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Brigid of Kildare
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« on: May 29, 2003, 06:08:14 PM »

Following on from the anniversary of the fall of Constantinople, I came across this offering at beliefnet. Are Muslim civil rights really declining in America as the author claims?

Why Do They Hate Us?
The search for security has created an environment that is emboldening Islamophobia.  
 
By Muqtedar Khan  
We live in sensitive times. Facing the possibility of a global war between America and the Muslim world, people feel extremely insecure. Their capacity to suffer pain, bigotry and injustice is severely tested. And if there is such a war, God forbid, the primary cause will not be oil, geopolitics or regime changes; no, it will result from intolerable and vicious hate speech unleashed by religious bigots on both sides--bigots who confuse self-righteousness for righteousness and demonization for devotion.

The search for security at any cost has created an environment that is emboldening Islamophobia--anti-Semitism's nasty cousin--to pop up in nearly every sphere of American society. Muslims feel discrimination and demonization. Last week, I noticed a particularly offensive bumper sticker. It said, "Kill them all. Let Allah sort them out."
Recently, evangelicals meeting in a national convention issued a widely publicized statement expressing concern that anti-Islam statements were harming their cause. But although this must be recognized and appreciated, I am disappointed evangelicals found anti-Islam rhetoric problematic for pragmatic reasons rather than on moral or Christian grounds.

Apparently, many missionaries complain that statements by, for example, Franklin Graham (who called Islam a "very evil and wicked religion"), have made efforts to proselytize Muslims more difficult. Isn't hate-mongering worthy of condemnation as an immoral act, regardless of the operational inconveniences it may cause? Isn't it against the spirit of inclusion and compassion that Jesus (pbuh) preached?

At the same convention, Diane Knippers, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, called for a more realistic Christian-Muslim dialogue. She made an interesting and strong argument to use interfaith dialogue to advance human rights and religious freedoms. At the same time, she made a rather strange reference to the "physical, social and spiritual deficits within the Islamic world." I wonder what she means by physical deficits. Statements such as these, which assume the moral superiority of the West, are appalling. I wonder how the United States and Europe stack up when their spiritual and moral worth is measured using the Ten Commandments as a yardstick?

Meanwhile, in the absence of strong condemnation from the White House and the media, statements against Islam and Muslims have not abated. One can only imagine what pastors and evangelists may be preaching to their followers in the safety of their churches, away from media scrutiny.


The problem with this particular kind of evangelicals is not just their ideas and their hate mongering, but also the fact that they have a large following - sufficient to influence the electoral outcomes in American elections. By virtue of their votes and their fund raising capacity, they exercise more power over the American Congress and the President than the Mullahs of Saudi Arabia can over the decisions of their King. Furthermore, the close relationship between the President and the Rev. Franklin Graham and other members of his administration, is disturbing. I don't think it's a coincidence that the first group to financially benefit from Bush's impulse to finance faith-based programs was that of the Rev. Pat Robertson. Is it possible that the very purpose of the federal initiative to support faith-based programs is to allow these groups to intertwine operations with those of the Federal government? Their involvement in relief operations in post-war Iraq further strengthens this fear.

I must remind readers that hate-mongering is not common in the Christian communities of North America, and when it occurs it seems to come primarily from evangelicals. Catholics and most other Protestants have gone way beyond the call of duty to befriend, support, protect and comfort American Muslims. Nearly all Christian groups opposed the war against Iraq as an unjust war and have publicly condemned anti-Muslim bigotry. Christian groups are also helping Muslims fight the declining protection of Muslim civil rights in America.

What to say to bring along evangelicals who disagree with interfaith dialogue and support of Muslims in America? First, no other religion can claim to teach tolerance, pluralism and respect for the other as beautifully as Islam. Here is just one example--and I challenge Franklin Graham to produce a similar text from Christian sources that specifically recognize other religions.

Those who believe, and those who are Jewish, and Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Day of Judgment, and perform righteous deeds, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve (Quran 2:62, 5:69).

Second, while there are many Christian preachers who rant and rave about Islam and its founder, Muhammad (pbuh), Muslims do not speak ill of Jesus (pbuh). Muslims revere him and recognize his miracles.

Third, here is what Islam says about how to work in the path of God. Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best who have strayed from His Path and who receive guidance (Quran 16:125).

I have worked hard to advance a moderate vision of Islam, provided a scathing criticism of Islamic extremism, and have tried to develop common ground for interfaith understanding. Many other voices for peace and understanding have spoken up, and members of many churches, mosques and synagogues have worked tirelessly to create mutual understanding. In spite of these efforts, the bumper sticker suggests that hate, bigotry and intolerance are still winning in America. I wish I had a bumper sticker that would express the thought racing through my mind at that moment: "Why do they hate us?"

 
 
Muqtedar Khan is a Visiting Fellow in the Brookings Institution's U.S.Policy towards the Islamic World Project at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. He is the author of "American Muslims: Bridging faith and Freedom." His website is www.ijtihad.org.  
 
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/127/story_12729.html
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2003, 06:24:28 PM »

Islam is an evil heresy.

But hate the sin, not the sinner.

Yet, interestingly when young Muslims in the Middle East were recently asked why they hate America they point to out immorality that they learn of from our movies and television programs. I have to agree that immorality is a good thing to hate, but then we get back to point #2. Hate the sin, not the sinner.
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2003, 07:01:31 PM »

Islam is an evil heresy.

But hate the sin, not the sinner.

Yet, interestingly when young Muslims in the Middle East were recently asked why they hate America they point to out immorality that they learn of from our movies and television programs. I have to agree that immorality is a good thing to hate, but then we get back to point #2. Hate the sin, not the sinner.

Amen!

Moderate Muslims try to portray Islam as a religion of peace, but it's not. There's too much evidence to the contrary.

We should be wary, very wary.
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2003, 01:05:35 AM »

Here are a few more verses from the Koran that Muqtader Khan conveniently left out that show how “ tolerant” and “peaceful” Islam is towards the other religions, specifically the Jews and Christians:

Koran sura 5:51
“ O ye who believe! Take not the JEWS and CHRISTIANS for friends and protectors. They are friends and protectors to one another. He among you who takes them as friends and protectors is one of them. Lo! Allah guideth not the wrongful folk.”

Koran sura 9:29
“Fight against those who have been given the scripture (from the JEWS and CHRISTIANS) as believe not in Allah nor in the last day, and forbid not what Allah has forbidden by His messenger (Muhammed), nor follow the religion of truth (Islam), until they pay the jizya tribute readily and are brought low”


Koran Sura 5:72
Unbelievers are those that say:
"God is the Messiah, the son of Mary." For the Messiah himself said:
"Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord."
He that worships other gods besides God, God will deny him Paradise,
and the fire shall be his home. None shall help the evil-doers.


Koran Sura 5:17

In blasphemy indeed are those that say that God is Christ the son of Mary. Say: "Who then hath the least power against God, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every - one that is on the earth? For to God belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For God hath power over all things."


Koran Sura 3:85
If anyone desires a religion other than Islam
never will it be accepted of him;
and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost.


Koran Sura 5:82-86
"Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians"


Koran Sura 3:19
"The Religion before God is Islam: Nor did the People of the Book (JEWS and CHRISTIANS) dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of God, God is swift in calling to account."


Koran Sura 5:73
"They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them."


Koran Sura 9:30-31
The Jews call 'Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. God's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of God, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One God: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (Arabic- yushrikun) (with Him).


I love it how muslims in the west hide a lot of what the Koran truely teaches about jews and Christians to make islam sound more tolerant and peaceful. Give me a break!
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2003, 04:37:45 PM »

While it is known that I am prone to strongly defending my Muslim countrymen against attacks, especially in matters of Middle Eastern conflicts and the machinations of foreign governments in that area, I am not at all pleased (in fact I'm more than bloody irritated and alarmed) with the transforming element (demographic, religious, and otherwise) they become (and the balkanization their constant arrivals cause) when introduced into traditionally and historically Christian societies (regardless of the fact that said societies have destroyed their own Christian heritage and traditional cultures without any help from the Muslims).  The two issues are a mixed bag, and should not be bundled together.

I shall not speak of the religion itself, but will certainly say that its political manifestations across history have been anything but peaceful and non-aggressive.  Of course, many Muslims practice and believe in a peaceful Islam (bourgeois polite-society Islam if you will).  What the religion objectively teaches is a matter by itself and requires study (and a strong grasp of Arabic).  The cultural/social context plays its role in determining how the religion is practiced and what ethos its believers imbibe.

Nick, young men may or may not detest American culture* (or maybe don't care) depending on their principles, but the grounds for hating America run deeper than that, especially when we speak of an impetus to actually kill Americans and engage in violent behaviour, which requires a highly less silly reason than the all too pedantic 'they hate our way of life' line for a catalyst.  I don't need to spell out the justifiable reason that such people loathe what they falsely and unfortunately assume to be America--the U.S. government.
 
*or as I prefer to call it, 'pop culture', to give respectful acknowledgement to genuine traditional American cultures that once thrived and still exist in that country.

As for the concerns this article addresses, of course there will be examples of ungentlemanly and even despicable behaviour on the parts of people with an anti-Islamic prejudice.  Yet like all legitimate grievances, they can be used as a pretext for inappropriate responses, especially when political tools of the P.C. variety are at a community's disposal.  Hence in Italy, a fraction of the Muslim community could request a Renaissance fresco depicting the Prophet burning in Hell to be destroyed in the name of tolerance and anti-bigotry.  Also, exaggerations will be used, especially in redundant cliche-ridden articles  (particularly ones where historical scenarios such as Crusades vs. Andalusian Spain are brought into the picture—or theological self-righteousness such as the authour's smug claim that Islam is the most tolerant of religions) to reduce the scenario into one of Manichaean absurdity, of poor immaculate, victimized Muslims vs. racist bigoted WASPs.  However, the irritatingly and frustratingly grating repetitiveness and persistance of such good/evil scenarios should not detract from the fact that exaggerations are based on truths that do actually exist on the ground, such as the situation where Muslims--especially in this post 9/11 climate--do have to endure the occasional gesture of rudeness (and maybe even harassment) by discourteous folks.  They might even have to cope with a general climate of hostility (the Japanese-Americans of WWII to make a parallel).  A while back while riding on a bus, without so much of a hello, the woman seated in front of me simply turned and said something to the effect of, "You pray, and yet you people kill everybody.  Why do you pray?".  I was working my hands with my "masbaha" (the beads common in our culture), and was taken for a praying Muslim.

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« Last Edit: May 30, 2003, 04:53:33 PM by SamB » Logged
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