Patheos: Why Hatred of Islam is Not Logical

In the Name of the Compassionate and Infinitely Merciful Precious Beloved

This first appeared on Patheos

Time and again, the same illogical claims about Islam keep popping up from various people, whether they are pundits, commenters, or self-styled "experts" on Islam: Islam is "violent," it calls for the "killing of all non-Muslims," Muslims "must hate all non-Muslims," or that Islam is a religion of "domination," not of peace.

Add to this the litany of cultural horrors that some Muslims—but not only Muslims—practice, such as child marriages, female genital mutilation, and so-called "honor killings," and those horrible practices are unfairly projected upon Islam as well.

Of course, there are some Muslim extremists who believe in and do such things. But, those who hate Islam paint the entire faith with the sins of these extremists. There is no nuance, no sophistication to their analysis - whatever the terrorists do is "real Islam," and the actions of the overwhelming majority of peaceful Muslims is a ruse, or taqiyya (dissimulation).

Does no one else see this illogic? Think about it for a moment: If one were to judge the United States by the actions of its criminals, it would be easy to think that America is a truly terrible place, full of murderers, rapists, thieves and thugs. But, everyone knows and understands that America is not defined by the actions of its criminals.

The same is true with the misdeeds of American soldiers overseas. Whether it is those soldiers who urinated on Taliban corpses or the soldier who allegedly shot and killed dozens of civilians, including children, everyone knows (and says) that their actions do not reflect the reality of America and its people. And, this is completely true.

Extremism is not the norm

When it comes to Islam, however, no such logic prevails. The worst actions of the worst extremists are projected upon the whole of the faith. Think about this for a moment: If Islam were this horrific, barbaric faith that calls for the murder of all who are not Muslim, that calls for perpetual war against the whole world, that keeps people in its fold upon pain of death, that oppresses women as a matter of principle, would it have endured for 15 centuries?

Would Islam have stayed relevant for more than 1.5 billion people on this earth? Would it have been the source of strength and comfort for so many people if it were truly this violent ideology that calls for people to be "terrorists all the time"?

Some may claim that the military victories of the Islamic empire are the cause of the widespread presence of Islam all over the world. But the "Islamic empire," if there ever was one, did not last forever. It was overtaken by many a conqueror: the Mongols, the Ottomans and most recently the Europeans. Yet, Islam endured. If Islam was this "barbarian cult" that kept its adherents in the faith by fear of the sword, why wasn't there a mass exodus of Muslims from the faith when the Mongols nearly destroyed the Islamic caliphate?

There wasn't. In fact, the Mongol conquerors eventually accepted Islam themselves. Why wasn't there a mass exodus of Muslims (those who survived the massacres of the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099) from the faith when the crusaders came to the Holy Land? There wasn't. Islam endured. Why wasn't there a mass exodus of Muslims from the faith when the European colonizers came with their guns and steel (and missionaries)? There wasn't. Islam endured.

Would a "barbarian cult" of violence and war produce the writers, poets and philosophers of the Islamic world? Would a "barbarian cult" produce the beautiful architecture of southern Spain that stands to this day? Would a "barbarian cult" produce the poetry of Rumi, who is the best-selling poet in the United States for many years now? Would a "barbarian cult" preserve the writing of the ancient Greeks, writings that St. Thomas Aquinas used to formulate his philosophy?

Of course not.

Some claim that Al Qaeda is the "true face" of Islam, the reality of what Islam stands for. This is patently false. Muslims all over the world overwhelmingly have rejected the philosophy and tactics of Al Qaeda,because of Islam and its teachings. Osama bin Laden himself fretted over the brutality of Al Qaeda and its alienation of Muslims everywhere.

Some claim that the Arab Spring and the overthrow of regimes all across the Arab world are due to Al Qaeda. This is absolutely absurd. The popular uprisings all across the Arab world are a loud and clear rejection of Al Qaeda and its philosophy.

Why Islam has endured

Throughout its history, the Muslim majority world has faced many a crisis, both from within and without. Through all them, the Islamic faith has endured. Islam has endured as a source of comfort, strength, faith and spiritual renewal for more than a billion people. This is because of its message of peace and tolerance, love and brotherhood, faith and service, charity and altruism.

Yes, there are Muslim extremists who use Islam to justify their barbarism. Yes, there are some Muslims who do all the terrible things that people say "all Muslims" do. But, they are extremists, criminals and murderers. They do not represent the whole.

If you quote the Quran out of context, or misquote it, or quote some medieval text of Islamic jurisprudence, you can make Islam out to be the "cult of the devil." But it would no more represent the truth about Islam than pedophile priests represent the truth about the Catholic Church. It is an illogic of hatred. Would that more people see through this illogic and reject it.

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  • fb_avatar

    Muslims are indeed inferior. Their upbringing, their indoctrination and their lack of balanced education has indeed put them at the bottom of the human ladder of progression.
    There is an old wise fable by Aesop that states, "the smaller the mind, the greater the conceit" and Muslims are living testimony to this. Despite being the most inferior of all peoples, they believe that they are the most superior, which is a reflection of their own mental inadequacies.
    The real shame about all of this though, is that Muslims are not inferior from birth. They are equal to all men genetically if they aren't inbred idiots to start with, but that idiotic doctrine called Islam has stifled their mental, emotional and psychological developments.
    Muslims are slaves to an ideology that amazingly should never have survived into the 21st century, but nevertheless has. It is an ideology that should be removed from this planet and removed forthwith. It has no place amongst humanity and no place amongst any decent society. It is the biggest disease that man has to face, and the sooner that Islam is gone forever, the sooner that Mankind will find peace and enlightenment.

  • In reply to docMusic:

    "the smaller the mind, the greater the conceit"

    doc, of course does not see the hypocrisy of his comment.

    Critical thinking is an endangered species in the U.S.

  • In reply to docMusic:

    You're an ignorant, xenophobic, racist nitwit. You are such a coward you won't even use your real name, typical dimwit coward. Mark montgomery NYC, NY boboberg@nyc.rr.com

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    if you know a good muslim please remember he is good in spite of islam NOT BECAUSE OF ISLAM !!! The macabre cult of islam corrupts the human mind ....the very fact that the good muslim is still in the macabre cult of islam means that he is open to the idea of his children being force fed hate and his corrupted children will definitely be dangerous to our children. We have to stop the macabre cult of islam in its tracks. We have to think of our children's lives because the macabre cult of islam makes muslims think of our children's death so then only the macabre cult of islam wins. The macabre cult of islam is in a losing position if even one non-muslim is alive. Do you understand all this ?
    THE WHOLE PLANET IS eagerly WAITING FOR THE DESTRUCTION AND COMPLETE WIPEOUT OF THE macabre CULT OF ISLAM.
    Who will get into the textbooks of future-history as the planet's real savior ?
    I HAVE A FEELING IT WILL BE AN INDIAN OR AN IRANIAN. MAYBE EVEN AN AFGAN who read his Buddhist history and came to his senses.... I HOPE IT'S A WOMAN BECAUSE IN THE END IT WILL BE A WOMAN'S JOB TO CLEAN UP THIS macabre MESS THIS ONE MAD MAN CALLED MOHA-MAD WRECKED ON THIS PLANET FOR THE LAST 1400 YEARS. All the blood and gore will come to an end at last and peace will come for our women and children. I have a feeling it's going to be a woman who smashes macabre islam by speaking and facing the truth of this horrible creeping blood cult.

    THE WHOLE PLANET IS eagerly WAITING FOR THE DESTRUCTION AND COMPLETE WIPEOUT OF THE macabre CULT OF ISLAM.
    Who will get into the textbooks of future-history as the planet's saviour ?
    i HAVE A FEELING IT WILL BE AN INDIAN OR AN IRANIAN. MAYBE EVEN AN AFGAN who read his buddhist history and came to his senses.... I HOPE IT'S A WOMAN BECAUSE IN THE END IT WILL BE A WOMAN'S JOB TO CLEAN UP THIS macabre MESS THIS ONE MAD MAN CALLED MOHA-MAD WRECKED ON THIS PLANET FOR THE LAST 1400 YEARS. All the blood and gore will come to an end at last and peace will come for our women and children. I have a feeling it's going to be a woman who smashes macabre islam by speaking and facing the truth of this horrible creeping blood cult.

    Islamic tolerance is a contradiction in terms. The history of islam is nothing more than fourteen hundred year story of non-stop MASS MURDER, EXPLOITATION, RACISM, INSTITUTIONALIZED RAPE, AND WIDESPREAD IMPOVERISHMENT.
    • I would agree that mosques are places where terrorists can meet with apparent safety. Only moslems go in those places. With this in mind, the government should start to destroy them. They have NO PLACE in our culture.
    Even the muslim terrorists must be amused as to why they are allowed to live in non muslim countries, have their children looked after by the state and in most cases claim money, and at the same time try to cause trouble.
    We need a world wide referendum to decide if we want muslims in our countries....including gentle INDIA.
    I would vote the muslims OUT. If they renounce their muslims links, then they could maybe stay under controlled licence. like in muslim-countries.
    The Arab Islamic Empire devastated whole continents killing and destroying Buddhist culture from Pakistan ,Iran, India, Malaysia, Indonesia. This islamic Empire as VS Naipaul the Nobel; laureate writes has " caused psychological damage to millions of Islamic converts" "they must deny their culture history and ancestors for the Arab history" "This has caused these people to be dislocated,volatile and violent."

  • In reply to docMusic:

    You have so much to say, and so little input. You are ignorant and a bigot to say the least.

  • In reply to docMusic:

    Your ignorance speaks volumes, but your words say little.

  • When will humanity let go of the divisive, silly superstitions of our ancestors and move toward taking full responsibility for the world and the beings in it? Religions do one thing and one thing only: Prop up unrepresentative, arbitrary hierarchies. Time for humanity to grow up.

  • To get this to a more reasonable level, the problem is that the consistent Muslim line is "don't lump all of us together," when they should be saying, "We denounce those who take the name of Muhammad in vain to justify their terrorist acts--they lie when they say they are believers."

    For instance, obviously, the Muslims and Jews got along in Spain until the Christian Goths kicked them out, and still do in Morocco. But we now have various "Islamic Republics" threatening destruction of other nations, harboring terrorists, prosecuting those who identify the terrorists for treason (the story about the Pakistani doctor sentenced to 33 years), and even fomenting violence over Lady Gaga.

    The columnist mentions "If one were to judge the United States by the actions of its criminals, it would be easy to think that America is a truly terrible place," but at least we attempt to put our criminals in jail, not send them on a mission to Mumbai and then shield them. And don't tell me that was secular.

    Islam may not have a Pope and a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly The Inquisition), but someone should stand up and say what the real faith is, including to the terrorist states and organizations, instead of saying that "there is a Fatwah against Salman Rushdie," for instance.

    Your author does not do that.

  • In reply to jack:

    Independence Day was July 4, 1776. Slavery was STILL going on. Juneteenth was June 19, 1865. While Americans celebrate freedom, slavery was still going on. We're not all that innocent of trying to separate ourselves from our ugly past. In my opinion, if a Muslim is explaining WHY there are different groups and that he is not of that group, he is showing the OTHER side to EDUCATE us. But if we want people to take a stand against issues we don't agree with, then that means you should be opposed to the Fourth of July and support Juneteenth instead when EVERYBODY was free? When I read responses like these pointing the finger at Muslims without knowing that finger can point right back at you, it blows my mind. (And before you tell me slavery was legal so this comparison isn't accurate, that doesn't make it right.)

  • In reply to Shamontiel:

    After this post I'm done (don't want to hoard the comment box) but I do have one more thing to say about Juneteenth. One of the most peaceful and educational events I'd ever been to was thrown by IMAN (Inner-City Muslim Action Network) in 2010 with Mos Def as a headliner. There was as much entertainment as there was educating the crowd. I think events like those, that brought hundreds (if not thousands) of people together in one group, for edutainment would help people lift the veil. It certainly caught my attention, outside of being a HUGE Mos Def fan. But wagging a finger at all Muslims like they're one big group of people just waiting on the next kill doesn't do us a BIT of good besides making forced enemies. There were those who justified slavery from the Bible while others vehemently opposed anything in Christianity would support slavery. I think the same can be said of the Holy Quran/Koran/Qur'an.

  • So let us judge all Christians by Eric Rudolph, Ted Haggard, Scott Roeder, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland, Randall Terry, Troy Newman, Flip Benham, the legions of pedophile, rapist RC priests, the Westboro Baptists, Eddie Long, Jimmy Swaggart , ad nauseum.

  • Hesham, where is the ever-rising wave of hatred and its consequences? Pretty much, muslim countries pretty much do as they wish.

    Regarding the Arab Spring, and it being a refutation of Al Qaeda, please explain the difference between the Muslim Brotherhood, now rising in Egypt, and its much younger relation, Al Qaeda?

    Since the Arab Spring in Egypt, Coptic Christians and Jews are in mortal danger. I know this for fact, so it is not wild conjecture. Yet...yet.... there is no huge outcry against the horrible violations of the Copts by other Christians and the same for violence against the Jews. Where is the hate that is everywhere? I say the world has been very tolerant with the FANATICS of Islam that never stop waging war.

    This has been a blessed pause until the next horrific attack that will not leave secular and religious alike in such a tolerant mood. This could be called a Holy Pause, where those moderates within Islam could make doubly sure their voices are heard. And yet...there is mostly silence.

    It is two worlds apart for the fanatics, always to be so, until one side has victory.

  • Fantastic post, Hesham. I'm glad you wrote about this, and I am sorry that there's some commenters who just proved your point about illogical hate. I suppose one could ask the question, Is hate even logical?

    Sadly, people misquoting sacred scripture in order to further their own selfish wants are altogether too common. I grew up in a Roman Catholic family with an abusive father who often used "honor your mother and father" and the "wives, obey your husband" quotes out of context. And yet do people believe this is the only acceptable form of Catholicism? No. Same goes for the cultic Christian group that Bill Gothard has created under the guise of being "biblical." --it does not represent Christianity as a whole. In fact, many Christians would consider him to be a false believer. And yet there are some who consider radical Islam to be representative of Islam as a whole.

    It's because of writers like you, and encounters with peaceful and kind Muslims in our day-to-day lives that the public perception of Islam is slowly improving. Keep on writing!

  • Being a non-Muslim American, I'm really disturbed by these comments.

    Islam is as varied a religion as Christianity. There are many sects and belief systems within Islam, as there is in Christianity. The actions of one group of extremists should not be used to represent the entirety of the religion and its members.

    A great example to illustrate this would be how the positions of the Vatican do not represent the totality of the Christian faith. So not every Christian is Catholic, believes that contraception is morally wrong, and believes in transubstantiation.

    I'd encourage everyone who left a negative comment, to read Amartya Sen's Identity and Violence: the Illusion of Destiny. It might be a bit dense, but it may help bring the vitriol down a notch.

  • In reply to bd209:

    bd209, I suggest instead of reading that one might live it in the real world. My problem is not with Islam, it is with SOME of its advocates (not including Hesham), who are seeing oppression where it does not exist and refusing to see it where it does.

    Not only does the Islamic world not care about the oppression of Coptic Christians and Jews in Egypt, neither does the secular world. In fact, the secular worlds kind of sees it as chic, a payback sort of thing.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Richard the same could be said of any religion. I find fault with almost all religions about similar matters. Listing all of the examples of negligence or vitriol as exemplified by members of any faith warrants a compendium--not a simple response on a blog.

    Frankly the way we treat Islam these days reminds me of the way the Japanese were treated during World War II.

    Also I think their are many individuals who would disagree about your point regarding the secular world's viewpoint on the matter you address.

  • I was in the middle of checking out the Trib's updates when I saw this post on the homepage. Interesting enough I'm watching the first season of "Sleeper Cell," too. I think shows like "Sleeper Cell" and "Muslims in America" tried HARD to show that not all Muslims are alike. I don't know if you've watched either show, but what I found most interesting (besides Michael Ealy's undercover character being Muslim and vehemently opposing terrorism) was the scene on the subway train with three teens who wanted to beat up a guy who had a headwrap on. While Ealy's character was fighting these guys, he explained that the first guy was part of a different group (forgot the name) who has been battling with Muslims for centuries. But to those teens he "looked" like a "Muslim" and a "terrorist." In my mind, there is no "look" to a terrorist. America's history is ugly. We've got slaveowners on our money and try to erase slavery in history books. That doesn't make me want to leave America. It just makes me know that everything in America's history isn't all good. I'd rather keep UP with my history and know the pros and cons than decide I hate everything about America. Same with Islam and Muslims. Nothing in my character would make me decide to hate a WHOLE group of people. That's got to be taught, and usually it's taught by someone these people look up to (parents, grandparents, peers, etc.) so your fight is good but some just won't budge on that. Anyway, great post.

  • In reply to Shamontiel:

    I believe the group name I was thinking of was "Sikhs." The fight was on Episode 1 and the character Ealy played said, "Sikhs to the Muslims are like Crips and Bloods, they f**king hate each other. They've been slaughtering each other for 300 years." I don't know much about Sikhs (although this post will make me want to read up on them so I don't forget the name again, and to find out the beef between them and Muslims) BUT the comparison to Crips and Bloods made sense considering I have read up on the history between those two groups -- a bad reaction to getting rid of Black Panthers. I don't know if you'd agree with that comparison but I'm guessing if the show did this much to try to educate people on different Muslims that it's probably true. Anywho, that's off topic. Again, I enjoyed reading your post.

  • fb_avatar

    The reason that people fear Islam is that fundamental Islamic teachings are consistent with the horrific acts done in the name of Allah.

    While there are individuals/groups that engage in terrible behaviors allegedly in the name of God, fundamental Christian teachings are, in fact, the antithesis of those behaviors, and are condemned by Bible scripture, and by every recognized variation within the Christian faith.

  • In reply to ryukidn:

    That's Actually not true at all. The fundamental teachings of Islam are the very same fundamental teachings of Christianity: love God, serve humanity, and make the world better for all.

  • The Hadith book I have in front of me, Sahih al Bukhari is filled with anti semetic, mysogynistic and jihadi rhetoric calling for the subjegation of Infidels and the collection of the Jizya tax. Jews are referred to as having been turned into pigs, apes and rats and being the most treacherous of people. There are multiple references to the fact that most of the inhabitants of hell are women. Muta'a [pleasure] marriage while on campaign is permitted. Pictures, musical instruments and pet dogs are forbidden. I have been deployed to Muslim countries and the practice of the faith is quite different and far more strict than it is in the U.S. All of this would be academic except for the worldwide appearence of insurgent and militant groups calling for sharia law from the southern Phillipines to North Africa. There are also videos of gigantic rallies across the Muslim world calling for sharia law and a restoration of the Caliphate and of course, the conquest of "Al Quds". If these enthusiastic throngs are to be believed, we shall all be hearing from them very soon.

  • In reply to mesopotamian crow:

    Worse than taking the Quran out of context is taking Hadith out of context. So many Muslims do that and I think that has caused a lot of grief.

  • In reply to Hesham Hassaballa:

    The penalty for blasphamy against the Prophet, his companions and his wives in Kuwait, Pakistan and perhaps other countries is, well, death. A cartoonist in Seattle named Molly Norris depicted Muhammed as a talking spool of thread and has now been advised to go into hiding by the F.B.I. If Islam wishes to interact with the rest of the world it must be able to deal with criticism using logic and reason instead of threats of violence.

  • In reply to mesopotamian crow:

    You are absolutely correct. In fact I was a signatory to a letter by American Muslims opposed to the threat against The Seattle cartoonist.

    If you look at a post or two ago on this blog, you will see that I am against the so-called blasphemy laws. I show that they are against Islamic principles and ideals.

  • In reply to Hesham Hassaballa:

    The governments of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Kuwait interpret "if anyone leaves the Islamic religion, kill him" as mandating punishment up to and including death for blasphamy. It is all but certain that Egypt will do the same as the secular constitution of the old Mubarak government is replaced by a new one influenced by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the salafist "Noor" party. All of these countries believe that they are upholding Islamic ideals and their numbers and influence appears to be growing. Videos of large open air rallies have come out of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other North African and Middle Eastern countries calling for jihad and displaying flags of terrorist organizations such as Al Qaida. Whether or not this represents the true face of the Islamic religion it is a real and growing threat. Religious minorities such as the Copts of Egypt and the Christians of Syria and Iraq have absorbed hostility and mob violence and fear for their future. So do I.

  • In reply to mesopotamian crow:

    I have also written extensively showing that there is no such thing as a death penalty for leaving Islam.

    But, anyway, the point is that, despite many a politician claiming America is a Judeo-Christian nation, no one judges Christianity by the actions of America.

    But so many judge all of Islam by the actions of this country or that. It does not follow.

    Still, I wish you peace.

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    When the so called "good" Muslims stand up and condemn the "bad" Muslims I'll believe that there is a difference. Hesham would do well to explain why the good Muslims have not stood up against what he calls the extreme Muslims. Sorry, I still don't trust ANY Muslim.

  • In reply to Roger Licht:

    That's really unfortunate. Muslims have been condemning, standing up against, and fighting terrorism in Islam's name ever since before 9/11. It just doesn't make good news. BTW, the head of the drone program in the CIA: he is a Muslim. Check it out.

  • In reply to Roger Licht:

    Please explain why "good" Catholics don't stand up and condemn "bad" ones. Maybe starting with the Pope.

    While people go hungry and the pope sits on a gold throne wearing prada shoes priests are moved around to rape more young boys and "god fearing" Catholics go to bed hungry after they've given their last cent to the church.

  • Yusif al Qaradawi, an Islamic scholar of great influence, gave a speech last year to a vast throng of people in Tahrir Square charging the Egyptian Army with the mission of conquering Jerusalem while quoting from the Koran.. Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia called for the elimination of all Christian churches from the Arabian penninsula, citing Hadith as the reason for his ruling. Perhaps someone needs to talk to these people, and others, about how they are misinterpreting their religion before more harm is done. When i see crowds waving the black flag with the Shahada shouting "Obama, We are all Osama" in North Africa while calling him an "Ape" I feel like we are in for something like the Iranian revolution with us cast as the villain. I hope that I am wrong about all of this and i wish you peace as well.

  • In reply to mesopotamian crow:

    These are, what, three individuals? In fact, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia should know that in Islam, the building of churches is part of the "maintenance of the earth," which is one of the duties of Muslims according to the Quran. The reason Muslims may need to take up arms in self-defense, according to the Quran, is to protect churches, synagogues, and mosques. (I can give you citations for these, but it is also on my blog).

    Respectfully, I feel you are wrong about all of this. I totally agree that the extremists have done so much harm, but they don't care...they are extremists. I am trying, in my own way before the Beautiful Lord, to set the record straight.

    Peace.

  • Hatred blinds people to the truth but wishful thinking can mislead as well. The clerics that I used as examples are not alone. There are active, armed insurgencies seeking to impose sharia law in the Phillipines, Aceh provence, Indonesia, Southern Thailand, Afghanistan, Pakistan,Kasmir provence, Chechnya, Yemen, Mali, Kenya and Nigeria that i can think of off hand. In all of these places non muslims have come under severe pressure including mob violence and terrorism. Many hundreds of thousands are fleeing, sometimes at the command of insurgent forces as in Homs, Syria or because of government edict such as in Sudan. The Yezidis and Christians of Iraq are among those who have become internal refugees or have had to flee their homeland. Boko Harem in Nigeria seeks to drive the Christians out of the north part of that country by attacks on churches and businesses. It appears that at this time the extremists are in the drivers seat and we shall have to deal with their interpretation of Islam whether we like it or not. I have talked to people from Iraq, Sudan and Egypt about these issues and they often have poignant and harrowing details to add from their own experiences. I , with you, hope that i am wrong in all of this.

  • In reply to mesopotamian crow:

    Indeed non Muslims have come under attack. But the overwhelming majority of the attacks by Muslim extremists are against Muslims themselves. By a far margin.

    I don't dismiss the loss of any life: Muslim or otherwise. They (the extremists) are a common enemy. And they don't have the upper hand: they just garner the most media attention.

    This dialogue is good and ultimately will lead to the defeat of extremism everywhere. And I thank you for your engagement. Peace.

  • In reply to Hesham Hassaballa:

    Since the "extremist" version of Islam is the governing philosophy in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sudan, and now Mali and since followers of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have recently burned down the opposition parties headquarters in Cairo I believe it is fair to say that the extremists do have the upper hand and it is getting stronger. Any movement that can cause a refugee crisis in several countries at once deserves media attention. All of this would be academic but for the effect of fear that I am noticing not only in the middle east but in my own country. Female writers such as Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan and Ayan Hirsi Ali have to travel with bodyguards and take precautions here in the U.S. even though they are a threat to nobody. Recently a Dr. Hatem El Hagaly was dismissed from Mayo clinic for writing in support of female genital mutilation, a topic much discussed and written about by the three writers I mentioned. Ayan Hirsi Ali had this done to her as a little girl. Dr Hatem is another misunderstander of Islam as he cited Hadith in his defence. In the U.S freedom of religion does not mean freedom from criticism and Muslims in the U.S. must engage and respond as Catholics, Mormons and Evangelicals have done in the past when faced with scandal. Honor violence, f.g.m., zakat going to foreign militant groups such as Hezbollah and anti semitism as well as scary militant groups like Hizb at Tahrir are legitimate topics of inquiry and discussion. The Catholics have had to answer questions about the priest abuse scandal for years now and even though the process was often unfair and even cruel I believe that they have come out stronger and better prepared to prevent these events in the future. I hope that other Muslims follow your example and engage with criticism instead of hiding behind a charge of predjudice in a country that welcomes people from all over the world and has saved millions of muslim lives. salaam leka aydan [peace to you also]

  • In reply to mesopotamian crow:

    My problem with writers like Hirsi Ali is that she points out horrors like fgm and then says: that's what Islam is all about. It may sell books, but it is not correct at all.

  • In reply to Hesham Hassaballa:

    Fgm, honor violence and sexual harassment of unveiled women are real and many people have a trust issue with statements about Islam that deny these problems because there have been clerics that talked about peace and tolerance in english and later used Koranic and Hadith sources to justify extremism in their own language. The Australian "Catmeat Sheikh" [Taj Al Din Hilaly] was caught doing this. It is not that Americans are intolerant and hateful, after all they recently elected a president with a Muslim name and background. The problem is that they have been lied to, repeatedly, by militants and their apologists. Steven Emerson, the author of Jihad in America was dismissed as a crank and ignored by many prior to 9/11. It is better to take the threat of militant Islam seriously and risk being called a bigot and a hater than to indulge in politically correct thinking for the purpose of feeling morally superior to ones less enlightened bretheren and experience another 9/11, or a Beslan, or welcome someone like the "Blind Sheikh" to immigrate to our country to plot against it and practice sedition. I highly doubt that Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan and Nonie Darwish wrote their stories just to sell books. It would not be worth the harassment and death threats that they all receive just to get on the best seller list. They and the American writer Phyllis Chesler write about mysogony in Muslim countries because they have experienced it first hand and the only way that they know of to combat it is to expose it in the hope of creating a better life for women who have no means of expressing or defending themselves. Instead of attacking Hirsi Alis' motives her facts should be examined to see if they are true. Are most of the women in Pakistani and Afghan jails rape victims who were unable to produce four male witnesses to exonerate them? Are over 90% of Egyptian women victims of fgm? Is an unaccomanied woman vulnerable to sexual harassment or worse? If not she and her fellows can be dismissed as having an agenda to "sell books" If however, her statements are true then Americans must take action to prevent honor crimes and fgm from taking root here, even at the cost of offending people who claim otherwise.

  • In reply to mesopotamian crow:

    Again, every single instance you cite is a clear violation of Islamic law and spirit. Every single thing you cite is a betrayal of Islam. I don't have a problem decrying these horrors. I have a problem with painting all of Islam with the crimes.

  • In reply to Hesham Hassaballa:

    The sixty armed islamic insurgencies [not counting leftist movements such as the pflpd] are doing far more to paint all of Islam with crimes than western critics ever could. If these groups are not stopped and if wealthy businessmen in Saudi Arabia and other countries continue to support them "with their persons and their wealth" then they will define what the religion is to the world, just as communism defined Russia to the rest of the world during the cold war. The militant ideology must be opposed with determination and ferocity for as long as it takes to utterly defeat it with the spirit of those who resisted communism by exposing its crimes to the world. Solzhenytsin wrote three massive volumes exposing the crimes of not only Stalin, but of the Communist Party. Muslims who wish to defend their faith must do the same, ruthlessly exposing double talking imams, anti semites and seditious terror enablers like the "Blind Sheikh" to public scrutiny and condemnation. Untill they do so, someone else will because it must be done. The United States has elected people of all faiths and elevated them to judgeships and other high public office. Acts of vandalism at mosques are investigated by the police and even the F.B.I. After 9/11 President Bush took off his shoes and visited a mosque. These are some of the gestures Americans have done to make Muslims feel at peace. I wonder if Egypt or Pakistan would have done the same if self proclaimed Christian terrorists had done an act in these countries similar to the World Trade Center attack. Today Islam is being defined by Ayatollah Khameni of Iran, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Hassan Nasralla and Yusif al Qardowi. They, and not a handful of bloggers and writers in the west must be defeated or else they will continue to speak, loudly and effectively to the militant version of the faith they proclaim.

  • In reply to mesopotamian crow:

    We are on the same side. I'm trying to do what the Prophet told me to do: if I can't change evil that I see with my own hands, then I should speak out against it.

    The barbarism in the name of religion will not win over. That's because the Lord our God is in charge. And that can only be a good thing.

    Peace to you, and may the blessings of our Beloved be with you always.

  • About 90% of all the service personnel I deal with everyday (at newspaper stands, pharmacies, grocery stores, etc.) here in Manhattan are Muslims. They are some of the kindest, gentlest people I have ever met. This Islamophobia is just what it's called: a mental illness, these idiots don't really know any Muslims. Mark Montgomery
    NYC, NY boboberg@nyc.rr.com

  • Here's what puzzles me about Islam. I've heard many a Christian minister criticize other ministers or other denominations. I knew a few Methodist ministers who preached sermons against Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority.

    By the same token, I have Catholic friends who have heard a few homilies that were very stern in their tone against Protestant churches, including the Lutherans, the Anglicans, the Baptists, and so on.

    We all remember when Pope Benedict said that while other Christian denominations were well intentioned, only the Roman Catholic Church offered salvation. The Pope got an earful from everyone, from the Archbishop of Canturbury to the President of the SBC, to the President of the LDS.

    So, why is it that Muslim clergy seem less inclined to criticize each other? If one imam preaches hatred against infidels in the U.S., why don't other imams criticize his view of the Koran?

  • I personally think most of the "hate" comes from two problems:

    1) Many Americans love to have an "Emmanuel Goldstein" to toss all their angst at. If you don't know who Emmanuel Goldstein is, look up Orwell's "1984". At one point it was Native Americans; another point it was Hitler, Germans, and Japanese; then it was Communists and Socialists; Minorities; Hippies; Liberals; etc.

    Now it's Muslims. These particular folk just want a "face" to lash their own insecurities at. They only think of Muslims as Arabs in typical garb...but fail to recognize Caucasian Muslims from Europe...like Bosnians. They want someone to blame the economy and the problems of the world on. Is it any wonder why these same people try to paint President Obama as a Muslim?

    2) Christians who are more fearful at an overal population push away from organized religion. Let's be real, churches and collection plates are getting emptier, many couples opt to marry outside of a Church, and many kids are not even baptized or brought into any religions. The Christians simply see Islam as a great enemy, much like they see Atheists. They are scared that their "special little group" will dwindle and die out...and now they won't have any "meaning" in their lives.

    I do find it funny though how much of Jesus' word they violate in their hatred towards the Muslims.

  • I'm looking forward to seeing similar articles about how hatred of Jews, Christians, Catholics, etc. is also illogical. Oh, wait. Never mind. We will NEVER see such articles here or in major media outlets.

    boboberg wrote, "About 90% of all the service personnel I deal with everyday (at newspaper stands, pharmacies, grocery stores, etc.) here in Manhattan are Muslims. They are some of the kindest, gentlest people I have ever met. This Islamophobia is just what it's called: a mental illness, these idiots don't really know any Muslims."

    90% of the Christians, Jews, Catholics I know are some of the kindest, gentlest, people I have ever met. And yet djamnfx above writes of the hate of "Christians who are more fearful at an overal population push away from organized religion."

    The author, in a comment, writes, "I totally agree that the extremists have done so much harm, but they don't care...they are extremists. I am trying, in my own way before the Beautiful Lord, to set the record straight."

    The vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful and law-abiding are not the problem. But personally I'm getting sick of hearing these sermons which are veiled accusations and which accomplish nothing because they do not address the problem. It's the extremists who are the problem. Address THEM publicly. Condemn THEM, loud and long and publicly. Being fearful of them and hating them is not a phobia. It's beyond logical. It's REALITY.

    The author writes (multi-paragraph quote follows), "Add to this the litany of cultural horrors that some Muslims—but not only Muslims—practice, such as child marriages, female genital mutilation, and so-called "honor killings," and those horrible practices are unfairly projected upon Islam as well. [...]

    "Does no one else see this illogic? Think about it for a moment: If one were to judge the United States by the actions of its criminals, it would be easy to think that America is a truly terrible place, full of murderers, rapists, thieves and thugs. But, everyone knows and understands that America is not defined by the actions of its criminals.

    "The same is true with the misdeeds of American soldiers overseas. Whether it is those soldiers who urinated on Taliban corpses or the soldier who allegedly shot and killed dozens of civilians, including children, everyone knows (and says) that their actions do not reflect the reality of America and its people. And, this is completely true."

    I think the author doesn't see that he's a bit illogical here. In the USA, all the misdeeds he notes are offenses and are prosecuted. But "honor" killings, etc. occur in places precisely where they are not offenses, or if they are, they are simply shrugged off, and "Islam" in those places does and says nothing.

    The author writes, "everyone knows (and says) that their actions do not reflect the reality of America and its people". I'm sure that large numbers non-Americans and non-Muslim Americans do, in fact, say that.

    The author states that the media does not cover the many condemnations of the extremists because it's not news. That's very odd. It may not be news to many, but the message is important. Why not take an ad out in the NY Times? That's assuming, of course, they'd print it.

    The author writes "[extremists] don't care." Of course, if you do condemn them, they just might start to care about you and express their displeasure in various concrete ways. I don't know if the author actually considers that. But it's a real possibility and I would certainly not blame the author for taking that into account.

    Rick Rescorla was the security manager for Morgan Stanley in the WTC and died in the collapse. Before the 1993 bombing, he and his friend Dan Hill had decided that was a real risk but were unable to convince management. After the bombing, Hill (who had converted to Islam years before) visited mosques in the area including New Jersey. All but one of them were openly hostile to America and Jews. "Many applauded the bombing of the World Trade Center, lamenting that it hadn't done more damage." "Heart of a Soldier" by James B. Stewart (Simon and Schuster, 2002), hardcover p. 192. (This page is also available in Google Books.)

    (This book also relates that Rescorla and Hill reasoned that the bombers had been trying to bring down the towers, that they would be back to finish the job, and that the attack would come from the air.)

    I repeat: the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and law-abiding, and the vast majority of non-Muslims do not blame them personally for the misdeeds of the extremists. But because of that, nice little sermons like this accomplish nothing.

  • In reply to Nate Whilk:

    Much of my writing IS a condemnation of the extremists and their interpretation of Islam. But the problem is that many people look at the actions of extremists and some Muslim preachers and say ISLAM as a whole is like that. That is what prompts me to write pieces like this.

    I have gone on record against smearing all priests with the sins of the pedophiles. But for so many, and the comments of some here show this tendency, the sins of some Muslims is the norm. That's what is illogical.

  • In reply to Hesham Hassaballa:

    At the top of this site is a link to the Amman Message, a beautiful statement of Muslim interfaith tolerance signed by Yusif al Qardowi. I happen to have a video of a speech given by this man last year where he addresses a huge crowd in Egypt and calls on the army to liberate Al Quds so that he can preach at Al Aqsa. I have done a little more research into Qaradowi and have found that he doesnt care for Christmas trees and believes that Starbucks is a zionist front. He also quotes the Hadith about a rock calling out "oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come kill him." He also calls for the annihilation of every last Jew in front of a large crowd of people, praying! Any document of tolerance and peace signed by this vile man is a travesty and is not worth the paper it is written on. I have been familiarized with the full blast of Islamic anti semitism in all of its forms and i speak a little Arabic so i can usually follow along with what is being said. Usually, as in Qaradawis speeches, Koranic verses from the Medinan period are quoted. If the Muslims of the world wish to be thought of as peaceful and tolerant people, then they must accept Israel within its borders as a Jewish state. Furthermore, Israel has a right to defend itself and to prevent a second holocaust. I am deeply angerd by the curses and threats that Qaradowi aims at my country and I know that this man, and possibly others who signed the Amman Message is an enemy. As are all anti semites, as were the Nazis that my grandfather fought against in the Second World War. The worlds 1.5 billion Muslims who occupy a land mass the size of Russia must find a way to coexist with the 5 million or so Jews living in their midst. I will close with an Arabic blessing for the good doctor Hassaballa "yastati'a al 'amal eedak mabrook [may the work of your hands be blessed]

  • In reply to Nate Whilk:

    You're a weak-minded idiot. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY boboberg@nyc.rr.com

  • In reply to boboberg:

    Please. Let us keep the discourse civil.

  • In our church we welcome everyone and speak English and the love of Jesus.
    muslims speak hatred of anything not muslim or islamic, muslims are not welcome anywhere after they have been there for a time while they start taking over the country with islamic laws, sharia, mosques everywhere[twin towers] as a sign of weakness of the people who welcome them in,behadings, imams who are ignorant about most modern life are indoctrinating the young children, children rotely memorize the koran as if that is edeucation and finally, there is no country where muslims have entered that that country doesn't soon want them to leave e.g. England, Norway, Denmark, Holland, France, Spain, Netherlands, Phillipines, Maylasia and even muslims can't live together sunnis begin to hate wahabis who hate Shiites . muslims do not want to become American citizens they want American citizens to become muslim.

  • i see once that someone says Jews have a right to exist nevermind their own homeland dr. muslim stops chatting. peace is all good excepts for jews! you are all the same in disguise and you are messing with the wrong country.

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