US Muslims should be American first

By Mansoor Ijaz I am an American by birth, a Muslim by faith and a New Yorker at heart — … Continued

By Mansoor Ijaz

I am an American by birth, a Muslim by faith and a New Yorker at heart — I’ve lived and breathed the vibrancy of that greatest city in the world for more than 25 years. Educated at Harvard and MIT and blessed with a Wall Street career that has lasted nearly three decades, I can truly say I have lived the American dream.

A defender of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, I have worked for 20 years to strengthen our democracy by creating a legitimate role and voice for millions of American Muslims. I am an American first, and then a Muslim. I negotiated Sudan’s offer of counterterrorism assistance to the Clinton administration in 1996 when Osama bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri and their Muslim Brotherhood followers were still a manageable threat. I reached compromise with the most virulent of Muslim extremists in Kashmir in the summer of 2000 to bring about a comprehensive ceasefire there with Indian security forces. And I helped our government unravel the illicit nuclear arms bazaar of Pakistani scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan from 2000 until he confessed in February 2004. In short, I know every kind of Muslim — radical, modern, activist, pacifist, terrorist and most of all, the hypocrites. I know what they want, how they intend to get it and why they use the methods they do to achieve their goals.

To many of my fellow Americans, my record in dealing with Islam’s many faces made me a lonely voice of reason in the vast sea of darkness that has engulfed Muslim believers since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. To those who considered themselves Muslim first while living in America, I became an “Uncle Abdullah” — an apologist living among infidels who sought to appease them rather than practice our faith strictly. This criticism, it turns out, was leveled by Muslims who were the worst of Islam’s hypocrites because they sought to exploit America’s freedoms while planning its destruction.

That is why I can say it is wrong to erect one of Islam’s most sacred symbols — a mosque — anywhere near Ground Zero.

Cordoba House, as the Ground Zero Islamic Center is to be named, should not be cast as an issue of religious tolerance in America, or the right of American Muslims to build a mosque. It should be cast as a question first of American Muslim responsibility in fixing what has gone wrong inside Islam. Muslims living in America should make clear to their fellow Americans that they understand the cultural and emotional wounds left open by the terrorist attacks.

Neither Cordoba House’s detractors nor its supporters understand this central point in the increasingly polarizing debate.

Newt Gingrich, the poster boy of America’s conservative movement, misses the point when he likens Cordoba House’s construction to putting a Nazi Swastika at Yad Vashem, the Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. Dragging religious failures of history into the Cordoba House debate as precedence for resolving what is a battle for the heart and soul of Islam, not just in America but everywhere, is alarmist politics at its worst. Gingrich knows this — he should be ashamed of himself for stooping so low to score cheap political points.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the affable and reasonable Salafist co-founder of Cordoba House, avoids harsh truths about Muslims living in the United States when he pleads for Americans to honor their guarantees of constitutional religious freedom.

Cordoba House is wrong because America’s Muslims do not yet exemplify the time-honored commandments, philosophies and tenets of the great men and women who founded our country — and even more sadly, of the great religion they claim to follow. A mosque is not a monument. It is a place where worshipers gather to strengthen their beliefs en masse — a place where they resolve to practice those beliefs with consistency and vigor. An American Muslim, one who believes in his or her American identity first, could not possibly hope to do that near the place where fellow citizens were murdered by Islamic mobsters seeking vanity and infamy for their crimes.

My personal sensitivities as an American Muslim would forbid this as long as we do nothing to correct the forces that have led Islam’s followers astray. Shortly after the 9-11 attacks, I boarded an airplane from New York to Washington. Several passengers of differing ages, ethnicity and gender vociferously objected to me being on the plane because I looked like “one of those Moslem terrorists.” After a few moments of reflection, I told the flight attendant I would take the next flight. I did not give in to passenger demands or give up my rights — I simply respected the circumstances of the situation we all found ourselves in to give peace of mind to my fellow Americans that we were not monsters in their midst. To do otherwise would have been to dishonor the memories of our fallen citizens, and of our soldiers who fight to their deaths so we can live free.

When America’s Muslims can come together in unison to identify, fight against and defeat the forces of radicalism that have taken over our great religion — battling the cancer from within no matter where it lies in the world — then should we be allowed to build a mosque at hallowed places on American soil because then we are ready, as Americans first, to practice our religion in a way that allows us to go out and be the best Americans we can be.

When America’s Muslims can join hands with Jews and Christians, Hindus and atheists, not to show false friendships or as a convenient post card ad to raise money, but because we are prepared to truly assimilate and integrate our lives into the fabric of the America that gives us our sustenance to live, breathe, work and pray freely, then should we be permitted to build an interfaith community center on the same ground where terrorists defaced our religion.

When America’s Muslims raise the majority of funds required to construct our mosques from their own taxable income, not from dubious foreign sources that also finance the forces that seek our destruction, only then can we earn the confidence of our fellow Americans and help build the trust that binds free societies together.

America’s Muslims failed to rise up to their citizenship responsibilities after the September 11 attacks, choosing instead to play the role of aggrieved, helpless victims. That is what we see again today in the Cordoba House debate — on television, in newspaper columns and on the streets in daily demonstrations — and that is why our voices in America’s body politic are now marginalized. That American Muslims do not take meaningful steps to eradicate radical Islam’s cancer in their communities is a stunning failure of leadership which we must address without delay.

The most glaring truth which Imam Rauf and his supporters seem not to accept is that Islam’s gangsters fear that America has it right: that we as a pluralistic and secular society have perfected the very system Islam’s Holy Scriptures urged them to learn and practice. They want to build their mosques as symbols of Muslim power and glory in America next to the symbols of American power the 9/11 hijackers tore down, not because they have understood that America is in its core beliefs and practices a nation which embodies the best Islam has to offer, but because they seek to take undue credit for what they are no longer capable of doing themselves.

Beware the Muslim in America who feigns understanding and acceptance of America’s core operating system to get what they want, for these Muslims are wolves in sheep’s clothing. There are many law-abiding American Muslims who work hard and earn their keep in America today. But some Muslims I know — many of them pushing for Cordoba House to be built at Ground Zero — believe in Ummah first (their global society for Muslims of all ilks) rather than in a secular and pluralistic America. Until we can be convinced as a society that Muslims believe in America first, it is better that Cordoba House be a plan kept on the drawing board for a future time — a time when Islam and America are able to co-exist because its Muslims are Americans first.

Mansoor Ijaz is an American Muslim of Pakistani heritage. He negotiated Sudan’s offer of counterterrorism assistance to the FBI and CIA under the Clinton administration in 1996 and 1997, and jointly authored the blueprint for a ceasefire of hostilities in Kashmir between Indian security forces and Muslim militants in the summer of 2000.

About

  • arkns

    I like Mr. Ijaz’s blog. If Muslims would follow this simple prescription–be loyal to the nation where you live and second to Islam, then they can assimilate better with humanity at large. The problem is not with Muslims–the problem is with Islam. It has many ideas which are patently unhelpful and has created a division in the minds of Muslims–e.g., us versus them, infidels versus the faithful, Dur-ul-something versus Dur-ul-something else and other such nonsensical ideas and ways of looking at the world. So I say, EVEN GOD MUST MAKE SENSE. We should not exempt Him from making sense. We have a brain–in fact God gave it to us. Use it man! This feeling of separation from the rest of humanity is a poison in Muslim minds. It is the cause of their inability to live in democratic secular societies and their inability to practice those principles. Reject the philosophy of separation and the God who touts it.

  • btrask3

    Thank you, for your very thoughtful essay.Now is the time for All of your fellow muslims to stand-up against Terrorism.Publicly identify the terrorists AND terrorist sympathizers in your midst and shun them from Islam.Jew’s, Christians and Muslims are all descendants of Abraham, and, in that way, we are brothers and sisters. Let us not miss this historic opportunity to begin the process of reconciliation.

  • boboberg

    I disagree with you. It is vitally important to our constitution that this mosque be built exactly where the developers have planned it. To give in to Islamophobia would be a great tragedy and would diminish the honor of our country. Please build the mosque. Mark montgomery [email protected]

  • ThomasBaum

    btrask3 You wrote, “Jew’s, Christians and Muslims are all descendants of Abraham, and, in that way, we are brothers and sisters.”How about we are all human beings and that is what makes us all brothers and sisters in the family of man.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    arkns You wrote, ” If Muslims would follow this simple prescription–be loyal to the nation where you live and second to Islam, then they can assimilate better with humanity at large. The problem is not with Muslims–the problem is with Islam.”You got it, the problem is with islam and it’s quest for world domination and with the ‘god of islam’ who happens to be satan.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Dadmeister

    This is a call for “one nation OVER God”.If you really believe this, you should rewrite the pledge of allegiance.

  • tlwinslow

    Should be, could be, would be are nice wishes, but with Islam we’re dealing with an ideology that claims divine backing and whose god’s orders can’t be countermanded, and Allah is an enemy of the U.S. Constitution because he commands Muslims to wage ceaseless war on non-Muslims until they submit to Muslim political and social domination and Sharia. Islam is a religion of peace only in Muslim Sharia countries, because Sharia is the only peace terms Allah accepts, which is precisely why no American Muslim can in good faith support the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, that forces Islam into a position of equality as a religion and claims the power to regulate and control its political and social aspects. Sorry, nobody can serve two masters, you have to make a choice. Non-Muslims need to spend some time studying Islam to learn about Sharia and Muslim superiority and arm their minds for the usual mind tricks. It’s free with the Islam’s online Islam history course at

  • PurlGurl

    Mansoor Ijaz, yours is a well written rational article. This is refreshing to read a Muslim being truthful and being sincere.I have a few issues with some of your thoughts but none worthy of mention. Most important point you make is your topic title, “US Muslims should be American first”This is the very heart of our America; we are Americans above all else.I am a traditional American Indian but I am an American first. Your words about being an American first, ring true with me.Thomas Baum, I would enjoy discussing this “Is Sharia law reconcilable with modernity?” article by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa. However, the Grand Mufti is censoring out all of my articles; he will not allow truth to be spoken.I cannot respond to your articles because of this censorship by the Grand Mufti.I contacted Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn about this Iron Fist censorship by the Grand Mufti of Egypt but no support from either is forthcoming. Meacham and Quinn support suppression of truth by Islam.Meacham, Quinn and Gomaa are “book burners”.This circles back to Mansoor Ijaz and his enjoyable article. Ijaz writes truthfully and with sincerity. Nonetheless, his article would be censored out by the Grand Mufti of Egypt. This points to a worldwide problem faced by Americans; Islam will not allow truth to be known.This is well evidenced by the Grand Mufti publishing here in America, publishing via the Washington Post, inviting comments, then censoring out articles which are not fully supportive of Islam. This Grand Mufti claims himself to respect America but he is quick to deny our right to free speech, with the full support of Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn, both of the Washington Post.Grand Mufti Gomaa denies our right to free speech but claims a right to build the Ground Zero mosque based on freedom of religion. This points to Islam being one of the most deceitful and hypocritical political systems of our world.Mansoor Ijaz, your words are sincerely refreshing. I am convinced you are an American, rather than a Muslim living in America.However, should you publish your words in an Islamic nation, such as Iran or Saudi Arabia, you would probably lose your head, literally.I will encourage you, Mansoor Ijaz, to continue be a truth speaker, to continue to not fear your own faith, just as I do not fear Islam.Thank you, Mansoor Ijaz, for an inspiring and truthful article. You are truly an American.Okpulot Taha

  • Secular

    This one of the rare contributions from a Muslim American that really lays it out like it is. Whereas people have been pussyfooting around the issue of loyalty,Mr. Mansoor has really hit the nail in the coffin. He has correctly pointed out that there is always a drum beat of demands and never an admission of mistakes and long existing pathologies. Every muslim can take heed to his advise and introspect and reflect on their own attitudes and convictions. It is a huge testament for him to have volunteered to take another flight rather than make a scene. Just compare that against the similar case of the 5 clerics who mad a big display of their piety in the airport and then complained about the attention they got from the fellow passengers. It is always the demands on the majority to bend over backwards and accommodate to their idiosyncrasies and never an attempt to downplay them.This is the same in case of the new Mosque. When there are 100 mosques, is there really a need for 101th one? If they had gone on in low profile manner and had done the spade work of engaging all the stakeholders this would not have come to be. Instead they went about it in a high profile manner to provoke this reaction and then they feign their naivete and put all the critics in the bad light. Not only that they are prepared to paint all detractors as bigots period. If they had at least simultaneously proposed similar project(s) in places like Riyadh, Karachi, and Cairo would have made their project more palatable. By any stretch America is lot more tolerant a place than any of the OIC countries for the promoters of the mosque to sponsor this project here and not have anything in any OIC countries is very patronizing and gives credence to the claims of the critics. As Mr. Mansoor recommends put an hold on teh project and first start some of these projects in OIC, then we can think of the NYC project.

  • PurlGurl

    Thomas Baum comments, “How about we are all human beings and that is what makes us all brothers and sisters in the family of man.”An excellent point. I am a pagan American Indian. I do not believe in the Christian god nor any other god. This does not make me any less of a person. My advantage over the religious faithful is my thinking is not tainted and twisted by this notion of God. My mind’s eye sees clearly and truthfully. I do not see any of this war between religions through the eyes of God. I see with my own eyes. This allows me to see plain truth.I see within my peoples’ history a horrific genocide committed by Christians. Today, I see an equally horrific genocide being committed by Islam against infidels.I do not see a history of genocide nor a current genocide being committed by my peoples, American Indians.Christianity claims to be superior to Islamism and, in turn, Islamism claims to be superior to Christianity.Plain truth is our American Indian belief system is superior to both Christianity and Islamism; we are a peaceful truth speaking peoples.I am fortunate to be raised to see plain truth of reality rather than raised to see deceit perpetrated by the faithful in the name of God.Okpulot Taha

  • ashokkalyankar

    Great article, great analysis, the path of thinking will lead us harmonious living on the shrinking planet earth.

  • AKafir

    Well said, Mr. Ijaz.

  • Secular

    PurlGurl, first an important correction the genocide being perpetuated by Islam is not of recent vintage but has been going on for past 14 centuries. Then you said “Plain truth is our American Indian belief system is superior to both Christianity and Islamism; we are a peaceful truth speaking peoples”. I take objection to this statement of yours. The real plain truth is none of these belief systems that based on some mythology are simply speculations and nothing else. A belief systems has not wreaked havoc on other people is not because it is some superior belief system. But because it hadn’t had a chance in the history to do havoc yet. We do not have to go far with respect to the grotesque nature of the Pre-Colombian religions in the Americas, than to read about the human sacrifice based Aztec religion and other religions/belief systems

  • Navin1

    MII, as a fellow American, want to begin with apologizing that our fellow Americans refused to let you fly. Fear, rational or irrational, is not a good in anyone. Suffering, though, as your article brings out, is universal and humans need to respect each other’s sufferings. I disagree about a phrase that may have come more from passion than conviction. “America’s Muslims failed to rise up to their citizenship responsibilities after the September 11 attacks, choosing instead to play the role of aggrieved, helpless victims.” I feel the American muslims as a group rose up to their citizenship. They volunteered in the military, joined the CIA, work with military intelligence in probably a thousand silent ways. Many others went to work and joined their fellow Americans in the daily grind that supports this nation. It is indeed a few that spoil the stew. I do not, however, point to the few, rather to the ideas that the few hold that the many don’t. It is those ideas that are dangerous. Your experience can probably speak to that far better than I.hariaum

  • Navin1

    PurlgurlI, for one, believe a group should be judged by its history not some rhetorical claim of what they would have done in circumstances. The Native American religions that I have studied are indeed mature, intelligent guides to the spirituality of life and being. Indeed that Aztecs as understood by christians were bastards, so is christianity, so is islam, so is atheism/secularism. There are certainly subgroups in each tradition that are more bastardly than others, and vice versa. Pragmatism and social contract theory have much to thank the indiginous traditions of the Americas for. Plain truth. hariaum

  • PurlGurl

    SECULAR writes, “…an important correction the genocide being perpetuated by Islam is not of recent vintage but has been going on for past 14 centuries.”Previously I write, “I see an equally horrific genocide being committed by Islam against infidels.”I do not qualify this genocide as _only_ of recent history. I am comparing a past history genocide by Christians and an ongoing genocide by Islam. There is no need for a correction by you.SECULAR comments, “(PURLGURL:)we are a peaceful truth speaking peoples”.SECULAR: “I take objection to this statement of yours.”We American Indians are not a peaceful truth speaking peoples? Elaborate please.SECULAR closes, “…read about the human sacrifice based Aztec religion….”Cutting out and eating a person’s heart is not genocide. This is a horrific act but is not genocide.Although an indigenous native peoples, Aztec are not generally thought to be American Indians.Okpulot Taha

  • PurlGurl

    NAVIN1 adds to reader interest, “I, for one, believe a group should be judged by its history not some rhetorical claim of what they would have done in circumstances.”This is a serious problem for Islam. I read in the news Muslims are slaughtering Muslims all over Iraq, this day.Christians have a past history of crusades, genocide and certainly racism. However, this is past history. Enough time has elapsed and enough people have forgiven those acts, Christians are generally well accept within a society these days. Christians have matured into a relatively peaceful and tolerant peoples.Contrasting, Islam has a similar past and still has a violent and destructive present. Islam has not matured into a relatively peaceful and tolerant peoples.Although a majority of Muslims are simply a good peoples, a minority extremist group of Muslims have earned Islam a bad name. This is what cultures of our world see. There is a good reason for this fear of Islam beyond destruction and death. This reason is estimates are 50-million to 80-million Muslims support terrorism. This is a minority of the total Islamic population but tens of millions of terrorist supporting Muslims frightens people.Islam does not display behaviors acceptable to most societies and those inappropriate behaviors are what people use to judge Islam. My estimate is Islam must become a peaceful culture for at least a century before our world will welcome Islam into the folds of civilization.NAVIN1 your point “…not some rhetorical claim….” is critically important to this Islam issue. As you know American Indians are a maddeningly pragmatic peoples. We dismiss a “rhetorical claim” right off then say, “Prove yourself.” American Indians judge by displayed behaviors. We do not judge by claims made.Islam has yet to prove itself to be a peaceful and tolerant peoples. This is the issue Islam should be addressing from within.Okpulot Taha

  • Navin1

    PurlgurlLook to Africa and you will see that christianity is not at all moving away from the horror of medeival thinking. There the protestants and catholics are killing each other, the christians are killing the non-christians, and muslims are killing the non-muslims. Bosnia was a christian extermination of muslims. These are recent and ongoing genocidal tendancies in the christo-islamist arsenal. The peaceful christians exist, like peaceful muslims, where their power has been curbed by laws of secularism (often replaced by atheist madmen and their millions of followers). I don’t think time heals them, it is the abandonment of the ideology of hate that is held in the books they worship. Even though Hitler may die, his interpretation of christianity won’t until the bible is set aside. Even though Bin Laden will dies, his interpretation of the Koran won’t until the koran is set aside. And these will be set aside when, in the ideas of men, we are educated that good people can have a relationship with the transcendtal truth outside of churches and mosques. The father and mother are parents to us all, the sky is open to us all. The clever jackal is within us all. We are one family, each with the personal love of the universe. No single proxy human sacrifice, no single last prophet, no single scripture above all others,…Christianity without the proxy sacrificial goat of jesus is nothing. Islam without the claim of being the words of the only god through the last prophet, is nothing. Pretty much every other religion of the world understands that a single historical event does not define god’s love for us. These guys (and their books) got problems.hariaum

  • Tara12

    To the author, I appreciate very much that you were willing to give up your place on an airliner shortly after the attacks. But as a non-Muslim American I’m disappointed that my fellow Americans haven’t moved further past this point in the nine years since.Yes, grief is still with us and probably will be for a long time to come, but nearly a decade should be long enough to get us further along toward healing than we apparently are. I have to wonder, if Bush had not taken us immediately into war and if the terrorist attacks had been handled as crimes (the way the Oklahoma City bombing was) rather than acts of war, if people would feel differently now.I see this as a situation that has been inflamed by American leaders, politicians and media for their own ends, and who knew just which emotional buttons to push to get people worked up. So I have to ask at this moment, who are the terrorists now? The people planning to build the Muslim Center do not seem to me to be acting out of a desire to upset people, but rather to heal. Yet I see conservatives listening to Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich and forgetting completely that shortly after 9/11 many of them understood the terrorists didn’t represent all Muslims. Many years ago someone who lived in my county was jailed for stirring up racial hatred that got someone else killed. I can’t help remembering that, when I look at the hatred being stirred up now.I don’t live in New York City, so I feel it’s not my place to push for any building or not building outcome there. But if this happened in my community I would be in support of the Muslim Center. As it is, I find that I am driven to try to educate people in my circle of family and friends, who keep connecting terror to all Muslims, by encouraging them not to use Fox News, Gingrich, and Palin as their only sources of information about Islam and the people behind this planned Muslim Center.

  • CommonsenseFP

    I give author credit for contributing to the debate in a rational, respectable manner, and trying to apply reason to his side even if I disagree. This is the kind of debate that is healthy for our society to have, not the one where we burn Koreans.At the same time, it should be pointed out that the author errors in referring to Imam Rauf as a Salafist because he is a Sufi. I very much hope that the author made this mistake because he was not aware of this (but he shouldn’t write this if he’s not sure) or simply was not thinking and mistyped it and didn’t make it purposely. Moreover, I think some of his logic is flawed. If African Americans had given up their seat in a white only restaurant because it made some of the White patrons uncomfortable we would not have gotten closer to civil rights. America was born on the idea, and many of the founding fathers commented on this point extensively, that the majority can often be more oppressive to the minority than the reverse. Neither was acceptable and you giving up your plane seat, while commendable in your intentions, departs from American principles.I’d also comment that one of these dubious “foreign sources” that allegedly going to fund the Community Center is a man who is also part owner of Fox News. Do you have any information or better put proof that there is dubious foreign sources or for that matter that the people behind the Community Center place their religion before their country? Additionally, given all the hysteria, I think its reasonable to suspect that the FBI will be closely monitoring who provides the funds.

  • PurlGurl

    NAVIN1 comments, “I don’t think time heals them, it is the abandonment of the ideology of hate that is held in the books they worship.”I believe much of this is the “God Complex”. People tend to claim themselves always right because “God is on my side”. Invoking the name of God is simply a psychological crutch to legitimize an arrogant notion of superiority over others.Most ironic is God is a myth fabricated by humankind, mostly to explain what people do not understand, and for some comfort from an obsessive fear of death, which is highly self-centered thinking.However, in more modern times God has become a tool, a weapon, to effect tyrannical control over the masses, whether Christianity or Islamism. Faith in God is no longer about religion rather is about power.Currently, this mosque issue is a contest between the faithful, “My God is bigger than your God”. This type of thinking only reflects how small are people; they are not confident enough to stand upon their own two feet; they need this crutch of God.NAVIN1 adds, “The clever jackal is within us all.”My medicine animal is Coyote who is the Creator, the Destroyer and the Trickster. Coyote creates much and destroys much. More important Coyote teaches humility through tricks. Coyote fools us into making fools of ourselves. My medicine animal teaches me I can create or I can destroy both by freewill choice. Coyote also teaches me to not be foolish in my decisions.All peoples make the same freewill choices to create or to destroy. What is missing for the many is humility. Belief in God instills a sense of superiority which prevents a sense of humility.This lack of humility is displayed by almost all major religions. This is why a majority of peoples are bent upon destroying each other to preserve their false sense of superiority.NAVIN1 writes an important point, “…until the bible is set aside…until the Koran is set aside.”Doubtful this will happen for as long as humankind exists. Faith in God is the most addictive drug of all. Faith in God is a crutch. Faith in God is like heroin; makes you feel really superior but eventually destroys you and those around you.This is well evidenced by thousands of years of people destroying each other, in the name of God.Okpulot Taha

  • Filibuster

    From a lower Manhattan resident, thank you for this refreshing and balanced piece. If only more American Muslim leaders had your foresight…

  • ThomasBaum

    WmarkWYou wrote, “Allah is NOT Satan.”I did not say that Allah was satan, I said that the “god of islam” is satan.”Allah” is a generic word for God in Arabic just as God is a generic word for God in English.Both Christians and Muslims that speak Arabic use the word “Allah” in referring to God.The god of the koran and the God of the Bible are not one and the same, one is satan and the other is God.There are many things in the koran that are twistations of what is in the Bible.The Holy Spirit revealed to me that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus, the ‘god of islam’ wants to make alcohol illegal, this, in and of itself, is enough to tell me who the ‘god of islam’ is.Even tho both the Bible and the koran could both be false, it is not true that they could both be true, however, I have met God and God is a Trinity and Jesus is God-Incarnate, not merely a prophet as the ‘god of islam’ says.Even tho the ‘god of islam’ supposedly speaks highly of Jesus, the ‘god of islam’ has designated God-Incarnate as his prophet which is a lie and as Jesus told us, “satan is a liar and a thief” and I might add a “poor loser”.The True, Living, Triune, Triumphant God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof and this may come as quite a surprise to quite a few believers “of all persuasions” and non-believers alike.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    PurlGurlYou wrote, “Thomas Baum, I would enjoy discussing this “Is Sharia law reconcilable with modernity?” article by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa. However, the Grand Mufti is censoring out all of my articles; he will not allow truth to be spoken.”It may be that what you wrote is too long for there is a limit, just how long I don’t know, and in that case what you need to do is break up your posting into smaller parts.This has happened to me and waiting for your post to be considered is useless, just split it up.Hopefully, this is what happened.As far as “”Is Sharia law reconcilable with modernity?”", the only way possible is if and when “modernity becomes Sharia law and Sharia law becomes modernity”.Sharia law is not “reconciliable” with anything except itself.I hope that this way of posting on the other site works for you, it will be nice to see your postings.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    PurlGurlYou wrote, “Faith in God is a crutch.”You spoke of people that have “faith in God” as having “an arrogant notion of superiority over others.”Isn’t calling people that have “faith in God” as using a “crutch” displaying this same “superiority” thing?Even tho there are some with “faith in God” that most definitely are arrogant in their “faith”, many aren’t.And for that matter, there are many with “no faith in God” that are arrogant in their non-belief, many aren’t.Seems as if this “arrogance” thing is something that “people” have, irregardless of whether or not they believe in God, does it not?You also wrote, “This is well evidenced by thousands of years of people destroying each other, in the name of God.”Isn’t it something that so many are like blood-sucking tics and blame it on God or rationalize it or some one else or whatever rather than to look within and take responsibility for their use of free will.Death is part of Life and death is not the only thing that we humans have used to “destroy each other”.Considering the fact that there is more than enough for everyone, it is a fact that there are many with not enough and by “not enough”, I am not referring to the “bells and whistles” but to the most basic needs, as opposed to wants, of life.As I have said, God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • PurlGurl

    Thomas Baum comments, “It may be that what you wrote is too long for there is a limit, just how long I don’t know, and in that case what you need to do is break up your posting into smaller parts.”Nah, the Grand Mufti of Egypt is offended by my being an American Indian truth speaker. He will not allow any article of mine to pass him, regardless of length and regardless of content.The Grand Mufti of Egypt subscribes to a philosophy of Iron Fist censorship to protect his vested interest in Islam. He has no interest in truth. This prompts me to believe the Grand Mufti harbors ill intent towards infidels.Okpulot Taha

  • PurlGurl

    Thomas Baum asks, “Isn’t calling people that have ‘faith in God’ as using a ‘crutch’ displaying this same ‘superiority’ thing?”No, I am simply writing plain truth. A casual look at history reveals much of these horrific things we do, crusades and genocide, are done in the name of God. This is using a crutch, God, to legitimize wrong doing. This notion of “God is on our side” enables people to engage in activities they know are wrong and probably would not do without “backing” from God. People invoke God to excuse what they know is wrong. This is a crutch.Some of this, Thomas, is my cultural perspective. We traditional American Indians stand on our own two feet with no need of a spiritual crutch to support us. This is not so obvious in our modern world but a look only a few hundred years back reveal my peoples lived out in the wilds, lived within a harsh environment requiring spartan survival skills. This tradition carries over to today although not too many of us still live out in the wilds.We do not rely on our “spirits” for survival rather view our spirits constantly challenging us to survive. A Christian style God lends support. Our American Indian spirits take away support to have us become stronger, or die. For my peoples this is not a matter of support by a god rather is survival of the fittest which blends well with Mother Nature’s intent.Okpulot Taha

  • PurlGurl

    Thomas Baum asks, “Seems as if this ‘arrogance’ thing is something that ‘people’ have, irregardless of whether or not they believe in God, does it not?”Yes, I agree. Arrogance is caused by many different notions; a Harvard education, born to riches or simply being handsome or beautiful. Arrogance is a sickness of the mind. However, faith in God often leads to an arrogance of “God is on my side”. Inherently, Thomas, there are exceptions. God does not cause arrogance for all peoples. Nonetheless, using the Vatican as an example, this is pure arrogance. How much money is vested in the Vatican? I would guess billions of dollars. The Vatican is an obscene tribute to God. The Vatican is a “golden calf” which is forbidden by the scriptures. The Vatican is an icon of arrogance much as are ornate mosques. This structural arrogance is a false belief somehow God will be impressed and this belief is offensive. God is impressed by goodness of heart. God is not impressed by how high minarets reach into the sky.The Vatican, ornate mosques, those are symbols of power, are not symbols of faith, rather are a modern day “golden calf” and this golden calf is common to both the Christian Bible and the Islamic Koran.This building of bigger and more ornate golden calves is a display of faith based arrogance; “Ours is bigger than yours”.This proposed Ground Zero mosque is a golden calf in the making.Okpulot Taha

  • PurlGurl

    Thomas Baum adds, “Isn’t it something that so many are like blood-sucking tics and blame it on God or rationalize it or some one else or whatever rather than to look within and take responsibility for their use of free will.”I strongly agree with you. Peoples today refuse to take responsibility for and refuse to accept consequences of their actions. Islam building this mosque against the will of the American peoples is irresponsible. Our American peoples labeling all Muslims as bad people is equally irresponsible. None, neither side, is willing to accept consequences of their actions.For both cases, Thomas, Christian and Muslim alike, both are using God as a crutch to excuse their irresponsible behaviors.God and faith in God, this is most often nothing more than a crutch. People need to throw away this crutch then faithfully and sincerely live according to God’s word. This is not an easy way to live, without a crutch of God.Okpulot Taha

  • ThomasBaum

    PurlGurlYou wrote, “This prompts me to believe the Grand Mufti harbors ill intent towards infidels.”If he truly follows the koran than the best intents toward infidels (all non-Muslims and for some, some other Muslims) that he could have, is that they are second-class citizens.I’ve never had one of my posts censored, just rejected for it’s length and when I chopped it up and reposted it, they have went thru.You also wrote, “The Grand Mufti of Egypt subscribes to a philosophy of Iron Fist censorship to protect his vested interest in Islam.”He may or may not have that power over in Egypt but if he has that power on these postings here than that is a very sad commentary on the Washington Post.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • PurlGurl

    Thomas Baum comments, “I’ve never had one of my posts censored….”Very briefly so not to move off topic, I have. Few days back Howard Kurtz censored out one of my articles AFTER my article is published. I emailed him with intent to discover his reaction to my thoughts. His reaction was to remove my article and not respond to me.I bruised his ego, Kurtz deleted my article. Kurtz is well known for being egotistical and arrogant. Unwarranted censorship does happen here at the left liberal Washington Post which does not respect our right to free speech.Enough on this, we need to show respect for Moonsoor Ijaz and his topic; he is a man worthy of respect.Okpulot Taha

  • PurlGurl

    Thomas Baum writes of truth, “He [Grand Mufti of Egypt] may or may not have that power [censorship] over in Egypt but if he has that power on these postings here than that is a very sad commentary on the Washington Post.”Moonsoor Ijaz address this in his article:”This criticism, it turns out, was leveled by Muslims who were the worst of Islam’s hypocrites because they sought to exploit America’s freedoms while planning its destruction.”This rancid hypocrisy is annoyingly clear. The Grand Mufti comes across as progressive yet belies his true intent through censorship. We know Islam is probably the most hypocritical “religion” of our world, yet so many of our American society are willing to overlook this in the name of political correctness. This would be left liberals such as Obama.Only one question needs to be asked of Islam to bring their hypocrisy to the forefront, “Will you allow a synagogue to built in Mecca?”Okpulot Taha

  • ThomasBaum

    PurlGurl You wrote, “Thomas Baum asks, “Isn’t calling people that have ‘faith in God’ as using a ‘crutch’ displaying this same ‘superiority’ thing?”No, I am simply writing plain truth.”I think that you missed my point, you seem to look at it as “superior” to not have “faith in God”.You then added, ” A casual look at history reveals much of these horrific things we do, crusades and genocide, are done in the name of God.”And if one takes more than a “casual look”, one may find more than the superficial.You also added, “This is using a crutch, God, to legitimize wrong doing.”I am not disputing the “fact” that some use “God” as a “justification or legitimization” for doing wrong but if one really looks at mankind, mankind can be very inventive in the “rationalization” department.By the way, I used to “believe” in God until I met God and if one is “honest” about what God-Incarnate asked of us, it is to rise above our “pettiness”.You then wrote, “Some of this, Thomas, is my cultural perspective. We traditional American Indians stand on our own two feet with no need of a spiritual crutch to support us.”I do not know much about “traditional American Indians” but one thing that I know is that the American Indians are very varied in their “traditions” and that the “spiritual”, at least to some, is not looked at as a “crutch” at all but very important in their lives.For you to speak of God or the spiritual as a “crutch” is to look down on many people in the world including many American Indians.You then wrote, “This is not so obvious in our modern world but a look only a few hundred years back reveal my peoples lived out in the wilds, lived within a harsh environment requiring spartan survival skills.”Many other people did too and some still do, most of “written history” seems to be about “big events” and the “well to do” whereas the majority of people are left out of “written history”.It wasn’t all that long ago that the majority, a big majority, in this country lived on farms which took “survival skills” also.You then wrote, “A Christian style God lends support.”Christianity is about the God Who created absolutely everything, except God, becoming One of us, in effect a part of God’s creation, within the Plan that God has had since before creation and just how did we treat Him.In effect, God besides being our creator became our Brother.You added, “Our American Indian spirits take away support to have us become stronger, or die.”I don’t really know what this means.Then you wrote, “For my peoples this is not a matter of support by a god rather is survival of the fittest which blends well with Mother Nature’s intent.”Christianity is about the Being that is responsible for there being a “Mother Nature”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • PurlGurl

    Thomas Baum writes, “You added, ‘Our American Indian spirits take away support to have us become stronger, or die.’I don’t really know what this means.”Typically, we traditional American Indians do not “pray” to our spirits. We do not ask for help nor salvation. We do, at times, ask for guidance, a “send me a message” notion. Up to us to make sense of a delivered message.Many of our spirits act “against” us to teach us how to survive. This is not malice by spirits rather is presenting circumstances which challenge us.I would need to move into an hour long discussion simply to introduce our American Indian spiritual belief system. Bottom line is we look to ourselves for both goodness and survival.Contrasting, those of faith in God look to Him for goodness and survival. This is my crutch notion.Why is God thought to be male?An analogy for you, Thomas. Our traditional peoples are nomadic; we chase after crop and game according to season. Christians pray for food to be delivered to their supper tables.My peoples work with Mother Nature to survive, Christians work against Mother Nature to survive. Which culture is more capable of survival? This is not an issue of superiority rather is an issue of pragmatism and survival.Our peoples are not compelled to dominate the world in order to survive; we prefer the world leave us alone. Those of faith in God are compelled to dominate the world falsely believing this is needed to survive.American Indians do not knock on your door then try to sell you on our belief system.Each time the faithful knock on your door then hand you a “Watchtower” pamphlet, this is an effort at world dominion which is politically correct, “evangelism”.This is the root problem with those who have faith in God; intent at dominion, world dominion. This manifests as wars, crusades, genocide and terrorism.Okpulot Taha

  • Navin1

    TBchristianity is not about the Being. Christianity is about jesus being he christ. If the Being came first then a named intermediary is not necessary. Christianity is the worship of jesus as the christ. Not James as the christ, not Rama as the christ, not the Buddha as the christ…. the Being of the Christ is less important than the worship of jesus as the christ. You say you have met God. Fine enough. I say I have experienced the Brahman beyond form, seen Krishna, seen Shiva. Solutions: 1) one of us is delusional the other right. 2) both of us are delusional. 3) neither is delusional and Brahman is experienced in the knowledge system we understand best. William James, Campbell, and in my own experiences, find the thrid to be the most reasonable. If the third is true, then the idolatry of jesus is an ego imposed construct that has to be overcome. If the first is true, then this god purposefully tricks us to mislead us. If god purposefully misleads us and also creates a hell wherien he inters misled persons, that god is a demon. So, believe in your version of god, even if he is just another powerful demon in the world rampaging accross the pages of history decimating one ethnic group after another. But I will believe in a Being that guides us to experience Truth without an intermediary.hariaum

  • Navin1

    PurlgurlI have always looked to be one with the totality of reality. Thus whether I am lead by the Coyote to wisdom or the Jackal to greed are but the dualist elements in our world. I agree with TB though in that there are traditions among the indiginous peoples of the Americas that include a creator worhty of worship, include meditative techniques and spirit quests to gain deeper insights into truth that is not always plain. It is not a monolithic system of beliefs. I also understand that prior to the european invasion, some indigneous settlements rivaled cities in Europe and certainly that was so for South American groups. But, as you may note, I do not see that diversity as a problem, rather an encouraging sign of the greatness of humanity and its eternal quest for deeper understanding, that is practical/practiced locally, including the spiritual world. God in the Judeo-christian-islamic sense is male. Most of the other world traditions either see the creator as overtly female, a mix of male/female, or as the Being beyond form and duality. Hindus refer to God in many ways including: the immaterial Brahman, the material Brahman, Truth, That which is, Truth/consciousness/bliss, the eternal self, the personal self… and then also by names of avatars – both male and female. One sect of Hinduism (not at all a small one) sees the female Devi is the true form out of which arise all other forms. All sects of Hinduism see the female element of the gods as the power/actuating energy (shakti) of those male god’s principle qualities (the creator – Brahma – and the shakti -Savitri – of learning, wisdom, art; the maintainer – Vishnu – and the shakti – Lakshmi – wealth, brilliance, light; the meditative stoic / “destroyer” – and the shakti – Parviti – the earth, the supersoul of consciousness – Purusha – and the shakti – Prakriti – nature itself.hariaum

  • ThomasBaum

    PurlGurl Part IIYou then wrote, “Each time the faithful knock on your door then hand you a “Watchtower” pamphlet, this is an effort at world dominion which is politically correct, “evangelism”.”If this is how you look at it then fine but unless they are “forcing” themself or their beliefs on others, isn’t this what America was founded on?Have you ever got into a conversation with any of these “Watchtower” people?You then wrote, “This is the root problem with those who have faith in God; intent at dominion, world dominion. This manifests as wars, crusades, genocide and terrorism.”First off, the “Watchtower” people as far as I know do not believe that Jesus is God-Incarnate even tho Jesus is God-Incarnate.Christianity, in spite of what some “Christians” over time have done or attempted to do, is not about “world dominion” and as a matter of “fact”, Jesus said very clearly, “My Kingdom is NOT of this world”.Many people thru the age have done wrong in the Name of God and many people thru the age have done right in the Name of God, to put the “blame” on Christianity rather than Christians is to overlook the fact that it was and is people that do the right and/or wrong and people are very creative in their “justification” for what they do.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    PurlGurl Part I You wrote, “Contrasting, those of faith in God look to Him for goodness and survival. This is my crutch notion.”You look at this as a “crutch”, I look at it as acknowledging that God not only made all that is, including us, and that God is not the egotistical, egomaniac that some seem to think of God as but is a Being that has the “GOOD” of all of his creation in mind and that there is more to this life than “mere survial” and that God’s Plan is unfolding before our very eyes.You wrote, “Why is God thought to be male?”I have said many times on these postings that God, is not a Male, a Female nor an It, even tho God-Incarnate was a Male, but is a Being of Pure Love.I have also said that I use the male “pronoun”, in speaking of God even tho it is not accurate because it is handy at times to use pronouns.You then wrote, “An analogy for you, Thomas. Our traditional peoples are nomadic; we chase after crop and game according to season. Christians pray for food to be delivered to their supper tables.”There may be “some” Christians who pray this but most when they pray about their “supper tables” is to thank God for their food.Here’s a thought for you, how you ever thought about how the “nomadic” ways and other aspects of traditional American Indian life were influenced by the “indigennous” lack of horses?Have you ever thought that God had a “reason” why horses were not indigenous to this part of the world?You then wrote, “My peoples work with Mother Nature to survive, Christians work against Mother Nature to survive.”Could be that some people may think that there is more to life than “mere survival”.Some Christians and other people may work “against” Mother Nature but there are many that work with what God has provided, just in different ways than some others may “approve” of.

  • ThomasBaum

    Navin1 You wrote, “christianity is not about the Being. Christianity is about jesus being he christ. If the Being came first then a named intermediary is not necessary.”If by “Being” you mean God, then most definitely, Christianity is about the Being and the Being becoming One of us.You then wrote, “Christianity is the worship of jesus as the christ.”No, it is about the “Worship of Jesus” as being God and God being a Trinity.The “Christ” is Greek, the “Messiah” is Hebrew, they mean “The Anointed One”, Jesus is more than the “Anointed One”, He is God-Incarnate and God is a Trinity and that is Who is worshipped and to me, to worship means to give thanks and I give thanks that God’s Plan is worth giving thanks for.God becoming One of us in the Person of Jesus is just part of God’s Plan that God has had since before creation and God’s Plan will come to Fruition.You then wrote, ” If god purposefully misleads us and also creates a hell wherien he inters misled persons, that god is a demon.”I would agree but God did not “create” hell and God does not “inter” misled or otherwise persons, if one were to “wake up in hell”, so to speak, they would come to the realizations that they have no one else to blame (not God, not satan, not any other person) and that they built it themself.Also God, knowing that not all would “repent” (taking responsibility for their use of their free will) became the SAVIOUR OF ALL by taking ALL OF THE SIN AND SINS OF ALL OF HUMANITY upon Himself.Jesus, Himself, went to hell and experienced both physical and spiritual death and in these He won the “keys” to the netherworld and He will use them in due time, God’s Time.All part of God’s Plan which will come to Fruition.As I have said, God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof and It is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.The Trinity, the Creator, the Redeemer, the Sanctifier also referred to as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, even tho the Father is not a Male, He is referred to as the Father.Hell, by the way, is not seperation from God, that is spiritual death, but is seeing oneself, the totality of oneself, thru the eyes of PURE LOVE.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Navin1

    Without jesus, christianity is nothing. That too his name, his person. When another avatar of God/Being were to come to this world – say Krishna, Shiva, etc, then the uniqueness of jesus is suspect. If you accept that your god only came to the world as a human once (I guess he was busy with virgins on other planets) then I still argue that this is a hateful god. The god of the bible is angry, wrathful, and jealous – his words. If, as you suggest, God judges us by the totality of our own thoughts and actions etc, then jesus is irrelevant. That is a god you and I can agree on. But then, I suspect you would not speak for christianity but Baumism.Revelation says Gods kingdom on earth. Not just in heaven. The christian credo is god’s will on earth as it is in heaven” – yes, the acts of christians is atrocious and yes, it is based on the bible and the god of the bible.I have nothing to wait for. God is already here. Hope to see you soon celebrating in that Being. “Hell…is seeing oneself, the totality of oneself, thru the eyes of PURE LOVE.” – only for one who despises himself and has the ego to say I hate the me that God created. Having been past the vision of god the other, having felt that pure love, I felt no self loathing, I felt myself being absorbed in That Being. No, hell, as a christian context is where fire and brimstone are used to punish those that are mislead by a deceptive god – eternally. Narak is the temporary hell of karmic justice and learning that our ego’s self imposed exile from the gaze of pure love places us. Hell of Sartre is you and me. Give up on the name worship of jesus and you and I can have different visions and both be right. Hold on to the uniqueness of jesus and you have a hateful god.hariuam

  • ThomasBaum

    Navin1 You wrote, “Hold on to the uniqueness of jesus and you have a hateful god.”Besides this being not true, it is merely your opinion.As far as a “hateful god”, when it speaks in the Bible of “hate” in reference to God, it doesn’t have the same meaning as our word “hate”.One day all, including you, will know that God Is and also that satan is real but that satan is a created being and that all of this including God becoming One of us is part of God’s Plan, not only for all of humanity but also for all of creation.Jesus is both created and non-created.You also wrote, “The god of the bible is angry, wrathful, and jealous – his words.”Angry, do parents ever get angry with their children? Is it because they love them and want the best for them or because of something else? I am talking about “parents” that would be better, by far measure, than the best that have ever been on earth.Wrathful, the “wrathfulness” will be brought on ourselves and God will let us bring it on ourselves.Jealous, if God’s jealousy was even remotely like the petty jealousy of us humans than that would be beyond horrible but God’s Jealousy is for our good, our as in ALL of us.You also wrote, “If, as you suggest, God judges us by the totality of our own thoughts and actions etc, then jesus is irrelevant. That is a god you and I can agree on. But then, I suspect you would not speak for christianity but Baumism.Not only is Jesus relevant, Jesus is the lynchpin, so to speak, of all of creation.I am not speaking for Christianity, I am speaking for God, Christianity is part of God’s Plan and God’s Plan will come to Fruition.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Kingofkings1

    The author has written an essay that jibes well with most people in US (of most faiths) – but are you sure, sir, that you have the most correct answer to this complicated topic?

  • saqibomer

    It is true that all american muslims should be american first, than a muslim. As Islam teachs to protects your country with your last drop of blood.

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