Views From Kennewick

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Digging deeper into Islam

To the editor:

On Jan. 16, SV Yumlu responded to my earlier letter "By all means, speak out about the war" and was particularly concerned about my statement, "Sept. 11, 2001, taught us that Islam is not a religion of peace. Mohammed's teaching and the Koran called for the world to be converted to Islam, by the sword if necessary." SV Yumlu challenges me to show where I found this information in the Koran.

Koran, Sura 9 is generally known as the war chapter (others also demonstrate the coercive nature of Islam). But it is not so simple as to just quote this or that verse because Islamic law has evolved through interpretation of the other foundational documents of Islam---the Hadith and the Sira-- along with the Koran.

The proof really is in the evolution of the Salafist (fundamentalist) strain of Islam and the role Jihad (or holy war) plays in the branch of Islam that now holds this religion in its clutches. This school of thought was not created out of thin air. And I am anxious (and hopeful) for SV Yumlu to show me that these Islamic sects are counter to Koranic teaching.

Briefly, the Salafist movement of Islam includes the Wahabies of Saudi Arabia (Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are from this branch of Islam ). Lest the reader thinks we Americans are somehow to blame for creating militant Islam, the Wahabist sect came into being in the early 1700's before there was ever a United States of America.

Another militant member sect of Salafi Islam is the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna during a time when we in America were pretty busy with the Great Depression. Al-Banna wrote a list of what Islam is, "Islam is a faith and worship...a religion and a state....It is a Koran and a sword."

A separate strain of Islam but with similar Jihadist goals is the Khumeinists (Iran).

Rather than ask me where the admonition to violence is in the Koran, it might be more instructive to ask the Jihadist where they get it! If not from the Koran and its foundational documents, where does this Jihadist ideology come from? And, if not from the teachings of Mohammed, are those sects mentioned above and those Muslim acts cited below distortions of the religion of peace?

Do Muslims today want to convert the world to Islam through warlike means similar to those used by Mohammed and his 7th Century followers? If not, then good Muslims, and I am sure SV Yumlu is one, should now join together in a worldwide condemnation (with words and actions) of those who have deviated from the true faith with their demands that the world convert to Islam.

When Fox reporters Steve Centanni and Olaf Wigg were kidnapped in Lebanon last fall, their Muslim captors released them only after they converted to Islam. Where did those kidnappers get this notion? Did they just fabricate this idea on the spot?

Last fall, when Adam Gadahn, the American convert to Islam sent a message to Pres. Bush and others to convert or die, was he speaking for Islam? Where did he get the notion that it was either convert or die?

When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked the American people just a few months ago to convert to Islam or suffer the consequences, where on earth did he get this notion? Is there no basis in Islam (the Koran and teachings of Mohammed) for this request to convert to avoid being attacked?

When just a few weeks ago Jihadists in Thailand beheaded Buddhist farmers and teachers (no Christians or Jews involved here), where did this come from? What beef could the Jihadists have with Buddhists?

On 9/11, when the Muslim terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center with chants of Allah u Akhbar, were they perverting the religion of peace?

Americans understand that actions speak louder than words.

In the weeks and months following 9/11, I was convinced that there had been a terrible perversion of Islam. I expected good Muslims worldwide to rally and rise up against this radical ideology, to admit the flaws in this violent Jihadist strain of Islam.

With each passing year and no uprising of good and moderate Muslims, I and others fear that this will not happen. Will history condemn the good Muslims' silence? How many times have you heard, if only more good Germans had spoken out in the 1930's could the horrific carnage of World War II been averted?

There is, however, a little ray of hope. Canadian author and Islam reformist Irshad Manji just announced that a Muslim anti-Jihad conference will take place in Florida in March. She is seeking to encourage brave Muslims to stand up to the Jihadists in hopes of recovering what she considers the true Islam---a religion of peace. SV Yumlu must see that her mission is for "the sake of our future life." I, for one, will be cheering for her!

Just one last thought. By dragging in the Pope's words and bashing Catholicism, SV Yumlu and Rick Rotten (in the companion letter to SV Yumlu on January 16, 2007) are attempting to silence criticism by using the moral equivalence argument. The Pope can say what he wants, just as I can, and just as Rick Rotten and SV Yumlu can. Those deviants from the true faith of Islam who reacted violently around the world, even killing a nun, in reaction to the Pope's words destroy any moral equivalence argument one might make. Actions speak louder than words.

Thank God for free speech in a free and civilized society


Blogger note: "With each passing year and no uprising of good and moderate Muslims..."

I do not believe the notion of "moderate muslims" exists on the street in the Middle East. I believe this is a sanitized Westernized term used to coddle Westerners, to keep violence from breaking out, to keep civil war at bay. While the government sits and does nothing when known cases of terrorism happen almost daily now on the streets of America.

That said, this is STILL the best damn country in the world.


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