The Bigoted Journalists Who Shape American Opinions of Muslims

How should Muslims respond to intolerant and ignorant journalists?

Every time a Muslim fanatic or extremist group commits a horrific act of terror, Muslim leaders are asked to defend Islam in the media. I was called on by Fox News for this job in 2013. Whenever this happens, my colleagues ask me the same exact question: “Why are Muslims defending themselves when what happened has absolutely nothing to do with them? They don’t have to defend themselves against bigots!” Should Muslims reject the invitation to speak about their peaceful religion right after a Muslim commits a terrorist attack? Or should we engage with the media and make our voices heard?

After the attacks in Paris last week, Haris Tarin of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and Hussam Ayloush of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) were both featured as guests on the O’Reilly Factor. During the show, Bill O’Reilly instigated a shout-fest with the guests when talking about the lack of Muslim-majority countries banding together to fight the “Muslim extremists” in the Middle East. I watched as Tarin struggled to decide whether to shout back or try to keep his cool.

On the same day, journalist Don Lemon of CNN asked guest Arsalan Iftikhar, a Muslim human rights attorney, “Do you support ISIS?” To which Iftikhar responded, “Wait, did you just ask me if I support ISIS?” The question was ridiculous on many levels, but Lemon should at least have known (or been told) that Iftikhar had just published an article entitled “Let’s Call ISIS the ‘Un-Islamic State.’”

The funniest moment of this kind I have witnessed firsthand happened when a journalist confronted Salam Al-Marayati, president of MPAC, at a press conference about the so-called “Islamic” State of Iraq and Syria. The journalist asked, “Have you ever condemned ISIS?” Al-Marayati responded, “Yes, we have sent out multiple statements condemning the extremist group.” The journalist’s follow-up question was, “Can you please tell us right now that you condemn ISIS?”

The problem is not that Muslims do not condemn violent extremism. The problem is that bigots are constantly confronting them with such ignorant and ridiculous questions. Instead of wondering whether Muslims condemn violent extremism, American ought to be asking why closed-minded and bigoted journalists are so prominent in our media — and why the public tunes into these biased news shows in such large numbers.

Are Muslims really getting the opportunity to present ourselves as activists who work in the name of peace and justice? Is it worth our efforts to appear on these bigoted shows? Many Muslims across the nation shy away from any sort of involvement with the media and the government, believing that these entities are corrupt and that any sort of affiliation with them will corrupt us. But if we keep rejecting these parts of society that shape public opinion of Muslims and establish our policies, there is little hope that they will ever change or become more tolerant.

In spite of the bias we face in the American media, I believe it remains absolutely crucial for Muslims to speak up against these horrific attacks against innocent people around the world. Right now, the voices of violent extremists are louder than ours, and this must change. Without the efforts of more of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, the image of Islam will continue to be one of violence and hate.

The late Dr. Maher Hathout, who recently lost his battle to liver cancer, was a perfect example of how Muslims can greatly impact the greater American society. As Edina Lekovic of the Muslim Public Affairs Council put it, “[H]e appeared  on major media outlets as a guest addressing current issues related to Islam, on CNN, the BBC, Al-Jazeera, ABC, and Fox News. His op-eds have appeared in major newspapers worldwide. Each time, he delivered his message with his signature mixture of wit and wisdom that connected with audiences nationwide.”

Hathout is a prime example of what it means to rise up against the ignorant media with which so many Muslim leaders in America contend. Hathout’s television interviews were phenomenal because of his courage to tell the truth and be honest, no matter how controversial. As Lekovic notes, “When author Salman Rushdie was threatened with death in a fatwa issued against him by Ayatollah Khomeini for what he saw as defamation of the Prophet, Dr. Hathout came out publicly against the fatwa and faced immense backlash from within the Muslim community.” Dr. Hathout believed that every single person had a right to freedom of speech and expression. “He argued that Rushdie’s writing was crude and insulting but should neither be banned nor condemned.”

This is the type of bravery and perspective needed in order to create change.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Marwa Abdelghani
Written by

  • Joe DeCaro

    “The problem is not that Muslims do not condemn violent extremism. The problem is that bigots are constantly confronting them with such ignorant and ridiculous questions”?

    “ignorant and ridiculous” questions, such as why does Pakistan continue to enforce medieval blasphemy laws, especially against non-Muslim minorities?
    Or why are the followers of the god of Islam so thin-skinned?
    And how is ISIS the “un-Islamic state” when it operates along the same lines as did the prophet and founder of Islam.

    You can either address these questions, or ridicule the questioner.

    And the the Muslims who voluntarily appear on “bigoted shows” often prefer spin to transparency.

    • Jessica Taman

      I think the point here is whether or not an average Muslim or a Muslim activist should have to respond to these questions. What does Pakistan’s extremist interpretation have to do with the average Muslim and why should they have to explain it? How is this any different than a Christian militia in Uganda killing a population of innocent Muslims? Would you ask a Christian to defend this action?

      As far as being thin-skinned goes, I think you’re wrong in your assessment. You’re assuming that every Muslim automatically jumps to harm another person just because they feel offended by something. This is not the case. And your “sample size” for trying to prove this is correct is low and negligible. Don’t use Benghazi as an example, because it was committed by an already avowedly militant group.

      ISIS claims to operate as “Islamic” just because–just like most religious people on earth–they can pick and choose the things from their religion and interpret them however they want. Religious texts are contextual. They are a product of their time and place. ISIS’ focus on violent jihad and a supposedly conservative lifestyle doesn’t make sense when viewing tweets and blog posts from these people who do cocaine, have sex outside of marriage, and enjoy “Western” technology and the like.

      • Joe DeCaro

        “Most religious people on earth” don’t persecute the other people on this planet who refuse to believe in their primitive moon god. ISIS is Islamic because it follows the teachings of the Quran and the murders of its author, Mohammed, neither of which has to make any sense to non-Muslims.

        And “average” Muslims don’t get invited to be on the O’Reilly Factor.

        Benghazi? That and most of your argument is nothing but straw man refutations of things I never even posted.

        • Sam

          You again?

          The Quran doesn’t support your claims nor does Islam or most Muslims nor the life of Muhammad, so the preceding gentleman’s point of sample size is wholly accurate?

          Your statement about “their primitive moon god” is rife with bigotry and ignorance as are most of your statements.

          So we can do this again where I ask you to substantiate your position but you can’t so we continue down the rabbit hole of misinformation and intellectual dishonesty (like how English is the official language in America) or you can au revior again.

          Best wishes.

          • Joe DeCaro

            Et tu encore?
            Bigotry and ignorance against Islam’s moon god?
            Why do you think there are so many depictions of crescent moons on the flags of Islamic republics?

            And it’s obvious that you don’t know the Quran — especially its so-called “sword verses” — or the life of Islam’s prophet, who once ordered the execution of hundreds of Banu Qurayza’s male Jews and who sold their women and children into slavery.

            And how many Muslim terrorists are required for you to take note of Islam’s recent terror attacks against French journalists in Europe and elsewhere, e.g., Boko Haram’s violent insurgency in Nigeria, or al-Shebab’s summary executions in Somalia?

          • Sam

            Islam doesn’t follow a moon god. The moon imagery is Turkish in origin and was spread amongst the Islamic populations of the Middle East as a result of Ottoman domination of that region and of Mecca. It would be ignorant to think otherwise.

            How is it obvious? I am familiar with the Quran, the whole of it, not the snippets that make good sound bites for both ISIS and their “enemies”. The “sword verses” are decontextualized in an attempt to portray the false meaning that you are attempting to convey. You, elsewhere, attempted to show the necessity of context but now abandon it, seemingly conveniently. I am also familiar with the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad and know what happen with the Banu Qurayza, but once again you throw out context, just as al-Qaeda and the Taliban would to support your case.

            And how many Americans need to kill and rape native Americans for you to hold all Americans accountable for their actions? How many children and innocents need to be killed in drone strikes before every American man, woman, and child should be punished? How many Algerians and other Africans must the French kill for all French for all time to be held accountable? How many Indians must be abused, raped and mistreated before every British person becomes accountable? How many children need to be raped by pastors and priests before every Christian needs to be held accountable? How long can Christian terror groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army proceed to rape and murder and recruit children before you hold them accountable? How many people must be enslaved and abused to mine the raw materials and manufacture computer equipment before you hold ever user accountable? Or does that seem inane?

          • Joe DeCaro

            Your moral equivalence argument doesn’t give Muslims an excuse for what happened in France last week or what’s happening in Niger today. But feel free to look up the context of the following:
            “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush….” surah 9, v. 5

            In the Quran, there are 148 additional verses similar to the above and each verse abrogates every peaceful verse that came before it, according to Political Islam.
            Ask yourself: Why does the home of the “religion of peace” depict a sword on its flag?

            Moon worship — depicted by the crescent symbol on many Islamic flags — has been practiced in Arabia since 2,000 BC.
            Although it was just one of the many pagan gods worshipped in the Kabah, Bedouin astral beliefs had always centered on the moon, in whose cool light they comfortably grazed their flocks, as opposed to the scorching heat of the desert sun.

          • Sam

            Who is trying to excuse terror? You were trying to say all Muslims are somehow responsible for the acts of a few. That would be like saying all French people are responsible for any terror, violence, or hate crimes committed because of what happen with Charlie. That is a false equivalency.

            Regarding 9.5 it seems interesting that you chose that but refuse to look at 9.4 or 9.6. It is convenient to say the least. Regarding violence in the bible it is clear it is a murderous book bent on destruction and murder. Look at Luke 19:27 for example. This evidence is as clear as any you provide.

            Perhaps though such a violent interpretation is more the contrivance of the reader than the text itself….
            I recommend The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad if you are looking to understand the Quran and Islam. I find that the interpretation garners further credence by being banned from Saudi Arabia with its puritanical and reactionary ideology.

            Do you really think that asking about the flag of state that dominates the homeland of a religion sheds light on the religion? Does the Israeli flag have a bearing on Christianity? Or how about this:
            Ask yourself: Why does the largest Christian church in the world cover for pedophiles? Perhaps Christianity is innately pedophilic?
            Do you feel this question in anyway accurately portrays Christianity, the majority of Christians, or what Jesus was saying?

            Moon worship was practiced globally since before most of the world had writing. But that is not the origin of it on the flags. Any of them. As I stated it is a derivative of Turkish influence not moon worship.
            There were many gods worshiped in the pagan pantheon and the value of the night is clear, especially for desert folk, but how this connection proves your point is lacking.

            Christmas trees are pagan in origin and are connected to the ancient forest worship. This is proof that Christians worship forests.
            The Easter bunny and eggs are ancient pagan fertility signs to show the changing of the seasons. Such is clear proof that Christians worship ancient pagan fertility gods.
            America practiced slavery before Civil War and regardless of what Americans say now they are clearly slavers and forever will be known as such.
            The worship of birds dates back to Germanic and Roman culture. The US having an Eagle as such a prominent symbol shows how America is actually the servant of ancient pagan gods.

            Do these arguments make sense or are they so clearly nonsensical that they can be dismissed and only the most absurd would believe them to be true? I understand you are trying hard to connect pieces that don’t fit together but they don’t fit.

          • Joe DeCaro

            The pieces fit; you simply refuse to connect the dots.

            Despite your appeal to moral equivalence arguments, the fact that Christmas trees and Easter eggs are all pagan in origin doesn’t undo the fact that current Muslim worship can be traced to the Bedouin moon cult. But though Christianity redefined the meaning and celebration of the pagan Winter solstice and fertility cults, Muslims still carry on their primitive rock worship as they circle a meteorite during their annual hajj.

            And who said ALL Muslims are somehow responsible for the acts of a few?
            The Quran’s 149 sword verses are the inspiration of all Islamic violence for those Muslims who truly follow their so-called “religion of peace”.

          • Sam

            Forcing a round peg into a square isn’t a fit even if you insist it is.

            Interesting perspective once again, but it finds no substance within Islam itself. Once again you state that Islam is something that is not reflected in any Muslims practice. How is it that you would know better what is practiced by over a billion people then they would?

            Your moral equivalency argument that trees and eggs and bunnies being worshiped by Christians isn’t actually worship while a meteorite is still pagan is fascinating. Do you see the willful hypocrisy of such interpretations?

            And you correct. ISIL, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and individuals such as your self draw inspiration from the “sword verses” (removing all context or reason from them) to support a caricature of Islam that is misrepresentative of the Quran and Islam. This reminds me of atheists who insists that all Christians believe in a literal bible to support their anti-Christian perspectives.

          • Joe DeCaro

            Forcing a round peg into a square hole sounds like your last IQ test.

            Islamic Jihad is certainly practiced today because it is obligatory for all able bodied male Muslims. The attack on French journalists in Paris was just the latest in a long string of jihads going back to Mohammed.

            And though trees, eggs and bunnies are not worshipped by Christians, Muslims continue to “venerate” a black stone — believed to be a meteorite — inside their holy Kaaba, a pre-Islamic shrine that is still revered as a sacred sanctuary and a site of pilgrimage.

            It was primitive rock worship then and it hasn’t changed today.

          • Sam

            As I said previously, it is necessary for individuals of ideological extremes, such as yourself and the individuals who committed those horrific acts in France, for such misrepresentatons of Jihad and Muhammad to continue. Such beliefs continue to stoke the flames of war and conflict especially when coupled with such willful misrepresenations of Islam, such as the ones you make or the Taliban promote. I have no doubt that you are to ISIS and al-Qaeda what they are to you, all the evidence needed to support their case, their interpretation, their war.

            It should be clear though that I don’t think there is an issue of your intelligence anymore than there was with Osama’s. Your problem isn’t one of cognitive function but rather ideology. You have a belief that is more important to you than truth and reality and so you willfully embrace ignorance and distort facts to reinforce your bigotry.

            It doesn’t have to be that way though. You can let go of the anger and the hate. Much as America has let go of much of its racial prejudice against blacks over the course of the twentieth century you can overcome this. Consider opinions that disagree with you, actually meet and converse with Muslims, and most importantly accept your own ignorance and become humbled by it. As long as you let your anger drive you it will cost you most of all.

          • Joe DeCaro

            When Barack Hussein Obama was elected as America’s first Black president, many of his fellow Democrats called anyone who disagreed with his extreme ideologies a racist.

            So Sammy, tell us what “race” is Islam such that anyone who disagrees with its primitives practices is now, according to you, a racist too?

          • Sam

            I recently read an interesting article in American Conservative asking whether in fact the President was actually Republican. I think you would find it interesting as well. Some of the comments though reinforced that policies were less important than self-identification. You also see this with perceived deviation from ideological purity such as the accusations of RINO. This plays out on a larger scale with the concept of “Real Americans” where despite the land of birth or where they are raised or their parents origins people are accused of not being a “Real American.” It would seem orthodoxy is a tricky thing.

            I have no doubt that there were, and are, individuals who take anything said about Barack as racists, just as their are individuals who no matter how racists what they say about him claim it is not racists, but the idea that this is mainstream is just as inaccurate as claiming that ISIS is main stream Islam or that the KKK is mainstream Christianity or “white culture”. These items become conflated, just as Obama’s “socialist credentials” have, to reinforce ideological positions that have nothing to do with reality. Narrative for such people, no matter national origin or religion, is far more important than facts.

            Islam is no more connected to race than Christianity or Buddhism or Wiccan. Do you have information otherwise? And I am afraid I don’t understand your statement about me accusing people of being racists. Where did I do that, Joey?

          • Joe DeCaro

            Don’t you read your own posts?
            “It doesn’t have to be that way though. You can let go of the anger and the hate. Much as America has let go of much of its racial prejudice against blacks over the course of the twentieth century you can overcome this. Consider opinions that disagree with you, actually meet and converse with Muslims …”

            So, Sammy, what is the connection you’re trying to make between racial prejudice, Muslims and myself?
            Exactly what race is “Muslim”?

            And for the record, during my peacekeeping duties in Bosnia I worked closely with nominal Muslims called Bosniacs.

          • Sam

            The post was not stating that you or anyone who is bigoted against Muslims are racists. My statement of connection was one of willful ignorance and bigotry. These roots that lead to extremists views are not racial but ideological. I thought that was clear by the context but I suppose that this reinforces that even if two people read the same thing they may not read the same thing. We bring into every thing we read, hear, and watch our own baggage. This is even more inflamed when we have a need to win, a need to reinforce our own beliefs about others and our need to reinforce our sense of wrongful victimization. By, willfully or not, misrepresenting what I was saying into terms that fit your chosen narrative you provide yourself an opportunity to side step what is actually being stated without any critical review. This is essentially what the original article is speaking of, this willful misrepresentation to reinforce a narrative that is inaccurate and combative at the expense of what is actually going on. Do you see what I am saying?

            And would you be so kind as to elaborate on how your interaction with these “nominal Muslims” lead you to understand that they venerate a stone and worship a moon god? Did you develop friendships that last to this day? Or was it merely a task you had to complete because it was your job?

            Also, thank you for your service.

          • Joe DeCaro

            When NATO assumed peacekeeping duties in Bosnia, it gave Sarajevo the task of relocating all the mujahedeen that had come to Bosnia to fight against Serbs and Croats. The nominal Muslims that remained weren’t very Islamic: although there was call to prayer five times a day, few if any kneeled down. In fact, many Bosnians had Christian ancestors who were given the choice between Mohammed and death.

            In Bosnia I lived in a “Quonset hut” right across from our interpreters’ quarters on an old MIG airbase near Tuzla. I would often play chess with them in between missions.
            The last I heard from them was when Suada — a local Tuzla tour guide whom I wrote a recommendation for as an interpreter — sent me an email apologizing for 9-11.

            And as for “… willful ignorance and bigotry,” both words can easily describe followers of Mohammed who think higher education is to memorize the Quran and who oppress anyone who doesn’t submit to Islam, literally Arabic for “submission”.

          • Sam

            I know that there is some history of ancestors being forced to chose conversion or death but again that is conflated. The aristocracy saw a tax loophole and took advantage of it. If the “convert or die” history was true everything from Hungary to Greece and from Croatia to the Crimea would be Muslim right now. History doesn’t really jive with those assertions.

            And this idea of someone being a nominal Muslim because they hardly pray sounds like most Muslims. Sounds like most Christians for that matter. I would make Dawkins and his ilk proud to know so few are actual Muslims or actual any religion and the world is full of “nominals”. :)

            That’s been a long time since you talked to any of them. In your friendships and conversations did you speak of the moon god they worship, the meteorite they venerate, or the blood thirsty history of Jihad?

            I agree that ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and many other Muslims are also bigoted and ignorant. They hold dishonest and conflated beliefs just as many in the West, China, Japan, and throughout the world do. And because such phenomenon is so widespread it should inspire us all to be vigilant when we hear and read absurd ideas. Further research should be the result and not acceptance of the ridiculous. Sometimes the ridiculous turns out to be true but the benefit of the doubt seems to be the lesson from history.

            The word Islam does literally mean submission, but once again the idea of context would be important here as well. :)

          • Joe DeCaro

            Islam means submission and those who submit to both it and its religious leaders are called Muslims. Conversion by sword was not uncommon, but many Muslim leaders preferred the revenue from the jizya: an extra tax imposed on non-Muslims or dhimmis who were forced to live under Islamic rule, in accordance with the Qur’an and hadith.
            How much more context do you need?

            And as most native Bosniacs were just Islamicised Europeans and not blood thirsty jihadis from Mecca, there was very little religious discussion. However, when I was in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm, the whole country would shut down to pray five times a day; this was strictly enforced by the religious police.

          • Sam

            Islam means submission and a Muslim is one submits. The one to submit to is God and only God. This is reminiscent of the way that the Tribes of Israel were not to have a king but decided to have one anyway. Much is the same with the majority of Muslim history. This can be seen in the long anarchist traditions found in Islam.

            Conversion by the sword did take place but is anti-Islamic and flies in the face of the Quran itself such as 109:1-6. The idea that non-Muslims have to pay a separate tax was in lieu of the compulsory military service, for defense of the community, that Muslims were obligated to perform. This is similar to other schemes in other nations where the wealthy would escape their obligations to the community by use of their wealth rather than service.

            But as I said before you misconstrue in order to reinforce your position, so that you would rather see what you want rather than what happen is not a surprise.

            Now implying that the Arabs are “blood thirsty jihadis from Mecca” while the white people are “just Islamicised Europeans” is racist. To think that a group of people who have practiced a religion generation after generation after generation, even in the face of a secular pro-atheist dictatorship would certainly seem that the religion is legitimately held. Although perhaps these generations of poor Europeans just didn’t know any better despite having friends and family of both Orthodox and Catholic backgrounds. Perhaps Tito and his colleagues were so effective that he stripped all religion from the hearts and minds of the people of the former Yugoslavia to the point were they are all merely “nominal.” Tragically he could not accomplish the same about ethnicity and nationality. Perhaps you would never had had to go there at all. Seems more a racist, bigoted, and willfully ignorant misconstrual of history than anything else though…

            And we have also previously touched on the Saudi Arabia. I know you find it necessary to believe that Saudi Arabia is somehow indicative of all Islam, religious police and all, but it is not the case. Both Muslims and non-Muslim’s know how the Saudi state is supportive of a particular repressive, reactionary, and conservative form of Islam that poorly reflects much of Islam and has far more to do with ethnic cultural traditions. For example the abaya is not Islamic in the least, not even traditional in Islam. Women are not allowed to wear it on pilgrimage to Mecca but are forced to do so in their day to day life. How such a thing could be considered Islamic by anyone baffles many.

            That is another example of how miscontrual, misrepresentation, and blatant lies are used to support a code of conduct and a rigid belief system that is the antithesis of what Islam actually.

            If you really want to know about Islam and what it is I implore you to explore it honestly. I recommend The Message of the Quran a translation by Muhammad Asad and Journey to the End of Islam by Michael Muhammad Knight.

          • Joe DeCaro

            “Now implying that the Arabs are ‘blood thirsty jihadis from Mecca’ while the white people are ‘just Islamicised Europeans’ is racist,” is hypocrisy on your part after accusing me of misconstruing in order to reinforce my position.
            That you would rather see what you want me to say rather than what I actually said is not a surprise, or doesn’t that sound familiar to you?

          • Sam

            Except that isn’t what is happening. Your implications were extremely clear. But with your level of misconstrual and linguistic and data manipulation it isn’t surprising.

            You parade about showing how wrongfully accused you are, how you are the real victim here, and how you are being misunderstood. These claims are formative to support how others are the victimizers while attempting to white wash your own deeds, thoughts, history, and opinions. Doing the above where you make a clear implication between real Muslims (“blood thirsty jihadis from Mecca”) as opposed to “nominal Muslims” (“just Islamicised Europeans”) is clear as day, but you have to deny it in order to continue your personal narrative.

            This is textbook cognitive dissonance.

          • Sam

            I know though that you are well aware of these contradictions and only willfully turn away from them. You, as I said before, are choosing to ignore these attitudes and beliefs as you do with other evidence that contradicts your chosen narrative. You seem like a smart chap and you have the resources at your fingertips to expand on those innate skills. You can sharpen your reasoning and critical thinking skills to understand the world as it really is, to come up with personal and interpersonal solutions to overcome the hardships and struggles that we deal with. I have no doubt that you can be of value to yourself and others so it confuses me why you insist on developing and maintaining such a distorted understanding of reality. What is so appealing about this current narrative?

            Is it that you are the hero? Is it that you are a gallant member of the small, but diverse group of people who are the last remnants of a great nation struggling for Freedom and Justice and Truth? Do you Know yourself to be a stalwart against the barbarians of every stripe and their allies amongst the traitors who seek to tear down the glorious world that you are defending? Are you on a mission from the God to defend the Real Truth against The Enemy? Does this underdog on the side of righteousness narrative fulfill the need for hope and purpose that you seek in life? Is it that you feel awash in a world that seems to hold nothing for you to hold on to and that all the great things of the world are in the past but they live on in you? Do you believe that your actions can make the difference and help win the war against the evils of the modern world, a world that has turned its back on people like you?

            Speaking of which, I wanted to thank you for reminding me what the true enemy is, what is worth really struggling against. It isn’t people or nations or armies, although as you surmise these can be instruments of the real enemy. The real enemy is enmity, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and so forth. All the mental memes, either individual or collective, that stop us from facing the world and seeking truth, seeking to see the world that is really around us. We win when we can overcome the burdens within ourselves and can see things for what they really are and can be honest with that and seek not only our own fulfillment but also the fulfillment of others. That’s the only way peace will be achieved and the only way that truth can be found.

            You are a strong guy, and I know there is a lot of pain and anger to let go of, but you are strong enough to do it. You can become the hero you seek to be but in order to do so you have to let go of the enemy within.

          • Joe DeCaro

            Since you addressed this to yourself, am I to assume this is an attempt at self-psychoanalysis?

          • Sam

            That’s amusing. I figured it would be easier to respond and keep track of as further thoughts rather than as an edit to the preceding changes due to the amount of additional content added as opposed to grammatical or spelling corrections.

            It was meant to be addressed to you but I am always willing to hear additional insights. :)

          • Joe DeCaro

            I am not your victim; I am just calling you out for being a liar, so don’t project any politically correct victimhood unto me.

            And while you see all Europeans in terms of race, I see them in terms of religion, specifically Christianity as crosses adorn the flags of many Euro nations.
            Christianity teaches forgiveness and compassion, concepts that are alien to Islam as “Allah does not love the unbeliever,” and neither do his followers.

          • Sam

            A liar? What have I lied about?

            I am not projecting any victimhood. I am stating what I see. You are taking the position of a man underseige and thus a victim.

            I think that I quite clearly showed how you are being disingenuous about your take on what you mean by European, especially those that are “nominally Muslim”. To state otherwise would be a, as you put it, lie.

            And I think Jesus was quite clear when he said, “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.” That is not a very forgiving statement. Perhaps you prefer:

            That is so. And if anyone inflicts an injury the same as the one done to him and then is again oppressed, Allah will come to his aid. Allah is All-Pardoning, Ever-Forgiving. (Surat Al-Hajj, 60)

            Make allowances for people, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant. (Surat Al-A‘raf, 199)

            Those of you possessing affluence and ample wealth should not make oaths that they will not give to their relatives and the very poor and those who have made hijra in the way of Allah.* They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat An-Nur, 22)

            The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with Allah. Certainly He does not love wrongdoers. (Surat Ash-Shura, 40)

            Allah does not impose on any self any more than it can stand. For it is what it has earned; against it, what it has merited. Our Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or make a mistake! Our Lord, do not place on us a load like the one You placed on those before us! Our Lord, do not place on us a load we have not the strength to bear! And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy on us. You are our Master , so help us against the people of the kafirun. (Surat Al-Baqara, 286)

            Those of you who turned their backs on the day the two armies clashed – it was Shaytan who made them slip for what they had done. But Allah has pardoned them. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, All-Forbearing. (Surat Al ‘Imran, 155)

            Allah will not take you to task for inadvertent statements in your oaths, but He will take you to task for the intention your hearts have made. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, All-Forbearing. (Surat Al-Baqara, 225)

            Nor is there anything wrong in any allusion to marriage you make to a woman, nor for any you keep to yourself. Allah knows that you will say things to them. But do not make secret arrangements with them, rather only speak with correctness and courtesy. Do not finally decide on the marriage contract until the prescribed period has come to its end. Know that Allah knows what is in your selves, so beware of Him! And know that Allah is Ever-Forgiving, All-Forbearing. (Surat Al-Baqara, 235)

            Correct and courteous words accompanied by forgiveness are better than sadaqa followed by insulting words. Allah is Rich Beyond Need, All-Forbearing. (Surat Al-Baqara, 263)

            Shaytan promises you poverty and commands you to avarice. Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and abundance. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (Surat Al-Baqara, 268)

            If you make your sadaqa public, that is good. But if you conceal it and give it to the poor, that is better for you, and We will erase some of your bad actions from you. Allah is aware of what you do. (Surat Al-Baqara, 271)

            Say, ‘If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you and forgive you for your wrong actions. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’ (Surat Al ‘Imran, 31)

            Their recompense is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, for ever. How excellent is the reward of those who act! (Surat Al ‘Imran, 136)

            And ask Allah’s forgiveness. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat An-Nisa, 106)

            Anyone who does evil or wrongs himself and then asks Allah’s forgiveness will find Allah Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat An-Nisa, 110)

            Whether you reveal a good act or keep it hidden, or pardon an evil act, Allah is Ever-Pardoning, All-Powerful. (Surat An-Nisa, 149)

            Allah has promised those who believe and do right actions forgiveness and an immense reward. (Surat Al-Ma’ida, 9)

            The Jews and Christians say, ‘We are Allah’s children and His loved ones.’ Say: ‘Why, then, does He punish you for your wrong actions? No, you are merely human beings among those He has created. He forgives whoever He wills and He punishes whoever He wills. The kingdom of the heavens and the earth and everything between them belongs to Allah. He is our final destination.’ (Surat Al-Ma’ida, 18)

            But if anyone repents after his wrongdoing and puts things right, Allah will turn towards him. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Ma’ida, 39)

            Why do they not turn to Allah and ask for His forgiveness? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Ma’ida, 74)

            When those who believe in Our Signs come to you, say, ‘Peace be upon you!’ Allah has made mercy incumbent on Himself. If anyone among you does evil out of ignorance and then afterwards repents and puts things right, He is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-An‘am, 54)

            He said, ‘My Lord, forgive me and my brother and admit us into Your mercy. You are the Most Merciful of the merciful.’ (Surat Al-A‘raf, 151)

            They are in truth the believers. They have high ranks with their Lord and forgiveness and generous provision. (Surat Al-Anfal, 4)

            You who believe! if you have taqwa of Allah, He will give you discrimination and erase your bad actions from you and forgive you. Allah’s favour is indeed immense. (Surat Al-Anfal, 29)

            Nothing is held against the weak and sick nor against those who find nothing to spend, provided they are true to Allah and His Messenger – there is no way open against good-doers, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful – (Surat At-Tawba, 91)

            If Allah afflicts you with harm, no one can remove it except Him. If He desires good for you, no one can avert His favour. He bestows it on whichever of His slaves He wills. He is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Yunus, 107)

            Ask your Lord for forgiveness and then repent to Him. He will let you enjoy a good life until a specified time, and will give His favour to all who merit it. But if you turn your backs, I fear for you the punishment of a Mighty Day. (Surah Hud, 3)

            My people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send heaven down to you in abundant rain, and increase you with strength upon strength. Do not turn away as evildoers.’ (Surah Hud, 52)

            To Thamud We sent their brother Salih. He said, ‘My people, worship Allah! You have no god apart from Him. He brought you into being from the earth and made you its inhabitants. So ask His forgiveness and then repent to Him. My Lord is Close and Quick to Respond.’ (Surah Hud, 61)

            Ask your Lord for forgiveness and then repent to Him. My Lord is Most Merciful, Most Loving.’ (Surah Hud, 90)

            He said, ‘No blame at all will fall on you. Today you have forgiveness from Allah. He is the Most Merciful of the merciful. (Surah Yusuf, 92)

            They said, ‘Our father, may we be forgiven for all the many wrongs that we have done. We were indeed greatly mistaken men.’ (Surah Yusuf, 97)

            He said, ‘I will ask my Lord to pardon you. He is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’ (Surah Yusuf, 98)

            They want you to hasten the bad rather than the good when examples of punishment are there before them in the past. Your Lord has forgiveness for people for their wrongdoing; but your Lord is also severe in retribution. (Surat Ar-Ra‘d, 6)

            Their Messengers said, ‘Is there any doubt about Allah, the Bringer into Being of the heavens and the earth? He summons you to forgive you for your wrong actions and to defer you until a specified time.’ They said, ‘You are nothing but human beings like ourselves who want to debar us from what our fathers worshipped; so bring us a clear authority.’ (Surah Ibrahim, 10)

            Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day the Reckoning takes place.’ (Surah Ibrahim, 41)

            Tell My slaves that I am the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful, (Surat Al-Hijr, 49)

            If you tried to number Allah’s blessings, you could never count them. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat An-Nahl, 18)

            But to those who do evil in ignorance and then after that repent and put things right, to them your Lord is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat An-Nahl, 119)

            Your Lord knows best what is in your selves. If you are salihun, He is Ever-Forgiving to the remorseful. (Surat Al-Isra, 25)

            When guidance came to the people nothing prevented them from having iman and asking for forgiveness from their Lord but the fact that the pattern of previous peoples did not happen to them or that the punishment did not appear before their eyes. (Surat Al-Kahf, 55)

            Your Lord is the Ever-Forgiving, the Possessor of Mercy. If He had taken them to task for what they have earned, He would have hastened their punishment. Instead, they have a promised appointment and they will not find any refuge from it. (Surat Al-Kahf, 58)

            We endowed them with Our mercy and made them highly honoured. (Surah Maryam, 50)

            We have had iman in our Lord so that He may forgive us for our mistakes and for the magic which you forced us to perform. Allah is better and longer lasting.’ (Surah Ta Ha, 73)

            But I am Ever-Forgiving to anyone who repents and has iman and acts rightly and then is guided. (Surah Ta Ha, 82)

            As for those who believe and do right actions, they will have forgiveness and generous provision. (Surat Al-Hajj, 50)

            Say: ‘My Lord, forgive and be merciful! You are the Best of the Merciful.’ (Surat Al-Muminun, 118)

            Those of you possessing affluence and ample wealth should not make oaths that they will not give to their relatives and the very poor and those who have made hijra in the way of Allah.* They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat An-Nur, 22)

            He said, ‘My people, why are you so anxious to hasten the bad before the good? If only you would ask for forgiveness from Allah, so that mercy might perhaps be shown to you.’ (Surat An-Naml, 46)

            He said, ‘My Lord, I have wronged myself. Forgive me.’ So He forgave him. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Qasas, 16)

            Call them after their fathers. That is closer to justice in Allah’s sight. And if you do not know who their fathers were then they are your brothers in the deen and people under your patronage. You are not to blame for any honest mistake you make but only for what your hearts premeditate. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Ahzab, 5)

            Men and women who are Muslims, men and women who are believers, men and women who are obedient, men and women who are truthful, men and women who are steadfast, men and women who are humble, men and women who give sadaqa, men and women who fast, men and women who guard their private parts, men and women who remember Allah much: Allah has prepared forgiveness for them and an immense reward. (Surat Al-Ahzab, 35)

            He will put your actions right for you and forgive you your wrong deeds. All who obey Allah and His Messenger have won a mighty victory. (Surat Al-Ahzab, 71)

            …that He will pay them their wages in full and give them more from His unbounded favour. He is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Thankful. (Surah Fatir, 30)

            They will say, ‘Praise be to Allah who has removed all sadness from us. Truly our Lord is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Thankful: (Surah Fatir, 34)

            You can only warn those who act on the Reminder and fear the All-Merciful in the Unseen. Give them the good news of forgiveness and a generous reward. (Surah Yasin, 11)

            So We forgave him for that and he has nearness to Us and a good Homecoming. (Surah Sad, 25)

            We gave him back his family and the same again with them as a mercy from Us and a reminder for people of intellect. (Surah Sad, 43)

            Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything between them,the Almighty, the Endlessly Forgiving.’ (Surah Sad, 66)

            Say: ‘My slaves, you who have transgressed against yourselves,do not despair of the mercy of Allah.Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions.He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.’ (Surat Az-Zumar, 53)

            The Forgiver of wrong action, the Accepter of repentance, the Severe in retribution, the Possessor of abundance. There is no god but Him. He is the final destination. (Surah Ghafir, 3)

            That is the good news which Allah gives to His slaves who believe and do right actions.Say: ‘I do not ask you for any wage for this –except for you to love your near of kin.If anyone does a good action,We will increase the good of it for him.Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Thankful.’ (Surat Ash-Shura, 23)

            …those who avoid major wrong actions and indecencies and who, when they are angered, then forgive; (Surat Ash-Shura, 37)

            But if someone is steadfast and forgives,that is the most resolute course to follow. (Surat Ash-Shura, 43)

            Tell those who believe that they should forgive those who feel no fear about the Days of Allah, when He will repay people according to what they earned. (Surat Al-Jathiyya, 14)

            Or do they say, ‘He has invented it’? .Say: ‘If I have invented it, then you possess no power to help me against Allah in any way. He knows best what you hold forth about. He is witness enough between me and you.He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.’ (Surat Al-Ahqaf, 8)

            Our people, respond to Allah’s caller and believe in Him. He will forgive you some of your wrong actions and save you from a painful punishment. (Surat Al-Ahqaf, 31)

            But as for those who believe and do right actions and believe in what has been sent down to Muhammad – and it is the truth from their Lord –He will erase their bad actions from them and better their condition. (Surah Muhammad, 2)

            …so that Allah may forgive you your earlier errors and any later ones and complete His blessing upon you, and guide you on a Straight Path. (Surat Al-Fath, 2)

            …so that He may admit the men and women of the believers into Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, for ever, and erase their bad actions from them; and in Allah’s sight that is a mighty victory. (Surat Al-Fath, 5)

            The kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah. He forgives those He wills and punishes those He wills.Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Fath, 14)

            If they had only been patient until you came out to them, it would have been better for them.But Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Hujurat, 5)

            You who believe! have taqwa of Allah and iman in His Messenger. He will give you a double portion of His mercy and grant you a Light by which to walk and forgive you.Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Hadid, 28)

            Those who have come after them say, ‘Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in iman and do not put any ancour in our hearts towards those who believe.Our Lord, You are All-Gentle, Most Merciful.’ (Surat Al-Hashr, 10)

            You have an excellent example in Ibrahim and those with him,when they said to their people, ‘We wash our hands of you and all that you worship apart from Allah, and we reject you.Between us and you there will be enmity and hatred for ever unless and until you believe in Allah alone.’Except for Ibrahim’s words to his father: ‘I will ask forgiveness for you but I have no power to help you in any way against Allah.’‘Our Lord, we have put our trust in You. and have repented to You. You are our final destination. (Surat Al-Mumtahana, 4)

            It may well be that Allah will restore the love between you and those of them who are now your enemies. Allah is All-Powerful. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Mumtahana, 7)

            O Prophet! When women who believe come to you pledging allegiance to you on the grounds that they will not associate anything with Allah or steal or fornicate or kill their children or give a false ascription of paternity – making up lies about their bodies –or disobey you in respect of anything right,then accept their pledge and ask forgiveness for them.Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Mumtahana, 12)

            He will forgive you your wrong actions and admit you into Gardens with rivers flowing under them,and fine dwellings in the Gardens of Eden.That is the Great Victory. (Surat As-Saff, 12)

            You who believe! some of your wives and children are an enemy to you, so be wary of them.But if you pardon and exonerate and forgive,Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat At-Taghabun, 14)

            If you make a generous loan to Allah He will multiply it for you and forgive you. Allah is All-Thankful, Most Forbearing. (Surat At-Taghabun, 17)

            I said, “Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Truly He is Endlessly Forgiving. (Surah Nuh, 10)

            My Lord! forgive me and my parents and all who enter my house as believers,and all the men and women of the believers. But do not increase the wrongdoers except in ruin!’(Surah Nuh, 28)

            Your Lord knows that you stay up nearly two-thirds of the night – or half of it, or a third of it – and a group of those with you. Allah determines the night and day. He knows you will not keep count of it,so He has turned towards you.Recite as much of the Qur’an as is easy for you. He knows that some of you are ill and that others are travelling in the land seeking Allah’s bounty, and that others are fighting in the Way of Allah.So recite as much of it as is easy for you.And establish salat and pay zakat and lend a generous loan to Allah.Whatever good you send ahead for yourselves you will find it with Allah as something better and as a greater reward.And seek forgiveness from Allah. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Muzzammil, 28)

            The above doesn’t really support your case very well. It sounds from the Quran that God in Islam is extremely forgiving and encourages individuals to be compassionate and forgiving and giving themselves. It is interesting that you have not, in your extensive research, tun across any of this. Though since you have only ever had friends that were only “nominal Muslims” perhaps it is understandable. But I find it more likely that this is intentional. You need Islam to be a religion of war just as all extremist do. But it’s okay. You are loved any how even if you can’t find love in your own heart.

          • Joe DeCaro

            “And I think Jesus was quite clear when he said, ‘But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.’ That is not a very forgiving statement.”

            It was a parable (Luke 19:11-27) whose last verse you have taken out of context, not a statement of fact; to present it as anything other than an illustrative story is to deliberately misquote Jesus and distort what he said, which comes at no surprise.

            And if Allah is as forgiving as the Quran claims, why did his followers exact vengeance for his prophet upon the French cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo?

            When it comes to criticism, apparently Allah and his prophet in reality are really very thin-skinned.

          • Sam

            I thought you felt context was totally irrelevant, hence your total misrepresentation of the Quran. Perhaps if you think context matters you should review your use of the Quran. (For the record: I agree that quote totally misrepresents Jesus and hours teachings but you have proven my point, so thank you. )

            And so what you are saying now is that Christians are the example of Christianity. So all the inquisitions, crusades, colonizations, as well as all the violence and oppressions committed Christian nations as well as the mass shootings, pedophilia, murders, rapes, and various other crimes prove how horrible Christianity is? Or is this a false equivalency that misrepresents what Christianity is just as the out of context quote does? If those don’t prove how horrible Christianity is then how can you hold Islam to such a different standard? That would be bigotry and not representative of a God or any of his prophets as the aforementioned are not indicative of God or Jesus, only some of their (potentially) misguided followers.

          • Joe DeCaro

            Again, you’re way out of context; the discussion was about peaceful Bosniacs as Islamicized Europeans vs. jihadist mercenaries from Mecca who came to fight in the Balkan wars, but then had to be relocated prior to NATO peacekeeping operations.

            Apples and oranges.

          • Sam

            Joey, you literally just brought up France. That’s ridiculous.

            But so be it, let’s talk Bosnia.

            Christian Serbs raped, murdered, and tortured Muslim Bosniacs because they were Muslim.


            For you this is all the evidence necessary to prove the guild of all Christians, despite whatever mental gymnastics you perform to say otherwise is a continuation of your hypocrisy, willful ignorance, bigoted opinions, and bold face lies.

          • Joe DeCaro

            In the Balkans, invading Ottoman Muslims have slaughtered Christian Serbs for centuries, but the New Testament doesn’t justify Christian retaliation because revenge belongs to God alone.

            However, in Islam, jihad — to include rape and pillage — is sanctioned by the Quran.
            “They ask thee concerning (things taken as) spoils of war. Say: ‘(Such) spoils are at the disposal of Allah and the apostle…'”
            ISIS had even established a modern “slave market” to sell Yazidi women — what the Quran calls “what your right hands possess” — to Muslim men.

            So what were you saying about hypocrisy, willful ignorance, bigoted opinions and bold face lies?

          • Sam

            2 things.

            1) Moving the goal post again? You said:

            “Again, you’re way out of context; the discussion was about peaceful Bosniacs as Islamicized Europeans vs. jihadist mercenaries from Mecca who came to fight in the Balkan wars, but then had to be relocated prior to NATO peacekeeping operations.

            “Apples and oranges.”

            2) Now you are going to justify the genocide of Muslim Boniacs by Christian Serbs?

          • Joe DeCaro

            The only “justification” for genocide can be found in your Quran.

            Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing….”

            In fact, the first genocide of the 20th Century was when two million Armenians living in Turkey were eliminated from their historic homeland through forced deportations and massacres by Ottoman Muslims.

          • Sam

            You have convinced me that you are a true believer. That facts and reality mean nothing to you. That you can, and will, ignore anything that is inconvenient for you to support your ideology. You will manipulate any conversation and change the rules at anytime to avoid the cognitive dissonance that you would face otherwise. You willfully embrace misrepresentations and conflate facts with fiction in order to support your position. You are the greatest ally ISIS and their ilk could hope for. You embrace their intolerance and their horrors but adopt them as your own. You take the actions of an extreme few and egregiously project that to the whole but refuse to do the same when it comes to “your own people.” You ignore the atrocities that Christians commit because it isn’t what you want it to be but you brutally misrepresent Islam. Are you then the example of what Christianity is? Are you the yardstick that should be used to determine someone’s Christianness?

            It must be uncomfortable and I cannot imagine the stress you are under constantly. The lies and twists that you create for yourself. This must have cost you so much both in health and in friendships and love. Christians often talk of the forgiveness, understanding, and love that Jesus taught so is this how you show that?

            Are you acting as Jesus would have you act? Are you turning the other check? Are you forgiving and honest? Or perhaps you have twisted Jesus so much in your heart that he is now a horror?

            For what it is worth I love you. I forgive you. And I know that God knows your pain. It’s okay. You have also convinced me that there is, unfortunately, nothing I can say or do to help you. Your pain and hate are to great a wall for my words to overcome and no matter what I say you only hear poison. I’m sorry I can’t help you. I’m sorry that I can’t give you what you need or give you the love you need. I pray you find it.

            I think God said this best in the Quran though:

            If God succours you, none can ever overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who could succour you thereafter? In God, then, let the believers place their trust! (3:160)

          • Joe DeCaro

            Thank you for forgiving me for telling you the truth.

            BTW, this April will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by Muslims of the Ottoman Empire.

            But unlike Islam, when Christians commit atrocities, we can’t justify it by a sword verse from the Quran.

          • Sam

            There is no truth in what you have said. It is all a stack of cards of misinformation, bigotry, racism, and willful ignorance.

          • Joe DeCaro

            To willfully resist the “wisdom” of Quran is not ignorance; it’s simply self-preservation for non-Muslims.

          • Sam

            Is that it? Is that what you believe you are doing?

            Perhaps you really do. Perhaps this has gone on so long that the lies taste like wisdom now.

          • Joe DeCaro

            Your 72 virgins will taste like pure, white raisins because they’re a mistranslation.

          • Sam

            Please elaborate.

          • Joe DeCaro

            The elaborate link to your response is currently “Pending”.

          • Sam


  • Michael R

    Read the biography of Mohammed. That tells you everything you need to know about moderate Muslims. To subscribe to a religion founded by a man who spent has his prophet tenure steeped in blood, and yet still proclaim Islam as unequivocally a “religion of peace”, that is the bizarre mindset of the moderate Muslim. It is a mindset that defies reason, and defies decency.

    • Omar Merhi

      Michael r.
      Can you please honestly state that you know what you are talking about?
      Have you bothered to read the Quran? If not, please refrain from commenting less you speak out of ignorance.

    • Sam

      Which biography?

  • bakabomb

    The underlying issue isn’t one religion versus others, but extremism versus moderation. This fault line cuts across all religions and is the meridian that separates the sheep from the goats.

    Extremist media darlings like Bill O’Reilly are on the far side of that meridian, in the latter category. There’s no reason for moderate Muslims to engage with him. At worst, they’re drawn into his “shout-fest”. At best, they remain calm and rational but are overwhelmed by the decibel level and his overbearing, intimidating persona. Dealing with him, his ilk, and the type of listener they attract is like shouting down a deep well — a waste of time and energy.

    Reasonable people of all faith traditions know that the vast majority of Muslims — like the vast majorities of adherents of any world religion — are peaceable people who want to live amicably with their neighbors. We don’t require constant reassurances by their moderate leaders to affirm the truth of this.

    And of course it’s also clear to us that any loose talk of “getting rid” of Islam is nothing more than a reprise of an earlier, so-called “Final” solution for a different faith tradition. Those dog-whistle words lead in only one direction, because “getting rid” really translates to “extirpating” — as in “Kill ‘em all and let Allah sort ‘em out.” Oh boy, Jesus would just love that solution, amirite?