True Islam has been Distorted

While the atrocities and acts of terrorism committed by violent extremists have connected Islam with terrorism, the Islamic tradition places … Continued

While the atrocities and acts of terrorism committed by violent extremists have connected Islam with terrorism, the Islamic tradition places limits on the use of violence and rejects terrorism, hijackings, and hostage taking. As with other faiths, mainstream and normative doctrines and laws are ignored, distorted, or hijacked and misinterpreted by a radical fringe. Islamic law, drawing on the Quran, sets out clear guidelines for the conduct of war and rejects acts of terrorism.

Islam, like all world religions, neither supports nor requires illegitimate violence. The Quran does not advocate or condone terrorism. The God of the Quran is consistently portrayed as a God of mercy and compassion as well as a just judge. 113 of 114 chapters start with a reference to God’s mercy and compassion; throughout the Quran in many contexts, Muslims are reminded to be merciful and just. However, Islam does permit, indeed at times requires, Muslims to defend themselves and their families, religion, and community from aggression.

Like all scriptures, Islamic sacred texts must be read within the social and political contexts in which they were revealed. It is not surprising that the Quran, like the Hebrew scriptures or Old Testament, has verses that address fighting and the conduct of war. The world in which the Islamic community emerged was a rough neighborhood. Arabia and the city of Mecca, in which Muhammad lived and received God’s revelation, were beset by tribal raids and cycles of vengeance and vendetta. The broader Near East, in which Arabia was located, was itself divided between two warring superpowers, the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) and the Sasanian (Persian) empires.

However, Quranic verses also underscore that peace, not violence and warfare, is the norm. Permission to fight the enemy is balanced by a strong mandate for making peace: “If your enemy inclines toward peace, then you too should seek peace and put your trust in God” (8:61) and “Had Allah wished, He would have made them dominate you, and so if they leave you alone and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah allows you no way against them” (4:90). From the earliest times, it was forbidden in Islam to kill noncombatants as well as women and children and monks and rabbis, who were given the promise of immunity unless they took part in the fighting.

But what of those verses, sometimes referred to as the “sword verses,” that call for killing unbelievers, such as, “When the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush” (9:5)? This is one of a number of Quranic verses that are cited by critics to demonstrate the inherently violent nature of Islam and its scripture. These same verses have also been selectively used (or abused) by religious extremists to develop a theology of hate and intolerance and to legitimate unconditional warfare against unbelievers.

During the period of expansion and conquest, many of the ulama (religious scholars) enjoyed royal patronage and provided a rationale for caliphs to pursue their imperial dreams and extend the boundaries of their empires. They said that the “sword verses” abrogated or overrode the earlier Quranic verses that limited jihad to defensive war: In fact, however, the full intent of “When the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever you find them” is missed or distorted when quoted in isolation. For it is followed and qualified by: “But if they repent and fulfill their devotional obligations and pay the zakat [the charitable tax on Muslims], then let them go their way, for God is forgiving and kind”(9:5). The same is true of another often quoted verse: “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor hold the religion of truth [even if they are] of the People of the Book,” which is often cited without the line that follows, “Until they pay the tax with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (9:29).

Throughout history, the sacred scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have been used and abused, interpreted and misinterpreted, to justify resistance and liberation struggles, extremism and terrorism, holy and unholy wars. Terrorists like Osama bin Laden and others go beyond classical Islam’s criteria for a just jihad and recognize no limits but their own, employing any weapons or means. They reject Islamic law’s regulations regarding the goals and legitimate means for a valid jihad: that violence must be proportional, only the necessary amount of force should be used to repel the enemy; that innocent civilians should not be targeted; and that jihad must be declared by the ruler or head of state.

Today, individuals and groups, religious and lay, seize the right to declare and legitimate unholy wars of terrorism in the name of Islam.

The relationship of Islam to violence and terrorism, like the primary causes of global terrorism, is often obscured by the religious language and symbolism used by extremists. Too often, policymakers and experts opt for either political economy or for religion as an explanation for violence and terror. Both are important factors but to varying degrees in diverse political and social contexts. Contexts (political and socioeconomic) not religious texts are often the primary causes or drivers. In most cases, political and economic grievances are primary causes or catalysts and religion becomes a means to legitimate the cause and mobilize popular support. As witnessed in Palestine, post Saddam Iraq, Kashmir, or the global strategy of Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the goal is often primarily nationalist, although they may have additional or related religious goals, to end the occupation of lands, force “foreign” military forces from what these movements regard as their homeland.

Religion does provide a powerful source of authority, meaning and legitimacy. Religiously motivated or legitimated violence and terror adds the dimensions of divine or absolute authority (buttressing the authority of terrorist leaders), religious symbolism, moral justification, motivation and obligation, certitude, and heavenly reward that enhance recruitment and a willingness to fight and die in a “sacred struggle.” Thus even more secular movements have appealed to and used religion.

The power of religious symbolism could be seen when Yasser Arafat, leader of a secular nationalist movement (PLO and then PNA), used the terms jihad and shahid (martyr) to describe his situation when he was under siege in Ramallah. The Palestinian militia (not just the Islamist Hamas) appropriated religious symbolism, choosing to call itself, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and drawing on the symbols of jihad and martyrdom. Moreover, while religious and non-religious organizations and movements (whether al-Qaeda or the Marxist Tamil Tigers) share a common strategy, those that are Muslim often identify their goal as Islamic, to create an Islamic government, a caliphate or simply a more Islamically-oriented state and society.

Though political and socioeconomic factors remain primary, religion does provide a powerful source of authority. Religiously motivated or legitimated violence and terror adds the dimensions of divine or absolute authority (buttressing the authority of terrorist leaders), moral justification, motivation and obligation, and heavenly reward that enhance recruitment and a willingness to fight and die in a sacred struggle. Thus, militants both use and “hijack” religion to legitimate their policies and actions.

Religious leaders and intellectuals can play an important role in the ideological war. Wahhabi Islam like the militant (as distinguished from mainstream) Christian Right of a Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell must be distinguished from violent forms of the Christian Right and of Wahhabi Islam with their theologies of hate. The former, follow exclusivist, non-pluralistic theologies vis a vis other faiths as well as alternative theological interpretations or orientations within their own faith tradition, but do not advocate violence and terror. However, their theological worldviews can be appropriated by militants to justify blowing up abortion clinics or government buildings, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, assassinating “the enemies of God,” and Muslim extremists in Israel/Palestine and Iraq.

Christians and Muslims share a common task of addressing exclusivist theologies which are anti-pluralistic and weak on tolerance for they contribute to beliefs, attitudes and values which feed religious extremism and terrorism.

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  • wanderer

    who has more hatred in heart? muslims or you folks? Please read the comments and judge for yourself!

  • Luke

    Rogan, obviously you were born yesterday…and anyone who believes in anything Ann Coulter says forfeits any and all credibility. True the Crusades couldn’t be considered terrorism because it wasn’t “convert or be killed” but “die so I can take your stuff”. Abortion clinic bombings are terrorism. Chaining a gay man to a fence and beating him to death is terrorism. I don’t understand why you can’t see that it is foolish to say that all terrorists are Muslim. What about when Fred Phelps and his gang start bombing the offices of gay-rights organizations? Don’t take your eyes off the problem to rubber stamp any group or you are setting yourself up for another disaster.

  • Russell D.

    Jerry Hall:You may be right, but there are a number of Christians in this and other countries that, on a daily basis, force their ideas onto others. Heck, if it wasn’t for that God fearing and loving president of ours, we wouldn’t have 3,000 less soldiers than we did 4 years ago.

  • victoria

    after spending many years fending off the aggressive attacks of people who seem to have a virulent hatred of islam. i am not suprised at this question. the only posture one can respond with to an offense is a defensive posture. any objection will be considered as an admission of guilt.

  • Ted L. Loda

    On May 20,2007, a Forum on Islam will be held in Evanston, Illinois. I am the sponsor of the Forum.

  • Deb

    Mavaddat wrote:”The important question is not, “Is Islam a religion of violence?” but rather, “Do Muslims tend to be violent believers?””But that’s what the main question being asked is – “Is Islam a violent religion?”My studies would lead me to answer no, it’s not necessarily a violent religion, but it does tend to advocate acts of violence in certain circumstances which I cannot condone.

  • Andrea

    I don’t purport to know much about Islam, and I can’t believe (well, I kind of can) that this is the question that was asked. It’s incredibly loaded. We can’t say “no” because of what the Quran says and because of the actions of extremists. We can’t say “yes” because not all Muslims are extremists. Also, why is Islam being singled out? Every religion has violence in its past and its present. Maybe we should be asking “why”.

  • AJ

    mr. esposito – people like you greedy, grabing money barons are the real danger of this country. money is not the solution or will bring you hapiness. dont sell yourself short!

  • Tim Clark

    Well, this can go on forever or we can all just start singing Bob Dylan’s war protest song ‘With God on our side’.

  • Pablo

    Deb,Are you kidding what exactly are you studying?Pablo

  • Tracey

    Last time I checked, Jesus didn’t kill people who didn’t believe. Muhammad did. So how exactly is violence by Muslims a “distortion” of Islam? Seems pretty consistent to me.

  • Russell D.

    Aw SNAP! Pablo is back. Everybody run and hide. It’s the “righteous one” himself!

  • frank collins

    what is this crap about interpretaiton – when the koran orders its followers to kill those not islamic there is nothing to interpret. nothing at all. and its not that islamics think they are the only right religion, every religion does that. but islam is the only religion that demands it be allowed to spread islam with violence. this is even different than a christian force conversions as it is not required in the bible and is condemned and not even allowd today. want to leave a christian religion – no problem. want to quit islam – the penalty is death. the koran is the mein kampf of the islamics. like hitlers book – it is a plan for violent conquest and instructions concerning killing the enemy. just because someone calls it a religion does not make it so.

  • frank collins

    andrea – read your koran:”4.90″: Except those who reach a people between whom and you there is an alliance, or who come to you, their hearts shrinking from fighting you or fighting their own people; and if Allah had pleased, He would have given them power over you, so that they should have certainly fought you; therefore if they withdraw from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not given you a way against them. “4.91″: You will find others who desire that they should be safe from you and secure from their own people; as often as they are sent back to the mischief they get thrown into it headlong; therefore if they do not withdraw from you, and (do not) offer you peace and restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and against these We have given you a clear authority.

  • Russell D.

    Ok, I am gonna say this for everyone who believes in the Bible and or Koran:Don’t believe everything you read. There. Simple and effective.

  • Luke

    Um, it can’t be considered genocide because they are both Islamic? Are you that dense? They are two different religious groups! That is the very definition of genocide.

  • Pablo

    Dear Victoria,Playing the victim does not prove that Islam is a religion of peace. You need to explain to us all why Muhammad converted whole nations with the sword. Why he murdered people who disagreed with him. You have to explain all the violence done at the hands of Muslims throughout history. You have to explain all the violence being done by Muslims today. You have to explain why I would be killed if I preached that Jesus is the Son of God in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq and any other Muslim country in the Middle East where they practice true Islam and not the fake sanitized version you believe.Pablo

  • Luke

    Pablo, sounds like you are trying to hide a little bit of your own religion’s history in your attack. That’s OK, explain away – we are here to listen (or read, rather).

  • Kamyar

    As an Atheist and an outsider to religion, I must agree with Wanderer. Looking at the comments posted here, I have trouble figuring out which religion is the most “hateful.” It looks like a lot of people here have inherent hatred towards something that they do not understand, thus, they try to trash Islam as much as they can by picking verses out of context.I see people do the same thing to Christianity, especially the verses regarding beating women. For instance:In the Bible’s book of Deuteronomy it says that if a man marries a woman and then decides that he hates her, he can claim she wasn’t a virgin when they married. At that point her father must prove she was a virgin. (How is not explained.) If he can’t, then the woman is to be stoned to death at her father’s doorstep. (22:13-21)In Exod. 21:7 we see that it is permissible to sell one’s daughter (but apparently not one’s son) into slavery.Under God’s direction, Moses’ army kills all the adult males, but they mercifully just take the women and children captive. When Moses learns that they left some women and children alive, he angrily says: “Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.” (31:1-54) Throughout Bible history God is said to demand that thousands, if not millions, of men, women and children be slaughtered. And they are.The above examples were taken from some website, and it proves my point. It doesn’t feel good to have verses from your religious text taken out of context, then have quite literal translations placed as the definitions. I would never claim the above examples as being true, but it shows an example of how ugly distortion is. Rogan – not all acts of terrorism were done by Muslims. I have a pop quiz for you:In 1985, Air India Flight 182 was blown up over the Atlantic by: In 1986, who attempted to smuggle three pounds of explosives onto an El Al jetliner bound from London to Tel Aviv? In 1962, in the first-ever successful sabotage of a commercial jet, a Continental Airlines 707 was blown up with dynamite over Missouri by: In 1994, who nearly succeeding in skyjacking a DC-10 and crashing it into the Federal Express Corp. headquarters? In 1974, who stormed a Delta Air Lines DC-9 at Baltimore-Washington Airport, intending to crash it into the White House, and shot both pilots? The answer, in all cases, is D. And this does not include the Oklahoma City Bombings, the Olympic Park bombings, 1940′s era Jewish terrorist groups (Stern Gang, etc.), the Columbine massacre, decades of fighting between the Protestants and the Catholics, as well as the problems in the Basque Region in Spain.One final note – a lot of Christians dismiss verses in the Old Testament and state that they are based on old Jewish tribal laws and don’t apply to today’s society. I believe Islam should finally do the same about their book if they care about their image.

  • Nitpicker

    If nothing else, I think Professor Esposito’s post has proven to be excellent flypaper for comments from supposedly tolerant Christians. As a Christian myself, I’m disgusted by the comments of the ignorant, blinkered people who claim to hold the same beliefs as I and I feel bad that too many Muslims have seen only this side of my faith. As someone who served in uniform in Afghanistan, I can tell you that most Muslims believe, like I do, that life and living it uprightly is the true goal of the believer.

  • nitpicker

    Pablo wrote: “You need to explain to us all why Muhammad converted whole nations with the sword. Why he murdered people who disagreed with him.”Explain Moses’ genocide of the Midianites and I’m sure Victoria will get back to you. Moses, after all, came first.

  • Mavaddat

    Frank,You need to relax, buddy. It’s true that Muslims justify the violence they commit by appealing to their holy book, but that is their interpretation of the scripture. Whether they interpret the scripture thusly in order justify what they feel they have to do, or they feel they have to do it because their scripture tells them is a more complex question (chicken v. egg–this time, it’s personal).Likewise, you are just presenting your (albeit very shortsighted) interpretation of Islamic scripture. Most Muslims believe that the Koran condones the murdering of pagans only, and even that the majority of Muslims ignore in their day-to-day life.Just like how Christians don’t necessarily stone adulterers to death anymore, Muslims don’t necessarily kill non-believers anymore. Religious people pick and choose what they believe, so it doesn’t matter what you think their scripture says. It only matters what THEY think their scripture says. (Granted some of them agree with your interpretation.)

  • Anonymous

    David,This commentary is from the respected Al-Shawkani so stop acting like you know something about Islam. It sounds like your view of Islam has been shaped by our politically correct media. Hear the words of an expert on true Islam:Al-Shawkani in his book السيل الجرار (Alsaylu Jarar 4:518-519) says: “Islam is unanimous about fighting the unbelievers and forcing them to Islam or submitting and paying Jiziah (special tax paid only by Christians or Jews) or being killed. [The verses] about forgiving them are abrogated unanimously by the obligation of fighting in any case.”

  • Andrea

    Frank Collins,Do not tell me to read my koran. I don’t have one. I have a Bible, but I don’t read it anymore either.My “why” was more in reference to why any religion could be considered violence.

  • Andrea

    *violent

  • Mavaddat

    Kamyar,Please continue posting. I found your insights to invaluable to the discussion at hand. And a very entertaining and informative pop quiz. I actually learned a lot from your post!

  • Don

    Dear Nitpicker — if you don’t agree with some of the posts, then refute them with logic and argument — and not the posting equivalent of “these comments hurt my feelings.”To all those who favor moral equivalency comparisons (i.e., “we’re just as bad as they are”) — please point to one Christian faith that advocates violence in the name of Jesus? I could point to whole swaths of the Muslim world that claim their religion compels such action in the name of Allah.

  • Luke

    How about Southern Baptists? Although they don’t outright say it, they certainly advocate violence. Pat Robertson advocated killing various leaders of other countries – last time I checked, that was violence.

  • halozcel

    True islam…If your enemy inclines toward peace,then you too should seek peace 8.61Not only 9.5 but,also 4.89 says,Besides,what is House of War?

  • AJ

    nitpicker – dont feel bad – just change religion and become what you really are: ISLAMIST – terrorist.you tell me what good did mohammed and islam brought to the world???

  • Luke

    While where at it, let’s take a look at all of the figures in religions (maybe some philosophies). Lao Tzu was probably at least 7 people (most of them women), Moses advocated killing women and children, Krishna advocated war, etc. The truth is, all of these people were just that, people. Crazy as all get out. There is the idea that Jesus was actually the son from Mary’s run in with a Roman soldier. Honestly when I hear people speak about God the way they do – I think they are all hallucinating. I guess I’m just saying that crazy people are usually the loud ones.

  • LUke

    AJ, you certainly have a big mouth for someone with very little to say.

  • Pablo

    No Luke, I am not trying to hide anything. If someone murders in the name of Jesus they are in conflict with His words and His example. If someone murders in the name of Allah they are following the words of the Qur’an and the example of the prophet of Islam. Why do you think Osama Bin Laden harkened back to The Battle of Badr when great slaughter was done at the hands of the prophet when speaking his “victory” on 9/11. Just because Muslims in this country tell you that Islam is peaceful does not make it true. The evidence unequivocally screams otherwise. Volume 5, Book 59, Number 289; Narrated Ibn Abbas: On the day of the battle of Badr, the Prophet said, “O Allah! I appeal to You (to fulfill) Your Covenant and Promise. O Allah! If Your Will is that none should worship You (then give victory to the pagans).” Then Abu Bakr took hold of him by the hand and said, “This is sufficient for you.” The Prophet came out saying, “Their multitude will be put to flight and they will show their backs.” (54:45)Pablo

  • Russell D.

    Pablo:

  • Luke

    Ya know Pablo we’ve had this discussion on other forums. Your religion is not void of it’s own fair share of violence in it’s history. You can’t just avoid the question by saying that the killers didn’t represent the majority, because most times they did. No one was crying out at stonings just as no one cries about abortion clinic bombings now. You can’t just isolate yourself to make your argument viable. If you are basing your belief on Jesus’s words alone then please say that Moses was a murderer. Thanks.

  • Kamyar

    Mavaddat – I appreciate it. It makes me sick to my stomach every time I read discussions on here that get so out of hand. It seems like nobody is interested in finding common ground and working together to make a more peaceful world. Everyone just wants to yell at each other and make each other feel inferior.I was born and raised in the U.S. My family is from Iran and I went to visit my relatives there twice. When relatives and some of the common citizens in Tehran (random people I would chat with) found out that I did not believe in Islam, much less ANY mainstream God, they didn’t care one bit. They were just happy to have me there and we all enjoyed discussing religion, politics and common interests.Perhaps Iran is an exception (I believe Iran should go back to its Zoroastrian roots, but that’s a different story), but based on the comments I see here, I should have been stoned to death or paid some weird obscure tax, not treated with hospitality.There are extremists out there that would have probably tried to jail me. I have no doubt about that. But the biggest problem in society is that the actions and words of the minority extremists speak WAY louder than those of the moderates. When a terrorist blows up a building, his or her group claims that they did it in the name of their religion. But that simply does not make it so.Final thought – what purpose does this discussion serve? Let’s say people on here prove that Islam is a religion of hatred and war, blah blah, like some of you are so desperately trying to prove. What do you propose? If you have no proposal or anything worthwhile to add, then you’re just causing meaningless arguments, commonly known in the online world as trolling.It would be much nicer if everyone took a deep breath and just discussed their thoughts and feelings about the religion and what they believe should be done. Trust me, it would go a long way with building rapport.Love and Light to everyone.~Kamyar

  • Luke

    Kamyar, you are right. I apologize if I am being combative. Pablo, I hope that the people of your faith never try to harm me, as I hope the people of my faith never harm you. The world is a better place because people of your faith exist, and I wholeheartedly believe that. You live your life for God, and I live mine for me, but we are both living, so that is grounds enough for us to make sure we keep living, yes?

  • Deb

    The point that Mavaddat makes is very important. People do choose what they want to believe, whether or not they feel the need to justify it. I know in my own circumstance with Christianity, I agree with the school of thought that the laws in the OT were made under a covenant with a certain group of people at a certain time for a certain purpose, and do not apply to us today. Not everyone will agree with that, and that is their choice.I do not know if there are any similar kinds of reasonings for different schools of thought between Muslims. I do know that as the conquering of nations became more important, so did the more violent verses. But we are past those times now, for the most part…

  • Jim C.

    Trying to determine True Islam is like trying to determine True Christianity — everybody thinks they are right.Lots of speculation here, but I’ll just offer my own anecdotal evidence, FWIW. I’ve hitch-hiked through Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Israel. Lived in Egypt. Worked in Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar. I went openly as a Christian and an American. And here I am today alive and well.It’s been said a couple of times here, but it bears repeating — it’s more useful to look at how Muslims actually behave than pick quotes out of a book. Yes, there are Muslims that are extremely violent that would happily kill me to make a point. And yes, there are probably more Muslims like that than there are Christians, right now (historically, it’s been less clear). However, my being alive and well today provides pretty clear evidence that the Muslims that are violent b/c of their religious beliefs are the vast, vast minority.You can argue all day about who is a true Muslim or not, but that is just semantic self-gratification made to make yourself feel better about yourself, IMO.

  • Pablo

    Mavvadat,That is simply not true in the Muslim world I am a polytheist because I believe in the trinity. This of course is a misunderstanding of what the doctrine of the trinity is (Three persons who are one God). Note the following surahs:5:72 They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. 5:73 They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. 5:75 The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. See how We make the revelations clear for them, and see how they are turned away!9:30 And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they! 9:31 They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One God. There is no God save Him. Be He Glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!9:33 He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion, however much the idolaters may be averse.As for your view on Sura 9 I disagree and there are plenty of Middle Eastern scholars who would disagree with you. I saw one posted on this thread under Al ShawkaniPablo

  • frank collins

    how do you find common ground with islam when the koran commands that they kill you if you dont convert? what do you offer them – how about you let me live until in 70 instead of 80? there are times when there is no common ground.

  • Luke

    Frank Collins, it is really incredible that you can speak for all of these groups you know nothing about. You are one classy fellow. I’d much rather have my weapons handed over to Iran than to you.

  • Jim C.

    Frank Collins – I assume you hadn’t read my post, or actually any history at all. Your paranoid fantasy has no historical or current basis.

  • dan

    The truth is in actions not words. Muslims are killing each other by the thousands in Iraq. What kind of moral society justifies killing thousands of their own people in the name of any religion. Sounds more like a cult than a religion.

  • frank collins

    pable – you are good. been doing this for a while i see.

  • Andrea

    Jim C,Right on.”I’ve hitch-hiked through Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Israel. Lived in Egypt. Worked in Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar.”Sounds fascinating. How long were you in these places?

  • Kamyar

    Luke – you have nothing to apologize about. :) My question was more rhetorical – I just want people to think about what they’re saying. And your last post was very appreciated and the kind of tone that is required for everyone to want to work together. Kudos to you. :)I was actually referring to those individuals that are posting verse after verse from the Koran and going “SEE, THEY ARE ALL TERRORISTS. THEY ARE VIOLENT PEOPLE. YUK YUK YUK.” A lot of people are just going on and on with this, but yet they are adding nothing of value to the discussion. They are just rehashing the same tired argument.To this I quote the Zoroastrian phrase Pendar-e Nik, Goftar-e Nik, Kerdar-e Nik. Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds. Fighting hatred with more hatred creates wars.MANY religious texts were written in a time when war was the way of life. After the industrial revolution, it seems as if society transformed from the age of fighting to the age of diplomacy. Suddenly, rape and pillage turned to free trade and cross-country dialog. Some people chose to live in the past. I don’t blame the religion for causing so many problems and wars. I blame the people who follow the religion and then take it VERY literally to the point where they are breaking established social norms and mores.My proposal for Islam is that Islamic scholars, those who truly believe that society must change with the times, need to stress the importance of being good citizens, living in peace, and never resorting to violence unless it is out of self defense.I also would like to see the media talk to these moderate scholars some more and to get their word out. I know that they are out there, but they get very little coverage. News is sensationalist and those who preach peace get little coverage.This is just the first step of many to take. Many terrorists have legitimate grievances against what they are fighting, however, that does not give them the green light to use violence. It needs to be taught that settling differences should be done in an open forum, NOT using bombs.I hope everyone is having a pleasant day. :)~Kamyar

  • Jim C.

    How many Christians killed each other during WWII?By this time Christians organized themselves by nations, but the principle is the same. People can be horribly savage when you get into an “us” vs. “them” scenario.

  • Andrea

    Hey Frank,Remember when Israel attacked Lebanon? “what would happen if the only weapons were had by the jews – there would be peace”

  • Mavaddat

    Pablo,I think that until we focus on exactly what parts of the Qur’an actual people like Osama bin Laden use to justify their actual actions, we aren’t actually doing anything by citing random parts of the Qur’an. If there is some obscure command that can be interpreted as warrant to kill people buried deep in the pages of the Qur’an, unless people actually use that as a justification for killing people, it matters not at all. It is a tree falling in a forest with no one to hear the crash.The important question is not whether someone could use the Qur’an to justify murder, since anyone can use any text to justify whatever they want if they are determined enough. The important question is, given that there are both violent and non-violent things in the Qur’an, what is the principle or motivation that believers use to choose what parts they will give priority to? Often times the answer is far more complex than we are giving it due.For example, if a person (of no religion) feels particularly constrained and forced to kill others by suicide bombing, they will go out and look for the religious scripture most congruent with their pre-established plans.This is how people function: they have certain beliefs about what is right or wrong and they search for the religion that reiterates those beliefs. Moreover, when their religion doesn’t wholly reinforce their beliefs, they choose to ignore or reinterpret the parts of their scripture that contradict their beliefs.Now, I ask you: What is the method to this madness? What is the general account of how human beings change their moral attitudes and thereby denounce or modify a certain scripture?To me, that is a far more interesting question than whether the Qur’an can be interpreted violently. Of course it can be interpreted violently! That’s a simple fact that no one can argue against, unless they don’t follow the news or read history. But if you are going to move from the fact that a scripture can be interpreted negatively to then asserting that this interpretation is somehow objectively prior to any other interpretation, I will kindly ask you to justify your profound insight into the realm of Platonic forms.

  • Jim C.

    Andrea -I’m a history buff, so there’s plenty to see and do in that region.I’ve traveled quite a bit all over the world, and the only time I’ve ever been invited into the home of someone I just met that was far, far poorer than I was and given a nice meal was in Syria.

  • Civic Republican

    So? What, indeed, is “true Islam”? What are “the mainstream and normative doctrines and laws” that are universally indicative statements of true Islam? All we are given are historicist apologetics, as in – - – “Like all scriptures, Islamic sacred texts must be read within the social and political contexts in which they were revealed. It is not surprising that the Quran, like the Hebrew scriptures or Old Testament, has verses that address fighting and the conduct of war. The world in which the Islamic community emerged was a rough neighborhood. Arabia and the city of Mecca, in which Muhammad lived and received God’s revelation, were beset by tribal raids and cycles of vengeance and vendetta. The broader Near East, in which Arabia was located, was itself divided between two warring superpowers, the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) and the Sasanian (Persian) empires.”Mr Esposito needs to do better than offer the obvious of historical relativism.Grade = C-

  • Mark

    I see a lot of speculation and history in these postings but one thing seems to be unmentioned. In todays world there is sectarian violence in the Middle East, Indonesia, Phillipines, Balkans, Chechnea, India-Pakistan, the list goes on. The only common denominator is Islam.

  • Luke

    Kamyar you are a gentleman and a scholar. Everything needs an update once in a while. Hopefully a little culture and a bit of compassion could resolve the issue but we get so angry defending ourselves and our way of life that we throw that to the wind. I think I made the point about how religion is influenced by culture. You really have to understand the culture to know the religion, and that is why religion must change or people with think it nonsensical.

  • frank collins

    i read everything about islam – the difference is i dont believe it just becasue someone wrote it down, especially if it conflicts with the koran. you want islamic history – no problem.

  • Squarepants

    I HAVE A small POINT TO MAKE: Think about it ladies and gentlemen, people can live in Europe (most countries) or in the US and can still criticise Christianity or Judaism (in some cases) and not fear death threats being made against them. Try doing that to Islam…go to a muslim-majority country such as Saudi Arabia, Iran or Pakistan and criticise Islam and see what happens. Hell, try doing that sitting ANYWHERE in the world and see what happens (case in point: Salman Rushdie, Prophet cartoons etc.). Tolerance towards ideologic opposition, towards people with different beliefs is what any religion should be about. My way or the highway? That’s no true religion, that’s a farce, that’s a cult!

  • Luke

    So the Crusades were a defensive war, wow, someone just re-wrote history. Can you re-write mine Frank, I want to be a Viking!

  • Andrea

    Jim C,I am quite jealous of your travels. Here I thought I was quite the world traveler having spent 2 weeks in Cambodia

  • Russell D.

    I think it’s time I share something personal. But when I show them, I will make the very strong statement that I make about Christianity and every other religion. Don’t follow the group, follow your heart. Religion isn’t a bad thing, overall it is a good thing. You just have to be careful to guard against the ones who would choose to use that religion against you and others. I hope that this can bring some light to this rather dark discussion.

  • Kamyar

    Frank Collins – I agree that it is damn near impossible to find common ground amongst those that are so bent upon the destruction of others. They hide behind masks, make silly video tapes about their hatred, and make threats unto others. Sadly, in some cases, nothing can be done about those individuals.Society needs to be much more adaptive and forward-thinking than this. We can’t just simply react to every situation and dismiss all possibility of healing.There are MILLIONS of young people that are born into Islam. Those individuals that teach peace and love need to be elevated and their message must be sent.Perhaps I am somewhat naive to believe that there is still some hope in setting forth some changes. However, this is a problem that won’t go away and cannot be ignored and something must be done about it.I know that if you were to follow the news in the last few decades, the impression you were to get of the Middle East would be less than welcoming. To that, I apologize. I feel ashamed of my ancestors country’s government, Iran, simply because our past was so beautiful and the news today we in the Western World hear about over there is quite grim.But I do know that if enough moderates that are just sick of the current situation come forward, something can be done to save future generations. Sitting silent is not an option any longer.

  • Luke

    The thing is, I think it has less to do with the religion and more to do with the culture. Can you not see that point? If you live in a land of tyrants and constant fear, you are going to adhere to some kind of violent ideology. If you replaced the Muslims with Christians I would bet money that the same thing would happen.

  • frank collins

    yes the crusades were a defensive war! christians were being robbed and held for ransom, holy sites to christians were being taken over by islam – like the dome of the rock taking over the temple mount of the jews. by the time the crusades took place islam had butchered and murdered itself into east and central and north africia, had butchered itself into india, and had moved into christian sites in lebanon, syria, turkey, spain, and was moving into italy. yes the first crusades were defensive. the following ones were nuts, but the first one was to stop islam’s murdering itself into other countries. why do you think that the pope quoted a 10th century pope who said that it was evil that islam as a religion was entitled to murder to force converts. when it was brought up today – islam again rioted saying it was through the koran that they had a right to kill to force acceptance of islam.

  • Luke

    OK, so my point isn’t clear. It doesn’t matter what we do, it is going to be next to impossible to get the people of the Middle East to embrace us, but the culture is the defeating factor, not the religion.

  • frank collins

    when the only book taught for 1400 years is the koran, and it is explained in the mosque, there to make people who are dirt poor feel like they are better than someone else, ie, jews and christians and hindus, then it is a matter of religion. in the west we have past the age where religion controlls counries political leanings, its only personal. but in islamic countries, its religion that controlls. look at egypt – they have constant battles over islam taking control of the county. india and pakistan – they fight over religion and murder each other with axes and knives – entire villages. and when the issue is a new mosque or temple – well the blood flows like water there. you see islam considers hindu idolitors as the vilest scum not worthy of life.

  • Luke

    Speaking of Vikings, the Viking robbed and stole from people too, and didn’t do it in the name of religion, so maybe the idea is that people will use the guise of religion to do a lot of evil things – and no matter how “evil” the religion is, it is the culture that spawns it. It’s not like some dude said “Hey, let’s kill stuff!” and every man, woman and child came running out and killing Christians. It is the culture that is to blame – if one hated so fervently they wouldn’t need but a single voice to maim, kill, and torture – I mean, look at America.

  • Deb

    Mathew:I’m sorry, but I do have a bit of a problem with your post. I read those stories, and what I see are examples of shrouded persecution, because they believe they share the same beginnings. “Oh, look how nice we are to these people, as long as they pay us money, and wear the clothes we tell them to wear, and don’t cause any trouble.” No group of people likes to be under the control of another group of people. What these stories don’t tell you about is all the violent wars that were concurrently going on with the neighboring, non-Abrahamic peoples.

  • frank collins

    there were wars and they will always go on. the difference is that islam fights as a matter of religion, not for the ordinary reasons that people and countries fight wars. name one other religion that demands that the religion be spread through violence – not by individuals – but the religion itself – like the koran does. the bible does not do it. i am not sur about hindu, but i have never heard it of them.

  • Kamyar

    Luke,You do bring up a valuable point, and I see what you mean now. I think over time, at least for a lot of people, the lines between culture and religion appear to blur into one, even though there is a distinct difference.While both cultures could learn something from one another, there will always be tension. I don’t see the Western World readily embracing the Middle East any more than the Middle East embraces the West. Sometimes, I wonder, if trying too hard to create a bridge would cause more problems than solve.

  • Pluralism

    Andrea,Go to those places now and preach that Jesus is the Son of God and see what happens to you. If you dare say something about Muhammad or Allah you will most likely lose your life. You will not be writing on this thread that is for sure. Everyone on this thread needs to get something straight. The Islamic worldview does not allow for pluralism. Stop trying to impose pluralism on Islam it does not and will not work. All the pluralists on this thread go and try to impose pluralism on the Islamic countries. You can see how it is working in Iraq. Wake up before it is too late for America. France, England, and many other European nations are on the verge of accepting some level of sharia law. Eurarbia is coming will the USA follow or will she awaken from her politically correct slumber?.

  • Andrea

    Frank Collins,I am starting to see your point now. And some of the ideas you raise are valid. But I don’t think we should take only the parts of the Quran that deal with violence to identify what Islam is.

  • Andrea

    Pluralism,Why me?Russell D.,Thanks for sharing what your wife went through with her identity. I don’t know if this relates, but I was sharing my pride of being German with another person, and a Jewish man I worked with at the time accosted me because of what my people did to his people. Was your wife not proud of her heritage because of the violence in its past? I’m so glad for her she was able to overcome that with your help. But, if she’s so beautiful, what was all that nonsense about Luke’s sister??

  • Deb

    Kamyar,I think the tension will always be there, because the difference in cultures isn’t just one of people doing things differently. It’s a matter of thinking differently, and feeling differently. You can teach people that “in our culture we do this or that,” but you can’t teach them to think or feel a particular way; so much of that is born and bred into a person.

  • Russell D.

    Andrea:Thank you for your response.

  • Deb

    Andrea,Did you know that one of the Professors who was killed at VTech Monday was a Holocaust survivor who was teaching German at the university?

  • Anonymous

    Who wants to keep Americans scared? Muslims? Nope! There are 10 million living peacefully in the US already.NEO-CONS (wolfowitz, feith, pearle, Kristol) and the Israel Lobby (AIPAC)! Fear = control = good politics for who want to fund their war in Iraq to protect Israel and to line the pockets of their families and friends in the defense industry.EVIL!!!

  • Andrea

    Deb,I did know he was a survivor, but I didn’t know he was teaching German. Perhaps having survived such a tragedy gave him the strength to save his students. From what little I know about him, the world is a better place because he lived.

  • Andrea

    Russell D.,I’m not worried. I can tell by how you talk about her.

  • Apolitically Correct

    Anonymous,If you do not want control you do not want Islam. Do you even know what you are talking about? I do not think so and I am afraid to say it but it sounds like more than half the people involved in this discussion have been brainwashed by our politically correct universities and media. This issue needs to be settled with reasoned debate but I am afraid that most of our nation has been indoctrinated to the effect that reason is hard to find.

  • Kamyar

    Frank,I’m sorry but it sounds like you are more interested in spreading false propaganda. You are making too many absolute statements when I hardly see you backing any of it up with facts. You are, in essence, resorting to begging the question, which means that your argument is “Islam is violent and evil because Islam is violent and evil.”Yes, you do point out many, MANY references to violence. However, I have repeatedly mentioned that the book was written back in a time when the social norms allowed this to happen and that similar references were found in the Old Testament. The Christians, however, were smart enough to address those references in the New Testament.You tried to back up your facts with the Crusades, unfortunately, you forgot the fact that Pope Urban II turned the crusades into a religious war when all Alexius I wanted was some mercenaries to help defend the Byzantine Empire. You also forgot to mention the mobs of Christian crusaders that slaughtered Jews along the way; even those who were given sanctuary in Christian churches. Everything non-Christian, including Pagans, were considered infidels by the Christians and beheaded, as directed by the Pope.This does not reflect badly in Christianity in any way, as it happened WAY into the past when war was the way of life, but try to present both sides of the story and not just the Catholic side.I don’t buy a lot of what you’re saying. Terrorists for the longest time have stated that their reasoning for attacking the West is because of the Western World’s encroachment of the Middle East in the form of propping up puppet governments and military bases.That is not in defense of the terrorists, as I’ve stated before, settling grievances should be through open dialog and elections and not through suicide bombs. Those that resort to violence to settle grievances lack proper education, enlightenment, and humanity.But I think you have far deeper issues with Islam than you are alluding to. You keep generalizing EVERY Muslim with the terrorists. Perhaps it is through your lack of direct experience with the different cultures and religions, and in this case, you are justified as the only news you hear about the Middle East is bad news. But this constant “THE MUSLIMS ARE OUT TO GET US” chanting is far from healthy. I cannot imagine living life with such paranoia.Question: Have you tried talking to a Muslim about their views and how they feel about some of the topics you are bringing up?Another question: Any Muslims on this forum that would like to address Frank’s views on Islam?I will agree with one of your points you made in an earlier post: “want islam to be a religion of peace, strike from the koran those saying that demand conversion or death. that would be a good start.” This is the point that I was trying to make earlier – those that wish to spread peace and prosperity should be given all of the resources necessary to spread their message.It’s not THAT easy, but as you say, it’s a start.

  • frank collins

    andea – look at it this way. a person says he believes in and lives his life by a book, and you read that book and part of it says be nice and kind and another part says hate and kill anyone not like you or will not become like you. further, that you must follow the commands of the book. and further, you can force them to become like you. what do you think of that person?

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Pablo,You wrote:”I am not trying to hide anything. If someone murders in the name of Jesus they are in conflict with His words and His example.”So why did the Vicars of Christ on Earth, the Popes, call for the Crusades?

  • frank collins

    ill get into this about the crusades. the islamics had taken over what was called the holy land by murdering anyone who got in their way. remember that the holy lands were open to all until moho started at war around 629 ad. so after taking them by force, and robbing pilgrams and holding them for ransom, as well as murdering them, the pope called for a crusade to open the path so pilgrams could go to the holy lands.

  • wiccan

    So, Frank, what is your solution to the problem of Muslim extremists?

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    It is very simple, eliminate the militant and anti-female passages in the Koran. The NT has been cleansed, by the likes of Armstrong and Crossan and the Jesus Seminarians. The OT has been relegated to the myth pile. It is time to bring the Koran into the modern world via a good realistic bath.

  • Russell D.

    Ok, I have one for ya. What about the slaughter of the Templars? That was given a go by the Pope at the time.

  • speed123

    Popes, crusades, Knights Templar…is this Dan Brown posting under various screen names. You people should get together and write a book!PS – the secular, atheist international communist movement killed more people in the last 100 years than any religion has in 2000 years – so put that in your pipe and smoke it.If you really want to find evil today look at the neo-cons, international bankers (rothschild), and corporations who spread the gospel of materialism.

  • dan

    If the radical so called muslims are a small percentage of the muslim population, then I agree. Re-write the koran and bring it up to date in what is acceptable in todays world. Moderate muslims should call for a NK and the OK should be banned for use in teachings anywhere in the world. That way the future radicals of tomorrow whould not be able to “hijack” the message and hide behind the religon. Evil could be seen for what it is….a morally corrupt group of individuals without any religon at all.

  • Pablo

    As far as the straw man known as the crusades used by atheists and Muslims and many other who hate the Christian God I would say that there were many injustices done by the crusaders but the question is were they acting consistently with the teachings of Christ when they acted in an ungodly way. The testimony of scripture is a resounding no. Jesus said to “turn the other cheek,” and “love your enemies.” He said, “do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” Muhammad on the other hand said,” Slay the infidels.” He shed blood himself and his true followers walk in his footsteps today.I am not defending the Catholic Church. The crusades were a response to the Islamic conquest by the sword of Arabia and Palestine. I know that teachers do not teach this very much anymore but it is the truth. Most of these so-called teachers have a political agenda and openly hate God. Therefore, they have rewritten history and have indoctrinated the masses. God ordained government has been instituted to keep peace in society. People who break the rules of society are to be judged righteously by the governing authorities. Christians are to take up the cause of the weak and are to guard the downtrodden. Totalitarianism is an abuse of God instituted government. When evil kings and dictators are in power good men are to stand up and protect the weak and the poor. Sometimes this demands war. This is in the Context of a Good GovernmentPablo

  • Deb Chatterjee

    I think John Esposito is in the payroll of the Saudis – who preach Wahabi fundamentalism witn a kind face. Dr. Esposito has an axe to grind about Islamic terrorism and its support in the Quran. Maulana Maudoodi, in his monograph JIHAD IN ISLAM, has unanimously stated that the objective of Islam is to establish Islamic laws all over the world. Islam does not respect artificial boundaries like secular republics. If Islam has to use force to attain these objectives, so be it ! This is Maudoodi’s view. Who is right ? Esposito or Maudoodi ? (Similar views are echoed by Sayyid Qutb in his book MILESTONES.) Why can Muslims collect money and send Esposito on a whirlwind tour of mid-east, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Phillipines to debate with the Muslim fundamentalists and win the argument ? Instead of misleading westerners with how “benign” the Quran is, and that and this surah has been misinterpreted, why not convince these murderers first ? Academic lectures are fine but essentially worthless when many Muslims have embraced Wahabi fundamentalism and not John Esposito’s academic babble.

  • speed123

    Right, Deb…anyone who questions the Israeli lobby and mass media about their good v. evil narrative for the middle east conflicts is paid by the Saudis.Just like Jimmy Carter was paid to write is truthful book – Peace not Aparthied – on the Conflict.Trying to kill free speech are you? Typical for neo-cons i.e. anyone who disagrees is an “anti-semite” or are “paid-off”

  • 4th watch

    God will raise a nation or man up to accomplish his sovereign purpose. In 732ad Islam was on fire and consuming the better part of the then known world.Do Muslims believe there religion saves them,or is it there god?

  • jdwill

    Matthew 7:16One simple question. If the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, why do radical Islamist parties always do so well when there are elections in Islamic countries?I will stick to reading my bible, and let the Muslims show me the light of the Quran through their actions.

  • victoria

    well, im irish american and i take no pride in relating this- but the first proponent of urban guerilla warfare- (or terrorism) was irelands own michael collins, i hope no one takes it out on me for being proud of my irish heritage.

  • Anonymous

    Joel states:”Both the Quran and the Hadith are filled with racist, genocidal, and yes even satanic verses.”So is the Jewish Babylonia TALMUD, you hypocrite. It is a blue print for racial superiority and discrimination that is carried out in Israel today.I could quote from it but I dont have time.

  • Jim C.

    The Crusades were not a defensive war. A simple reading of first person accounts shows that Christians were not being slaughtered in the holy land. Europe had a population problem, there were plenty of knights with no prospects for land b/c their older brothers inherited their father’s estate. These landless knights were starting to fight amongst themselves, causing quite a bit of trouble. The Crusades were a convenient way to use up that excess energy. Well, that’s one explanation anyway. However, the idea of the Crusades as a defensive war is laughable. After Charles Martel defeated the Islamic invasion, there were no serious attacks from the Muslims into Europe. Invasions of one culture into another culture has occurred throughout history, and will continue. All it takes is an ambitious leader to capitalize on people’s natural distrust of people not like themselves, and blam – war.What good has Islam brought? Well, you know those things called numbers — you know they’re called “Arabic numerals”. That’s b/c while Christians were burning the works of Aristotle and bashing each other on the head, Arabs preserved the works of the Greeks, and expanded on it introducing math and such back into Europe.There are plenty of problems in the Islamic world, but it is a human problem. I would bet any amount of money that if you put Christians in the same situation, they would act in similar ways. By way of an example, I’ll offer you George Habash who was one of the earliest Palestinian terrorists who also grew up a Palestinian Christian. Or I could point to the slaughter of Sabra and Shatila by Lebanese Christians.

  • Rogan Josh

    Prof Eposito, you say that the “sword verses” are cited by critics to demonstrate the inherently violent nature of Islam and its scripture and further go on to give two examples. To quote you:“When the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush” (9:5)? To this you say:So, in effect, you say that muslims are allowed to kill people if they do not submit to Islam (READ: covert to Islam), prostrate themselves before muslims and pay a tax just for not being muslim. And IN SPITE OF ALL THIS, you say, islam is not inherently a violent religion? You state: “(Islam) neither supports nor requires illegitimate violence”. You are not serious, are you?The very statements you quote from the islamic scriptures point to the fact that muslims are asked to convert people to islam, failing which they are to exceute these “non-believers”!! Though I hate her, I have to agree with Ann Coulter on one account, “Though all muslims are not terrorists, all terrorists ARE muslims”. Take a look around the world and you will see you yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Rogan:Pretty sure that Eric Rudolph and friends are not Muslim. But I get your drift.

  • Jihadist

    Oy vey, We certainly don’t need the Qur’anic “sword verses” or to be Muslims to wage wars. Now we have the UN Charter to define what is just or unjust war, what is legitimate or illegal war, what is aggression or otherwise. It’s the new Holy Text. And when was the last time any Muslim state or Muslim stop a war due to some other state paying the zakat? The last I checked, even Iran-Iraq (both Muslim states) war don’t subsbribe to this principal. And also, when was the last time a Muslim state wage war against another state just because the other state is non-Muslim? As for zakat, Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia pay state taxes like everyone else and zakat too (minimal compared to taxes) as a secondary tax deductible contributions for charitable purposes and for maintainance of religious houses and institutions.Which century is everyone talking of about Islam and Muslims? Much needed to be done to modernize Muslims, the majority of whom live in developing countries. But to just claim them to be thinking and living in a time warp is to ignore the educational, social and economic state of non-Muslims in Africa and Asia whose lives are no less, no more like Muslims in poverty – the great impediment for social progress.

  • Ahmed Bahrain

    It pays to read the earlier history of Islam and put Mohammad’s experience into context. Those verses quoted refer to a time of violence against Mohammad unlike what some of you have reported here. Mohammad stayed peaceful even when he was driven from his hometown of Mecca into exile in Medina for 11 years. He chose Medina becuase of its tolerant Christians yet other tribes ganged against him and come after him in Medina. Many of his followers were angry at his non-violent approach until he received the war-in-defence revelations. Even then his enemies resorted to much treachery and underhand in trying to uproot his message and his people. The revelations noted are for those times orderding Mohammad to either fight them, OR accept their peace for a tax return to live under his protection as the Arab custom was and still is in places like Hadhramaut and Yemen OR to convert and pay taxes like any other muslim. Note peace was preferred if the oppostion asked for it since it was them who came after the prophet and his people. One has to remember that all this was done to create a civil society since by their nature tribes were seeking dominance as they still do in Afghanistan and Iraq. Witness how a violent crowd hears no reason and blow up anyone and anything. This is certainly not how God wanted us to be. It is clear from verses that God wanted us to experience a form of peace and then contemplate the spiritual side of ourselves, since one can not be at peace if one is repeatedly under the threat of being killed. This is exactly why Mohammad left Mecca after many of his family and followers were killed. This is exactly why many Muslims leave their homelands to exercise their religion free from abuse. Please read this history of early Islam. The crowning glory of Mohammad’s leadership is when he finally become strong and moved with a major army to reclaim Mecca without any bloodshed and when they performed their pilgrimage Mohammad gave the key of the city of Mecca to his adversary (an honour in Arabia) and did not leave one of his soldiers in Mecca save those who wished to return to civil life and regain their homes in Mecca. If the man was violent then he surely would have exercised his contempt and violence against those who did the same to him. Yet history and Quran tells us he came in peace and left in peace when he was strong. This is where Quran declared “you to your religion and me to mine. Neither I worship what you worship, nor I expect you to worship what I worship.” This the final chapter of his domain. Live and let live. Let us have peace so we can move on to higher stuff. Again please read widely before you make repeated untruths. As for current turmoil in the M.E., it has a history of Western interference for over a hundred years. You reap what you sow. Again read the history of British/American interference since the 1920′s. Every single country has had its share of CIA/MI5. What do you think your re-action would be if Arab/Muslim coutries or the Japanese for that matter did the same to your countries? 911 and still you are killing many more people. If there is revenge it should be enough! It is human nature. No one wants to be dominated by force. Let us see ourselves as human beings and rise above our differences. One people and stop denigrading each other for the sins of our people in the past. We have no control over what they did but have much control over our own actions and what we do/say today.This hate cycle must be broken before we can see any peace. “God does not change a people until they change what is inside them.” Quran. Everyone wants to change the world but no one wants to change themselves. We all want to go to Heaven but no one wants to die!! Yet this is the death of The EGO.Much love to ALL Creation.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    When a great many active adherents of a religion are indiscriminate murderers (terrorists) and torturers (see Iraq) you have to ask, “What does their religion teach them?”

  • Veritos

    Islam is bent on the destruction of every worldview that does not line up with the rule of Islam and this flows directly from the words of the Qur’an and the example of the so-called prophet. The Qur’an teaches that true Islam will subjugate the whole world. We need to reject authentic Islam and its evil ideology. The true Muslims want to infiltrate every country at every level. They start out peaceful until they get a foothold. Just look at Asia Minor, North Africa, and the Middle East. All these places once had large numbers of Christians now many are war zones. If someone were to publicly suggest that Jesus is the Son of God in any of these places they would do so at the risk of their lives. Lebanon used to be the Paris of the Middle East and now it is a place where Christians have to fear for their lives. Look at what is happening in France now. The police are afraid to go into some neighborhoods because the true Muslims will come running out of their apartments and stone and fire bomb their police cars. Look at what is happening in England. The true Muslims preach openly on the streets that they are not citizens of the UK. They preach that true Islam is going to take over the world. Our political correctness has blinded us to the truth about the murderous prophet Muhammad and the teaching of the Qur’an. The true Muslims will set up Sharia Law once they get enough power in any country. The last place we need authentic Muslims is in our government. Opps, I guess that was not politically correct. Oh well, I do not care about political correctness. I care about my country. I care about all the people who are being butchered by true Muslims. Where is the Charles Martel of today? I dedicate the telling of these truths to my brothers who were killed in the Marine Barracks in Lebanon by true Muslims. I have not forgotten their sacrifice.Veritas vos Liberabit

  • 4th watch

    Ahmed—VictoriaAlso, what is more important to Muslims, the religion or Allah?

  • Floyd Johnson

    Sorry Professor I am not swayed by your essay but maybe you will have an impact on Islamic fundamentalists some day. Maybe you will help bring Islamic and political thought in the Middle East into this century. We can hope but everthing still tells me there is more than just sweet poetry of peace and ‘war verses’ simply taken out of context in the Koran.

  • Pablo

    What I write below does not come from hatred of Muslim people. I write it because it is the truth and truth must expose all that is false. I love all people because all people are made in the image of God. One needs to know the truth so that they can be set free from a lie. Therefore, I write this out of love for people who are ensnared by a lie.Muhammad was nice to Christians and Jews at first and that is the source of the positive verses about the people of the book (Christians and Jews). When the Christians and Jews rejected his revelations as not from God he became violent towards them. Qur’an 9 the Jihad chapter abrogates all the nice verses about the people of the book. It is written in the Qur’an: “None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things”(Qur’an 2:106)? One example of “abrogation is as follows”“There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut {idolatry} and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower” (2:256).This verse was done away by:“Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun {unbelievers} wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat {the Islamic ritual prayers}), and give Zakat {alms}, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Qur’an 9:5).In other words repent or die by the hands of Muslims.That is why there are so many anti-Christian verses and sayings in the Qur’an and in the Haddiths about Christians and Jews.Pablo

  • Al-Shawkani

    Al-Shawkani in his book السيل الجرار (Alsaylu Jarar 4:518-519) says: “Islam is unanimous about fighting the unbelievers and forcing them to Islam or submitting and paying Jiziah (special tax paid only by Christians or Jews) or being killed. [The verses] about forgiving them are abrogated unanimously by the obligation of fighting in any case.”

  • David

    I hope someone can come up with better apologetics for the swords verses than this! As Rogan Josh has already pointed out, the greater context of these verses is not much more comforting: I won’t be slaughtered if I fulfill my ‘devotional obligations’, pay a muslim tax and ‘feel subdued’! As an atheist I think I’m still in trouble.Why can’t god instruct his devoted to write holy books that avoid all the swords, burnings and general intolerance? Is it to keep modern theologians in business as they squirm around trying to justify or nullify the numerous horrid moral instructions in the quran, bible and other ‘holy’ books?

  • victoria

    sadly jihadist- i turned on a program on public television – its a new series called america at the crossroads- and is ostensibly about muslims- well, now its time for the wrap up- really jihadist, midst all this bloodshed and oppressing of people- how do you find time to conduct your international financing? what a sad and disappointing picture they gave. uh-oh- there are some crazed IDF’s tearing up the street nd shooting guns and screaming anti-american propoganda- no wonder people are terrified- if this were my source of information- id be terrified too. alhamdoulila though- i have a brain.peace

  • Mavaddat

    The idea that there is a “true” Islam is akin to the idea that there is a “true” recipe for blue berry muffins.Islam is whatever its followers interpret it to be. There are just as many different ways to interpret Islamic scripture as there are kinds of Islam. None of them is any “truer” than the next, although some are more selective in the passages they give importance or priority to than others.Ultimately, any religion is going to be followed on the basis of picking and choosing what passages speak to the followers of that religion. Islam is no different from Christianity or Judaism in this respect. It just so happens that Muslims have particularly violent options to choose from when they read their holy scripture. But then again, the verses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are none-the-prettier.The problem is that the normally changing moral zeitgeist has been artificially stagnated in the Islamic world. People’s natural moral sentiments (such as tending to want more openness to human sexuality) have been held back and placed under perverse strictures by a culture of paranoia toward all values associated with “Western liberalism.” Ironic that the same paranoia is echoed by conservatives in the United States without their realizing that they thereby tacitly support the agenda of their Islamic fundamentalist counterparts.

  • Ghostbuster

    jdwill asked: “One simple question. If the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, why do radical Islamist parties always do so well when there are elections in Islamic countries?”The 2006 Palestinian elections are a glaring example. When given a choice, they chose Hamas.

  • Russell D.

    While I have not been a very devout reader when it comes to Islam, I have found that the religion has the same types of people as its followers, yet go about it in very different ways. You’ve got the “regulars” as I like to call em, the ones who adhere to the religon and its beliefs, yet are friendly, cordial, and do not push their beliefs onto others. I would say that both sets of believers for the two religions are basically the same in that aspect. Then there are the “wild cards”. These are the ones who seem to think that they are always right, never faulter, and say it’s our God’s way or the highway. Yet this is where the two sets of followers differ. The “wild cards” of Christianity today do push beliefs onto others, yet they use guilt, bereavement, and damnation to threaten others, with the promise that they will sit beside Jesus in Heaven. The “wild cards” of Islam also push beliefs onto others. Yet they seem to adhere to the violence of the Koran as justification, and gladly use it to push thier agendas. And in the end, they are promised a multitude of virgins waiting for them in Heaven. All I am saying is that there is good and bad in both religions. Cut people some slack and get over yourselves. Not every Muslim is gonna kill you because you don’t believe, and not every Christian is gonna damn you to Hell because you don’t believe. Two sides of a coin, two sides of a coin.

  • sok7

    Islam is not a violent religion, but that does not mean that Muslims, especially Middle Eastern Muslims, do not have beliefs that encourage the current level of Islamic violence.Islam has divided the world into Believers and Infidels. They believe it’s an Us-versus-Them world. So far that is not much different than how many other religions view things. But in much of the Islamic world, people live with a belief that loyalty to other Muslims takes precedence over the moral teachings of the Koran. These non-violent Muslims would never report an act of violence by a Believer against an Infidel. And they would never support the extradition of a Muslim accused of murder or terrorism into the hands of Godless Infidels for trial or punishment.If a non-violent Muslim turns his face so that he does not see the violence, then he is a part of the violence.If a non-violent Muslim will not speak to report and condemn violence, then he is a part of the violence.If a non-violent Muslim does not believe the murder of a non-believer is as much a crime against the teachings of the Koran as the murder of a man who calls himself a Muslim, then he is a part of the violence. So long as the vast, non-violent majority of Muslims place Islamic loyalty above Islamic moral teaching, much of the world will continue to see Islam as a Violent Religion.

  • Mavaddat

    Pablo,Although I vaguely agree with the conclusions of what you wrote, I think you make three mistakes in your post:First, the historical basis of the change in Muhammad’s attitude toward Jews (his attitude did not change toward Christians) was a result of their betraying him. Why one tribe’s betraying a supposed messenger of God would cause that messenger to alter his opinion about the truth is very hard to say (couldn’t God foresee that Muhammad would be betrayed? why didn’t God just tell him the “truth” about Jews to begin with?).Second, the verse you cited (Surah 9:5) when read in conjunction with the two preceding verses, as well as with 2:190-194, seems to relate to warfare *already in progress* with people who have become guilty of a breach of treaty obligations and of aggression.Lastly, in Islamic parlance, the word Mushrikun refers to pagans and polytheists, not to “the People of the Book,” who include Christians and Jews. So while the Qur’an frequently sanctions the killing of pagans, it is not so clear that it allows the same of Christians or Jews (at least, not *because* of their being Jews or Christians, but because they betray an oath, etc.)

  • Jerry Hall

    Hello, Russell D.Interestingly enough, Jesus is mentioned more often in the Quran than Mohammed is. In the Quran as in the Bible’s Book of Revelations, it is Jesus who arrives at the end of days. But Christians know Jesus as the Son of God, the ultimate blood sacrifice who died on the cross for all of humanities’ sins and the Prince of Peace who never took a human life, never sinned while on Earth and taught that to follow God’s will, one must love God above all and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. What is so “hateful” about that?

  • frank collins

    what koran are you reading, or are you just lying to people. moho hated cristians and jews and was not to happy about hindu’s either. he considered them even lower than jews. he denied the divinity of jesus and said anyone who called person born of a woman god, should be killed. not only did he say dont have the above as friends, dont work with them, if they try to tell you about their religion and/or would not convert to islam, THEY SHOULD BE KILLED! oh, i forgot, holding them for ransom and cutting off limbs is also ok. if anyone wants to see a version of the koran you can log onto any university that you feel is valid, stay away from the kkk sites and others of that ilk, and read the koran in english. there are approved versions on the university sites. do a word search. its not that they think they have the only true religion, no problem, its not that they dont want to associate with others, no problem, its that part of the koran that COMMANDS KILLING THEM! and dont tell the bible does the same – it doesn’t. the bible reports historical events, including bloody wars and battles. the bible does not command the murder of others as prospective demanded conduct for jews or chirstians. here are some quotes:

  • Mavaddat

    I think all these protests that Islam is not a violent religion must be understood as merely suggesting that *there exists* an interpretation of Islam (or a picking and choosing of its scripture) such that the religion does not appear to be violent.But who cares? Anything can be interpreted to mean anything if one is willing to do the proper intellectual gymnastics to achieve their desired conclusion. The important question is not, “Is Islam a religion of violence?” but rather, “Do Muslims tend to be violent believers?”Regardless of what you think the answer is to the latter question, it is far more relevant than all this talk of “true” Islam, or the Idea of Islam, or as-it-exists-in-Plato’s-heaven Islam, or Islam an sich. Such theoretical discussions mask the real motives of actual Muslims, and really do not advance our understanding of the issues at hand, which are far more complex than proper interpretation of scripture…

  • Anonymous

    Matthew :”Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”The worst bloodshed ever happened in world history happened in Christiandom. So the fruits of the Christiandom tree is really bitter and thorny…

  • Jihadist

    JDWILL asked: “One simple question. If the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, why do radical Islamist parties always do so well when there are elections in Islamic countries?”Ghostbuster answered : The 2006 Palestinian elections are a glaring example. When given a choice, they chose Hamas.The PLO is corrupt and ineffective. Hamas delivers better social services. So, they get voted in. Islamist parties are voted in when “secular” governments from Algeria to Turkey failed to deliver. And in Algeria, the party voted in were purged by the military and the elections results declared invalid. Nary a protest from the west. And we have to wonder why Muslims are cynical about democracy as promoted and “exported” by the US in the Middle East.VictoriaSome of the kind of news that do not really get reported about the Muslim world is Islamic banking and finance. A growth sector and which even Citibank and HSBC are making the most profits of. Even Japanese banks are getting into it and very enthusiastic too in my latest visit there. They don’t want to miss out. For your information, a Wall Street banker we also relied on is a very longststanding supporter and contributor of AIPAC. We know, and he know that we know, but business is business. Venting against Islam and Muslims is another. It would seem that Muslims are more “professional” in this regard. We gave him generous commissions and fees and he supported Israeli interests with some of the monies we gave him. It is his right, as it is my right to contribute to Palestinian refugees among others.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous wrote:”The worst bloodshed ever happened in world history happened in Christiandom.”I’m not sure what you are referring to – could be the crusades. What you don’t seem to understand is that this did not happen because of any teachings of Christianity or the bible. This happened because the Byzantines asked for some help when the Muslims started trying to take their land, and it snowballed into huge proportions of a “we’re better and stronger than you” war of epic proportions. The important point here is that Christianity was not, and is not, a religion that taught its followers to kill those who did not believe. The crusades were a travesty caused by men who used their positions to convince people that their cause was justified, but they were not scriptural in any way. Unfortunately I don’t think the same can be said about Islam.

  • speed123

    Give it up Anonymous – get a tag if you have anything worth while to say.Trying to place the blame of last century’s wars on Christianity is not going to work even if you bring in the gospels. You are ignorant of history.Trying to incite hatred/division are you?

  • jdwill

    “The worst bloodshed ever happened in world history happened in Christiandom.”Were the wars, starvations, and murders caused by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot a feature of Christendom?I think not. Anyway, Tu Quoque arguments won’t help me make an evaluation of Islam. Only the actions of Muslims will.If Muslims continue to demonstrate a willingness to violence as evidenced by the Danish Cartoon riots, eg., then I will consider these as my guides in any evaluation of Islam.

  • Anonymous

    Just in the last one hundred years, the following might give you a pose to think. The numbers speak for themselves:Spanning much of the globe, World War II started by Christians and over Christian lands resulted in the deaths of over 72 million people, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.World war I, which took place primarily in Christian Europe between 1914 and 1918 resulted in 9.7 million soldiers dead and 10 millions of civilians deaths.The genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia from 1992-95 started by the Christian Serbs against their Muslim countrymen caused the displacement of more than 2,000,000 people, an estimated 250,000 killed, tens of thousands raped or otherwise tortured and abused, and the innocent civilians of Sarajevo and other urban centers repeatedly subjected to shelling and sniper attacks.Today in Iraq, an estimated 700,000 dead and 2,000,000 people displaced caused beacuse of the unprovoked attack against a Muslim country by, you guessed it, a Christian country. Most of the Cristian leaders condone the war and lobbied for for it since the biginning. They say regular folks don’t get it but our president does. What they mean by that is thst this is a war between Islam and Chritianty. Killing the heathens is OK according to the Christian world view.

  • Forgive

    jdwill,Forgive them for they no not what they are saying. They have been indoctrinated by our Christian God hating media and educational system. You are right atheistic systems have murdered multitudes.

  • Anonymous

    Yassar Arrafat was given a peace prize. The prize is worthless.

  • Pablo

    nitpicker,because God commanded him to

  • Andrea

    Forgive,Why would you think the media hates God?

  • Luke

    Well, Jesus sure as hell didn’t invent the microwave. Take God out of the picture, and the human race advances. Sometimes you have to toss the bad kids off of the bus, but that is evolution – and it’s been going on for millions of years.

  • Andrea

    Luke,Man, when I rode the bus, I was one of the bad kids…

  • speed123

    The last post is BS! Wars in the last century were not started because of faith in God – they were started by the lack of it or by using it in a political fashion. It was the ideologies of Fascism and Communism (and their battle for power) that killed millions not Christianity. There are pathologies to be found in both religion and secular movements of “reason” – blaming only one or the other makes you either a bigot or ignorant…but in your case it is probably a combination of the two.The media likes to divide people along this lines to cause sensationalism and provide stories – stop bickering people! There is middle groud! (although politicans and media would like you to think otherwise)

  • Anonymous

    Are you telling me Hitler rounded up all the Jews, drove the trains, turned the gas in the gas chambers all by himself. The Christ people did that.

  • speed123

    Faith and reason are not mutually exculsive and are not the enemy.Media, politicans, corporations, banking need chaos to stay in power/make money and they highlight division, controversy and hatred to achieve this goal.Wake up!

  • Anonymous

    What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews? Since they live among us and we know about their lying and blasphemy and cursing, we can not tolerate them if we do not wish to share in their lies, curses, and blasphemy. In this way we cannot quench the inextinguishable fire of divine rage nor convert the Jews. We must prayerfully and reverentially practice a merciful severity. Perhaps we may save a few from the fire and flames [of hell]. We must not seek vengeance. They are surely being punished a thousand times more than we might wish them. Let me give you my honest advice.First, their synagogues should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it. And this ought to be done for the honor of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians, and that we have not wittingly tolerated or approved of such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of His Son and His Christians.Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed. For they perpetrate the same things there that they do in their synagogues. For this reason they ought to be put under one roof or in a stable, like gypsies, in order that they may realize that they are not masters in our land, as they boast, but miserable captives, as they complain of incessantly before God with bitter wailing.Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer-books and Talmuds in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught.Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach any more…On The Jews and Their LiesBy Martin Luther – 1543

  • Andrea

    Oh, dear, sweet Martin Luther….He also felt he could chase away the devil by farting.

  • jdwill

    Attributing the Nazi reign of terror and murder to Christianity conflates the evil the German people fell into with their historic ideals and even their own identity.I think the real danger comes from a utopian zealotry. We have seen it in the French Revolution, which had high ideals at its root, and it seems to be agnostic about faith or race.We have seen it in several costumes in the 20th century. Our technological advance has empowered it by bring large masses of people into proximity as never before. This is why radical Islamism is to be feared, it is a fever to build a utopia that will brook no compromise, and I feel this has little to do with the 1400 year history of Islam, even though the zealots apparently use the Islamic texts skillfully. My personal hope is that the great underlying religious traditions can rise to meet this challenge. It is true that many of the stewards of Christianity did not distinguish themselves against Nazism, but Pope John Paul did in fact deal a mighty blow to Soviet Communism. I pray that some champion of the Islamic tradition will stand against the zealotry of the Islamists.

  • Luke

    I guess I see how this question could be considered offensive. What if we re-worded the question as a matter of race. Can we say lawsuit?

  • Anonymous

    Do you think if the Muslims were behind the Holocaust, God forbid, the born Christians would give them the benefit of the doubt…

  • jdwill

    I don’t accept the premise your question is riding on.

  • jdwill

    Anonymous,No handle means you look like a schizophrenic because your view is muddled with the posts of others posting as ‘Anonymous’. Your latest post doesn’t help, either. Does it have a point?For what it’s worth, Martin Luther and Mohammed shared a vexation with the Jews of their respective eras because they courted them only to be rebuffed. No fury like one scorned.

  • Anonymous

    Bear in mind Martin Luther is venerated and honored in Christianity. There are thousands of churches that bear this Christ follower’s name today.

  • Andrea

    Speaking as an ex-Lutheran, I still don’t see what your point was.

  • victoria

    wasnt the nobel prize just given to a muslim, i believe it was bangledesh? for his creative small i am holding out the hope that the series im watching will somewhere start to turn o a positive portrayal of islam so that i ends on a positive note, having already dealt with the issues that cause americans so much anxiety. i was, however, surprised that so very very little attention was paid to the 1998 democratic system that was instituted into the indonesian government. i guess people arent interested in seeing reasonable muslims merging democracy and islam so neatly-

  • Anonymous

    Quran 3:13 Not all of them(Jewish people)are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for God knoweth well those that do right.

  • jdwill

    Luke,”Take God out of the picture, and the human race advances.”When has God been taken out of the picture? Isn’t that a vanity? And while you could argue the totalitarian experiments by the USSR and China made technical advances, one has been repudiated, and the other will either morph or fail. Neither succeeded in completely suppressing mankinds natural affinity to God.

  • Anonymous

    Where do you think the Germans got the idea to murder the Jews from. Antisemetism was taught to them by Luther and is prevelant in the Book of John, if you cared to study it.

  • Anonymous

    I have read and heard many stories about the Jews which agree with this judgment of Christ, namely, how they have poisoned wells, made assassinations, kidnapped children, as related before. I have heard that one Jew sent another Jew, and this by means of a Christian, a pot of blood, together with a barrel of wine, in which when drunk empty, a dead Jew was found. There are many other similar stories. For their kidnapping of children they have often been burned at the stake or banished (as we already heard). I am well aware that they deny all of this. However, it all coincides with the judgment of Christ which declares that they are venomous, bitter, vindictive, tricky serpents, assassins, and children of the devil, who sting and work harm stealthily wherever they cannot do it openly. For this reason, I would like to see them where there are no Christians. The Turks and other heathen do not tolerate what we Christians endure from these venomous serpents and young devils…next to the devil, a Christian has no more bitter and galling foe than a Jew. There is no other to whom we accord as many benefactions and from whom we suffer as much as we do from these base children of the devil, this brood of vipersOn The Jews and Their LiesBy Martin Luther – 1543

  • jdwill

    My point is that if they didn’t have Jews, and had had a visible minority of Muslims, they would have gone after them. They need a ‘goat’ to focus the energy of hatred upon. A similar fate happened to the Armenians. Aboriginal peoples have been evilly treated also.And in the end, where does this argument lead you? Does it help solve the riddle of the rise of Communism in Russia and China? Does it solve the apocalypse unleashed by Pol Pot?More importantly, does it shed any light on what confronts us all today in the guise of radical Islamism?Leave Martin Luther to his rest. Like many figures of history, his great acheivements have blemishes. You can attribute the exact same sin to the founder of Islam. And I don’t think the Jews have a special lock on this fate, but any people that stand apart and face diaspora to become a minority can face it. Ring any bells?

  • Anonymous

    KILI FAQIRAN, Pakistan (AP) – The boy with the knife looks barely 12. In a high-pitched voice, he denounces the bound, blindfolded man before him as an American spy. Then he hacks off the captive’s head to cries of “God is great!” and hoists it in triumph by the hair.

  • tbone11

    The fact is that the world is full of violence and it had to be addressed in the Quran b.c at the time the Arab tribes were constantly violent. The polytheists murdered, tortured, took property and exiled the Muslims. Of course God will grant the rights to fight back. The violence contained in the Quran was used to warn those who were actively transgressing and abusing the Muslims, whether Jewish or polythiest. It was the Jews that broke their treaties with the muslims. Those who use the so called war verses do not understand the responbility that follows warfare. Bin Laden and others easily use these verses because they have a very simple and niave belief that the sword will solve all of Islams problems without realizing the political and economical problems that the Muslims face. The Quran encourages diplomacy, as the Muhammed used many times with tribes and nations (ethiopia, persia). How can there be peace of there is aggression from all sides of humanity?

  • Anonymous

    While all events and genocide of WWII were horrible (10 million Russian Christians killed by the Communist movement started by Jews) we only hear of the holocaust – books, movies, tv etc. etc. Perhaps it is because Jewish men are the CEOs in hollywood and media empire NYC? As for their treatment by the Germans – while the majority were innocent, leaders of the jewish in politics and business were trouble makers for the German govt. and many were involved with communism. Fascism rose to counter communism – and Jews in germany were on the wrong side.A jew never asks why – how do I provoke and abuse my power in finance – he only seeks to blame others. Introspection is alien to most Jewish people.

  • jdwill

    re 4:35 – Ahmenidijad? Is that you babe?

  • Anonymous

    so you think that holocaust was just hitlers dislike of Jewish culture/religion?? It was politics and ideology – Jewishness and communism go hand in hand.Who formed the majority of members in the US commie party…jewish people.But they claim to be apolitical victims!I had a jewish professor who told our class right after 9/11 – never ask WHY they hate us, why this happened. NEVER ASK WHY!This sums up jewish mentality! They (Germans, Muslims, Palestinians, Catholics) are evil/intolerant and we are good.Never ask why…

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, Victoria, I didn’t get the address: Where can we watch extremists harass transvestites? Is it free?

  • Anonymous

    The born again Christians accuse muslims of being hateful towards the Jews. When inreality the opposite is true. Muslims are generous to the Jewish people but the Christians througout history have been antisemetic and ruthless when dealing with the Jews, ‘the God killers,’ as some Christians prefer to call them.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think the handful of extremists that exist in the Middle East today are that big of a threat to world peace. Their existance is temporary. They were not here fifty years ago and they won’t be here twenty years from now. I think the worst threat to world peace is a nation with emmence destructive weapons that listens to those radical Christians who see everyone else as heathens and have no regard for the sanctity of life. They see the world as evil(they), and good(the Christians); forces of darkness(they), and forces of light(Christians). They are gaining more and more political clout in this country and their leaders are more vocal. They love for the world to break out into a world war for that will hasten the return of their Messiah so they can prove to the world, or whatever left of it, that their religion is right all along. You see them preaching every Sunday predicting how their Messiah is coming in 2007 because God deals in forty year clock periods and it has been forty years since Israel captured Jerusalem from the Arabs. I think those are the ones we should fear the most.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, you are right. A handful of terrorists cannot really stand in the way of world peace. Give me another 500 million years, and I will give you a world in peace! Oh, that’s supposed to be ‘pieces’. You were wrong after all.

  • Anonymous

    The latter create the former. It’s a vicious cycle of madness, violence, and God.

  • Anonymous

    dont lump all Christian together, you ignorant bigots! Right wing Jewish leaders and evangelical Christians (both follow the old testament) are the ones ruining the country and both attack Catholics because they are the real church and the truth!

  • Jim C.

    Alan Rickton -You’d think that someone at Princeton would be able to distinguish from denying an assertion from making an opposite assertion.Nowhere did I say that there was no conflict or that Islam is a religion of peace. I was pointing out that claiming the Crusades were a defensive war is ludicrous. I’m quite sure you’ve read the first person accounts of thousands of Christians who made the pilgrimage from Europe to Jerusalem in the decades prior to the Crusades. The Fatimids were quite tolerant of Christian pilgrimages. The Seljuks less so, but Christians certainly weren’t slaughtered on the way there and back.The cause of the Crusades were far more complex. Economic and social unrest in Europe. Seljuk advancement against Constantinople, etc.Claiming the Crusades were a response to Muslim incursions is like saying France invaded Germany b/c Belgium aggression. By this time the Muslims were no longer a monolithic force, but with various political factions, like the Christians.No where did I claim Islam is a religion of peace. However, I don’t think you want to stack up the records of Christians against those of Muslims in the area of shedding blood. As I’ve said before, the problem is a human problem — we kill each other.

  • Anonymous Liar

    Anonymous,You are sowing lies on this thread and you need to stop. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah so a true Christian will not be murdering Jewish people. As for Muslims being kind to Jewish people I would ask you if you are an ostrich. The Qur’an and the Haddiths are full of anti Christian and anti Jewish sentiment. Big deal if the Qur’an contains some kind words for them at the beginning of Muhammad’s dealings with them. When the Christians and the Jewish people would not accept his “revelations” he became violent towards them. That is why there is a Qur’an 9 that does away with all the kind words that were said about them in the beginning. Stop telling lies and face the truth.Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177:

  • Veritos

    Anonymous Liar,You are sowing lies on this thread and you need to stop. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah so a true Christian will not be murdering Jewish people. As for Muslims being kind to Jewish people I would ask you if you are an ostrich. The Qur’an and the Haddiths are full of anti Christian and anti Jewish sentiment. Big deal if the Qur’an contains some kind words for them at the beginning of Muhammad’s dealings with them. When the Christians and the Jewish people would not accept his “revelations” he became violent towards them. That is why there is a Qur’an 9 that does away with all the kind words that were said about them in the beginning. Stop telling lies and face the truth.Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177:

  • FRIENDS

    Victoria, I came away from the show last night on pbs thinking Islam is so diverse. If anyone wants to see more about the show, go to http://www.pbs.org. Go to Crossroads.Indonesia is such a beautiful country and people.

  • Qasim Omar

    Mathew,How do you explain Muhammad’s violence and genocide against the Jews? And to some other sympathizer … please desist with the tu quoque about Moses. The fact that Moses committed genocide does not mean that Muhammad’s genocide of the Jews was acceptable. Two wrongs don’t make a right.Defend Islam on its own ‘merits’ – don’t defend it by throwing stones at another religion.

  • Anonymous

    It is funny to me how if wars, genocides and holocausts happened in christiandom, they are all whitewashed and blamed on politics, greed and economics; Yet everything that happens in Muslim countries is always blamed on Islam. It is hypocrisy in its most naked form.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Commenting Muslims and Muslim sympathizers, Do you condemn the 24/7 blood bath of the Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq? Do you believe American troops are in Iraq to help quell this civil war? Do you believe that American troops would leave Iraq if the civil war ceased? Do you believe Iran is a supportor of international terror in order to further the Shiite/Islamic cause? Do you renounce all of the militaristic and anti-female passages of the Koran?Do you believe that Mohammed and his henchmen’s main agenda was the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers?The OT and NT have been “Crossanized” and cleansed to remove myths and embellishments. Do you believe the Koran needs a similar bath to remove the many myths that Islamic terrorists use to justify their cause?

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous,That is because the wars in Muslim countries are fought in the name of Allah and Islam. I don’t know what your definition of christiandom is, but the holocaust, various genocides, etc. have not been fought in the name of Jesus and Christianity. They have not pointed to verses in scripture that have prompted them to the slaughter.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Mr. Esposito,Considering where you work, are your comments clouded by Muslim/oil profit grant money?

  • Anonymous

    Volume 5, Book 59, Number 289; Narrated Ibn Abbas: On the day of the battle of Badr, the Prophet said, “O Allah! I appeal to You (to fulfill) Your Covenant and Promise. O Allah! If Your Will is that none should worship You (then give victory to the pagans).” Then Abu Bakr took hold of him by the hand and said, “This is sufficient for you.” The Prophet came out saying, “Their multitude will be put to flight and they will show their backs.” (54:45)

  • yoyo

    But what if there is no allah?

  • victoria

    thats completely not true pablo. why is it ok to make sweeping genralizations and negatively bigoted remarks about muslims without any remove the plank pablo- what is it that compels people to spend their time denouncing and expressing prejudice against another? are these the same people who are claiming to be proponent of equality for humans? there is no edification here,just preaching to a choir of bias. what gets into someones heart, when they see posts with others who have nothing else to contribute but their fear and paranoia? stop strengthening your phobias, come to reason.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Victoria,You may call me names if you wish and I will only say I care for your soul. I care for the souls of those who have been taken captive by a deception. My hope is to expose what is false so that precious people like you will embrace the truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life no man comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6).Why is Jesus rejected as the Son of God in the Islamic world? If I preached that He is the Son of God in truly Muslim countries I would do so at the risk of my life, why? That is a simple question. Are the multitudes all misled in the Muslim world? Are American Muslims like you right and the consensus in the Muslim world wrong? I pray that you will analyze what you believe in the light of what Jesus said and did. If you do you will see that you believe a lie. If you want to call me a “bigot” because I want you to see the deception that is Islam so be it. You will not be able to say that Pablo did not try to warn you on judgment day. I only pray that you will see Jesus as your LORD so you will not have to face Him as your judge. Jesus said:

  • Greg Colman

    Anonymous,Please also spare us the lie that the early Communists were Jews – very few of them were and those who were were Commies because they were ‘intellectuals’. It was fashionable for ‘left wing intellectuals’ to love Communism. It still is.There was also a reason why some of the early Soviet Communists were Jews – it was as a result of the Tsar’s pogroms.However, the vast majority of the early Communists, and the ones with the power, were not Communists. In fact, the Soviet Communist Party purged itself of Jews pretty early on.

  • Greg Colman

    Sorry the last para should have read:However, the vast majority of the early Communists, and the ones with the power, were not Jews. In fact, the Soviet Communist Party purged itself of Jews pretty early on.

  • victoria

    how can i call anonymous names? you havent even given yourself a name? what names? that is kind of crazty- do you have a guilty conscience that you think i was calling the nameless names?

  • victoria

    how can i call anonymous names? you havent even given yourself a name! what names? that is kind of illogical- do you have a guilty conscience that you think i was calling the nameless names?

  • jdwill

    Armand777″NO ONE has the right to force, coerce, or intimidate anyone into “converting”, or legislate religious “law”. “Amen. Hajiyeh Esmaelvand.

  • Pablo

    If you read to the bottom of my post you will see my name. That shows me your do not read to the bottom.Pablo

  • Pablo

    Qasim Omar,”You have fallen for the Muslim lies that always blame the victims.”You are so right we see them blaming everyone but themselves today.Pablo

  • victoria

    well- pablo i called you no name- but – fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me- as you professed intentions of love for my soul before and it quickly degenrated into calling my prophet the antichrist- so sorry bout that- i can see how you would think i was still talking to you- im not one of those sneaky people that says “people’ when i mean someone in particular. i call a spade a spade- if i mean you, ill say it. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ now while i consider it nie that you consider my soul precious, i think its pretty judgemental and out of line to make a judgement on my soul being captivated by deception- so when i get to stuff like that- i definitely dont read it. now that ive read it- this is downright a rotten thing to say dude- so- im glad i ignored it- i caught the tone of an insult coming and i never read those- since i have never once insulted you or your religion- if you dont show that respect in a reciprocal manner- i will probably always skip over them- i dont tolerate denigrations do it positvely and ill read everythingso again- it was addressed in general to people here- it wasnt necessarily you pablo

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Jihadist,You made the statement that there was no Muslim money being used to buy weapons but of course there is as you know quite well. Previously you noted that there were no contemporary Muslim states making war with non-Muslim states. Of course you know that is incorrect but failed to admit to your misquote. More propaganda??And of course, the American taxpayers pay for our weapons systems. That is a given. We don’t go around spreading propaganda that someone else is purchasing said systems. And you are fortunate we have these weapon systems. In the hands of lunatics like bin Laden and the leaders of Iran, the globe would be toasted in Islamic stupidity. And you still cannot come to grips with the problems with Islam’s foundation i.e. the hallucinations of one Mohammed who thought he talked to God via “Hittite pretty wingy thingies”. These hallucinations resulted in the violent Islam we know today and have witnessed since the plundering and looting agenda was first articulated. Why do you have a problem addressing this critical issue?? Something else you learned in the Islamic propaganda courses?

  • Mavaddat

    Hey Concerned,You don’t have to think of them as hallucinations. You can call them “revelation” and then they become very valuable. It’s all about what spin you give it.

  • Mavaddat

    To Concerned and Jihadist,I find it interesting that you both feel it is necessary to degrade the other and call him a propagandist when it is clear to me that you are both making reasonable points.You could choose to discuss this matter academically in a friendly tone, but for some reason you have descended to a very childish place. I’m sorry to say this, but Bill O’ Reilly would be proud of you both.The fact that you both commit ad hominem fallacy speaks volumes to me about the confidence that you have (or lack, rather) in your own arguments.

  • Jihadist

    MavaddatLighten up. Concerned and I have been engaging in this sort of silly arguments for weeks now. And we both did not die. I leave you and others to make considered arguments and I to go down the road of silly Muslim versions to take care of silly non-Muslim versions. As for confidence in arguments, well, I am having fun doing as take of “certainties” to counter “certainties” so others will see the silliness of absolute certainty.

  • reminder

    QasimI think Jihadist (a she) and beginning to understand her style, was being facile on the Qur’an and Hadiths being memorised by Muslims. There are thousands of Hadiths and quite impossible for anyone to memorise them, even Islamic scholars. I think Jihadist said before somewhere she studied Shariah law after studying economics and international law in college.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Jihadist,And Iran and Pakistan’s armed forces and nuclear programs are being financed by non-Muslim money? And bin Laden’s (death be upon him) money for weapons is non-Muslim?Do you really work for? Considering all the Muslim “wishy-wash” you write, it appears to be the propaganda office of Iran or Saudi Arabia.

  • Mavaddat

    Really? You can bribe the devil to get into hell with just a few beers? Talk about cheap admission! What kind of beers do they have to be? Does it have to be a lager, or will a pilsner do?

  • Anonymous

    If Muslims weren’t threatened with getting their arms and legs cut off or killed for not following the Quran, how many of them would follow the good rules in it? Do what you like, just don’t be stupid enough to get caught, seems to be the motto. If fear of getting killed or maimed in this life is the reason for virtue, not much virtue worth talking about, is there?

  • Danny B.

    Anonymous:”Do you think if the Muslims were behind the Holocaust, God forbid, the born Christians would give them the benefit of the doubt…”As a Christian myself, I have tried on these threads to give Islam the benefit of the doubt, and to learn more about it before forming such strong opinions, as many of the posters here.Regarding your comment above, many “Christians” on these threads won’t give Muslims the benefit of the doubt KNOWING they were not behind the Holocaust!In many cases, I feel that those “Christians” denouncing Islam the loudest in these threads are making up their minds first and seeking quotes (removed from larger contexts) from the Koran to support their bias after the fact. When I see this, I have an idea of who we are hearing from because I am familiar with the same abuses of Christian scripture. The more they rant and the louder they scream about the evils if Islam, the more they say about themselves.Again, I am a Christian myself, so I know that sound bites, tee-shirt slogans, and bumper sticker sized pieces of the Bible are not valuable, in and of themselves. Christianity is much larger than that. So too, I have to assume about the Koran.Until I have learned to read the Koran as a Muslim does, or taken the time to view Islam throught the eyes of a Muslim, I will maintain the Christian position of loving (or at least trying with all my might) my neighbor first.

  • Ahmed Hussain

    Danny B,Best of luck, and if you need any help with any of the verses, you only have to ask.Really, you do assume too much about Islam, something you have self-acknowledged you know very little or nothing about.Furthermore, you assume you know critics like me just from our denunciation of something we know to be ‘negative’. That’s what they said about Churchill too when he railed against the evils of Nazism. Nobody listened to him then but he ended up being proven right. I’m not sure one is doing anybody a service when one tolerates evil just for the sake of being tolerant. There are certain things that one must not tolerate and totalitarian ideologies like Islam is one such example.Ahmed Hussain

  • Danny B.

    Ahmed Hussein,With all due respect, I believe that you misunderstand my post.I am saying exactly what you are saying. I have expressed absolutely NO OPINION about Islam. I am denouncing those who do so without true knowledge of it, and am giving the benefit of the doubt to ANY Muslim who denies their accusations.My complaint is that those non-Muslims shouting down everyone else with lengthy rants about the “evils” of Islam are preventing those of us who want to learn about Islam in these forums from doing so more easily.

  • Danny B.

    Ahmed Hussein,In giving the benefit of the doubt, yet again, perhaps I just don’t fully understand you. However, upon re-reading your post, when you say,”Best of luck, and if you need any help with any of the verses, you only have to ask”,I can now see from the subsequent statement,”There are certain things that one must not tolerate and totalitarian ideologies like Islam is one such example”,that yours is not the kind of help I would need. Your opinion has been OVERWHELMINGLY represented in these threads. While I do not mean you specifically, these anti-Islam opinions have overwhelmed the discussions to the nearly complete exclusion of the opposite position.I have taken plenty of abuse alone just trying to carry on a discussion with those people trying to present the other side of the debate. I have been told that I am pathological and an advocate of pedophilia for refusing to join the rest in jumping to conclusions, and offering to hear both sides because of my lack of knowledge on the subject. So imagine how a Muslim hoping to discuss how Islam inspires them must feel in these forums.For anyone claiming to be Christian to perpetuate this unfriendly climate, and the denouncing of Islam as “evil” in such a mean way is hypocracy. This is not at all in keeping with Christ’s message of peace and love for one’s neighbor. As a Christian, it offends me. I appreciate the articles from the Professor, and Pamela Taylor, as well as insight from posters like Victoria. I am really bored with sifting through hateful “Christian” postings to find them. It is to the point where I won’t be looking here for any actual information any more.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Danny B.,It’s been quite a while since both you and I contributed to the same thread. Based on those conversations, and your contributions to this thread, I have to agree with Mavaddat when he writes:”Danny, you are a quintessentially reasonable man. I wish more of us were so willing to learn as you.”It’s none of my business of course, but I wonder/worry if you may not be too reasonable for these threads and for the world at large. I hope not. I know you can take care of yourself, but let me commend to you the last stanza of Robinson Jeffers’ poem, “Shine, Perishing Republic”:”And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master. Take care.

  • Mavaddat

    Danny,You are a quintessentially reasonable man. I wish more of us were so willing to learn as you.

  • Danny B.

    Thanks Mavaddat.Yours was one of the names that escaped me when I referred to posters like Victoria. Sorry about the “slight”.

  • Danny B.

    I came today to cancel my account, but there seems to be no clear way to do that.Norrie,Thanks for the kind words! Whether we agree or disagree, I always respect your contribution. I would be a liar if I allowed my frustration with extremist posters to let me forget that I have, in fact, learned many things in these forums.To no one in particular,Just something to share that may seem off-topic, but in regard to some of the attitudes I encouter here, it really is on the subject of these threads.I agreed to transfer to Orlando, FL with my company, and agreed to an 18 month to two year commitment before I would be allowed to transfer back. Of course, the one catch is that they can keep you longer “based on business needs”. I was there for four years total.By the end of the first year I was miserable. I hated the position, I hated the city, I hated being so far from home (I am from Detroit).I wanted to be ready to transfer back at a moment’s notice. I looked for an a apartment with a month-to-month lease. This is nearly imopssible in Orlando. Being such a transient city, landlords want at least a six-month assurance that you will stay. I finally found a month-to-month rental in this God-awful building near downtown. It just brought my already bad depressive state even lower.The majority of the neighbors were immigrants from South and Central America, Mexico, Cuba, etc..As time went on, I began to learn Spanish from them. A lot of Spanish! I am now nearly fluent (or at least proficient enough to be fully conversational, watch Spanish TV and movies, etc..).I knew that some of them were here illegally, though they never directly said so. Well, one was very direct about it, but was going back already when he said so.These people were some of the most neighborly people I have ever met. They were hard working (yes, all of them worked! Even when the wife stayed home, she baby-sat, took in laundry, sold Jafra).I earned enough to live in three (literally) of those apartments, which they did not know, but they were always bringing me food because I was man who lived alone. These people had so little, risked everything to be here and worried that I couldn’t feed myself because I was single. I was floored.One neighbor used to come in the evenings, after working 12 hours in a restaurant kitchen at 5.00 an hour (less than minimum wage, mind you), and ask if I would take him to the store for a bottle of tequila. He would send all the money he earned home to his family, but his one indulgence for himself was a bottle of Curevo. Then he would want to share it with me and refuse to let me either pay for it myself or even pitch in. He would tell me that my company was enough.I tried to teach them English, and they all wanted to learn. The unfortunate thing for the wives was that the men all went to work with the car, and the wives were stuck at home with the children and no transportation. Everybody wanted to learn English, understood it was crucial for earning more money, but how does one do it while stuck at home and little opportunity to practice? I could not personally conduct the immersion classes, of course, which is how I ended up learning the Spanish.My whole point here is this:I follow the news, I know what the attitudes in this country are toward immigrants in general, and illegal one in particular. But I also KNOW THE IMMIGRANTS…very well, and many of them. When I compare what I know and have observed with what I read and see on TV, the discrepancies between the two, the ignorance displayed by our leaders and fellow citizens just astounds me!So, when I am in these threads, though I am no expert on the subject of Islam, I recognize blatant ignorance when it is in front of me. I know for a fact that he who shouts the loudest against something either knows nothing, or is attempting to hide their hypocracy. I will not remove the humanity from others to make it easier for me to condemn them. If I cannot look into the eyes of an individual and say it, how can I apply it to a whole group. And even if one has the sheer nerve to say some of the things posted here while looking a Muslim in the eye doesn’t automatically make it right either. I was accused of being pathological in another thread, by Deb Chatterjee, because I said my acknowledged ignorance on the subject of Islam would not allow me to agree with her insistance that it was just plain evil.Well, I think that everyone deserves to be heard equally. When these people overtake the conversation, as if louder and longer guarantees accuracy of their “opinion/argument”, they are mistaken.Muslims are people too, and like all people, I BELIEVE that EVERYONE deserves the benefit of the doubt and to be heard before opinions are fully and unchangably formed against them.If I meet a Muslim on American soil, I am not suspicious of their presence here. If I meet people, I meet people. I would give the benefit of the doubt to anyone, until they give me reason not to.So when a Muslim tells me that Islam is a religion of peace, and democracy, I am especially interested in hearing what they have to say because it is a new take for me. What all you ranters are in here screaming about the evils of Islam, you can’t even really take credit for original thinking. None of it is original, I’ve heard all that well before you all shouted it incessantly, on and on and on and on and on in here. Really, it is pitiable.Free speech in this country was intended to allow for political debate without fear of retribution. Shouting that you have free speech in order to defend your own drowning-out of the speech of those who attempt to debate you is NOT what our founding fathers had in mind.Actually being educated and intelligent would make you incapable of holding unwavering opinions that allow generalizations of whole races, creeds, faiths, and ethnic groups. Sorry to be long winded and off-topic, but as opposed to being offended or outraged, I choose to pity those of you who deserve it, thank those of you who deserve it, and maybe pass on any of the tiniest bit of wisdom I have gained here on Earth.

  • Russell D.

    Danny B. :You are very good man, don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

  • VICTORIA

    even though im just a muslim, i lived and worked for 2 years with migrant farmworkers in northern california- my suitcase that i brought with me contained nothing but books-art books and classics- there are many associated tales- but ll tell one- you really embody the literal meaning of catholic(which means universal) i have found this universalism in islam. peace

  • victoria again

    here is what i came to post- i would like to make note that i just finished my afternoon prayer- so that is my state of mind in this composition-also this happens 5 times a day, so at least 5 times a day i have this reasonable attitude(however i am inclined to believe the reason overlaps from prayer to prayer)Muslims comprise the most diverse population of any grouping on the planet, yet people still persist in believing fox news perceptions-id say the proof is in the pudding-witness the very apparent examples on these boards-where do you see angry and abusive muslims here?do you see muslims name calling and castigating others?id say there is a disproportionate amount of reasonable response to overt aggression here-and yet it doesnt strike anyone as indicative of islamic manners and behavior?while i see a preponderance of verbal violence against muslims-is this verbal violence and abuse answered back in reciprocal manner?there are even those who mislead others by using arabic names, and then propagating outright hatred and vitriol-has anyone seen a corollary malice in return?or even anger?if islam is filled with out of control emotional and anger filled adherents, why dont we see any evidence of it here?people respond with outright irrational emotions controlling their every word- but the muslims remain reasoned.it is a phenomenon that certainly deserves mention and attention.peace all

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Danny B.,One of the things I admire about you is how open you are to life and people and experience.If you do leave these threads, they’ll be the poorer for your absence.

  • Russell D.

    Danny B. has figured it out. Learn from experience. Learn from people. Go out and see the world, enjoy life, and learn who you are through others. For most of the posters here, I’d recommend you get out of your holes and walk more than a few miles from your state and or country. You might learn more.

  • ghostbuster

    Interesting insights Danny B. The only post I’ve read on these boards so far today. I won’t ask you a bunch of questions you have probably already answered in previous posts.Thanks for sharing.

  • Danny B.

    Thanks Norrie, Russell, Victoria, for the support.One of the other points I wanted to make was that, no matter how miserable I was during the four years I spent in Orlando, I learned SO MUCH I would never have know otherwise. I now know fully what it means to broaden one’s horizons. There is value in learning ANYTHING, whether you know the value at the time or not!It took me a while to figure out how these people could seem so satisfied with what seemed so little to me. Then when I got to know them, I realized that what I saw as a little, was more than they had ever had before. Talk about shaking up a person’s perspective!

  • Danny B.

    Ask away Ghostbuster. I come here for conversation.

  • Danny B.

    Victoria,Regarding your post above, I do know what you mean about generosity when I consider my own experience.Had it not been for the friends I made, I would have spent some very sad Christmases alone and far from home.The Peruvians and Columbians, in particular, celebrated on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena).There was this liquor called Aguar De Diente, and I got indirectly “dared” (sucked into the overwhelming machismo of the party) to keep up. They knew I wouldn’t be able to because this stuff was like rocket fuel! The women were trying to warn me and the men were passing it around…relentlessly.The next morning the men all got up and were eating, and I felt like I’d been struck by lightning. But they fed me, had me help them with a pinata for the children and fully included me…right down to teasing me about my hangover.I love those people!

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Continuation of the cleansing of the Koran.”6. To believe that Allah Most High has knowledge of everything from before-hand and that only that which He sanctions or wishes will occur.”This is invalidated by the natural/inherent/God-given gifts/attributes of the human race i.e. Free Will and Future.As per the theologian Edward Schillebeeckx, We must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman “Nothing is determined in advance: in “7. To believe that Resurrection will definitely occur.”The spiritual resurrection occurs at each death. There will be no physical resurrection from common sense considerations i.e. Heaven is a spirit state i.e. no bodies to include those of Jesus, Mary, Moses etc. can reside there.”8. To believe in the existence of Heaven.”Acceptable but it exists only as a spirit state.”9. To believe in the existence of Hell.”Maybe, maybe not. Some say if one dies is significant sin, that person’s soul will simply no longer exist since God/Allah does not tolerate imperfection in the Kingdom. “10. To have love for Allah Most High.”Of course, just like there is love of all creatures, spiritual and living. Again there has to be an all-inclusive statement for Allah, i..e. aka God, Yahweh, Mother Nature, Jehovah, etc.

  • Anonymous

    Is it Ahmed Hussin or Qasim? Someone has been busy under multiple names to increase the number of venters against Muslims here and using Muslim names too.

  • victoria

    if you anonymous haters think you are going to drive away the reasonable with your nonsense anecdotes, you have another thing coming-

  • Viva La France

    As the French people went to the polls to select a president, jihadi members of an al-Qaeda online forum exchanged messages discussing their aspiration to “reinvade France (and convert it into) an Islamic country.” The internet discussion appeared as Spanish security forces warned that both Spain and France were targets of al-Qaeda terror plots.A post that appeared on the al-Firdaws jihadi forum, submitted by a user named Faisal al-Baghdadi, contained a lengthy historical account of “the second stop of the Islamic conquest of Europe, France, after Andalusia, Spain.””The Islamic army was left with a large number of martyrs, especially the great shahid (martyr) Abdul Rahman a-Ghafiqi… this battle is mentioned in history, and is known at the battle of Tours,” the post explained.”We ask that Allah sends us a genuine Rahman al-Ghafiqi, to finish what he started in Europe, and conquer the Vatican as promised in our beautiful Islamic verses,” the post concluded.”Allah bless the writer and carrier of the message which recalls the days of glory and honor of Islam,” another user responded.

  • Attacked in Public

    Norwegian-Somalian Kadra, who became famous in Norway for exposing imam support of female circumcision, was beaten unconscious on Thursday.

  • Joshuah

    Islam denounces violence. Is that why your prophet killed and rape across Arabia?

  • victoria

    well, it seems this post is pretty dead, and its a shame to leave it at such an ugly note- i do hope people look at that link- i dont want to hog the blog, as its rather lengthy

  • Mujahid

    There is so much hate on this board. It seems to me that people like Pablo, Frank CollinsI think it all boils down to education. If you ask a non-Muslim who hates Muslims about Islam, you may get a distorted view. Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of distorted views here. Is Islam violent? What does that mean? The religion iteslf teaches peace and tolerance. How do I know? I’ve been Muslim for over 23 years and not once was I ever taught to cut a non-believers head off or whatever other foolishness is being spread here. If a certain group of Christians decides to dress up in white hoods, ride around burning crosses, TERRORIZING, and lynching people, do we say ALL CHRISTIANS ARE TERRORISTS? Or if some lunatic plants a bomb in Oklahoma City. The point is you can’t condemn a whole people for the acts of some. Is Islam violent? Absolutely not! The world is violent. Islam just happens to exist in the world. The truth is war is inevitable. Point out a 10 year point in world history where there was no war. You can’t. Not in all this time has that happened. So since war is inevitable, isn’t it better to have some moral principles about how to go to war?Yes, there were wars during the time of Muhammad, but to say Islam “spread by the sword” is disgustingly incorrect. THERE IS NO COMPULSION IN ISLAM. And how can there be? How can you force someone to believe something? The very root of the idea makes no sense.Here’s a brief history lesson for you on the life of Muhammad for those who would like to be informed and not mis-informed. He was born in Arabia 1400 years ago. Both his parents died while he was in infancy and he was raised by his grandfather and uncles. He lived in a time known as “The Ignorance.” The people around him worshipped idols and burried their daughters alive out of shame. Muhammad was a noble man, well respected and extremely trustworthy, far before ever receiving any type of revalation. He would retreat to a secluded cave to meditate. It was there where he received revalation at age 40. He asked the people, “If I told you there was a large army on the other side of that mountain waiting to attack us, would you believe me?” They all said yes, as I stated before Muhammad was the most trusted person in all of Mecca. Then he asked them, “What if I told you I am a prophet of God? Would you believe me then?” Naturally they rejected his claim.But as time grew, so did Muhammad’s following. Islam grew to the point that it became a problem. The Kabaa was home to over 360 idols at the time. Every year, people would come from all over Arabia to perform various sacrifices, etc. This was BIG business for the Meccans. So you can see why Muhammad’s claim that there is only one GOd was be so problematic. It got to the point where Muslims were being attacked (much like today). People spoke badly about the religion even though they were ignorant to its most basic principles. Eventually, many Muslims were forced to leave Mecca. Now here’s where it gets interesting. For anyone (even Muslims) who claims Muslims hate all Christians and Jews: Muhammad sent his companions to Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia), one of the oldest Christian nations. He sent them there because he said they had a RIGHTEOUS KING and that know man would be wronged in his land. The Meccans persued them but the King refused to let the Muslims be taken by them after he learned of their religion. He said that what Jesus taught and what Muhammad teaches are like TWO RAYS FROM THE SAME LAMP. Not to get sidetracked but this is the relationship between Muslims and Christians. The Qur’an says “Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.” -2:62Back to the history lesson. Muhammad was next banished from Mecca. It seemed all the Muslims had been wiped out and Islam had failed. But then, everything changed. The neighboring city of Medina took Muhammad in and excepted his message. They were fortold that Muhamma was indeed the messenger of God by THE JEWS IN THEIR CITY!”Those to whom We have given the Book know him (the Messenger) just like they know their own sons” Qur’an, 6:20And then came the wars. To “spread the faith?” NO! How about self defense. The Meccans raided and stole everything of value from the Muslims that was left in Mecca. It was only after this, and after receiving revalation (they would not fight until Muhammad was given instruction to do so), that they fought. They had strict rules though. You may not kill women, children, non-combatants, the elderly. They weren’t even allowed to cut down trees. So yes the Qur’an talks about fighting, but every verse that talks about fighting is followed by something like “it’s better to forgive or show mercy.” An example of this is after the second war in Islam, the battle of Uhud, one of Muhammad’s companions, and uncle Hamza was killed and his body was grusomely mutilatated. When the Angel Gabriel asked Muhammad if he wanted the angels to crush these people, Muhammad declined, perchance they become Muslim. So there was no barbaric spilling of blood. That is 100% FALSE! In fact, when the Muslims finally returned to Mecca during their final conquest, their was NO BLOOD SHED! They literally walked through the city gates and the city was handed to them. What else, the taxes, etc. Well doesn’t that make sense? I live in America (along with about 10 million other Muslims, by the way). As a result I pay taxes, don’t you? And don’t we all have to follow the laws of the land. THat’s basically what happened. Non-Muslims paid a tax (Muslims pay a tax too, it just goes to the poor), and had to adhere to the laws of the land.Muhammad never claimed to bring a new world religion. He simply brought the next step. Look at your own life. Did you start out just the way you are? Or was it a process “Was he not a drop of sperm emitted?” Qur’an 75:37.So religion came down in phases as well. Muhammad taught nothing but what EVERY OTHER PROPHET TAUGHT. The same message as Adam, Noah, Solomon, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, the list goes on. THey all taught the same thing! THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD!!!!Mark 12:29 “And Jesus answered him, the first commandment is hear, oh Israel, the Lord OUR God, is One Lord.”So it seems to me that the biggest problem with Islam is that it is for Human Beings. Human Beings are the problem. Imagine if Timothy McVeigh was Muslim. Would that make it any worse of an act of terrorism? Of course not. The only hate going on here is by the non-Muslims.So why are Muslims chastised? Yes there are some bad apples who do horrific things “in the name of Islam” but there are people from every group who do things that don’t necessarily reflect the beliefs of the whole group. Are ALL Germans Nazis? Are ALL white anglo-saxon protestants in the KKK? I mean is the whole Atlanta Falcon football team just a big front for a scandalous Dog-fighting ring??? The best thing for each and every one of us is to educate ourselves. Ask God for guidance and He will guide you. Religion is nothing but a vehicle to spirituality. We all need to do whatever it is we need to do to draw closer to God. Religion is a set of rules that, if followed, can put us in God’s favor. Tolerance is one of those laws. Out of the 7 BILLION MUSLIMS in the world, what percentage of them are “terrorists?” And what is called Islamic terrorism is more POLITICAL WARFARE than anything. After all, its America who has troops in Iraq and so many other places right now, not the other way around.*One more point to make. Muslims and Christians do worship the same God. He is called Allah by Muslims as that is the Arabic word for God (illah means god, Al-illah, or Allah means “the (definitive) God”). The christians in the Middle East call God “Allah” because they speak Arabic. Just like in Spain they say Dios, not God. Thank you all for reading my post and I pray that you took something meaningful from it. God bless.As Salaamu Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

  • j

    Freedom of religion is a basic right. No man can force another into God’s kingdom. Freedom for women is also a right. Every person is responsible for his soul . Religious police violate the rights of people. Why do you want to put your eternal life at risk. Prisoners should be given their rights .