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Challenging Ignorance on Islam: a Ten-Point Primer for Americans

by Gary Leupp

"We should invade [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

Columnist Ann Coulter,

National Review Online, Sept. 13, 2001

"Just turn [the sheriff] loose and have him arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line."

Rep. C. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA),

chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland security and Senate candidate, to Georgia law officers, November 2001

"Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith where God sent his Son to die for you."

Attorney General John Ashcroft,

interview on Cal Thomas radio, November 2001

"(Islam) is a very evil and wicked religion wicked, violent and not of the same god (as Christianity)."

Rev. Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, November 2001.

"Islam is Evil,Christ is King."

Allegedly written in marker by law enforcement agents on a Muslim prayer calendar in the home of a Muslim being investigated by police in Dearborn, Michigan, July 2002.

People with power and influence in the U.S. have been saying some very stupid things about Islam and about Muslims since September 11. Some of it is rooted in conscious malice, and ethnic prejudice that spills over into religious bigotry. But some is rooted in sheer historical and geographical ignorance. This is a country, after all, in which only a small minority of high school students can readily locate Afghanistan on the map, or are aware that Iranians and Pakistanis are not Arabs. As an educator, in Asian Studies, at a fairly elite university, I am painfully aware of this ignorance. But I realize it serves a purpose. It is highly useful to a power structure that banks on knee-jerk popular support whenever it embarks on a new military venture, at some far-off venue, on false pretexts immediately discernable to the better educated, but lost on the general public. The generally malleable mainstream press takes care of the rest.

I don't mean to suggest that the academic cognosenti, as a "class," habitually counter this ignorance and protest the imperialist interventions that Washington routinely undertakes. Some of them may indeed support the venture, cynically asserting that the advertised pretext fulfills some sort of valid function, regardless of the lies and distortions that surround it. (I think of the depiction in the media of the "Rambouillet Accords" concerning Yugoslavia in 1999 as "the will of the international community," when one Contact Group member, Russia, rejected the U.S.-dictated plan for Kosovo outright, and several European states only signed on after their arms were twisted nearly out of their sockets. I think of the calculated, extreme exaggeration of the number of Kosovar victims of Serbian forces as the bombing of Yugoslavia began. The lies surrounding that bombing were obvious to anyone studying the situation, but even some rather progressive academics were all for "Operation Allied Force.") American academe is---unfortunately--- whatever its right-wing critics may contend, not particularly left or anti-imperialist. In any case, such ignorance is not just a national embarrassment; it's really dangerous. Raw material for a made-in-USA version of fascism.

To understand the contemporary world, we all need to know something about Islam-beyond the inane contribution of the Attorney General cited above. So I have prepared this little primer on Islam for Americans (suitable for ages 13 and above, so appropriate for high school use), dealing not with its theology so much as its general character as an important force in the world, presently encountering unprecedented, unprincipled attack from various quarters. (Oh, and by the way, I'm not a Muslim, but what those on the Christian right revile as a "secular humanist.")

1. Islam has been around for approximately 1400 years. Established on the west coast of Arabia 900 years before European settlement in America, and spreading rapidly throughout Southwest Asia and North Africa soon thereafter, it was not designed as an anti-U.S. movement!

The basic teachings or requirements of Islam are not difficult to grasp. They constitute the "Five Pillars of Islam": (1) profession that there is no God but God ("Allah," in Arabic), and his Prophet (the last of the prophets, the "seal of the prophets") is Muhammad; (2) daily prayer; (3) fasting during the month of Ramadan; (4) charity; and (5) the pilgrimage to Mecca. Whatever you may think of this package, it's not terribly threatening to the non-Muslim.

2. Islam's teachings are contained in a fairly compact book, the Qur'an, which Muslims believe was dictated to the Prophet Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel. They believe of it precisely what Jews and Christians believe of their scriptures: that is, it's the Word of God. This book, like the Bible, demands belief in monotheism; refers to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jesus, etc. (far more space is given to Mary, mother of Jesus, in the Qur'an than in the New Testament); has a substantial legalistic component reminiscent of the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, and poetic content as beautifully uplifting as the Book of Psalms. For religious and secular scholars alike, it is absolutely clear that Islam stems from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Indeed, we should think in terms of the "Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition."

(Some fundamentalist Christians, of course, see Islam as the work of Satan, and medieval Christians in Europe saw it as a heresy rather than as "paganism. The point is---for better or worse---Muslims have a whole lot more in common with the dominant religious trends in the U.S. than do, say, Buddhists or Hindus.)

3. Muslims are about 20% of the world's population; Christians, about 30%. (The U.S. Muslim population is estimated between 5 and 8 million; U.S. Jews between 5 and 6 million). The global Jewish population is statistically quite small, so one can say the Judeo-Christian-Islamic population is roughly half the world's total. The consequences of a protracted religious war, pitting Christians and Jews against Muslims, are highly unpleasant to consider.

4. The Qur'an depicts Jews and Christians as "People of the Book," meaning that they have their own scriptures bestowed upon them by God (Allah is simply the Arabic world for God, related to the Hebrew Elohim; we should see it as analogous to the German word Gott, the French Dieu, or the Spanish Dios. It's not the personal name of a deity within a pantheon, like Thor, Aphrodite or Siva.)

Muslim scripture counsels respect for these communities, and indeed, in the history of Islam, within Islamic societies Jews and Christians have fared FAR better than non-Christians in Christendom. Muslims ruled all or part of Spain from around 800 to the late 15th century, when Columbus' great patrons, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella "drove the Moors (Muslims) out of Spain," forced everybody to embrace Catholic Christianity (or be killed), and promoted the exquisite Christian tortures of the Inquisition. Under Muslim rule, Christian and Jewish communities generally flourished from Spain to Iraq. On the other hand, until recent times, Christian intolerance prevailed throughout Europe.

5. The Qu'ran does NOT call upon Muslims to KILL all non-Muslims. It calls for the destruction of "infidels," meaning principally Arabs who, during the time of Muhammad, practiced idolatry and polytheism. Again: this is a seventh-century book, produced in a specific historical context! It, and the Muslim religion, should be studied and understood objectively, dispassionately. Islam emerged very quickly, and within decades united under its banner-the banner of monotheism---the various tribes of Arabia. Its violent rejection of idolatry, however offensive to the modern, secular, humanist mind, is hardly unique. It can be compared to the ferocious suppression in Christian Europe of paganism (often associated with witchcraft).

And for perspective, while the Qu'ran does call for the extermination of "infidels," the Old Testament is replete with its own exhortations to genocide. According to the Biblical narrative (of dubious historicity, but believed by hundreds of millions), the Hebrews under Joshua's leadership, invading Canaan from Egypt, killed twelve thousand "men and women together" in the town of Ai-because God wanted them to (Joshua 8:25). The Hebrews put all the people of Hazor to the sword (they "wiped them all out; they did not leave one living soul." Judges 11:14). The poetics of hatred are as conspicuous in the Bible as in the Qu'ran. A personal favorite of mine, from Psalm 137, refers to the Babylonians: "A blessing on him who takes and dashes your babies against the rock!" Such references are characteristic of Judeo-Christian-Islamic literature, and are best examined in historical perspective.

6. Islamic "fundamentalism" is not a species apart from other fundamentalisms, including the Christian, Jewish, and Hindu varieties. They are all anti-modern, anti-science, anti-intellectual, rarely harmless and potentially (if not necessarily) fascistic. They demand belief in received dogma, inscribed in texts, rather than open-ended scientific inquiry. They either legitimate the existing order, or call for a return to a past social order in which class and gender relations were properly sorted out in line with the Divine Will.

Some (including non-religious people in or from Muslim countries) criticize Islam (appropriately, in my view) for what they consider backward and reactionary features. This is not the place to deal with such criticisms, nor am I the right person to do it. I will merely observe what many others have observed: Christendom underwent the Enlightenment-an evolution towards secularism, rationalism, and scientific thought in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries-which the Islamic world, in general, has not yet experienced. To become "modern" (more specifically, to become capitalist), the West had to become more ideologically tolerant (i.e., less religious), and allow a freer market in ideas than had been possible when the Church monopolized learning. If mullahs monopolize education in much of the Muslim world, they serve a function identical with that of Europe's medieval Catholic clergy.

But our own Enlightenment is not irreversible. Top U.S. officials reject the theory of evolution in favor of the ludicrous "theory" of "creationism,"and seek to criminalize abortion on the grounds that a fetus is a human being created by God. Recent changes in U.S. law (allowing the use of vouchers to support religious schools at taxpayer's expense), and the failure of the courts to prosecute behavior which plainly violates the constitutional separation of church and state, demonstrate that medieval thinking and fundamentalism retain a strong hold in sections of U.S. society, and are well represented in the Bush administration. The American people are, I submit, far more threatened by Christian fundamentalism than its Islamic counterpart. And for a Pentecostalist Christian like John Ashcroft, who believes every word of the Bible literally, to inveigh against Islam (as he has) is (to use the English proverb) the "pot calling the kettle black."

7. Islamic fundamentalism (or what some, including CNN Moneyline's Lou Dobbs calls "Islamism," meaning a specifically political Islam) has NOT, historically, posed a great threat to Western interests (by which I mean corporate, oil, and geopolitical interests) but rather been exploited to SERVE those interests. Remember Lawrence of Arabia? What was his objective other than to forge a British alliance with the Hashemites, who would certainly qualify as "Islamists" by Lou Dobb's standards, during World War I? Later, the British boosted the Saudi royal family (patrons of the Wahhabi school of Islam, usually described as among the most conservative, embraced by Osama bin Laden as well as the Saudis in general) into power. The U.S. inherited Saudi Arabia as a client state after World War II, and we all know how well U.S. oil companies have done there ever since. (Aramco alone, prior to its nationalization in the mid-1980s, yielded some $ 3 trillion from the Arabian reserves.)

The U.S. helped create, recruit, and finance the fundamentalist Mujahadeen, including some 30,000 young volunteers who came from throughout the Muslim world to fight "godless Communism" in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The U.S. encouraged them to view their war as a jihad (in the sense of a "Holy War," a meaning the term usually does NOT carry), and put many in contact with young Osama bin Laden, then an ally. The Reagan administration was in love with fundamentalist Islam, so long as it served its purposes.

The California-based company Unocal was cordially negotiating right up to Sept. 11 with Afghanistan's Taliban for an oil pipeline through Afghan territory, State Department official and oilman Zalmay Khalilzad was arguing up through 1998 that the Taliban were friendly, potential business partners who did "not practice the anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism practiced in Iran."

8. Muslims of the world have many thoroughly LEGITIMATE reasons to resent U.S. policy. Nearly absolute support for the settler state of Israel in its relationship with the indigenous Palestinian people. Imposition of brutal sanctions on Iraq, contrary to logic and morality. Maintenance of bases throughout the Persian Gulf, in defiance of local sensibilities and interests. Support for brutal regimes, including that of the Shah of Iran and that of Indonesia's Suharto (who unquestionably has more blood on his hands than even that arch-villain and former U.S. buddy Saddam Hussein).

9. Muslims typically DO NOT hate the U.S. as an abstract concept, reject U.S. culture in toto, or seek the destruction of American civilization. Many are, indeed, uncomfortable with some aspects of American behavior, as are most people in the world, from Central America to Japan. But a Zogby International poll, released June 11 of this year, shows that in nine Muslim countries, including Bangladesh and Malaysia, the most admired foreign country is the U.S.

10. Muslims and Jews in Palestine/Israel have NOT always hated one another, and the current Middle East conflict does NOT go back many centuries. Rather, it began with the influx of foreign Jews into the region after World War I, which became a flood as a result of the Holocaust, and with international support resulted in the formation of Israel as a specifically Jewish state in 1948. Jewish settlement and terrorism (well-documented by the Jewish Israeli historian Ilan Pappe) resulted in the displacement of 750,000 Palestinian Arabs (including both Christians and Muslims). The Arab-Israeli conflict is not, fundamentally, about Islam, or a clash between Islam and other faiths, but about this-worldly land grabbing, settlement, dispossession and oppression that has enraged the Muslim world, as it should enrage any thinking, moral human being. Unfortunately, fundamentalist Christians in this country tend to depict this history of injustice as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, and they will brook no dissent when it comes to the Zionist cause that they have embraced as their own. ("God gave them the land, so don't bother me with historical details. End of discussion.") Hard to imagine a delusion more injurious to world peace and to the cause of justice.

Finally: In understanding Islam, Americans should give some thought to one of the pivotal episodes in world history, the Crusades, or Wars of the Cross, that ripped up the Holy Land between 1096 and 1291. During these two centuries, European Christians seeking to "win back for Christendom" territory that had fallen to the Muslim Turks-territory that had been ruled by Muslims since the early seventh century anyway, on terms generally agreeable to Jews and Christians as well as Muslims-committed unspeakable atrocities. In July 1099 Jerusalem was conquered, the Roman Catholic soldiers massacring all the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants, including women and children. Nor was the Crusaders' zeal exhausted upon non-Christians; frustrated at lack of success in Palestine in 1204, they instead sacked Constantinople (modern Istanbul), then the center of Eastern Orthodoxy. In comparison, the behavior of the Muslim armies was chivalrous, the twelfth-century Kurdish leader Saladin in particular winning high praise from Christians and Muslims alike for his humanity.

The Islamic world remembers the Crusades; George Bush, like many Americans, is clueless about them. Hence his amazingly dim-witted reference to the "War on Terrorism" as a "Crusade" last September 16-a statement that produced immediate, widespread outrage in the Muslim world. No offense intended, no doubt. But such ignorance, in action, in a world where religious prejudice generates idiotic action from Belfast, to the Balkans, to Gujarat, to the Moluccas, is perilous ignorance indeed.

Gary Leupp is an an associate professor, Department of History, Tufts University and coordinator, Asian Studies Program

He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

 


Your Comments

noor, toronto - wrote on 8/16/2011 3:37:49 PM
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Comment: I'm glad there r still people who'll do some research to get the facts correct. Good work.


noor, toronto - wrote on 8/16/2011 3:36:36 PM
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Comment: I'm glad there r still people who'll do some research to get the facts correct. Good work.


Muhammad s. usman, GUSAU ZAMFARA NIGERIA - wrote on 7/7/2011 7:08:59 AM
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Comment: Biblical Prophecies on the Advent of Muhammad , the Prophet of Islam The Biblical prophecies on the advent of the Prophet Muhammad are evidence of the truth of Islam for people who believe in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 18, Moses stated that God told him: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).1 From these verses we conclude that the prophet in this prophecy must have the following three characteristics: 1) That he will be like Moses. 2) That he will come from the brothers of the Israelites, i.e. the Ishmaelites. 3) That God will put His words in to the mouth of this prophet and that he will declare what God commands him. Let us examine these three characteristics in more depth: 1) A prophet like Moses: There were hardly any two prophets who were so much alike as Moses and Muhammad . Both were given a comprehensive law and code of life. Both encountered their enemies and were victorious in miraculous ways. Both were accepted as prophets and statesmen. Both migrated following conspiracies to assassinate them. Analogies between Moses and Jesus overlook not only the above similarities but other crucial ones as well. These include the natural birth, the family life, and death of Moses and Muhammad but not of Jesus. Moreover Jesus was regarded by his followers as the Son of God and not exclusively as a prophet of God, as Moses and Muhammad were and as Muslims believe Jesus was. So, this prophecy refers to the Prophet Muhammad and not to Jesus, because Muhammad is more like Moses than Jesus. Also, one notices from the Gospel of John that the Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of three distinct prophecies. The first was the coming of Christ. The second was the coming of Elijah. The third was the coming of the Prophet. This is obvious from the three questions that were posed to John the Baptist: “Now this was John’s testimony, when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” (John 1:19-21). If we look in a Bible with cross-references, we will find in the marginal notes where the words “the Prophet” occur in John 1:21, that these words refer to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18:18.2 We conclude from this that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18. 2) From the brothers of the Israelites: Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac (Genesis 21). Ishmael became the grandfather of the Arab nation, and Isaac became the grandfather of the Jewish nation. The prophet spoken of was not to come from among the Jews themselves, but from among their brothers, i.e. the Ishmaelites. Muhammad , a descendant of Ishmael, is indeed this prophet. Also, Isaiah 42:1-13 speaks of the servant of God, His “chosen one” and “messenger” who will bring down a law. “He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.” (Isaiah 42:4). Verse 11, connects that awaited one with the descendants of Kedar. Who is Kedar? According to Genesis 25:13, Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad . 3) God will put His words in the mouth of this prophet: The words of God (the Holy Quran) were truly put into Muhammad’s mouth. God sent the Angel Gabriel to teach Muhammad the exact words of God (the Holy Quran) and asked him to dictate them to the people as he heard them. The words are therefore not his own. They did not come from his own thoughts, but were put into his mouth by the Angel Gabriel. During the life time of Muhammad , and under his supervision, these words were then memorized and written by his companions. Also, this prophecy in Deuteronomy mentioned that this prophet will speak the words of God in the name of God. If we looked to the Holy Quran, we will find that all its chapters, except Chapter 9, are preceded or begin with the phrase, “In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.” Another indication (other than the prophecy in Deuteronomy) is that Isaiah ties the messenger connected with Kedar with a new song (a scripture in a new language) to be sung to the Lord (Isaiah 42:10-11). This is mentioned more clearly in the prophecy of Isaiah: “and another tongue, will he speak to this people” (Isaiah 28:11 KJV). Another related point, is that the Quran was revealed in sections over a span of twenty-three years. It is interesting to compare this with Isaiah 28 which speaks of the same thing, “For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there.” (Isaiah 28:10). Note that God has said in the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18, “If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy, 18:19). This means that whoever believes in the Bible must believe in what this prophet says, and this prophet is the Prophet Muhammad . +2348035668870


Muhammad s. usman, GUSAU ZAMFARA NIGERIA - wrote on 7/7/2011 7:06:09 AM
Rating: Rating

Comment: Biblical Prophecies on the Advent of Muhammad , the Prophet of Islam The Biblical prophecies on the advent of the Prophet Muhammad are evidence of the truth of Islam for people who believe in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 18, Moses stated that God told him: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).1 From these verses we conclude that the prophet in this prophecy must have the following three characteristics: 1) That he will be like Moses. 2) That he will come from the brothers of the Israelites, i.e. the Ishmaelites. 3) That God will put His words in to the mouth of this prophet and that he will declare what God commands him. Let us examine these three characteristics in more depth: 1) A prophet like Moses: There were hardly any two prophets who were so much alike as Moses and Muhammad . Both were given a comprehensive law and code of life. Both encountered their enemies and were victorious in miraculous ways. Both were accepted as prophets and statesmen. Both migrated following conspiracies to assassinate them. Analogies between Moses and Jesus overlook not only the above similarities but other crucial ones as well. These include the natural birth, the family life, and death of Moses and Muhammad but not of Jesus. Moreover Jesus was regarded by his followers as the Son of God and not exclusively as a prophet of God, as Moses and Muhammad were and as Muslims believe Jesus was. So, this prophecy refers to the Prophet Muhammad and not to Jesus, because Muhammad is more like Moses than Jesus. Also, one notices from the Gospel of John that the Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of three distinct prophecies. The first was the coming of Christ. The second was the coming of Elijah. The third was the coming of the Prophet. This is obvious from the three questions that were posed to John the Baptist: “Now this was John’s testimony, when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” (John 1:19-21). If we look in a Bible with cross-references, we will find in the marginal notes where the words “the Prophet” occur in John 1:21, that these words refer to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18:18.2 We conclude from this that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18. 2) From the brothers of the Israelites: Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac (Genesis 21). Ishmael became the grandfather of the Arab nation, and Isaac became the grandfather of the Jewish nation. The prophet spoken of was not to come from among the Jews themselves, but from among their brothers, i.e. the Ishmaelites. Muhammad , a descendant of Ishmael, is indeed this prophet. Also, Isaiah 42:1-13 speaks of the servant of God, His “chosen one” and “messenger” who will bring down a law. “He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.” (Isaiah 42:4). Verse 11, connects that awaited one with the descendants of Kedar. Who is Kedar? According to Genesis 25:13, Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad . 3) God will put His words in the mouth of this prophet: The words of God (the Holy Quran) were truly put into Muhammad’s mouth. God sent the Angel Gabriel to teach Muhammad the exact words of God (the Holy Quran) and asked him to dictate them to the people as he heard them. The words are therefore not his own. They did not come from his own thoughts, but were put into his mouth by the Angel Gabriel. During the life time of Muhammad , and under his supervision, these words were then memorized and written by his companions. Also, this prophecy in Deuteronomy mentioned that this prophet will speak the words of God in the name of God. If we looked to the Holy Quran, we will find that all its chapters, except Chapter 9, are preceded or begin with the phrase, “In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.” Another indication (other than the prophecy in Deuteronomy) is that Isaiah ties the messenger connected with Kedar with a new song (a scripture in a new language) to be sung to the Lord (Isaiah 42:10-11). This is mentioned more clearly in the prophecy of Isaiah: “and another tongue, will he speak to this people” (Isaiah 28:11 KJV). Another related point, is that the Quran was revealed in sections over a span of twenty-three years. It is interesting to compare this with Isaiah 28 which speaks of the same thing, “For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there.” (Isaiah 28:10). Note that God has said in the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18, “If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy, 18:19). This means that whoever believes in the Bible must believe in what this prophet says, and this prophet is the Prophet Muhammad . cellphone no +2348035668870


Marina Star, Pismo Beach, CA - wrote on 3/13/2011 5:02:41 AM
Rating: Rating

Comment: Thank you for this well-written piece! As a highly educated Catholic who worked many years with Saudis (teaching ESL), it wounds me to hear the average American demonize all Muslims through sheer ignorance. What is worse is that I have met very few of my fellow Americans, believers or unbelievers, who have the slightest notion of what Christianity is, what Jesus actually states in the New Testament. Many so-called Christians (including many Catholics) believe some sort of mishmash of the Old Testament and Saint Paul, with a smattering of Jesus' words (usually pulled out of context). How can anyone arrive at truth without getting one's facts straight? The cogent theology of Jesus--it is there to read, folks!--is to me a spiritual "fact" as well, but few actually want to wrestle with his message to love everyone, including Muslims. Sigh! So your article is a breath of fresh air--anything to dispel ignorance, our most dangerous time bomb. Finally a quote from St. Thomas Aquinas: "We must love them both--those whose opinions we share, and those whose opinions we reject. For both have labored in the search for truth and both have helped us in the finding of it."


Marina Star, Pismo Beach, CA - wrote on 3/13/2011 5:01:58 AM
Rating: Rating

Comment: Thank you for this well-written piece! As a highly educated Catholic who worked many years with Saudis (teaching ESL), it wounds me to hear the average American demonize all Muslims through sheer ignorance. What is worse is that I have met very few of my fellow Americans, believers or unbelievers, who have the slightest notion of what Christianity is, what Jesus actually states in the New Testament. Many so-called Christians (including many Catholics) believe some sort of mishmash of the Old Testament and Saint Paul, with a smattering of Jesus' words (usually pulled out of context). How can anyone arrive at truth without getting one's facts straight? The cogent theology of Jesus--it is there to read, folks!--is to me a spiritual "fact" as well, but few actually want to wrestle with his message to love everyone, including Muslims. Sigh! So your article is a breath of fresh air--anything to dispel ignorance, our most dangerous time bomb. Finally a quote from St. Thomas Aquinas: "We must love them both--those whose opinions we share, and those whose opinions we reject. For both have labored in the search for truth and both have helped us in the finding of it."


Darwin, Ca. - wrote on 3/3/2011 8:04:28 PM
Rating: Rating

Comment: You are crazy! Islam is no threat? It is a threat in every way and in all corners of Islam. Let me guess Muslim?


ahmed, chicago - wrote on 12/9/2010 9:28:18 PM
Rating: Rating

Comment: Great!


Fida Solangi, larkana - wrote on 11/6/2010 6:43:33 AM
Rating: Rating

Comment: let me eulogize ur great efforts in engaging ur mind for producing such a reconciliatory article.I liked ur this piece of writing very much. it is largely based on authenticity and logicical arguments. it can greatly mitigate the misconceptions and the misunderstang of JEWS,CHRISTIANTS and the AMERCANS at large. ur this type of efforts will one day bring a lot of influnce on the said people's pessimist interpretation against Islam. conclusively, by this way u are servinh whole of humanity. An exllent initiative of ur part. by Fida


Fida Solangi, larkana - wrote on 11/6/2010 6:42:26 AM
Rating: Rating

Comment: let me eulogize ur great efforts in engaging ur mind for producing such a reconciliatory article.I liked ur this piece of writing very much. it is largely based on authenticity and logicical arguments. it can greatly mitigate the misconceptions and the misunderstang of JEWS,CHRISTIANTS and the AMERCANS at large. ur this type of efforts will one day bring a lot of influnce on the said people's pessimist interpretation against Islam. conclusively, by this way u are servinh whole of humanity. An exllent initiative of ur part. by Fida


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