Historians say that pre-Islamic Arabs worshipped the moon-god by bowing in prayer toward Mecca several times a day. They would also make a pilgrimage to Mecca, run around the Kabah seven times and throw stones at the devil. And they fasted for one month, which began with the appearance of the crescent moon and ended when the crescent moon reappeared. These same rites form the core of Islam today. Muslims bow in prayer toward Mecca they make a pilgrimage to Mecca and run around the Kabah seven times and they still throw stones at the devil. They also observe the fast of Ramadan, which begins and ends with the crescent moon. Moreover, the ancient symbol of the pagan moon-god, the crescent moon, is the official symbol of Islam it appears on the flags of Muslim countries, as well as on the tops of mosques and minarets everywhere. For no Muslim can fulfill the requirements of the Quran. According to the teaching of the Quran no Muslim can enter into paradise! Religious minorities have not “flourished” under Islam. In fact, they have dwindled to mere shadows after centuries of persecution and discrimination. Some were converted from their native religion by brute force, others under the agonizing strain of dhimmitude. What Muslims call “tolerance,” others correctly identify as institutionalized discrimination. The consignment of Jews and Christians to dhimmis under Islamic rule means that they are not allowed the same religious rights and freedoms as Muslims. They cannot share their faith, for example, or build houses of worship without permission. Historically, dhimmis have often had to wear distinguishing clothing or cut their hair in a particular manner that indicates their position of inferiority and humiliation. They do not share the same legal rights as Muslims, and must even pay a poll tax (the jizya). They are to be killed or have their children taken from them if they cannot satisfy thetaxcollector’s requirements. For hundreds of years, the Christian population in occupied Europe had their sons taken away and forcibly converted into Muslim warriors (known as Jannisaries) by the Ottoman Turks. It is under this burden of discrimination and third-class status that so many religious minorities converted to Islam over the centuries. Those who didn’t often faced economic and social hardships that persist to this day and are appalling by Western standards of true religious tolerance and pluralism. For those who are not “the People of the Book,” such as Hindus and atheists, there is very little tolerance to be found once Islam establishes political superiority. The Quran tells Muslims to “fight in the way of Allah” until “religion is only for Allah.” The conquered populations face death if they do not establish regular prayer and charity in the Islamic tradition (ie. the pillars of Islam). Tamerlane and other Muslim warriors slaughtered tens of millions of Hindus and Buddhists, and displaced or forcibly converted millions more over the last thousand years. Islamists in Somalia behead Christians.In Iran,they are jailed.One of the great ironies of Islam is that non-Muslims are to be treated according to the very standards by which Muslims themselves would claim the right to violent self defense were the shoe on the other foot. Islam is its own justification. Most Muslims therefore feel no need to explain the ingrained arrogance and double standard. There are about 500 verses in the Quran that speak of Allah’s hatred for non-Muslims and the punishment that he has prepared for their unbelief. There is also a tiny handful that say otherwise, but these are mostly earlier verses that many scholars consider to be abrogated by the later, more violent ones. As for Sura 109, any true Quran scholar will point out that the purpose of the verse was to distinguish Islam from the gods of the Quraysh (one of which was named "Allah") rather than to advocate religious tolerance for non-Muslims. At the time that he narrated this very early verse, Muhammad did not have any power, and thus no choice but to be "tolerant" of others. By contrast, there was no true tolerance shown when he returned to Mecca with power many years later and demanded the eviction or death of anyone who would not convert to Islam. In fact, he physically destroyed the cherished idols of the people to whom he had previously addressed in Sura 109. If tolerance simply means discouraging the mass slaughter of those of a different faith, then today's Islam generally meets this standard more often than not. But, if tolerance means allowing people of other faiths the same religious liberties that Muslims enjoy, then Islam is fundamentally the most intolerant religion under the sun.