Educated Ignorance

Category: Americas, Nature & Science Views: 4600

Ignorance or Islamophobia

 

A recent book review by Orange County Register senior editorial writer Steven Greenhut praised a book that argues that the minority of Muslim extremists who are involved in terrorism are not a deviation from, but rather a "natural result of following the actual teachings of Muhammad and the Quran" ["Islam, without blinders," Commentary, June 11].

Such a conclusion reflects either a distressing ignorance about Islam or, more worrisome, an unrepentant Islamophobia. 

No religion should bear the responsibility of the actions of an extremist few who twist its teachings. No religion should be judged through a selective reading of its scripture. In every scripture, extremists can find justification for their acts. Verses from the Bible were manipulated by extremists to justify the Crusades, the killing of hundreds of thousands of Eastern Christians and Muslims, the Inquisition, the enslavement of Africans and African-Americans, the blessing of German Nazi soldiers, apartheid in South Africa, the Catholic-Protestant pogrom cycle in Europe, the displacement of Palestinians and the bombing of abortion clinics.

Muslims do not judge Christianity or Judaism by those acts, but rather by the message of peace and justice taught by Moses and Jesus. Similarly, Islam should be judged by its message of justice and equality as followed by most of its 1.3 billion followers.

Muslims' relationship with other people is based on peace, mutual respect, cooperation, justice and kindness as guided by Quranic verses such as, "There is no compulsion in religion" (2:256); and "O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of God, is the best in conduct." (49:13); and "God forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for God loves those who are just." (60:8)

Islam forbids wars of aggression and, like Christianity, sets strict conditions for just warfare. Those conditions are limited to self-defense or removing injustice against other people. The Prophet Muhammad said: "Do not kill women or children or noncombatants and do not kill old people or religious people (he also mentioned priests, nuns and rabbis). Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees and do not poison the wells of your enemies."

Islam's long history of tolerance speaks for itself. After more than 14 centuries of Muslim rule over the Middle East, tens of millions of Christians still share the same towns and villages with Muslims, in mutual brotherhood and respect. The rare exceptions have impacted all religious communities, equally. Prophet Muhammad said: "Whoever harms a Christian or a Jew, it is as if he has harmed me."

If Islam's goal is to kill or convert non-Muslims, then why is it that after over 700 years of Muslim rule, India is still 80 percent Hindu? Or why is it that Jews fled the European persecution of many centuries to live with Muslims in Andalusian Spain and North Africa in what they described as the "Golden Age of Judaism"?

If the teachings of Islam are so violent and evil, then why is it the fastest-growing religion in the West as well as the rest of the world? Why have hundreds of thousands of peaceful Westerners chosen Islam as their new religion, about two-thirds of them women? 

There must be something other than its "viewing of non-Muslims as enemies that are to be treated without any rights," as Greenhut would like us to believe.

Maybe it is Islam's stress on the brotherhood of all human beings, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion. Maybe it is Islam's struggle for justice and equality for all. Maybe it is Islam's balance, spirituality, simplicity, humility and tolerance.

 

Hussam Ayloush is Executive Director of the Southern California office of the Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Anaheim



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  23 Comments   Comment

  1. Doin Phine

    Thanks Hudd, for that less aggressive response. My girlfriend is an ex-Muslim, and is happy now, but she is not a politically/ideologically mined person as me. So no, she is not the worst enemy of Islam, she has just found what is right for her. She never talks badly about Islam, she is the type of person that if she has nothing good to say about something she would rather not say anything at all. But in philosophical discussions her mind set helps me understand certain things.

    Yes you are right about me and Islam, I am critical, and I state my opinion, and I don't apologise. I don't believe in being politically correct.. However in no way am I racist. Being critical of a religion doesn't make you racist. Can we agree on that one point. We all know that Muslims, Jews, Christians can be of any race, so equating criticism of an ideology with racism is a non-starter. I would say that I don't have anything against Muslims; it is the ideology that I disagree with, not the person.

    Also you have to understand that I'm extremely proud of Canada, and what we (past and present generations) have accomplished in so little time. You may say what you wish (I believe in freedom of speech) but for visitors to this site to read that you say that Canada is quasi democratic, I just can't accept that, and feel that there is no possibility for us to discuss issues in any fruitful manner, as we have no common ground. Just because I don't want to discuss topics with you does it make me undemocratic, or against free speech.

  2. Hudd from Canada

    Doin Phine,relax buddy,I'm just pulling your leg, man. It irks me your lame comments about Muslims and Arabs, that's all. In my opinion you are biased against Muslims and you have a distorted image about Muslims and Arabs, I believe that your girl friend has a lot to do with your preformed opinion. Remember the traitors are the greatest enamies of their former faith. You can't give her credit. You have to research yourself. In order to do that you have to dismantle your cocky white Canadian cloake and start thinking like an ordinary man. Do that and you might surprise yourself with what you'll find out. Good luck!

  3. Doin Phine

    Just to clairify Hudd, it is other kids at their school that get beat up, my kids are for their age stronger, and quite atheletic, so they have been more often breaking up the fights. But they tell me they have had enough of this stuff going on since they started high school. Usually the gangs go after what they feel are easy targets.

  4. Northern Cross from USA

    I don't care whether or not those Islamic extremists get their rationalizations from their religion. I just want them to quit annoying non-Muslims with excuses for terrorism that they regularly support. No need to argue about that.

  5. Hudd from Canada

    Of course I make sense, Doin Phine, you just need to use the other end of your body, where the brain is, na'min?

    "On one hand you say Jews will become extinct, and then in another imply that they are controlling the world. It just doesn't make an sense."

    To control you don't need multitudes, sometimes one man is enough, remember Hitler? The extinction is happening, the end result still far away. It's innevitable. Dynosaurs perished too. Do me a favour Doin Phine, think before opening your mouth, please.

    "In Canada, Muslims are totally accepted! It is a BIG lie to say they aren't."

    You'll be surprized. I am a Muslim and listen to Muslims grievences every day, from the part of the police, employers, etc. When mosques are subjected to hate crimes, the police charge the 'whiteys' with mischief or in worse cases, vandalism. You look askew to a freaking Jew, you are booked as an anti-semite and charged with hate-crime, fancy that, junior!

    "Drop me into any Arab country and my life is in danger!"

    Stop watching Rambo and similar crap! Look what it did to your brains! They are fried!

    "IF Muslims are not accepted in Canada why do they migrate here, just a big lie on your part."

    The first Muslim born in Ontario was in the city of London in 1855, from Scottish immigrants, on the name of Cassim Love, which the concensus deemed him, Mohamedan as faith. He has manny descendants as well as his extended family's descendants. There are also recorded in other provinces like Alberta as early or earlier from British, Lebanese, Turkish, Chinese, etc. Therefore, watch your mouth with statements like those above, OK?

    Do not mention your girl friend as either Muslim or ex-Muslim, you can mention her as Kafer as well as yourself. That's a more appropiate term.

    What did your kids do? Teach them some manners, man, they are going to end up beaten for sport if you don't educate them and teach them to behave in public. Mister, please!

  6. Doin Phine

    Thanks for the long reply, it sees that you wish to respond to my comments, good try old fellow!

    On one hand you say Jews will become extinct, and then in another imply that they are controlling the world. It just doesn't make an sense.

    In Canada, Muslims are totally accepted! It is a BIG lie to say they aren't. The Journal de Montreal just did an article following an Imam around Montreal, and he received no insults and was treated properly all the time. Drop me into any Arab country and my life is in danger! IF Muslims are not accepted in Canada why do they migrate here, just a big lie on your part. By the way, my girlfriend is Muslim, oh sorry I mean an ex-Muslim. I'm so not racist, you will never know. But me being a racist or not doesn't really change the facts does it now.

    Oh yes, I do have one Arab Muslim friend from childhood(not many Arabs in my area back then), and I openly discuss my position with him, he knows I'm not racist, but a strong believer in my opinions!

    Funny thought I send my kids to public schools in Montreal, and the Arab gangs go around and beat up the other kids, wonder where the hate comes from. I say it as I see it, nothing more and nothing less. Funny my kids have never been beaten up by a Jewsish gang.

    I repeat, there is room for Jews, Muslims and all other religions in the Middle East don't you agree.

  7. Hudd from Canada

    You know what your problem is, Doin Phine? You are such a stubborn person that you would not change a smithering from your pre-conceived opinions about Islam and Muslims if all the antagonistic proofs would be displayed in front of your eyes. The Zionists have the same problem. They hate the Arabs and the Muslims with such a passion that if that would be turned into a positive endeavour it would work miracles, like getting us "world peace".

    I don't try to get out of my comments, it is you that twist the meaning of what I say in order to fuel your hatred against Muslims and Arabs, I guess. Doin Phine, just get out of the closet and admit that you are a Zionist posing as a goyish secular!

    Do you have problems with English? Did I call you racist? Or I asked you whether you were one? You notice how you try to insinuate something is not there and alter the truth I spoke? Typical Jewish. I don't need your confession to your Zionism, for my trained eye it is obvious.

    "But the statement of Hudd was that Zionist money was going to Christian churches, which is plain stupid and wrong."

    Wow! It upset you, didn't it? That's exactly because it's true. Basic rules of human psychology, got you! Like I said, Zionism is not reserved for the chosen ones(the Jews) only, but also for the dogs(Christian Zionists). You seem to ignore that. Your deliberation is inexcapably imbecilic, since fact is fact and b.s. is b.s.

    "Muslims have to accept that in North America, the Jewish community has its place, and the right to voice its opinions."

    We, Muslims know that, it is the Muslims that are not accepted as a community and they cannot voice their opinion. That's exactly because the North American society is decadent and corrupted to the marrow of their bone and thus identify themselves with a dying breed and civilization. Face it, the Israeli women are barren and their men are sterile. They have the lowest population growth from natural breeding. Immigration is at its lo

  8. Mazinger Z from UK

    I see "doin phine" the muslim hater is as usual, contributing nothing to the discussion.

  9. Doin Phine

    Trying to get out of your comments by twisting wont work Hudd. As you said 'the non-white victims', by who other the whites. Come on Hudd! The best you can do with me is call me a racist, when you have no reply. The rest is not even worth replying to. And to Khalid the site you mentioned, if that is the best you can do forget it. I live in the West, and I know and live with it and see it. I live in a jewish-christian culture. But the statement of Hudd was that Zionist money was going to Christian churches, which is plain stupid and wrong.

    Muslims have to accept that in North America, the Jewish community has its place, and the right to voice its opinions. Opposed to in the Muslim world that the extermination of other religions and less violent versions of Islam are being performed every single day.

  10. saleem from usa

    As we all know Prophet Musa PBUH (Moses) killed an inocent man.

    It does not make him a cold blooded murderer.

    He still is the Prophet and brought Deen (way of life) and God's Book Torah unlike Prophet Essa Peace Be Upon Him (Jesus) who brought only the God's other book Anjeel aka Bible.

    So Moses PBUH brought both way of life (Deen) and a God's book.

    While Essa ibn Marium PBUH (aka Jesus) came along with the God's book only.

    We need to understand whats the difference between these 2 Noble Prophets were.

    Does not mean any difference in their status as according to islam all prophets have enjoy the same status.

    Now said that, acts depends upon intentions. Prophet Musa (PBUH) did not had the intention to kill that person.

    In this regards everybody will be treated on the day of judgement on their acts depending upon their intentions. This is what last Prophet Muhammed PBUH has told us.

    " INAMAAL AMAAL BIL NIYAT "

  11. Daniel from USA

    The author of this piece raises some good points. However, non-extremist Muslims need to realize that people like the person this author cited, as well as terrorists like Osama bin Laden, are defining their religion for the rest of the world. Until non-extremist Muslims understand this and actually take a STAND for the religion they claim to love and adhere to, non-Muslims will continue to form negative opinions of Islam. Hopefully, this will happen soon.

  12. Syed Husain from Bangladesh

    The definition of a Muslim (regardless of their race, nationality & ethnic background) is one who, from the very depth of his or her heart beileves:

    - in the Oneness of Allah (swt),

    - in His Angels,

    - in His (divinely revealed) Books,

    - in all His Prophets & Messengers,

    - in Takdir

    - in Judgement Day and

    - that we will all be raised up from our death

    for judgement;

    or in short one who completely submits to the will of Allah (swt) & live according to His Divinely revealed law, is a Muslim.

    Therefore Islam ... which means "submission to the will of Allah (swt)" ... does not belong to any particular race, nationality & ethnic backgroud. It is a religion for all mankind.

    Now anybody, who does not believe in the above or has doubt in the above definition of a muslim, goes out of fold of Islam.

    Allah (swt) has given us two things to follow in life, one is His final Book .. The Holy Qur'an and the other is The Sunnah of His final Prophet to mankind. Allah (swt) is so strict about following the above two things that we can not even follow the footstep of our parents & forefathers.

    Now for those people who bring out examples of other "so-called muslims" who are not following the religion correctly, and then say that 'we see you and form opinion" will not do any good to them on judgement day. You ARE REQUIRED to read the Book & follow the Final Prophet's teaching... it is the resposibility of every individual.

    However, Allah (swt) is also kind. He has created us with a free will and said that there is no compulsion in religion. But people who will follow His Divinely revealed law will be rewarded in the Hereafter & for those who will choose not to follow will be punished in Hereafter. The choice to follow Allah's law correctly or to abuse & manipulate them for their material benefit lies on the individual.

    Ultimately it is important for a Muslim how Allah (swt) looks at him and not how the 'world' looks at him espe

  13. Hudd from Canada

    Joey, you mentioned some unfortunate aspects of turmoil within the Muslim community, but you forgot to mention the attrocities and continuous intervention of the Western Powers in Muslim lands and their way of life and politics. You see, they don't want Hamas, they will install a dictator friendly to Israel that will crush his own people with an iron fist, at least that's the plan. So, much of the Muslims behaviour is directly responsible of Western intervention.

    "So Muslims you must stop and realize that the world sees you for what you do, what you practice and how you deal with your own."

    You address the above to Muslims as a whole. I am a Canadian Muslim, explane to me how does your comment apply to me and to my doings, here in the great land of Canada? If you cannot come with an explanation, please, withdraw your comment because it is very insulting to me!

    Of course, people of other relions do not read the Quran. Why don't you look at Muslims that keep to the teachings of Quran and lead an exemplary life. An Arab Muslim Canadian, Dr Tarek Elbialy had a breakthrough in dentistry in his research institute in Edmonton, AB, Canada. I could give a long list of exquisite Muslim inventors and innovators as well as the names of those of extraordinary service for their country. But hey, if you are not Jewish or White, we will not mention you more than once, lest the good people will learn about good Muslims.

    "So, shut up and fix yourselves if you want the world to see you in a better light."

    Is the above statement the way your parents taught you in Germany to talk to people that are not White? I can see your level of education and you are to blame the Taliban? You are Taliban, a white Taliban,that is. You cannot tell me shut up! Make me! I am a scientist working in research for a reputable Canadian company, what the hell is there to fix on myself? I am married with children and have a very rewarding life. What's wrong with you,pal? ..

  14. Hudd from Canada

    Gee, Doin Phine, you can split the hair in eight!

    "First your mixing Christianity with White people. Christians like Muslims are of every race on earth. Error number 1."

    By God, Doin Phine, are you a racist? Did I mention white people? I mentioned Westerners, Christians of that kind, that go and carpet bomb Afghanistan and rape children in Iraq along with sodomizing their prisioners. Did I see western aggression as white as a race? No, I see it white as a culture, though, because everybody in the service of the white master has the mark of the white beast.

    "The Motoons didn't make Christians kill, plunder and commit acts of War. Error number 2."

    Who the hell are the Motoons?

    "Moderate Christians aren't being radicalised by money from Zionist factions. Jewish money going to Christian Churches, get real! Error number 3."

    My friend, these are your words, keep them to yourself and don't label them with my name, you should be ashamed of yourself trying to supplant what I say. All what I said was Zionist Fractions, meaning of the Southern Neo-Protestant Churches, you might think I was ignorant but you keep on forgetting that I am from here and not from over there, capisci?

    "This conspiracy theory that Muslims have about Supposed Zionist manipulating and controlling Christians is quite hilarious from the viewpoint of Westerners."

    Really, Doin Phine? Then why when the whole UN body voted sanctions against Israel, USA vetoed it not once not twice but always. USA is led by the Zionist Fraction of their Fundamentalist Christian South that want to make the fairy tales from the Bible actualize in the real world with the inexcapable advent of the so much yenned after Armageddon!

    I don't think religion playes any role in the hostilities of today. This is the mistake the White House does, under the influence of their Christian fanatics who judge the world through the Bible and their distorted religion. There is a political power struggle at sta

  15. Karin C. James from California, USA

    Obviously Steve Greenhut has never read the teachings of our Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him), otherwise he would have not made such an erroneous statement. It's like saying the teachings of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) encouraged the priests of the Catholic Church to molest innocent children, which to me is the worst crime anyone can commit. Before anyone critizes Islam he should take a good look at their own religion - no one is blameless, we're all sinners in the eyes of Allah.

  16. Joey from usa

    Hi,

    I am a Christian and I have Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and friends with no faith.

    I have a copy of the Koran at home my Muslim friend gave to me. Islam is a beautiful religion and in my view the same religion that is in the old testement which is practiced by Jews and Christians.

    What is particular about Islam is not the religion but the people that claim to follow it.

    The most horrible claims, practices, injustices against Islam are deployed by people that call themselves Muslims.

    Example:

    Salman Rushdie - wackey claims about a verse in the Koran.

    Osama Bin Laden - self proclaim leader of Muslims but does not read the Koran as last time I read it suicide was a SIN.

    Arabs - treat their women like 2nd class citizens. Yeah, yeah there is a role for the woman I agree, but she should be allowed basic human freedoms.

    Pakistani - The most racist group of people I have ever encountered and I am a christian living in the south from German ancestors...go figure.

    Turks - oppress their own people when they try to practice Islam and dress in the traditional way.

    Irani - pervert the creed or calma of Islam by adding a Kalif to it, Ali I believe his name is. Gather in the house of Allah and beat themselves to remember a HUMAN being all the while forgetting Allah.

    Iraqi - Murder their Shia brothers on their holiest day, Friday, after they finish praying to Allah.

    So Muslims you must stop and realize that the world sees you for what you do, what you practice and how you deal with your own.

    No white christian, jew or hindu sits and reads the Koran or read the teachings of Muhammad ... WE SEE YOU PEOPLE then form our opinions.

    So, shut up and fix yourselves if you want the world to see you in a better light.

    Your prophet was right to teach you to say Salaam to each other as it seems it's the one thing you all cannot find.

  17. Doin Phine

    Hudd, comments on your analysis of my post. First your mixing Christianity with White people. Christians like Muslims are of every race on earth. Error number 1.

    The Motoons didn't make Christians kill, plunder and commit acts of War. Error number 2.

    Moderate Christians aren't being radicalised by money from Zionist factions. Jewish money going to Christian Churches, get real! Error number 3.

    This conspiracy theory that Muslims have about Supposed Zionist manipulating and controlling Christians is quite hilarious from the viewpoint of Westerners.

    The reverse of my statement as described by Hudd is wrong at every level!

  18. Romesh Chander from USA

    To us, non-muslims, what is Islam? It is what muslims practice, not what Koran says. After all, none of us (i.e. non-muslims) are scholars of Islam, nor want to be; just like muslims don't want to be scholars of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity. However, it is the writings of muslims regarding non-muslims (especially Jews)which portray what they are; non-muslims duly read them and quote them. So, please, don't blame non-muslims for wrong impressions of muslims.

    Politics is politics. US attacked Serbia (a christian country), Vietnam and Korea(Buddhist countries), Cuba (Catholic at the time of Fidel Castro), Venzuela/Nicaragua/Chile/Guatemala/Mexico (all Christian Countries); we did not hear any complaints from muslims. Why do they compalin when US attacks a muslim country; after all they are residents and citizens of USA and not those of muslim countries; you cannot pick and choose policies for support of one country and not another one based on religion. I opposed US attack on Vietnam; war in Iraq makes absolutely no sense to me; but in my opposition, religion played no part; it is just US policies were wrong.

  19. Hudd from Canada

    Doin Phine, let me reverse your comment as viewed by the victims of the Western .. that violated the basic human rights of the non-whites.

    "A religion has to be based on its results. I will let people judge the results for themselves. Christianity is as Christianity does. Before Eretz Israel, most Easterns were ignorant of Christianity in that they knew nothing about their hidden agenda of undermining their civilization.If Easterners have a negative opinion now, then you can thank the Zionists, and the Christians who are silent in their response to acts by Zionists (except for the time they dance in the curch!).While at the same time the Motoons made Christians around the world, kill, plunder and commit acts of war."

    I'll give turn to the Alternative comment on the same page:

    "Moderate Christians themselves are saying that the Churches of North America are becoming radicalised as money from Zionist Fractions are given to implement the Fundamentalist version of Christianity."

    Whom do you think you are fooling, Doin Phine? Only yourself. Yeah, only yourself.

    Peace out!

  20. H.A. from Yathrib

    Way to go Mr. Haji Yousouff!!! You have shot the "arrow of truth" right in the heart of infidels and those who question Islam.

  21. Doin Phine

    A religion has to be based on its results. I will let people judge the results for themselves. Islam is as Islam does. Before 9/11, most Westerners were ignorant of Islam in that they knew nothing about it, good or bad. If Westerners have a negative opinion now, then you can thank the Islamists, and the Muslims who are silent in their response to acts by Islamists (except for the time they dance in the street!) . While at the same time the Motoons made Muslims around the world, kill, plunder and commit acts of war.

  22. Haji Haneef Yusoff from Malaysia

    Islam is the religion of Allah, the Creator, Sustainer and Owner of all beings and the universe. Let it be known to all who Allah is.

    The non-Muslim, whether they like it or not, they are all the created and the sustained. They need oxygen, food, water and other life-sustaining requirements and the provider of all that is Allah Almighty. So, it is irrelevant whether the religion brought by Allah through Muhammad accomodates the desires, lust and thinking of any human being. All human beings, wheteher they accept Allah or not is the created and sustained. They have no rights whatsoever. Their life is in the hands of the Creator and Sustainer, Allah. If they think they own their life, see if they can prolong their own life, which for sure, they can't

    So, Muslims must not waste one single second trying to explain Islam to these Godless, heartless, mindless, blind, dumb and deaf non-Muslim. They are all helpless, hopeless and weak humans. They are all, no matter how arrogant or ignorant they are, are dependent on the fate of Allah.

  23. Mohammad Yacoob from USA

    Thank you Hussam Ayloush for making efforts to educate our country men. May God Allahmighty accept your struggle for helping the ordinary people in the USA. We are all with you and CAIR.

    We are seeing more and more fundamentalists and evangelists exploiting the ignorance of the common man in these United States. Even the history books for the childrens also provided distorted and wrong infromation about Islam. Once I wrote about this to Los Angeles Times.

    Part of my letter is shown below that indicates that we have a very big task ahead of us.

    "In this regard, I would like to say that: There are more schools in the United States than any other country in the world; there are more libraries in the United than any other country in the world; there are more books in the United States than nay other country in the world; and yet there is more ignorance about Islam in the United States than any other country in the world."

    Mohammad Yacoob, Hawthorne, California

    Los Angeles Times --- February 12, 1991