I would like to thank Brett Frazer for his response to my article “Islamic Violence Justifies Islamophobia,” in the May 31 issue of The Northern Light, because his views are a good representation of apologists for Islam in the West. And so it is with great enthusiasm with which I aim to dismantle his arguments in this week’s column.
The first issue raised is that articles criticizing Islam “exacerbate existing tensions between Muslims and the Western world.” Exacerbating tensions with Muslims is actually a very easy task; just ask the staff of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. They had a slight cultural misunderstanding in 2005, after publishing a dozen or so cartoons depicting the never-to-be-depicted Prophet Muhammad. In response, the practitioners of the “religion of peace” set Danish embassies aflame in Syria, Lebanon, and Iran, and nearly 100 people were killed.
The only way Westerners will cease to “exacerbate tensions” with the Muslim world is to stop being who they are. Get rid of all those silly human rights, censor speech, make non-Muslims pay the Jizya (tax) for the audacity of not being Muslim, and for goodness sake ladies- cover up.
Then again, why would any Westerner worry about worsening relations with the Muslim world if Islam is a religion of peace? Does anyone worry about offending Buddhists or Hindus? It’s no coincidence that an equal opportunity anti-religionist like Christopher Hitchens receives death threats from Muslims and not Christians. Hitchens, who has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, has been inundated by the number Christian groups participating in prayer for his recovery and/or redemption.
The piece goes on to criticize my take on Obama’s handling of the Arid Uka shooting in Germany, saying that the President should “avoid language that stereotypes entire groups of people.”
Calling Arid Uka an Islamic terrorist isn’t stereotyping anyone; it is simply telling the truth. I am not asking Obama to make a generalization of all Muslims based on Uka’s actions, only that he be honest about who Uka is and what his motivations were. Even the European authorities weren’t afraid of stating the obvious.
While I disagree with most of Obama’s policies, that doesn’t mean I would have spared John McCain or Mike Huckabee the same ire as is suggested. This particular assumption is strange considering that in the very article being critiqued, I mention the naïve claim of George W. Bush that Islam is a religion of peace. It makes little difference which party submits to the “multi-culti” nonsense. Both can be equally pathetic in that regard.
The next major point brought against my article is that violence committed in the name of Islam does not undermine claims that Islam is a religion of peace. This is supported by the listing of various Christians who have committed violence in the name of Christianity, arguing that like their actions, violence by Muslims should not define Islam. During the Lebanese Civil War, Christian militants slaughtered thousands of civilians, for example. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is also noted, which is a rather odd militant group in Uganda. What isn’t mentioned is how incoherent the LRA’s views are. They derive their beliefs from a mix of Christianity, mysticism, witchcraft, and Islam, and even identified as an Islamic group during their alliance with Sudan.
The last few examples are anything but compelling: Pastor Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church and his followers attend the funerals of soldiers with signs that read “God Hates Fags,” Terry Jones burned a Quran, and an abortion doctor was murdered.
Are there really so few recent heinous acts in the name of Christianity that Phelps and his idiotic gang are used as examples? They may be misguided, but last I checked they haven’t resorted to bashing anyone over the head with their signs.
But it gets even better. The article decries Terry Jones for burning a Quran. Sure it was stupid, but was anyone harmed? Well, they were actually, not by Jones but at the hands of Muslims in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan where a U.N. compound was attacked and 14 innocent people were brutally murdered, two were even beheaded. Scores of politicians, military leaders, and others pleaded with Jones not to go through with it because they knew the response would be violent. Strangely enough, no one has been decapitated yet over Andres Serrano’s 1987 photograph of a crucifix in a glass of urine.
While the murder of abortion doctors unfortunately does occur, it is extremely rare, and pale in comparison to the frequency of violence committed by Islamists. In fact, a total of eight abortion doctors have been murdered in the U.S. in the last 20 years. More people were killed by Islamic terrorists from the time I began writing this article, up until this point, than all the abortion doctors in the entire history of the United States. On June 3, 2011, 17 people were killed by a bomb outside a Mosque in a sectarian feud.
The article also takes issue with my condemnation of Palestinians for celebrating the murder of an Israeli family. No, Hamas does not speak for all Palestinians, but they do speak for a large portion of the population considering they won the election in 2006. And before the argument is made that Obama is our President yet I disagree with him, that may be, but like most Americans of all political stripes, there are a large number of basic values on which we agree. It is incredible to think that an alleged “extremist” organization like Hamas, whose goals include the annihilation of Jews, actually won an election. It can be said that a few racist individuals here and there don’t represent the larger group, but when they are given an electoral mandate by their people, that claim has much less validity.
But should the actions of a religion’s followers be its sole definer? I agree that they should not. Human nature is flawed and people often use religion to gain power or justify immorality. The conduct of Muslims and Christians are a good indicator, but to reach a fair conclusion, it’s important to examine the content of each religion. Is my claim that violent Jihadism is part of mainstream Islam false and demonstrate “flagrant ignorance”? If the Quran itself or the life of Muhammad is any measure, it does not.
A repeated theme throughout the Quran is to follow the example of Muhammad: “He demonstrated good examples in all aspects of life, Allah says: You have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah…” (Quran, 33:21). Much like in Christianity: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us…” (Ephesians 5:1-2). And although Jesus is considered to be a prophet in Islam, it is Muhammad, not Jesus, who is said to be the model Muslim.
The life of Christ is widely known: he promoted love, charity, and obedience to God’s commandments, cured the sick, was ultimately crucified, and I believe, rose again. He even went as far as to say, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44).
Muhammad’s life is more obscure to those educated in the United States. In seventh century Mecca, Muhammad received a revelation and began spreading his newfound beliefs. He gained a good number of followers but ran into trouble with the prevailing Pagans at the time, who met his new religion with hostility. Rather than stick around in Mecca and face persecution, he fled to Medina where the people were more willing to accept his message and adopted him as their prophet.
The first noted act of violence commanded by Muhammad is recorded after his arrival in Medina. He told his followers to “kill any Jew that falls into your power,” according to ‘The Life of Muhammad’, a translation by A. Guillaume of Ibn Ishaq’s eighth century Sirat Rasulallah (biography), it says, “Thereupon Muhayyisa b. Masud leapt upon Ibn Sunayna, a Jewish merchant with whom they had social and business relations, and killed him.” In order to satisfy the wishes of Muhammad, one of his followers murdered his former friend in cold blood for the crime of being a Jew.
Another call to violence was directed toward Asma d. Marwan, a mother of five who was distraught over Muhammad’s killings and urged her fellow tribesmen to resist him. Upon hearing this, Muhammad asked “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?” Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi volunteered for the task. “[He] came to her in the night and… thrust his sword in her chest till it pierced up to her back.” After returning to Muhammad, it is recorded that the “Prophet” said of her death, “No two goats will butt together about her,” meaning of course that her death was inconsequential.
Contrast this story with that of Mary Magdalene, a woman who was sentenced to death for adultery. Jesus said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). Despite his sinless nature, he showed her mercy.
Muhammad, on the other hand, would continue to loot and pillage his neighbors until he gained enough strength to conquer Mecca in 630 AD. Following his conquest, he quickly expanded his territory to include the whole of the Arabian Peninsula, commanding that his followers “Fight those who do not believe in Allah… until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued,” (Quran 9:29). A peaceful religion indeed.
The lives of Muhammad and Christ are like night and day. Muhammad murdered people for merely disagreeing with him, while Christ forgave his enemies, even on the cross. Therefore, Muslims who choose to live peacefully with those who believe differently, do so in spite their religion, not because of it.