The infamous Islamophobe David Gaubatz, in announcing his retirement via email to his supporters, admitted what most have suspected: That the majority of anti-Islam groups simply exist to make money. Gaubatz wrote (emphasis added):
“There are many good people fighting the fight from within these organizations, but the majority of the 501 nonprofit conservative organizations saying they are engaging Islam in head to head battle, are nothing more than business corporations fighting for the big bucks. I am referring to these conservative leaders who are fighting against each other (from the inside) for the $50,000 and $100,000 plus donations.
“If the average American knew how much fighting goes on between rival non- profit conservative organizations, they would cancel their membership from these groups and work alone to expose Islam. Do not allow anyone to tell you these 501 conservative acronyms are not businesses and their leaders do not make very high salaries. Many of their salaries are in excess of $150,000 plus. I believe most started out for the right reasons, but soon found out they can make a lot of money.”
Indeed, there may be some satisfaction at the vindication of those who have tried to expose these hate groups for what they really are. Yet, read his entire email — the remaining problem screams out and cannot be ignored.
Gaubatz begins his email by addressing his audience as “Americans and Other Loyal Patriots Around the World Who Are Fighting Every Day to Expose ‘Pure Islam.’” Already from the very beginning, we can see what his feelings are about Islam. He writes:
“There will soon come a time this blessed Christian holiday will be limited to how it is celebrated in America. We are already seeing it at schools, work, and in most shopping centers. This is coming about because of the power and influence of Islam.”
Really? The two to six million Muslims in America, barely 1 percent of the U.S. population, are affecting how Christmas is celebrated in America? The same Muslim population who had their religious holidays blocked from the school calendar in Maryland? The same Muslims who have their mosques repeatedly attacked across the country? Come on. Yet, that is what Gaubatz believes.
He also sends out a greeting to his Jewish friends:
“I also want to wish my many Jewish friends the world over a ‘Happy Hanukkah.’ The Jewish People have been victimized for over 1,400 years by Islamic leaders.”
Not true. In fact, it was the Muslims who offered safe havens to scores of Jews escaping Christian pogroms throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It was a Jewish physician and philosopher, Maimonides, who was prominent in Muslim Spain. In fact, I took the Oath of Maimonides when I graduated medical school. And, I had no problem whatsoever with this. While not perfect, to say the least, Jewish-Muslim relations have been relatively good throughout a substantial portion of human history.
Yet, this fact does not seem to faze Gaubatz. He continues, “I have studied Islam the world over for over 30 years, and did my research from the inside out.”
And his “research” has made him conclude that terrorist incidents like in Ft. Hood and Boston were not lone wolf attacks. These Muslims were carrying out orders given to Muslims by Prophet Mohammed. There are no ‘moderate Muslims.’ There are practicing Muslims and non-practicing Muslims. It is as simple as that, according to Gaubatz.
Near the end of his email he writes:
“America will lose the war against Islam because there are very few Americans who have large audiences who will give it to the American people straight. This is simply that the Islamic ideology is our number one enemy and the only way to protect America is to expose Islam as a hate and violent filled ideology that has no place in America or the world.”
This is the problem. This belief that Islam is a “hate and violent filled ideology” perpetuated by Gaubatz and others is the thing we need to continue to speak out against. The ignorance about Islam and its basic tenets is striking. Take, for instance, the comments of Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, who said the country is ruled by a president who bows down to Allah.
Klayman also said: “I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out.”
First of all, we all know Barack Obama is Christian. Yet, that’s not the point. What is so wrong with someone who “bows down to Allah?” Why, Jesus Christ himself bowed down to Allah:
“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39)”
Now, Jesus spoke did not speak Greek, the original language of the Gospels. He spoke Aramaic. And what is the Aramaic name for God? ˀlh, ˀlhˀ (ˀĕ/ălāh, ˀĕ/ălāhā) n.m. god. (Source: http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/index.html)
When Jesus cried out on the cross, he said:
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:34)
“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)
Those words, “Eloi” and “Eli,” are the exact Aramaic correlates for “Allah” in Arabic. Thus, if it is such a crime to “bow down to Allah,” as Klayman asserts, then Jesus Christ himself is guilty of the same crime.
People like Gaubatz and Klayman either do not know this basic fact — which is problematic — or worse, they know this fact but hide it from their respective audiences. We must continue to work and inform the public and our fellow Americans that the “facts” people like Gaubatz, Klayman and others cite about Islam are not facts at all.
We must continue to inform our fellow Americans that Islam is not a “hate filled ideology,” but an Abrahamic faith that worships the very God of Abraham and Lord of Israel; that Islam is a faith that preaches peace and good works; that Islam abhors violence and evil, including acts of violence committed in its name by those who call themselves Muslims; that Islam accepts Jesus Christ as a Prophet and honors both him and his mother greatly; that Islam does not call for “war against the non-believer,” and so on.
Yes, we may all have had a smile or chuckle of satisfaction when Gaubatz publicly admitted what we all suspected about those working to “expose ‘true Islam.’” But the ignorance that these people preach against Islam is the real problem. We must continue to work and strive against the ignorance and lies.
Hesham A. Hassaballa is a columnist at Patheos and a frequent contributor to Altmuslim at Patheos.