Muslims Conduct a Day of Prayer in Washington

On Friday, about 3,000 Muslims showed up in Washington to pray in front of the U.S. Capitol:

“America is not perfect,” Abdul Malik, an organizer of the event called Islam on Capitol Hill, told the crowd.

“But I will say something it took me my whole adult life to come to: America is not perfect, but I want to tell the truth: It is one of the best places in the world to live.”

There were also anti-Muslim protesters near the event.

Earlier, Malik said, “This is not a protest, it is a day of prayer, of devotion, hoping that we can work … for the betterment of the world community.”

He added, “We can come together and work together for the common good.”

Sounds harmless enough.

And since tens of thousands of Christians descended upon the city a couple weeks ago for the FOXNews-sponsored 9/12 event, you imagine they’d be cool with other groups showing up to display their own faith.

I’m just kidding. They’re going batshit insane over this:

Across the street from the service, Christian protesters gathered with banners, crosses and anti-Islamic messages. One group, which stood next to a 10-foot-tall wooden cross and two giant wooden tablets depicting the Ten Commandments, was led by the Rev. Flip Benham of Concord, N.C.

“I would suggest you convert to Christ!” Benham shouted over a megaphone. Islam “forces its dogma down your throat.” A few Christian protesters gathered at the rear of the Muslim crowd, holding Bibles and praying.

“It is important for Christians to understand that Friday’s Muslim prayer initiative is part of a well-defined strategy to Islamize American society and replace the Bible with the Koran, the cross with the Islamic crescent and the church bells with the Athan [the Muslim call to prayer],” the Rev. Canon Julian Dobbs, leader of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America’s Church and Islam Project, said in a written statement.

“The time has come for the American public to call Islam to account,” he said.

Right… Islam “forces its dogma down your throat.” Christians never do that…

It’s not all Christians who feel this way, of course, but more than enough to make anyone uncomfortable. Where’s the backlash from Christians standing up for the Muslims’ right to pray?

[Crickets chirp]

Hmph.

At least one member of the Christian Left, Brian McLaren, is doing something about it. Not in reaction to the prayer protests, but well before it, he decided to fast for Ramadan along with his Muslim friends:

This year, I, along with a few Christian friends (and perhaps others currently unknown to us will want to join in) will be joining Muslim friends in the fast which begins August 21. We are not doing so in order to become Muslims: we are deeply committed Christians. But as Christians, we want to come close to our Muslim neighbors and to share this important part of life with them. Just as Jesus, a devout Jew, overcame religious prejudice and learned from a Syrophonecian woman and was inspired by her faith two thousand years ago (Matthew 15:21 ff, Mark 7:24 ff), we seek to learn from our Muslim sisters and brothers today.

Nice gesture, even though I don’t see what fasting alone will accomplish. I think Muslims would rather appreciate Christians taking action against what more conservative Christians are doing. Get younger Christians to join together in defense of pluralism and against the hateful practices of the Religious Right. Be subversive from the inside.

For what it’s worth, I’ve seen Christians reacting to McLaren’s call to fast, but I haven’t read about any Muslims saying it has made any difference to them.

(Thanks to Danny for the link!)

  • http://shelleytherepublican.com Jimmy Goddard

    What a typically biased report!

    Let me correct some of your so-called facts: Firstly we were there because JESUS called us to stop the muslims doing their evil prayers.

    Secondly, it’s a well-known fact that all muslims are terrorists. We are just trying to stop another outrage.

    Thirdly the giant-crucifix is fifteen-feet high. We use that one when we are protesting especially evil kinds of evil.

    Finally, you’d better repent or else YOU and all your readers will go to hell.

    Yours in Christ,

    Jimmy Goddard

  • Soumis

    It’s kind-of hard to tell if Jimmy Goddard is satire or crazy serious. Apparently they skipped the chapters and verses on love and tolerance in Jimmy’s bible class…

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    Get younger Christians to join together in defense of pluralism and against the hateful practices of the Religious Right. Be subversive from the inside.

    I would guess that Brian sees encouraging Christians to participate in Ramadan as part of that “subversion”. The first step is to help people identify with the “other”. Then, as more people come to understand and respect people who hold beliefs other than their own, they will be more likely to stand up for them in the public sphere.

  • Mike

    This seems to be another case of my crazy beliefs are better than your crazy beliefs.

  • Todd

    “I would suggest you convert to Christ!” Benham shouted over a megaphone. Islam “forces its dogma down your throat.”

    You just want to scream “IRONY” at this guy, don’t you?

  • Alec

    Islam “forces its dogma down your throat.”

    As you, Hemant, have said before, my irony meter has gone off the charts.

  • http://www.raywhiting.com/MyLife Raytheist

    wow… just wow.

    “all muslims are terrorists”?? Poppycock! There is no factual basis to this statement, just like there’s no factual basis to the idea that all Christians are as ignorant as Mr. Goddard.

    What the Muslims did on Capitol Hill is perfectly acceptable in this country. The Christians were wrong to protest someone else’s freedom to exercise their own religion in their own way, as long as they weren’t getting in other people’s faces or preaching at others. They wanted simply to pray on their own, which is their right. Shame on those who would interfere.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    You just want to scream “IRONY” at this guy, don’t you?

    My thoughts exactly.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    Heh… I just noticed that the guy who wrote the article trashing McLaren that you linked to, is the same conservative asshole that attacked my wife the other day at the American Spectator website for daring to suggest that the United States hasn’t always been the paragon of moral virtue when it comes to dealing with Native Americans.

  • ursulamajor

    I went to “God”dard’s site and still can’t figure out whether if it’s satire or not.

  • medussa

    The hypocrisy of those christians just makes me sick to my stomach….

    I often feel very helpless in the face of so many layers of ignorance: about US history, our rights, religion, the bible (WHY do I know more about the bible than these devout christians), the definition of brainwashing, christian dogma, tolerance, the benefits of diversity, etc.
    I feel defeated because I just don’t even know where to start.

  • K

    Christians are disgusting hypocrites.

  • http://www.myspace.com/themusicianers guitar slayer

    Jimmy Goddard is a total t00l. lol

  • Aj

    Hemant,

    …Brian McLaren, is doing something about it…

    Well they’re always claiming they’re more capable of combating “extremist” Christians.

    …he decided to fast for Ramadan…

    Perhaps after that they can follow with a day of silence and prayer session.

    Clawson,

    …is the same conservative asshole that attacked my wife the other day at the American Spectator website for daring to suggest that the United States hasn’t always been the paragon of moral virtue when it comes to dealing with Native Americans.

    That’s exactly what the author claims in the article. Your devotion to the truth has remained. It certainly does not make factual counter claims on historical events. And it positively does not make allegations about bias against “Western civilization”. No the whole article whether you agree with it or not can be truthfully summed up as a personal attack because someone criticized the United States. [/sarcasm]

  • SD

    Soumis Says:

    Apparently they skipped the chapters and verses on love and tolerance in Jimmy’s bible class…

    And *you* have conveniently ignored the chapters and verses on hate and intolerance in the bible. You might try actually reading (not just cherry picking) the book you portend to know so well in order to understand the problem with your statement.

    SD

  • Erp

    Goddard seems to be parody (do a google search for parody on his site).

    Apparently the Christian Defense Fund (a conservative Christian group) hosted a reception for the Muslim prayer organizers and supports their right to the rally; it has received some heat for that.

  • jnw

    Go Death Cults, Go!

    Nothing better than watching these two groups go at each others’ throats.

    Shhh… just leave them be.

    /selling tickets

  • Chakolate

    “I would suggest you convert to Christ!” Benham shouted over a megaphone. Islam “forces its dogma down your throat.” A few Christian protesters gathered at the rear of the Muslim crowd, holding Bibles and praying.

    This could just as easily have read:

    “I would suggest you convert to Islam! Christianity forces its dogma down your throat.” A few Muslim protesters gathered at the rear of the Christian crowd, holding Korans and praying.

    Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe.

  • Minneyar

    You just want to scream “IRONY” at this guy, don’t you?

    That’s hypocrisy, not irony, actually. It is, in fact, entirely expected that a Superchristian would force his religion down somebody else’s throat while insulting him for doing the same.

  • muggle

    What have we been saying? Most of us anyway. This is just that in the flesh. Mix God and government and pretty soon they’re fighting over which fictional character. It was to be big expected. No matter whose god was in the majority.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    That’s exactly what the author claims in the article. Your devotion to the truth has remained. It certainly does not make factual counter claims on historical events. And it positively does not make allegations about bias against “Western civilization”. No the whole article whether you agree with it or not can be truthfully summed up as a personal attack because someone criticized the United States. [/sarcasm]

    His “factual counter claims” are based on a biased skewing of the events (note, for instance, the way he refers to the Indians who were defending their homes with the politically loaded term “insurgents”), and he never even bothers to question whether the Americans had a right to be there in the first place or whether the local resistance might have been in the right (considering that at the time we were engaged in a war of conquest against Mexico, and were in Taos as hostile, occupying force.)

    And it positively does not make allegations about bias against “Western civilization”. No the whole article whether you agree with it or not can be truthfully summed up as a personal attack because someone criticized the United States.

    Same difference to someone like Tooley apparently. As I understand the (mistaken) assumptions he makes about my wife in his article, he apparently thinks that anyone who dares to point out any past injustices committed by the United States must automatically therefore subscribe to what he calls

    “…an article of faith for the secular and Religious Left that Western civilization is a pox upon the planet. According to this not-so-new mythology, the earth and its indigenous peoples were essentially good. But European civilization, corrupted by Christian Constaninianism, injected corruption, conquest and genocide into largely pristine cultures.”

    My wife didn’t say any of that, and I can guarantee that she doesn’t hold to that overly simplistic view of history and cultures either. But that apparently matters little to Tooley, who seems mainly interested in just applying his preconceived stereotypes about “liberals” to whoever doesn’t share his own biases, regardless of what they actually said (which, I notice, is pretty much what he does to Brian as well).

  • Adam Minorczyk

    “I would suggest you convert to Christ!” Benham shouted over a megaphone. Islam “forces its dogma down your throat.” IS THERE A BIGGER OXYMORON THAN THIS?!

  • Dev

    Well, fact of the matter is both Christianity and Islam believe in converting the planet to their religion, and can get violently forceful in doing so. The Christians would do it regularly in the middle ages and the Muslims still haven’t stopped.

    So the only solution I see to it is that both these religions should respect religions other than themselves and not insult them, and do much, much worse.

  • nickchop

    Chillax, people. Jimmy Goddard is obviously being satirical. I mean, his website at once praises MS Windows as the greatest software program of all time and also provides links to the Ubuntu site (a linux based alternative to windows). Seriously, people. Your density makes us look bad.

  • Bill Ofrights

    The First Amendment is the right to FREEDOM OF RELIGION, not FREEDOM TO BE CHRISTIAN.

  • Richard Wade

    Whatever religious group in a country is the majority seems to feel completely comfortable and justified to throw their feces like zoo apes at the minority religious groups. It doesn’t seem to matter what religious freedoms, if any, are guaranteed by those countries, and it certainly doesn’t seem to matter what principles of respect and compassion are preached by those religions. The feces fly.

    Which god is real is determined by majority vote.

    If atheists staged a large gathering on the Capitol Mall like this, they’d be surrounded, threatened and even attacked by screaming pious and virtuous members of all the religions: the Religion of Love, The Religion of Peace, the Religion of Serenity, The Religion of Compassion, the Religion of Tolerance, the Religion of Mercy, the Religion of Brotherhood, etc, etc, etc.

    Then they’d go back to doing all that nice stuff to each other again.

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  • geru

    Christians saying that Muslims force their dogma on people, and are looking to overtake the nation?

    So that’s why my irony meter suddenly exploded the other day..

  • http://nathan-lee.com/blog Nathan

    Looks like they believe that everyone has the freedom of whatever brand of christian religion they choose. :)

    I particularly love it when christians say they know Islam is wrong, but can’t see that their “proof” is exactly the same as Muslim’s proof.

    As a side note however: did anyone see the stupid Islamic sex segregation in action in the picture: boys on the left, girls (covering up their uncontrollable lust inciting faces) on the right. I really wish the women of the world would take the misogynistic habits of this religion to task. Islam needs some feminists kicking the shit out of it and fast!

  • http://www.CoreyMondello.com Corey Mondello

    a-holes is all I can say about those Xians

  • Jodie

    Go back and read the article — I had no idea Anglicans got so worked up about religion.

  • Erp

    It is a breakaway group of Anglicans.

    The Episcopal Church in the US (part of the international Anglican Communion) has gotten a lot of heat from conservatives for allowing women and gay/lesbian priests and bishops. Because of this the US is being missionarized by some more conservative members of the Anglican Communion (which breaks all sorts of rules since the various Anglican churches aren’t suppose to poach each other). CANA which is the group in the article is officially from Nigeria. Nigeria in turn has a lot of Christian/Muslim strife and in particular the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, has been accused of encouraging it.

  • Jeff Little

    >Thirdly the giant-crucifix is fifteen-feet high.

    Do you really think if Christ returns hes going to want to be reminded of the way you kill him?

  • http://deleted Siamang

    Sorry, but self-made poe’s bore me to tears.

    “Hi everyone, I’m a winking little troll. Get it? It’s a JOKE! Or IS IT? Hey, can I derail your thread while i play my little ‘did I wink good enough’ game? What? You folks weren’t having a discussion here, were you? C’mon, I’m just making fun of Christians. It’s all good, right?”

    Jimmy Goddard, play your little roll-play game on your own website. Thanks.

  • Beth B.

    I get news updates from OneNewsNow, where they’ve been all a-tizzy over Friday’s gathering “inspiring Muslim aggression”. And of course it’s partly Obama’s fault, because the Muslims feel like they have “a sympathetic ear” with him after the Cairo speech.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    If atheists staged a large gathering on the Capitol Mall like this, they’d be surrounded, threatened and even attacked by screaming pious and virtuous members of all the religions

    Well, we did have the Godless Americans March on Washington back in 2002.

    There were some protestors and hecklers, but I believe it was a peaceful gathering overall.

  • Maria

    isn’t that public property? Should any religion be allowed to pray there?

  • akhter

    If it is public property ,then it also belongs to the Muslims as much any other group.Can any Christian answer why should they protest against the Muslims praying ,and have the Muslims ever protested against the Christians holding their mass anywhere in the USA?

  • Polly

    How is holding a counter-protest the same as denying the right to Muslims to pray? Nothing in Rev. Flip Benham’s comments implied that Muslims should be denied the right to hold their gathering.
    He’s hypocritical and demonstrates an astonishing lack of personal introspection, but doesn’t deny the 1st amendment to anyone.

    Anyway, I have no dog in this show.

  • akhter

    Holding counter protest and chanting anti Muslim slogans , and harassing them while they were praying is as bad as denying them.

  • Mike

    Why is it hard to believe that there are people of every religion that take it to its logical extreme. This would represent a VERY small sect of Christians. Just like not all Muslims are terrorists, not all Christians are bible thumping freaks.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Too many Christians in this country think that “freedom of religion” really means “freedom of Christianity.” I’ve actually seen posts from Christians wondering why in the world the Muslims were allowed to do this.

  • Kat

    Can I add something as a rational Christian?
    I completely agree, this was totally wrong. I understand the desire to “help” someone you believe is heading down the wrong path, but this usurping of their gathering was discreditable. A simple “WWJD” would have helped them change their tactics. If they wanted to reach Muslims, they should have stayed a respectful distance away & quietly done their thing without the ornate displays & shouting. They were barely a few degrees above the Westboro Baptist Church maniacs.
    Oh & thank you Mike ;)

  • LEEUSA87

    Christians   and  Muslims, are brathers we can live in peace.