Thursday, January 22, 2015

Unseen university students

Photo: University students hold placards during a demonstration against satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad as the cover of its first edition since an attack by Islamist gunmen, in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, Jan. 17. Source Reuters / Feisal Omar, copied from The placards state: "I am a Muslim and I love my Prophet".

You cannot make this image up.

If these young ladies dress and behave like this by their own free choice... then I think that the University of Mogadishu needs an urgent and profound revision of its enrollment procedures.

However, if they are acting under pressure, they have all my sympathy.

I suspect this is the case at least for the girl at right. Look at her! She is wearing a piece of orange cloth, she has bright red polish on her nails and jewelry on her left hand. As far as I know, all these things are haram.

While it must be highly inconvenient to wear such clothes particularly in Somalia's climate, they have at least one advantage. If 20-25 years from now Somalis feel ashamed about these rallies, every single woman can claim that she has not been there and no one can prove the opposite, no matter how many photos have documented her presence.

Truly an Unseen University!

The problem with Islamophobic politicians

The Jan. 7 Islamist massacre in Paris was just another wake-up call for Europeans to protect their civilization against the onslaught of radical Islam.

Unfortunately, so far Europeans have little clue how to do this. It is clear that any effort to saveguard the traditional way of life, culture and values of Europe would require political action. It seems, however, that traditional politicians do not intend to do anything at all. They just keep telling citizens to accept Islam and (presumably) all problems and drawbacks that come together with it, and to pray that some relics of our civilization will survive against all odds.

On the other hand, there are openly Islamophobic parties and political movements of the type usually called "far-right". However, while they may occasionally do something useful, they are, to put it mildly, problematic. In Bulgaria, their main representative is Volen Siderov and his Ataka (Attack) party. Hate-mongering and propensity to violence are two of his distinguishing qualities. A third one is his Russophilia. A satirical weekly made a joke about him: "Is Volen Siderov a patriot? Yes, he is, but of a bigger (than Bulgaria) country." Siderov's last action was issuing a newsletter complaining that Ataka's media had not been allowed to properly report John Kerry's visit. Nothing unusual, you'd say... except that the letter addressed to Bulgarian media was, for mysterious reasons, written in Russian (link in Bulgarian). As you see, Siderov and his bunch of outcasts make Bulgarian political life colorful. However, if they collect more votes, they could become very dangerous.

In Germany, the Dresden-based group PEGIDA organizes rallies against the Islamization of Germany. So far so good, one would say. The same group also calls for reconciliation with Russia. This is hardly a coincidence. As Jeremy Bender wrote last December in his article Putin is infiltrating European politics with shocking effectiveness (published by the Business Insider), "Putin has become shockingly effective at influencing European politics through a host of far-right parties... The parties, located in the UK, France, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, and Hungary, are increasingly popular - and staunchly against giving more power to the EU. Each of the parties has also fostered a closer relationship with Russia, and has protested against sanctions on Moscow following its annexation of Ukraine. The six parties linked to Russia are the UK's UK Independence Party (UKIP), France's National Front, Germany's National Democratic Party, Hungary's Jobbik, Greece's Golden Dawn, and Bulgaria's Attack... Russia expert John Schindler explains that while the Soviet Union backed communist-leaning parties to influence politics, Russia is now financing far-right parties in an attempt to steer European politics. The preferred outcome for Russia would be the dissolution of the EU and the end of a counterweight to Russian power."

However, it wasn't the shameful support for the aggressor state Russia which forced PEGIDA's founder Lutz Bachmann to resign yesterday, but his selfie carefully staged to emulate Adolf Hitler (above; source: Wikimedia). This same nice guy also has a thick criminal record including burglaries, dealing cocaine and assault.

In 2012, during a discussion about mass murderer Anders Breivik on Rose-Anne Clermont's blog, commenter Gustav told me: "In case you share those (Islamophobic) views: Reconsider them and repent!" As you guess, I am nowhere near reconsidering my secular, pro-freedom views, let alone repenting for them. But, needless to say, I am also nowhere near individuals such as Bachmann or any other mini-Hitler. These psychopaths cannot help Europe and, as doctors say, are not good for our health.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Islamists are up in arms against cartoons

As the shock after the Jan. 7 murder of 17 human beings in Paris because of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad gradually subsides, some people discuss why cartoons are so effective in stirring the anger of Islamists.

We can remember what Kenneth Clarke wrote in his Civilisation: The "aggressive, nomadic cultures of Israel, Islam and the Protestant North" (called by H. G. Wells "communities of the Will") "produced very little religious imagery, and in most cases positively forbade it." There is indeed a taboo in Islam on creating images of humans, especially Muhammad, and even of animals. I don't know the original source of this taboo, but it is taken seriously by too many. Recently, a Saudi cleric even issued a fatwa against snowmen.

Islamists, however, have an additional reason to be up in arms against cartoon representation of their Prophet: such pictures could sow the seeds of doubt and dissent in the rank-and-file Muslims who are likely to overlook more sophisticated argumentation against the tenets of their faith.

Back in 2006, during the first Muhammad cartoon crisis, Wesley Pruden made an interesting comparison:

'Boss Tweed, who presided over New York in the 19th (century)... suffered boils and warts at the hand of the great newspaper cartoonist, Thomas Nast. "Stop them damn pictures," the old Tammany tiger told his hit men. "I don't care what the papers write about me. My constituents can't read. But they can see the pictures."'

In that conflict, cartoonist Thomas Nast won. Boss Tweed was convicted and died in jail.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Petitions in support of Saudi blogger sentenced to torture

Raif Badawi (30) is a Saudi blogger convicted for insulting Islam. People familiar with his blog say that he actually criticized top clerics who hold much power in the country.

Mr. Badawi was arrested in 2012. Last year, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes, 50 each Friday for 20 weeks. Last Friday, he was chained outside a mosque and given the first 50 lashes. The same is to happen again the day after tomorrow. There are fears that he may not survive the beating.

Raif's wife and three children fled to Canada. The picture below shows his eldest child, 10-yr-old Terad, holding his father's photo (source: Montreal Gazette).

Amnesty International and have petitions asking for release of Raif Badawi. I am highly skeptical that the Saudi authorities could be influenced this way, but still, why not sign.

Update: Raif has diabetes, which in young people is always severe.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The low point of Obama's presidency

Why did Americans elect President Obama?

Well, they wanted to punish the Republicans for the financial crisis. But why did they give Obama a second term?

I had forebodings of evil even before Obama took office. Later, I briefly liked him for the way he intervened to save the Libyan people from Gadaffi. Otherwise, however, Obama's presidency was as bad as I expected - or worse. The USA abdicated from its superpower role, pushing the world into free fall. Parts of the Middle East are now controlled by the murderous thugs of the Islamic State, and Russia is attacking and engulfing its neighbors, as if it is again 1944. And, similarly to the end of Pax Romana in antiquity, the end of Pax Americana is manifested by a revival of piracy.

It is not clear how much of this is a result of Obama's incompetence and how much reflects his bizarre, rotten set of values (if we can apply this term to them) apparent from his speeches during the first election campaign. Former CIA officer Clare Lopez went so far as to claim that Obama has "switched sides in war on terror", appeasing Islamists and infiltrating his administration with them. I still tended to regard Obama as just a poor guy who, after making a brilliant career by nothing more than empty talk, was suddenly catapulted to the most important position on Earth and so rose to the level of his incompetence. Until today, when he did something for which I find no excuse. It was actually failure to do the thing that was to be done.

Today, about 40 world leaders will attend a unity march in Paris to express their condemnation of the Paris Islamist massacre... but Obama won't attend it.

No explanation is given. I see two possible ones, both unpleasant: either Obama is not so much against the killing of the blasphemous Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and does not wish to offend the Islamists by honoring the victims, or he fears that some other misunderstander of Islam may use the opportunity to shoot him.

So, let us all bite our lips and count the days to the end of Obama's presidency.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Islamist attempts of deception add insult to injury

After the Jan. 7 Islamist attack against French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead, we hear many reactions by Muslims. And of course, all "official" ones, except those by terrorist gangs such as Al-Qaeda and IS, condemn the shooting. However, the very statements of condemnation often include messages that, for me, are as bad as open support for the murderers. Or even worse, because I hate hypocrisy more than open malice.

Let's look at a masterpiece titled What cartoonists and terrorists have in common - they got Islam all wrong. I admit I become furious even at this point, seeing that the victims are described as similar to the murderers. The author is Daisy Khan who won notoriety in America by masterminding the infamous Ground Zero mosque. She writes, "Prophet Muhammad was instructed by God to face the ignorance with graciousness and the enmity with love... Indeed, as I delved myself deeper into the Quran, I found striking similarities between Islamic ethics and American values. The Quran speaks of humankind as one nation under God, it describes the one creator and insures human equality, Muslim jurists wrote 1,000 years ago about Islamic law protecting of six principles which form the basis for six human rights: the right to life, the right to free exercise of religion, the right to own property, the right to a family, the right to advance one’s intellect … and the right to dignity."

This is the definition of brazen lie. Does the author consider us all idiots? If you haven't invested time to educate yourself about Islam, Prophet Muhammad and the Quran, you can start with this page by Ali Sina: "...Quran tells Muslims to kill the disbelievers wherever they find them (2:191), murder them and treat them harshly (9:123), slay them (9:5), fight with them (8:65), strive against them with great endeavor (25:52), be stern with them because they belong to hell (66:9) and strike off their heads; then after making a “wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives” for ransom (47:4). This is how the pagans are to be treated. As for the Christians and the Jews, the order is to subdue them and impose on them a penalty tax, after humiliating them (9:29) and if they resist, kill them... The Quran is alien to freedom of belief and recognizes no other religion but Islam (3:85). It condemns those who do not believe to hellfire (5:10), calls them najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (9:28), orders the Muslims to fight them until no other religion except Islam is left (2:193)... and smite their heads (47:4)..."

As you see, unlike the liar Daisy Khan, Sina gives a list of references - chapters (surahs) and verses from the Quran. Because the original links had expired, I redirected them to an English translation of the Quran uploaded by the University of South California, so that you can easily check for yourself.

Khan continues: "When the 9/11 attacks happened... I heard one perennial question: “Where are the moderates and why don’t they speak out?” So as a forward-thinking, moderate, peace-loving Muslim I felt an obligation to step into the arena... In 2010, nine years after 9/11, we could not think of a better expression to promote the peaceful values of our faiths than creating the Cordoba House... But detractors and certain media pundits, instead of amplifying the voice of moderate Muslim, added fuel to the fire by spreading emotional flames of fear, prejudice, and hatred against the project they inaccurately labeled the “Ground Zero Mosque.” It was classic, textbook Islamophobia. If not challenged, Islamophobia can become an accepted form of racism."

What to say about that? First, in most cultures (actually, in all that I know), it is unacceptable for an adult to praise herself the way Ms. Khan does. Second, I find disgusting her attempt to use the massacre in Paris in order to advertise her Ground Zero mosque, which of course I also find disgusting. And third, please pay attention how the author brings home her message that Islamophobia is worse than Islamist terror.

Well, enough about Daisy Khan. Now, let's look at the essay Not in my name by Mona Shadia, "award-winning Egyptian-American journalist and writer", published by Huffington Post. Ms. Shadia writes, "...Those murderer terrorists sure do have something in common with the prophet. It is in the encounter between a victim and his oppressor. These terrorists are the prophet's and Islam's enemies. The enemies who existed while he lived. The ones who would bully, attack and injure him. The enemies who would attempt to silence him. There's something so ironic about that." Actually, as we know from historical accounts of the Prophet's life and deeds, his "enemies" were simply people who did not want - and for good reason - to be ruled, robbed, enslaved or killed by him (details e.g. here and here).

Ms. Shadia continues: "There's an ongoing debate within the American Muslim community on whether or not Muslims should condemn such attacks in the name of Islam. There's an argument that Christians and Jews and Buddhists never have to go out in full force and condemn acts done in the name of their respective religions. Even though, like with the Paris massacre case, those who do twist and turn religious texts to justify these actions. There is an argument that in condemning these acts we are admitting that it is done on behalf of Islam, that we are responsible and we are attaching guilt and shame to ourselves and Islam. There is an argument that the west has much more to apologize for its acts of genocide and war in the Middle East and other places. There's an argument that in expecting Muslims to apologize, we are subjugated by the west and held in a catch-22 scenario of having to apologize, even though these acts have nothing to do with our religion. And then there are those who argue that we Muslims must condemn these actions, not to please anyone but to remain proactive and in charge of our destiny. This is the side of argument to which I belong... I do not care whether Christians, Jews, Buddhists, atheists or any other group condemn or not condemn acts of terrorism in their name. I do not care whether the word terrorism has unjustly become exclusive to Muslims by the media and islamophobes. I, a Muslim, am responsible for making sure my religion is portrayed factually, not to please anyone, but to be true to myself and my religion. I am responsible because it is what my religion teaches me."

I admit I stand in awe to Mona Shadia's writing skills. Only a trained, award-winning journalist could in so few words pack so many nasty implications: that there is religion-motivated Christian, Jewish and Buddhist terror comparable to Muslim terror, that the West does genocide in the Middle East, that the acts of terrorists shouting "Allahu akbar!" have nothing to do with Islam, and that Muslims (and Ms. Shadia in particular) are superior to Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists because Muslims condemn acts of terrorism in their name while the other listed groups do not.

Ms. Shadia has a blog and I threw a glance on it. I don't advise you to waste your time on it, just want to draw your attention to her Oct. 10, 2012 post. It is a reaction to an ad by Pamella Geller saying, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel — Defeat Jihad." Shadia first says, even before giving the actual text of the ad, that it is "basically concluding that Muslims (and Palestinians) are savages". I think she is too quick to basically conclude that the people Ms. Geller is warning against, i.e. the murderous Jew-haters obsessed with finishing what Hitler begun, include all Muslims - or even all Palestinians. Though I can easily believe that they do include Ms. Shadia, who seems to interpret Israel's existence as an act of Western genocide against Muslims - see above, and also here.

Most interesting in this post, however, is that, after briefly describing her life, the author offers this jewel: "In a few words, my friends would describe me as kind, just, loyal, tough, honest and good-hearted." It apparently doesn't occur to Ms. Shadia for a second that she must let her friends say this, instead of speaking for them to praise herself. What's wrong with these people? Two heartless, arrogant, lying Muslim activists publicly show narcissism that you don't expect from any remotely intelligent person above age 10! Is this a pattern? (I hope it is just a coincidence that both authors are female.)

I wonder, do these writers (and their numerous clones) realize that, speaking on behalf of all Muslims without any authorization and arrogantly broadcasting hatred and transparent lies, they encourage the same "Islamophobia" of which they keep complaining? To me, such attempts of deception are almost as good in generating Islamophobia as terror acts and threats. But let us be generous and assume that Ms. Khan, Ms. Shadia and their likes sincerely believe that the Islamist terror does not represent the true nature of Islam. Then, let us kindly tell them that they need not explain this to us, it is a waste of time. They should go and try to enlighten the terrorists instead.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Why Islam will fail

Below, I am reprinting David Wood's essay Islam Beheaded, copied from This post is blog action against Islamism in a response to yesterdays's mass murder of journalists in Paris by Islamist terrorists. Warning: the text is very long. If you are a Muslim, it is likely to offend you, but nevertheless I strongly advise you to read it.

Islam Beheaded

The Information Superhighway and the Death of Mohammedanism[1]

Heinrich Heine once wrote a clever poem titled "Marie Antoinette," in which the ghost of everyone’s favorite French queen entertains her guests with "strictest etiquette." The irony of the poem is that neither Antoinette nor her guests realize that their heads are missing. They were all beheaded during the French Revolution, but without their heads, they don’t have the brains to acknowledge their headlessness.

Islam is currently in a similar situation. Muhammad’s empire of faith has managed to thrive in the modern world for one simple reason: Muslims have kept Muhammad’s dark past a secret. Indeed, they have gone beyond keeping it a secret; they have somehow convinced themselves (and many others) that Muhammad was an outstanding moral example, perhaps even the greatest moral example of all time. Perpetuating this fraud has been, in my opinion, the most stupendous deception in world history.

True, there are plenty of instances in Muhammad’s life that one could view as the deeds of a moral individual, and Muslims are quick to point out his acts of charity and his dedication to prayer. However, in assessing the overall character of a man, we must take into account all of his actions, not just the ones that support our feelings about him. For instance, suppose I become convinced that the greatest person in history was a man named John Gacy. I could point to his charity work at local hospitals, to his activities in the Boy Scouts and the Jaycees[2], to his patient endurance of numerous physical ailments, to his community activities such as neighborhood barbecues and other social gatherings, to his generosity to others, to his dedication to his family, and to his outstanding work ethic, which made him one of the pillars of his local business community. Yet, if I am to make a case for the moral superiority of Mr. Gacy, I must not leave out the fact that he raped, tortured, and murdered more than thirty boys and buried them under his house.[3]

I bring this up because of the peculiar tactic employed by Muslims whenever the character of Muhammad is challenged. When someone argues that Muhammad was a robber or a murderer, Muslims suddenly cry out in one accord, "But he was merciful and kind! He started Islam, and Islam is good! God revealed the Qur’an through him! How dare you say something bad about him!? He was the greatest prophet ever! Stop being so intolerant!" The difficulty here is that, no matter how loudly a Muslim shouts these objections, they have no power to overcome the historical fact that Muhammad was a robber and a murderer. Yet, to a Muslim who already believes that Muhammad was a prophet, the Islamic line of reasoning apparently makes sense. Nevertheless, to anyone who is not a committed Muslim, any claim to moral superiority will be an empirical issue, that is, a matter of examining and weighing the evidence.

Tragically, examining the evidence is something that most Muslims seem unwilling to do. In fact, Muslims have been so persistent in ignoring the facts about their prophet that the Muhammad now proclaimed by Islam bears little resemblance to the man who preached in Arabia more than thirteen centuries ago. For example, Abul A’la Mawdudi presents the following picture of Muhammad:
He is entirely different from the people among whom he is born and with whom he spends his youth and early manhood. He never tells a lie. The whole nation is unanimous in testifying to his truthfulness. . . . He is the very embodiment of modesty in the midst of a society which is immodest to the core. . . . He helps the orphans and the widows. He is hospitable to travelers. He harms no one . . . [He] is such a lover of peace that his heart melts for the people when they take up arms and cut each other’s throats. . . . In brief, the towering and radiant personality of this man, in the midst of such a corrupted and dark environment, may be likened to a beacon-light brightening a pitch-dark night or to a diamond in a heap of dead stones. . . . [After he begins to deliver the message of Islam the] ignorant nation turns against him. Abuses and stones are showered at his august person. Every conceivable torture and cruelty is perpetrated upon him. . . . Can anyone ever imagine a higher example of self-sacrifice, brotherliness and kind-heartedness towards his fellow beings than that a man would ruin his happiness for the good of others, while those very people for whose betterment he is striving should stone him, abuse him, banish him, and give him no quarter even in his exile, and that, in spite of this all, he should refuse to stop working for their well being? . . . When he began preaching his Message, all of Arabia stood in awe and wonder and was bewitched by his wonderful eloquence and oratory. It was so impressive and captivating that his worst enemies were afraid of hearing it, lest it should penetrate deep into the recesses of their hearts and carry them off their feet making them forsake their old religion and culture. It was so matchless that the whole legion of Arab poets, preachers, and speakers of the highest caliber failed to bring forth its equivalent. . . . This reserved and quiet man who, for a full forty years, never gave any indication of political interest or activity, suddenly appeared on the stage of the world as such a great political reformer and statesman that without the aid of radio, telephone and press, he brought together the scattered inhabitants of a desert extending across twelve hundred thousand square miles. He joined together a people who were warlike, ignorant, unruly, uncultured, and plunged in self-destructive trivial warfare—under one banner, one law, one religion, one culture, one civilization, and one form of government. . . . He accomplished this feat not through any lure, oppression or cruelty, but by his captivating manner, his winsome personality, and the conviction of his teaching. With his noble and gentle behavior, he befriended even his enemies. He captured the hearts of the people with his boundless sympathy and human kindness. . . . He did not oppress even his deadly enemies, men who had sworn to kill him . . . He forgave them all when he triumphed over them. He never took revenge on anyone for his personal grievances. He never retaliated against anyone for the wrongs perpetrated on him. . . . It was he who turned the course of human thought away from superstition, the unnatural and the unexplainable, towards a logical approach illustrating a love for truth and a balanced worldly life. . . . In the cavalcade of world history, the sublime figure of this wonderful person towers so high above all the great men of all times that they appear to be dwarfs when contrasted to him. . . . Can anyone cite another example of a maker of history of such distinction, another revolutionary of such brilliance and splendor?[4]
This is actually a very condensed version of Mawdudi’s reverent depiction of his beloved prophet, but it accurately reflects the Islamic conception of Muhammad. The problem, of course, is that this conception is horribly inaccurate. The historical Muhammad (that is, the Muhammad we can know about through history) was psychologically unstable, brutal towards his enemies, and, according to some, sexually perverted. This isn’t to say that Muhammad was all bad. He wasn’t, and Mawdudi is correct in maintaining that Muhammad’s character played a role in converting people to Islam. Even so, while Muhammad may have had many redeeming features, some of his less admirable characteristics are difficult to ignore. Consider the following facts about the life of Muhammad, which can be gathered from the reports of his earliest followers:

Fact #1: When Muhammad began receiving his revelations, his first impression was that he was possessed by demons. The "angel" who appeared to Muhammad choked him almost to the point of death. Muhammad concluded that he was demon-possessed and quickly became suicidal.[5] This wasn’t the first time a person thought that Muhammad was under demonic influence, however. Ibn Ishaq tells us that Muhammad’s childhood nurse also believed that he was demon-possessed.[6] Thus, both the woman who raised him and Muhammad himself held (if only for a short time) that he was possessed by demons. Further, throughout his life, Muhammad believed that he was the victim of magic spells cast by his enemies, who were somehow able to torment God’s chosen prophet through their incantations:
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: Magic was worked on Allah’s Apostle (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) so that he used to think that he had had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not. Then one day he said, "O Aisha, do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. The one near my head asked the other: ‘What is wrong with this man?’ The latter replied, ‘He is under the effect of magic.’ The first one asked, ‘Who has worked magic on him?’ The other replied, ‘Labid bin Al-Asam, a man from Bani Zuraiq who was an ally of the Jews and was a hypocrite.’ The first one asked, ‘What material did he use?’ The other replied, ‘A comb and the hair stuck to it.’"[7]
(For more on Muhammad, magic, and demons, see "The Bewitched Prophet.")

Fact #2: Muhammad supported his fledgling religion by robbing people. The early Muslims could have maintained Islam through hard work, frugal spending, and the donations of admirers. Yet Muhammad chose robbery as his chief source of income, and greed soon became one of the primary factors in people’s rapid conversion to Islam. Indeed, Muhammad deliberately used the spoils of war to lure people to Islam. When he was criticized for the way he distributed his newfound wealth, he replied, "Are you disturbed in mind because of the good things of this life by which I win over a people that they may become Muslims while I entrust you to your Islam?"[8] Given the prospect of untold riches, it’s no wonder so many people committed themselves to Islam. Muhammad guaranteed that Allah "will admit the Struggler in His cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty."[9] This message must have sounded extraordinary to the poor of Arabia. If they died in the cause of Allah, they would go to Paradise and be rich. If they survived, they would plunder their enemies and be rich. Either way, their situation would be much better upon embracing Islam.
(For more on Muhammad’s use of riches to win converts, see "Don’t Lose Your Head!")

Fact #3: Muhammad was often ruthless towards his adversaries. Punishments for taking a stand against Muhammad included torture and death. Both men and women were brutally killed for criticizing Muhammad.[10] Hundreds of Jewish men were beheaded for standing against him, while their wives and children were sold into slavery.[11] Some early Muslims who apostatized were killed after Muhammad gave the command to kill all who turn away from Islam.[12] Modern Muslims often claim that Muhammad only killed when he was attacked by his enemies, but history shows that he murdered numerous people whose only crime was writing poems against him.[13] Given the facts, it’s difficult to understand how Muslim writers such as Mawdudi could have the audacity to claim that Muhammad "never took revenge on anyone for his personal grievances."
(For more on Muhammad’s brutality, see "Murdered by Muhammad.")

Fact #4: Muhammad had far more wives than even his own revelations allowed. The Qur’an allows Muslims to have up to four wives: "And if you fear that you will not deal fairly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you cannot deal justly (with so many), then one only, or (the captives) that your right hands possess" (4:3). We know that Muhammad had at least thirteen wives during his life, and that he had at least nine wives at one time. Of course, he did receive a Qur’anic revelation telling him that he alone could exceed the four-wife limit: "O Prophet! We have made lawful unto you your wives whom you have paid their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses of those whom Allah has given as spoils of war, . . . a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) believers" (33:50). Nevertheless, since Muhammad was the one receiving revelations that allowed him to transgress rules that applied to everyone else, many people have concluded that he was inventing revelations to justify his hypocritical behavior.
(For more on Muhammad’s wives, see "Why Did Mohammed Get So Many Wives?")

Fact #5: Muhammad consummated a marriage to a nine-year-old girl. Muhammad’s courtship of Aisha began when she was only six.[14] Muhammad had a dream about her, which led him to believe that God wanted him to marry the young girl.[15] Fortunately, Muhammad didn’t have sex with her until she reached menses at the age of nine. (Most girls do not have their first period by this age, but Aisha had been suffering from some form of intense sickness, which probably induced menses early.) Muhammad apparently took Aisha’s first menstruation as a sign that she was an adult ready for sexual relations, and Aisha quickly became his favorite wife. Among her earliest duties as Muhammad’s wife was the task of washing semen stains off his clothes: "Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: I used to wash the semen off the clothes of the Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) and even then I used to notice one or more spots on them."[16]
(For more on Muhammad’s relationship with Aisha, see "Was Muhammad a Pedophile?")

Fact #6: Muhammad had a contemptible opinion of women. Muslim apologists often argue that Muhammad raised the status of women, and they are entirely correct in saying this. However, the status to which he raised them is almost as shameful as their status in pre-Islamic Arabia. According to Muhammad, women’s minds are so deficient that the testimony of a woman is worth only half that of a man.[17] Given this lack of intellectual ability, women have to be kept under control by other means. Thus the Qur’an sanctions the beating of women: "As for those [women] from whom you fear disloyalty, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and beat them (lightly, without visible injury). Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them" (4:34). Notice the parenthetical remarks that the beating should be a light one. These words do not occur in the Arabic; apparently, even Muslim translators have a problem with this verse and do what they can to water it down. Notice also that the beating is done to bring the wives into submission. Muhammad repeatedly warned women about disrespecting their husbands: "The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: ‘I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were thankless.’"[18] Hell, then, is composed primarily of ungrateful women (perhaps their husbands hadn’t beaten them enough). However, even Heaven is a bleak prospect for women, for, according to Muhammad, women will spend eternity standing in the corners of Paradise, waiting for the men to come and have sex with them.[19]
(For more on Muhammad’s opinion of women, see "Banish Them to Their Beds and Scourge Them!")

Fact #7: Muhammad is unique among prophets in that he is the only one to receive a revelation, proclaim it as part of God’s message to man, and later take it back, claiming that it was actually from Satan. According to the earliest extant biography of Muhammad, he eventually became so sad about his countrymen’s rejection of his prophethood that he began longing for some verses that would bring them to Islam. He soon received what he was looking for—a revelation saying that the intercession of three other gods was acceptable. Muhammad presented the revelation to the people, and his countrymen were overjoyed to hear that they could continue praying to al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat. A mass-conversion to Islam followed, but in time Muhammad received another revelation, which told him that the former verses had been given to him by Satan. God told him not to be too disturbed over the matter, for, according to the new revelation, all prophets occasionally receive ideas from Satan:
The apostle was bitterly grieved and was greatly in fear of God. So God sent down (a revelation), for He was merciful to him, comforting him and making light of the affair and telling him that every prophet and apostle before him desired as he desired and wanted what he wanted and Satan interjected something into his desires as he had on his tongue. So God annulled what Satan had suggested and God established His verses, i.e. you are just like the prophets and apostles. Then God sent down: "We have not sent a prophet or apostle before you but when he longed Satan cast suggestions in his longing. But God will annul what Satan has suggested. Then God will establish his verses, God being knowing and wise."[20]
(For more on this, see "The Bewitched Prophet.")

These are just some of the facts that Muslims have been keeping secret, but they are enough to make any reasonable person doubt the validity of Islam. Muhammad was guilty of countless murders and of torturing his victims. He robbed caravans and participated in the slave-trade. His persecution of the Jews bordered on genocide. His polygamy went beyond that which even his own revelations permitted (though he did receive a revelation saying that this was okay for him). One of his wives was a nine-year-old girl, whose earliest duties in Muhammad’s house included the constant task of washing the semen stains off his clothes. At times he believed he was demon-possessed or under the effect of magic. He was known to be suicidal. He admittedly received a message from Satan and delivered it to the people as if it were from God. He declared that women have half the intellectual ability that men have, that it is okay for men to beat their wives, that most of the inhabitants of hell are women, and that, even if a woman somehow makes it to heaven, her eternity will consist of standing in a corner, waiting for men to sexually enjoy her.[21]

These details about Muhammad raise a very important question: What does a prophet have to do before Muslims will be willing to question whether he is truly the greatest moral example in history? Normally, when we say that someone is a moral person, we mean that he doesn’t commit acts such as robbery and murder. Yet Muhammad did all these things and much more. It appears, then, that Muslims are using the term "moral" in a very unique way. In this uniquely Muslim sense of the term, the word "moral" is defined as "whatever Muhammad does." Thus, if Muhammad were to chop off the heads of hundreds of people (which he did), this act would still be defined as a moral act, since Muhammad did it, and anything Muhammad does is, by definition, moral.

But this raises another important question. If God’s greatest prophet is free to take part in murder, robbery, genocide, and slave-trading, can we really point a finger at people like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and say that they are evil? They killed many innocents, but so did Muhammad. Saddam tortured countless people, but so did Muhammad. In fact, one could make a case that Osama bin Laden is morally superior to Muhammad, for, while bin Laden killed thousands of people, he didn’t sell their wives and children into slavery, or have sex with a little girl, or marry more than a dozen women.

The truth about Muhammad has been one of the world’s best-kept secrets. For centuries, it has been virtually impossible to raise objections about the character of Muhammad in Muslim countries, for anyone who raised such objections would (following the example set by Muhammad himself) immediately be killed. Outside the Muslim world, there has been little interest in Islam, and those who have been interested have typically relied on modern Muslim reports about Muhammad, such as the above passage from Mawdudi. But things have changed. Now many people are interested in Islam, and Muslims aren’t able to silence everyone. Moreover, with the advent of the Internet, it is now impossible to keep Muhammad’s life a secret. The facts about the founder of Islam are spreading very rapidly, and Muslims are frantically scurrying to defend their faith. But the information superhighway is paving over the ignorance that has for centuries been the stronghold of Islamic dogma. In the end, Islam will fall, for the entire structure is built upon the belief that Muhammad was the greatest moral example in history, and this belief is demonstrably false.

This article is a revised version of an essay that originally appeared on

On sources used. I have appealed to several sources for early information about the life of Muhammad. The Life of Muhammad (Ibn Ishaq) is the earliest biography of Muhammad. The Sahih Muslim and the Sahih Al-Bukhari are considered by most Muslims to be the most reliable sources of information about the life of Muhammad. All Qur’an verses are from The Glorious Qur’an translation.
1 Muslims object to having their religion called "Mohammedanism"; however, by "Mohammedanism" I mean only the Islamic beliefs about Muhammad. Thus, the term is appropriate in this context.
2 "The Jaycees" is an organization that helps young people develop various skills for success, in areas such as business development, leadership, and management. The organization places much emphasis on community service.
3 Before anyone misunderstands me here, I must note that I am not comparing Muhammad to John Wayne Gacy. My point is that, if I claim that someone is the greatest moral example ever, I cannot ignore all the details that prove me wrong. If a husband cheats on his wife on Saturday evenings but remains faithful to her the rest of the week, no one would claim that he is an excellent husband because he is faithful to his wife most of the time. A Saturday evening adulterer is still an adulterer. Similarly, when Muslims claim that Muhammad was the greatest of prophets, they cannot simply select the facts that support their view.
4 Abul A’la Mawdudi, Towards Understanding Islam (Islamic Circle of North America, 1986), pp. 52-67.
5 Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, (The Life of Muhammad), A. Guillaume, tr. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 106.
6 Ibid., pp. 71-72.
7 Sahih Al Bukhari, Dr. Muhammad Matraji, tr. (New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 2002), Number 5765.
8 Ibn Ishaq, p. 596.
9 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Number 2787.
10 See, for instance, Ibn Ishaq p. 368 and p. 676.
11 See Ibid., p. 464.
12 See Ibid., pp. 550-551. See also Sahih Al-Bukhari 3017: "[T]he Prophet said: ‘If somebody discards his religion, kill him.’"
13 See, for example, Ibn Ishaq, pp. 675-676, where Asma is murdered in her house for writing a poem against Muhammad. In Ibid., pp. 364-368, Ka’b is murdered for writing poems against Islam. Ibid., pp. 550-551, states that Muhammad gave orders to kill (1) al-Hawayrith for insulting him, (2) a woman named Sara who had once insulted him, and (3) Abdullah’s two singing girls for singing songs about Muhammad. One of the singing girls survived and was given immunity; the others were killed in obedience to Muhammad’s commands.
14 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Number 3894.
15 Ibid., Number 3895.
16 Ibid., Number 232. See also 229, 230, and 231.
17 See Sahih Muslim, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, tr., Number 142.
18 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Number 29.
19 Ibid., Number 4879.
20 Ibn Ishaq, pp. 165-166.
21 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Number 4879.

Articles by David Wood
Answering Islam Home Page

Islamists murder journalists in Paris

From today's AP report 12 dead in terror attack on Paris paper; manhunt for gunmen, by J. Keaten and L. Hinnant, via Yahoo! News:

"Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, methodically killing 12 people Wednesday, including the editor, before escaping in a car. It was France's deadliest terrorist attack in half a century.

Shouting "Allahu akbar!" as they fired, the men also spoke flawless, unaccented French in the military-style noon-time attack on the weekly paper Charlie Hebdo, located near Paris' Bastille monument. The publication's depictions of Islam have drawn condemnation and threats before — it was firebombed in 2011 — although it also satirized other religions and political figures.

...The attackers forced one of the cartoonists... — at the office with her young daughter — to open the door.

The staff was in an editorial meeting and the gunmen headed straight for the paper's editor, Stephane Charbonnier — widely known by his pen name Charb — killing him and his police bodyguard... Minutes later, two men strolled out to a black car waiting below, calmly firing on a police officer, with one gunman shooting him in the head as he writhed on the ground.

Ten journalists were killed and two police... one of them assigned as Charb's bodyguard and another who had arrived on the scene on a mountain bike.

"Hey! We avenged the Prophet Muhammed! We killed Charlie Hebdo," one of the men shouted, according to a video filmed from a nearby building and broadcast on French television. Other video images showed two gunmen in black at a crossroads who appeared to fire down one of the streets. A cry of "Allahu akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great"— could be heard among the gunshots.

The gunmen abandoned their car at the northern Porte de Patin and escaped, Paris police said.

Corinne Rey, the cartoonist who said she was forced to let the gunmen in, said the men spoke fluent French and claimed to be from al-Qaida...

World leaders... condemned the attack, but supporters of the militant Islamic State group celebrated the slayings as well-deserved revenge against France.

Both al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have repeatedly threatened to attack France. Just minutes before the attack, Charlie Hebdo had tweeted a satirical cartoon of the Islamic State's leader giving New Year's wishes. Another cartoon, released in this week's issue and entitled "Still No Attacks in France," had a caricature of a jihadi fighter saying "Just wait — we have until the end of January to present our New Year's wishes."

"This is the darkest day of the history of the French press," said Christophe DeLoire of Reporters Without Borders...

On social media, supporters of militant Islamic groups praised the move

(The article is live-updated, so the text is likely to be different if you follow the above link.)

I am so sorry for the valiant French journalists and policemen who died for the sake of freedom of speech, the cornerstone of civilization.

In a cruelly ironic coincidence, less than a day before the shooting Turkish Islamist president Erdogan lectured EU that it was time to crack down on "Islamophobia". Commenters to this article in a united chorus wrote that "Islamophobia" is a misnomer. In the words of one of them, Michael: "A phobia is an irrational fear. Wasn't there a suicide bombing in Turkey within hours of this speech? Wasn't there a shooting in France hours ago due to satirical cartoon featuring a Muslim? Maybe if we could go a day or two without having Muslims blow up something they dislike, there would be less "Islamophobia"."

To be fair, the suicide bombing mentioned in the comment was done by a supporter not of radical Islam but of another plague of mankind, Marxism. The essence, however, remains true: there is Islamophobia because a tiny but reliably present proportion of Muslims terrorize and murder non-Muslims, as well as fellow Muslims, in the name of Islam.

I am advocating for acceptance of thousands of Muslim refugees fleeing barbaric repression - and even genocide - perpetrated by the Muslim government of their country (Syria), but at the same time I can only hope that the good deed of accepting these asylum seekers will go unpunished.

I didn't want to begin the new year with such a post, but - that's the reality.

Update: According to new reports, the Istanbul suicide bombing initially believed to have been Marxist was Islamist after all!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Yima, the Iranian Prometheus

In a number of mythologies, the primordial state of mankind is a blissful Golden Age of plenty, joy, universal love, harmony and often immortality. Then humans do something they shouldn't, usually in violation of an explicit divine order. They taste a forbidden fruit of knowledge, or steal the fire, or become greedy for gold, or something of this sort. This leads to a Fall - an abrupt termination of the Golden Age and establishment of the human condition as we know it.

These recurrent tales are more related to psychology than to anthropology. An age when "the fruitful earth unforced bare them fruit abundantly" (quote from Works and Days, by ancient Greek poet Hesiod, translation by Evelyn-White) of course never existed in reality. Moreover, anthropologists have not found a single primitive human society, ancient or modern, to rely on the "fruits born by the fruitful earth". So it is striking that in Golden Age myths, humans are invariably plant eaters.

Besides animal food, our mythic ancestors are deprived of another human trait - consciousness. They are peaceful and vegetarian as oxen, and almost as intelligent. They have everything they need, because they lack the mental skills needed to figure out that they need more than they have, nor can they plan how to acquire it. Small wonder that these wretched pea-brained humans usually cannot manage even the Fall on their own and need a snake to tell them that knowledge is power, or a Prometheus to bring them the stolen fire.

The earliest text about Prometheus, Hesiod's Theogony, actually mentions another sin besides the theft of fire: tricking Zeus to take only the bones of a sacrificed ox and to leave the edible parts to humans. The quote below is from Evelyn-White's translation:

"(507-543) Now Iapetus took to wife... Clymene, daughter of Ocean... And she bare him... clever Prometheus... and scatter-brained Epimetheus who from the first was a mischief to men who eat bread; for it was he who first took of Zeus the woman, the maiden whom he had formed... 

And ready-witted Prometheus he (Zeus - M.M.) bound with inextricable bonds, cruel chains, and drove a shaft through his middle, and set on him a long-winged eagle, which used to eat his immortal liver... That bird Heracles... slew... Though he (Zeus - M.M.) was angry, he ceased from the wrath which he had before because Prometheus matched himself in wit with the almighty son of Cronos (this is again Zeus - M.M.).  

For when the gods and mortal men had a dispute at Mecone, even then Prometheus was forward to cut up a great ox and set portions before them, trying to befool the mind of Zeus. Before the rest he set flesh and inner parts thick with fat upon the hide, covering them with an ox paunch; but for Zeus he put the white bones dressed up with cunning art and covered with shining fat. Then the father of men and of gods said to him: 

(543-544) `Son of Iapetus, most glorious of all lords, good sir, how unfairly you have divided the portions!' 

(545-547) So said Zeus whose wisdom is everlasting... But wily Prometheus answered...:

(548-558) `Zeus, most glorious and greatest of the eternal gods, take which ever of these portions your heart within you bids.' 

So he said, thinking trickery. But Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting, saw and failed not to perceive the trick, and in his heart he thought mischief against mortal men which also was to be fulfilled. With both hands he took up the white fat and was angry at heart, and wrath came to his spirit when he saw the white ox-bones craftily tricked out: and because of this the tribes of men upon earth burn white bones to the deathless gods upon fragrant altars. But Zeus who drives the clouds was greatly vexed and said to him: 

(559-560) `Son of Iapetus, clever above all! So, sir, you have not yet forgotten your cunning arts!' 

(561-584) So spake Zeus in anger, whose wisdom is everlasting; and from that time he was always mindful of the trick, and would not give the power of unwearying fire to... mortal men who live on the earth. But the noble son of Iapetus outwitted him and stole the far-seen gleam of unwearying fire in a hollow fennel stalk. And Zeus who thunders on high was stung in spirit, and his dear heart was angered when he saw amongst men the far-seen ray of fire. Forthwith he made an evil thing for men as the price of fire..."

To cut the long story short and spare you a larger dose of the cumbersome Hesiod's narrative, let me just mention that the "evil thing" was the woman. With or without an accompanying jar of other evils, she was given to Prometheus' stupid brother, Epimetheus. Pay attention that, although the pious poet stresses that Zeus "whose wisdom is everlasting" saw through the trick form the beginning, he was actually duped; otherwise, it is difficult to explain why "wrath came to his spirit when he saw the white ox-bones craftily tricked out".

Prometheus was made popular by a later play which concentrated on the theft of fire and other contributions to civilization and omitted (and even negated) the sacrifice trick; this is why the latter is not known to the general public. It is clear that the deceptive sacrifice and the theft of fire were initially independent elements. They do not fit well together because animal sacrifice requires fire (a more logical combination would be theft of fire first, sacrifice trick second). The theft of fire, though present in many mythologies, is not typical for Indo-Europeans. It is likely to have been borrowed from the Caucasus, where different variations of it exist, some including the eagle and some without it. As for the sacrifice, scholars tend to dismiss it as a local "etiological myth" to explain why humans eat most of the sacrificial animal and burn only the bones at the gods' altars. Some even suspect that it is Hesiod's invention. Therefore, I was surprised to read that as early as 1975, Bruce Lincoln had written the following:

"I attempted to trace out a myth of Indo-European provenance that detailed the events which were believed to have been crucial in the establishment of the world as the Proto-Indo-Europeans knew it. There I argued that this myth told of two brothers, *Manu- "Man" (Sanskrit Manu, Avestan *Manus, Germanic Mannus being linguistic correspondences; Old Norse Odinn and Latin Romulus being structurally related) and *Yemo- 'Twin" (Sanskrit Yama, Avestan Yima, Old Norse Ymir, and Latin Remus being linguistic matches; Germanic Tuisco being a semantic match; Sanskrit Mandvi and Purusa, Pahlavi Gayomart being structurally related). Originally, this myth told of how *Manu, a priest, sacrificed *Yemo, a king, together with a bovine animal, and then created the world from their respective bodies..."

This setting - two brothers, a bovine, and a sacrifice - immediately reminded me of the Mecone scene, which, if not world-creating, was at least world-shaping. Because "Prometheus" and "Epimetheus" are clearly epithets and not true names, it does not matter that they do not sound like "Yemo" and "Manu". "Prometheus" means "Forethinker", various authors have tried other etymologies using the Sanskrit words for "fire-stick" or "steal", but if we leave aside the non-Indo-European theft of fire, we can easily derive it from "prototype sacrifice", which can be reconstructed in Sanskrit as "pra-medha". As for Epimetheus, he assaulted nobody and we don't know whether he was even present at Mecone. However, after the sacrifice, he got a role by becoming a puppet of his brother's enemies and a tool of their revenge.

I looked for more information about other "Yemos". Only the Indian and Iranian versions are preserved well enough. The oldest Indian sacred text is the Rig Veda. In it, there is a remark about Yama finding and bringing fire:

"3 In many places, Agni Jātavedas (Agni is the god of fire - M.M.), we sought thee hidden in the plants and waters.
Then Yama marked thee, God of wondrous splendour! effulgent from thy tenfold secret dwelling...
(Rig Veda, Book 10, Hymn 51, translated by R. Griffith.)

Yama initially was a man, the first man who died and traced the path for others. Then he became god of the dead and ruler of the underworld. However, neither in the Rig Veda nor in later texts you will find how and of what he died. The only clue seems to be this:

"4 He, for God's sake, chose death to be his portion. He chose not, for men's good, a life eternal
They sacrificed Bṛhaspati the Ṛṣi. Yama delivered up his own dear body
(Rig Veda, Book 10, Hymn 13.)

The hint may be that Yama accepted death so that to find or build an underworld for other souls to inhabit. However, it is also possible that he died in some suicide mission which the authors of the scripture preferred not to specify.

More information comes from Iran, though it has passed through not one but two reforms imposing monotheistic religions, first Zoroastrianism and then Islam. The counterpart of Yama is named Yima in the oldest texts (the Avesta) and Jam or Jamshid ("King Jam") in later ones. It seems that Zoroaster (Zarathustra) was not altogether happy with Yima, but had to accommodate him somehow, because he was too popular to be simply left out. The Avestan references to Yima are fragmentary, maybe because Yima was well known to Zoroaster's original audience and no detailed descriptions were needed.

The earliest and most important information is given in the Yasna, a part of the Avesta that includes mainly lithurgical texts. In Chapter 9, he is described as the king of mankind in the Golden Age at the beginning of the world:

"4... Yima, called the brilliant, (he of the many flocks, the most glorious of those yet born, the sunlike-one of men), that he made from his authority both herds and people free from dying, both plants and waters free from drought, and men could eat inexhaustible food.

5. In the reign of brave Yima was there neither cold nor heat, there was neither age nor death, nor envy demon-made. Like teenagers walked the two forth, son and father, in their stature and their form, so long as Yima, son of Vivanghvant ruled, he of the many herds!"

Then in Chapter 32, the Fall comes:

"8. Among these sinners, we know, Yima was included, Vivanghen's son, who desiring to satisfy men gave our people flesh of the ox to eat. From these shall I be separated by Thee, O Mazda, at last."
(Translation by L. H. Mills. Mazda is Ahura Mazda or Ohrmazd, the Zoroastrian God.)

As the end of the verse shows, the author is quick to distance himself from the wicked deed of Yima. And for good reason; because the supernatural forces, watching humans eat beef, got as angry as Zeus at Mecone. The gates of Hell opened - literally: humans were made mortal, and the first person to die was Yima himself. He was brutally slain. The Yasna keeps silence about this but another part of the Avesta, Yashts 19 - Zamyad Yasht or Hymn to the Earth, tells the story in a few words. First, it reminds us of the Golden Age in chapter 7:

"30. We sacrifice unto the awful kingly Glory, made by Mazda ....
31. That clave unto the bright Yima, the good shepherd, for a long time, while he ruled...
32. ...In whose reign... aliments were never failing for feeding creatures, flocks and men were undying, waters and plants were undrying;
33. In whose reign there was neither cold wind nor hot wind, neither old age nor death, nor envy made by the Daevas, in the times before his lie, before he began to have delight in words of falsehood and untruth.
34. But when he began to find delight in words of falsehood and untruth, the Glory was seen to flee away from him... When his Glory had disappeared, then the great Yima Khshaeta, the good shepherd, trembled and was in sorrow before his foes; he was confounded, and laid him down on the ground."

I find it interesting that, in a sacrifice context, Yima is accused in "lie, falsehood and untruth". Did he, like Prometheus, outwit the gods? Unfortunately, we are not told this. And what happened to him after he was laid on the ground? The answer is in the next chapter 8:

"46... Azhi Dahaka and Spityura, he who sawed Yima in twain" (translation by J. Darmesteter).

Azhi Dahaka is an evil spirit that in pre-Zoroastrian Iran must have been in the ranks of gods. And as we should expect from the proto-Indo-European template, the mirderer Spityura (or Spitur) was a brother of Yima. This is mentioned in a later text (the Bundahishn or Creation), chapter 31:

"3. Yim, Tahmurasp, Spitur, and Narsih... were all brothers... 
5. Spitur was he who, with Dahak, cut up Yim" (translated by E. W. West).

Yima also had a connection with fire: he established a sacred fire called Farnbag (Bundahishn, chapter 17). The way he died may be echoed in the sharp weapon inserted into the body of Prometheus, which would of course kill him if he were mortal and which is absent from the Caucasian versions of the myth known to me.

What happened to Yima after his death? The Zoroastrian scriptures say nothing. However, the Pahlavi Rivayat, a work from the 10th century (i.e. already in the era of Islam), tells about it in chapter 31. Briefly, Ohrmazd (Ahura Mazda) summons the soul of Jam (i.e. Yima) from Hell to show him to Zoroaster. The latter finds the punishment too severe. Yima confesses to have called himself Creator of the world, repents and advises Zoroaster not to repeat his mistake:

"31c5 'And I said that I (had) created all the creatures and creations of the spiritual and material worlds. 
31c6 'For those lies which I uttered, glory and lordship were taken away from me, and my body fell into destruction at the hands of the demons. 
31c7 'You who are Zoroaster, if hardship (or) if prosperity should befall you, do not desist from proclaiming the religion...
31c8 When Jam had spoken in this manner, then confession and contrition came into his account, and he was forgiven by Ohrmazd..., and he went from the northern direction [i.e. Hell] to the state of Limbo and to the lordship of Limbo."
(Translation by A. V. Williams.)

This is maybe the only version where Yima finally becomes, like Yama, an underworld ruler.

Because I don't know the Iranian culture and language, I cannot be sure what Iranians think of Yima. From what I've read, it seems that they consider him a great tragic hero who did much good but finally committed a grave sin and paid for it. Zoroastrians are generally inclined to vegetarianism and blame him for giving people meat. This is no sin in Islam, so Muslim authors have ascribed to Yima other crimes to justify his punishment, as evident from the above quote. I'd like to see him entirely acquitted, like his relations - Prometheus, the Caucasian fire-thieves, and of course Eve and Adam. As B. Polka paraphrasing Kant says of the biblical story, it provides "a truly intelligible account of the transition of humankind from nature to freedom, from ignorance to reason, and so of the dignity of human beings who are to be treated as ends in themselves by all rational beings, including God." The same can be said of all mythic sinners who worked hard and took great risk to bring humanity out of the fools' Paradise.

(The outline of this post developed in a discussion on Bill Moulton's blog.)