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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Questions for a Moderate Muslim

This article first appeared in New English Review.


Ever since 9-11, the US and its governments have searched desperately for so-called "moderate Muslims" who advocated peace and coexistence among religions and an end to terrorism. I myself have found the search daunting having listened to "moderates" like Aslan Reza, Tareq Ramadan, Maher Hathout, Faisal Abdul Rauf, and Muzammil Siddiqi to name just a few. Some I have found to be in denial about the troublesome aspects of Islam. Some I consider to be outright deceivers.I have heard some of them actually argue that sharia law is perfectly compatible with the US Constitution.

More credible to me are Muslim reformers, people like Dr Zuhdi Jasser and Shireen Qudosi. They acknowledge there are problems and there are people walking around who are dangerous.

We must concede, however, that most Muslims live quiet lives and are of no threat to anyone. How many of those people have engaged in a violent protest over Mohammad cartoons or wish for a worldwide caliphate, we have no way of knowing.  I assume they know what is in the Koran, just as I assume they know about the life of Mohammad including when he was a warlord. I assume they have also been taught about sharia law.

Thus, I have formulated a list of questions directed to the moderate, peaceful Muslims. As always, I encourage my Muslim readers to weigh in and answer them. I ask these questions as a non-evangelical Christian and use Jesus Christ as my yardstick. Of course, I mean no disrespect or neglect to other major religions like Judaism or Buddhism.

First of all, since Muslims revere Jesus, as well as previous prophets of the monotheistic faith, I ask my Muslim reader:

Did Jesus ever murder anyone?
Did Jesus ever order the murder of anyone?
Did Jesus ever lead an army to advance the Christian faith in battle?
Did Jesus ever order the execution of persons taken captive by his army?
Did Jesus ever take people including women and children as slaves?
Did Jesus ever preach hatred to others who did not share his (religious) beliefs?

The answer to all of the above questions is No.

Now I invite my moderate Muslim readers to ask the same questions about Mohammad.

The answer to the above questions becomes Yes.

In addition, I would ask Muslims if they really believe that the parts of sharia that define women as second class citizens and the parts of sharia (hudud sharia) that mandate death for those who leave Islam, defame Islam or engage in adultery of homosexuality are compatible with US laws. Do they have any place in a free, democratic nation?

The answers are clearly No.

I recently attended an event at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California entitled, "Islam 101", which featured a female Muslim speaker giving a sugar-coated explanation of Islam. When some of us began to ask hard questions (in a polite and non-disruptive manner when called upon), not only were questioners called outside by professors to be admonished, the campus police were actually called. My point in bringing this up is to say that Americans need to have an honest and frank discussion about Islam with moderate Muslims without having to be called racists and Islamophobes. Moderate and peaceful Muslims need to deal with these very legitimate questions.


2 comments:

Joe from Irvine said...

Comparing Jesus to Muhammad is like comparing an apple to an orange.

Jesus was a religion leader only, while Mohammed was a religious, political, and military leader.

A comparison between Muhammad and Moses would be a better question.

"
Did Jesus ever murder anyone?
Did Jesus ever order the murder of anyone?
Did Jesus ever lead an army to advance the Christian faith in battle?
Did Jesus ever order the execution of persons taken captive by his army?
Did Jesus ever take people including women and children as slaves?
Did Jesus ever preach hatred to others who did not share his (religious) beliefs?
"

Jesus did not do any of those during his life, but Moses did all of the above and far worse.

Plus, you also have to consider that the Romans were thankfully in control of Palestine 2000 years ago, so they could keep Jesus and the early Christians in check.

As Jesus said in Matthew 10:34 of the Bible, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

The only reason why Jesus lived a "peaceful" life is because the Romans would have killed him (and ultimately did) if he ever got out of line.

Christianity has been responsible for the deaths of millions of people over the past 2000 years. European Christians Murdered over a 100 million Native peoples during their conquest of the Americas alone, not to mention the tens of millions more Raped and Enslaved by the Christians.

Christianity can Never be Religion of Peace, because as the above quote states, Jesus did not come to bring peace but a sword.

Gary Fouse said...

Joe,

You are right about one thing. Comparing Jesus to Mohammad is like comparing an apple to an orange.

Not being an expert on Moses, I did a little checking before answering you. When I read the Old Testament several years ago, I was struck by the several references of God striking down the enemies of the Israelites and thought to myself that it was Moses's army that struck them down. One example would be the Midianites.

What really shocked me was Wikipedia saying that most modern historians consider Moses to be a legendary figure and not a historical one. (As an aside, modern archeology also fails to document the existence of Mecca during the time of Mohammad.)

As for Christianity, it is undeniable that there are some dark chapters in its history. I don't know how to judge the CRusades because I have not read up on them, so I kind of assume it was mutual combat on both sides. The Christians, did, however, also kill Jews.

Then you have the Inquisition and the burning of heretics by the Vatican, and the fact that Catholic priests from Spain mostly followed the Conquistadors around looking for new converts that the Spaniards didn't kill. The Dutch slavers made no effort to convert their slaves, and many Spanish priests from present-day Venezuela stepped in in Curacao and Aruba

That leaves us with Jesus, and I say we can only judge him on what he did and said. To argue that the Romans cut his life short before he could do anything terrible is a weak argument supported by few facts other than the reference to a sword.

Oh yes. He did turn over those money-changers' tables.

But here is the relevant point: Who is committing murders today in the name of religion, and backing it up with religious texts. What happened, what was said or what was written hundreds or thousands of years ago is relevant if it has led to horrible things happening today. I say Jesus is a role model based on what he said and did. I also judge Mohammad based on what he said and did. And what Mohammad said and did in the 7th century is highly relevant to today.