In defense of Peter King’s Muslim hearings

By Asra Nomani Credit: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post When I heard that Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) was going to hold … Continued

By Asra Nomani


Credit: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

When I heard that Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) was going to hold hearings on the issue of radicalization inside our American Muslim community, I thought: It’s about time.

As those hearings begin on Thursday, all of us need to grab a front row seat. This is a discussion we desperately need to have as a nation because for far too long we have lived in a culture of denial, fueled in part by Muslim community leadership that–like just about any community tends to do until prodded–denies our problems rather than admits them.

I arrived in this country in 1969 as a four year old from India and, after 42 years as an American-Muslim, I can say without a doubt: an ideology of extremism has crossed across our borders, and radicalization is a real threat inside our communities in the U.S., often times unchallenged because members of our Muslim community are intimidated to speak out against it. We have brave leaders and activists who do, but usually at great cost to their social standing in the community.

To me, the hearings are not a “witch hunt.” Rep. Peter King is not a 21st century Joe McCarthy, the senator who led hearings on communism in the 1950s. I believe he is an American, like so many, frustrated and annoyed by the largely recalcitrant posture of our community to admitting our problems. In Congress, we have had honest debate about everyone’s dirty laundry–from BP to the Big Three automakers. There has been discussion in the halls of Congress about “Jewish extremists,” “white supremacists,” the Ku Klux Klan and clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Muslims should not be exempt from critical examination, just because its lobby takes a defensive posture–just like all special-interest groups tend to do.

If we have any doubts, as Muslims, about our divine injunction to truth-telling, even about our own community, we need look no further than the Qur’an, which states:

Oh ye who believe!
Stand out firmly
For justice, as witnesses
To God, even if it may be against
Yourselves, or your parents
Or your kin

- “Al-Nisa” (The Women),

Qur’an, 4: 135

Instead of circling the wagons with a public relations campaign of victimization, Muslims should rise to the occasion and honestly discuss what we all know: there is a very real interpretation of Islam inside our communities that threatens to convert our youth and others to extremism. It is expressed through publishing houses, imams, YouTube videos, websites and arm-chair ideologues.

We need to have an open conversations about how extremist Islam gets into the heads of Muslims such as would-be Time Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hassan and so many others. We need to own up to the fact that some within Islam have a problematic interpretation, and we need to have the moral courage to be honest about it. We will not shame ourselves. We will not shame Islam. There is no shame in honesty. In fact, I think we would engender more good will–and invite less anger and rage by folks frustrated by our stonewalling.

Like most Muslims, I’ve seen rigid, puritanical interpretations creep into the American Muslim community, starting in the 1970s with the exportation of the dogmatic Wahhabi ideology from Saudi Arabia, fueled by the oil money that gave the Saudis a largess from which to pump its ideas into the world. In my hometown community of Morgantown, W.V., I saw the Saudi ideology express itself with mandates that women and men sit strictly segregated from each other at our community potluck dinners, rather than the family style arrangements we’d been enjoying. I felt a crisis of faith and didn’t think there wasn’t a place for me as I came of age as a fierce, strong-willed girl.

For most of my life I quietly bypassed traditions instead of directly challenging them. I distanced myself from the Muslim community, just like many of us do when we see dangers in our community that seem easier to ignore than challenge. With 9/11, I had my wake up call; then, on Jan. 23, 2002, my friend, Wall Street Journal bureau chief Daniel Pearl, was kidnapped by Muslim militants in Pakistan and later beheaded by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described 9/11 mastermind.

I recognized that the stakes were huge for how Muslims expressed themselves in the world. Muslims like me sat silently while militants wrenched the religion from us and declared they were the protectors of the faith. I went on the pilgrimage to Mecca, and, in Saudi Arabia, I saw first-hand the exit ramp that told “non-Muslims” that they couldn’t enter Mecca. In Mecca, I realized how far we had departed from the Islamic principles of social justice, women’s rights or tolerance that my parents had taught me.

My immersion into darkness and my experience in the light of the hajj transformed me. It made me recognize that we each have a role in standing up to the extremists in my religion who try to intimidate us into respecting and following them. Starting in 2003, at my mosque in Morgantown, my family and I challenged the interpretations of Islam that assigned women the back door and led our imam to tell us we couldn’t be friends with the Jews and the Christians. When my family and I challenged the community to tackle our problems with radicalization, what happened? The men at the mosque voted to put me on trial to be banned from the mosque, they fired my father from the board and other families disinvited our family from potluck dinners. Today, as part of a Pray In movement, other women and I are thrown out of mosques in the Washington, D.C., area because we refuse to pray in the second-class areas reserved for women.

For far too long, our nation has had a politically correct stance when it comes to the question of militancy, extremism and radicalization inside Islam. In the name of interfaith dialogue, we have pulled our punches on the very serious and real issues of extremist interpretations of Islam, issuing feel-good statements such as, “Islam is a religion of peace.” We try to be polite and not offend. So many well-intentioned people who are critics about issues inside their own faiths are joining the bandwagon, trying to defend Islam and Muslims, as if the faith and the community are monolithic, but our best defense, I believe, is honesty about the good, bad and ugly.

The purpose of religion is to inspire in us the best of human behavior. That includes truth-telling.

Asra Q. Nomani is the author of Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam. Her struggles in the hometown mosque in West Virginia are featured in the PBS documentary, “The Mosque in Morgantown.” She teaches journalism at Georgetown University.

About

  • hendamry

    Asra, while reading I found myself agreeing with your arguments. However, when you describe the ladies section of the mosque as “2nd class citizens” you lost me. It seems you are expressing some personal feelings about your gender, and thus your criticisms appear quite biased. God sees all who are in the mosque equally, and the separation of gender in a prayer setting, wether side by side or front back, is absolutely not a reflection of worth. Try practicing your faith as a verb, instead of a noun. Islam is not a thing. It is your relationship to your creator.

  • sugi60

    Asra NomaniThanks for thinking & talking like Human. With so much clarity in thoughts I can not understand how people like YASSERYOUSUFI can look in the mirror in morning and decide to live another day on this beautiful earth.

  • JEN9535

    I’m not as familiar with Ms. Nomani’s background as the previous commentator – YasserYousufi, but if his disgusting commentary is any indication, I suspect he is representative of the very radicals described in this piece. I applaud Ms. Nomani for her bravery and her faith. I hope this piece is inserted for the record at Chairman King’s hearing, because Ms. Nomani represents many American Muslims who so desperately want to take back their religion from the radicals and miliatants.

  • sugi60

    hendamryIf as you say “..the separation of gender in a prayer setting, weather side by side or front back, is absolutely not a reflection of worth” is correct, please tell me if there is any mosque in the world where women can sit in the front and men are asked to sit in the back.I think Asra is right it is time to recognize and admit problems in islam. Don’t hide it under labels of verb & noun nonsense.

  • mcgoverntm

    I am an American of Anglo-Saxon ancestry and I agree with the Quran’s injunction to “Stand out firmly For justice.” A question that was asked in the mainstream media immediately after the 9/11 attack was, “Why to they [Muslims] hate us?” Curious to me, the question was dropped after a few days. I suggest that it be asked now and answered by going to the mastermind of the attack, Osama bin Laden. How many Americans have made any attempt to understand the events of 9/11 from the perspective of Osama bin Laden? 0.01%? Is it possible to understand 9/11 without getting the perspective of the mastermind of the attack? I suggest that everyone read a transcript of what bin Laden said in 2004. Here’s the link: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7201.htm. How many Americans know that in 1982 the American Sixth Fleet bombarded a Muslin area in Lebanon in support of an Israeli attack? Why don’t Americans know this? Here’s what bin Laden said about the attack: “I couldn’t forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy.The situation was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn’t include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn’t respond.”If you’re serious about understanding the rift between the majority of Americans and “radical” Muslims, you’ll read the full transcript. It may or may not change how you think and feel about those events, but you’ll at least be less ignorant of them.

  • ThomasBaum

    yasseryousufi You wrote, “Asra Nomani is the proud mother of an illegitimate child”.God bless you, Asra Nomani.Mary was also the “proud mother of an illegitimate child”, Jesus, God-Incarnate.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • asra

    Dear Readers, Thank you for reading this piece and being part of a civil conversation. I am happy to see the comments of YASSERYOUSUFI because they are illustrative of the politics of intimidation that members of the Muslim community use to silence others. Those tactics include efforts to tarnish the morality of others, as YASSERYOUSUFI attempts to do, raising the issue of my child and my friend who was killed. “Munafiqeen” is a term that I didn’t know growing up, but it is one that is a weapon used by the hardliners in our community to try to discredit others as “nonbelievers.” In our Muslim communities, these ideological bullies exist. On this comment board, you can see the tactics of intimidation that they use in our mosques–reminding us why honest, courageous conversation about radicalism in our community is so desperately needed. Warmly, Asra

  • BerkeleyBW

    If all Muslims residing in America were like Asra Nomani in attitude and outlook, there wouldn’t be a problem.But too many resemble the commenter yasseryousuf — unfriendly to values of reason, gender equality and representative government based on law.Furthermore, why aren’t women’s groups up in arms about Muslim immigration? Do they think the gains made by women cannot be erased by millions who believe Allah regards females as inferior?

  • jckdoors

    There’s a big difference between a “hearing” and a fear-mongering, bogeyman hunt. King wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped him in the face.

  • Farnaz2Mansouri21

    Dear Asra,For more than three years, I have blogged against Islamophobia here, indulging in name-calling as a defense against those Muslims who spout antisemitic filth.Of late, and even of the remote past, I have not seen many (any) Muslims crying out against antisemitism, nor have I seen much hue and cry from amongst the Catholics, who spout the same bigotry. Therefore, realpolitik shall win out on this one, and I shall forgo Hillel for the moment. In other words, I’m going to sit this one out.Peter King is a lifelong, DEVOUT ROMAN CATHOLIC, who represents a largely Roman Catholic constituency that adores him and supports him in these hearings. The rest of his constituents are Protestants and Muslims, who have always supported him and voted for him. He has lost some Muslim defenders of late, but has retained some, as well.These hearings will not hurt his re-election. Not at all. He is adored not only by his Roman Catholic constituents, but by the RCC; indeed, the bishops bend over backwards when they see him coming.He’s their boy. I met him once. I was at a function at which he was present and allowed myself to be introduced to him. I do not like Roman Catholic arch-Conservatives, or, for that matter, most Roman Catholics, since I have found so many of them to be antisemitic. But the situation was awkward, so I permitted the introduction.I experienced what many had claimed–both those who defend him and those who can’t stand him. He was as charming and gracious as he could be when introduced to brown, Jewish, Democratic me, and did not seem taken aback by my color, religion, or politics. As a colleague who loathes him remarked to me later, “Not a bigot.”Perhaps not. Dunno. I do know this. ROMAN CATHOLIC Peter King is an issue for the ROMAN CATHOLICS and the Muslims.Enough Jews, including WaPo columnists, have spoken out against these hearings. The day I see Muslims speaking out against antisemitism, I’ll reconsider. Asra, my closest friend is a Pakistani national, who, like you, knew Danny Pearl. I only knew of him through her, but I’d always hoped to meet him. She adored him as did her entire family. Evidently, most who knew him adored him.Thank you for mentioning him.Farnaz

  • Farnaz2Mansouri21

    There are no “illegitimate” children. There are only illegitimate ideologues, and, of them, there are far, far too many.I must echo Thomas Baum, here. God bless you, Asra, and God bless your family.

  • nizzlefizzle

    I must say I completely agree with you in critiquing that which needs it and in calling out injustice in the Muslim community when we see it; be it gender-gation or more violent extremism. I wholeheartedly agree. I disagree, however, that these hearings are the appropriate venue in which to have these conversations. Peter King has stated that Muslims are not American when it comes to war, negating the contributions that Muslim Americans and immigrants have made on the front line; he has stated that Muslims are “misguided” in their belief that they were victimized after the 9/11 attacks, negating the hate crimes aimed at Muslims and those whom people thought were Muslim. Isn’t Peter King simply doing the same thing that you say Muslim “leaders” are doing? Isn’t he denying reality and painting a picture of what he wants you to see? And isn’t he willfully doing so just like Muslims who deny that these conversations need to happen?How can these hearings be productive when Peter King is starting from a place where he chooses to “otherize” even the most “American” of Muslims? How can these hearings be fair when he believes that even those who have been killed in our wars are not American enough? Muslim men who marginalize and ostracize women in the mosque do so for self-gain. They willfully hold on to an androcentric interpretation of Islam that bears no resemblance to the true nature of Islam. It suits them and their agenda. Is Peter King really any different? Is he any more righteous than those who deny that there are attempts to pull people into that dark and awful place where someone tells you it’s alright to hate in the name of your religion? You are absolutely right, these conversations and investigations do need to happen about the good, the bad, and unfortunately the ugly. But they cannot be directed by Peter King who looks at both you and I with suspicion, simply because we are Muslim.

  • hitman2

    “Isra Naomani” don’t be decieved by this name.All These women are selling fabricated copies of Quran known as “The true furqan” and getting large amount of money to enjoy good life, from where comes this fortune?How one can belive the arguments of persons like nomani, having such a shallow character.

  • Farnaz2Mansouri21

    How one can belive the arguments of persons like nomani, having such a shallow character.Posted by: hitman2 | March 8, 2011 5:13 PM

  • raza5

    Welcome Asra on the Muslim-hating bandwagon! Why not join the ranks of the “liberated one’s” featured in movies like third jihad and obsession. Of course you will be touted as the ‘courageous women’ who is not hiding things that “we all know too well” are happening in Muslim communities (and oooh how scary are these). Um … lots and lots of media attention. Why miss such an opportunity. You have already been away from spotlight since some time and now their are so many competitors in this market, who have clearly outdone you. May be you could turn this into another book opportunity!

  • YEAL9

    Getting to the heart of the problem:The koran, Mohammed’s book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

  • trueone

    Asra is pandering to her fan base. The issue here is not whether Islam treats women equally or not. At issue here is Peter King’s assertion that muslims living in America are not forthcoming in policing against terrorism, and the cloud of prejudice that this assertion cloaks him with. Asra rises to Peter King’s defence while providing no proof in support of King’s statements/contention. With that said, as a muslim, I do not see how these hearings hurt muslims. Sure, they hurt our feelings and, possibly, the self esteem of our children, but they say more about America than they do about muslims living in America or about Islam. Stand proud my brothers and sisters. We are better than those that would denigrate us.

  • jonswitzer

    I have great respect for the courage Asra shows here. Her comments put “liberal Democratic” values in sharp relief with her experience in Fundamentalist Muslim circles. Again, Fundamentalist Christians made their peace with liberal Democracies 200 years ago. The question both here and in Europe is whether or not Fundamentalist Muslims can make their peace with “liberal Democratic” values. Clearly Asra has made peace with those values. However, it is clear that Fundamentalist Muslims do not think she, a “liberal Muslim” speaks for them. I, as a fundamentalist Christian would not let a “liberal Christian” speak for me either. Nevertheless, our Classic liberal Democratic Republic is something I, following 200 years of conservative Christians, celebrate all day everyday. I only hope that Fundamentalist Muslims will come round to that as well. To date, we have no record of that happening anywhere in the world. Perhaps that will change. Til then, we are wise to be vigilant.

  • asra

    Dear All, Thank you for those expressing support for open examination of ideologies inside the Muslim community. The other comments, attempting to discredit voices of internal criticism as self promoting, “sold out” and “circumised,” only reflect again the weapons of intimidation that are used against us for using the spirit of ijtihad, or critical thinking, on issues of religion. To those who ask, the issue of women’s rights in mosques is a clear indicator of ideology. If you ascribe women to the back halls, basements and closets of mosques, on the assumption that their presence is a sexual distraction, you buy into a puritanical interpretation of Islam that even the prophet Muhammad didn’t practice in the 7th century when women prayed in the same space as men without any barriers. To me, there is a continuum to ideology. You send women to the back corners and shadows? How then do you interpret 4:34 which is used to sanction beating wives? Or the verse that tells us not to be friends with the Jews or Christians?It’s literal reads of these verses that I say we must discard, just as we do the verses that sanction slavery. And to that end, FARNAZ2MANSOURI21, thank you for your expression of humanity. It is the virulent anti-Semitism in our community that, indeed, goes unchallenged way too often. It is unacceptable, and it deeply offends me. I condemn it. My parents taught me a different interpretation of Islam that allowed me to befriend Danny with no hesitation. It’s in friendship that I wish we could all meet. Warmly, Asra

  • hitman2

    Asra

  • quadibloc

    In today’s climate, we are very afraid of singling out one ethnic group or one faith for special scrutiny. This came about for good reasons: after decades of taking segregation as a matter of course, as part of the order of nature, our eyes were opened to the meaning of bigotry when Belsen was liberated.But the Cosa Nostra was a real criminal organization that had its origins in a real time and a real place – Sicily. In no way does that contradict the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans of Italian ancestry are law-abiding citizens.Similarly, groups like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah only make their appeals to Muslims, and they have an appeal to a few of them.Before another terrorist act throws the nation into such a panic that it throws justice to the wind (does anyone remember how the Japanese-Americans were interned, for far less reason), an investigation to find, and stop, the few people spreading the poison of hatred in the Muslim community.It could be, though, that we are afraid of asking questions to which we suspect we will get answers we don’t like. What if conservative Islam, unlike the author’s liberal Islam, really is irreconcilable with what some have called the “American civil religion”? What if there is a significant chunk of the Muslim community – even though even most of the people in that chunk are law-abiding and nonviolent – that believes it is their duty to God to establish a society in which Jews and Christians will have the status of “dhimmi”, a status not too much different from that of black people under segregation?Will we have to spy on them forever? Will we strip them of their citizenship, because they’re not patriotic enough? If it wasn’t for the threat of terrorist violence, though, living with people you don’t have to like is part of the American way.

  • ratzo

    Selams Asra. I think you are way too trusting of Mr King and his party. I think you might review whether such a hearing as he has designed can possibly do justice to the subject of reform and opening up religious culture in the way you and I would like. Morweover this issue is not one that should consier our government due to separation of church & state. I suggest that it is not the right venue. Yes there is a threat. Though we Muslims care about security lets recognize that this hearing is about maintaining massive funding for the increasing police powers of the government. A better approach to enhance security would be to involve national Muslim groups– the ones excluded from the table because of influence from right wing zionists (I am sorry to say) who oppose any dialogue or compromise– there are fundamentalists on all sides. Dialogue with these Muslim groups can help us all move forward instead of forcing them into defensive positions becuase of the ideological imbalance of the hearings and the virulent anti Muslim sentiment that surrounds us that even you dear Asra cannot be uncaring about.

  • Farnaz2Mansouri21

    A better approach to enhance security would be to involve national Muslim groups– the ones excluded from the table because of influence from right wing zionists (I am sorry to say) who oppose any dialogue or compromise– there are fundamentalists on all sides.Dialogue with these Muslim groups can help us all move forward instead of forcing them into defensive positions becuase of the ideological imbalance of the hearings and the virulent anti Muslim sentiment that surrounds us that even you dear Asra cannot be uncaring about.Posted by: ratzo As well, it is the likes of you that keep me silent on these hearings. Good luck with all that, and, if possible, return to the hospital and get your thorazine.Remember this: You are up against a powerful Congressman, a devout Roman Catholic with a strong and vocal RCC constituency who adores him. He is the darling of the RCC, as well, nationally, and across the seas.Good luck with all that, islamist. You’ll need it (sorry to say).Brown, JEWISH, Democratic me wishes you a fond farewell. B’bye.

  • abrahamhab1

    Asra:Most thinking Muslims realize that there is something wrong with the ideology of Islam yet cannot seem to be able to contain its many problems. One such problem is the matter of contradictions. There are contradictions in the hadith as well as many stories there that an average thinking man cannot accept. One such hadith tell of a troop of monkeys stoning a prostituting chimp. Many hadith stories are in direct contradiction with the Quran. Some are calling for the removal of such stories yet the Quran itself had many contradictions, which are euphemistically called abrogation. Furthermore many of Islam’s tenants are counter to the modern values of democracy, human rights, civil liberties, equality under the law, gender equality and freedoms of speech and religion. I fail to see how Islam can be reformed.

  • englishman7

    A shame that there are ignoramuses like ABRAHAMAB1(see post) who take every opportunity to equate Islam to some savage cult. The same can be read from Christianity, Hinduism or any religion if that was ones intention. I feel sorry for the likes of Asra. Sorry girl your up against some serious boneheads. Move to UK.

  • englishman7

    All good stuff then. An article written by a woman who is engaged to a US intelligence officer specialising in yes you’ve guessed it ‘Islam’ The land of free speech and impartiality..NOT! move to UK

  • yasseryousufi1

    test

  • yasseryousufi1

    Its obvious reading from most of the comments here and further clarifications by Isra Nomani that this article has primarily been written for Non-Muslim Americans to not feel guilty regarding muslims being humiliated and vilified through these gestapo hearings. For some of the posters here she would be swiftly disregarded as a “self hating Jew” if the tables were turned. These double standards are hardly surprising. ThomasBaum, FYI, Jesus was a miracle from God not an illegitimate child, hence the term Virgin Mary. As a devout Christian, for you to equate Virgin Mary with this woman, who’s lived a fairly colorful life by her own admission, you need to be ashamed of yourself. I guess everything goes in your hate-islam justifications.Islamophobia is a big business. From pretend-scholars of Islam to pretend-apostates from Islam, it seems like every other person is trying to cash in on the cash cow that is anti-Muslim bigotry. All sorts of opportunists have made six-digit salaries and full-time careers out of Muslim-bashing. Here are a few facts regarding Isra Nomani, the victim, as she would like everyone to believe.- She was quick to side with the Islamophobes on the Ground Zero Mosque Issue, saying her views were same as the tea party on this issue. – She was yet again there to endorse the bigoted statements of Juan Williams who said he feels threatened whenever he sees someone dressed in a muslim garb. – When a lunatic fringe Priest decided to hold a Quran burn fest, surprise surprise, here again comes Isra Nomani writing and article titled “Get Over Quran Burning” There are many other such examples and I could go on forever. These Munafiqeen (the list also includes Irshad Manji, Wafa Sultan, Amina Wudud, Omid Safi) have coined for themselves a new term “Progressive Muslims”. They are in fact muslims-for-hire in the pockets of Islam Bashers always there to legitimize hate against Islam. Money can buy you many this Isra, it cant buy you respect.

  • Farnaz2Mansouri21

    Gee, they’re coming from all over to demonize you, Asra. BP (England) and Pakistan–strange bedfellows.You are not allowed to love anyone or have a child. Evidently, you forgot, and must now be persecuted by those who practice the “true” Islam. Pamela endures the same persecution on this blog, and from the same sources, if that’s any comfort. You seem to be a strong woman, Asra.Thank you for your kind words to me, and I wish you well.Farnaz

  • hitman2

    yasseryousufi1 Your latest post is an eye opener.

  • halozcel2

    Dear Asra Q Nomani,1-Women have islamic right to respectful and pleasurable sexual experienceThese are Hallucination,Delusion,Fantasy and Empty Dreams.Islam and Tantrika(Hindu-Buddhist ritual,including sexual intercourse,for female deity Shakti).This is impossibe.Islam and Feminism.There is nothing such as Feminism in the Culture of Submission.Islam and Democracy.Islamic tenets are not compatible with Democracy,Contemporary Values.Islam and Human Rigthts.Woman-Man Equality is a Sin in islam.Islam and Mischiefmaker(Munafeeq).Mischiefmaker/Dissident should be slain.This is the Command of Allah.Islam and Justice.Many many times,I wrote and I’m writing again.Justice means islam and has No any other meaning.Islamic Justice has never correlation with Present Secular Justice.Dear Asma Q Nomani,Islam is the Culture of Violence.Islam is the Culture of Submission and Desert Order.You can not correct it by Empty Dreams….

  • yasseryousufi1

    HALOZCEL,The “Hallucination,Delusion,Fantasy and Empty Dreams” is your wish that people take you seriously.

  • halozcel2

    Yasser,*Hallucination,Delusion,Fantacy and Empty Dreams* are written for the Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Bedroom.Do you object ?Who takes you seriously ??And,stop the tenth class Monikar tactics.

  • yasseryousufi1

    Halozcel,Is the tea party handing out these Islamic bills to its faithfuls? How come I never saw one? Why don’t you serve your ilk by posting one…

  • YEAL9

    Once again:Getting to the heart of the problem:Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere.

  • thebink

    Yes, there are plenty of violent passages in the Koran as there are in the Bible. The difference is that Christians are not acting on the biblical passages whereas far too many Muslims are. I place the blame on people, not on any book.

  • sugi60

    To All those who says Asra is not muslim. Good for Asra!! She is Human. The highest title any one can get.To All those devote muslims. Would any one of you will use a 50 year old car manual to fix / run your present car? No? Then why you are hell bent on using 1400 year old book / manual to fix / run your life?!

  • tafari1_20001

    Peter King, supported the IRA, which is viewed by the US State Dept and the British, as a terrorist organization. Does that make Peter King a Terrorist? Your guess is good as mine.

  • ThomasBaum

    hitman2 You wrote, “Either you accept Quran and Sunnah or go out of the fold of Islam. There is no place for 50/50.”Seems as if some are not “allowed” to “go out of the fold of Islam” once they are in it, any comments on this?You then wrote, “All of you know very well there is no radical or fundamental Islam and there is no moderate enlightened Islam. It is simple Islam which mean peace for all.”Does this mean that all have to accept this “peace for all” or have it “forced” on them, this does seem to be a “tenet” of islam, at least some say this in various “ways”, is it?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    yasseryousufi1You wrote, “ThomasBaum, FYI, Jesus was a miracle from God not an illegitimate child, hence the term Virgin Mary.”When you wrote, “Asra Nomani is the proud mother of an illegitimate child”, I took it that you meant that Asra Nomani was not married to the father of her child, Mary was married to Joseph and Jesus’s Father was/is God, what is your definition of “illegetimate”?And for that matter what business is it of yours concerning Asra’s child/children?You then wrote, “As a devout Christian, for you to equate Virgin Mary with this woman, who’s lived a fairly colorful life by her own admission, you need to be ashamed of yourself.”Asra is a child of God and Mary is a child of God, can you not see this?You then wrote, “I guess everything goes in your hate-islam justifications.”When I stated that I have met God and that God is a Trinity and Jesus is God-Incarnate, just like Jesus said and that the god of islam gets very perturbed, to put it mildly, if anyone calls God their Father than it should be pretty obvious that the god of islam is satan.I have also stated: The True, Living, Triune, Triumphant God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof, in other words, God looks at the person, not the “label”.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.God’s Plan which God has had since before creation is for ALL, ultimately, to be with God in God’s Kingdom.Except for the “facts” that Jesus is His Name and Mary is His mother, is there anything about Jesus that the bible and koran agree on?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • hitman2

    SUG160 wrote:But look! what the Educated thinks:Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson is the Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA. Formerly, he was Professor of Ob-Gyn and the Chairman of the Department of Ob-Gyn at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. He was also the President of the American Fertility Society. He has received many awards, including the Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology Public Recognition Award in 1992. Professor Simpson studied the following two sayings of the Prophet Muhammad : {In every one of you, all components of your creation are collected together in your mother’s womb by forty days…}2 {If forty-two nights have passed over the embryo, God sends an angel to it, who shapes it and creates its hearing, vision, skin, flesh, and bones….}3 He studied these two sayings of the Prophet Muhammad extensively, noting that the first forty days constitute a clearly distinguishable stage of embryo-genesis. He was particularly impressed by the absolute precision and accuracy of those sayings of the Prophet Muhammad . Then, during one conference, he gave the following opinion: “So that the two hadeeths (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad ) that have been noted provide us with a specific time table for the main embryological development before forty days. Again, the point has been made, I think, repeatedly by other speakers this morning: these hadeeths could not have been obtained on the basis of the scientific knowledge that was available [at] the time of their writing . . . . It follows, I think, that not only there is no conflict between genetics and religion but, in fact, religion can guide science by adding revelation to some of the traditional scientific approaches, that there exist statements in the Quran shown centuries later to be valid, which support knowledge in the Quran having been derived from God.”

  • Farnaz2Mansouri21

    Hang in, there, Asra. At some point, when the smoke becomes blinding, you should probably stop by with a fire hose.

  • Farnaz2Mansouri21

    The truly insane irony, Asra, is that those who attack you here, who say you are not a Muslim, are arming people far more dangerous to them than Peter King could ever be.

  • halozcel2

    Hadith is not the word of Allah.The verse(s) from Quran should be written.Angels and Embryo….This is an Evidence why Reform is impossible in islam.

  • Steersman

    Interesting that Mr. King wishes to look into the possible existence of support for extremism and terrorism within the Muslim community. But, hopefully, once he is finished with his dispassionate and fair assessment in that area maybe he will look into similar philosophies in the Christian community, particularly those underlying such events as Jim Jones, Waco Texas, the Oklahoma City bombing, hell-houses and various religiously motivated hate crimes, not to mention an unseeingly haste for everyone to experience the joys of the apocalypse and the rapture.But I quite agree with Ms. Nomani that the Muslim community, and religion, have a number of “systemic” problems that really need to be addressed. In which regard, I see that she quotes a verse from the Quran [4:135], which Irshad Manji – a female, gay, Muslim, very-political activist – starts off her assessment of that in her book, The Trouble With Islam Today. And the salient argument of that book, for which Oprah honoured Irshad with her “Chutzpah Award”, and for which an Imam from the San Diego University provided the Foreword in support, is that, in the words of that Imam [Dr. Khaleel Mohammed]:(I support Irshad Manji.) She wants us [Muslims] to do what our holy book wants us to do: End the tribal posturing, open our eyes and stand up to oppression, even if it’s rationalized by our vaunted imams, sheikhs, mullahs, professors, and whatever other titles the packagers of Islam give themselves. … Irshad pulls no punches as she exposes Jew-bashing, as well as the urge to lay the responsibility for all of Islam’s ills on Western colonialism, while neglecting Islam’s own history of imperialism and continued human rights abuses in the name of Allah. [pg xii]In which regard, the Wikipedia article on the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights – signed in 1948 by some 48 countries including the US – notes that many Muslim countries signed an analogous document on Human Rights but one that “… doesn’t recognize the freedom to change religion, equate women as equals to men, or maintain neutrality when comparing religions”. And that would seem to be very much contrary to, among others, the Universal Declaration right to the equality of men and women before the law and for the right to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion”. Although I note that a similar UN document specifying the rights of the child, including that same right to freedom of thought and religion, was signed by America in 1995 but has yet to be ratified, in part because of “religious conservatives”, something that President Obama has described as “embarrassing”.

  • hitman2

    Asra Nomani , Arshad Manji or anyone of their type, they cannot mislead their community as they are exposed and it is a known fact that they play in the hands of the others.

  • analyst72

    How about investigating the radicalization of right-wing evangelical hypocrites?

  • SaqibAli

    Asra Nomani, Irshad Manji, Zuhdi Jasser, Ayan Ali Hirsi what’s the difference??All these are Muslims who are disillusioned by their religion or their past life experiences and decide to attack Muslims at every opportunity they get. They have no constituency amongst the Muslim community. Instead they make common cause with Neo-Cons and extreme Right-Wingers who welcome the opportunity to use them in their demonization campaign. The fact that they are in bed with conservative Republicans is an obvious signal to all Muslims that they are not friends of our community.

  • nabi18

    please check out

  • Steersman

    “SaqibAli: Asra Nomani, Irshad Manji, Zuhdi Jasser, Ayan Ali Hirsi what’s the difference?? All these are Muslims who are disillusioned by their religion …”SaqibAli, have you read any of those authors, particularly Irshad Manji? I don’t know about the others, not having read them myself, but she certainly appears to make a very good case. And there seems to be some pretty reasonable and rational voices within the Muslim community who have come out in support of her – and many others who advance similar perspectives, values and objectives. And it also seems that there is a fairly large – and growing – grass-roots constituency in that community who also support them. While I’ll quite readily agree with you that “Neo-Cons and extreme Right-Wingers” are also a large part of the problem – as the article by Imam Rauf, on this site, effectively argues – one might reasonably suggest that the wholesale and pervasive repression of human-rights and the odious abuses, for example stoning for adultery, in many Islamic societies– not to mention the rejection of equal rights for men and women in Muslim communities in Western societies – just makes the attempts of the “Neo-Cons” at “demonization” that much more effective and makes those same communities that much less credible in the eyes of more moderate individuals.

  • hitman2

    SteersmanYou wrote:In Islam there is no centralized system,as for example in Roman Catholic Christianity which dicides on the issues which requires “Ijtihad”. However the opinion of religious scholors of eminence do prevail, these men have out-standing reputation , piety and knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence. Now how you can equate such persons who have “general acceptance” among the muslim masses with few way-lost women like Asra or Manji?.Look at the example of Imam Malik, his father was one of the companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) but he did not brought any narration or sayings of the Prophet because his father was old and he thought his memory may have deteriorated with age.

  • hitman2

    SteermanI read you post and disagree with your assessments. Why not go a step further and be more bold to accept what Khalifa Rashad preached and what the Aga Khani’s have to say and practice. It is not the first time that people like Muqtadar Khan, Imam Abdul Rauf and ladies such as Asra Wafa and Manji called for such changes in the name of Ijtehad. These are economic migrants and remain so, not yet Americanized.Who is promoting fake copies of Quran? this Manji and company and you want me to believe this is Ijtehad and enlightened moderation in Islam.

  • englishman7

    ASRA,ASRA,ASRA Just forget this whole Islam thing especially with your dubious background and get to the FACTS. I’m shocked as an experienced journalist you totally ignore the ludicrous hypocrisy of Peter King, IRA SUPPORTER, now defender of civilians. I’m sorry my dear it’s obvious you are on a payroll!

  • Steersman

    Hitman2,You said, “It is not the first time that people like Muqtedar Khan [etc] … called for such changes in the name of Ijtihad.” So why is that a problem? Why should the Sunnah, Ummah and “scholars of eminence”, and even the Quran not be questioned? Do you not agree with “Let there be no compulsion in religion” [Quran: 2:256] Are you to compel the silence of the questioners? Are you afraid to consider some evidence that all of those “authorities” just might have some of it wrong? Consider this critique from Irshad’s “The Trouble With Islam Today”:“We have to own up to the fact that the Quran’s message is all over the bloody map. Compassion and contempt exist side by side. Look at its take on women. Hopeful and hateful verses stand only lines away from each other. So, too, with religious diversity. There’s no single thrust in this so-called perfect, indisputable, and straightforward text. The Quran’s perfection is, ultimately, suspect.Oh dear. Have I crossed the line? My own line-crossing pales compared to that of the Al-Qaeda terrorists. Unlike me, these guys set out to murder. If we’re sincere about fighting the asphyxiating despotism they represent, we can’t be afraid to ask: What if the Quran isn’t perfect? What if it’s not a completely God-authored book? What if it’s riddled with human biases?” [pgs 49-50]As Asra suggested, and as Irshad emphasizes throughout her book, some truth-telling, and soul-searching, within Islam seems to be in order, although America and the West could stand a dose of those as well, particularly in the areas where Judaic and Christian fundamentalism have contributed to the problems we all have to face. But with regard to Islam you might want also to consider Irshad’s comments on a quote of a Pakistani businessman following 9/11:“… we can’t pin our basest ills on America. The cancer begins with us. In a moving column about Muslim ‘wretchedness’ published shortly after September 11 in The Nation, a Pakistani daily, businessman Izzat Majeed spoke of ‘an increasing awareness’ among Muslims that ‘we have failed as a civil society by not confronting the historical, social and political demons within us …’” [pg 137]I certainly haven’t said that “rational wisdom has no place in Islam” – actually, I suggested otherwise in closing my last post. In addition, both Asra and Irshad, not to mention many other “progressive Muslims”, give every indication of thinking that there’s much in the religion worth retaining – and I’ll quite readily concede that that is quite likely true. However, like the Bible, there’s probably also much that is flawed, and the wheat can’t be separated from the chaff without a little bit of questioning.

  • hitman2

    Part twoso your rational wisdom has its limitations, therefore things of great importance kicked by supposing them. But on the contrary revealion is a state of higher conscienceness and when God chooses a person to be His Prophet then what is revealed to him – Quran in this matter, cannot be challenged on the basis of poor rationality which a commoner like Manji possesses.The scholars spend their life in piety and learning before they express their viewpoint about this faith. It is not a common book whose revised edition you can take out after every year.This does not mean that I am degrading wisdom or its use. Quran itself invites the human beings to think and ponder and to explore this universe. The man is not creating anything, he is just discovering.

  • hitman2

    StreemanI must apologised you for my english, as this was written in hurry without spell checks.

  • rcc_2000

    The hearing witness list, lack of inclusion of key groups, agencies, etc. demonstrate that this was not about seeking information but rather to scapegoat Muslim Americans. Maybe in your zeal to prove your patriotism you have lost sight of what America is all about.

  • Steersman

    Hitman2:[Part 2]You said, “But on the contrary revelation is a state of higher consciousness …” That part might be true to some extent – the somewhat similar experience of intuition seems to be the source of much truth, and I’ve read of many cases of its power and presence even in the advance of science. But asserting that it comes from god, much less any particular god, seems to me to be an unwarranted and unjustified assumption. You may or may not know that the Church of the Latter Day Saints was founded in about 1827 based on some “revelations” to one Joseph Smith by “an angel named Moroni” – an interesting name which suggests, to me at least, that someone was having a little sport with Mr. Smith. But the point is that that was also a “revelation” and one that took place well after the one supposedly granted to Muhammad – so why would you, or any dispassionate observer, think that the latter one has any more relevance, primacy or accuracy than the former? You also said, “… revelation … cannot be challenged on the basis of poor rationality which a commoner like Manji possesses.” Not quite sure what you intend to imply by the adjective “commoner”, but it suggests to me that you think that Muhammad and various “scholars of eminence” are to be considered as kings, emperors and lords while we “commoners” are precluded from enjoying or being capable of any rationality, not to mention having access to anything approaching revelations from and audiences with the divine. Seems to me that they were or are just as mortal and human as the rest of us and therefore likely to be, or have been, just as fallible; seems to me that you might want to consider the cases presented by Ms. Manji and Ms. Nomani, among others, on their own merits rather than being overly swayed by irrelevant and personal epithets.In addition, if you agree that “the Quran itself invites the human beings to think and ponder and to explore this universe” – an excellent philosophy I might add – then I would think that you might want to consider the Quran as part of “this universe” and that it is, therefore, a subject and topic on which we all – not just kings and emperors – have a right to “think and ponder” as to its accuracy and relevance.

  • Steersman

    Hitman2:[Part 1]You quoted, “verse. 002.256 Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out Clear from Error: whoever rejects Evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks …”While it might be nice to “grasp that most trustworthy hand-hold” the problem is that there have been and are a great many different gods which mankind has believed in over the last 100,000 years – why should the one you believe in be any more likely the right one than all the others? What makes you think the “proof” that you have is any more credible that that of any of the believers in other gods?Along that same line, you also said, “No Muslim of any eminence can make changes to text of Quran or be doubtful that this is not the Word of God. There are clear cut verses about how to act in the life and it is hard for a dishonest interpreter to explain them otherwise.” If that is the case then why are there, apparently, at least four major sects within Islam [Sufi, Shi’a, Sunni & Ahmadi]? In addition, I see [Wikipedia] that there have been some 20 different Shi’a sects which are now extinct. Far too many different sects and religions – not just within Islam but within Christianity & Judaism as well – to be giving much credence to any claims by any one of them that they have the inside track to god.You said, “… I [would] like to know your rational answer about the qualities of time and direction which you have based on assumptions. Why?” That is a reasonable question and seems to be, from the little I know, central to a number of philosophies and scientific endeavors. But it also seems to me, to answer your question, that those endeavors have done far more for mankind than any religion has. Although that science is still incomplete with a number of open questions and a number of deficiencies, a primary one being, I think, its promotion of an overly materialistic philosophy or outlook. But, in any case, you might want to read, or at least consider the title of, a book by the American astronomer, Carl Sagan, titled “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark”.You said, “So your rational wisdom has its limitations …” with which I will entirely agree, or at least agree that that seems to be the case. But just because that is the case does not mean we should throw the technique and method overboard and abandon ourselves to every irrational and cockamamie idea, fad, fallacy, fancy and delusion – of which there have been a great many over mankind’s history – that comes along.[Part 2 below]

  • hitman2

    Streeman part twoYou said, “But on the contrary revelation is a state of higher consciousness …” That part might be true to some extent – the somewhat similar experience of intuition seems to be the source of much truth, and I’ve read of many cases of its power and presence even in the advance of science. But asserting that it comes from god, much less any particular god, seems to me to be an unwarranted and unjustified assumption. You may or may not know that the Church of the Latter Day Saints was founded in about 1827 based on some “revelations” to one Joseph Smith by “an angel named Moroni” – an interesting name which suggests, to me at least, that someone was having a little sport with Mr. Smith. But the point is that that was also a “revelation” and one that took place well after the one supposedly granted to Muhammad – so why would you, or any dispassionate observer, think that the latter one has any more relevance, primacy or accuracy than the former? Ans:“O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore, listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. God has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. God has Judged that there shall be no interest, and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn Abd’al Muttalib shall henceforth be waived…Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

  • hitman2

    Steerman Part threeYou also said, “… revelation … cannot be challenged on the basis of poor rationality which a commoner like Manji possesses.” Not quite sure what you intend to imply by the adjective “commoner”, but it suggests to me that you think that Muhammad and various “scholars of eminence” are to be considered as kings, emperors and lords while we “commoners” are precluded from enjoying or being capable of any rationality, not to mention having access to anything approaching revelations from and audiences with the divine. Seems to me that they were or are just as mortal and human as the rest of us and therefore likely to be, or have been, just as fallible; seems to me that you might want to consider the cases presented by Ms. Manji and Ms. Nomani, among others, on their own merits rather than being overly swayed by irrelevant and personal epithets.Ans:

  • hitman2

    part of Prophet’s last sermonAnd it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.O People, listen to me in earnest, worship God, perform your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and offer Zakat. Perform Hajj if you have the means.All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; white has no superiority over black, nor does a black have any superiority over white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.Remember, one day you will appear before God and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O people, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray.All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and it may be that the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.”

  • truereligon

    There are moderate and real Muslim sects who neither believe in violence nor practice it. Ever had the chance to study the Ahmadia Movement in Islam.? Try http://www.alislam.org.

  • reformthesystem

    It needs to be appreciated that, given the angry and inflexible frame of mind of certain elements of the American Muslim community (and Muslim communities everywhere), this author is risking her life by presenting this article.

  • ThomasBaum

    hitman2You wrote, “I believe in the same God in which Prophet Abraham,Jacob,Moses, Jesus and Muhammad believed.”Can you tell me why Jesus referred to God as His Father and asked us to do the same while the god of islam seems to get mighty perturbed if anyone does this?Can you tell me why Jesus said, “I and the Father are One”, when the god of islam vehemently denies this?Can you tell me why Jesus said, “I will send the Holy Spirit to guide you…”, when this seems to go completely against what the god of islam says?Can you tell me why the Jesus of the bible and the Jesus of the koran, except for His Name and His Mom’s name, bear such little similarity to each other?The god of islam and God mentioned in the bible are not the same, doesn’t the koran pretty much say that that which is written in the bible is a lie?Can you tell me why the koran says the bible is lying about Jesus and the Chosen People, whom God formed into the Chosen People, among other things and yet says that it is a “continuation” of the bible?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Steersman

    truereligion:You said: “There are moderate and real Muslim sects who neither believe in violence nor practice it”.And I’ll agree with you that the Ahmadi sect is one of the more sane in the bunch, and the Sufis too, although it also suffers, in my opinion, from a fatal flaw, that being the belief in the literal existence of Allah and the angel Gabriel.You said: “There is nothing wrong in any religion. They all came from one God.”That, however, seems an unwarranted assumption and conclusion. I’ll certainly agree that many religions seem to include some concepts and perspectives that are of some value and seem to make some rational, if not always profound, sense. However, that they are mixed in with beliefs in the literal existence of various divine, intentional, “interventionist, miracle-wreaking, thought-reading, sin-punishing, prayer-answering” deities in the Bible, the Quran and the Torah, for all of whom there is not a single, solitary shred of real, objective, incontrovertible proof, turns many of them, if not all, into abominations and, frequently if not always, the antitheses of reason and logic and compassion and humane.Maybe the reason for the “distortion” that you refer to in all of them is because of that absence of proof; more of that – and reason – in the quadratic equation than there is in a whole boat-load of those religions.

  • Steersman

    reformthesystem:You said: “It needs to be appreciated that, given the angry and inflexible frame of mind of certain elements of the American Muslim community (and Muslim communities everywhere), this author is risking her life by presenting this article.”Seems to me that “angry and inflexible frames of mind” are fairly common considering this excellent article on Yahoo! News:The article indicates that some 400,000 people have been killed in America in the last 40 years due to the ready availability of guns. Would be interesting to know how many were religiously motivated, directly or indirectly. Seems like “one nation under god” isn’t working very well … maybe there’s something wrong with the concept … Definitely seems like the system is in serious need of some reform.

  • hitman2

    Steerman:Your mind remains struck to a different wavelength,therefore needless to keep on aruging.

  • Steersman

    Hitman2:I have that quote of Einstein’s too, from his book “What I Believe”, in a book by Carl Sagan titled Broca’s Brain. But Einstein, in the latter book, closes with “In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of the devoutly religious men”. But Einstein was no friend of a literal, personal god, on the order of Jehovah or Allah or Zeus or any of the other thousands of gods that mankind has worshipped over the millennia. And he got a lot of criticism for that position from many religious fundamentalists in America, primarily Christian at that time.And that is the problem that I see with the position that you – and many others, not just Muslims, but fundamentalist Christians and Jews – espouse. There’s a book titled “Religious Abuse: A Pastor Explores The Many Ways Religion Can Hurt As Well As Heal” in which the author, Keith Wright, suggests that the indoctrination by fundamentalist parents of their children constitutes a serious problem. Several passages in particular are relevant:“Most of us have been reared to believe that when God or the church is mentioned, our response must always be positive, else we are not faithful folk. Thus, a fearful guilt or even recoil is likely to accompany any criticism – as though to disagree is to shake a fist at God. The church tends to define God with great certainty, and any human disagreement is thus condemned with certitude as well. Too often, what is missing is that the church refuses to be reflective. It avoids criticism and seems to prefer to put out questionable truths rather than risk having its behaviour questioned or its power reined in.” [pg 10]You seem to be more knowledgeable and less dogmatic than many Muslims, but your apparent unwillingness to actually address the criticisms leveled at your religion – both by those inside it and outside of it – still remains problematic. But you might want to consider that when “the chief mullah of Saudi Arabia proclaims that the Earth is flat and that anyone who teaches otherwise is a friend of Satan” [Carl Sagan; The Demon-Haunted World] he is only wrapping his ignorance in a cloak of sanctity; you should consider that he is likely anything but a “scholar of eminence” or a “man of piety” and that much of what else he says is likely suspect as well.

  • hitman2

    SteermanYou mentioned:

  • ThomasBaum

    hitman2You wrote, “You say there is no god but Allah and a journey to new experiments and experiences starts: So dont have to be afraid of any being except Him”.Are you saying here that one should be afraid of God?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • hitman2

    Thomas Paul Moses Baum.Fear Him and Love Him,eqally.

  • ThomasBaum

    hitman2You wrote, “If you truly fear Him then you will not be fearful from anything in this world”My simple question was, are you saying that we should be afraid of God?In the bible the “Fear of the Lord” means “reverence and awe”, it has absolutely nothing to do with being afraid of God and my question simply stated was, do you think of “Fear of the Lord” as being afraid of God?Then you wrote, “while we do not fear Allah which can keep us restrained from committing excesses against the other human beings”I may be reading this wrong but are you saying that being afraid of Allah and what Allah might do to someone can be or is the reason for someone showing “restraint” rather than simply doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do? Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Steersman

    Hitman2:You said: “Prophet Muhammad said, ‘No babe is born but upon Fitra. It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.’”That seems a sensible observation. As is “The religion which the child follows at this stage is one of custom and upbringing and Allah does not hold him to account or punish him for this religion”.But this seems questionable and problematic: “In my experience, though parents do indoctrination but any adult mind then questions his own beliefs and this is the enlightenment as to differentiating the right from wrong.”You may not know this, but the Jesuits – a Christian religious order, dating back to about 1600 – had a saying: “If we have the teaching of children up to seven years of age then we care not who has them afterwards as they are ours for life”. If religious fundamentalists – Christian, Jewish, Muslim – keep their children in intellectual and cultural dungeons for those formative years then it is a very difficult and traumatic process for those “adult minds” to question those beliefs and to break free of them. How many children are there who were raised Christian and who subsequently decide to switch to Islam? Likewise, how many children who were raised Muslim subsequently decide as adults to switch to Christianity? As the old English proverb has it: As the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined.You said: “You say there is no god but Allah”. You may say that, but a great many would disagree – there are apparently some 300 million different Hindu deities. What makes you think that your concept or perception is any better or more accurate than anybody else’s? One might reasonably argue that either god is schizophrenic – showing different faces to all it meets – or all of those believers are all equally deluded. I’d put my money on the latter, although I’m hedging my bets …

  • Steersman

    Hitman2:You said: “It is totally untrue that not excepting the final revelation leads to fight, all these misconceptions about Islam are spread so that the people might not get attracted to Islam because it has Universal appeal.”The Mormons would seem to argue that their Revelation is later and greater than Muhammad’s so, by your argument that your Revelation is later than that of Jesus’ & Moses’ so supersedes theirs, you should accept that the Revelation of the Mormon’s supersedes that of Muhammad’s. You said: “Chief mullah of Saudi Arabia never proclaimed that earth is flat.”It was quoted in that book of Carl Sagan’s [pg 325]. And he provides a reference to an article in the New York Times by Youssef M. Ibrahim on February 12, 1995 [“Muslim Edicts Take on New Face”; you’ll have to search as the link is too long for this web site] and the article leads off with:“The earth is flat. Whoever claims it is round is an atheist deserving of punishment. That is a well-known religious edict, or fatwa, issued two years ago by Sheik Abdel-Aziz Ibn Baaz, the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia. The blind theologian’s status gives his fatwas great weight, though his opinions have often raised eyebrows or embarrassed worldly Saudis.”And Mr. Ibrahim seems like a very credible reporter – Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations for starters – but he has a website and e-mail address so you could ask him about his source.You said: “The life time devotion of such persons … cannot be equated with such persons like Manji or Asra. The fact is this will be a shameful comparison.”What is shameful is that you refuse to deal with the facts, but instead seem to insist on attacking the people presenting them. Generally bad karma to be shooting the messenger …P.S. As a minor detail, my handle is “Steersman”, not “Steerman” and not “Streeman”. And it’s generally considered good manners to be making an effort to correct one’s spelling, grammar and presentation before posting.

  • hitman2

    SteersmanIs this a forum for discussion? After reading you present post, I am more convinced it is not.

Read More Articles

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.