Responding to a lamentable piece of anti-Muslim propaganda

Responding to a lamentable piece of anti-Muslim propaganda March 15, 2017

 

The Mother Mosque in Iowa
This little mosque, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was built in 1934 by Syrian and Lebanese immigrants who were farming in the area. A slightly older mosque was built in North Dakota just a few years earlier, but it no longer stands. My own Scandinavian immigrant ancestors built a small Lutheran church in North Dakota a generation or two earlier. I fail to see why my ancestors should be considered real Americans while their fellow immigrant farmers should not be, merely on account of a religious difference. You want something that’s genuinely “un-American”? Well, to me THAT’s un-American.  (Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons)

 

I very much regret having had to devote a chunk of time today to this unworthy piece of anti-Muslim propaganda.  But I felt that I needed to do it.  I hope that it will do some good:

 

A commenter posted the following item on my Facebook page a couple of days ago.  Im not a cruel person, so I wont share his name here.  However, I feel the obligation to respond to this obnoxious little tract, since its circulating online and has apparently been treated as if it had merit.  Ill intersperse my comments in red.

 

Subject: BEN CARSON on MUSLIMS

 

Worth the read!

 

(No, not really.  I hate to spend my precious time on it.  But I really do feel that I must.  By the way, its not at all clear to me where Ben Carsons portion of this begins and ends nor, for that matter, whether he really has any connection with it at all.)

 

Dr. Carson is a very intelligent man, both in surgery and in critical thinking. (Hes plainly a good and admirable man, and an excellent neurosurgeon.  His life story is inspiring.  Ive frankly been dismayed, though, as Ive heard some of the things hes said.)  Everyone must read this as we welcome Muslims into our mainly Christian country.  (I only wish it were!)

 

This has been the underlying premise that has kept Christianity and Islam at war for almost 2000 years. (Im not sure what the opening this refers to.  In any case, though, it would be difficult for Christianity and Islam to have been at war for almost 2000 years, since Islam began its existence in AD 610which is only 1407 years ago.  You may think that error a small thing, and perhaps it depends upon what the meaning of almost is.  But its indicative, to my mind, of the sloppy disregard for actual fact that runs through this entire little polemic.)  They cannot and will not assimilate into any society that does not embrace their theocratic views. (On the contrary, Muslim immigrants often do assimilate, where theyre permitted to do so.  [Europe has a very mixed record on that score.])  You may not like their politics I dont but Rep. Keith Ellison [D-MN] and Rep. André Carson [D-IN] seem to be relatively well assimilated.  And Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, a Republican who served as the U.S. ambassador to his native Afghanistan and then to Iraq and then to the United Nations, certainly seems to be.  So does Dr. Elias Zerhouni, who served as the 15th director of the National Institutes of Health.  So does Dr Jamal Hakim, with whom Ive dined several times in Orlando and who, Im told, coordinated the medical response when a Muslim extremist wounded scores of people at a nightclub there last June) and  Europe has already suffered a recent invasion of Muslims under the guise of refugees that will destroy Europe as we and they knew it. (An invasion?  Under the guise of refugees?  Most of these people are unquestionably refugees, fleeing conditions that we can barely conceive.  Of course, Europe as we know it may well be dying.  But thats not simply due to an influx of foreigners.  Its also tied up with Europes demographic collapse, the failure of its people to reproduce themselves, and its abandonment of its historical Christian culture and heritage.  Muslims havent caused that.) To ignore the same here will be at our peril.  This denial has been the downfall of every non-Muslim nation who has refused to or has been afraid to believe it (A few historical examples might have been useful here!) – do not fall into the trap of thinking anyone who is aware is racist or paranoid – the informed always have the advantage.  (Actually, I confess, I still lean toward racism or paranoia or, at least, toward lack of decent information.  The author of this awful piece of trash shouldnt be including himself among the informed.)

 

I want adults and children to understand this regarding MUSLIMS.  CAN MUSLIMS BE GOOD AMERICANS?

This is very interesting and we all need to read it from start to finish.

And send it on to everyone. Maybe this is why our American Muslims are so quiet and not speaking out about any atrocities.  (This insinuation that all American Muslims men, women, and children are part of a secret conspiracy strikes me as both sensationalistic and shameful.)

Can a good Muslim be a good American?

Theologically – no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, The moon god of Arabia .  (This is flat-out nonsense.  Allah isnt the moon god of Arabia.  Allah is the Arabic equivalent of the English word God.  Period.  Its the word used in all Arabic-language Bibles, as well as in the Arabic Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  Its directly and closely related to the Hebrew word Elohim.  Moreover, saying that Muslims have an allegiance to God is no different than saying that Christians do.)

Religiously – no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except Islam. (Quran,2:256)(Kora  (Quran 2:256 actually says There is no compulsion in religion.  Its a very good verse, but its not, I think, the passage that the author of this little polemical tract really wanted.  I suspect that he had in mind such passages as Quran 3:19, which says that The [true] religion with God is al-islam.  But what does this mean?  The name of the faith today is Islam, of course.  But, in Arabic, islam or al-islam simply means submission [to God].  And, especially in the days when the Quran was still being revealed, I doubt very much that native speakers of Arabic were thinking of islam as the name of a religious denomination.  They almost certainly heard it as meaning submissiveness or surrendering your will to God.  And thats a concept that Christians ought not to find at all foreign.  What serious Christian would deny that true religion involves submitting your will to that of God?)

Scripturally – no. Because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the Quran. (What on earth would the specifically scriptural requirement be for counting as a good American?  Do I not count as a good American because my allegiance is, among other things, to the thirteen Articles of Faith and the Book of Mormon?  Here are the five Pillars of Islam:  [1] profession of faith in one God and in Muhammad as his prophet [2] prayer [3] almsgiving to the poor [4] fasting [5] pilgrimage.  I cant see anything in those five Pillars that is unconstitutional or illegal or incompatible with being a good citizen.)

Geographically – no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.  (What geographical requirement is there for being a good American?  We dont even require our citizens to live within our borders.  Many American citizens, including diplomats and businesspeople and tens of thousands of LDS missionaries, live abroad for longer or shorter periods of time.  And theres no government in Mecca to which Muslims pledge superior allegiance.  Its simply their direction of prayer, much as Jews pray toward Jerusalem.  [Does that make Jews bad Americans?  One of the Nazi arguments against Jews was that they couldnt be true Europeans.  This objection sounds uncomfortably close to that Nazi claim.]  Are Mormons bad Americans because many of them converge upon Salt Lake City rather than Washington DC for, among other things, general conference?)

Socially – no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.  (But, in fact, many devout Muslims have good Christian and Jewish friends.  I myself have a number of Muslim friends.)

Politically – no. Because he must submit to the mullahs, who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America , the great Satan.  (The term mullah isnt even commonly used by all Muslims.  Its prevalent in some regions e.g., Iran but not in others.  And Muslims are under no obligation to obey mullahs or imams, or other religious leaders without question.  And not all Muslim leaders call for the annihilation of Israel.  And certainly not all of them call for the destruction of America.  And the term Great Satan, while used by some Muslims [notably in Iran], isnt used by even remotely all of them.)

Domestically – no. Because he is instructed to marry four women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him. (Quran 4:34 (Muslim men arent commanded to marry four women.  Theyre permitted to do so, although the Quran rather ambiguously suggests that it would be preferable for them not to do it, and by far most of them dont.  Quran 4:34, with its seeming allowance for striking a rebellious wife not for beating her, let alone scourging her is a rather difficult passage, and has been much debated over the centuries.  I wont enter into the debate here, but this little polemical tract oversimplifies the matter considerably.)

Intellectually – no. Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.  (How in the world is the Constitution based on biblical principles?  Theres nothing in it about the atonement of Christ, or faith in God, or the resurrection, or proper treatment of the poor, or baptism, or any other specifically biblical doctrine.  Its a procedural text.  A very, very great one.  But not a biblical one.  And theres nothing in the Bible about the presidency, or a Supreme Court, or a bicameral legislature, or the quartering of troops, or the right of Habeas Corpus.  This claim is mere silliness.  By the way, like other communicant Latter-day Saints I believe the Bible to be, in some sense, corrupt.  Does that make us bad Americans?  Does that mean that we reject the Constitution?)

Philosophically – no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression. (Historically, though, they often did and have.  Certainly as well as, and maybe better than, Christian countries did up until quite recent times.)  Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. (Thats not at all obvious to me.  Turkey and Malaysia and Indonesia and Egypt and many other predominantly Muslim countries have held democratic elections.  Perfect?  No.  Pretty good?  Sometimes, yes indeed.)  Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.  (Many have been.  But that was also true in Latin America for a very long time, which led some to say, quite falsely, that Catholicism is incompatible with democracy.  The fact is that democratic government is a relatively recent thing world-wide, and that much of the world just isnt quite there yet.)

Spiritually – no. Because when we declare ‘one nation under God,’ The Christian’s God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in the Quran’s 99 excellent names.  (Im not aware that Jews very often call God love or Heavenly Father.  Are they therefore bad Americans who should be expelled from the United States or viewed with suspicion?)

Therefore, after much study and deliberation (There is virtually no sign in this little tract of either study or deliberation) …Perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. (A nice recipe for bigotry and social strife.)  They obviously cannot be both ‘good’ Muslims and ‘good’ Americans. (The word obviously is often used, as it is here, to attempt to smuggle conclusions past readers for which insufficient evidence has been presented.  Calling things obvious doesnt actually make them obvious.)  Call it what you wish, it’s still the truth. (I call it falsehood.)  You had better believe it. (I dont.)  The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future.  (The more who fall for this tissue of untruths, the worse and more unworthy our nation will be.)

The religious war is bigger than we know or understand! (Ill readily agree that the author of this shameful screed knows and understands little, but I object to the term religious war.  Thats how ISIS and al-Qaida view things; we shouldnt agree with them on that score.  Doing so simply plays into their narrative.)

Footnote:The Muslims have said they will destroy us from within. (Who, exactly, has said this?  And where?  And, if such a statement has been made, what reason do we have to regard the person making it as a spokesman for all Muslims?)  SO FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.  (I completely agree.  And Im committed to defending religious liberty, not only for myself and my co-believers, but for all Americans.  Thats why Ive spent so much time on this thing.)

The Military wants this message to roll all over the U.S. (If The Military wants this wretched little specimen of ignorant propaganda to be widely distributed, why hasnt it been officially released by The Military?)  Please don’t delete this until you send it on.  (Rather, please dont pass this on.  Or, if you really must do so, please be sure to point out how wrong and misleading it is.)

 

Seriously.  This is appalling.  Dont pass on a shameful piece of garbage like this that, on the basis of poor reasoning, weak evidence, and complete untruths, casually accuses such American soldiers as Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan and Humayun Khan, both killed in Iraq, of being bad Americans.  Dont lightly insinuate that Lt. Com. Zuhdi Jasser (USN-Ret.), a Phoenix-area physician with whom Ive twice shared a speakers platform and who is the founder of the American Islamic forum for Democracy, is a likely traitor, conspiring against the United States, merely because hes a Muslim.  Dont claim, without very serious evidence, that such businessmen as Mohamed Erian and Fuad el-Hibri and Farooq Kathwari and Safi Qureyshey and Hamdi Ulukaya and my Salt Lake City friend Khosrow Semnani (the past or present CEOs of, respectively, PIMCO, Emergent BioSolutions, Ethan Allen Global, AST Research, Chobani, and Envirocare [Energy Solutions]) are enemies of the United States, seeking our destruction.  And think carefully before you suggest that such people as Dr. Fareed Zakaria, the late Professor Ahmed Zewail (of Caltech, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Chemistry), the neurosurgeon Ayub Omayya, the NBA players Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille ONeal and Mehmet Okur and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the structural engineer Fazlur Khan (who designed Chicagos Sears Tower and Bostons John Hancock Center), the television medical guru Dr. Mehmet Oz, the venture capitalist Mansoor Ijaz, the sportscaster Ahmad Rashad, the physician and novelist Khaled Hosseini, and the supermodel Iman should have no place in the United States of America.

 

 


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