Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Islam is terror," say critic. My reply.

I recently posted an article on this blog reporting that in Egypt, Muslims citizens attended a Coptic Christian mass to act as human shields to protect Christians from violence from Muslim extremist. In response to that post I got the following response from Tracy Tarum:
Rod, you are a good voice for the Conservative movement for the most part. That said; your reluctance to admit that Islam is terror, and your "picking-and-choosing" of pro-Islam stories is idiotic at best. There are moderate Muslims; however, there is NO SUCH THING as moderate Islam. When you begin to understand that, you'll give up this ridiculous crusade to "prove" Islam as a wonderful religious choice for a certain group of interested Americans. You can throw out all the "Is this from the Bible or the Koran" quotes that you want, but you ignore the OBVIOUS distinction when you do: the "violent" lines from scripture are the Old Testament, which were done away with the coming of Christ as the "New Law;" and that the further in the Koran you go, the more violent it gets (because Muhammad the six-year-old-marrying, rapist, murdering, plundering, thief of a "prophet" gets more and more violent in his actions and demands the later he gets in his life; while Christ comes to erase violence and institute love and self-sacrifice; Muhammad eventually removes love and self-sacrifice and institutes violence, hate, murder, and lies). TELL ME WHERE I'M WRONG!!! I don't want your "Bible vs. Koran" quotes (again, OT progressing to NT vs. peace progressing to violence; chronologically), rather I want you to tell me WHERE I HAVE MISSPOKEN!!"
Thank you Tracy for your response to my recent post and thank you for the complement. I will try my best to respond. 

I also believe you are a good conservative. I am a conservative and as such I believe in fidelity to the constitution, limited and minimally intrusive government, private property, free markets, a strong national defense, balanced budgets, sanctity of life, the rule of law, individualism, reason, and respect for tradition and inherited wisdom.

Often today however, I feel that the conservative movement has been hijacked by bithers, Birchers, conspiracy theorist, angry populist, xenophobes, bigots and assorted fringe nut jobs. I do not identify with a lot of what passes for conservatism, including the anti-Muslim bigotry. When anti-Muslim zealots start attacking a patriot and conservative hero like Grover Norquest, it is time to denounce them. Norquest for almost 30 years has fought tirelessly for the conservative cause. He has been a leader in both the anti-communist and the limited government branch of the conservative movement. It is time real conservatives denounce the radical fringe.

I do not think it is conservative to deny to Muslim the same First amendment rights enjoyed by other Americans. Rights are not grants handed out by the government to favored groups and denied to groups out of favor. That is not a proper understanding of the nature of rights nor respect for the constitution. I am not the same type of conservative as those who would deny Muslims in Murfressboro the right to build a house of worship. You either believe in the constitution or you don't.

I fear that the same kind of fear and bigotry that led to the rounding up and imprisoning of innocent Americans of Japanese ancestry in World War Two is with us today. I will not be surprised when certain conservatives began calling for the rounding up and imprisoning of Muslim Americans.

The Muslim faith is the religion of one and a half billion people or about 22% of the world's population. I am not at war with those 1.5 billion people. I do recognize that radical Islam is a threat and I think we must be vigilant in combating radical Islam and defending ourselves. It is worth noting, however, that the greatest number of victims of radical Islam are other Muslims. Many more Muslims are killed by radical Muslim jihadist than westerners and Christians.

If I post stories that reports that Muslims in Egypt rally as human shields to protect Coptic Christians it is to make a point that not all Muslims are the enemy. There are Muslims who are decent people. If I post a pin-up pic of a beautiful bikini-clad Muslim babe who wins the Miss USA crown, it is to show that not all Muslims fit the same mold. Too often the anti-Muslim zealots want to paint all Muslims with the same brush. They portray the whole Muslim world as burqa-clad women and jihadist ready to behead you.

My point in posting, "Know your Bible; Know your Qur'an" is to show that some very terrible things are also written in our holy text and to show that you cannot judge a contemporary institution or a person by what is written in some archaic ancient sacred text. If you do, you would have to denounce Christians and Jews. I don't judge an adherent to Christianity by what is in the Bible. I judge them by how they currently practice or interpret their faith. Thus, I am not concerned that the Bible may follow a path of from advocating more violence to less and that Islam may follow a path of lesser violence to more violence. I think that is insignificant. Most Christians, nor most Muslims I suspect, are religious scholars.

I understand the Christian concept that Christ came to fulfill the law and we are no longer bound by law but by grace, and thus we can discount those Old Testament passages that embarrass and make us uncomfortable. However, those offensive passages are still in our sacred text that we as Christians still hold dear and consider holy. Christians just pick and choose which parts of the Old Testament they will preach and honor and ignore the troublesome portions. Embarrassed by it or not, the Bible does ordain genocide, rape, murder and plunder. You may choose to dismiss it because it is in the Old Testament but what are you going to say to our Jewish brethren who do not accept the New Testament? I am going to judge them by how they act, not the words in some ancient text.

I really do not care what the Qur'an says. I do not judge a contemporary Muslim by some ancient text, no more than I judge a Jew by the words in the Old Testament. To many Christians, Christianity is a cultural identify. They are not theologians. I doubt it is no different with most Muslims. They were born Muslim but are not theologians.

Too often the anti-Muslim activists want us to think of all Muslims as the same and wish to spread hatred of all Muslims. They also often distort the meaning of Islamic teaching. Anyone who cares to know can learn that Jihad also has a spiritual meaning, but if one gets all his opinions from the anti-Muslim zealots one would never learn that.

Islam is not monolithic. There are several branches to each of the two main divisions of Islam and many other minor denominations. There are many different sects within the Muslim faith with a wide range of beliefs. While the sacred text may prescribe certain things, the application in practice varies wildly.

I wonder if the anti-Muslim zealots know about the whirling dervishes of the mystical Sufi branch of Islam. Are those mystics cut from the same cloth as radical jihadist? If it is not so already, I believe that with modernization and assimilation we will see as much diversity of thought and practice within the Muslim faith as we see within the Christian or Buddhist faith.

Not all Islamic countries look like Saudi Arabia, either. Turkey has been a secular democracy since 1923. I visited Turkey a few years ago and the Turks are just not that devout. The Mosques are often empty during the call to prayer. People do not stop their car to pray mid-day. While young girls did dress more modestly than western girls and you did not see bare mid-riffs and plunging necklines, many young Turkish girls dress stylish and wore tight fitting jeans and most did not wear a head scarf. In Turkey they had a Turkish version of MTV. While it was not as vulgar as the American version, it did feature young lovers dancing and looking at each other longingly. Unlike Nashville where I cannot purchase wine in the grocery store, I could do so in Muslim Turkey.

Just as I do not judge all of Christianity by the Spanish inquisition and do not feel compelled to defend the Spanish inquisition, I do not judge all Muslims by Al-Qaida and do not assume all Muslims feel compelled to defend the terrorist acts of 9-11 or feel compelled to defend the 9-11 perpetrators.

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  1. Thanks Tracy, GREAT responce. I stumbled across your blog today and it blew me away. Commen sence is sooo hard to come by these days.
    If more Center/Left Democrats ( like myself) were exposed to more Center/Right Republicans I believe we would find more commen ground than people think.

    Again, Thanks
    Peace to you & yours.

    Harley Ezell

  2. Rod,
    So sorry, after re-reading the post I find I gave kudos to the wrong person. They should have been given to you!! Please forgive me. I have added Rod Williams to my Favorites and will pass your blog along to others.

    Peace to you & yours
    Harley Ezell

  3. Rod,

    Again, I must say I'm sorry. While I still give you kudos for you responce to Tracy, I must delete your blog from my favorites list.
    I thought I had stumbled upon a rational Republican but after reading more of your post I find I was wrong. Beck?? are you kidding??

    Still... Peace to you and yours
    Harley Ezell