The Muslims Are Here! The Muslims Are Here!
by Sheila Musaji
Ordinary folks, clergymen, politicians, journalists and radio and television personalities - a lot of Americans seem to have made judgements about my religion, and have expressed those judgements in ways that would not be possible if those statements were made about any other religious or ethnic group.
In a 1990 article “The Muslims Are Coming, The Muslims Are Coming”, Daniel Pipes could only come up with what now seems like a lame comment on Muslim hygiene: “Fears of a Muslim influx have more substance than the worry about jihad. West European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining Germanic standards of hygiene.”
Since then the rhetoric has continued to get more and more inflammatory. This is not a war with Islam, but with Muslim fundamentalists. We are at war with Muslim extremists. We are at war with radical Muslims. We are at war with Muslim terrorists. We are at war with Islamists. We are at war with Islamic Facsists. We are at war with Islam.
I am an American, I was born here, and yet here is some of what I have learned about America in the past few years that I was never taught in school.
John Ashcroft, an Attorney General of the U.S. said: “America is different. We have no king but Jesus.” Ann Coulter informed us that: “This is a religious war, not against Islam but for Christianity, for a Christian nation”. Rev. Pat Robertson believes that those who believe the Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims. Rev. Rod Parsley actually believes that “America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed.”
Some have suggested that America deny citizenship to non-Christians, and that even the lives of Muslims are not equivalent to the lives of others - “The lives of one American, whether a soldier or a civilian, are worth more than the lives of all men, women and children in all these nations combined.”
THE RELIGION OF ISLAM
According to a variety of pundits — Islam is “Western civilization’s oldest and most dangerous adversary.” Islam is “at best false, and at worst bloody and dangerous.” Islam is ”not a peaceful religion”. Islam is the enemy. Islam is ”at war with the West”. Islam is ”repelled by modernity, denies human rights, and revels in the blood of its victims”. Islam is ”a worthless, dangerous, Satanic religion”. Islam is ”like a virus—it affects the mind—maybe even better as an analogy—it is a cancer that destroys the body it infects.” Islam is a “murderous organization” that teaches “hate, terrorism and murder.” Islam is a “car burning cult.” Islam is “the real enemy.” Islam is “a terrorist organization” that is “at war with America.” Islam is essentially a Christian heresy.
Neal Boortz asserted that “it is perfectly legitimate, perhaps even praiseworthy, to recognize Islam as “a religion of vicious, violent, bloodthirsty cretins.” The Rev. O’Neal Dozier said that “The Islamic religion in my view is a cult,’’ and a “dangerous religion.” Rev. Franklin Graham said that “Islam requires its followers to become suicide bombers in order to attain salvation.” Rev. Pat Robertson said that “Islam instructs its followers to commit acts of terrorism.” Neil Boortz said that to say the Muslim testimony of faith with conviction “the next thing you know, you’re strapping on a suicide bomb.” Gen. William Boykin asserted that the God of the Muslims was an idol.
Islam has been characterized as the green menace, the crescent menace, and compared to the KKK, and to communism, and now even the President of the United States has referred to Islamo-fascism and most recently Islamic fascism. This terminology blurs distinctions and reinforces stereotypes. I question that there is such a thing as religious terrorism. Sadly, a Jewish group called Aish Hatorah has even begun showing a film across the U.S. called Obsession: Radical Islam’s War With the West that builds on all these fears.
At first we heard calls for reforming Islam, and then for religion building, but today the rhetoric is much more dark. “If Western civilization is to survive, Islam must be destroyed.” In order for the world to be saved Islam must be eradicated because it cannot be reformed.
THE PROPHET OF ISLAM
The Rev. Jerry Vines at the Southern Baptist Pastor’s Conference in St. Louis said: “Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile.” The Rev. Pat Robertson said that Prophet Muhammad was a ”wild eyed fanatic” and a “killer”. The Rev. Jerry Falwell said that “Muhammad was a terrorist”.
Rev. Pat Robertson said that the Qur’an ”is strictly a theft of Jewish theology”. Islamic terrorism is based on “Islam as revealed through the Qu’ran” according to a speaker sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The Qur’an has been accused of teaching Muslims to lie, and it has been compared to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”.
All scriptures have been used and abused. The texts of all faiths are open to multiple interpretations. Human beings somehow find in their scriptures the inspiration for greatness and the justification for evil.
ARABS AND MUSLIMS
Sen. Conrad Burns referred to Arabs as “ragheads”. According to Michael Savage, Arabs aren’t really human. Arabs and Muslims are afraid of work that ‘dirties’ their hands, and have an all-encompassing preoccupation with sex. At least some people have noticed that this might be a tad bit racist. Arabs are “pigs” and “murderous scum”. Terrorists are nothing more than Muslims who are taking their religion seriously.” Oliver North said “There is no such thing as an Islamic moderate.” Another individual has come to the conclusion that “A virulent hatred of Muslims is not racism because people have a choice to be Muslim and nobody is a member of a race by choice”.
WHY WE ARE AT WAR WITH MUSLIMS
Rev. George J. Don says “Our faith is in Jesus Christ, and the Muslim community does not accept Jesus and God, and therefore we’re at odds with Muslims….Any religion or ideology that refuses to acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ could be typified as a war against Satan.” Rev. Franklin Graham says “We’re not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us,” and “The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.” [I believe that many Jews would be surprised to see this statement that they also believe Jesus to be the Son of God]. Rev. Benny Hinn says “We are on God’s side. This is not a war between Arabs and Jews. It’s a war between God and the devil.” An odd complaint is that of Muslim assertiveness in owning a significant chunk of the world’s oil.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE MUSLIMS
In the event of any further terrorist attacks on the U.S. we should “destroy the 100 largest Islamic cities on earth”. National Review Editor, Rich Lowery suggests “nuking Mecca”. Rev. Robert Morey ups the ante to include taking out the Dome of the Rock at the same time. Ann Coulter says “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” Someone with a poor grasp of history suggests “Over time, pioneers, with the paid support of our military, can go into these isolated territories, subdue the remaining savages, install a civilized, colonial government protecting the rights of both the pioneers and the savages, and settle the land—as American pioneers subdued the savage, murderous American Indian tribes and settled America.” “Promptly executing the immediate relatives of suicide bombers by targeted assassination is another “civilized” suggestion. Surprisingly, a South Carolina Board of Education member suggested simply kill the Muslims, although I am puzzed as to how this discussion might have come up in a Board of Education meeting.
HOW ABOUT THE AMERICAN MUSLIMS?
Muslim requests to have the azhan called from mosques (just as churches ring bells) are seen as “Islam’s next step in using democracy to destroy democracy.” Requests to have public schools close for the observance of Muslim holidays in areas where there are a large number of Muslim students have been called by Bill O’Reilly ”absurd in a Judeo-Christian country.” Michael Smerconish finds the idea of a designated prayer area at Giants Stadium “wrong. I just think they’re playing a game of, you know, mind blank with the audience. And that they should know better four years removed from September 11.” Muslim requests to have the fast of Ramadan recognized by the U.S. Congress (as are many other religious observances) is improper because Islam is a killing cult. The U.S. Post Office Eid Stamp has provoked a lot of controversy. Some people have objected to mosques having tax exempt status.
Congressman John Cooksey was one of the early proponents of profiling: “If I see someone comes in that’s got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over.” Rev. Franklin Graham says “There is no escaping the unfortunate fact that Muslim government employees in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps need to be watched for connections to terrorism.” Rep. Peter King also endorses ethnic profiling. American Muslims loyalty has been questioned, and sometimes fellow Americans are suspicious just because an individual is a Muslim. Hugh Fitzgerald suggests collective punishment for Muslims in America. Adherents of the Muslim religion have forfeited their right to be accepted as loyal citizens of the United States. U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo thinks that “you cannot integrate some people into your society.” A Fox news guest advocated Muslims only check in lines at airports Rep. Peter King said that “85 percent of American Muslim community leaders are an enemy living amongst us and that no (American) Muslims cooperate in the war on terror”. Muslims have been accused of being part of a Muslim fifth column in the U.S. A Gallup Poll found that 39% of Americans think Muslims should carry special ID cards
Passengers refused to fly on a plane until ‘Asians’ were removed. Recently a Muslim doctor was put off a plane because other passengers were alarmed to see him quietly praying in his seat. In fact praying while Muslim is becoming problematic.
The number of American Muslims is increasing and there are some who find this alarming. A Southern Baptist minister warned that evil immigrants posed a threat to the nation
Daniel Pipes thinks that conversion to Islam has been seen to “substantially increases the probability of a person’s involvement in terrorism”, and Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch thinks that converts to Islam “are engaged in “civilizational slumming.”
Muslims are accused of not speaking up or of not speaking up loudly or clearly enough. This is a baseless claim. If you type MAE into the search engine on The American site you will turn up hundreds of articles by and about Muslims against extremism, including fatwas (including specific fatwas against Bin Laden, suicide terrorism, the 9/11 tragedy, and al-Qaeda), and statements by Muslim individuals and organizations condemning terrorism and violence.
A Christian clergyman has called for internment camp for Muslims, saying: “There is no safety for the planet unless we lock up every potential killer. Every Muslim is just that.” And, J. Grant Swank opines that “Civilized countries put down killing cults. They don’t permit them to exist alongside legitimate religions.” Glenn Beck warned Muslims who have not done enough to stop terrorists of dire consequences, and further predicted that “human beings are not strong enough, unfortunately, to restrain themselves from putting up razor wire and putting you on one side of it,” adding that “when people become hungry, when people see that their way of life is on the edge of being over, they will put razor wire up and just based on the way you look or just based on your religion, they will round you up.” This internment option seemed ludicrous until the recent Halliburton contract, and that gave it some credence.
Some have said that we need to ban Islam and deport all Muslims ... because we have several million Muslims in the US and all of them are terrorists.” Others believe that we need to “put severe restrictions on Islamic Mosques and public display of Islam. Further, devout Muslims should not be allowed to hold public office (though it certainly should not become a racial issue – sins of the father should not be visited upon the sons).”
The American Jihad website had an article “The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim.”
Where is all of this leading? Muslims are here. We are productive, loyal American citizens. The majority of the Muslims in the U.S. were born here. In the current rush on the part of extremists of all religious persuasions towards a clash of civilizations, Muslim Americans may be in a unique position to bridge the gap, but the current atmosphere of Islamophobia and propoganda that blames the religion of Islam as the source of the world’s problems is alienating the very people who might build those bridges.
Al-Qaeda and other extremists want to divide us. Al-Qaeda is not just at war with the West, they are at war with all of humanity including the Muslims. Whatever their claims, they do not represent Islam.
American Muslims have spoken out clearly since 9/11, and they have been ignored. Here are a few of the most recent statements made by American Muslims.
Letter to al-Qaeda in Iraq, Kill Us Too, Aslam Abdullah.
“Well, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, I am an American too. Count me as the one of those you have asked your supporters to kill. ... I invite you to surrender, to seek forgiveness from God almighty for the senseless killing you and your supporters are involved in and repent for everything you have done.
You say that the word of God is the highest. Yes, it is. But you are not worthy of it. You have abandoned God and you have started worshipping your own satanic egos that rejoice at the killing of innocent people. You don’t represent Muslims or, for that matter, any decent human being who believes in the sanctity of life. Many among us American Muslims have differences with our administration on domestic and foreign issues, just like many other Americans do. But the plurality of opinions does not mean that we deprive ourselves of the civility that God demands from us. America is our home and will always be our home. Its interests are ours, and its people are ours. When you talk of killing of Americans, you first have to kill 6 million or so Muslims who will stand for every American’s right to live and enjoy the life as commanded by God.
Muslims After 9/11 Caught Between Two Hells, Shahed Amanullah.
“Five years later, jihad-minded Muslims such as al-Qaida still have the nerve to think of themselves as some sort of vanguard of defense for Muslims. In fact, their actions have done more to bring curses upon the Prophet and hatred toward our faith than anything in the history of the religion. It is a powerful form of anti-dawah, something for which I pray they will be held accountable for in this life and the next. The central problem for Muslims is that some of the disaffected among us are unable to express dissent in a constructive, nonviolent, and lawful manner. As small a group as they might be, they have caused, and continue to cause, incalculable damage.”
Let There Be Peace in the Holy Land Once and For All Dr. Hesham Hassaballa
“Right now, it is easy for people of the region to hate the other because the suicide bombs, truck bombs, laser-guided missiles, and cluster bombs still rain their death upon the innocent. When they stop, however, I believe things will change. When the smoke has lifted and people have hope once again, the age-old hatreds will die down, and people will learn to live with each other in peace and brotherhood. We must strive to make this new Middle East a reality in our lifetimes.
As we mark the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the pain and agony of that day is still fresh in our minds as if it happened yesterday. How can we sit idly by as the people of the Middle East suffer through similar pain and agony on a daily basis? It is unconscionable that the Holy Land - the land over which the footsteps of the Prophets (peace be upon them) have tread, the land where our fathers Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac (peace be upon them) are buried - continues to burn with the fires of death and destruction, hatred and anger, war and violence. It must end.
This is a rallying cry that all - Muslim, Christian, and Jew - can join. This is all of our land; let us reclaim it from the forces of darkness, hatred, and death. Let us, once and for all, bring peace to the Middle East, and let the land “around which God has blessed” shine once again with the light of God’s glory. Let the name of God be sung from its churches, synagogues, and mosques in peace once again. Can it become a reality? I believe it can, with the help of God. And with God, all is possible”.
Religious Terrorism Is an Oxymoron, Sheila Musaji.
“There is a struggle going on within all the religious groups, not only for the soul of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, but beyond that, all of us together for the soul of humanity.
Some individuals have experienced a profound spiritual event and named it “the dark night of the soul”. Civilizations have experienced the same phenomena. For example, Western Civilization went through such a period and named it “the Dark Ages”. Today, humanity is experiencing a dark night of its collective soul, a historical event as yet unnamed, which could lead us further into darkness, or provide an opportunity to do good works and be a source of light in the darkness. More than ever before in history it is becoming clear that all the races, all the species, all the nations, all the religions, are in this together. All of us are at a crossroads. All of us are living in an epidemic of violence for which we must find a solution. We have had a lot of experience with violence. We are surrounded by it now and have been surrounded by it through our history. And yet we still don’t always recognize its many faces and we don’t seem to know what to do about it. We still haven’t learned how to settle differences peaceably between friends, between family members, between nations, between races or between religions.”
9/11 ‘Mea Culpa’ No More, Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal.
“Thus AlQaeda stands as the supreme and unique symbol of “Muslim fascism”. This is in absolute and total contradiction to the term “Islamic fascism”. This distinction is not a matter of mere semantics. The term Islamic embodies the very values and attributes of the faith (Islam) that a Muslim believes in and loves. A believer in any faith could deviate from his religion, pursue ungodly activities unrelated to it, or in direct contravention thereof, and end up being a rapist, terrorist or even a fascist. There would however be nothing of intrinsic religious value in such behavior. As religions go, there can be no such entity as Christian, Judaic or Islamic fascism, at least not until a new religion comes along promoting itself as second best.
AlQaeda is a distinct cabal whose fascist ideology directly contravenes the basic principles of the religion it claims to espouse, whose target is the current world order, whose modus operandi is the terrorization of innocent civilians, and whose fuel is the rage of disenchanted and misguided young minds.The threat of AlQaeda is global and affects Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It must not be obfuscated with other organisations that may use terror as a tactic, but do not have a fascist ideology, are not a threat to the US or the west, and whose inclusion with AlQaeda undermines extermination of the latter. The pursuit of AlQaeda must be relentless and based as much on winning the hearts and minds of those it seduces, as by military efforts. To give it reprieve is worse than appeasement.”
Islamic Terrorism?, Sheila Musaji.
”We need to question whether al-Qaeda is “an evil ideology whose roots lie in a perverted and poisonous misinterpretation of Islam” as Tony Blair has said, or is it a violent response to perceived injustices, twisting Islamic belief in an attempt to justify that response by misusing the Qur’an and going against 1400 years of Islamic thought. ... Muslims have spoken up just as loudly against terrorism as any other group. Hundreds of clerics and theologians have condemned al Qaeda’s and Osama bin Laden’s violence. There have been fatwas issued on every aspect of violence and terrorism and even fatwas to clarify who is qualified to issue a fatwa. ... We are in the midst of wars between the different families of Abraham - Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Some of the family members actually define these wars as religiously required. ... Even worse, there are groups within the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities that are trying to incite and create an all-out war between Islam and “the West.” Such a war would bring misery upon the peoples of all nations.”
Foe Isn’t Islam, It’s Binladenism, Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal
”While the recent terror acts have been committed by Muslims, there is nothing ‘’Islamic” about them. They are totally antithetical to the fundamental principles of Islam and represent a heretical deviation of the religion. When the 9/11 Commission went out of its way to define terrorism as not just any generic terrorism, but specifically as ‘’Islamist,” this pejorative label, despite the banal niceties of ‘’Islam being a religion of peace,” sent a chilling message to Muslims worldwide that terrorism is a hallmark or prerogative of Islam, or that when committed by other groups it is in some way mitigated by intrinsic extenuating circumstances. ... The leap from deviant Muslims perpetrating atrocities to a religion being impugned for the sins of its supposed adherents is breath-taking in its audacity. This distinction has become critical ever since the ‘’showdown with Saddam” transmuted into the ‘’war on terror.” With the daily mind-numbing imagery of maniacal Muslim ‘’insurgents” savaging troops and civilians alike, a transformation rapidly took place: The problem was just not Muslim terrorists but an ‘’evil” Islam itself. This is a theme broadcast with malevolent glee by talk shows on a daily basis thereby intensifying suspicion, fear, contempt, and hatred of Islam. Demonizing Islam makes it the enemy in the ‘’war on terror.” ... Ironically, it is us Muslims who have the greatest vested interest in eradicating terrorism. We need to do this to salvage our religion and our self-respect. As long as we are marginalized by the West and taunted by the extremists, we are made to feel as if we were part of the problem rather than of the solution, and our commitment becomes ambivalent. If the so-called war on terrorism has any chance of being won, there needs to be an immediate redefinition of the enemy.”
Al-Qaeda and other extremists exploit our differences. We must not let them win.