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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Good Muslims and Bad Christians 

I listened to President Bush's remarks in response to the foiled terror plots in Britain as I drove to my lunch appointment today. He commented, "This nation is at war with Islamic fascists..." which I thought was profoundly interesting. I'm not sure he has said that before. I know others (particularly on conservative talk shows) have become particularly fond of that moniker when referring to the terrorists, but this seems like new ground for the president.

I also listened to some other reactions, particularly to one individual from the Muslim community, who denounced these plans as being contrary and foreign to the religion of Islam. I had to pause and wonder about the veracity of that statement. For instance, as someone who has studied the Bible for a number of years, I can say with no hesitation that people who shoot and kill doctors or blow up clinics that perform abortions are not aligned with God's Word or His Will on the issue. The vast majority of Christians who are active in their faith, serious about their relationship with God, and committed to understanding and upholding the Bible (a) do not behave like that and (b) are staunchly opposed to those who do.

However, am I totally off-base to assume that these two claims could not be made by those who are active in the religion of Islam, serious about following its prophet, and committed to understanding and upholding the Koran?

I know there are a number of people (particularly black people in the US) who think they are involved in a religion of peace and tolerance - in fact some will tell you that the word Islam means "peace". On the contrary, the root word of Islam is "al-silm" which means "submission" or "surrender." Despite whatever noble intention has caused many a Muslim to claim their religion is derived primarily from peace, it's simply not true. The prophet Muhammad was known to send letters to leaders around him ending with "Aslem, Taslam!" Although the two words come from the same root word meaning "peace", neither one of them implies the meaning of "peace". Rather, the meaning was "surrender or face death." The Koran states:
"Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have surrendered. [Arabic Muslimoon]"

The Koran (along with other Islamic holy books) are replete with passages that condone, propagate, and command violence. For instance:
"But if they turn renegades seize them and slay them wherever ye find them and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks."
"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and his apostle nor acknowledge the religion of truth of the people of the Book (the Jews and the Christians) until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued."
"Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem..."

I just have to take issue with people who hide behind the lie that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. At its core, it a religion of hate and violence, and its true followers are not just willing to die, but willing to shed innocent blood in the name of their god and his prophet. And please understand me, I'm not trying to say that all Muslims are evil (although I might argue that all humans are...) - I'm just saying that the "good" ones are.

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