islam some encouragement to do so.

To accept Islam is, in effect, to join the Christian fundamentalists and refuse to accept the scientific fact of organic evolution. Muslims are obliged to ignore science if it contradicts Islamic teaching. Islam despises much of the art that most of us hold dear. Of course many Muslims value science and art; but by doing so they are neglecting their Islamic obligations.

I should stress at this point that I have no doubt that the great majority of Muslims are decent people.

Islam is designed to dominate the lives of Muslims – consider the requirement to pray five times a day. Muslims are the greatest victims of Islam; they have been conned into devoting their lives to a fantasy. I cannot stress too much that Islam is the problem, Muslims are the primary victims.
If a religion can be interpreted as Islam is interpreted by so many extremist groups around the world in the early twenty-first century surely it must be fundamentally flawed. Or is it just shamefully misinterpreted, as was Christianity in the centuries when heretics were burned at the stake or disposed of in other ways?

Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
This page created 2006/08/09, last edited 2023/04/07
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Immortal soul

The concept of an immortal soul can be shown to be absurd, so any religion that talks about an afterlife is also absurd.
Flying spaghetti monster
The Flying Spaghetti Monster is just as valid a god, and just as ridiculous a god, as "The God of the Book".


God only gave the world his word in Arabic. Translations of the Koran are problematic because Arabic is a difficult language to translate unambiguously. Why didn't God give us his word in all our languages? Does he only speak Arabic?

Is Islam worse than other delusions?

There may be other religions that are just as harmful as Islam. I suspect that the rise of pentecostalism may be an equal or greater threat to a rational and free society. Certainly there are cults that are, in themselves, more harmful; but the numbers of people involved are vanishingly small compared to Islam.


In Western nations it has not been usual to publicly criticise religious groups or religious practices unless they pose an immediate threat to human rights or infringe the law. This has been (correctly) justified because of the desire to foster tolerance of cultural diversity.

Democracy index
Democracy Index as published in January, 2007. The palest blue countries get a score above 9.5 out of 10 (with Sweden being the most democratic country at 9.88), while the black countries score below 2 (with North Korea being the least democratic at 1.03).

From Wikipedia
Note that Muslim nations generally score poorly. (North Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and the Middle East are predominantly Muslim.)

Failings of Muslim nations, May 2014

Polio has been eradicated in most nations of the world, but not in the Muslim nations of Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan.

Girls are being sold and denied education in Nigeria, by Muslims. The Muslim group, the Taliban, would deny women education in Afghanistan if they could.

Most of the world's refugees are either Muslims or are escaping nations that are dominated by Islam. In both cases most of them are victims of Islam.


More information on Islam

In July 2014 Peter Townsend sent me a copy of his book, Questioning Islam to review. It is far more extensive than this page and covers all aspects of Islam.
However, I believe that the threat posed to democracy, to traditional freedoms, and to the ideal of a well informed and rational society by the rise of the modern, very intolerant, form of Islam being seen in a number of countries is so great that it must be openly discussed. I should stress that this threat is not immediate, it is long-term; as with climate change, I will probably not live to see the worst of the damage.

What will happen to our work in fostering cultural diversity and freedom of expression if it results in a group of intolerant religious fundamentalists coming to power and forcing everyone to live by their prejudices? (Karl Popper called this problem the paradox of democracy.)

The justified concern about a religion that contains as much cruelty and intolerance as does Islam is very different to the racism and xenophobia with which it is often naïvely confused. The fact that most Muslims are very nice people and do not practice or advocate the nasty bits of Islam (such as cutting of the hand of a thief, Koran, 5.38) is to a large extent irrelevant; this page is more about Islam itself, and some of the discriminatory and cruel cultural practices that come with Islam, than it is about Muslims.

I live in a predominantly and traditionally Christian nation. If the Christian delusion was on the rise like Islam, it would be a similar threat to a rational society; fortunately it is moribund except for some weird sects; they will come and go.

While the original form of Christianity, as taught by Jesus, seems to have been tolerant and relatively benevolent, its practice became very corrupt and cruel; consider the empire-building of some of the Popes, the selling of indulgences and bishoprics, the burnings and torturing of heretics (one man's heretic is another man's true believer), and the bloody wars of the Reformation. On the other hand, the original form of Islam was cruel, intolerant and hateful, consider amputation as punishments for theft, stoning as punishment for adultery, and execution as punishment for apostasy. It may or may not be that these were adopted into Islam from the Old Testament, but the fact remains that they were accepted by Islam. Over the centuries most Muslim communities tempered the cruelty of the original Islam.

I need to say that Middle Eastern Muslim nations, because of their oil reserves, have had to suffer a high level of interference from the USA, the UK and the West generally in recent (pre-Obama) years. The USA has also been very one-sided in its support for Israel, no matter what the excesses of that nation in its struggle agains Muslim terrorists. (Israel is fighting for its life, but does this excuse war crimes such as the dropping of many thousands of cluster bombs in southern Lebanon?) The recent rise of Islamic terrorism aimed at the USA must at least partly be due to the Muslim perception of US imperialism. In the other direction, the degree of the threat posed to the USA, in particular, by terrorism has been exaggerated for political purposes.

At least some Muslims hold that any man can murder another man if a fatwa has been placed on that man. How totally against all modern concepts of justice! And it must be remembered that there is no formal hierarchy in Islam; who can legitimately place a fatwa? Anyone?
In terms of adherents I believe that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West. Muslims have more children than most other citizens of Western nations. If current trends continue, several Western nations will be numerically dominated by Muslims within a matter of decades. Overpopulation is one of the world's greatest problem. All other factors being equal, the climate change problem would be halved if there were half as many people on the planet. The last thing needed if we are to control greenhouse/climate change is more people.


Islam and science

Why is it that the Islamic world has had so little to do with science and learning? The relatively advanced state of scientific learning in the Islamic world in what has been called the Islamic Golden Age (c. 750 CE – c. 1258 CE) is well known, but even then Islamic scholars were more involved in preserving the science of the ancients and incorporating Indian science than they were in developing new learning. And following 1258, science was little practised in the Islamic world.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk forced Turkey to move away from Islamic-influenced government and toward adoption of modern ways following World War I, but unfortunately at the time of writing Turkey seems to be moving back toward bigotry.

It seems that science and Islam are largely incompatible. What does this mean for a world where the Muslim fraction of the populations of many nations is quickly increasing?

Eurobarometer conducted a survey of beliefs in European states (including Turkey, the only predominantly Muslim state included) in 2005. One of the propositions was 'human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals'. Only 27% of Turks answered 'true'; Cyprus (with a large Muslim population) gave the second lowest response at 46%. The lowest of the other European states was Lithuania at 49%. This suggests an abysmal level of ignorance of science with a correspondingly high belief in superstitious humbug among Muslims, even in a relatively secular state such as Turkey.
I believe that the Koran also holds that Muslims must place 'God's Law' above the laws of states. I suspect that if Islam was recently invented and had only a few adherents it would be banned as a terrorist or subversive organisation for reasons such as these.

With all the resource and environmental threats facing the world at present there is a greater than ever need for rational government, but this becomes less likely in any nations dominated by a dogmatic religious group or groups, perhaps Muslims more than others.

Some Muslims would have us believe that it is only a few pockets of fundamentalists (takfeeris?) in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are the problem. That this is not the case was shown by the riots that broke out in many countries following a Danish newspaper publishing cartoons featuring Mohammed a few years ago. If the problem were confined to a minority of people espousing a warped view of Islam, then why do we hear so few main-stream Muslims criticising the extremists and the embassy burners?

What to do about the threat? Violence is not any part of the answer. Perhaps the current rise of fundamentalist Islam will prove to be a temporary thing, perhaps Western Muslims will prove to be more tolerant and open minded than their Middle Eastern brethren? Education must be a part of the answer, but with so much entrenched and irrational Christian belief and acceptance of superstitious nonsense in most Western nations, trying to establish a fully rational education system for Muslims will be a challenge.

Islam's victims

Muslims are the greatest victims of Islam. They have been taken in by the great confidence trick that demands they give up so much and promises them eternal bliss, but in the end will give them nothing. Muslims should not be thought of as, in any way enemies of non-Muslims, but rather as innocent dupes of this great deception.


Christianity's victims

As Muslims are the greatest victims of Islam, so Christians are the greatest victims of Christianity and many others the greatest victims of their own personal delusion; but the degree to which Islam twists and controls the lives of Muslims seems greater than is the case in most other religions.
Muslims are expected to devote their life to their religion, to prey five times a day, every day (and no doubt to feel guilty and to fear damnation if they fail to do so).

They are told they must not question Islam; consider how much confusion, doubt and guilt this must lead to. If a Muslim does not understand something about Islam he would feel that he is committing a sin if he asks someone a question that has some appearance of doubting the truth of Islamic teaching. Even worse is in any way criticising Islam; not only is this seen as a terrible sin, but in some Islam-dominated countries, it is a very serious criminal offence. (Is this why so few Muslims are willing to criticise Islamic terrorists and embassy burners?)

Muslim women are not able to take part in many sports because of the dress code that they feel forced to accept, and Muslim girls are denied the right to behave like other children.

Islam teaches that Allah created everything including Man; so they are not free to accept the truth of that great pillar of science that is organic evolution. Indeed, any science that can be interpreted as contradicting the Koran must be disregarded.

If they are to follow Islam faithfully they must not either produce or indulge in art that depicts any living thing. They must not drink anything alcoholic, nor eat pork or bacon.

Above all, a Muslim believes that if he gives up his religion he risks eternal torment in the next world, and he knows that Muslims in the real world will feel justified by religious law in killing him as punishment for his apostate state.

Islam and rights, including freedom of speech and the use of alcohol

Nations dominated by Muslims often have poor records for freedom of speech, freedom of religious practice, women's rights, rights in general, and democratic government. Nations with an Islamic majority often oppress their minorities. They seem only too willing to force their non-Muslim minorities to live by the rules of Islam.

Islam forbids Muslims to use alcohol and Indonesian Muslims in positions of power have made some attempts to ban alcohol, even in Bali. The Balinese are predominantly Hindu and have no prohibition of alcohol; most of the tourists who visit Bali are non-Muslim. Of course the Balinese (Hindu and others) are financially suffering from the downturn in tourism caused first several years ago by Islamic terrorist bombings and now by the reduction in availability of alcohol.

Some Muslim nations consider changing from Islam to another religion a capital crime. I believe the Koran says that anyone who changes from Islam should be killed.

Mohammed cartoon affair

Click here to see one of dipictions of Mohammed published in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Click 'back' to return to this page.

The recent burning of embassies following the publishing of cartoons depicting Mohammed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten is an example of Muslims attempting to force their prejudices on the whole world. Freedom of the press is an aspect of freedom of speech. (Interestingly, depicting Mohammed in publications has been quite acceptable in a number of Muslim nations in past times; religious dogma, like so many things, evolves.)

This man (his face has been obscured to make him unrecognisable) was photographing his wife in these gardens! They may have been newly married. Of course newly married men like to photograph their wives when on the honeymoon; but what would be the point when the wife is dressed like this?

Islam and women's rights

The majority of those nations that treat their women as second class citizens, particularly denying them a full education and employment opportunities, are Muslim.

When the statement
"If men are not in charge of women, women will lose sight of all human values and the family will disintegrate"
was put to representative groups of people in six Islam-majority countries, the people of four of those countries either agreed or strongly agreed. For more detail see elsewhere on this page.
In some Muslim nations women are treated almost as slaves, being allowed very limited movement in public; even to the point of never being allowed to go into public places except when accompanied by a male relative. This should not be accepted as just 'religious or cultural tradition', it is just as wrong and unethical as was slavery in the seventeenth century New World. It is especially abhorrent because it is justified by no more than a belief system based on myths and delusions.

Where women have to follow the stricter version of the Muslim dress code they have very limited participation in sports. Consider, for example, how a woman in a burka would go in a swimming race!

Not only sports, but a great many outdoor activities must be made almost impossible for a woman in a burka; consider cycling and bushwalking.

Nonie Darwish, in Cruel and Usual Punishment, a critique of Sharia, listed the following quotes from the Hadiths (Muslim records of the life of The Prophet) regarding the Islamic view of women:

  • According to Mohammed, '...I looked at the (hell) Fire and saw that the majority of its residents were women.
  • People ruled by a woman will never be successful.
  • A woman advances and retires in the shape of a devil; so when one of you sees a woman, he should come to his wife and have intercourse with her.
  • Women are more harmful to men than anything.
  • The husband may forbid his wife to leave the home.
  • If the husband's body is covered with pus and blood and if the wife lick and drink it, still her obligation to her husband will not be fulfilled.
  • Women are domestic animals; beat them.
  • Women are half devils.
  • A woman has a crooked character, similar to the man's rib that she was created from. The woman is like a rib; if you try to straighten her, she will break. So if you want to get benefit from her, do so while she still has some crookedness.
  • Ghaqali said: 'If you relax the woman's bridle a tiny bit, she will take you and bolt wildly. And if you lower her cheek-piece a hand span, she will pull you and arm's length... Their deception is awesome and their wickedness is contagious; bad characters and feeble mind are their predominant traits.' Mohammed said: 'The likeness of a virtuous woman amongst women is like a red beaked crow among a hundred crows.'
Can this view of women be acceptable to any open-minded and reasonable person in the modern world?

Muslim dress code and vitamin D

Recent research has shown that many people in temperate regions are suffering from diseases associated with an insufficient supply of vitamin D. Vitamin D is naturally produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight.

With the spread of Islam to parts of the world with less sunshine than the traditionally Muslim counties, and the apparent trend toward total body covering by Muslim women, vitamin D deficiency problems will increase. The woman in the photo above would be at high risk of vitamin D deficiency-related diseases even in tropical countries if she always dresses like that when in the open.

The rules according to Mohammed

According to Cruel and Usual Punishment, a critique of Sharia written by Nonie Darwish, adoption "was forbiden by Mohammed after he married the wife of his adoptive son who was required to divorce her so the prophet could marry her. In effect it could be claimed that he was marrying his daughter-in-law, so adoption in Islam was thus made illegal after this incident."

One wonders how many other of the laws in Sharia were made for Mohammed's personal convenience.

Early in the period when Mohammed was establishing Islam he was friendly with Jewish tribes, forging alliances with the Jewish tribes of Medina and even instructing his followers to prey facing Jerusalem. It was only later, when the Jews refused to take up Islam, that he turned against the Jews. For a man who was supposedly taking instructions from an infallible god, this seems a remarkable about-face.

Child abuse

Mohammed married Aisha, the wife who was to become his favourite, when she was six years old. He consummated the marriage when she was nine.

It is largely for the reason that Muslims hold that Mohammed was of exemplary character that Muslim nations have found it difficult to pass laws making the age of consent as high as sixteen; which is common in Western Nations. For a Muslim nation to make sex with a girl under sixteen a criminal offence would be to say that Mohammed was a child abuser and a criminal.

Criticism of Islam and asking questions



Of course if I was to publish this page in a nation having Sharia law I could find my life in danger. Any criticism of Islam, and particularly of Mohammed, is regarded as a serious, even a capital, crime under Sharia.

Islam holds people by fear. Critical examination is the greatest enemy of Islam.

Few religions welcome criticism and doubt; to criticise Christian teachings in Europe between about 500AD and 1500AD would have been dangerous; but for a Muslim to criticise Islam is to risk being accused of blasphemy, and the punishment for blasphemy, in all the Sharia schools, is death.

The Koran itself orders Muslims to never ask questions: "O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which if made plain to you, may cause you trouble... Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith." (Koran 5:101-102) Remember that for a Muslim to loose his/her faith is to deserve being punished by death, but how could anyone expect to learn about Islam, or anything else, without asking questions?

Perhaps this is why we hear so few Muslim voices raised against Muslim acts of terrorism and the embassy burnings following the Mohammed cartoon affair.

Islam and art

Islam is a threat to some of humanity's most beautiful creations, that is, art; just as climate change is a threat to the beautiful creations of nature.

A traditional Chinese painting on a marble slab in front of a hotel in Georgetown, Malaysia. Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim nation, but is so far, in most places, tolerant of diverse beliefs. As this painting depicts birds it is not acceptable to strict Muslims.

Quote from Wikipedia, 2016/09/23

"Typically, though not entirely, Islamic art has focused on the depiction of patterns, whether purely geometric or floral, and Arabic calligraphy, rather than on figures, because it is feared by many Muslims that the depiction of the human form is idolatry and thereby a sin against God, forbidden in the Qur'an."
Art in any nation dominated by fundamentalist Muslims is very constrained. Islam bans the depiction of any living thing and so the traditional Islamic art of the Middle East and North Africa consists only of geometric patterns and Arabic calligraphy; it can be beautiful, but it is very, very, limited.

It is not only the visual arts that are put at risk by the rise of Islam, the performing arts are held to be questionable, even despised and banned by some Islamic regimes. Quoting from Wikipedia:

"The relationship between Islam and music has long been a complex and controversial matter. Many Muslims believe that the Quran and Sunnah prohibit music (instruments and singing); however other Muslims disagree and believe that some forms of music are permitted."
Note: "some forms of music".

Many people, myself included, would consider art as one of the greatest of the modern world's cultural heritages; after science, perhaps the best and most noble aspect of modern civilisation is the body of art that has been built up over the last few thousand years; consider the music of Handel, Bach and Beethoven. All of this would be put at risk if Islam ever came to dominate world culture. Consider what would become of the wonderful art of Western nations should intolerant Muslims such as those of Taliban Afghanistan ever come to power.

It is worth noting here that Christianity has had periods when 'profane' art was unacceptable and even actively destroyed, however, I know of no religion as intolerant of artistic expression as is Islam.


Monkey bench
Dog bench
These photos show several of the animal benches at Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple in Georgetown, Malaysia. Buddhism is a positive and happy religion, as these benches suggest.

Don't look for any humour or joy in connection with Islam; but the photos have another link with the subject of this page – Islamic writings speak of non-Muslims as apes or pigs.

Allah will help Muslims find and kill all Jews: (from the Sahih Bukhari Hadith – via Cruel and Usual Punishment, p166)
"The Hour Resurrection will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and kill them. And the Jews will hide behind the rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!"

The duty of Muslim men toward non-Muslims (from Cruel and Usual Punishment quoting the Koran – different translations of the Koran differ somewhat):

  • Your Lord inspired the angels with the message: 'I will terrorise the unbelievers. Therefore smite them on their necks and every joint and incapacitate them. Strike off their heads and cut off each of their fingers and toes.' (Koran 8:12)
  • Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, torture them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war. (Koran 9:5)

Anyone who leaves Islam should be killed

Under Sharia, apostates (those who have given up Islam) are treated very badly (from Cruel and Usual Punishment, p169):
  • Apostates are to be given three days to repent and return to Islam. If they refuse, they may be immediately killed. All Sharia books agree unanimously on this point.
  • It is obligatory for the caliph (Muslim leader of the nation) to ask the apostate to repent and return to Islam. If he refuses he may be immediately killed.
  • There is no penalty for killing an apostate (nor is any expiation required), since it is killing someone who deserves to die.
  • Testimony of apostates is not admissible.
  • An apostate does not inherit from Muslim parents.
  • Marriage of an apostate is immediately dissolved if the spouse is and remains Muslim.
It is interesting in the above that, while sharia pronounces the death penalty for apostacy, yet there are other laws that relate to living apostates. It seems that the general Muslim population are less willing to kill than the writers of Sharia were to write death penalties into law.

Also see Appenix A.

The life of a non-Muslim is worth much less than the life of a Muslim and women are worth only half as much as men

(From Cruel and Usual Punishment). "If a person has been killed or caused to die by another, the latter has to pay blood money or compensation, as follows:
  • 100 000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man.
  • 50 000 riyals if a Muslim woman.
  • 50 000 riyals if a Christian man.
  • 25 000 riyals if a Christian woman.
  • 6 666 riyals if a Hindu man.
  • 3 333 riyals if a Hindu woman."
As noted above, if the person killed is an apostate, then no blood money need be paid.

Other religions must be kept out of Islamic nations, Islam must be forced on other peoples

Cruel and Usual Punishments lists the duties of a caliph (Muslim leader of a Muslim nation):
  • To safeguard Islam in its original form, and to protect against the introduction of new things into Islam;
  • To defend the rights of Muslims abroad, and to see to it that Islam can spread freely in non-Muslim lands (including the use of force);
  • To organise jihad against any non-Muslim government that prevents Muslim dawa (proselytizers) from entering the land.
Is it any wonder that Islamic nations are backward, considering the first point above?

On the other hand

I should also say a bit in favour of Islamic tolerance. For much of the life of the predominantly Islamic Ottoman empire, it was highly tolerant of minority religions. The largest Islamic nation on Earth, Indonesia, is religiously tolerant and treats its women with equality.

It also should be said that the Christian delusion – the primary religion of Western nations – has a long history of a lack of tolerance for, not only atheism and other religions, but anyone who wanted to stray a little from main-stream Christianity.

Islam is certainly not the only religion that has at least gone through phases of shocking intolerance, neither is it universally intolerant today.

A limit to Islamic excesses?

In Gaza the Hamas group take Islam to what most people would think of as an extreme; they are so out of touch with reality that they continually provoke Israel into bombing them and have so alienated Western nations that much of the aid that they have relied on to survive has been cut off.

However, even Hamas, who are more extreme than the Fata group whom they replaced, are not 'Islamic' enough for a new group, the 'Soldiers of God' or 'Warriors of God'.

Surely more main-stream Muslims must be seeing that this, and the corrupt Islamic republic of Iran, are demonstrating that a state run on 'Islamic principles' is unworkable? I am hopeful of a gradual reaction against extremist Islam and a return to something closer to rationality in the Islamic nations.

Islamic republic

The term 'Islamic republic' is an oxymoron. A state cannot be both run under the domination of Islamic clerics – such as happens in Iran – and be a republic. A republic is a state that is run by a government elected freely and democratically by the people of the nation; in a state such as Iran political candidates must first be acceptable to the unelected clerics who are in charge.

The rigged Iranian election of 2009 demonstrated the corruption that arrises in such a contradictory situation. The ruling clerics wanted both to make the state look democratic to the people and to the outside world and yet to have the party they favoured 'elected' to government.

In August 2009 we heard claims that those who demonstrated in objection to the rigged election and later 'died in custody' were actually tortured to death. An Islamic state is, almost by definition, barbaric, because it is based on laws that date back to a barbaric period in the history of Arabia.

Islamic nations are backward

Turks suffer from the ignorance about organic evolution that goes with Islam. A larger proportion of Turks believe creationism than citizens of any European nation.
Those nations that are dominated by Islam are frequently backward in things like education (particularly of females), freedoms, democracy, and economic development. As mention under 'On the other hand', some secular nations having an Islamic majority, for example Indonesia and Turkey, are relatively progressive, but many of those nations whose governments are dominated by the Islamic delusion, such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran have very poor records for personal freedoms, democratic government, and cultural development. The backwardness seems almost directly proportional to the relative dominance of Islam.

Need for research

Is there a statistical link between the dominance of Islam in a nation and its economic weakness? Does the dominance of Islam in a nation correspond to low rates of economic growth? I don't know.

If there is a statistical link between Islam and either weak or slow growth in a nation's economy, then we need to ask why?

The suppression of women's rights would seem to be a likely factor. How can any nation achieve its full potential while keeping half its population as virtual slaves and in ignorance?

If a nation concentrates on giving children an Islamic education rather than a free-thinking education strong in science then cultural and economic growth are likely to suffer. (Just as education in the USA is suffering where education is based on Christian fundamentalism rather than free and critical thinking.)

Also see below; Does Islam or Sharia make a state more likely to fail?

Does Islam export misery?
Does Islam or Sharia make a state more likely to fail?

The countries of the world at greatest risk of failing
Ranked from most to less likely
See text on left for data sources
CountryPredominant religions
SudanIslam, traditional African religions, some Christianity
ZimbabweTraditional African and Christianity
Chad50% Islam, 27% traditional African, 23% Christian
IraqIslam, minor Yezidi (practiced by some Kurds), minor Christianity
Democratic Republic of the CongoMostly Christian, significant Muslim minority
AfghanistanIslam 99%
Ivory CoastMost traditional African, 23% Islam, 12% Christian
PakistanIslam 97%
Central African RepublicChristian about half, traditional African 24%, Islam 15%
Guinea65% Muslim, 33% traditional African, 2% Christian
Bangladesh83% Muslim, 16% Hindu, Buddhist and Christian minorities
Burma (Myanmar)Predominantly Buddhist, Christian and Muslim minorities
HaitiVoodoo and Christianity
North KoreaUnknown
EthiopiaAbout 40% Muslim, 40% Christian, remainder local religions
Uganda62% Christian, 19% traditional, 15% Muslim
Lebanon55% Islam, most of the remainder are Christian
NigeriaIslam and Christianity, some traditional African
Sri Lanka70% Buddhist, 15% Hindu, 8% each Muslim and Christian
About one in six of the people of the world are Muslims. It can be seen from the above table that large Muslim populations are strongly correlated with increased likelihood of failure of government.
In a notoriously over-populated world, Muslims are encouraged by their religion to have large families – it helps to spread the disease.
Every year the Fund for Peace and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace jointly analyse and score countries on twelve social, economic, political and military indicators of national well-being. On the right, ranked from worst to better according to their combined scores in 2007, are the 20 countries in the world that are closest to collapse. The religions of the peoples of the countries were taken from the New Internationalist World Guide 2003/04.

Nine of the twenty countries listed have Muslim majorities (four of the five most likely to fail), seven others have significant Muslim minorities. Twelve of the most unstable 13 have at least a significant Muslim minority. Of course this does not prove that Islam is the problem, but it is suggestive. (Is Robert Magarbi as much a liability to Zimbabwe as Islam is to the other nations on the list?)

Many European nations have minorities made up of Muslims who largely arrived as refugees, or whose parents or grand parents were refugees. At least some in these Muslim minority peoples are now pressing their adopted countries for the right to live under Sharia. Many, it seems, are opposed to the free speech that is traditional in their countries of residence, as demonstrated by the Mohammed Cartoon affair.

Of great concern to the ethnic Europeans of course, is that if the Muslims ever obtain the political ascendency (and demographically it seems that they will eventually do so, as their fertility rate is much higher than that of the ethnic Europeans) they, the Muslims, will impose Sharia on all residents.

It seems like life under Sharia in the countries of origin has made the people miserable enough to seek refuge in non-Muslim counties, and then the Islamic delusion has influenced the later generations – who didn't experience the misery of actually living under Sharia in the countries of origin – to again take up the cause of the misery.

Is Islam and Sharia spreading like a pandemic?

As I write this section (mid June 2009) Iranian refugees living in Australia are marching in sympathy to the Iranians protesting in the home-land over the recent and apparently rigged election there. The TV coverage of the Australian marches shows women wearing the traditional Muslim head covering – labelling them as members of the same religion that is the cause of the problems in Iran!

Calling God Allah

In early 2010 Churches in Malaysia were being vandalised because Malaysian Muslims object to the Christians calling God Allah.

This seems remarkably intolerant and simply ignorant. Apparently the Muslims concerned do not realise that the God of the Christians is their God. In Arab nations Christian call their god Allah; Allah simply means God.

The main difference between Islam and Christianity is that in addition to Jesus and the prophets of the Old Testament, Muslims believe that the last and principal prophet was Mohamed. The God of Jews, Christians and Muslims is the same; the differences between the religions are in the other bits.

I suppose it is futile to expect religious people to behave rationally.

Islam and Indonesia

Until the second decade of this millennium Indonesia has provided an example of religious tolerance in a nation with very mixed religions. While there are more Indonesians who identify as Muslims than with any other religion there are substantial minorities of Christians, Hindus and other (or no) religions.

Of great concern to non-Muslims must be the sentencing of the Christian governor of Jakarta to two years jail for blasphemy. His specific crime: he said that clerics had used a Koranic verse to mislead voters by telling them that Muslims were not allowed to vote for a Christian.

This is clearly a miscarriage of justice motivated by religiously-based xenophobia.

Inside Muslim Minds

This is the title of a book written by Riaz Hassan. It is based around a study that involved interviewing around 6000 Muslim respondents in Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Iran and turkey. It is a large and very detailed book. I cannot possibly do justice to it in a few paragraphs, but I will pick out a few points that I feel justifies my title for this page, "Islam's threat to freedom and a rational society".

The table below shows the results from three of what I feel are the more revealing questions of the total of 20 used in the interviews.

PropositionLevel of agreement
GlobalEgyptIndonesiaIranKazakhstanMalaysia PakistanTurkey
Islamic laws about apostasy should be strictly enforced in Muslim countriesStrongVery strongStrongStrongStrongVery strongVery strongDisagree
Strict enforcement of punishment under Islamic law such as amputation of limbs for theft will significantly reduce crimeStrongVery strong StrongStrongStrongVery strongVery strongDisagree
If men are not in charge of women, women will lose sight of all human values and the family will disintegrateStrongVery strong StrongDisagreeNot askedStrongStrongDisagree

As mentioned elsewhere, apostasy is punishable by death under Islam. (See "Apostates should be killed", a section on this page, and Appendix A, also on this page, quoted from Islam Questions and Answer, on the Internet.)

Islam and environment

Red stringybark trees suffering from exceptional heat and drought near my home.
Red stringybark
Climate change will increase the frequency and severity of periods of record heat and drought.
More information on another page on this site.
There are many environmental threats to our shared world in the early twenty-first century. If we are to combat these threats we must all take serious action.

Surely we have a duty to protect the planet for the sake of future generations, including our children and grand-children.

Islam distracts Muslims from the threats that are damaging the real world. It imposes many distractions on them, causing them to waste their time when any sane world-view would encourage them to use it to help protect our shared home.

Islam and noise

Unnecessary environmental noise is very annoying. In predominantly, or even substantially, Muslim areas such as northern Bali and Lombok, loud and unpleasant calls to prayer are broadcast from mosques five times a day. (If they were, as Mohammed stipulated, simply in the natural voice of the muezzin, they would be little problem, but with modern electronic amplification they are very unpleasant, at least to non-Muslims.)

Muslims subject non-Muslims to this five times a day, every day; starting in the early morning and finishing around sun-set.

It would be interesting to compare this imposition on the natural right to a quiet environment to the much lower levels of wind turbine noise and the level of complaint to that, at least among those who object to nearby turbines. And then there is the unnecessary noise from the excessive use of vehicle horns in some parts of the world and from modified exhaust systems in other places.

Islam and Christianity

Several predominantly Muslim nations and states have at least seriously considered enforcing sharia, Islamic law, which includes barbaric punishments such as death by stoning (for adultery and homosexuality among other things) and amputation of a hand (for theft). Brunei did enact sharia in April 2019.

While these laws date from the Christian Old Testament, which is the Jewish Torah (or is it Talmud?), no predominantly Christian or Jewish nations would remotely consider bringing them into their modern legal systems.

What is it specifically about Islam that can cause people to behave in terribly cruel ways?

Fundamentalist revival; Barry Jones

Barry Jones wrote in his book What is to be Done? on the fundamentalist revival of Islam. Quoting him:
The characteristics and beliefs of Islamic fundamentalism include the following:
  • an insistence on rule by theocracy and the inerrancy of scripture;
  • dogmatism and inability to comprehend differing points of view;
  • hostility to science and scientific method;
  • belief in miracles;
  • belief that the creation of the Earth was relatively recent, humans have not changed since their creation, and the theory of evolution is wrong;
  • rejection of evidence-based decision-making;
  • hostility to modernity;
  • resistance to feminism and the changing roles of women;
  • hierarchy and paternalism;
  • homophobia;
  • self-definition as 'fighters', and cultivation of a siege mentality;
  • constant need to have enemies, to provided the rationale for forceful action;
  • dismissal of United Nations and international opinion, including disregard for UNESCO World Heritage sites;
  • suppression of dissent, including punishing critics or whistleblowers;
  • readiness to act outside the rule of law, and to assume that 'the end justifies the means';
  • assertion of simple explanations for complex problems; and
  • deep suspicion of 'the Other'.
I can recommend Barry's book. It is an excellent critique of how the modern world is moving away from Enlightenment in many ways, religious fundamentalism being only one of them.

This section added

Human rights in Muslim majority countries

Several Muslim majority countries have terrible human rights records, several that come to mind, particularly in regard to women's rights are, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. World Population Review lists the 10 countries with the lowest human freedom indices as (worst on top):
  1. Syria
  2. Venezuela
  3. Yemen
  4. Sudan
  5. Egypt
  6. Iran
  7. Somalia
  8. Burundi
  9. Iraq
  10. Libya
Of these, only Venezuela and Burundi do not have Muslim majorities. The same organisation gives a somewhat similar ranking for the 10 countries with the least gender equality, again, worst on top:
  1. Afghanistan
  2. Yemen
  3. Iraq
  4. Pakistan
  5. Syria
  6. Democratic Republic of Congo
  7. Iran
  8. Mali
  9. Chad
  10. Saudi Arabia
Of these the Democratic Republic of Congo is the only non-Muslim majority country.

The Global Economy gives a different ranking to that of World Population Review for human rights, again, worst on top:

  1. Yemen
  2. Iran
  3. China
  4. Egypt
  5. Central African Republic
  6. Syria
  7. Democratic Republic of Congo
  8. North Korea
  9. Burma
  10. Sudan
China, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea and Burma are not Muslim majority.

Also see Wikipedia, Human rights in Muslim-majority countries.

A somewhat related article was published in Global Issues, by Karlos Zurutuza (Hamburg, Germany); Friday, April 07, 2023; Inter Press Service. It was titled "Journalists in Balochistan: Keep Quiet or Die". Balochistan (or Baluchistan) was forcibly annexed by Pakistan in 1948.


In conclusion

All religions are delusions. This planet is facing huge problems, what is needed is clear and rational thinking, not thought processes constrained by religions based on the writings of deluded people who lived many centuries ago when the world was a very different place.

Modern Islam is of particular concern because it is becoming increasingly intolerant and its practitioners more numerous, especially in the West, and of particular concern to me, in my country, Australia.

The Koran, similarly to the Christian New Testament, was not written down when Mohammed dictated it. It was passed on from person to person by word of mouth for several generations before being written down. Anyone who has played the game 'Chinese whispers' knows how quickly errors will creep into even short messages entrusted to people's memories. To say that the Koran is God's word requires a greater than average 'leap of faith', even for those who believe in a God.



I recommend the books below:
Cruel and Usual Punishment
Nonie Darwish

God is not Great
Christopher Hitchens

How are we to live: Ethics in an age of self-interest
Peter Singer

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Questioning Islam
Peter Townsend

The God Delusion
Richard Dawkins

The Trouble with Islam
Irshad Manji

Inside Muslim Minds (highly recommended)
Riaz Hassan

An Outline of Islam
C. R. North

People like Darwish, Ali and Manji who are willing to openly criticise Islam must be commended for their bravery and commitment to the truth and free speech. One need only remember the death sentence placed upon Salmon Rushdie for his daring to write The Satanic Verses to realise what they risk.

Related pages

Related external pages

Brunei brings in barbaric sharia laws including death by stoning; 2019/04/02.

Facebook site on Ex-Muslims of Australia

Australian Ex-Muslims

Browse The Koran; a useful English translation of The Koran; includes a search facility

Rational Wiki, Qur'anic contradictions

A record of depictions of Mohammed.

The Problems with Islam; a page of No Beliefs

Human rights in Muslim-majority countries, Wikipedia

Related pages on this site



Appenix A – Apostasy

Under Islamic law, a person who gives up Islam is subject to the death penalty. This is barbaric and quite unacceptable in any civilised society.

The following is quoted from Islam Question and Answer, on the Internet, (copied on 2015/07/24).

What is apostasy and what constitutes apostasy? What is the ruling on the apostate (al-murtadd)?

1 – Riddah (apostasy) refers to when a Muslim becomes a disbeliever by saying a clear statement to that effect, or by uttering words which imply that (i.e., which imply kufr or disbelief), or he does something that implies that (i.e., an action which implies kufr or disbelief).

2 – What constitutes apostasy

The matters which constitute apostasy are divided into four categories:

(a) Apostasy in beliefs, such as associating others with Allaah, denying Him, or denying an attribute which is proven to be one of His attributes, or by affirming that Allaah has a son. Whoever believes that is an apostate and a disbeliever.

(b) Apostasy in words, such as insulting Allaah or the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

(c) Apostasy in actions, such as throwing the Qur'an into a filthy place, because doing that shows disrespect towards the words of Allaah, so it is a sign that one does not believe. Other such actions include prostrating to an idol or to the sun or moon.

(d) Apostasy by omission, such as not doing any of the rituals of Islam, or turning away from following it altogether.

3 – What is the ruling on the apostate?

If a Muslim apostatises and meets the conditions of apostasy – i.e., he is of sound mind, an adult and does that of his own free will – then his blood may be shed with impunity. He is to be executed by the Muslim ruler or by his deputy – such as the qaadi or judge, and he is not to not be washed (after death, in preparation for burial), the funeral prayer is not to be offered for him and he is not to be buried with the Muslims.

The evidence that the apostate is to be executed is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): "Whoever changes his religion, execute him." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2794). What is meant by religion here is Islam (i.e., whoever changes from Islam to another religion).