Asking tough questions about problematic aspects of Islam isn’t ‘Islamophobic’
By Moshe Dann
Supporters of building a mosque and huge Islamic center near ground zero have focused the issue on religious freedom. Since thousands of mosques have already been built throughout America, however, this can't be the issue.
Its location is sensitive because of the 9/11 attack by Muslim terrorists. But no one is accusing all Muslims of being guilty of this crime. This project, however, has become a rallying cry of pain, a howl of grief that every Muslim should hear.
Opposition to this project echoes 3,000 silent screams. That outrage needs to focus not only on the memory of lost loved ones, but on why so many Muslims are terrorists, and support terrorism. We need to ask some hard questions; and, it is not "Islamophobic" to ask.
Is Islam a "religion of peace," as President Obama and others say?
According to experts, suicide bombing ("martyrdom") and Jihad ("holy war") are not radical ideas in Islam; they are intrinsic parts of that belief.
Conventional wisdom says that there are radical Muslims and moderate Muslims, and that we must distinguish between the two groups and encourage those who don't want to destroy non-Muslims and their cultures.
No doubt, most Muslims don't want to fly airplanes into buildings, or blow up supermarkets and buses. But what does Islam say, and who is the authority? The problem seems to be that Islam contains both radical and moderate traditions, and both are authentic. Fanatic Jihadists and soft-spoken moderates consider themselves good Muslims; Muslim religious leaders are divided.
The leader of the proposed mosque/Islamic center in downtown Manhattan claims he is tolerant, and has suggested that the project may even include space for other religions, as if Christians and Jews would want to pray there. But this seems to be just another PR trick, since it violates strict separation mandated in the Koran, and also denies Muslim superiority. It is impossible, therefore, to know what kind of Islam will be taught there, or for how long.
Controversy over the building must move to a critical examination of Islam's theology, beliefs and practices.
Not very peaceful; not so tolerant
Why are Islamic leaders silent about stoning a woman to death because she was accused of adultery – then lashed 99 times when the charge was proved false? Why are Islamic leaders silent about the suppression of women, condoning slavery, the murder of homosexuals, and suicide bombings throughout the world? Where were they when violent Muslim riots engulfed Europe because of a cartoon?
Perhaps a few brave Muslims protested such barbarity, but whom do they represent and what is their authority? The fundamental problem in Islam is its principle of duality; it holds contradictory positions on many issues, both of which are valid.
Muslim leaders refuse to condemn the murder of Jews by Muslims – anywhere – especially not in Israel. Four Israelis (and one unborn child) were slaughtered on the road in Israel two weeks ago and no Muslim leader – not even moderates – protested. Even the secular PA did not condemn the attack as murder; only that it was against "Palestinian interests." The "timing" was wrong!
Islam preaches war against "infidels" and violence against those who don't follow the rules of Islam. That's not very peaceful. And Muslim leaders around the world encourage anti-Americanism – as well as hostility to Christians and Jews. Not so tolerant.
Despite extensive business dealings between Muslims and non-Muslims, many Muslim religious leaders foment a culture of hatred and violence. The problem is that they quote scripture and verse. And they are supported by a legal system.
Sharia (Islamic) Law mandates violent Jihad as a religious obligation, and extreme punishments for those who insult Islam, or violate its precepts. Moreover, since there is no central authority in Islam and there are conflicting factions, it is difficult to determine who makes these laws, and how they should be applied.
Where does Islam stand on terrorism, for example? Well, it depends on your definition – if you have one. As they say: "One man's terrorist …"
We need to know what Islam is. The failure to answer these fundamental questions lies behind the distrust of Muslims and suspicions about what Islam teaches. The crucial distinctions, therefore, may not be between "moderates" and "radicals," but those who are more radical than others – since they all use the same source, the Koran. With so many people in positions of authority, no one is, and it's chaos.
These questions need to be clarified.
We should be tolerant, open and respectful, but not stupid. That's why we keep asking!
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