A few days ago, I came across an internet video made by two Dutch filmmakers, Alexander Spoor and Sacha Harland, who have a series on YouTube called “Dit is Normaal.” Titled “The Holy Quran Experiment,” this video has received more than 6.5 million views on YouTube.
Spoor and Harland took to the streets of Amsterdam following the Paris terrorist attacks and read people verses from the Koran. The people interviewed were appalled by what was read to them. These quotes included, “A woman should learn in quietness and total submission,” “You will have to cut off her hand. Do not forgive her,” and “If two men sleep with each other they will both have to be killed.”
Spoor and Harland would ask these same people what they thought of the Bible. The general consensus was that the Bible was “less harsh and more peaceful” in its teachings. The twist would come when Spoor and Harland revealed their Koran to be a Bible. The verses they quoted were cherry-picked from Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and the Book of Timothy in the New Testament. The people they interviewed become shocked and embarrassed. One young man, who is black, states, “It’s all really just prejudice. I always try not to be prejudiced myself but apparently I already am.”
But it isn’t a question of prejudice against Islam. Rather it is a matter of ignorance of scripture and a general lack of religious observance. This, of course, is a consequence of the secularization of Western society. One of the young women interviewed stated, “Of course I’ve heard Bible stories when I was young, and I went to a Christian school, but I really had no idea this was in there.” If Christianity or Judaism is absent from one’s day to day life, then one is inclined not to be knowledgeable about its teachings. In Islam, by contrast, many of its devotees have memorized the Koran.
German Lopez of Vox praised the video:
If you read the Bible front and back, you will read about several ideas that frankly don’t mesh with modern Western standards. You could do the same with the Quran or the Torah. But you can also find overwhelming messages of peace and love from all three faiths’ scriptures.
The great majority of people who practice these religions focus on the broader or specific lessons of peace in their faiths. People in the West even seem to take this for granted for Christianity and Judaism. But as Dit Is Normaal’s video shows, there’s still a lot of similar understanding to build toward Islam.
Yet what must be understood about Islam is that unlike Judaism and Christianity, it has not had a reformation. Prior to the publication of her book Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Dutch parliamentarian, wrote the following in the Wall Street Journal this past March:
Many parts of the Bible and the Talmud reflect patriarchal norms, and both also contain many stories of harsh human and divine retribution. As President Barack Obama said in remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, “Remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”
Yet today, because their faiths went through a long, meaningful process of Reformation and Enlightenment, the vast majority of Jews and Christians have come to dismiss religious scripture that urges intolerance or violence. There are literalist fringes in both religions, but they are true fringes. Regrettably, in Islam, it is the other way around: It is those seeking religious reform who are the fringe element.
It is worth reminding Spoor and Harland that Hirsi Ali also made a film concerning Islam. That film, Submission, would result in the murder of Hirsi Ali’s collaborator Theo Van Gogh, who was shot and stabbed to death in broad daylight in Rotterdam in November 2004. When the murderer was convicted, he turned to Van Gogh’s mother and told her, “I don’t feel your pain. I have to admit I don’t have any sympathy for you. I can’t feel for you because I think you’re an infidel.”
A note was pinned to Van Gogh’s body threatening Hirsi Ali’s life. She would be put under 24-hour protection. But the Dutch government soon tired of protecting Hirsi Ali and sought to strip her of Dutch citizenship. Hirsi Ali would seek and receive political asylum in the United States. Somehow I don’t think Spoor and Harland have such a harsh fate awaiting them.
While the Bible might call for the execution of adulterers and homosexuals, there is no country in the world with a Christian majority (or a Jewish majority in the case of Israel) that sanctions such punishment. The same cannot be said of the Muslim world. Countries such as Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia issue death sentences against those who have committed acts of adultery and homosexuality. These sentences were issued in 2015.
Leftist filmmakers can pass off the Koran as the Bible all they want. It’s a neat parlor trick. But if you want to know the difference between the Bible and the Koran in 2015, just ask the Muslims awaiting their death sentences for adultery, homosexuality, not to mention apostasy. They would tell you if they could that what’s written in the Koran is no parlor trick.