Diana West

While I hardly claim originality in comparing central tenets of the Koran and "Mein Kampf" (see Winnie's comment above), Greenwald didn't care for that, either. "Yes," he wrote, "there are many nasty injunctions in the Qur'an. Yes, there are calls to anti-Semitism and supremacy. But ... there are nasty parts in the foundational works of other major religions. Second, there are Qur'anic passages promoting humanity and understanding. ... If you're going to wage wholesale war on an entire religion, you'll need more than a tabulation showing that the religion's core text is, on balance, nastier than the next."

How can it be, nearly seven years after 9/11, such thin gruel is still being served as an argument? Without citing sura and verse, the first point fizzles in the absence of Jewish and Christian terrorists justifying acts of violence with references to their scriptures. As for the second point, I hereby introduce the Commentary blog to the Koranic doctrine of "abrogation," according to which Koranic passages are abrogated (canceled) by subsequently "revealed" verses that, as Ibn Warraq writes in his book "What the Koran Really Says," convey a "different or contrary meaning."

Warraq continues: "This was supposedly taught by Muhammad at Sura II.105: `Whatever verses we (i.e., God) cancel or cause you to forget, we bring a better or its like.'" While resolving the abundant contradictions to be found in the Koran, abrogation, he writes, "does pose problems for apologists of Islam, since all the passages preaching tolerance are found in Meccan (i.e., early) suras, and all the passages recommending killing, decapitating and maiming, the so-called Sword Verses, are Medinan (i.e., later)." His conclusion: "'Tolerance' has been abrogated by 'intolerance.' For example, the famous Sword verse ... at Sura IX.5, `Slay the idolators wherever you find them,' is said to have canceled 124 verses that enjoin toleration and patience." So much for Greenwald's "passages promoting humanity and understanding."

More perplexing, however, is Greenwald's assumption that a frank appraisal of the Koran is akin to waging "war on an entire religion." On the contrary, such an appraisal is simply the basis of any rational defense against the war Islam is waging on the West.

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).