Myth of Islamic intolerance

Values: Mercy, Patience, Tolerance Views: 13274

ISLAM happens to be the most misunderstood religion in the developed world. One of the various misconceptions that prevail about Islam is that it is intolerant towards other faiths. It is widely believed that Muslims have been instructed to offer Islam or the sword as alternatives to the non-Muslims.

These days one even comes across Muslims who tend to express the same views. The ignorance of the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, and the irresponsible, outrageous, and deplorable attitude of certain Muslim groups and regimes have equally contributed to the development of such utterly false notions about Islam.

In fact, tolerance is an essential religious and legal obligation imposed upon the Muslims. Muslims have been instructed to promote the message of Islam by way of engaging in religious dialogues with non-Muslims and in this process Muslims have been told to employ the most respectful and polite methods: "Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the best manner...". (Quran 16:125) And if the non-Muslims incline to disagree with the message of Islam, despite all the arguments and logic produced by the Muslims, the latter are still not to resort to any form of religious compulsion or violent reaction.

God declares: "There is no compulsion in religion...". (Quran 2:256) "But if they dispute with thee, say: I submit myself entirely to God and (so does) he who follows me. And say to those who have been given the Book and the Unlearned (people): Do you submit yourselves? If they submit, then indeed they follow the right way; and if they turn back, thy duty is only to deliver the message..." (Quran 3:19)

"And if thy lord had pleased, all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them. Wilt thou then force men till they are believers?" (Quran 10:99) "And say: The Truth is from your Lord; so let him who please believe, and let him who please disbelieve..." (Quran 18:29) These verses clearly establish:

(1) Islam denounces forced-conversion; and
(2) Islam does not enjoin Muslims to wage war for the spread of faith.

Not only Muslims are prohibited from forcing Islam on non-Muslims, they have also been ordered to deal with them in a just and kind manner: "God forbids you not respecting those who fight you not for religion, nor drive you from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly. Surely God loves the doers of justice. God forbids you only respecting those who fight you for religion, and drive you forth from your homes and help (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends of them; and whoever makes friends of them, these are the wrongdoers." (Quran 60:8,9)

Islam not only acknowledges all the previous prophets and messengers, like Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, etc., and all the previous revelations, like the Torah, the Psalms, etc., but it goes a step further: Muslims have been strictly forbidden in the Quran from using any insulting remarks about any deity worshipped by any non-Muslim: "And abuse not those whom they call upon besides God..." (Quran 6:109) Can there be a more decisive proof of the marvelously tolerant nature of Islam?

The Sunnah too is abundant in injunctions that instruct Muslims to be considerate and courteous towards non-Muslims. The charter granted by the Prophet to the Christians of Mount Sinai is one of the glorious examples of tolerance and pluralism: "This is a message from Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily, I, the servants and helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and, by God, I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them; neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs, nor their monks from their monasteries.

"No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. Muslims are to fight for them... Their churches are to be respected... No one of the nation (of Islam) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day."

When a deputation of the Christians of Najran came to see the Prophet, he not only allowed them to stay in his mosque, but they were also allowed to pray in the mosque according to their beliefs. The Prophet also granted them a charter similar to the one mentioned above: "...To the Christians of Najran and the neighboring territories, the security of God and the pledge of His Prophet are extended for their lives, their religion, and their property... There shall be no interference with their faith or their observances, nor any change in their rights and privileges... They shall continue to enjoy everything great or small as heretofore..."

The Prophet was not only the head of the first Islamic state, but was also the supreme judicial authority. Non-Muslims would also come to him for the settlement of their disputes and he would adjudicate in accordance with their laws. While deciding between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, he would strictly observe the Quranic instructions regarding equality before law, and never made any distinction between litigants on the basis of religion.

There are numerous sayings of the Prophet emphasizing that non-Muslims living in an Islamic state - legally called "dhimmi" - must be treated well and their rights must be protected by the state as well as Muslim members of the community: "Whoever hurts a dhimmi, hurts me. And whoever hurts me, he annoys God." (Bukhari) "Beware! On the Day of Judgment, I shall myself be the complainant against him who wrongs a dhimmi, or lays on him a responsibility greater than he can bear, or deprives him of anything that belongs to him." (Al-Mawardi)

The teachings of the Quran and the examples set by the Prophet were not only followed by the Pious Caliphs, but also by later caliphs, rulers, and administrators. In 638, when Jerusalem was first conquered by Muslims, Caliph Omar Bin Khattab, who is considered to be the strictest of the Pious Caliphs, made this declaration regarding its Christian inhabitants: "I grant them security of lives, their possessions, their children, their churches, their crosses, and all that belongs to them... Their churches shall not be impoverished, nor destroyed; neither endowments, nor their dignity... Neither shall the inhabitants of Jerusalem be exposed to violence in following their religion; nor shall one of them be injured."

Once, Caliph Omar came across an old man begging for alms. On inquiry, Omar came to know that the man was a Jew. He ordered that the Jew be paid regular amount from the state treasury, saying, "Is it right to take jizya from him as a young man, and neglect him as an old man? This is not possible in Islam!" Jizya is the tax collected from non-Muslim citizens. However, the amount of jizya is much less than zakat. Also, it is only collected from able-bodied non-Muslim males who can afford to pay it. Non-Muslims, if they ae in need, have the right to be supported by the state treasury.

In short - based on the Quran and the Sunnah, the practices of the Pious Caliphs, and the writings of Muslim jurists - non-Muslims, living in an Islamic state, are entitled to:

  1. right to life, personal safety, and respect;
  2. freedom of religion;
  3. right to justice and equality before law;
  4. freedom of expression;
  5. right to political representation;
  6. freedom of movement, assembly, and association;
  7. right to education;
  8. right to social security;
  9. right to property;
  10. right to government service;
  11. right to exemption from compulsory military service; etc.

Here it must be mentioned that it is incumbent upon an Islamic state to grant to its non-Muslim citizens all these rights and freedoms regardless of rights and freedoms accorded to or denied to Muslims living in non-Muslim states.

Islamic history shows that all the rights accorded to non-Muslims were actually implemented by Muslim governments. Non-Muslims were always allowed opportunities of growth similar to Muslims; talented non-Muslims were greatly honored and given high offices. Muslims can also take just pride in the fact that, unlike other civilizations, Islamic one cannot be accused of conducting forced conversions, witch hunts, inquisitions and holocausts. In fact, Muslim territories often served as refuge for non-Muslims facing oppression and persecution in other places.

Spain, under Muslim rule, was the only place in Europe where Jews could live with absolute safety and dignity. After the fall of Muslim Spain, Jews were expelled from there, and they found a sanctuary in another Muslim realm, i.e., the Ottoman Empire. Muslim India is another example. Despite centuries of Muslim rule, majority of its population remained non-Muslim. It is a well known fact that Muslim rulers even made generous donations to temples and other religious places of Hindus, etc. It is also interesting to note that, according to Al-Maqrizi, all the famous churches of Cairo were built during the Muslim rule.

 

Syed Imad-ud-Din Asad  is a lecturer at Punjab Law College, Lahore, Pakistan.


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  43 Comments   Comment

  1. Joseph Lessard from USA

    The myth of islamic intolerance is itself a myth. Jesus said you shall no a tree by its fruit. The fruits of Islam are violence, rape, toture, and subjugation. Go ask the Greeks, Slavs, and former peoples of Byzantium who you tried to blott out from the world. Go ask the Armenians and Christians of Sudan. You are a cult of violence. You are liars. I suppose you will now threaten me with death to prove to me you are not violent. The truth of your lies is revealed by your actions. You can intimidate our secular governments and media because they have no back bone. You do not however, scare me. I know there is a God and he will win in the end. He is a God of love and truth and compassion. You are slaves to violence. Where is love spoken of in your book?

  2. John from USA

    Actions do speak louder than words. Muslims demonstrate daily that Islamic intolerance is not a myth but a well established fundamental tenant of Islam.

    You can post all the comments here and on other sites like "AskIslam" and be told that Islam is the religion of Love, Peace and tolerance. You can post all the comments about how bad "Western Civilization" is and provide examples of behavior from the past.

    But it is Today that thousands of Muslims protest the freedoms practiced by others. It is Today that Islam is used as a reason to execute someone for not being Muslim. It is Today that the moderate minority? allows other Muslims extremists? to represent Islam to the world by their actions of burning people alive and cheering in the streets. Of condemning a woman to death for having sex while allowing the man to go un punished.

    If it is true that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance then those that believe it had better take over Islam and hold the extremists accountable to modern day civilized behavior or the "Clash of Civilizations" will escilate out of control and we will all suffer.

  3. H.A. from Yathrib

    Here we ago, another Earthling, Sir Kumar, who is suffering from the "Little knowledge is a VERY dangerous thing syndrome". He claims to be a scientist, yet it seems he getting his message from FOX NEWS and CNN (the worst sources) regarding Islam and hence calling it intolerant. I WONDER IF HIS RESEARCH @ his job IS GOING WELL...

    Hello!!! isn't it time to apply all the steps of the scientific/research method regarding Islam before drawing conclusion about it. Has Sir Kuman read the Quran? Has sir Kumar talked to Islamic scholars or to Muslims who truly know the religion? How many Muslims friend does Sir Kumar have?

    If Islam is such an intolerant religion, WHY ISLAM IS THE FASTEST GROWING RELIGION IN BOSTON/USA and IN THE WORLD?

    Or is ISLAM bad b/c the enemies of Islam say it's bad?

    ...

    Doesn't sir Kumar know that observation is the MOTHER of all sciences? JUST STOP BLAMING THE RELGIONS. I think It is time for sir Kumar to observe the measuring of the ONE who uplifted the heavens without any pillars and WHO created Sir Kumar from star stuffs/clay and energized him with spirit/electricity and WHO then fashioned him the right way so that he can POST COMMENTS HERE here on this site with his fingers and NOT with this toes. SEE! How kind the UNSEEN IS!!! WHAT A FACILIATOR THE UNSEEN IS! This is indeed a sign from the UNSEEN for those who observe and reflect and those who are wise.

    In conlusion, sir kumar gotta a lot obseravtion left to do. He receives a grade D- from H.A. on observation. In addition, he needs to loosen up. He thinks so low of Islam and Muslims that he believes his comments would not be posted here b/c he is a non-MUSLILM. GO figure...I really wonder what's going on...

    My 2nd conclusion: Sir Kumar gotta a lot up loosening up to do. He receives F- from H.A on this loosening thing...

  4. Yahya Bergum from USA

    This because they love the life of this world better than the Hereafter: and Allah will not guide those who reject Faith.

    --Quran 16:107

    Forgive me, brothers and sisters. But the Christian known as Abdul Rahman does not seem to love the life of this world overly much. But it is not as if he were hanging himself either.

  5. Yahya Bergum from USA

    In the Qur'an those who believe in Allah are asked why they should not rescue men, women and children who cry out "Our Lord!" (Rabbana) - if not necessarily "O Allah!" (Allahumma) - when asking to be delivered from oppression (Quran 4:75). Might there be some relation between the Muslim response to such appeals and fluctuations over the centuries in the Muslim community's influence?

    Would not "let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein (Quran 5:47)" suggest it takes more to become an apostate than picking up a cross and carrying it?

    Admittedly "he who turns to them for friendship is of them (Quran 5:51)" could seem to explain a great deal about former Afghan Muslim Abdul Rahman's decision to embrace Christianity. Even unto death, it would appear.

    But even Christians and Jews - and someone called Sabians - who believe in Allah and the Last Day will be granted freedom from fear and grief. Providing they are found striving in righteousness (Quran 5:69).

    If the above passages seem to contradict that which learned and responsible men decided was necessary a long time ago then perhaps it is worth noting that (according to Quran 18:1) there is no crookedness within the Qur'an.

    Wassalam

  6. Kumar from USA

    I gratefully acknowledge 'Islamicity's willingness to post

    comments from non-Muslims. This is in the true spirit of

    keeping with the evolution of human spirit on this planet. As a

    scientist, I believe that ALL religions are impediments to the

    evolution of human spirit on this planet. True 'spirituality' is

    what is needed, rather than blind obedience to any faith.

    The thesis at hand is" Is Islam a tolerant faith" The facts indicate

    otherwise. The outrage on the part of Muslims on the prophet

    Mohammed's cartoons indicate one thing- Idolatry- why else the

    entire ruckus? Like most Hindus, I do not need idols to worship.

    If my fellow Hindus worship cows, trees, stones, that is fine with

    me- that is tolerance. Hindus are free-spirited, a true

    democratic way of life. I am blessed to be able to live in this

    great country- USA, truly God's country. I believe in science, not

    man-made religions, and kill others in the name of religion. I

    live in Boston- and recently the Mayor of Boston gave away

    Taxpayer's land worth 2 million dollars to Boston Muslims to

    build a Mosque. In return, I demand Saudi Arabia to allow a

    Church be built in Mecca on a land worth 2 million dollars. Is

    that unreasonable request? It will not happen, because Islam is

    not tolerant. Muslims in USA rabidly complain about

    discrimination in this great country, and have built Mosques in

    all major American cities, but they forget that the countries they

    immigrated from (i.e., Islamic republics) do not even allow

    Americans to bring their faiths into their countries. Great

    tolerance!

    H.A. states, "Saudi Arabia does not permit idolatry/worshipping

    woods and stones or ascribing partners to God on its Land.

    That's the LAW OF THE LAND. If you don't like it, then that just

    TOO BAD...: I rest my case! TRUE TOLERANCE!

  7. Raymond from Portugal

    Reading this article and all the posts about it, it seems to me that we are not so much faced with a division between Muslims and non-Muslims, but with a distinction between those who fear to transgress against the Will of the Almighty, and those who are driven to carry out or justify inhuman transgressions.

    The article quotes Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) saying: "Whoever hurts a dhimmi (a non-Muslim), hurts me. And whoever hurts me, he annoys God."

    As a non-Muslim I respect the word of the Prophet (PBUH), and I beleive that he is indeed a Messenger of God, the same and only God who is the source of all Divine Revelations to Mankind, which are the foundations of every Faith, including mine (Christianity).

    Let us beware that considering ourselves as belonging to a particular Faith, does not give us any immunity from God's Justice, if we do harm to anyone of a different Faith to ours.

    Humankind is threatened with a destructive madness of mutual hatred and intolerance. Even people of who claim to follow same religion are busy killing each other.

    May enough of us truely come to beleive in the One God, and in the sanctity of all his Messengers, whatever our Faith and religion, so that Peace and Justice may prevail at last.

  8. terry from usa

    There is a fundamental difference about whether we allow freedom of thought and belief, or police and punish it. In western society, we had a long period (middle ages) where we had a ruling religion disallow freedom of belief. Heck were it not for the reformation (religious movement of 16th and 17th centuries), and subsequently the enlightenment (secular movement of 17th and 18th centuries), religious and intellectual oppression would have lasted even longer.

    Quoting the renowned Muslim intellectual Shahnawaz Farooqui:

    "Pope Urban II, while standing in a church in 1095, called Islam a satanic religion. He called the followers of Islam wicked and then called that those wicked people should be eliminated. That sermon was the start of the crusade to eliminate Muslims and continued for 200 years in which Muslim territories were attacked and people were massacred. Why was that? Because somebody evolved in his mind a philosophy of truth and then reckoned Islam as false and then thought it a threat to spirituality and the universe, so they decided to eliminate it.

    Ok, this is accurate. There were a series of crusades spanning three centuires. He wins points referencing portions of Western of history that we look ashamedly upon. But my gosh, this guy completely ignores all the cultural and intellectual events over the past 700 years that shape our thinking and practices today. This guys needs to go back to school. It is frankly ridiculous to say we practice a double-standard in our defense of freedom of thought, using the crusade period as the comparison. At least we have grown beyond these practices perpetuated in a previous era. Apparently, he sees no reason for Islam to do the same.

  9. Ramesh Patel from India

    To Amir Siddiqui, India is by no means an Islamic country. India is a majority Hindu country which allows all faiths to live in peace (unlike Pakistan, which kills anybody who wants to convert from Islam to any other faith - similar to Afghanistan) Thank you for posting this clarification

  10. H.A. from Yahrib

    Poor Kumar. I feel sad for him...Temple! WHY WORSHIP something that can neither speak nor can help themselves. And something that you made out clay/stick with your own hands. If want to worship God, just worship the unseen God directly.

    Just stop being stupid and for GOD's sake stop following your father's ways. USE YOUR HEAD once in a while.

    TO answers all the infidels questions, Saudi Arabia does not permit idolatry/worshipping woods and stones or ascribing partners to God on its Land. That's the LAW OF THE LAND. If you don't like it, then that just TOO BAD...

    GOD BLESS SAUDIA ARABIA and particulary YATHRIB.

    If any one has hard time swallowing my comment. Then that's just too bad. Just find a ranch and feed cows to lower your anger. AND DON'T "TOLERANT" and "INCLUSIVE" ME or "I WORSHIP WHAT I FEEL LIKE" ME. JUST GROW UP FOR GOD'S SAKE. STOP LIVING IN THE STAGE OF INFANCY.

    STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT SAUDIA ARABIA DOES/DOESN'T...

    You should be worried about in which nudy bar your offsprings is fornicating tonight...That would be a baby step for you and A GIANT STEP for mankind to move toward BEING the TRUE and CIVILIZED HUMANS.

    This is the truth. And the truth hurts really bad sometimes...Yeah it really does...EVEN HAPPY HOUR @ BAR CAN'T RELIEVE THAT PAIN...NO matter how many times in a week to go to a bar during HAPPY HOUR.

  11. Mike Gorund from USA

    To follow up on the guy in Afghanistan who is facing death because he converted to Christianity, now we have Islamic clerics calling for his death. This clearly exposes the article about how "tolerant" Islam is. It's not sufficient to say the Koran says this or that. The proof is in how Muslims interpret and apply their law, and it is clearly the most intolerant religion on this planet. Thousands of people of all faiths died to overthrow the brutal Taliban, and this is the result? The Taliban blew up ancient statues of another religion. The present day clerics can't allow even one man to be at peace.

  12. Amir Siddiqui from USA

    Non-Muslims need to be aware that Leadership of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India, etc, etc are not synonomous to Al Islam. There Leadership are puppets of the west. Most westerners read history dictated, written and influenced by the enemies of Al Islam.

  13. Stefan from USA

    Articles like this give me some measure of hope that understanding can develop between Islam and the West. Unfortunately, thinkers like this are either in the minority or fearful of speaking out. Kumar is correct, proof/truth is in action and historical data, not intellectual posture. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan all practice the out right suppression of other than Islam religions. Also, as Amir said, religious persectution exists in Judeo Christian history and prejudice surely extends to today. However, prejudice and persecution are two different things. Cutting off someone's head for converting religions doesn't send a distorted message. It's clear as to how THIS Afghan version of Islam communicates it's respect for other religions. It's well past time for tolerant Islam to stand up and be heard. Contact the media. Demand to be heard. We in the West only hear your voice in terms of a press release from the Council on American Islamic Relations.Be loud or you are giving tacit acceptance to the practice of intolerance.

  14. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Perhaps someone can help me with this. I had thought execution was a valid means of preventing someone from deliberately changing the message that was sent to the Muslim community. But in Afghanistan the threat of death seems being used merely to discourage Muslims from leaving that community.

    The only other seemingly valid reason I can think of for executing converts is if an enemy were using them to undermine an Islamic state. In which case they could seemingly be executed as spies rather than converts. And frankly seemingly should.

    But for those of us who are deciding whether or not to continue inviting others to Islam, having to tell them they need to die if they change their minds later on seems to be the key issue. And arguments such as reverts need not concern themselves with the laws of truly Islamic states or that this-or-that Islamic state is not truly Islamic or that so-and-so are not truly Muslims seem even more objectionable than the arguments being responded to.

    And warning potential reverts to avoid finding themselves at the mercy of an Islamic state, if they think they might someday have second thoughts about calling themselves Muslims, does not seem considerably less objectionable. As a general rule perhaps death threats tend to undermine dawah.

    I bid you peace.

  15. Jim Thomson from USA

    Thank you for your well-written article. I find it hard to reconcile the view of Islam that you express with many actual events, for instance the events described here:

    http://feeds.cincinnatinews.net/?rid=468763338fbadfc5&cat=90d24f4ad98a2793&f=1

    AN AFGHAN man is being prosecuted for converting from Islam to Christianity and could face the death penalty if found guilty.

    The trial, thought to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan, highlights a struggle between religious conservatives and reformists over what role Islam will take in the country four years after the fall of the Islamic fundamentalist Taleban regime.

    Abdul Rahman, 41, was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian, the judge, Ansarullah Mawlavezada, said in Kabul yesterday.

    During a hearing last Thursday, Mr Rahman is said to have confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

    "We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said. "It is an attack on Islam."

    It would be helpful if, in your article, you addressed events such as these.

  16. native from USA

    The guy in Afghanistan is facing the death penalty, because the Afghan regime is a US puppet regime - go talk to Bush if you are so concerned about people getting killed, and then go talk to your local army personnel - and ask them why they are killing innocent people all over the world. And then come back and let us know - maybe we can then talk about "tolerancy" that the civilized world likes to talk about all the time.

  17. Amir Siddiqui from USA

    Apparently in their attempt to mislabel Al Islam the western media will go to any source/length to discredit and erroronously publish misinformation about Al Islam. Recently, on the electronic media a case was publicized about a so called Afghan convert to Christianty who reportedly rejected Isalm, and is now faced with charges and possible execution for rejection of Al Isalm. This creates a negative image of Al Islam to the public, as if there is no religious tolerance for other religions. What they fail to report is that currently in Afghanistan the Government/Leaders are not practicing nor abiding by Islamic laws. Additionally, clearly the Quran states "there is no compulsion in religion".

  18. Mike Gorund from USA

    Someone explain why a man is facing the death penalty in Afghanistan for converting form Islam to Christianity if Islam is so tolerant.

  19. Kumar from USA

    The writer, a Pakistani native, continues to ignore the facts.

    History is a great teacher, if we only have the honesty to

    acknowledge the truth. Most people who have visited Saudi

    Arabia knows that non-Islamic holy books are regularly

    confiscated at the air ports. Even though a large Hindu

    population from India works in Saudi Arabia, they will NOT be

    allowed to buid a temple. I am sure same goes for the Jewish

    population. The writer, a Pakistani intellectual, promotes the

    notion that Islamic rulers of India were promoting Hindus!

    Nothing can be farther from truth. One just have to go and see

    how many temples in India were razed to the ground during the

    glorified Moghul rule. If such was the case (Islamic tolerance), I

    ask the writer the following: why the Hindu population of

    Afghanistan almost completely disappeared under the Taliban,

    why the Hindus went from 15% to 1.5% of the population of

    Pakistan, why non-Muslims went from 34% to 8% of the

    population of Bangladesh (from 1947 to current) -- these are all

    impermissible questions to ask either an Indian Muslim, or a

    Pakistani Muslim. Meanwhile, Indian Muslim population has gone

    up from 5% to 17% (1947-current). Tom Friedman (NY Times)

    has repeaterdly cited the reason why only in India, Muslims are

    open to democracy, and live in relative peace- it is due to

    majority Hindus. History is a great teacher- only by admitting

    our short-comings, humans can evolve. Rhetoric, however

    bombastic, is not going to convinve anyone. If Muslims truly

    believe in tolerance, they should take up the role of welcoming

    non-Muslims into Saudi Arabia and let them build their Temples,

    Churches etc. Will hat ever happen?

  20. Bruce from US

    The ultimate test of a religion is not what it espouses but what good it can inspire in its followers. We all have a long way to go.

  21. Bruce from US

    The essential truth is that every human being is imperfect. It is very easy to be deluded into believing that hiding behind a label of a certain religion grants a follower immunity from that fallibility. This is especially true in an isolated and self-reinforcing enclave.

    Protection from this delusion comes from: a) prayer and self-reflection, b) study of texts and accepted analysis, c) discussion within a community of believers, and d) reality testing in the world by seeing if the fruits of your actions reflect your intent and are consistent with the tenets of your faith.

    This article could just as easily be titled "Myth of Islamic (or Christian, or Jewish) Tolerance." Not because there is anything fundamentally flawed with any of these religions, but that the followers of the religions come from the same pool of humanity that succumb to the same pitfalls of arrogance, intolerance, self-righteousness and bigotry.

    Peace.

  22. Paul from Britain

    The Author states:

    "In short - based on the Quran and the Sunnah, the practices of the Pious Caliphs, and the writings of Muslim jurists - non-Muslims, living in an Islamic state, are entitled to:

    1. right to life, personal safety, and respect;

    2. freedom of religion;

    3. right to justice and equality before law;

    4. freedom of expression;

    5. right to political representation;

    6. freedom of movement, assembly, and association;

    7. right to education;

    8. right to social security;

    9. right to property;

    10. right to government service;

    11. right to exemption from compulsory military service; etc."

    This all reads rather nicely until you think about entitlement number 3. This is the crux of the problem. WHOSE LAW!

    Peace.

  23. Waqas Ahmad from USA

    great article. People who are anti-islamic don't understand that it is really they who are fueling the hatred against the West, and not Islam.

  24. ahmed asgher from bahrain

    Angie & Shakeel. Your postings are very inspiring to read as they come from the heart. One is taunted and the other conciliatory. Such is our human heart. When it is attached to our environ, we get invloved but when we close rank with the Creator, we let go of the environ and are only inspired by Him. Sure we live in the environ but must always remind ourselves that this is a temporary environ and if we get caught into its web we will eventually perish by its poison. Life is truly short and if we get swallowed by such petty issues then we loose focus on the Creator. Our soul reason is to reach HIM before we die. Everything else in our daily life is a test of our believe in HIM. God bless ALL.

  25. Judy from USA

    I will believe that Islam is a tolerant religion when: There are active, unrestricted Christian churches, Jewish congregations, Hindu temples, Bihai congregations and /or Buddhist Temples in all Islamic cities and countries. There are mosques in Rome but no churches in Mecca. I will believe that Islam is a tolerant religion when: any adherent to Islam can convert to another religion and not be killed on order of an Islamic court. So long as Islam teaches and practices that one must join and stay or die, Islam is neither a tolerant or peace full religion. Americans and Europeans can practice any religion in which he/she believes. Today an Afghan man faces death for the Islamic crime of being a Christian. Islam tells the world it is a religion of tolerance and peace then Islamic courts kill people in the name of Islam. Islam tells the world it is a religion of tolerance and peace then Muslims murder thousands of innocent people in order gain entrance into Islamic Paradise. I see tolerance and peace only for other Muslims provide they are the same sect as you. Then again maybe there is no tolerance or peace in practice of Islam.

  26. Chuck Smith from USA

    Islamic tolerance? How about the person on trial in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity from Islam? Does not tolerance means that other faiths have the right to seek converts in Muslim lands?

    BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY IS THE ANSWER TO COUNTERING ISLAM.

  27. gobnait from USA

    It has always mystified me why so many Americans of African descent have converted to Islam. Arab Muslims began the African slave trade hundreds of years before Westerners got involved, and continued that slave trade for another 150 years. Fourteen centuries, not four. Still going on in Mauritania and Sudan. The Arab slave trade also castrated large numbers of African boys (not their own Arab boys) to create eunuchs, a process with an apalling mortality rate. That would seem to be a considerable legacy of racism to oversome.

    Yes, Islam is sadly misunderstood by many, both its practitioners and non-Muslims alike.

  28. Sameena from US/India

    Great comment Angie!We have too much of this skin color nonsense in us. It is not appropriate in Islam. We need to be open to all Muslims.

  29. Hasan from USA

    Sister Angie,

    Your frustration and anger come out in your writing and I understand. You have every right to be angry with your Muslim brothers and sisters, who practice this form of Western, Christian-inspired prejudice without even realizing it. It occurs by and between other Muslims as well. The Indo-Pakastani Muslims belittling their Arab brothers, Arabs feeling superior in religion due to their mother tongue, born Muslims looking down on reverts. This is the situation that makes our global plight so horrendous at his present time, this is one of the evils we must wage jihad against in our souls. We have allowed this mentality to seep into our thinking to our detriment. However, you should not make insulting comparisons or descriptions about your brothers and sisters regardless of how angry you may be. How do you know that Allah will not guide the person who is the cause of your anger to be among the best of Muslims? Engage those who practice a culturalized form of Islam in intelligent debate. I often describe my family as 49% Muslim, 51% Arab and they bristtle at me with anger for that but fall silent when I compare their actions to the directions of Allah in the Quran or the Sunnah of our prophet (pbuh). Keep your faith in Allah strong and face each chalenge and engage each heart one by one so that you know you can face Allah with a clear conscience knowing that your did your best to advise your brothers/sisters and help them.

  30. Adam Ibrahim Muhammad from Nigeria

    A very thoughtful article. But the Kuffar is not afraid that Islam is going to be spread by the use of sword or by compulsion, neither they are afraid to wake up one day to find every one of their families professing the faith thereby turning the present economic "disaster" order to that of devine ordered system, period.

    But they have forgotten that the Universe does not run on its own, the Creator, Allah runs this universe and He had promised to make Islam the dorminant faith no matter how the non-believers may have detest it.

    They plan and He plans...

    And we know who the best of planners is!

  31. Sirius from Finland

    Hina Q wrote:" So yes please be mad at the Afghani government but it has nothing to do with a true Islamic government as outlined in the Quran!"

    There's a lot of talking about islamic state where islamic ideals would be fulfilled. Even so much that some people fall into trap of comparing that ideal muslim state with EXISTING societies. At this point one should be very careful: dreams always beat reality 6-0. What I'm trying to say? I really would like to see a real muslim state(meaning most muslims would regognize it as such) in action, and I mean this. That would clarify many people a lot of things. To you muslims that would show how much of your ideals can be translated into reality. To us others, that would be the "parade window" to monitor, and draw conclutions. Everyone would get information about what's real, what's not. I mean, quite a lot of hopes have been loaded to it.

    Back to beginning: if Afghanistan can't be taken as an example of an islamic state, can any? Which is closest of these existing states? What essential parts are missing? Have your say.

  32. a slave of allah and his prophet (saw) from USA

    assalamo alayku

    of course we muslim should never kill any innocent human

    being but we should also speak against those who are killing

    innocent muslims everywhere otherwise allah will quaestion us

    on the day of judgement.

    wassalam

  33. halim aziz from malaysia

    Today Islam is accused as the most intolerence religion of the world,but most muslims nations never develop weapon of mass destruction or even smaller conventional weapons. Muslim countries imported weapons from the so called peaceful and tolerence non-muslim countries who developed nuclear, thermonuclear, atomic, neutron and tesla (microwace) weapons that is capable to destroy planet earth a hundred times over. The historical facts are that the peaceful Christian and non-muslim forces killed Muslims in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia, China (Red Revolution), Palestine, Azarbaijan, Chehnya, Somalia, India, Thailand, Phillipine and in the near future will be in Iran and Syria. And there are even talks to nuke non-nuclear Muslim countries...all these happened in the last fifty years and now. In Iraq US forces killed praying Muslims in mosque, the same in Palestine, Israelis killed children and praying Muslims...the cheating hearts of non-muslims journalists play tricks with such news...

  34. Hina Q from USA

    In response to Fred Calhoun:

    there is no point in using governments like Afghanistan as a prime example of a true Islamic government! Obviously what they are doing is wrong by sentencing a poor man to death...and certainly that is not what Islam says to do. So yes please be mad at the Afghani government but it has nothing to do with a true Islamic government as outlined in the Quran! Please do not confuse the two!

  35. Fred Calhoun from usa

    Nice article, but far removed from reality of today. Islam was tolerant 400 years ago, but today? Is islam tolerant today? Is islam scientifically advanced to day? Most would say no.

    to wit:

    Afghan Christian Could Get Death Sentence

    Sunday March 19, 2006 8:16 PM

    By DANIEL COONEY

    Associated Press Writer

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - An Afghan man is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death on a charge of converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under this country's Islamic laws, a judge said Sunday.

    *************

    Religious freedom in Saudi Arabia? Iran?

    I'd say that there is a myth of islamic tolerance flogged about, but it has little basis in reality TODAY.

    The only true measure of tolerance is the ability and freedom to separate church (or mosque) from the state, and allow citizens to freely choose the religion, or no religion, they wish without repercussions by the state.

    FC

  36. Angie Ali from USA

    Very well researched and presented article. Now, please address the hateful, wicked practice of intolerance and prejudices among Muslims based on education and nationality, and ESPECIALLY SKIN COLOR . Those who are prejudice are IN DENIAL of it. In the U.S., the best practicing, intelligent, attractive African-American Muslim is ignored for the unattractive, often developmentally delayed and disease-ridden "trophy" Caucasian mates who are not wanted for marriage by their own cultural group. The prejudice is so obvious to African Americans that many choose to follow the incorrect Islamic practices of Minister Farakhan because they at least are not discriminated against and made to feel they MUST adopt Arabic culture in order to be a good Muslim.

  37. a slave of allah and his prophet (saw) from USA

    assalamo alaykum

    excellant article this writer trying please the disbelivers by telling muslim that we should respect them good we should. this writer will be question on the day of judgement that why he do not show guideilne that hypocryte leaders of muslim nation should also respect the rights of muslim. this writer also must denounce all terrorism, tyranny, slaughter, killing n so on committed by disbelivers and people of the book. what about they are killing muslim. are you too scared to speak the truth. come on man of we should kill innocent people but what about hypocryte and non-muslim commiting all the crimes against those innocent muslim. do they have any rights.

    wassalm

  38. Sarah from Canada

    With regards to B.J. Price's question, The same tolerance applies to all religions.The Quran always mentions the words 'non-believers' or 'non-muslims'.

    For example - Take a look at Hinduism , where people worship man-made idols , exacly the same as the non-muslim Meccans did. The Prophet (P.B.U.H)had followed the same policies of tolerance towards them with no exeption. If not the city of Mecca would not have muslim population today.

    Likewise, Buddists, people of aborigional beliefs and Jains etc. fall under the same catagory i.e they are all 'non-believers'.

  39. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Say, O disbelievers... for you is your religion, and for me is my religion.

    --Quran 109:1-6

    Milton, are you referring to those who attack you when they know you are not supposed to retaliate? With whom you had an agreement to leave each other undisturbed, until they saw fit to attack you? Here's the deal: you lay low until after the sacred months are over. And then you rise up and let 'em have it. The next time maybe they'll think twice about betraying your trust. At least that's the general idea. Or might you have been referring to some other infidels? (Peace!)

  40. B.J.Price from Canada

    I am curious about the tolerance of Islam towards religions that are not mentioned in the Koran.

    such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Aboriginal beliefs.

  41. milton berlin from USA

    what about all the suras exhorting the reader to kill all infidels? You mention not one.

  42. Khan from USA

    Yes,it is true that ISLAM is misunderstood religion among non-muslims as well as among some muslims.. Why?

    Non Muslims get information about ISLAM from media, politicians, Extremists non-muslim s, some paid and hypocrite muslims.

    What are we as muslims doing when compared to our prophet and Sahabah? We do not have unity.No media. Our rich leaders are puppets or corrupt. Are we setting a good muslim example?

    Some religions have missionaries, resources, backing of their countries' leaders, generous donations, and so on.. Are we doing the same? NO.

    We do not have to force or show off our religion. If we just follow and practice the right ISLAM and HADITH ,it is enough for the non-muslims who watch our actions and they will get the message of ISLAM.

    ALLAH bless the World.