Objectivist in Kuwait


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Any social movement will have a leader at its helm. This doesn't mean that the leader is to blame for the atrocities. The leader offers the drive and the religion defines his direction.


That was a nice post and I was basically with you until this part quoted.

Two questions:

1. Do you know of any organized atrocities that have occurred in mankind without leaders who wield power?

2. Do you think all organized atrocities and wars have happened because of religion?

It's pretty simple. In war and mass murder, you always have leaders. You don't always have religion. There have been plenty of wars throughout history where religion was not the issue. Hell, in America's most bloody war, the Civil War, religion wasn't even on the table. So what is more fundamental?

I say it's leaders.

I don't like your phrase "the leader is to blame for the atrocities." (Dayaamm, that sounds aggressive. But it is not intended that way. :smile: ) I use the epistemological method of identifying first, then evaluating. You can't always do that because of the nature of the human brain (I don't want to get into neuroscience right now, but there is plenty of empirical evidence to back that statement up), but using an intentional cognitive before normative process in thinking is the only way I have found to take command of my own reason and use it correctly.

So when I say leaders are fundamental to organized atrocities, I am not saying they are the cause. Epistemologically, I am before that. I am identifying components and their relation to the whole. I will only evaluate after doing that.

Saying "the leader is to blame for the atrocities" is like saying that the heart is to blame for human life. No, it's a fundamental component of human life. If you remove it, a person dies, but it's not a sole cause for that person's life. It's not "to blame" for that person being alive. That doesn't even make sense.

Ditto for leader. Remove the leader and it doesn't matter what religion or philosophy is left over. You can have pure Satan worship or pure Buddhism or pure Christianity or pure Islam or pure whatever spread throughout the population and it won't matter. People will not go to war or commit organized atrocities without a leader lathering them up to do so.

In light of that identification, which I hold is a correct identification, only then we can think about what to do about it and search for causes and solutions, that is, if we want to have our premises in order. (I don't mean to imply that this is the only identification that is necessary. But I am saying that it needs to be present.)

Or maybe you know of some case in history where my identification has not been true--i.e., a case where people have organized in a collective without a leader and performed mass evil? Or they have committed mass evil without the knowledge and incitement of the leader? If you know of such a case, I am interested in reading about it. If not, I will keep to my premise.

Identifying the fundamental parts is critical in looking at a problem. If you don't do that, you most likely end up perpetuating the problem because most of the things you will propose to fix it will not work.

And they can't because reality is organized, in other words, some things are more fundamental than others when looking at conditions for existence and causality. If you base an evaluation or solution for a situation on an incomplete notion that ignores a fundamental part, reality will speak louder than your imagination. Reality will work like reality works, not like any theory that ignores it.

Our minds create and organize identifications, but do not create the things (and their natures and contexts) that are organized, nor do they create metaphysical priorities.

btw - While I do not agree that religion is fundamental to organized atrocities, I do agree that a widely accepted narrative of some kind of servitude for mankind is. (Do your part for the Fatherland. Do your part for the Master Race. Do your part for Queen and country. Do your part make the world a safer place. Do your part to make the world a utopia. Do your part to purge mankind of that evil filth over there. Etc.)

And I agree that religion provides great narratives of servitude. (Do your part for God, which actually means do your part for what God wants for mankind.) But religion is not the only show in town.

There's another point. These narratives are always modified and tailor-fit to justify atrocities by the leaders of the time. The same narrative to one leader means something completely different to another.

To keep to the Civil War example--and a very curious example at that of rationalization on both sides, the American experiment in freedom meant the freedom to own slaves to one part of the country and the freedom to demand servitude to a strong centralized union to the other. Notice that they are different and both are total violations of freedom, but both used the same USA history to get to their respective positions. Same basic narrative, different interpretations.

Do you think any of this would have mattered without the leaders rabble-rousing the population? Do you think one side would have gone to war against the other without the leaders commanding them to? Do you think the narratives would have survived as major mass-movement prompts without the leaders using them in a bastardized manner to goad people?

I don't.

I have never seen anything remotely like that in all my studies.

So in terms of fundamentals, narrative is a tool for an evil leader to incite a population to perform mass evil, not a cause for an evil population.

In fact, I hold it's only one tool among several.

I don't believe we can get rid of leaders from social organization because of human nature, but I do believe we can curtail what leaders can and cannot do. For instance, putting restraints in charter documents like individual rights, checks and balances, relatively short durations for holding power, instructions for removal of a power-holder for breaching limitations, etc. But that's another issue.

On religion, my conclusion is that we have to worry more about what a leader can do to a narrative to rabble-rouse than about the nature of the narrative itself.


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I just had a great idea for testing the true mettle of a religion, albeit a totally impractical one.

Set short term limits on religious leaders. An Imam could only lead a mosque for a few years, then he would have to go back to being a normal Muslim and hand over his power to another. Ditto for Pastors and Priests and all other holy men and women.

Then see how long the religion lasts and in what form.


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Michael, you might like the leadership structure of the United Church of Canada (I put the lie to my sweeping I Loathe All Religion claim by excepting this church from my loathe blanket), I think.

The leader of the United Church of Canada is called The Moderator.

The United united the former Congregationalist and part-Presbyterian churches of Canada, and of all the 'mainline' churces is the most pinko-libertarian of social policies, moderate to the Nth on ecumenical matters. Of interest to your scope of Leadership is the governance structure of some 61 churches that came to unite. They all had congregationalist forms of leadership!

I was wrong to state I loathe all religions, or all religion. I loathe, hate, reject only the most extreme behaviour in the religious repertoire, its hate, wars, exclusion, slavery, etcetera.

The examples I used in the illustrative video are designed to offset my point: who can credit Religion as the instigator or force behind the Houla Massacre? No, it is the leadership that bears responsibility for the atrocities in this case, not the religious leadership**, but the political. Point to MSK on Houla. Point to MSK on 'behaviour' as the proper focus of both our loathing and our inquiries, and point to MSK for directing us to look at how the human takes the fabric of religion to put to evil ends.

Ten points to Haider for a prose-poem listing of the evolution of and historical/cognitive underpinnings of religious Mythos and Organization. At some time in human pre-history the Religion was the world view and the leaders were the interpreters and tale-tellers and explicators. Religions are deeply implicated in the entire rise of the human being from Neandertalish to Objectivish.

Further points for patiently correcting an over-correction on my part. We agree on so many things, I prefer to give way on apparent disagreements, in order to advance discussion.

Me, I like the detail, the concrete, and in some cases the fine-grain minutia of events and actors. I seek to apply any lessons offered to real events in the here and now. My frame of reference today is the Levant, specifically the religio-political civil war emerging in Syria.

On one 'side' the Shia-derived sect of the ruling 'haves' -- the corrupt clan-mafia of the top state, along with various Christian sects, some rooted in the most ancient of indigenous Syriac churches.

Opposed, the overwhelming Sunni (rural) majority who have been abused in forty-plus years of 'secular' dictatorship under the Alawi presidency and the officially non-religious Baath movement.

In the Houla massacre, a history at dispute (who killed the children?), but not the geography. In the hills, the Alawi villages, in the plain, Houla, Sunni islamic. The ghosts (Alawi-majority irregular militia) of the Shabiha are said to have accompanied Syrian armed forces (along with inevitable security overseers) to the village to engage in savage reprisals against Sunni families believed to support the rebels, following checkpoint attacks.

This will be a war divided along sectarian lines, As MSK points out, a premature identification can label the war wrongly as religious, and a premature identification can misjudge the actors and the motivations.

Yes we can join in condemning the outrageous and strictly sect-based provocations broadcast on Saudi religious television channels (the Sheik Adnan Aroor called for Syrian Christian to (go to) Beirut, and for Syria's Alawis to (go into) the meatgrinder. He is a leader, not a religion, and a leader of a certain stature compared to the authorities whose orders are followed).

We can condemn then the religious expressions that deserve condemnation and be no closer to devising an end or solution or correct motivation to explain the deaths, massacres, bombardments, detentions, and tortures.

We can inch up further in the sky and see this as a religious-inflected war between main actors and proxies, Iran/Shia against Saudi-Gulf/Sunni, lonely Shia Syria against ugly crazy Sunni autocracy and harsh repressive religious state.

We can inch down toward the ground to Houla and see implacable local conflict between political blocs, not sects, between a 'regime village' and a 'rebel village.' Up in the sky, it seems religious, but down low, it is not so clear.

The religious regime in Tehran and Riyadh each tormenting its citizens in similar ways, by holy edict. The 'secular' regime in Damascus fiercely tormenting its people in the name of religious inclusion and a secular state ...

So, in sum, I am chastened. I do not loathe all religion or all religions. I cannot do so in practice and so I cannot say I do. When you see me singing along with Gloria In Excelsis Deo at midnight mass this winter, you will understand.

Michael is essentially correct to identify Leadership as a foundation, a fundament. I could argue that other fundaments should be included as a frame for view -- Mythos, Institutions and Governance all are necessary to analysis, and where we mis-align in analysis may be merely or mostly in scope, perspectives respective to our elevation in the sky looking down on events and actors and ideologies ...


And to celebrate my return to reason, a blonder secular Canucki Muslim singing a song about homeland and community, not god; song of peace, pride, and reconciliation from a land seething with religious/political conflict (no, not Iraq, Afghanistan):

Again I warmly welcome Haider and I again celebrate the breadth and oomph of OL's open-mind policies. Kudos to MSK and Kat on this day of days, the birth day of Our Leader.

May you live another 49 years, Maestro! Turn on the fountain of goodness.


** Oddly, the Alawis of Syria were left no spiritual leadership under the Assad/Baath regime. They have been ruthlessly secularized, Sunnified in allowed expression, and subsumed under The House of Assad. Any tributary evil that pertains solely to Alawism is small to insignificance -- this is a mountain syncretic faith, which has retreated to its bastions under centuries of suspicion, exclusion and sometime persecution.

Alawis were stripped of their distinct religious identity and state-educated into fealty to the State and its Leader, thus supporting MSK's point, Haider's view on separation of religion per se from its individual adherents and their behaviour, and not my earlier contention about Religion tout court, thus proving Brant's point as well.

Now chastened, I scuttle away to make peace with that man in Arizona.

Edited by william.scherk
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Reason and religion need not be exclusive, however the tenants of a religion can and are quite often at odds with it. For instance, I find that reformed theology, or Calvinism, which is the dominate trend in popular christianity nowadays, as a most anti-reason religious belief because it indemnifies the believer from both personal resp. from his actions as well as the belief in man not having free will. The caveat being that God's omniscience overrides anything a man may do. He is "guilty as charged" from the fact of merely being a man. Mormonism on the other hand, the religion I find most attune to objectivist principles, is centered around free will and the importance of personal resp. and the pursuit of positive values. It really is a tug of war between the calvinists and the other religions of free will, at least here in the USA, or free will vs. fatalists. I don't know what islam's stance is on that sort of thing, but if there is a belief in free will then that value ought to be embraced and used as a tool to argue against the nihilism of other jihadist or extreme belief's.

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Two questions:

1. Do you know of any organized atrocities that have occurred in mankind without leaders who wield power?

2. Do you think all organized atrocities and wars have happened because of religion?

My answer would be "No" to both questions, and I still disagree with your premises. :)

Allow me to explain:

Leaders are required for any social movement, good or bad. That's just how human beings organize themselves. We cannot agree on a plan of attack if every soldier has equal say in what's to be done. There has to be a general that issues commands for others to follow for a military campaign to succeed. This is true for any movement that involves people. There's even a saying by Prophet Muhammad, I believe it's to the tune of: "If more than two of you are traveling, appoint a leader."

But this doesn't mean that - fundamentally - a leader is responsible for atrocities (I avoided using "blame" here, but will get to that later :P). A leader is a tool for social organization.

How does a leader influence his followers? With ideas and ideals. Those who share his vision will follow him. Those who don't, won't.

I don't believe that religion is the root cause of all crimes against humanity, but crimes committed in the name of religion are rooted in religious beliefs. That's because ideas are more fundamental than the leaders who preach them.

To give you a recent example:

A Kuwaiti Twitter user recently insulted prophet Muhammad in a tweet [truth is, he is a religious Shia Muslim, who was making fun of the Sunni view of the prophet, and said in a very vulgar way]. Many Kuwaiti Muslims were insulted, and some started calling for his execution. Some even said he should be killed "outside the law."

No leader had to tell people what to think and do. Some leaders may have guided an existing anger. Others may have worked to incite more anger and fervor in this situation. But how people view the prophet and their understanding of what their religious responsibility is towards those who insult him are religious beliefs. They are the foundation leaders build on.

So it's not religion that's to blame, but corrupt ideas and destructive values (that can often be found in religion). Combat those and the leaders who call for such ideas and values will lose their foothold in society.

I don't like your phrase "the leader is to blame for the atrocities." (Dayaamm, that sounds aggressive. But it is not intended that way. :smile: ) I use the epistemological method of identifying first, then evaluating.


Saying "the leader is to blame for the atrocities" is like saying that the heart is to blame for human life. No, it's a fundamental component of human life. If you remove it, a person dies, but it's not a sole cause for that person's life. It's not "to blame" for that person being alive. That doesn't even make sense.

Epistemologically, I identified first, then evaluated. But, in our discussion, I didn't walk you through my reasoning. I simply offered my conclusion. "Blame" is a moral evaluation, which doesn't apply to the heart (which is why trying to use it in this context doesn't make sense :P). To say that leaders are responsible for the atrocities means that they are to blame (i.e. we would morally judge them as being reprehensible for being responsible for such crimes).

I more or less agree with your take on the nature of reality and identification, but I disagree with your application of these ideas on this issue.

To sum up: Ideas are fundamental to how people think and values are fundamental to how people conduct themselves. Religion as a source of ideas and values can potentially guide people towards committing atrocities. This doesn't mean religion is a necessary component in evil, but evil (or misguided) ideas are at the root of every atrocity. Leaders are the instruments of applying ideas in a mass (social) scale.

Again I warmly welcome Haider and I again celebrate the breadth and oomph of OL's open-mind policies. Kudos to MSK and Kat on this day of days, the birth day of Our Leader.

Thank you, once again, for the warm welcome. :)

I don't know what islam's stance is on that sort of thing, but if there is a belief in free will then that value ought to be embraced and used as a tool to argue against the nihilism of other jihadist or extreme belief's.

The discussion of "freewill and fatalism" has divided the Muslims since the embryonic days of Islam. There are three takes on the issue, amongst the Muslims:

1- The Ash'aris, who believe in fatalism. The Majority of Muslims fall under this category. Having said that, it's not always the case that a person will completely believe in everything his religion teaches. Many Muslims are influenced by the idea of personal responsibility - whether through personal observation or exposure to Western philosophies - and so integrate this idea into their personal outlook.

2- The Mu'tazalites, who believe in complete freewill. They were accused of being heretics by the majority for this idea, amongst other ideas. I don't know of any Mu'tazalite presence in the world today, but their ideas live on.

3- The Shia, who believe in "a matter between the two." When asked to explain this, Imam Ali asked the person asking if he could lift one leg off the ground. The man said he can. He then asked him if he can lift both feet off the ground. He said that it was impossible for him to do so. Imam Ali concluded that freewill is only applicable to some areas, but not in others (i.e. we have freewill in what we do, but not in altering the laws of nature, which we must accept as-is).

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I don't believe that religion is the root cause of all crimes against humanity, but crimes committed in the name of religion are rooted in religious beliefs.



Good deeds committed in the name of religion are rooted in religious beliefs, also.

You can't use a statement like that to prove anything fundamental since the opposite is so glaringly evident.

(btw - I'm not arguing against the impact of good ideas. I'm just saying that the leader has far more importance to spreading it and getting it accepted than is usually seen in our subcommunity.)

That's because ideas are more fundamental than the leaders who preach them.

In other words, you're saying that the fundamental impact of a monster leader like Osama bin Laden and, say, a benevolent Sufist leader are identical because they both use the same fundamental Islamic ideas?

Sorry, I just don't see it.

I see each twisting (i.e., "interpreting" and preaching) Islam in a form that promotes their different contradictory aims.


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Over-weight ideas and your big head will make you top-heavy. Generally speaking there is much too much inertia built into and acquired by the human organism. Intellectualizations are hard to transfer and cannot be force fed except into the psychologically gullible, which is a contradiction for truth, rationality, well being and the best utility for ideas.


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Good deeds committed in the name of religion are rooted in religious beliefs, also.

Yes they are.

Good ideas produce good deeds. Bad ideas produce bad deeds. Regardless of whether they come from a secular or a religious source.

In other words, you're saying that the fundamental impact of a monster leader like Osama bin Laden and, say, a benevolent Sufist leader are identical because they both use the same fundamental Islamic ideas?

They don't share the same fundamental Islamic ideas.

I'm saying that Islam - and every other religion - is open to a wide range of interpretations. Salafism and Sufism occupy opposite ends of the Islamic spectrum. They share common sources, but their interpretations are worlds apart. The consequences of these interpretations are evident from their actions.

What distinguishes a Salafi movement from a Sufi movement isn't the intentions of their leaders, but their interpretation and understanding of Islam. Had Osama bin Laden come out one day to say: "You know what, the West isn't so bad. We should love Americans as brothers," he probably would've been shot by his followers.

People saw in Osama a personification of what they regarded as a true Muslim, based on their views. That's why they chose to follow him.

Again, ideas are more fundamental than leadership.

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Are you familiar with this conference?


Flickr- mohamedn

The 9th US-Islamic Forum is an annual platform for dialogue at the highest level featuring leading U.S. and Muslim public officials, business leaders, scholars, journalists and commentators.

The Forum comes at a period, as almost every year, whereby turbulent transitions follow each other in rapid succession throughout the Middle East.

The ongoing implications for the U.S vs. the Islamic World and for Muslims around the world are points of discussion.

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It's a combination isn't it? Evil ideas lay the ground-work, do the seed -sowing.

An evil leader recognizes what the mass of people want to hear, and gives them

the means to what they already want to do, through his power or charisma.

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What distinguishes a Salafi movement from a Sufi movement isn't the intentions of their leaders, but their interpretation and understanding of Islam.


I agree that a body of ideas (and the narrative that carries them) is open to different interpretations. In fact, I have been saying this. We are in perfect agreement on that point.

But here's a premise that needs to be checked.

How are these ideas re-interpreted? Why do they get interpreted in such different manners? And how do new interpretations get spread so much that they become predominant in a culture?

Even Ayn Rand saw the role of the leader for this in her essay, For The New Intellectual. She claimed that there are two types of person who have molded history. She called them the Attila and the Witch Doctor. She said that after reason started coming onto the scene in civilization (after the Dark Ages), these roles started to be taken over at times by the Producer and the Intellectual. She even wanted this last one to become the "New Intellectual."

What do these all have in common? They are all leaders.

One leads in matters of the body and the other leads in matters of the mind. The Attila or Producer leads the body and Witch Doctor or Intellectual leads the mind.

Now notice that reason was around with Aristotle--waaaaaay before the Dark Ages--and Rand even used him as a source. He was the dude who advanced reason to new heights. Yet the civilization he lived in collapsed and the Roman one that followed did, too.

So what makes our times different than back then? A philosophy of reason? They had one back then. But here's something even more fundamental. They also had some nasty leaders who could not be removed without killing them or waiting for them to die off.

So I say it's the constraints we have put on leaders here in the modern world that has allowed capitalism to flourish among individuals and produce living conditions, comfort and wealth like the world has never seen before. It is the way we treat power. What are individual rights except a constraint on the power of others?

Hell, even reason spread a lot easier by constraining power. You can't have effective book-burnings without entrenched tyrants to enforce the results.

Maybe we could argue that people managed to constrain leaders because of philosophy, but how was that philosophy spread? If you read libertarian literature, they will cite a whole lot of authors, and I think they really are important, but in reality, how many people have read those works?

It took Glenn Beck to wake me up to a truth. He talked about the preachers of the Colonial times here in America--the religious leaders. The Black Robe Brigade as they were called in the Colonies. (At another point in my life, I might have called them the Witch Doctor War Machine, but not now.) Your average person did not read much back then, but he did go to church every week.

There--at church--is where ideas and principles, especially moral principles, were (and still are) openly discussed and dissected. And if a leader thinks an idea or a narrative needs to be interpreted in a quirky manner, he will preach it there and it will spread from there. It will not spread from "the culture." On the contrary, it will get into "the culture" from the religious leaders. And if a political leader picks up the banner, more religious leaders do, too.

(Fortunately, some non-religious mind leaders--i.e., intellectuals--are now starting to get it. For instance, the self-help world, especially public speaking, in the USA is a booming business and helps get great ideas into the culture. This is also where universities come in.)

You mentioned Salafism. Do you think that would have ever come about on such a large scale without Ibn Abdal-Wahhab getting in bed with Muhammad bin Saud and then the Saud dynasty promoting his interpretation?

Or do you think Christianity would have come into world prominence without the Roman Emperor Constantine opening his own bed to religious leaders, then promoting it himself as did the following leaders?

(I say "bed" metaphorically, of course. I get smart-assy at times. :smile: )

I can do this all day because that's the way history works.

The reason I keep harping on this is that there is another attitude I see often when people talk about ideas being fundamental. Unfortunately, it comes from Ayn Rand. Despite her brilliant breakdown of the roles of leaders in shaping history, she also promoted the idea (say, in "Philosophy, Who Needs It?" for one source) that civilization is essentially a puppet of philosophy.

She used a trickle down approach where a philosopher comes up with a notion of some sort, puts it into a quasi-incomprehensible tome, others study it and write their own works, this is taught in higher education, and the essential ideas become distilled as the philosophy trickles down into the popular culture as memes. She didn't use terms like "trickle down" or "meme," but those are the concepts she described. Here are a couple of quotes from that essay on trickle down to back this up:

The men who are not interested in philosophy absorb its principles from the cultural atmosphere around them—from schools, colleges, books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television, etc. Who sets the tone of a culture? A small handful of men: the philosophers. Others follow their lead, either by conviction or by default.

. . .

... Kant's system is the biggest and most intricate booby trap in the history of philosophy—but it's so full of holes that once you grasp its gimmick, you can defuse it without any trouble and walk forward over it in perfect safety. And, once it is defused, the lesser Kantians—the lower ranks of his army, the philosophical sergeants, buck privates, and mercenaries of today—will fall of their own weightlessness, by chain reaction.

It hasn't worked out that way, though. But that is a long discussion--in fact, one we are starting to have right now. :smile:

I say she kind of left out some stuff.

Here is another quote from that essay on memes:

Have you ever thought or said the following? "Don't be so sure—nobody can be certain of anything." You got that notion from David Hume (and many, many others), even though you might never have heard of him. Or: "This may be good in theory, but it doesn't work in practice." You got that from Plato. Or: "That was a rotten thing to do, but it's only human, nobody is perfect in this world." You got it from Augustine. Or: "It may be true for you, but it's not true for me." You got it from William James. Or: "I couldn't help it! Nobody can help anything he does." You got it from Hegel. Or: "I can't prove it, but I feel that it's true." You got it from Kant. Or: "It's logical, but logic has nothing to do with reality." You got it from Kant. Or: "It's evil, because it's selfish." You got it from Kant. Have you heard the modern activists say: "Act first, think afterward"? They got it from John Dewey.

Some people might answer: "Sure, I've said those things at different times, but I don't have to believe that stuff all of the time. It may have been true yesterday, but it's not true today." They got it from Hegel. They might say: "Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." They got it from a very little mind, Emerson.

In other words, popular sayings trickle down from a larger body of complex ideas. Hmmmm... I agree that this happens sometimes, but I don't see this as more fundamental than leaders to molding society. That's because the popular sayings in the culture often reflect different sources than distilling them from a body of ideas, and they often have more to do with the personality and the aims of leaders than any philosophy or religion.

I have recently studied propaganda and persuasion techniques (actually, I am still studying these things and will be for a long time to come since I consider that I have only scratched the surface). Who uses these processes? Leaders, of course.

Also, many popular sayings--even layman philosophy kind of sayings--get into the culture from a leader or celebrity saying them at moments of great exposure and/or repeating them in public. And such a leader or celebrity can have no other interest than to sound profound or cute at the moment. In other words, to show off.

Again, ideas are more fundamental than leadership.

Once again, how is this possible when the same horrible mass outcomes have happened so often with different ideas, but never without leaders who are ill intentioned?

The ideas change, but the ill-intentioned leader is always there.

And you say the idea is more fundamental than the leader.

So what is your standard of fundamental? Mine is that it always has to be present.

I also say a person--even and especially a leader--can choose to be a good person rather than a bully irrespective of the ideas in the culture around him. It happens all the time. Even on a family level, notice that parents with great ideas can have awful children and vice-versa.

It's an individual choice we all have to make and no idea mankind has yet come up with will make it for us. I claim this choice to be a good person is a fundament of human nature and it is governed by several things, not just ideas (meaning here ideas expressed in language).

A good-person leader--even one with bad ideas--tends to have a good-person group of people following him or her more than not. The same logic applies to the bad-person leader.


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Here is Craig Winn's Prophet of Doom website.


It probably is censored in Islamic countries.



Letter to the Reader Koran.gificon_print.gif To Muslims

May the Truth Set You Free icon_listen.gif

Islam is a caustic blend of regurgitated paganism and twisted Bible stories. Muhammad, its lone prophet, conceived his religion solely to satiate his lust for power, sex, and money. He was a terrorist. And if you think these conclusions are shocking, wait until you see the evidence.

The critics of this work will claim that
Prophet of Doom
is offensive, racist, hatemongering, intolerant, and unnecessarily violent. I agree - but I didn't write those parts. They came directly from Islam’s scriptures. If you don't like what Muhammad and Allah said, don't blame me. I'm just the messenger.

Others will say that I cherry-picked the worst of Islam to render an unfair verdict. They will charge that I took the Islamic scriptures out of context to smear Muhammad and Allah. But none of that is true. Over the course of these pages, I quote from almost every surah in the Qur'an - many are presented in their entirety. But more than that, I put each verse in the context of Muhammad’s life, quoting vociferously from the Sunnah as recorded by Bukhari, Muslim, Ishaq, and Tabari - Islam’s earliest and more trusted sources. I even arrange all of this material chronologically, from creation to terror.

Predicting what he called the "Day of Doom" was Muhammad’s most often repeated prophecy. While it did not occur as he foretold in 1110 A.D., it nonetheless came true. Muslims and infidels alike have been doomed by Islam.

To discover why, we shall dive into the oldest surviving written evidence. These official works include: the Sira, Ta'rikh, Hadith, and Qur'an. Ishaq's Sira, or biography, called Sirat Rasul Allah, provides the lone account of Muhammad’s life and the formation of Islam written within 200 years of the prophet's death. While the character, message, and deeds portrayed within its pages are the antithesis of Yahshua's and his disciples, the Sira's chronological presentation is similar in style to the Christian Gospels. The Ta'rikh is the oldest, most trusted and comprehensive history of Islam’s formation and Muhammad’s example, called Sunnah. It was written by Tabari. His History of al-Tabari is formatted like the Bible. It begins with Islamic creation and ends with the acts of Muhammad’s companions. Tabari is a compilation of Hadith quotes and Qur'an passages. As such, it provides the best skeleton upon which to flesh out the character of Muhammad and the nature of fundamental Islam. A Hadith is an oral report from Muhammad or his companions. Muslims believe that Hadith were inspired by Allah, making them scripture. The most revered Collection was compiled in a topical arrangement by Bukhari. Allah’s Book, the Qur'an, lacks context and chronology, so to understand it, readers are dependent upon the Sira, Ta'rikh, and Hadith.

All that can be known about Muhammad’s deeds, means, motives, god, and scripture is enshrined in these books. In their pages you will see them as they saw themselves. My only point of departure from Ishaq and Tabari will be the comprehensive review of the early Meccan surahs, a period in which they had very little to say. Our paths will join again as we approach Islam’s midlife crisis: the Quraysh Bargain, Satanic Verses, Night's Journey, and Pledge of Aqaba - a declaration of war against all mankind. At this point, the Sunnah speaks more clearly than the Qur'an.

So that there will be no confusion, I have set the passages from Islam’s scripture in
bold-faced type
. When quoting from the Qur'an and Hadith, I have elected to use a blended translation. No language transfers perfectly - one word to another. Five of my twelve translations of the Qur'an were combined to create the most accurate conveyance of the message possible. However, the writing quality is so poor, the proofreaders of this manuscript suggested that I help Allah and Muhammad out by cleaning up their grammar, punctuation, and verbosity. So for clarity and readability, I have trimmed their unruly word patterns and meaningless repetitions, being careful not to alter the meaning or message of any passage. Insertions within parenthesis (like this) were added by the Arabic translators to fill in missing words or to clarify the text. Insertions within brackets
[like this]
represent my observations.

I have elected to present Islam’s original source material in juxtaposition to my evaluation of its veracity. This format is similar to that used by the first English translators of
Mein Kampf
as they attempted to warn America about the dangers lurking in Hitler's manifesto. They, as I, found it necessary to hold the author accountable. A great deal was at stake then, as it is today. The last time the world was ignorant of such a hateful and violent doctrine, 55 million people died. If we don't shed our ignorance of Islam, many more will perish.

My quest to understand Islam began on the morning of September 11th 2001. I wanted to know why Muslim militants were killing us. So I went off to Ground Zero for Islamic terror - Israel. The West Bank is home to more suicide bombers per capita than anywhere else on earth. I arranged to meet with the terrorists themselves. I asked members of al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, and Hamas why they were killing us. They said, "Islam. We are following Muhammad’s orders." That adventure is recounted in
Tea With Terrorists
. It covers a wide range of material and serves as a companion volume, connecting fundamental Islam to terrorism.
Prophet of Doom
focuses strictly on what the Islamic scriptures have to say.

So, could it be? Could a prophet and a religion be responsible for today’s terrorist attacks? I invested 10,000 hours in pursuit of that answer. I wish everyone had. But knowing that not all are able, I have distilled what I discovered into these pages.

Now for a word of caution: this journey of discovery is ordered chronologically. It is not prioritized by relevance. Explaining the root cause of Islamic terror is the biggest priority; yet it is not exposed until the last half of the book. I want you to know Muhammad, Allah, and Islam before you judge their legacy. So to keep you turning pages, I have endeavored to make Islam’s early years as entertaining as possible. While
Prophet of Doom
is meticulously researched, documented, and accurate, it's written as if you and I were old friends having a lively chat about the most important and lethal issue of our day.

One last thought before you head down this perilous path. I pray that when you have reached the journey's end, you will share my heart for the plight of Muslims. I want nothing more than to free them from Islam, and in so doing, free us from the terror their doctrine inspires.

Craig Winn

November 2003


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Craig Winn's Prophet of Doom website.


From the main page, minus most of the images.


Prophet_of_Doom_Islams_Terrorist_Dogma_in_Muhammads_Own_Words_163x203.png Islam in Muhammad's Own Words

Prophet of Doom is the best-documented, most comprehensive, presentation of Islam's five oldest and most reliable scriptural sources. Ishaq's Biography of Muhammad, Tabari's History of Islam, and Bukhari's and Muslim's Hadith, were used to reorder the Qur'an chronologically and to set its surahs into the context of Muhammad's life. When this evidence is evaluated systematically, the only rational conclusion is that Islam's lone prophet was a ruthless terrorist, a mass-murderer, a thief, slave trader, rapist and pedophile.

Islam's Dark Past

Consider what is actually known about the Qur'an (Koran), its origin and content, and learn how we came to possess Muhammad's recital in its present form. Evaluate the veracity of Islam's foundational texts and discover when and where they were written. Would You Believe?

Science, sanity, evidence, and reason were discarded during the creation of Islam's genesis accounts, but plenty of humor remains. Dishonest Abe

It is said that Islam is one of three Abrahamic religions, and that it is therefore similar to Christianity and Judaism, but is any of that true? Can Qusayy Scam?

Uncover Islam's darkest secret: the religion is little more than a monotheistic veneer over pagan Arab traditions. Learn who Qusaay was and consider why he built the Ka'aba. With Whom Am I Speaking?

According to Muhammad, the initial Qur'an recital did not go well. Ponder what really happened that fateful night and discover with whom Muhammad was speaking. The Abused Abuser

What was Muhammad's life really like in Mecca and how did his childhood influence the Meccan surahs? The Pedophile Pirate

Journey back in time to the prophet's justification for marrying a child and consider the purpose of his first terrorist raid. Satan's Bargain

Understand the motivation for Muhammad's Satanic Verses, and learn why a fatwa for Salman Rushdie's murder was issued when he wrote about them. War Made a Profit (and a Prophet)

Consider how Muhammad turned a skirmish in the sand with a bunch of merchants trying to protect their property into the substance of the Medina surahs. Mein Kampf

Ponder the similarities between Islam and Nazism; between Mein Kampf and the Qur'an. Only the Qur'an outsells Mein Kampf (My Jihad) in Islamic countries. What are the consequences of tolerating Muhammad's religious scheme? Islam's Holocaust

Of their Jewish neighbors, the first Muslim said, "I pass judgment on them that their men shall be killed, their women and children enslaved, and their property divided." What was the motive behind the first Islamic genocide? Lustful Libertine

Evaluate the evidence proving that Muhammad created his religion and recited the Qur'an to satiate his cravings for sex, power, and money. Jihad

Does jihad mean “spiritual struggle” as Islamic apologists protest, or is Osama bin Laden correct when he calls Muslims to jihad, to “fight in the cause of Allah?” Print the Book

Print out any chapter or the entire Prophet of Doom volume, if reading 1,000 pages online is too burdensome. Audio Book

Recognizing that it can be more convenient and enjoyable to listen to audio than it is to read a book, we have recorded an audio version ofProphet of Doom for your convenience.


Islamic Terrorism Timeline

This comprehensive review of most every significant act of Islamic terrorism from 1960 to 2004 is arranged by date and event. At one thousand pages in length, the research confirms that 95% of all terrorist acts are the result of Islam and that they are perpetrated by fundamentalist (i.e., good) Muslims. And that means, if just 20% of Muslims are fundamentalists, they are 3,000% more violent than the rest of the world. And as such, our very survival is defendant upon us coming to understand the religious motivations for their attacks so that we can stop them by exposing and condemning their scriptures.

Islam in Action

Islam's legacy is bloody and horrific. These reports about Muslims doing Allah's work and the images are not for the faint of heart.

Islamic Clubs

The disease of Islam has many symptoms. They are known as: al-Qaeda, Fedayeen, Mufti Mujahideen, Turkey's Special Organization,Ustashi, Taliban, Fatah, PLO, Islamic Jihad,HAMAS, Hizballah, Abu Nidal, Shamil Basayev,Army of Muhammad, Order of Holy Warriors,Salafia Jihadia, Tawhid & Jihad, Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, ...

Iraq War

This systematic review of George Bush's War on Terrorism will be very unsettling to patriotic Americans and to the Christian Right which facilitated the president's madness.

Threats from Muslims

A sampling of Muslims acting just like Muhammad did when confronted with those rational enough to question Islam.


The Prophet of Doom Qur'an

In its present order, the Qur'an is a jumbled mess devoid of context, chronology, and intelligent transitions. However, since Prophet of Doom presents the Qur'an in chronological order and in the context of Muhammad's life, those studying a specific surah may find it easier to search through them in their Qur'anic order.

Islamic Quotes

As an aid for those who have read Prophet of Doom, and who understand the deceitful, destructive, and deadly nature of the Islamic religion as revealed in the earliest sources, a topical arrangement of thousands of Islamic scriptural quotations has been provided. Subjects include: Fighting, Terrorism, Martyrs, Allah,Jews, Christians, Women, Islamic Paradise, and just some Stupid ones; to name a few.

The Qur'ans

The Qur'an quotations in Prophet of Doom are compiled from the five most universally recognized Muslim translations: Ahmed Ali (the most contemporary), Pickthal, Yusuf Ali, Shakir, and the Noble Qur'an by Khan (the most literal, the most prevalent in mosques, and the most often quoted in the book). All five translations are available in parallel here.

The Little Green Book

A collection of legal and societal directives from the most influential Muslim cleric in the last century. This revered Islamic ruler reveals the priorities and values of an ideal Muslim world.


Move over Neville—Here comes the Iraq Study Group. Consider the many ways America and the West has aided and abetted its own suicide.


Islamic Apologists

Women are treated like animals in Islam, so we were amazed when we came across a defense of the religion crafted by a woman. Recognizing that Islam is indefensible, consider this debate between Craig and Jalal.

Open Letters

If you are a Muslim, Welcome. Craig has written you a personal letter. If you are an Infidel, Craighas a message that will prepare you to stand against the terror Islam inspires. And if you are perplexed by the War on Terror, please consider Craig's letter to America on the subject.


We invite you to read some of the feedback we have received at Prophet of Doom. Every letter which was written to us in the first four years, whether critical or complimentary, was answered and has been posted.

Contact Us

We encourage those who have read Prophet of Doom to share their insights, experiences, and conclusions with us.


Prophet of Doom Radio

Join Craig Winn every Wednesday at 10-11:00am Pacific (GMT-8), 1-2:00 pm Eastern (GMT-5), as he discusses Islam and its legacy—terrorism.

Radio Interviews

A sampling of Craig Winn's 1,500+ radio interviews he conducted over four years on Islam and the religion's sponsorship of terror.

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This is what I think, if anyone cares. I think Muhammad, founder of Islam, (may the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits) was a bad guy and he deserves a kick in the ass so hard that he gotta clear his throat to fart. For more information click on the Craig Winn links that I provided. Also the Ali Sina links. If you are not interested, then forget it.

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Jerry...don't go into sales because you do have to be able to afford your untainted food...

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Look at ARI's general support of "pre-emptive" neocon wars for one good example, when even a two-year-old knows it's about oil at root with all the rest as window-dressing.

Oil is the excuse, power lust, use and abuse, the motive.


otherwise Mr. Thompson would have fired all the government workers

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Once again, how is this possible when the same horrible mass outcomes have happened so often with different ideas, but never without leaders who are ill intentioned?

The ideas change, but the ill-intentioned leader is always there.

And you say the idea is more fundamental than the leader.

So what is your standard of fundamental? Mine is that it always has to be present.

Good question.

I try and deconstruct a situation, consider all the elements at play, then identify how the elements are connected and the nature of the relationship between them.

We have atrocities in the world. Atrocities committed by groups tend to have a leader, or some sort of leadership that guides and inspires the group.

If a leader is always present, is it not the case, then, that the leader is the fundamental reason for the atrocities?

My deconstruction:

Groups are formed of individuals. Individuals possess motives that govern actions. Motives are conditioned by values. Values are shaped by one's understanding of reality and his place and purpose in the world. Individuals possess a worldview - no matter how primitive or fragmented - that helps them tie their experiences together. This sets the groundwork for values. Beliefs are more fundamental to values. Our ethical judgments are based on our values. Therefore, values are more fundamental to ethics.

Beliefs -> Values -> Ethics -> Actions.

These four elements (amongst others) exist together, at the same time. But the overwhelming influence is in the direction indicated above. We can shape beliefs around the ethical principle of our culture, but that would mean that we see these ethical values as being true (part of reality), and so try and build beliefs around that ethical principle. For example, one can begin with: "Adultery is a sin punishable by death" as a primary, then build justifications and beliefs to make sense of this principle.

So where does a leader come into this? How can a leader influence the way individuals think? A leader seeks to inspire people to carry out certain actions. This is not possible if he doesn't influence their ethical principles, their values or their beliefs (i.e. ideas about the world). A leader cannot persuade people to act, if he doesn't convince them that his ideas are right and true. Otherwise they're being coerced into taking action, in which case he's not acting as a leader, but a tyrant.

Leaders can either work with the ideas and ideals people already possess, or influence them into changing their worldview. But he is impotent if he's unable to align people's ideas with his own.

Therefore, leaders are a social factor that shape societies, cultures and civilizations, but more fundamental is the work they do on ideas, because that's what truly guides people's actions.

Take all world religions and compare them to each other. You'll notice some very interesting similarities in the reasons for their division into sects or separate organizations. There's usually a dogmatist vs rationalist divide amongst the adherents of any religion. It's as though human beings can be categorized under different human templates based on their metaphysical and epistemological views, even within the same religion (because the disagreements are more fundamental. They're philosophical).

Religious leaders tend to represent different religious outlooks and they appeal to those who fall under the same (or a similar) human template. In other words, they appeal to those who agree with them. I hear a lot about leaders who inspire in me nothing but contempt. Why don't they have the same influence on me as they do to their adherents? Because I disagree with them. I don't share their ideas or their values.

Yes leaders are important. Yes there materialistic factors that influence the success and failure of nations. But ideas are the most fundamental factor governing human conduct. We work with what we have, but we use it based on how we think.

Finally, I don't believe that bad or evil leaders are ill-intentioned. I believe many evil leaders are simply misguided. They believed their bubble of a worldview is true and what they were doing was right. They thought they were bringing about world peace, when they were pushing it towards destruction. Not every evil leader is power-hungry. Some seek power to bring about positive change. But their definition of "positive" is anything but.

This applies to many religious leaders and many of those advocating theocratic rule. They don't want to rule over people, but they want what's best for people in the after-life. That's not ill-intentioned, but misguided.

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This is what I think, if anyone cares. I think Muhammad, founder of Islam, (may the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits) was a bad guy and he deserves a kick in the ass so hard that he gotta clear his throat to fart. For more information click on the Craig Winn links that I provided. Also the Ali Sina links. If you are not interested, then forget it.

I'm interested in promoting dialogue and understanding. No matter what I think of a person, I wouldn't resort to insulting them. It doesn't promote rational discourse, but tends to encourage defensiveness and hostility.

I prefer discussing ideas and how we can make the world a better place. That's my attitude, but others might find Islam bashing more comforting to them. I think it's pretty clear which is a better approach, but I'll let you be the judge.

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This is what I think, if anyone cares. I think Muhammad, founder of Islam, (may the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits) was a bad guy and he deserves a kick in the ass so hard that he gotta clear his throat to fart. For more information click on the Craig Winn links that I provided. Also the Ali Sina links. If you are not interested, then forget it.

I prefer PBUH when Mohammed is invoked. Pus and Blisters Upon Him.

صديد وبثور الله عليه وسلم

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Fine,Baal, yet dislike of a 1400-years-dead leader,does not aid a lot in discussion today.

Even Jeb B.says Saint Ronald R. was a master of compromise, and USA today is dysfunctional due to ideo=polarization.

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