Islam is a cultural religion that deifies 7th Century Arabian culture.1
Westerners tend to view religion as something intensely personal and private, and not as a cultural phenomenon. For example, Christianity is "supra-cultural" in that it allows people to live, dress and eat in accordance with the culture in which they exist. This is not so with Islam. In Islam there is no "secular realm" that is free of religion. Islam regulates every aspect of life to the point that religion, politics, and culture are inseparable. Islam is thus fueled by a subtle form of racism in which 7th Century Arab culture is to be imposed upon all other cultures.
Here are some examples of the cultural nature of Islam:
Political Structure — The tribalism of 7th Century Arabia is the political structure sanctioned by the Koran. The chief has absolute authority. There is no concept of civil rights. This principle is reflected today in the reality that all Islamic countries are ruled by dictators, and civil liberties, like freedom of speech and religion, do not exist.
Prayer — A Muslim is required to pray five times a day toward Mecca. This is a symbol of the underlying cultural imperialism that lies at the heart of Islam. Think of it — what if all Russian Orthodox throughout the world were required to pray toward Moscow? Or, if all Roman Catholics were required to face Rome when they prayed? What if Evangelical Christians were required to pray toward Jerusalem? Such requirements would imply a cultural attachment to the focal point of prayer.
Pilgrimage — A Muslim is required, despite the hardship and cost, to make a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia once in his lifetime. Again, what if all Christians were required to go to Rome once in their lifetimes?
Dietary Laws — The only foods allowable are those that were acceptable in 7th Century Arabia.
Women — What an illiterate, nomadic tribeswoman wore in the desert in 7th Century Arabia is what is mandated for Muslim women today. The plight of women in Islamic countries today is despicable. They can be kept prisoners in their homes. They cannot appear in public without a covering. They are usually denied the right to vote. They are often denied anything more than a rudimentary education. In strict Islamic countries, women are generally treated as sub-human.2 Sura 4:34 says, "Men are the managers of the affairs of women... Those women who are rebellious — admonish them, banish them to their couches, and beat them."
Punishment — Cruel and unusual punishment is practiced throughout the Islamic world. Incarceration without due process is common. Punishments often include torture, the cutting off of body parts (hands, ears and tongues), the gouging out of eyes, beheading, and public flogging — all representative of 7th Century Arabian culture. The Koran specifically commands that those who disobey Allah are to be tortured (Sura 8:12-14).
Time magazine recently presented a chilling summary of the cultural nature of Islam as it is evidenced in the "moderate" Islamic nation of Saudi Arabia:3
"Despite the modernization that took place after the discovery of oil reserves in 1938, Saudi Arabia remains a land where rigid religious and traditional values are strictly enforced. Cinemas and discos are outlawed; men and women are separated in banks, schools, and fast-food restaurants; women must wear veils and are forbidden to drive. Public decency police known as muttawa comb shopping malls searching for women whose loose scarves reveal a curl of hair and forcing store owners to shut during prayer times. Unforgiving Saudi justice is on view after the main prayer every Friday, when a swordsman beheads blindfolded murderers, sorcerers, drug smugglers, and other criminals in Riyadh's 'Chop-chop Square.'"
- There is an outstanding discussion of the cultural nature of Islam in the book by Robert Morey entitled, The Islamic Invasion (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1992). See in particular pages 19-32.
- Abdullah Al Araby, "Incredible Teachings of Muhammed," on the Internet at http://www.islamreview.com/. This is the website of a ministry called The Pen vs. The Sword. It contains many excellent articles about the true nature of Islam.
- Scott Macleod, "Inside Saudi Arabia," Time, October 15, 2001, p. 62.
The next article will explore the truth about the spiritual nature of Islam.