The weeks immediately following the tragedy of 9/11 showed some of the best features of the American spirit. Led by the White House, the media took pains to distinguish between the actions of a few and the beliefs of the many. Assuring the Muslim majority that they were friends abroad and good citizens at home were matters of principle. By December it had all changed. Unable to comprehend and discriminate, there was a visible and palpable hardening of American intellectual arteries, and the policy of the White House fell under those who felt no embarrassment at vilification when faced by a religion they could not control or understand. The intellectual vacuum was readily felt and the Press began to engage in a thoughtless drum beat; the idea "let's Nuke Mecca" was floated;
Into this vacuum others have rushed in - a list of mediocre sensationalist works can be found in most bookstores, but these can be ignored. Recently however, tele-evangelists have rushed in to provide spirit to the fumbling intellectuals. An initial round of viciousness was followed by partial retractions. The elections were followed by a distancing of the White House from such attacks, and this has led to new and improved attacks on Islam. It is only to be expected that ministers of Christianity will attempt to spread their faith - but there are many ways of explaining the virtues of Christianity and none requires the demonstrably uncomprehending viciousness we see today.
The instant reaction to such smear propaganda is to respond in kind; this is not at all desirable, but it serves to curtail the one-sided babble that some news media are now prone to. Such a path is not open to Muslims, who believe that Abraham, Moses and Jesus were all prophets of Allah, and entitled to the greatest respect. So we have to rely on logic and hope that words carry meaning to those who wish to hear.
Let me begin by noting that much confusion and ill-will are generated by the inexcusable (and in my opinion, incomprehensible) failure of Muslims to distinguish between the followers of Judaism - a religious faith; the people who share the ethnicity of being a Jew - a social/cultural fact; and the practice of Zionism - a political platform, some or many of whose positions have been opposed by many Jews. (Personally, I have felt that the case for the Palestinians can be made without ever using the word "Jew")
To respond to the tirade is not to criticize Christians or Christianity. Many ministers and churches have exhibited a degree of compassion and fairness that does credit to the higher spirituality of Christianity. In particular, Muslims have to appreciate the fact that so much fairness emanates from the Catholics, with the Pope himself serving as a beacon. This is a welcome sign for the future; the Catholics not only have a very sophisticated understanding of theology, but they are also responsible for erecting and sustaining much of that which we call Western Civilization.
The latest to re-enter this fray, in a Sunday morning interview broadcast by ABC, is the Rev. Pat Robertson. His earlier views are now restated, the same content is moderately phrased and given a scholarly veneer. Rev. Robertson is confident of his history and proclaims repeatedly his concern for the truth alone. It was more of an audience granted by Rev. Robertson than an interview conducted by a critical journalist. That some individuals will have extreme views is but a feature of intellectual openness. But when the main news media grant adoring exposure to extremist views, it is a subtle way of shifting the common presumptions that must guide all discourse. Muslims are now to be presumed guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent.
Rev. Robertson believes that the President is of the same mind as himself but that the President says otherwise because of political expediency. On a fundamental issue such as this, the remark is tantamount to accusing the President of keeping quiet about, and even denying, his real beliefs, in order to manipulate both World opinion and Muslim allies. I leave it to the President and the Reverend to sort out whether this is not just an accusation of hypocrisy.
The general failing of Rev. Robertson's argument can be stated as follows. The pursuit of Truth, the formation of any intellectual argument, requires any of us, and the Rev. Robertson as well, to select facts. By using care he has assembled a collection of half-truths to engage in propaganda. It is only proper that, as an evangelical minister, he should wish to convert everyone, including Muslims, but the method now being used is unlikely to persuade any thinking mind.
The issues are deep, so I will not pretend to illuminate them in a few paras but request those who consider such questions important to go back and read for themselves in depth. It is the method of approach that decides many issues and which characterizes an argument as rational or otherwise. It will suffice to illuminate how the Rev. Robertson thinks by a few issues:
a) Rev. Robertson states that Islam is a violent religion and the proof lies in that it's Prophet was a warrior. This is an interpretive logic which says that if someone is found in one role, it is legitimate to characterize his entire life as being defined by that role. If accepted, this interpretive scheme would allow some ridiculous conclusions. It would permit us to claim that Christianity is about woodwork because Jesus was a carpenter.
b) When verses upholding violence are quoted from the Bible - a psalm which praises the killing of babies was referred to - these were not discussed for their bearing on the capacity of Judaism or Christianity for violence. Apparently, interpretive criteria are valid only for the religion of choice. The interviewer was told by Rev. Robertson that such quotes were not relevant to the issue and he meekly silenced himself.
c) Muslims are supposed to consider Jews as being apes and swine, on the basis of some Koranic verses. This language expresses the anger of Allah at the disobedience of the Jews. It has no relevance to how Jews are considered as human beings, as other verses and the historical practice of Muslims show. Apparently, Rev. Robertson believes in a theory of literary interpretation which insists that words can only carry a literal meaning while Muslims are guilty of believing that words may be used to convey imagery and that all references on a given topic need to be considered before one can arrive at a final assessment.
d) Reference is made to the fact that the adult males of the Bani Qurayzah were executed after a battle, in order to illustrate the bloodthirstiness of the Muslims for Jews. Simply reciting this fact as the basis for an opinion is like saying that Americans consider Japanese to be sub-human and the proof lies in the fact that America dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No background, no context and no perspective seems to be the Rev. Robertson's preferred mode of history when it comes to Islam.
With such models of reasoning, it is no surprise that Rev. Robertson is able to persuade himself that the Nazis were bad, but did not compare with the Muslims in terms of their treatment of the Jews. (I am happy to note that the ADL condemned the attacks of people like Rev. Robertson). The student of history would know about the many Jews who not only lived safely and comfortably, but even flourished, during the many ages of Muslim rule. However an investigation into this issue might spoil the case for making Muslims more hateful than the Nazis.
Perhaps the most serious problem presaged by this interview is not the expected virulence of a particular interpretation of Christianity, but rather the subservient and adoring manner in which the interview was conducted. It is entirely possible to be respectful about Christianity and yet be questioning and critical when someone moves outside their theological specialty. Otherwise, the media are serving to create a climate of opinion which serves to rationalize contempt and hatred as natural and just.
When ministers of Christianity take such positions it is no surprise that interested political 'intellectuals' will emerge from the woodworks and reveal themselves. Dana Millibank tells us in the International Herald Tribune (Dec 2, 2002) that Kennth Adelman repeats the view that the founder of Islam was a "warrior" to suffice as his justification for smearing Islam and Eliot Cohen feels that Islam is inherently violent and that Islam's real views can be found by "an hour spent surfing the Web". One could as easily conclude that Internet was set up in order to facilitate pornography - which is how the extremist clerics do portray the West. There is a persistent thirst for turning a part into a whole. The extremes agree in their intellectual methods.
It is a pity for us all that the most prominent tele-evangelists are unwilling to recognize that the primary function of such systematic half-truths is to make Americans suspicious of Muslims when they encounter them at home and to be indifferent to their faith when they read about them abroad.
Salim Rashid is Professor of Economics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His most recent book, Economic Policy for Growth: Economic Development Is Human Development, was published by Kluwer (2000).
Most people don't know they are part of this complex even though they are (every nation has the ignorant) And some people are part of this "complex" and disagree with what it does but take part in the hope that they can change it.
You may discover your allies in ideology have different faces than you know if the results and methods are peaceful
Seriously what else can someone think of a person who feels endless war and Rambo style tactics are ok as long as you're safe....
I guess it was silly of me to think that someone so deeply rooted in the military industrial complex would have any shred of humanity left in them to think before advocating murdering innocents...but hey I understand.... theres plenty of profit to be made, so its ok.
First of all I don't want to come off anti- Islamic because I am not. Generally I'm a non-praticing Catholic, and I always looked at the devout nature of most Muslims with respect and a little envy. I do believe Islam is a religion of peace. From my stand point though there is some serious discrimination against non-Muslims in Muslim countries. I have been to the Middle East four times to be exact (Kuwait, U.A.E. Bahrain, Oman). I was trying to put foward my opinion that America is a lot more tolerant and open towards Islam and Muslims than S.A. and other Muslim countries are towards Christianity. So it seems a little hypocritical for these same countries that persecute Christians to be upset with how Muslims are treated in America. Muslims currently are treated better than your average citizen in America. Because everyone wants to go out of there way to let them know they aren't hated. A few isolated incidents shouldn't constitute a hysteria, and generalizations. As far as the tragedy in the Sudan, no I haven't been to the Sudan but I have read (and not only CNN) and there is no doubt that there is some serious persecution of Christians going on there by Muslims. To deny that would be paramount to me saying that the Palestinians aren't persecuted.
A daydream? Delirium? Where did you come up with this stuff? Allow me, please: I grew up in Iraq. I had the pleasure to play with Jewish and Christian children, and here's the knocker: I didn't know they were as such. Our jargon was quazi-Islamic. I remember they had their own holidays, many of them; in fact, I used to envy them; they and their families were happy. You are looking through a microscope; that's not going to help you. If you travel to the mid-East, and I wouldn't ask to do that, you might broaden your mind. If you inquire of the general welfare of the people of the book (POB) in the Mid-East, you'll discover you spoke glibly and irresponsibly.
If the Hindus -the idle worshippers- are allowed to work and live in SA, what does that tell you about the POB? Executions, and I know of them for I have friends who witnessed them, are for major crimes like murder, incest rape, and the likes, NO MATTER THE RELIGION. What happened in Sudan and Pakistan is deplorable, and stems from ignorance and disregard to Islamic teachings. And who's to say Muslims did that, what with all the anti-Islamic propaganda. You sit here and CNN tells you, subliminally of course, believe this; how the heck are you going to verify it? How sad are the actions of men. Islam cannot be highjacked by the actions of degenerates. Try and take it all with a grain of salt; what did CNN tell you about the WTC bombers? I'll tell you what, they had Muslim names, that's all. Their actions are those of barbarians.
You're having problems understanding the co-relation between Islam, true Muslims and so-called Muslims. Let me approximate it to this example from our current days:
You had an interview and were granted a job with the reputable ABC Company. The CEO hands you over a Company Charter -a Code of Conduct if you will, and says President demands that you abide by this Code. But you don't; it just doesn't sit well with your own desires, this code. And so you act as you will and, more important, no one sees you. Then it chanced that you traveled abroad and members of other organization witnessed your conduct and whispered among each other: look at the conduct of the ambassador of the ABC Company. How disgraceful!
Now, Esther, is the company blameworthy? Or is it solely your fault.
The company is Islam, the Code is, well, the manners and behavior of a Muslim; you would be a so-called Muslim. Islamic rulers, likewise, are so-called Muslims, and so anyone who distances oneself from the code. Dynastic rulers of Islamic countries have done shameful things no doubt; but I still dare you to match these crimes against humanity:
1. The Witch Hunt,
2. The Spanish Inquisition,
3. The Crusades,
4. The rape and pillage of South America
5. The Holocaust,
6. The KKK.
All are the product of misguided Christian zeal gone awry. Except for the last 2, all were the decree of the Mother Church herself (spreading the word, winning souls for the Pope, etc,) and not the actions of separate men serving their own wishes, or were they? Those were very dark moments in Christianity, would you agree? Is Christianity bad? Absolutely not.
You're funny, how long did it take you to come up with that intelligent post. One question why waste everyones time with a post that simply insults someone and doesn't contribute at all to the topic at hand? This will be my last post to you. You're obviously nothing more than an antagonist who flings insults to give there life a little more meaning. I think maybe someone else has a little growing up to do G-Max
Grow up and think.
"The instant reaction to such smear propaganda is to respond in kind; this is not at all desirable, but it serves to curtail the one-sided babble that some news media are now prone to. Such a path is not open to Muslims"
I guess only flying planes into buildings and trying to kill everyone inside is open to Muslims. Was this not reacting ten fold let alone in kind. Or when churches are bombed in Pakistan, or when women are raped and whole families murdered for their faith in the Sudan. ( Now many of you will say that was only a few, and doesn't represent Islam as a whole. Well there is only a few evangelicals that hold these negetives opinions of Muslims, so you are generalizing Christians and Americans in the same negetive light the article complains about.)
There is no worse oppressed person in the world than a Christian in a Muslim country. Look at the Sudan, look at S.A., Pakistan. How can people criticize the U.S. for its attitude towards Muslims. Muslims can practice their religion freely, in fact it's flourishing. When in Muslim countries Christians aren't allowed to practice thier religion. And if they openly do they risk death or prison. But in the U.S. a few pig headed tele-vangelists say Islam not a religion of peace and again the U.S. has become evil. This is an insane logic, again if you live in a glass house don't throw stones.
This messiah complex can also be seen in the superman and batman heroes coming out of the world wars. The movies and such are big business and one of the best sellers in the bookstores recently are a series known as the "Left Behind" books. These are stories of people left behind and what they endure during the "tribulations" spoken of in Revelations. They seem to be quite popular in that they make people believe that they will be taken away to enjoy heaven while everyone else will have to deal with horrors. Like the fundamentalists support for Israel it is only partially correct but potentially very destructive. A quick read of Revelations shows that the "ascension of the saints" occurs at the end of the tribulations not at the start. Somehow over the years it got moved but people like Pat Robertson seem to believe that they can take a shortcut to heaven by creating the conditions to cause Armageddon. And Pat Robertson is one of the people that bend baby Bush's ear. It is really sad that so much of the worlds conflict can be traced to just plain wrong religious dedication. What ever happened to truth and hard work? T&E
Thank you Izhar
Can you help me so I know which translation this is? BTW Esther I'll help you you help me sound good?
I know Mormons and many Baptists use the king James. Baptists are big zionist supporters but the king James is far older than zionism. Most new "non denominationalists" however use the NIV. Is this the translation you are referring to? this group also often are heavy supporters of zionism... I've noticed in the book of Isaiah a condemnation of the Jews but also a disgusting image of an annihilated Damascus. In the book of Joshua (in any translation) is contained the order from God no less to burn the city of Jericho to the ground to kill every man, woman, child and beast and the trees, and all gold and treasure went to the high priests coffers. You don't need a different translation to read that. Many zionists/fund. Christians read this as a justification for the killing of any Arabs (forgetting about 10 to 15 percent of Palestinians are christian) I yeah I forgot fundementalists don't believe Catholics and Orthodox peoples are Christian and they teach that they are pagans pretending to be Christian so it's ok to kill them too, right?
The Good news used to be popular it has been supplanted by the NIV. Catholics in the US use the "new American translation".
I like to study Christian history/structure. IT teaches me about the roots of Islam it has some guidance in some places it also rewords things from the Quran or Hadith in a different way to help me understand. If you could tell me the name of this translation I would appreciate it I like also learning how ideas and how poor translations affect them.
Please take notes that most of the bibles that they use in US to teach the Christian School (except Catholic School) was rewritten by a Jew name Scofield.. This guy has been distorting the bible and in fact, you can find his interpreatition of bible merely to protect Israel. and nothing to do with the teaching of the christianity. SO I hope that you aware of this and if you check the scofield bible, you will find stuff like anti semitism, survival or israel etc etc. And by the way, these bibles has been exploied by the Zionist and make them best sellers.. not because of the content but back by multi miliion dollars campaign and the sad fact that, many christian school (except Catholic) use this bible as their references.
So that yo aware and we all aware, why is that the Evangelicals are so obsessed with Israel and align with ISrael when they forget that if Jesus come back, the same Zionist will try again to kill him like they claimed they did before.
These men are neither people of the book nor Muslims (Jerry, Grahm, robertson, bin Laden) these are men with there own greedy intentions. If Usama get a revolution in Saudi, who do you think will be the leader of the new government. These men are atheists or agnostics who feign piety to rally people to their personal causes.
Many of the Muslim kings were not truely Muslims and simply wishing to expand political power. Saying Muslims invaded Europe is true, but they had a good example from the Christians who came before them. As I recall the holy roman empire and the Byzantine empire spread christianity through the sword, through conquest and through trade embargos throughout Europe long before the birth of Mohamed.
And if you want to say the Catholic and Orthodox Churches arent Christian try again. If I remember Christians believe Jesus is one with God and the son of God and a man and meant to be worshiped, is that right? In the 4th century that was decided as the definition of a Christian, while the bible hadn't even been decided yet spread out, not complete, apocryphal. Was it not after this that the Christians Slaughtered the only group that believed that Jesus was a prophet, the followers of Arrius, and slaughter and burned the books of the Gnostics? Did not the church raze books that were written by pagans in Rome? Didn't they? Was this covered in your bible school or did they forget this history while they forgot to mention that god didn't write the bible that it had changed in oral tradition and that it had over 200 authors who contradict and disagree with each other? Read your history you'll lear
Instead of bleating constantly about Palestine a movie could be made which instead of showing the refugee camps and the oppression shows the origin of the conflict and bring home the hard reality by soft means. A string of stories of peoples life before 1948 linking each real character to his exact location inside isreal. Justapoxing them with the present settlers and the life of the people now dispalced will create a impact that no amount of TV shots with blood and gore will create. since it etches the reality and brings into focus the occupation and the story of where it all started. I hope some one takes up on such projects and gets some major organisation to air them.
Similarly the situation in the Middle East the lack of democracy or the presence of dictatorships is some how blamed on Islam. How about a movie which pans the 1916 break up of the Ottoman empire by inciting muslims peoples against it and promise of freedom and subsequent actual reward of colonialisation and subsequent constant suppourt of Secular but Tarranyical regimes. Put in a humuan context to it and watch it become a intresting movie.
Perhaps what is needed is a Muslim Media Project initially drawing from the strength of various muslim institutions and individuals who across the globe in media and also actively encouraging Youth to take up media as a profession.
Nothing impacts better than a audio visual media and nothing better impacts a history in a form of a entertaining movie.
Discussion forums, speechs at muslim gatherings. Kind words at inter faith gatherings have small impact compared to a normal movie, defense in talk shows reduce what we have to say to mindles
Shukran Brother for your article. I was among those who accidently, listened to the Rev.
My opinion is that it is our responsibility toward our fellow Americans of other faith and towards ourselves to engage in an organized "Media Information Public Service Activities" which concentrates on the virtues of Islam. It is our responsibility to take collective effort towards teaching the values for which we stand inspite of the hostility and opiniated environment. I emphasize, collective and organized Education Information Program "Americans in Defense of Islam".
Terrorism is condemned in all its forms. Deception, falsification of information, and defamation of character are illigal in this Great Country of ours. However the errors of the few, should not be used to condemn others, and "let those with no sins cast the first stone".
Let me assure you Brother, the public is capable of sorting information. An inter-faith, peace loving team, is capable of delivering the massage.
Thanks again for taking the first step towards public education. Shukran, and Assalamu Alikum.
Your sister in Islam and the World sister in Humanity.
Christianity has been undergoing face lift after face lift over the centuries, but that doesnt change the basic fact that Christians are as bloodthirsty and fanatical as ever. These lunatics are trying to start armageddon, HELLO ?!
As an American Muslim I hope he is wrong.
muslim in this country the usa or abrod musa are
good people but who ever did that awful thing to
all those people on 911 they will not inter the
garden of heaven.and shaim on themall who did that
there was a lot of muslim who also parish on 911
so my heart go out to all those muslim and none
muslims of 911.but on the other hand we as muslim
have nothing to be ashaim about houre religon
these people would love to keep us in that typ of
mode.we the muslim that has been here deening for
over 35 years we have a lot of faith in ALLAH and
what the prophet p.b.u him has said .you know as
well as me that the prophet talk about the one to
come to liberate the hole muslim world .
so right now there feet are on the muslims nicks
all over the world so all those who turely no the
Speaking of which..how secular is the nation when
religios crooks like Graham and co. have such strong links to the crowd in the white house. Obviously few of you think before you post, what a bunch of hypocritical charlatans
Exhibit A "Esther" - part time phony historian, full time white christian fundamentalist extremist cut from the same cloth as the falwell wannabees. Praying for armageddon night and day. A perfect example of why Christianity is dying.
Exhibit B "Peter Jefferies" - another uneducated simpleton whose lack of knowledge is only matched by his lack of perspective and intellectual dishonesty.
Exhibit C "John Norman" a psychotic jewish fanatic who rarely posts anything coherent. A typical Zionist with much to say, almost all of it lies and misinformation.
"...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
But I say unto you, 'That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.'"
The belligerence and intolarence shown by fanatics like falwell and co. highlight nothing but the obvious, that Christianity is a dying religion with little to offer any thinking person.