A Spiritual Jihad Against Violence and Terrorism - Part III

A Spiritual Jihad Against Violence and Terrorism - Part III

A DOUBLE STANDARD - THE “SPECIAL CASE” OF ISLAM

A double standard in identifying one act as particular to a religion, and not another, or of identifying one act as terrorism and another as a justifiable response is widespread.  I have found that unless the perpetrator was Muslim the religion of the perpetrator was rarely mentioned:  ?Irish? Terror.  The Troubles, Bosnia: Report On Massacre At Srebrenica Condemns ?Dutch? Military ‘Errors’, King David Hotel Bombing(1946), ?Basque? Terrorism in Spain, ?Israeli? Settler Kills Four.

Why Irish and not Christian Terror - although both parties are Christian (Catholic and Protestant)  - why Basque Terrorism when the Basques are solidly Catholic?  Why not Jewish terror?  If World War II era Fascism was not Christian-Fascism, then the current terrorism is not Islamo-Fascism. (The current derogatory term).

We need to agree to stop hyphenating criminal terrorist acts with any religious designation (Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, etc.) and to use any means possible to encourage the press, media, and our political leaders to also stop doing this.

“When extremists from predominantly Moslem countries commit violence, many in the media refer to them as “Islamic terrorists.” Why is no one calling the Oklahoma City bombing suspects “Christian terrorists”? ... The militias being investigated are called simply “right-wing” and “anti-government,” but these hate groups, like the Ku Klux Klan, all have bible-based agendas. Timothy McVeigh is a Catholic. The Oklahoma City bomb was detonated on the anniversary of the raid on David Koresh’s Christian militia in Waco…”Christian Terrorism In Oklahoma City, Dan Barker
“Muslims are often judged because of the actions and words of   extremists hiding behind the name of Islam and judged by extremists hiding behind the facade of other religions.  Daniel Pipes even found in the logo of The American Muslim to be a sign of a Militant Islamic Intentions for the U.S., to which we replied.” Daniel Pipes the New Voice of Moderate Islam, Sheila Musaji
“One thing is certain, if you tried smearing Judaism in general with the bloody excesses of Israeli settlers or charming figures like the late bloodthirsty Rabbi Kahane and his followers, you’d call down a firestorm of anti-Semitism accusations on your head. Yet this is precisely what Friedman feels perfectly free to do with Islam.” The Dumbest Story Ever Written, John Chuckman
“After September 11, no Muslim writer venturing to articulate absolutely anything about Islam may expect any reprieve from the inquisitorial fury of the reigning orthodoxy. What transpired on that fateful day was not merely evil and ungodly, monstrous and inhuman, it also showed, we are made to believe, the true face of a fanatical faith. Not the evil that is in the souls of men but the hate that is in the hearts of Muslims is what accounts for the unspeakable barbarity of the terrorists. Nothing unfathomable about evil, no mystery to the darkness of the soul, if it shows a Muslim visage! Indeed, there is no Original Sin, only Muslim sinfulness. For all their pride in the discernment of ?the human condition?, the architects of meaning in the West, sadly, did not annunciate anything transcending the wrath and humiliation of their political self. Their strident refrain, ?the pain and loss is ?ours?, the civilized and the noble; the shame and disgrace is ?theirs?, the barbaric and the heartless?, drowned every other requiem. The spiritual and moral insights of the West, it appeared, had neither any relevance for the Muslim nor any cure for his perversity and malice. Only by depriving Muslims of their humanity, it was obvious, could the bereaved West convey its own grief. ... Very few, if any, among the cultural elites entrusted with the decipherment of this indecipherable tragedy realized, let alone conceded, that even Muslim eyes cried, that even Muslim heart felt the pain and that even Muslim soul recoiled in horror over this wanton loss of human life. That the Muslim?s pain was all the more unbearable because these unholy deeds were justified in the name of his holy faith, found no mention in the litany of sorrows that engulfed a whole world. The ransoming of Islam?s universality for parochial causes, the sacrifice of its humanity for primal passions, the repudiation of its legal reason for self-endorsing piety, the relinquishing of Divine justice for messianic terror, all of which were the distinguishing marks of these terrorist deeds, have still not entered the public debate. Islam, there?s no mistaking, is as much of a victim in this tragedy as any other. If there is an ?Islamic connection? to this horror, it is by default: for, no matter what the ?Islamic? trappings of these terrorists? putative rhetoric, Islam itself has been devoured by the nihilism of modernity. It is modernity, with its rejection of transcendence, its project of immanent utopia, its gospel of political salvation, its idolatry of the collective self, which provides the key to their perverse ideology.” Against the Nihilism of Terror, S. Parvez Manzoor

ISLAM AND “THE WEST”? — CLASH OR DIALOGUE OF CIVILIZATIONS

 

?For the last thousand years the West treated Islam as the ‘other,’ as ‘over there.’ In the main this is still true: the bulk of the Muslim population lives in Africa and Asia. But today this simple world-view has been complicated by the presence in the West of over ten million Muslims. About five or six million Muslims live in Europe and about four or five million in America; the exact numbers tend to be somewhat unreliable, since immigrants and converts sometimes do not wish to declare their identity or register and are therefore difficult to enumerate. Muslims living in the West are theologically in harmony with the Quranic position. Again and again the Qur’an has emphasized that God’s domain is not restricted by East or West: it is everywhere. “To Allah belongeth the East and the West. Whithersoever ye turn there is Allah’s countenance” (Surah 2: verse 115). So Muslims can practise their religion whether in Cairo or California, in London or Lahore.? Muslims in the West, Prof. Akbar S. Ahmed

WHAT IS ?THE WEST??  We see constant references to the CLASH of Islam and ?the West? - what does this really mean?  One is a religious designation and one is a geographical or political designation.  Why not call it a clash of Islam and Christianity (which is the dominant ?western? religious belief system)?  Is the West a Christian territory?  What exactly constitutes the West?  Is it a geographical entity?  Or is it a political, cultural, , religious, or ethnic entity?  How about the European Bosnian?s and Albanians - are they not part of the West?  How about the millions of Muslims living throughout Europe and in the America?s?  Is Islam part of the West?  Or part of the East, North, or South?  There are Muslims on every continent.  Muslims come from every race.  Being a Muslim is not defined by any particular race or geographical area.  Is it possible that being a Muslim puts you outside of any geographical considerations.

?I have reviewed this geography in order to point out that, despite the fact that all three religions, and particularly Christianity and Islam, are worldwide in scope and claims, we tend to think and to speak of Christianity as the “West” and Islam as the “East.” To be sure, there is no doubt some geographic basis for this shorthand, but less than we assume, and diminishing. Hence, we have a question as to why we insist on using this geographical shorthand. It obviously has more political than geographic meaning.  We have had some answers recently that are well-known to you. Samuel Huntington sees the West and Islam as two antithetical “civilizations ” in long-term geopolitical conflict. Edward Said sees Orientalism as a false construct erected for ideological reasons by the Western world, and both pervasive and pernicious in its effects. I prefer to approach the question another way, and ask the question, why has it been that the Christian world seems to have singled out the Islamic world as its particular demon, and not merely recently but ever since the emergence of Islam? Actually the reverse has probably also been true, that Islam has regarded Christianity as its particular demon, but I do not feel I have the competence to discuss the question of why that is so or the degree to which it is so.? Islam, the West, and the World, Immanuel Wallerstein

Is the West a Christian entity?  How about the many contributions to science, medicine, art, literature, culture, philosophy made by Muslims to ?Western civilization??

?It is a measure of the intensity of European antagonism that Western civilization has consciously chosen to downplay, even ignore, the immense debt that it owes Islam and the Muslims. In almost every facet of life, from medicine and algebra to law and government, Islam had laid the foundation for the progress of medieval Europe. In the words of the distinguished Irish scholar-diplomat, Erskine Childers, “In every discipline upon which Europe then began to build its epochal advancement, European monarchs, religious leaders and scholars had to turn to Arab sources. When once any Western student of history manages to learn of this vast Arab inheritance buried out of sight and mind in Western historiography, the astonishment that the very facts of it do not appear in Western education is the greater because the proofs are literally in current Western language”. Childers describes the unwillingness of the West to acknowledge the intellectual inheritance of Islam as “a collective amnesia”.? Dominant Western Perceptions of Islam and Muslims, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar


We have a great deal in common, and it would seem that those who wish to deny this are simply encouraging a clash rather than a dialogue.

?For one thing, these two civilizations have more in common with each other than either has with the Confucian world or the Hindu one, or most of the rest of the Huntington culture collection. Both have their origins in religions that believe in a single God (and any westerner who asks what that has to do with modern life needs to think about what made the West as it is today). Few westerners believe that God dictated the Koran, and no Muslim believes that Jesus was the son of God. Those are important disagreements, but they sit alongside a large number of shared convictions. A Muslim and a westerner both believe, more clearly than most other people, in the idea of individual responsibility. They can exchange opinions about the nature of good and evil, or property rights, or the preservation of the environment, in something like a spirit of brotherhood.? The Next War They Say
?Diplomacy, free trade, open borders, the techniques of academic research, of anthropology, etiquette, fashion, alternative medicine, hospitals, all came from this great city of cities. Mediaeval Islam was a religion of remarkable tolerance for its time, allowing Jews and Christians to practice their inherited beliefs, and setting an example which was not, unfortunately, copied for many centuries in the West. The surprise, ladies and gentlemen, is the extent to which Islam has been a part of Europe for so long, first in Spain, then in the Balkans, and the extent to which it has contributed so much towards the civilization which we all too often think of, wrongly, as entirely Western. Islam is part of our past and present, in all fields of human endeavour. It has helped to create modern Europe. It is part of our own inheritance, not a thing apart.? Prince Charles of England

We seem to be headed for World War III,  a “Clash of Civilizations”, an apocalyptic battle between “good and evil”, and there are plenty of people on both sides who appear to be doing everything they can to bring this clash about.

“The “clash of civilizations” approach assumes, in deeply prejudiced fashion, that puritanism and terrorism are somehow authentic expressions of the predominant values of the Islamic tradition, and hence is a dangerous interpretation of the present moment. But the common responses to this interpretation, focusing on either the crisis of identity or acute social frustration in the Muslim world, do not adequately explain the theological positions adopted by radical Islamist groups, or how extreme violence can be legitimated in the modern age. Further, none of these perspectives engage the classical tradition in Islamic thought regarding the employment of political violence, and how contemporary Muslims reconstruct the classical tradition. How might the classical or contemporary doctrines of Islamic theology contribute to the use of terrorism by modern Islamic movements?” Islam and the Theology of Power, Khaled Abou El Fadl
“Islam, a religion I deeply love and which is essential to my identity, is repeatedly bearing the brunt for atrocious acts being carried out in its name the world over. It is perceived as a national security threat in the United States. At the same time, America?a land I dearly love and whose values I cherish?arouses antagonism in much of the Muslim world. As an American Muslim leader put it recently, “A great mountain has grown between our cultures. Sometimes it seems that all we can do is scratch at the rock.” ... This is the painful place in which many Muslim Americans find themselves. While their American, non-Muslim, friends ask, “What are you Muslims around the world doing to us?” their overseas Muslim colleagues are saying, “What is your country, America, doing to us?” ...  But out of every such position arises an opportunity for change. The Qur?an states that God does not change the condition of a people until they change themselves. We American Muslims, who have harmonized the seemingly disparate American and Muslim parts of ourselves, are uniquely positioned to bridge the chasm, and to contribute some urgently needed fresh ideas on what needs to be changed on both sides. ... Given the current global flash points and critical mutual interests between the Muslim world and the West, Muslims in America have no greater cause now than to contribute to multi-disciplinary, inter-religious dialogues which strive to usher America into that era predicted by the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah, a time “when nations shall beat their swords into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks, when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall learn war any more.” Bridging the Chasm Between Islam and the West, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

To avert a clash, we need to make an effort to understand the root causes of the violence, not to excuse it, but to effectively counteract it.

“Terrorism we must fight, and we must fight with determination and vigor. But for the fight to be effective, it must be carried according to fair rules, and must aim at the real target. An effective war on terrorism requires two elements. First, we must have a clear understanding of the sources of the anger and frustration that lies at the roots of global terrorism, and a clear definition of what constitutes a terrorist act. Second, we must have a clear vision of a global society based on the universal principles of equal freedom and mutual respect. A war on terrorism that employ moral themes but advance the narrow interests of a privileged few can bring more evil than good, as it is likely to result in harming innocent bystanders.” Islam, World Peace, and the Terrorism Discourse, Louay Safi, PhD


We need more people involved in working to avoid a clash and work instead for a DIALOGUE OF CIVILIZATIONS.

“The true dialogue of civilizations will begin when Muslims with true spiritual understanding address themselves to the hearts of all human beings. In some cases they will instruct; in other cases they may have to learn, especially from certain Westerners who have been deeply involved with the problems of ecology, non-violence, gender equality. Westerners have been living longer with some of the contemporary diseases of materialism, consumerism, and depersonalization, and they may be able to offer some remedies.” Dialogue of Civilizations and the Globalization of Spirit, Shaykh Kabir Helminski

And, perhaps even more than a dialogue of civilizations, a dialogue within our mutual civilization.

?The idea and term ?clash of civilizations? first came from the historian Bernard Lewis at Princeton University. Opposed to the idea of a clash of civilizations, President Khattami of Iran proposed a dialogue of civilizations at the United Nations in 1998; he pointed to the strengths of Islam and its great traditions of scholarship, understanding and dialogue. Another religious scholar, Dr. Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, in his book, The Dignity of Difference (2003), argues that the roots of the clash go much deeper. According to Sacks, the clash is really between Abrahamic values ? which define Judaic, Christian and Islamic cultures ? and our contemporary values which have little time for piety, modesty, humility, compassion and scholarship. He too advocates dialogue and understanding.? Promoting Dialogue Among Civilizations, Dr. Akbar Ahmed

The current debate in the EU on whether or not to admit Turkey, and the Pope’s statement that Europe should remain a ?Christian Europe? are troubling aspects of this question.

?As a Cardinal, the new pope inserted himself last year into the political debate over allowing Turkey into the European Union, the paper said, quoting him as saying that ?adding Turkey would dilute the culture of what he considers a Christian continent?.? New Pope?s ?Christian Europe? Raises Turkish Fears

In order to move forward towards a dialogue of civilizations instead of a clash of civilizations, we will need to bravely discuss all of these issues.

“We are long overdue for an open cultural exchange between Islam and the west in our own neighborhoods. We desperately need a frank discussion with each other about who we are and what we believe - even if neither side likes what they hear. ... even if Bin Laden’s network ceased to exist, we’d still have to confront the fact that two great civilizations, with a long history of conflict, are once again facing off in the global arena. ... Politicians, military commanders and journalists talk about the “Great Game”, a reference to the geopolitical intrigues being played out between Islam and the west in the Afghan war. What we need is “The Great Conversation” between Islam and the west so we can figure out how to accommodate each other. Until we do, our world will continue to be a dangerous and precarious place.” Dialogue Is a Necessity, Jeremy Rifkin

“Now is the time for re-union. We must emerge from the prison of solipsism, and from the confinement of an autistic mentality which is nothing more than the death rattle of an outmoded form of consciousness incapable of recognising and converging with the ?other?. I have faith that this is where humankind is heading, for, in the words of an Egyptian proverb, ?the camel has his plans; the Camel Driver has his.? The War of Barbarisms: Solipsism, Autism and the Death Throes of the Old Order,  Jeremy Henzell-Thomas

We need to do whatever is possible to avert a possible clash of civilizations because

“The ‘clash of civilizations’ via a global war can only mean the destruction of the entire human civilization and not the promotion of one culture over another. The only alternative available to mankind is dialogue in a framework of contact, communication and the free exchange of ideas. It is only through search, debate and dialogue that different moral, social and cultural alternatives can be presented in the world of today and appropriate choices made.” (Khurshid Ahmad, “Islam and the West: Confrontation or Cooperation?” The Muslim World, Jan- April 1995, p.71)


The Qur’an lays the foundation for the attitude that is needed:

“O Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and nations so that you might come to know each other. The best among you in God’s sight is that one of you who best performs his duty. God is All-knowing, All-Aware. “(Qur’an, 49:13)

 

THE USE AND ABUSE OF SCRIPTURES

 

QUR?AN

Particular verses of the Qur’an are often mentioned as proving some particular accusation against Islam.  Muslims respond with explanations about the context, historical background, poor translation, interpretation that goes against all of Islamic thought, etc.  This a one sided dialogue.

“Strictly speaking, it is no more correct to say that Islam is peaceful than to proclaim that it is violent. The texts and traditions on which any faith’s practice is based are open to multiple interpretations, and, as these interpretations pile up over the course of history, it becomes almost impossible to assert the existence a unique orthodoxy. A liberal humanist Muslim can find enough in the Islamic texts to justify a peaceful view of Islam—-and this is being done with great fervor these days. However, a militant Muslim seeking sanction for violence can also find plenty in the same sources to proclaim holy war on the world. Islam is no more inherently violent or peaceful than Catholicism which, at various times, has found justification for both Torquemada and Mother Teresa in the same tradition. This is the complexity that must not be obscured by simplistic attempts to understand Islam, and Muslims must play a crucial role in this matter. To put it bluntly: It is time for a vocal and successful reformist movement within Islam, and Muslims living in the West are in the best position to lead it.” A Time for Renewal, Ali Ahmed Minai

MISUSED VERSES OF THE QUR’AN

For commentary on some particular verses often misused to “prove” negative points about Islam:

4:34 Verse of Abuse or Abused Verse (Qur’an 4:34), Muslim Women’s League
4:89 Qur’anic Commentary (4:89) Punishment for Apostasy, 
4:157 Qur’an Does Not Categorically Say Jesus Was Substituted for Another Man ? and 5:119Qur’anic Commentary [/url]
5:51 and 9:5 Some Misappropriations of Quranic Verses(5:51 and 9:5), David Dakake
5: 51 Concept of Wilayah in the Qur’an (Can Muslims Have Non-Muslims as Friends) (5:51), Mohamed Fadel,
5:60-64 Claims that the Qur’an is anti-Semitic (5:60-64) response by Muzammil Siddiqui
9:5 The Verse of the Sword (9:5), commentary by Dr. Hesham Hassaballa,
18:86 Qur’anic Commentary (18:86)
47:4 Commentary

There are some ignorant Muslims who have made the same sort of claims against Christianity or Judaism, but they are an insignificant minority.  Most Muslims are quite aware of the connections between Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and also quite aware that scriptural verses must be looked at in context.  The claims against Islam are so widespread and widely accepted that they make any dialogue difficult.

?As Robin Wright says, “mining the Qur’an for incendiary quotes is essentially pointless. Religions evolve, and there is usually enough ambiguity in their founding scriptures to let them evolve in any direction. If Osama Bin Laden were a Christian, and he still wanted to destroy the World Trade Center, he would cite Jesus’ rampage against the money-changers. If he didn’t want to destroy the World Trade Center, he could stress the Sermon on the Mount.” Even if one doesn’t agree with this view, the point is that every religion-or secular ideology, for that matter-offers the possibility of violence and peace, oppression and liberation, depending on who is interpreting it, how, and in what particular contexts. As I always say, there is little family resemble between modern liberation theology and the Christianity of the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Conquest.  ...  And yet, ignoring that every religion is open to multiple interpretations, many people are attacking Muslims for making “it sound like there are two versions of the Koran floating around out there. If so, what is the difference between the Koran that the Terrorists are reading, and the Koran that the rest of the Muslim world is reading? ... I need to have the ‘real’ Islam please stand up.” (This is from an article forwarded to me by a friend with no title or bye-line). ...  The same author-who says he’s a Catholic-also says he doesn’t “want to hear [the] history about the Crusades, or the U.S. foreign policy crap, or . . . comparisons [of Islam] to Christianity and Judaism.” Thus, while wanting Muslims to explain which Qur’an we are reading and which is the real Islam, he himself chooses not to explain the difference between the bible that the Crusaders and Conquistadors were reading and the bible he has been reading, nor to convince others why his Christianity is the “real” one. ...  Such a strategy not only lays upon Muslims a burden that believers in other religions refuse to bear themselves, but it also obscures the fact that the bloodiest conflicts, like the two World Wars, have had secular, not religious roots. Even those conflicts we think of as religious can be shown to be about power and resources, not merely ideology. ... This is no less true of the Crusades, than it is of the conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, or Jews and Muslims in the Middle East, or even the attacks of September 11th.? Interpretation and Exceptionalism, Asma Barlas

For a discussion of some of the specific verses cited and Muslim responses see the TAM collection of articles titled Qur?an and Hadith

This issue of “interpretation” is why Muslims believe so strongly that the only actual Qur’an is the original Arabic Qur’an - all translations are interpretations because the meaning has been interpreted from one language to another by an individual or committee - and every translation is therefore open to some degree of error.  Whether intentional or unintentional the translators own personal bias creeps into the translation.

The translations of the Qur’an by Muslims will not be called “The Qur’an” but “the meaning o the Qur’an” or “Interpretation of the Qur’an” or “Translation of the Qur’an”, etc. and most often will have two columns of text - one the original Arabic and the second the translation into whatever language. 

That translations vary, sometimes dramatically, is easily observable by comparing the same verse from a variety of translations.  There is a collection of articles about translations of the Qur’an, commentaries on the Qur’an, interpretation of the text, etc. at QUR’AN.

There are verses in the Torah, the New Testament and the Qur’an that can be easily abused either through purposeful manipulation of meaning or through ignorance - either to justify actions or to make judgements about the faith of others.

BIBLE— (TORAH AND NEW TESTAMENT)

Many are unaware that there are many verses in the Bible that can be misused in exactly the same way as some verses in the Qur’an.  For example:

?When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you? Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes”

(Deutronomy 20:10-17)

“Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.” (Numbers 31:17-18)

MISUSED VERSES OF THE BIBLE

There are many other such verses that can be used to “prove” that Judaism or Christianity:

Promote slavery (Ephesians 6:5, Deuteronomy 20:10);  Believe in gender inequality (1 Timothy 2:11, 1 Corinthians 14:34); 
Require veiling for all women(1 Corinthians 11:5);
Admit that texts have been falsified (Jeremiah 8:8);
Demand unquestioning obedience to political authority (Romans 13:1);
REQUIRE DEATH SENTENCE FOR -

working on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:15) - cursing one?s parents (Leviticus 20:9) - being rebellious towards parents (Deuteronomy 21) - worshiping other gods (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 and 32:23-25) - enticing a friend or family member to worship other gods (Deuteronomy 13:6-10) -  being a witch, medium, or wizard (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27) - engaging in homosexual acts (Leviticus 20:13) - and not being a virgin on one?s wedding night (Deuteronomy 22:20-21) - sex outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 5:5) -  heretics who dissent 1 Timothy 1:20;

Encourage beheading of enemies (1 Chronicles 10:9; 2 Kings 6:31, 2 Samuel 4:7 and 20:21; 2 Kings 10:6);
Advocate suicide (1 Samuel 31:4-5);
Allow the murder of civilians in wartime (1 Samuel 15:3 and 15:18, Ezekial 9:4-7, Hosea 13:16, Numbers 31, Isaiah 13:9 and 15-18);
Slaughter prisoners of war (Deuteronomy 7:1-2;
Encourage killing of enemies - Luke 19:26-27);
Encourage war (Mattthew 10:34);
Allow POLYGAMY ( Exodus 21:10; 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:19 and 14:3; 1 Kings 11:3; 2 Chronicles 11:21; Deuteronomy 21:15);
Are anti-Semitic (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Micah 3:1-12, Hosea 8:1-14, Matthew 23:13-39, Acts 2:23, 3:13-15)

The problem is that the misconceptions about the Qur’an are widely believed by a wide cross section of non-Muslim Americans.  When I listen to talk radio, I can be fairly certain that some “expert” will be on explaining why it is that a particular verse of the Qur’an is the reason that there are Muslim terrorists, or than another verse proves that Islam is intolerant.  It seems that vilifying Muslims and Islam has become a “career opportunity!”

INFLUENCE OF SCRIPTURAL MISUNDERSTANDINGS ON POPULAR CULTURE

In order to actually “FEEL” how alarming it is to see malignant statements (many of them influenced by misunderstandings of scripture) made in print and on the daily news, it might be useful to look at a few Paraphrases of comments that have been made about Islam by non-Muslims with the references to Islam or Muslims reversed.  (Note: the underlined words have been reversed - Christian for Muslim, Muslim for Christian).  All of the original quotes, with references, can be found at Alarming Quotes

Just imagine the furor if any Muslim actually said any of these things.  I don’t believe that it is possible to say about any other religious, ethnic, or racial group what is said about Muslims.

 

I propose that in the event of a pre-emptive attack we should immediately and without discussion use whatever weapons capabilities we have to destroy the 100 largest Christian cities on earth, regardless of state, and destroy all the military facilities of Christian-dominated states.  This will include all of the capitals and at least the 10 largest cities of all Christian-dominated states. [David Atkins]

Christianity is like a virus—it affects the mind—maybe even better as an analogy—it is a cancer that destroys the body it infects. [Jerome Corsi]

We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Islam ... That’s war. And this is war. [Ann Coulter]

I want to go on record as telling you that I believe the greatest threat to the American way of life, to the Constitution of the United States of America and to the religion of Islam, is the religion of Christianity as it stands today… It is a great task that you and I have to infiltrate the Christian community, but we can do it with the help of God.” [Rev. Maury Davis]

Islam offers the only viable, reasonable, definitive answer to the questions of ‘Where did I come from?’ ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Where am I going?’ ‘Does life have any meaningful purpose?’ ? and “Only Islam offers a comprehensive worldview that covers all areas of life and thought, every aspect of creation. Only Islam offers a way to live in response to the realities that we find in this world—only Islam  [Tom Delay, House Majority Whip]

We as Muslims must take control of the government. We should be the ones in charge of the government. [O?Neil Dozier, Broward County Judicial Nomination Committee member]

Christianity is ?at best false? and at worst ?bloody and dangerous.? [Bishop J. Delano Ellis, Advisor to a U.S. Congressional panel on faith-based issues]

One day, I hope in the next ten years, I trust that we will have more Muslim day schools than there are public schools. I hope I will live to see the day when we won?t have any public schools. The mosques will have taken them over and Muslims will be running them. What a happy day that will be!? America Can Be Saved! [Jerry Falwell]

The God of Christianityis not the same God. He?s not the God of the Muslim or Jewish faiths. It?s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion. [Rev. Franklin Graham]

Add to the thirst for blood a religion which encourages killing, and it is entirely understandable if Muslims came to this bloody party unprepared. [Paul Harvey]

I?m trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to Christians.  I feel if your citizenship is in the Bible?like a Christian?s is?you should give up your citizenship. [Garrison Keillor]

This is our land. This is our world. This is our heritage, and with God?s help, we shall claim this nation for Islam. And no power on earth can stop us. [D. James Kennedy]

As an American Muslim who read these quotes in their original version, I can tell you how it feels, it hurts!  And, it raises fear, especially when so many of the people making such statements are government officials and well known religious and media figures.

TAM has a lengthy collection of articles about anti-Muslim rhetoric and incidents.  A small sample are listed here:

American Airlines pilot compares veiled Muslim women to whores
anti-Muslim stickers sold at Conservative conference
Austrian State website hosts anti-Muslim article
Boykin, General William ?My God is bigger than his God?
BRITAIN Mosques firebombed; Muslim woman?s corpse desecrated in hospital; Muslim man run over by car in hate crime; British Council press officer compares Muslims with dogs
Burns, Conrad, Republican Senator calls Arabs ?ragheads?
Cafferty, Jack on Good Morning America, ?It will come down to them or us
Catch the Fire Ministries, ?Islam inherently violent?
Chambliss, Rep. Saxby, ?Arrest Every Muslim that comes to Georgia?
Christian extremist quotes
Dornan, Robert, former Republican Congressman
Falwell, Rev. Jerry, ?Muhammad was a terrorist?
Graham, Rev. Franklin condemns Islam
King, Rep. Peter, 85% of Muslim community leaders are an enemy living amongst us
National Review Editor Suggests Nuking Mecca
Republican group asked to remove anti-Islam link from website

Part I http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_spiritual_jihad_against_terrorism_part_i/
Part II http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_spiritual_jihad_against_terrorism_part_ii/
Part III http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_spiritual_jihad_against_terrorism_part_iii/
Part IV http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_spiritual_jihad_against_terrorism_part_iv/
Part V http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_spiritual_jihad_against_terrorism_part_v/

 


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