This is Tony Brash, and we're here today to interview Nihil Ibriham Oymgosh Malevmood, who agreed to be questioned about certain aspects of his Islamic faith. Mr. Malevmood, an imam of the recently completed Foggy Bottom Mosque, knows I am a no-holds-barred journalist, but he is confident that he can field my questions. I can guarantee readers that this "dialogue" between an infidel and a devout Muslim will be a tat more informative than that conducted by Pope Benedict and the Muslim clerics he invited to his Rome retreat, Castle Gandolfo. I will note that it was a curious dialogue, in that the only speaker seemed to be Pope Benedict. But, I digress.
BRASH: Good morning, Mr. Malevmood.
Malevmood: Good morning. Just remember that I agreed to questions, not to an interrogation.
BRASH: I have no instruments of torture here, Mr. Malmood. Just reason and honesty. And, if they cause you discomfort, that can't be helped. I must admit this is a distasteful task I perform, which I fear it will be a futile and fruitless frank exchange of views.
Malevmood: It could not be otherwise for either of us. You are an infidel destined for hellfire, and I am pure, destined to humbly serve the Prophet. Not as pure as Mohammad, who was a perfect human being, not as pure as the Promised One, the Mahdi, of whom the esteemed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at the United Nations last month, whose purity and perfection, when he manifests himself at Armageddon, will bring peace and justice and virtue to the world.
BRASH: That's right. After Ahmadinejad's delivered a few nukes, he thinks he'll turn into the Mahdi. I read between the lines of his U.N. speech. He was about as narcistic about it as Hitler was about his role in Germany's destiny.
Malevmood: He would take that as a compliment.
BRASH: I'm sure he would. Now, I'll begin by bringing up a great point of contention between Islam and the Western idea of freedom of speech. Specifically, the Danish cartoons that were the object of so much violence and hatred earlier this year. Can you enlighten us about why Muslims object so much to any pictorial representation of Mohammad?
Malevmood: Islamic law forbids any depiction of Mohammad to prevent the wicked, distracting sin of idolatry.
BRASH: Idolatry? By whom?
Malevmood: By the faithful, of course.
BRASH: Now, why should the non-faithful - me, for example - care whether or not you or any other Muslims commit idolatry? It's nothing to me, neither Mohammad nor Muslim idolatry.
Malevmood: You should care, for you are of the unfaithful. For one of you to depict Mohammad, is an act of disrespect, and a declaration of war on Islam. If you were faithful, you would not depict Mohammad.
BRASH: Well, we could go round and round on that one. Circular argument, you know. But I should like to point out that you do "idolize" Mohammad. Everything's about him. He's faceless, of course. Which, of course, leads one to wonder how you'd recognize him if he rose from the dead.
Malevmood: We will recognize him in Paradise. He will not rise from the dead. That is a silly Christian obsession. Mohammad is not Jesus.
BRASH: That, I will not dispute.
Malevmood: You Christians depict Jesus, and then idolize him, in countless ways, even in neon signs, and on T-shirts.
BRASH: I beg your pardon, but I'm not a Christian.
Malevmood: This I know. You are a universal infidel, alien to all creeds, even the false ones. You are twenty times damned to flames.
BRASH: Twenty times eternity? What a novel concept. Invalid, but novel. However, we will go on. Now, if I understand you correctly, you want infidels to refrain from representing Mohammad. Why shouldn't we? Islam is not our creed. I'm not about to idolize him. As a matter of fact, I'd pin an image of him right over the bull's eye of a dartboard. Mohammad, I mean.
Malevmood: That is evidence of your barbarism and impurity.
BRASH: So, would you say that respect for your religious rules is a sign of recognition? Such as the Queen of England setting aside a room at Windsor Castle as a prayer room for her lone Muslim employee?
Malevmood: It is a first step. One should not remain a kaffir all one's life.
BRASH: A first step towards submission?
Malevmood: Towards Islam, yes. You are bright, brighter than so many spineless, empty-headed politicians. But that will not save you, not unless you convert to Islam.
BRASH: Not a chance. Now, here's something I've heard many of your more outspoken extremists say: "You love life" - addressed to us kaffirs and unbelievers. Then, "We love death." Do you believe in that?
Malevmood: Of course. Life is transient. Death is absolute. The proper attitude of good Muslims is to regard life as a mere transition to death and Paradise.
BRASH: Sounds like Islam pinched a few lines from the Christians.
Malevmood: They are Mohammad's words, his own. He pinches nothing.
BRASH: That's not what I hear. Well, if you do believe that, why are you still here?
Malevmood: You are suggesting suicide. That is against Mohammad's words. It is a Muslim's duty to bear life's sorrows and misfortunes. It is not for him to find life so burdensome to want to take his own life - not unless it is in the cause of opposing and destroying unbelievers. In that instance, suicide is admissible, and he becomes a martyr.
BRASH: You know, I just thought of something. Most of your suicide bombers are male. And when they blow themselves up, we're told they go straight to Paradise and are awarded 72 virgins. But, there have been some female suicide bombers. What awaits them after they've splattered a pizza shop with their viscera?
Malevmood: Hmmm....Eternal heavenly life.....
BRASH: Seventy-two nerds? Or, maybe they join the ranks of the 72 virgins? That must be where some of those virgins come from. Do they grow on trees? And if they don't, just where do all those virgins come from?
Malevmood: That is not for me to answer. It is in Allah's power to supply them. As Mohammad, blessings and peace be upon him, is infallible, Allah is all-powerful.
BRASH: Heard the joke about Atta going to Paradise and meeting, not 72 virgins, but 72 Virginians?
Malevmood: No. And you are being disrespectful.
BRASH: It's easy. And, I will tell you this: virgins are not all they're cracked up to be. I speak from experience. So, I don't know why you people make such a mystique of them. Then I have this question: After a martyr has had a virgin, what happens to her? Is she recycled?
Malevmood: I cannot answer that. We will not know until we enter the garden of Allah. Then many mysteries of Allah will be answered.
BRASH: Speaking of mysteries, there's Islamic cosmology. A grand magic act likely cadged, I suspect, from Genesis, another magic act.
Malevmood: How do you mean?
BRASH: Well, according to the Bible, in the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was God...and you know the rest of it. On the seventh day He rested. Everything neat and tidy. Time to kick back and relax with a cosmic Grande Mocha Frappucino. In the Koran, the first six days are divided into three stages, and seven clouds or pillars. Created the earth first, then the stars. I think. Allah created everything from smoke - I believe the Arabic term is "dukhan" -- but the earth first, or maybe it was last. He just spoke - was it the same Word? - and things began popping into existence at random. The chronology is very contradictory and confusing. Pardon the pun, but could you shed some light on the subject?
Malevmood: The wisest imams will tell you that there is no relation between the Koran and the corrupt Bible. It is mere coincidence. And because the Koran was told to Mohammad by Allah, it is the supreme authority. This point can be questioned only on pain of death.
BRASH: But you can't deny that much of the Koran sort of emulated the Bible in format and tone. The Bible, or at least the Old Testament as it came down to us, was being fabricated by Christian fakirs - there's another pun for you, sir -- just about the time Allah was bending Mohammad's ear, in the seventh century or thereabouts. And the Koran was probably fabricated by Muslim fakirs who could read Hellenistic Greek, which is the language the earliest versions of the Bible appeared in. I'm not the only one to detect some obvious migration of texts and not a little plagiarism.
Malevmood: You are wrong, unbeliever. The Koran came to us whole and perfect. It is the testament of the Prophet himself. I will not discuss the matter further.
BRASH: Suit yourself. Here's a question: Do you believe there are "moderate" Muslims, that is, Muslims who don't approve of suicide bombers and jihad and such?
Malevmood: There had better not be. If there are, then they are cowards who do not deserve Allah's mercy. A moderate Muslim is merely a dog or a pig in human form, worthy only of beleaguering and death. A moderate Muslim commits the sin of placing earthly things before the will of Allah. Moderate Muslims will fuel the fires of hell alongside infidels and pagans. Doubt of the Prophet's words and commands guarantees damnation. We do not recognize posturing Muslims. A true Muslim knows that his only true relationship with Allah is fear. A true Muslim submits both his soul and his body. A contemptible "moderate" Muslim merely genuflects. That is not submission. That is offensive to Allah and to true Muslims.
BRASH: Apparently. What do you think of what are called "extremists" and "radicals" of the Muslim faith?
Malevmood: There is no such thing as an "extremist" or "radical" Muslim. There are just Muslims. The martyrs and jihadists and beleaguers of the unbelievers merely carry their meticulous adherence to the Prophet's commands to a higher level. Extremist and radical Christians were martyred by the thousands by the Romans, with crucifixions and being thrown to wild animals. Our extremists and radicals prefer to crucify infidels and turn loose the wild animals on them.
BRASH: That's a rather bloodthirsty scenario.
Malevmood: It needn't be, if infidels would merely submit.
BRASH: So, you don't agree with President Bush and believe your creed was "hijacked"?
Malevmood: How could I agree with a fool? When we heard him say that soon after our martyrs destroyed so many of you years ago, we knew we would win.
BRASH: Why are you smiling, Mr. Malevmood? That's a first.
Malevmood: The sword of the Prophet can slash, or it can worm its way into the body of an unbeliever. You will note that Islam adopts both strategies. But either pain can be avoided, by submitting to Islam, or at least by accepting its hegemony in this world.
BRASH: Or accept the role of dhimmitude, and pay jizya, or protection money, if we're still alive and don't convert to Islam.
Malevmood: There is an instance of Islamic benevolence. You may have your creed, and we will tolerate your unclean presence. It is only fair that you pay a tax to compensate for our inconvenience. But I must correct your use of that term, "dhimmitude." We do not recognize its validity. It was created by a female apostate with intellectual pretensions, Bat Ye'or, on whom a fatwah has been decreed. She damned Islam, so our wise men damned her. The correct term is 'inferior status."
BRASH: I'm sure I'm flattered. May a peacock nest in your nostrils.
Malevmood: You are the foul mouthpiece of the Great Satan, and in the pay of the Little Satan, and of the vanquished Satan of Britain. When you are all vanquished, the earth will be clean enough for the Expected One to trod it to bring peace and justice and virtue --
BRASH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, excuse me, but I think we've run out of time. I must say in parting that I think the Koran was written by the Three Stooges, with a little help from the Marx Brothers, with script consultation supplied by Monty Python.
Malevmood: Who are these people?
BRASH: Comedians. I don't suppose you've seen The Life of Brian, or The Holy Grail, or Bedazzled, the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore version?
Malevmood: You have left me behind, parentless one.
BRASH: In the Dark Ages. So, folks, I guess you've concluded that you shouldn't expect an Islamic production of Bizet's Carmen any time soon. This is Tony Brash on the ECN network. Goodnight, folks. Hey, Mr. Malevmood, what's that you're taking out of your shirt...?