by Gary Fouse
Ever since 9-11, the US and its governments have searched desperately for so-called "moderate Muslims" who advocated peace and coexistence among religions and an end to terrorism. I myself have found the search daunting having listened to "moderates" like Reza Aslan, Tariq Ramadan, Maher Hathout, Faisal Abdul Rauf, and Muzammil Siddiqi to name just a few. Some I have found to be in denial about the troublesome aspects of Islam. Some I consider to be outright deceivers.I have heard some of them actually argue that sharia law is perfectly compatible with the US Constitution.
More credible to me are Muslim reformers, people like Dr Zuhdi Jasser and Shireen Qudosi. They acknowledge there are problems and there are people walking around who are dangerous.
We must concede, however, that most Muslims live quiet lives and are of no threat to anyone. How many of those people have engaged in a violent protest over Mohammad cartoons or wish for a worldwide caliphate, we have no way of knowing. I assume they know what is in the Koran, just as I assume they know about the life of Mohammad including when he was a warlord. I assume they have also been taught about sharia law.
Thus, I have formulated a list of questions directed to the moderate, peaceful Muslims. As always, I encourage my Muslim readers to weigh in and answer them. I ask these questions as a non-evangelical Christian and use Jesus Christ as my yardstick. Of course, I mean no disrespect or neglect to other major religions like Judaism or Buddhism.
First of all, since Muslims revere Jesus, as well as previous prophets of the monotheistic faith, I ask my Muslim reader:
Did Jesus ever murder anyone?
Did Jesus ever order the murder of anyone?
Did Jesus ever lead an army to advance the Christian faith in battle?
Did Jesus ever order the execution of persons taken captive by his army?
Did Jesus ever take people including women and children as slaves?
Did Jesus ever preach hatred to others who did not share his (religious) beliefs?
The answer to all of the above questions is No.
Now I invite my moderate Muslim readers to ask the same questions about Mohammad.
The answer to the above questions becomes Yes.
In addition, I would ask Muslims if they really believe that the parts of sharia that define women as second class citizens and the parts of sharia (hudud sharia) that mandate death for those who leave Islam, defame Islam or engage in adultery of homosexuality are compatible with US laws. Do they have any place in a free, democratic nation?
The answers are clearly No.
I recently attended an event at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California entitled, "Islam 101," which featured a female Muslim speaker giving a sugar-coated explanation of Islam. When some of us began to ask hard questions (in a polite and non-disruptive manner when called upon), not only were questioners called outside by professors to be admonished, the campus police were actually called. My point in bringing this up is to say that Americans need to have an honest and frank discussion about Islam with moderate Muslims without having to be called racists and Islamophobes. Moderate and peaceful Muslims need to deal with these very legitimate questions.
Points well made - and those Muslims that are intellectually honest, (like Imam Tawhidi) will openly admit that there's some genuinely disturbing text in not only the quran, but the related books for the faith, however, is there not a deeper issue at play here? Whatever prophet/god/religious figure did, or didn't do/say - it's never stopped some religious folk behaving in appalling ways. The Spanish Inquisition, was the xtian equivalent of ISIS, (to a degree) using a religious claim, to impose itself on others in a deadly and religious colonial way. And whilst JC wasn't violent, when the Romans adopted Xtianity - that's when it started to pick up on adding military might to the religious equation. Plus, it's not like the Bible doesn't contain a well known figure, that was effectively ethnically cleansing his way to the promised land - as ordered by his god. For me - the really interesting question, is how folks that worship the same god - can & do, have polar opposite views on topics. The question I like to ask the relevant religious folk, is how do they reconcile those opposites - within their own "group". And how much do they think that religion provides a mask for people, so they can enact their true selves and feel justified to do so.
Neil, While your points are well-made, unless I missed it, you did not point out the obvious--which is that when Christians behaved in the reprehensible ways you outline, they did so in direct contradiction to the personal example and teachings of Jesus. When Muslims behave in the same ways, they are simply following the personal exampe of Mohammed and the teachings of the Koran, the authoritative Haditha and other foundational texts as well as 1400 years of Islamic history. Big difference.
Good points and that leads to an additional question I could have asked: Do Muslims really love God or just fear Him? In other words, it seems to me that their God, Allah, is some sort of vengeful Mafia leader who is pleased when Muslims kill non-Muslims. That is hardly the image Christians and I assume Jews have of our God.
Unfortunately, muslims are the greatest victim of islam,the latter acting as a mental cage (or dark cave - Plato! ;-)) from which they can't escape. The (5) bars of that cage are their only holdfasts in life. Poor people! Damn their parents who threw them in such jail for life as from their birth. Shouldn't the kids be protected by law from such iresponsible choice of their parents, and at least allow them a free choice at the age of 16?
The so-called BBC, when seeking a moderate muslim opinion or panellist, generally pick an Ahmadi Muslim - you know, the ones that both Sunni and Shia declare apostates and would love to behead. They had to move their headquarters to England to escape persecution in Pakistan.