Muslim means “a person who submits.” Muslim first appears as a noun in 1615, and in 1777 as an adjective, coming from the root word of alsama “he resigned” or “surrendered” to the faith in battle where the war cry was “convert or die.” تحويل أو يموت Moslems do not like the term Muslim as it is the Arabic word for “oppressed” (Za’lem in Arabic). Historically, since the war years of Muhammad, all “converts” to Islam were war captives (even Muhammad’s own family rejected his new religion until they saw how it could be lucrative and lead to power).
Moslem is a title for a believer in or adherent of Islam either by being born into a family of Moslems, or a Moslem by choice. The issue of faith (Islam) was sporadic. Muhammad was technically illiterate, being only a camel driver until he married his employer–a wealthy older woman–giving him time to question, debate, and ultimately attempt to convert Christian priests and monks and believers, Jewish rabbis and their followers, and even Greek traders who were nominal Christians. From this diverse group of people, Muhammad found a common link of faith, which time and talent of later followers invented the Qur’an and the various stories concerning Muhammad.
Muslim leaders tell the people who Muhammad wrote the Qur’an (other accounts have the archangel/god Gabri-el handing Muhammad a copy of the Qur’an, as the tribal agricultural god Allah [before Islam wrested control of the Arabian peninsula, Allah was a minor god and known as the “keeper of pigs”–a task forced on him by more powerful deities in the Arabian pantheon of the Black Stone in Mecca] kept the original) and it was a miracle because Muhammad was illiterate in spite of the fact that Muhammad himself spoke against miracles and said he could not and did not do any miracles, therefore, calling Muhammad a liar.
It is believed that, in Muhammad’s lifetime verses began to be written on palm leaves, stones and any material that came to hand. Their collection was completed during the caliphate of ‘Umar, the second caliph, and an authorised version was established during the caliphate of ‘Uthman, his successor (644-656). While many believe it to be the authoritative word of God, the kufic script in which the Qur’an was originally written contained no indication of vowels or diacritical points, variant readings are recognised by Muslims as of equal authority. This was common in the seventh century, for even ancient Greek had problems: there being no spaces between words and no diacritical points.
Popular myth has it that Muhammad commended the Qur’an to a group of wise men known as Remembrancers. They, in turn, passed on without flaw the words of Allah as spoken by Muhammad to future generations of Remembrancers until, ultimately, trusted scribes would write it down into a single book (the Qur’an). This, however, defies logic. Muhammad confesses, in the Qur’an, to having been a bandit raiding caravans and pillaging cities and villages regularly taking slaves. If this was true, the “Prophet” would have captured many literate scribes and would have had his choice of scribes to write the Qur’an. This would be more sensible than leaving a bunch of notes he couldn’t have written (if, in truth, he was illiterate) or performing some miracle he denounced himself. There is speculation as to who wrote the Qur’an, especially if Muhammad was illiterate.
Much later a congregation of rabbis concluded that the poetic verse used in the Qur’an was only found in the Hebrew scriptures before the Qur’an was written. Based on internal textual evidence, the rabbis declared that the scribe used by Muhammad had to be Jewish. They quickly pointed out the Biblical errors in the Qur’an as further proof that it was written by a Jewish rabbi or scribe because only a Jewish rabbi would know enough about the Bible to write such references and make the mistakes that were made, as Jewish rabbi’s have been trained in how many previous Jewish rabbi’s used such errors in their writings to send a message to all Jews that what they were writing was not true. Therefore, a Jewish rabbi would have intentionally suggested such errors to Muhammad, who was clearly ignorant about the Bible, in order to write in secret messages to other Jews to not believe the Qur’an.
The fact that Muhammad took slaves and forced non-believers, “on the pain of death” to convert to his religion of Islam, shows that Muhammad rejected personal choice and personal freedom for all people. Those who did not covert he ordered mass executions, then exposed the dead bodies to the birds and beasts and Arabian sun.
The rejection of personal freedom continued and grew ever since Muhammad’s crusade against Yathrib (Medina). On Sept. 30, 2005, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a dozen caricatures of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, in response to an ongoing debate about how much self-censorship newspapers should employ when criticizing Islam or writing about it (see [accessed May 28, 2010: http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&va=jyllands-posten+muhammad+cartoons&sz=all). The subsequent protests (see [accessed May 28, 2010]: http://middleeast.about.com/od/religionsectarianism/a/me071024.htm), which reached a fever pitch around the globe in February 2006, resulted in the deaths of at least 139 people and the torching of Danish embassies in Syria and Lebanon. The cartoonists went into hiding amid many threats on their lives, including an $11 million bounty offered by an Indian minister to anyone who beheaded the cartoonists. In solidarity with the besieged Danish newspaper, dozens of newspapers around the globe — including The Philadelphia Inquirer, which became the target of protests — reprinted one or more of the Muhammad cartoons. Many newspapers editors lost their jobs — not just in Muslim nations, but in places such as Canada and the United Kingdom — for reprinting the cartoons, and other newspapers were shut down entirely. In Jordan and Yemen, journalists went to prison for showing the cartoons. Arifur Rahman, a cartoonist living and working in Bangladesh, didn’t draw Muhammad, but put the name of the prophet before the word “cat.” For this, he was arrested, and Islamists demanded the closure of newspaper Prothom Alo and the arrest of its editor, as well as “exemplary punishment” of Rahman. In 2006, about 25 journalists in Bangladesh were targeted by militant groups for allegedly writing “un-Islamic” pieces. Today Moslems are demanding that the United Nations forbid anyone or any news media from saying or broadcasting any disparaging remarks about the evils inherent in Islam or its followers–that “honor killings” (where one or more members of a family kill a family member who dates or attempts to wed someone who the family does not approve of; cf. (accessed May 28, 2010) http://www.brandeis.edu/projects/fse/Pages/honorkillings.html and see case studies at http://www.gendercide.org/case_honour.html; accessed May 28, 2010), and dietary practices are to be tolerated, and that Sharia Law of Islam be recognized as an alternative to western laws (especially in the UK). I have had several staunch Islamist threaten me, and demand that I send readers of my blog to visit with an imam, go to a mosque, and seek direction from a strong believer rather than seek someone neutral who would not demand blind allegiance or faith. The respondent has every right to his opinion, but as a scholar I could not imagine myself encouraging my readers to turn to rap music to understand reality today or view mass media as being sound no matter how entertaining it is (Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News openly distorts not by changing words of a speech but truncating the speech or giving special emphasis to points that are irrelevant or biased, such as using Sarah Palin as a commentator–a woman who could see Russia from her kitchen window, or using the Tea-Baggers (neo-cons revisited under the guise of husbanding hostility stirred by Dick Armey of Texas) as indicators of popular discontent. Their antics are more in keeping with radical Islam and Sarah Palin’s evangelical prayer warriors than democratic demonstrations: shouting down opposition, libeling and slandering with impunity, lying about foundations and functions of debate and discussion, and slandering those they disagree with vehemently.