The boy killed for an off-hand remark about Muhammad – Sharia spreads in Syria

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The murder of a boy accused of blasphemy has come to symbolise concerns about the power of Islamist radicals in Syria's armed uprising. Paul Wood reports from Aleppo on how Sharia is spreading in rebel-held areas.


Mohammed Qataa's mother wanders the streets of Aleppo looking into strangers' faces as she tries to find her son's killers.

She knows she would recognise them. She was looking right at them when, in front of a dumbstruck and terrified crowd, Mohammed was shot dead, accused of blasphemy.

She remembers Mohammed as a happy, dutiful son, well known and well-liked in the Shaar neighbourhood where the men of the family scrape a living with a coffee cart.

He was 14 years old, but with no schooling possible because of the war he was usually to be found on the busy main thoroughfare through Shaar, selling the thick, sweet coffee they prefer here.

One day last month, someone asked him for a free cup. "Not even if the Prophet himself returns," he had replied, laughing. That remark was a death sentence.


continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

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  1. Very few comments on this thread because, I suspect, we are all speechless at the continuing barbarity of this so called ‘religion’ whose dogmas and pronouncements are simply sickening.

  2. Is it because he forgot to say “peace be upon him” after he mentioned the prophet’s name?, which would be such a hypocrisy for obvious reasons and I do not put it past the people who carried this out, to be so callous in this way.

    I personally thought it was a good joke and would have bought a cup of his coffee to share a rare moment of levity in an otherwise horrific situation. As per usual Islam is completely devoid of humour or any sense of it, to the point of senseless murder, again!!

    Why is the term “radical Islam” still being used as if it’s a legitimate distinction?? If you are a Muslim then you obey the laws of the Koran, these murderers were doing just that so please stop hiding behind PC nonsense and point the finger at the real problem, ISLAM!!

  3. From now on I’ll only comment when something positive or new is reported to have occurred.

    So in all likelihood I’ll only be commenting on matters scientific; whether real or pseudo.

  4. Firstly I totally sympathise with Mohammed’s mum and family…How dare those sick religious self righteous bastards take the life of an innocent child and call it moral…FSA have two evils to over come…The evil regime of their country’s dictatorship and the evil regime of Islamist religious authority lurking in the wings waiting for the Assad regime to fall – when they will step in to the power vacuum and dish out their edicts and become more strict dictators than Assad……..Many Syrian people are secular and have to fight off those two horrors attacking them at once….The only consolation is the recent downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt…even though Morsi was overthrown in an undemocratic way….I have hope that a Secular president will be installed….This is proof to the Egyptian people that even democratically elected Islamic candidates will not all be completely fair and equal to non muslims…..Only Secular candidates are more likely to ensure equality to ALL citizens regardless of religion. Middle Eastern countries badly need Secular Law to govern them as Islam is not a law for the non muslims who live there and hardly a fair or equal authority over most muslims…..

    • Indeed be very careful what you wish for. Arming these fundamentalist thugs will literally blow up in the West’s face. Have we not learnt yet?
      The islamic “fundies” will make Assad and his regime look like choir boys. The fact any secular elements in Syria have joined forces with the fundamentalists is mind boggling. Remember Iran and the Mullahs. We all know that didn’t work out too well and that was 35 years ago… jcw
      In reply to #8 by Light Wave:

      Firstly I totally sympathise with Mohammed’s mum and family…How dare those sick religious self righteous bastards take the life of an innocent child and call it moral…FSA have two evils to over come…The evil regime of their country’s dictatorship and the evil regime of Islamist religious autho…

    • In reply to #11 by MilitantNonStampCollector:

      The U.S and Britain want to arm these jihadi-sharia-spreaders – all in the name of freedom and democracy of course.

      I’m all for arming real rebels, but perhaps we should engrave these weapons with something blasphemous first.

      • How about “There probably is no God, but if he does exist he is certainly not great”

        In reply to #12 by Peter Grant:

        In reply to #11 by MilitantNonStampCollector:

        The U.S and Britain want to arm these jihadi-sharia-spreaders – all in the name of freedom and democracy of course.

        I’m all for arming real rebels, but perhaps we should engrave these weapons with something blasphemous first.

        • In reply to #13 by Marktony:

          How about “There probably is no God, but if he does exist he is certainly not great”

          Great for buses, but surely a machine gun needs something with a bit more kick? Still, it would probably be almost as effective. Translate this into the local tongue and religious nutters will probably think the weapons are cursed.

          • How about a non-removable mp3 player with a small selection of blasphemous songs. Could be remotely activated if the weapon falls into the wrong hands. Really embarrassing for the rebels though if it miss-fires so to speak.

            In reply to #15 by Peter Grant:

            In reply to #13 by Marktony:

            How about “There probably is no God, but if he does exist he is certainly not great”

            Great for buses, but surely a machine gun needs something with a bit more kick? Still, it would probably be almost as effective. Translate this into the local tongue and religious nut…

          • In reply to #16 by Marktony:

            How about a non-removable mp3 player with a small selection of blasphemous songs. Could be remotely activated if the weapon falls into the wrong hands.

            Don’t dare steal hardware from the secularists. Not only is it cursed, it’s possessed by evil spirits!

            Really embarrassing for the rebels though if it miss-fires so to speak.

            LOL! Yes, better keep it simple. Just pictured a certain tune by the Village People emanating forth at the pull of a trigger, instead of real bullets.

          • In reply to Marktony:

            Thanks for the like! If I wasn’t a fan, I wouldn’t have included them in the playlist.

  5. “Not even if the Prophet himself returns,” he had replied, laughing. That remark was a death sentence.
    >
    He doesn’t need to and he couldn’t do worse even if he returned for a re-run. His main contributions to life were filling a latrine and developing a particularly enduring form of abrahamic barbarism that appeals to the darkest corners of human minds.
    >
    Oh dear have I offended a few islamists with that remark? Tut Tut and there I was trying to offend all of them.

  6. Interestingly, the article suggests that there is reason to think that these people are not actually religious, but were just using the guise of religious fundamentalists to cause trouble. Of course, they wouldn’t pick that guise if it weren’t a useful one, so even if the perpetrators weren’t religious, it doesn’t change that Islam is a handy way to cause shit.

    Still, I wonder what would have happened if the boy had responded “Only if the prophet himself were to come back.” Is the crime irreverent mention of the prophet, or the unwillingness to give him free coffee. I mean, I’m pretty sure if the prophet himself came back, he could pay for his own coffee.

    Maybe he’s like the American Yahweh, who needs your money (sent to big haired evangelists).

    • In reply to #23 by Sines:

      Interestingly, the article suggests that there is reason to think that these people are not actually religious, but were just using the guise of religious fundamentalists to cause trouble. Of course, they wouldn’t pick that guise if it weren’t a useful one, so even if the perpetrators weren’t religious, it doesn’t change that Islam is a handy way to cause shit.

      One always wonders if religious leaders actually believe the crazy shit they spout, or if they are just cynically manipulating the system. I’ve always supposed the most charitable assumption is that they are just idiots.

      • In reply to #24 by Peter Grant:

        In reply to #23 by Sines:

        Interestingly, the article suggests that there is reason to think that these people are not actually religious, but were just using the guise of religious fundamentalists to cause trouble. Of course, they wouldn’t pick that guise if it weren’t a useful one, so even if the…

        I know what you mean. We have a would-be leader, very much known for his religiosity. Something about his body language and facial expressions really makes me doubt his sincerity. He’s not exactly killing people, but still manipulating potential voters I suspect.

        • In reply to #26 by Nitya:

          I know what you mean. We have a would-be leader, very much known for his religiosity. Something about his body language and facial expressions really makes me doubt his sincerity. He’s not exactly killing people, but still manipulating potential voters I suspect.

          Yes, I am a cynical manipulator, but I don’t give a fuck about myself.

    • In reply to #28 by Roedy:

      Are these just bullies who like terrifying people, or is religion seriously the reason for the insanity?

      Religion, which as we all know is essentially neutral, is rarely the reason for stuff like this (ukantic couldn’t be kept hanging on forever).

      As others have mentioned on this thread, Mohammed Qataa seems to have been murdered by a classic bully. This story made me think of one of those old cowboy flicks in which the scion of the local bigwig runs around terrorizing the townsfolk, safe in the knowledge that none of them will stand up to him because of his paternity.

      Bullies like nothing better than being allowed to operate with some sort of authority backing them up. In our horse opera this protection comes in the form of the villain’s daddy; in the case of Mohammed Qataa, his killer has religion.

      So I think it’s more accurate to say that religion enables behaviour like this, but isn’t responsible for creating it. Of course there are many who like to ignore millions of years of human evolution and our species’ propensity for violence, preferring to blame holy books or some dude who’s been dead for millennia.

      Bless their hearts.

      • In reply to #39 by Katy Cordeth:

        Religion, which as we all know is essentially neutral, is rarely the reason

        Can’t read your body language, Katy. You are doing sarcasm now? The rest of your post made perfect sense to me, apart from the above.

  7. The Mohammed Qataa’s reply was not an insult to the Prophet at all, but he was speaking to a bully who did not like having his request refused, however humorously or politely. This sort of incident is indicative of the chaos and lawlessness in Syria at present. It is always sad to be made aware of individual cases like this of the effects of that chaotic state.

    • In reply to #32 by Cairsley:

      The Mohammed Qataa’s reply was not an insult to the Prophet at all, but he was speaking to a bully who did not like having his request refused, however humorously or politely. This sort of incident is indicative of the chaos and lawlessness in Syria at present.

      This bullying was hardly chaotic, it was actually quite well organised. He didn’t just punch or stab the boy right there and then. Instead, he went and convinced a bunch of his jihadist buddies to kidnap, torture and then very publicly execute the boy. This was not just random violence, it positively reeks of totalitarian excessiveness.

      • In reply to #33 by Peter Grant:

        You have merely been more explicit about what the bullies did. It is perfectly consistent with the kind of thugs who work to establish a totalitarian régime, because totalitarianism itself is but a more institutionalized form of bullying. The account in the article of how the first thug deliberately misconstrued the boy’s words against him and then proceeds to punish him is a classic example of how a bully at any level operates. Of course it is revolting.

        • So the bully decides to murder the tea-seller because he refused him a free drink. But he wants the locals to think he
          sentenced him to death as punishment for blasphemy, which he presumably believes would be seen as a much more acceptable justification. What on earth would have given him the idea that religion can excuse murder?

          In reply to #34 by Cairsley:

          In reply to #33 by Peter Grant:

          You have merely been more explicit about what the bullies did. It is perfectly consistent with the kind of thugs who work to establish a totalitarian régime, because totalitarianism itself is but a more institutionalized form of bullying. The account in the article o…

          • In reply to #35 by Marktony:

            … What on earth would have given him the idea that religion can excuse murder?

            That has already been made clear by others in this discussion and would be known both from the report itself and from general knowledge of the religious context in Syria, namely Islam and in particular its holy book the Koran. It is the ideal religion for men of a bullying inclination, though Christianity has also served quite well in that regard.

          • It was a sarcastic comment. I agree with you that Islam seems to be an ideal religion for men (or women) of a bullying inclination. Obviously religion is not a necessity for these murderers just as a gun is not a necessity, but both are handy tools of the trade.

            In reply to #37 by Cairsley:

            In reply to #35 by Marktony:

            … What on earth would have given him the idea that religion can excuse murder?

            That has already been made clear by others in this discussion and would be known both from the report itself and from general knowledge of the religious context in Syria, namely Islam and…

  8. In the name of humanity this is a barbaric act, made the worse for us because of the pathetic superstitious rhetoric used by the killers to justify it. Even so we should retain some perspective. There is a revolution occurring in Syria and revolutions bring their revolutionary atrocities in the name of “justice” or “the cause”. These despicable acts are an almost inevitable accompaniment to turbulent times. Innocents would have suffered in the English, French, Russian, American and all other revolutionary periods.

  9. Marginally off topic, but I just got this in my email and thought it worth sharing:

            Tolerance
            (the last virtue of a decadent society)
    
    
            Jiggs McDonald, NHL Hall of Fame broadcaster speaking in Orillia , Ontario , says:
    
            I am truly perplexed that so many of my friends are against another mosque being built in Toronto .
    
            I think it should be the goal of every Canadian to be tolerant regardless of their religious beliefs.
    
            Thus the mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance.
    
            That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque, thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque.
    
            We could call one of the clubs, which would be gay, "The Turban Cowboy", and the other a topless bar called "You Mecca Me Hot."
    
            Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbecue pork restaurant, called "Iraq o' Ribs."
    
            Across the street there could be a lingerie store called "Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret", with sexy mannequins in the window modeling the goods.
    
            Next door to the lingerie shop there would be room for an adult sex toy shop, "Koranal Knowledge", its name in flashing neon lights, and on the other side, a liquor store called "Morehammered."
    
            All of this would encourage Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us, so their mosque issue would not be a problem for others.
    
            Yes we should promote tolerance, and you can do your part by passing this on.
    
  10. In reply to #40 by OHooligan:

    In reply to #39 by Katy Cordeth:

    Religion, which as we all know is essentially neutral, is rarely the reason

    Can’t read your body language, Katy. You are doing sarcasm now? The rest of your post made perfect sense to me, apart from the above.

    Nope, no sarcasm. Although I will admit I may have written it in order to annoy some of the folks here who seem to think Scott Atran is the Antichrist. I’m not familiar with the chap, although I may acquaint myself with some of his writings.

    There really isn’t that much difference between the Qur’an and the Old Testament part of the Bible. The former is a little more self-assured and bloodthirsty than the latter, although not as much as some folks here would have you believe. And seeing as the Qur’an was written at a time when Islam was on its way to becoming a major world power both economically and militarily, I think its authors can be forgiven their braggadocio.

    It annoys me when people insist on blaming religion for acts committed in its name. Religion is just a tool which we, as thinking and manipulative animals, have at our disposal. To paraphrase the gun nuts, faith doesn’t kill people, people kill people.

    Religion by itself is harmless. Look at Buddhism, which gets a pass similar to the one afforded to Anglicanism. Even our own Richard Dawkins admits to having a soft spot for the second of these, and not much of a problem with the first.

    But then something happens like the ethnic cleansing of Muslims currently going on in Myanmar, much of which is spearheaded by Buddhist monks. Buddhism hasn’t changed, at least not of its own accord: nothing to my knowledge has happened to its tenets, and I don’t imagine some ancient bit of writing from that Buddha fellow was recently discovered in which he expressed his disdain for Musselmen.

    Evangelicanism in the US didn’t really take hold until Roe vs. Wade was put on the statute books and the gays suddenly announced they didn’t actually like being beaten up by cops all that much.

    In some African tribes unfortunate enough to have been suckered by Christian missionaries, if a family has an elderly female relative they want shot of so they can inherit her stuff, some witchery paraphernalia is planted in her hut and the Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live line is trotted out.

    If you need to hang a painting, you get a hammer and some nails; if you take against someone or a bunch of people, you grab your Bible, your Qur’an, your Talmud or your Bhagavad Whatever.

    So yeah, religion is neutral. In the same way a hammer is neutral, whether it’s being used to put up a picture of Aunt Gladys or bash her head in.

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