Muslims on the Mall

JUST LAW AND RELIGION By Michael Kessler Critics of a New Jersey mosque’s plans to hold a prayer event on … Continued

JUST LAW AND RELIGION

By Michael Kessler

Critics of a New Jersey mosque’s plans to hold a prayer event on the National Mall are wrong in their views of religious liberty.

The Star-Ledger reported last week that a mosque in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Dar-ul-Islam, will spearhead a national prayer gathering for September 25 in Washington, D.C., “that organizers are billing as the first event of its kind–organized prayer for tens of thousands of Muslims outside the U.S. Capitol building.”

The paper quoted Hassen Abdellah, president of Dar-ul-Islam and an event organizer: “Most of the time, when Muslims go to Washington, D.C., they go there to protest some type of event…This is not a protest. Never has the Islamic community prayed on Capitol Hill for the soul of America. We’re Americans. We need to change the face of Islam so people don’t feel every Muslim believes America is ‘the great Satan,’ because we love America.”

The Star-Ledger reports that “A permit from the Capitol Hill police, granted July 28, allows access to the area by the West Front of the Capitol building from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 25, but the main gathering will occur at 1 p.m., for the Friday prayer service. Abdellah said he expects 50,000 people to attend, from mosques around the country, though non-Muslims are welcome, too.”

Abdellah stated the idea germinated after President Obama’s inaugural speech, and was reinforced by this summer’s Cairo address: “For the first time in my lifetime,” Abdellah said, “I heard someone of his stature speaking about Islam and Muslims not in an adversarial sense, but in the sense of being welcome and acknowledging we are integral citizens in the society — that we’re gainfully employed, we’re educated.”

This sounds like a wonderful idea in our scarred and fraught world–religious people coming to the nation’s capital in a spirit of unity, praying for their well-being and for that of the country and the world. What’s not to support about this?

Well, when Charisma magazine reported about the plans, not everyone claimed excitement for a large group of Muslims appearing together in such a prominent place: “Some Christians also are mobilizing to pray on that day. An e-mail circulating virally calls for Christians to oppose what they see as Islam’s growing influence on the U.S. through prayer. ‘If ever we needed to be crying out for mercy for America, it is now,’ the e-mail reads. ‘We must stand strong and speak Truth wherever we are and at every given opportunity. … May there be multitudes come in to the kingdom of God while there is yet time.'”

Indeed, one Nigerian minister (yes, based in Africa! thanks for watching out for America’s well-being?), Mosy Madugba, views the Muslim prayer gathering as “part of a spiritual battle for the soul of the nation. In an e-mail, the leader of Spiritual Life Outreach in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, called on Christians to fast from midnight Sept.25 until the Muslim prayer event ends at 7 p.m. “It is warfare time,” he wrote. “Do not joke with this. If Christians fail to frustrate this game plan in the spirit, you will regret the outcome.” Lovely that he’s so concerned about America, but perhaps he’s not speaking for Americans?

Yet others echoed this view, including Florida resident Karen Leach, who says “she plans to fast and pray on Sept. 25 because she sees the event as a subtle form of ‘cultural jihad.'” The chilling, racist, and xenophobic comments are already multiplying on the web, as plans become more widely known. Just a few of the choicest that represent the common themes:

“Satan has to feel very satisfied over the direction of the United States in recent decades.”

“Islam is not a religion. It is a violent political ideology of which religion is only one component and is based on its own set of laws that has no tolerance for non muslims.”

And Obama would not recognize one day of Prayer for Christians. That proves that he is definitely not an American.” (Of course, this totally confuses a private group gathering as opposed to official state action!).

Sigh.

Legally, there is no news here–a group of citizens went through the proper channels to get the necessary permits to hold a gathering on land the National Park Service has set aside as a public forum. As such, it’s open to everyone who agrees to abide by rules necessary to ensure the public safety. There can be no viewpoint discrimination in deciding between which groups gain access.

Theologically, it’s astounding to me that some Christians would cast all of Islam–a member along with Christianity and Judaism in the so-called family of Abrahamic religions–as an inherent enemy. The rich legacy of scripture, theology, and philosophy shared between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, betrays that the God of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are unquestionably one. The major doctrinal differences lay in the various conceptions of how God revealed God-self to the world. Fine–argue about the role and nature of Christ (as surely Christians have bickered among themselves about for centuries!), but if you call the God of the Muslim an evil, dark force, rest assured you, as a Christian, are slandering your own God.

But leave the law and theological disputation aside. Our American civic tradition strongly condemns this kind of intolerance.

No less an authority than George Washington can teach an important civics lesson about toleration and the basic right for the Muslim citizens to enjoy full, unquestioned access to public life. Washington would celebrate this prayerful presence of Muslims on the National Mall. I submit his letter “To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island,” (now the Touro Synagogue) written in 1790, in which Washington declared both the unity of the Abrahamic descendants, but each religions’ right to enjoy the abundance of the new nation’s freedoms:

“May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.”

There is no idea of Christian supremacy in Washington’s words. Rather, in the new America, liberty is supreme: the United States has “given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship…For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

Washington’s idea celebrates the tolerant, peaceful, and respectful living together with our Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, atheist, and “spiritual, not religious” fellow citizens. As we approach the date of the September rally, I hope there is cool reflection on Washington’s words. We should remind any nasty critics to contemplate the peace that passes all understanding and display some humility toward others who find their way through this world from a different religious viewpoint and culture.

Even regardless of what kind of toleration we can muster, we must reiterate loudly the legal right that all citizens have to equally enjoy public access and full participation in civic life–and the National Mall–as religious peoples.

Dr. Michael Kessler is Assistant Director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and Visiting Assistant Professor of Government at Georgetown University.

By Michael Kessler | 
September 11, 2009; 1:51 PM ET

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Just Law and Religion


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  • Michael Kessler

    CCNL1–A list such as yours could be made about nearly every other religion–Christianity’s would be long and bloody, indeed–so I’m not sure what benefit it offers except that some people have perverted each religious tradition to justify killing others.

  • spaceship-earth

    MAY “EKLAHT”i THE GREAT-STATE OF “NEW-YORK” & CO.!……………………………….(..V;V;V..)………………………..

  • spaceship-earth

    …………………………………………………………………

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Mr. Kessler:Here is OnFaith’s question of the week, and below is my reply:Some New York-area rabbis are planning to bring weapons to High Holy Day services this month to guard against terrorist threats. In June, a Kentucky pastor invited his congregation members to bring their firearms to church to celebrate the Second Amendment. Do weapons belong in worship? Should clergy be armed? Do the Ten Commandments trump the Second Amendment?The problem of Muslim terrorist threats against synagogues, Jews in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods has been going on for decades. Frankly, people are sick, tired, and disgusted with being targeted.A few years ago, some people, including rabbis began stating that they intended to defend themselves, and not only during the High Holy Days. They do not want their congregations to be burdened all year with the cost of paying for private security and they don’t want to be under siege by police.The synagogue I occasionally attend declined police protection this year. This resulted in a meeting with the chief, followed by two more, in which the rabbi and her committee were finally persuaded to give in.The congregation, a gentle enough bunch, was not happy from what I hear. Enough is enough as this brilliant young rabbi declared in her email. Jews, like everyone else, have enough problems living day to day without being threatened by Muslim terrorists. However, the rabbis arming themselves is not the right way, as they very well know since the announcement was rhetoric.We Jews, cultural and observant, need to organize, as taxpayers. We need to stage demonstrations demanding that those who threaten us be caught, tried, and jailed, if convicted. (Can you imagine what would have happened if, decades ago, Catholic and Protestant churches, neighborhoods, were threatened by Islamist extremists?) As this discussion continues within the community, I am hopeful that much stronger efforts will be made to apprehend those threatening our lives and the lives of our children right here in the US.Now, however, Jews do NOT need rabbis speaking out in this way. When we finally get it together, a few million of us might celebrate the High Holy days in front of New York City Hall. 2010 would be a good year to begin this new tradition.

  • ccnl1

    “spaceship-earth” another clone of JJ or is it a clone of Homeland1?? Why is this gibberish not deleted by the moderators??

  • abhab1

    Kessler pontificates thus:First of all no practicing Muslim owes allegiance to any geographical or social entity other than the Ummah; the Islamic nation.

  • Kingofkings1

    Washington was a wise man and a visionary. He even declined the kingship offered to him. Any lesser man would have succumbed to the temptation. America owes a great deal to the vision and broad mindedness of its founding fathers and you see the result in front of you now (years 2000-2008 excluded). Let’s not go back to narrow-mindedness, fear and hate as some are espousing on this board and in the article mentioned. It is not going to help us move forward into a new age but backwards into the age of ignorance.

  • sugi60

    To all Muslims, please Improve your islam, DO some thinking,1. Think! Why the all powerful GOD needs some prophet to give his message to mankind? He is so powerful if need to say something he can implant it right into your brain.2.Join the humanity. Stop calling non muslims Infidels. All non muslims also believe in God and their religion is their way to come closer to God. After all If you want to go to your local mall there are multiple route to reach there. Same is true for God.3. Work toward improving lives of women. They are equal to men. If men can have 4 wives, allow women also to have 4 husbands. 4. Stop animal sacrifices. Cutting a throat of animal facing Macca will not make God happy. 5. Since man started thinking, he is trying to find GOD. But to this day NO one has found GOD. Many wise people have given us concept of what GOD might be and they have given us rules to make our lives and our society more productive. But our world is constantly changing, hence rules to run our lives also need to be changed.You don’t depend on 100 year old car manual to run or maintain your car! Then why to depend on 1500 year old manual (Koran) to run or maintain your life ? I am sure you value your live more than your car.

  • chatard

    Where do we get the brilliant, educated just fabulous thinkers like Michelle Obama and this Abdellah fellow? Michelle Obama, neglecting 150 years of history and dedication and devotion of millions of Americans “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.” Abdellah, ignoring the multitudes of platitudes heaped on Muslims and the Muslim faith by G. W. Bush and others:” For the first time in my lifetime, I heard a person of his stature…….”. Next thing you know, the Washington Post, and Quinn and Meacham, and these miserable excuses for thinkers they dredge up, will proffer the notion that Barack Obama is the first person in the history of mankind to (insert your favorite evil here:fight communism, point out injustice, pity the poor, hire a Latino).

  • abrahamsadegh

    The best communal prayer for all faiths in our nation would be repeating the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag with the total commitment to make the concepts of “Liberty and Justice for All” a reality not only for those within our borders but for the rest of humanity as well.

  • ravitchn

    When those Muslims lower their heads and chests and raise their fannies in prayer one wonders if any patriotic Christers will shoot them in the a…….hole.

  • jimbob3

    From the article above: That’s nice, but America does NOT love you!Your people commit atrocities throughout the world which you quietly condemn, but where is the outrage? You immigrate here to avoid the ugliness of the toilets from which you come. Then you complain when your failure to assimilate into our society clashes with your religious rules and clothing.Islam does not want to be respected; it wants to be obeyed.GO HOME.

  • jimbob3

    To zebra4,I asked before about the outrage missing from the heinous atrocities committed in the name of your religion and you offer a retort of defense and complaint.Again, I invite you to return to your homeland if you do not like those you meet here. We will not change for you.

  • Kingofkings1

    For the record,

  • Garak

    Yes, a Nigerian minister is upset. You see, dear most important friend, he has been charged by the former President of the Nigerian Reserve Bank, the Hon. Gov. Upshante Akibola, with obtaining the release of US $50 million dollars held in a Swiss Bank. The Nigerian Minister has determined that you, due to your immense standing good in american Society, has the ethical stature to help him obtain said funds. The Swiss bank will not allow him to obtain directly funds said. The Swiss Bank will wire them only to the account of an America Citizen due to Swiss baking laws of privacy. You need only lend temporarily your name, security social number, and bank account number so that the Nigerian Minister may wire the funds to your account. In his generosity, the Nigerian Minister will allow you to keep the sum certain of ten (10) percent (%) of he the funds so obtained. I therefore ask all readers of this column of On Faith to wire me the details of said account so that we may relieve the Swiss Bank of Gov. Akibola’s funds for benefit of you and his.

  • zebra4

    jimbob3 :You keep demanding that I or other Muslims should leave. I never demand of you to go back to Europe.I served my state and country–the U.S.,– faithfully for more than 3 decades and also served American interests abroad. I say to you GET LOST. I am never going to be intimidated by either you or your ilk.Your irrationality is based on the paradigm of GUILT BY ASSOCIATION. It is beyond your comprehension that neither Christians, nor Jews or any other religious group, Muslims included, are monolithic.Mr. Kessler gave a very good response to CCNL. Too bad, you did not read it.

  • zebra4

    American political culture has always had a bipolar personality, at once tolerant and intolerant, inclusive and exclusionary. Anti-immigrant bigotry and religious intolerance have a long history in our country. Puritans hanged Quakers in Boston Common, signs proclaimed, “No Irish need apply,” and laws prohibited Chinese immigrants from becoming citizens.Benjamin Franklin expressed concern over foreign immigration in 1751. He feared the influx of German-speaking immigrants, who he said were not as white as the English. Franklin asked, “Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.”The American Revolutionary leader Samuel Adams expressed the virulent anti-Catholic sentiment that was shared by many Americans at the time. In “The Rights of Colonists,” a proclamation that was adopted by the town of Boston on Nov. 20, 1772, Adams wrote “that there shall be liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God, to all Christians except Papists.”Catholics, or “Papists,” could not be afforded religious tolerance, Adams said, because their allegiance to the pope meant that they “teach Doctrines subversive of the Civil Government under which they live.” The fear and antipathy toward Catholicism among many Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries was as deeply felt as is the fear of Islam today.The best antidote to religious intolerance, then or now, can be found in the words of Thomas Jefferson. In his “Notes on Virginia” in 1785, Jefferson said that alternative religious beliefs are not “injurious to others” and should not be restricted by government. “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”At Philadelphia in 1787, Jefferson’s understanding of religious tolerance won out. Nowhere in the Constitution is it required to swear on a Bible, nor is even “swearing” required — one may choose either oath or affirmation.Most important, according to Article VI, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”ISLAMOPHOBIA too shall pass.

  • jimbob3

    Dear Zebra:I will continue to invite anyone who is not happy here to leave. I will do the same for anyone who tries to foist their religious beliefs on me. Our country was founded by people who were so fed up with that way of life that they gave up what they had to start over in America.I am glad you are not intimidated by me and “my ilk”. It is your right to complain when you feel wrongly addressed. I am disturbed by your ilk many of whom are recruited from our prisons. If you think America will sit still and watch as Islam moves in and tries to take over as it has in Europe, you are in for a very uncomfortable life and a battle which you will never win.

  • zebra4

    jimbob3:It is all rhetoric. Neither Europe has become an Islamic continent nor have Muslims tried to take over America. Similar sentiments regarding other minorities were echoed in the previous two centuries as I stated in my earlier post.There were times when people generalized:Hope you don’t intimidate any group now onwards.

  • liveandlove

    E-V-O-L-U-T-i-O-N is the “O.U.R.” [O.ne U.niversal R.eligion] JURY, aka HISTORY! and THEREFORE: WE [i] “MEME”s art borneth in Miracle & never via pre-apocalyptic SIN/CURSE Biblio/Cumash, “>

  • MumboJumboo

    The FBI convicted five rabbis for kidney trafecking and money laundering from NY to israel, the funny thing is the silence of “free american media”. Imagine if the convicts were five muslim imams,

  • CalSailor

    “spaceship-earth” another clone of JJ or is it a clone of Homeland1?? Why is this gibberish not deleted by the moderators?? CC: For the same reasons YOUR gibberish is not deleted by the moderators!Pr chris

  • ccnl1

    Is this gibberish?1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops, 3,469 killed action and 871 non-combat and 93,040 – 101,537 Iraqi civilians killed, 4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.8) UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Mr. Kessler:Here is OnFaith’s question of the week, and below is my reply:Some New York-area rabbis are planning to bring weapons to High Holy Day services this month to guard against terrorist threats. In June, a Kentucky pastor invited his congregation members to bring their firearms to church to celebrate the Second Amendment. Do weapons belong in worship? Should clergy be armed? Do the Ten Commandments trump the Second Amendment?The problem of Muslim terrorist threats against synagogues, Jews in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods has been going on for decades. Frankly, people are sick, tired, and disgusted with being targeted.A few years ago, some people, including rabbis began stating that they intended to defend themselves, and not only during the High Holy Days. They do not want their congregations to be burdened all year with the cost of paying for private security and they don’t want to be under siege by police.The synagogue I occasionally attend declined police protection this year. This resulted in a meeting with the chief, followed by two more, in which the rabbi and her committee were finally persuaded to give in.The congregation, a gentle enough bunch, was not happy from what I hear. Enough is enough as this brilliant young rabbi declared in her email. Jews, like everyone else, have enough problems living day to day without being threatened by Muslim terrorists. However, the rabbis arming themselves is not the right way, as they very well know since the announcement was rhetoric.We Jews, cultural and observant, need to organize, as taxpayers. We need to stage demonstrations demanding that those who threaten us be caught, tried, and jailed, if convicted. (Can you imagine what would have happened if, decades ago, Catholic and Protestant churches, neighborhoods, were threatened by Islamist extremists?) As this discussion continues within the community, I am hopeful that much stronger efforts will be made to apprehend those threatening our lives and the lives of our children right here in the US.Now, however, Jews do NOT need rabbis speaking out in this way. When we finally get it together, a few million of us might celebrate the High Holy days in front of New York City Hall. 2010 would be a good year to begin this new tradition.

  • AKafir

    “Islam is not a religion. It is a violent political ideology of which religion is only one component and is based on its own set of laws that has no tolerance for non muslims.”Mr. Kesseler, why don’t you look at the history of minorities under Islam through out Islamic history before you perpetuate the lie that it is “crazy” to point that out. You condemn millions of christians, hindus, buddhists, atheists, in Islamic countries at present without a voice. Shame on you, and shame on your ignorance and assumption of moral superiority. Truly, shame on you!

  • rednova

    Poor poor CCNL. Being ignored for his ignorant comments yet again. I pity the man.Anyway, on a side note well written piece and I agree 200% with Mr. Kessler.But you have to understand these kooks who hate everything Islam, Muslims, and pee in their pants everytime Sharia’h is mentioned by rightwing Fake News and talk radio clowns also believe Obama is a secret Muslim plotting to take over America and thus giving OBL his long sought victory. Today in Washington DC was a perfect display of those nutjobs irrationality and anti-Muslim bigotry. Funny how they both go hand in hand together.

  • rednova

    Oh some Jews crying victims below yet again. Oh nooooo. Tears, sobs, and anti-Muslim propaganda that you are throwing religious minorities in Muslim countries under the bus…whereas they owe their very existence esp. Sephardic Jews to the Muslims saving and protecting them from Ferdinand’s Spain, Inquisition, Crusades, and even during WWII in Tunisia and North Africa.But the anti-Muslim haters are getting restless.

  • rednova

    Thank you Mr. Kessler for your post. Apparently some people like to repeat their posts (Muslim hating-bigots like Farnaz1Mansouri posting under a Muslim name) b/c their bigoted ideas don’t get the attention they seek.Anyway, I’ll be attending the Muslim prayer in Washington DC to show my support for this unique, peaceloving idea. It’ll be a sea change of calm reflection instead of angry, bitter people from what happened yesterday at the TeaParties in DC.

  • maq1

    I’m a Muslim and an American. While I celebrate the place of Muslims in American life, I don’t think it is wise to hold a prayer in such a politically significant location. Clearly, anyone who is properly permitted has the right to hold such an event. That right is not questioned. What is questioned is whether it is wise to do on the National Mall – in that place and time. America is a multi-faith country where Islam is only one of a range of religions. Part of the reason such a multi-faith country exists is because people are careful not to stoke tension. In multi-faith countries, individual religious groups sometimes feel threatened when other groups make statements that can be viewed as political. Whether the intention exists or not, holding Friday prayer on the National Mall by a national monument can be viewed as a political statement. And I respect the views of those that would feel threatened. As an American Muslim, I stand by the rights of all Americans to practice their religions with complete freedom. But I also believe all religious adherents in America should go out of there way to make others feel comfortable and to steer clear of political statements. We have rights as Americans and as people, and we have responsibilities. I believe we have a responsibility to our communities to help them feel comfortable and preserving a sense of mutual security in multi-faith America.

  • carlbatey

    Just because we CAN do something doesn’t mean we SHOULD do some thing. If these people are American citizen, then they have the right to gather for their faith. But we should remember, non-muslims would not be allowed the same right in any muslim country.It’s like celebrating cancer.

  • gilbertpb40

    We wish a happy Ramadan to all of our fellow citizens in the Muslim faith–From a fellow citizen who is Christian.

  • Kingofkings1

    To those of you who want to criticize Islam for its views on violence and its prophet (blown way out of proportion and taken in the wrong context) – look at your own religion first. On my precursory reading of both the old and the new testament, I was shocked to see references to violence much greater magnitude than the Quran. If you want to look at the violent and despicable acts committed in the name of a religion – look at more recent events: the war in Iraq with more than a million Iraqis dead (courtesy of the Christia coalition), the ghettoization of Gaza by (Jewish aprtheid), the Gujrat massacres in India and the Kashmir oppression (Hindu [in]tolerance).In conclusion, Islam is the best thing that happened to mankind and to America

  • vifi7

    As a gay, liberal, I would like to say this: Although a lot in American’s and, for that matter, people throughout the world, might not necessarily like gays, name ONE predominantly Christian coutnry that would either harshly imprison me and my parter, or EXECUTE us. Since Islam is such a peaceful religion, could the defenders of Islam please tell me the reception my partner and I would get in Muslim countries? For example, I’m sure we would be welcome with open arms in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, etc..? I’m sure all those gay Iraqi’s being tortured, mutilated, and executed are just being overly sensitive.

  • ThishowIseeit

    To all believers in a just creator,the presence on our planet of several species of obligate carnivors, many of them also obligate predators, makes your believe irrational. Were the preys created by a supposed just creator ?

  • ccnl1

    For KingofKings1: The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops, 3,469 killed action and 871 non-combat and 93,040 – 101,537 Iraqi civilians killed,

  • Bios

    KingoKings, ur comparing two sadistic religions and ur conclusion is one of them is the best thing for mankind? …don’t u think ur analysis of murder committed in the name of a religion is pretty weak if u leave islam out? …there’s sooo much freedom in muslim countries…right…so glad we have islam…

  • Bios

    I think it is somewhat scary to realize that America has so many muslims. I hope they are here to live a peaceful life and quickly integrate into society as is expected of anyone else. I hope that after a few generations we will all be together working to achieve our common basic dreams. But I see it somewhat difficult if muslims think everything has to be adapted to their religion.

  • drzimmern1

    I remember when apartheid against blacks existed in South Africa, and how the media railed against it. Now here comes a religious group that keeps women in submission, even killing those daughters and wives who stray outside Islam’s religious ideas. They call this type of murder “honor deaths”. Strangely, we now see these fanatics welcomed to gang up at our most respected shrines, as if they were Americans, when they are not. Those Americans who question this extremism– intelligent protestors–will be insulted.

  • roberto3

    _______________________________________Give me just ONE example of an islamic country where other faiths are allowed to survive!! Every islamic country has had the populations of other faiths decimated over the recent decades.

  • alysheba_3

    And here I thought America was founded on the principles of Religious Freedom. Apparently too many in America believe the Constitution and Laws only support Religious Freedom if you are Christian or Jew.

  • Jade_406

    If 50,000 Egyptian christians fell to their knees and said the lords prayer in downtown Cairo or any other large islamic city the blood would be running in the streets. Go ahead and pretend for one day you are peaceful. We know better.

  • zebra4

    Jade_406In his commentary published in Chicago Tribune of Sept. 19,2006 Prof Emeritus, Marty Martin of the University of Chicago Divinity School, wrote:*******************************************************(1) No religion or group is monolithic.(2) An atrocity committed by memers of one religion against the members of another religion at one time can not be a justification for commiting the same atrocity against the members of the first religion (simply because the only thing in common between the two is sharing the same identity) at another PLACE OR TIME.(3) A crime committed against members of one religion by members of another religion in one place can not be a justification for taking revenge against the mebers of the same religion in another place.For example, in 2007 and 2008 Hindu fanatics in Orissa and Karnataka (in India) burned down Christian churches. That will not justify burning down Hindu temples by Christians in U.K, or the U.S.Thus, Prof. Martin’s example of Christians using force from 4th century to 18th century in Europe does not justify using force against Christians today.(4) A crime or terrorism committed by son (or vice versa) can not be a justification for punishing the father or other relatives.For example, we did not confiscate the property of the parents of Timothy McVeigh.So, what happens in Muslim countries does not provide any justification to hold American Muslims accountable.There are an estimated 7 million Muslims in America. About 2 million of those are African Americans whose ancestors were brough here as slaves.Of the remaining 5 million Muslims, there may be an estimated 2 million immigrants from other countries. Most of those have already become U.S. citizens.The remaining number were born and raised here in America. They are the secod, third, and fourth generation American Muslims. America is their home.One blogger here kept on demanding American Muslims should leave America. LEAVE FOR WHAT COUNTRY?So, STOP USING GUILT BY ASSOCIATION. IT IS A SYNDROME YOU SUFFER WITH. EVEN ARCHIE BUNKER WOULD KNOW THIS MUCH.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Would someone please tell yousefyousufi the endorser of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” from another thread, who (a) claims he never read the book and (b) claims he sees evidence of it all around him, that he needs help for his mental disabilities?Would someone please recommend that the bloviating bigot yasseryousufi and his brother rednova see if it’s not too late for them to attend first grade?

  • Jade_406

    “For example, we did not confiscate the property of the parents of Timothy McVeigh.”Speaking of McVeigh, we execute our terrorists. We do not put their faces on t-shirts and posters making them heroes like they did with Bin Laden in the middle east. Neither do we pass out candy and celebrate in the streets like they did in Palestine after 9-11 Most muslims are peaceful but not all are. The koran teaches violence against non believers and many muslims just do what they have been taught. There is a 50 million dollar bounty on the head of Bin Laden yet no one turns him in. What does that tell you?

  • zebra4

    Jade_406 :Just google “violence in Old Testament” orAs to why no one has turned in Bin Laden despite $50M bounty, I remember Pakistan’s ambassador at the U.N. saying;Another thought, how can any one turn Bin Laden in if he is already dead? No one seems to know.The Archie Bunker mentality keeps repeating what other countries are doing holding American Muslims accountable for what others are doing.

  • yasseryousufi

    “Speaking of McVeigh, we execute our terrorists. We do not put their faces on t-shirts and posters making them heroes like they did with Bin Laden in the middle east. Neither do we pass out candy and celebrate in the streets like they did in Palestine after 9-11″Hmm….as far as I can remember, the biggest terrorist murderers the humanity has ever seen, Tibbet & Sweeney lived a life of luxury and were hailed as heroes in Americans. About the passing out candies thing, you know that was a lie propounded by the zionist controlled media of US to dehumanize Palestinians and has been found out to be such or are you one of those goober-brains who still believe there’s WMD’s in Iraq?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Zebra4 writes:Just google “violence in Old Testament” orThe Tanakh, Hebrew “Scriptures,” etc., is read with Commentaries, in Hebrew, according to certain prescribed interpretive methods, etc.There is no question that Muslim countries in the MIddle East and Asia, Africa, that India were subject to the worst forms of European Colonialism, that there were endless efforts to Christianize them, etc.However, that is not the point, is it? And it has nothing to do with the Tanakh, nothing to do with the “OT,” does it?Let us get real: Tunisia’s 105,000 Jews are now a handful. In Egypt, where Jews lived before there was any such thing as Islam, there are now approxiamtely four (4) Jews.Who was responsible? Those who committed the ethnic cleansing. No one forced them to do it.Violence in the Quoran? Anti-Christian, antisemitism in the Quoran? Perish the thought. No. Cannot be.GOOGLE Banu Qurayza. The slaughter, enslavement, etc., of the Qurayza Jews is a matter of historic fact. IT HAPPENED, has been historically verified, unlike events recounted in the Tanakh, many of which Jews have not taken literally for nineteen hundred years, and which many Christians don’t either.Ditto, the NT.Contemporary bigotry, racism in Muslim countries is the responsibility of those nations and has a “native” history. Dito racism in all countries.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    About the passing out candies thing, you know that was a lie propounded by the zionist controlled media of US to dehumanize Palestinians and has been found out to be such or are you one of those goober-brains who still believe there’s WMD’s in Iraq?Racist, the Washington Post is owned by Christians, the Times by Episcopalians, the Wall Street Journal by a Christian. So are you going to call them Christianist now, idiot?Racist, other Muslims don’t need your help, far, far from it. Get lost, bigot, so that the grownups can chat.

  • agapn9

    While Christianity may occasionally be perverted by sinners using its teachings for its own purposes, Islam has another problem.Islam teaches that all other beliefs are polytheists. Because they believe this false doctrine (in the Koran) they have a sense of entitlement to impose their religious beliefs on others violently if necessary. Afterall its logical that if there is a God and I know there is a God, there can only be one God.When you try to tell them that even pagan Greeks like Xenophanes, Plato, and Aristotle believed that there was one God they get insulted. Its as if they alone have this rational insight. Everyone else is a fool. If you have an doubts about their attitude go to Europe and see how they behave at Catholic religious sites.A Muslim woman once hip checked me so hard as I walked into Lourdes as she tried to illegally solicit money that if I were elderly or not an ex-football player I would have been serious injured.I do not hate Muslims but they do not believe in religious freedom for anyone other than themselves.All Muslims countries are extremely intolerant of religious minorities and persecute them severely.If they think they can impose their will they will try to impose Sharma – Islamic law on the whole population. That means if you don’t convert to Islam you are killed.If you convert from Islam you are killed.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    And who is responsible for the endless persecution of Christians in Egypt, Pakistan, Bangaladesh?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    AGAPN9 writes:If you have an doubts about their attitude go to Europe and see how they behave at Catholic religious sites.It is not a way of thinking that any of us, not Jews, Muslims, Christians/Catholics, nor Hindus, many of whom have no use whatever for Muslims, should aspire to.

  • yasseryousufi

    lol…..FarnazMMMsouri, are you upset because no one talks to you? The Palestinian celebration story was obviously planted by people who had interest in vilifying Palestinians. It was found to be untruth and has never been quoted ever again by any serious journalist except for anonymous douchebag bloggers like yourself because you know you can get away with anything on the internet. Please dont tell me WaPo, NYtimes, Fox, CNN favour Palestinians and are not influenced by Israeli lobby.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    lol…..FarnazMMMsouri, are you upset because no one talks to you? The Palestinian celebration story was obviously planted by people who had interest in vilifying Palestinians. It was found to be untruth and has never been quoted ever again by any serious journalist except for anonymous douchebag bloggers like yourself because you know you can get away with anything on the internet. Please dont tell me WaPo, NYtimes, Fox, CNN favour Palestinians and are not influenced by Israeli lobby.If within your immature brain, if your reading/writing/thinking disabilities don’t hinder it, STOP BLOGGING. You are arming every Islamaphobe from the US to Paris with your racist example.

  • Kingofkings1

    For the record, Islam is the best thing that happened to mankind or America

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    yasseryousufi: Aside from the obvious racism, ignorance, etc., it is hard to put a label on your rants, shrieking, etc. However, I can see that you care nothing of the fact that with your diseased comments, you make the best case possible for fear of Muslims. You don’t care about your brothers and sisters, about your religion, however, since it is your own ignorant, lying ego that guides you.The fact is that other Muslims, Jews, Christians, Catholics, Hindus, et al, can see beyond this, know that Islam is not the equivalent of racist persecution of Christians, Jews, Hindus,and women, simply because a few racists like you feed, like parasites, off that religion.If you persist in blogging, you will, from now on, be conversing with your pathetic self. You are no Sufi, your moniker notwithstanding, but might benefit from reading Rumi, or having someone read him to you.

  • yasseryousufi

    “The fact is that other Muslims, Jews, Christians, Catholics, Hindus, et al, can see beyond this, know that Islam is not the equivalent of racist persecution of Christians, Jews, Hindus,and women”I see that my little effort has borne fruits and I have succeeded in reforming you. I will also rest my case here. But I will be watching your comments from now and see that you dont stray again and start spewing hatred against muslims.ciao~!

  • zebra4

    HAPPINESS FOR SALELife becomes meaningful and powerful when you do things for others; it is the anecdote against sorrow that surrounds us from time to time. That is the wisdom in Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jain, Jewish, Native religions, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, Zoroastrian and other faiths – living for the sake of others, a proven formula for happiness.Way back in 1978, my Peugeot 504 failed me on a Saudi Freeway to Dhahran, I stood there in 116 degrees heat waving at every vehicle that drove on a full throttle going over 140 MPH. I was dying with thirst and blisters were all over my lips and my face, I looked like some one from the western movies. The drivers, who wanted to stop, could not do so within a walking range. After nearly five hours of eternity, a man finally stopped and drove his Toyota truck the full half mile in reverse. His Burqa Clad wife was with him on the passenger’s side and in the back were a couple of goats and sheep. I was imagining sitting with the goats and started feeling faintly, but he pulled his wife closer to him and asked me to hop in that little Toyota. I was too tired to worry where I was going. He gave me the life giving water and drove.We barely communicated with my minimal Arabic and his English, we went to his home some where in the outer rim of the town of Abqaiq. His family brought in the tea and other refreshments followed by a huge dinner with several of his friends. He had one of his friends haul off my car and was getting it fixed; the fuel injection vehicles don’t work very well in that kind of heat. I had purchased that Car from Nick Gruev, an Albanian American friend out of Houston.The Sheikh’s friends came were fixing the Hubbly Bubbly (Huqqa) and passing it between their friends, I was dreading to put that thing in my mouth should it come to me, sure enough it did and reluctantly I pretended puffing it. Around 8 PM, his mechanic friend drove up with my car.As I was ready to leave, I thanked Shaikh Ahmed Al-Sabah profusely and pulled my wallet to pay, he pushed my hand and said “Aqhi, you are my guest and don’t even think of it.” I pleaded, it was the greatest favor a stranger has done to me and I asked, how I can pay.He looked at me intently and asked, would you promise me something? In gratitude I said yes, but shuddered what now? He took time and looked at me again and said these life changing words to me “Next time, if you see some one needing help, would you stop and help?” I eagerly said Yes, satisfied; he asked again, are you sure? I gave an emphatic yes, to which he said, “Alhamdu Lillah (praise the lord) that is my reward.PART II TO FOLLOW

  • zebra4

    PART II:HAPPINESS FOR SALEI buy happiness at every nook and corner; it is very satisfying to see other people in their full human form when they give their beautiful smile. A genuine smile is the most beautiful thing on the earth, nothing compares to it.Every day, you have those opportunities. Make an effort in doing things for others and see how easy it is to be happy.Here are a few thoughts for you to ponder:Push yourselves to be prejudice free against people from every meeting, incident, TV shows, and work or news items that you come across.Best wishes for 2008CommentstoMike@Gmail.com

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    yasseryousufi,Start by reading Rumi. Then go on to Levinas, “Totality and Infinity.” I cannot “reform” you any more than any other blogger can. That task is yours, and yours alone. I wish you well with it.

  • jack29

    I spent 7 years in Saudi. The only intelligent Islamic advice I heard was:”Woe be unto him who breaketh wind in the Mosque.”

  • ravitchn

    Have you Muslims ever considered WHY you should believe the rambling thoughts of Mohammed? What is there about him that makes him believable? I know only that he was bent on becoming a prophetic leader, stealing the beliefs of Christians, Jews, Mandaeans, and Ebionites in the Arabian peninsula and in Syria. He succeeded remarkably but that doesn’t prove he was right; it only proves how gullible people can be, especially when confronted with the choice between accepting him and death.According to Naipaul, a West Indian Hindu intellectual and novelist, those who accepted Islam rejected their far more impressive histories and religions. Islam is like death — what Mark Twain said about Mormonism, which is much like Islam: chloroform on every page.

  • yasseryousufi

    Jade_406,Anyone can post anything he likes on youtube. There is basically just one or two clips that were taken by all networks hook line and sinker without any sort of verification. Just like the false alarm CNN raised recently wrt to the Coast Guard Training as a terrorist attack. Here’s another link that lays bare those youtube videos,FarnazMansouri1, “The only fruit you bear is poisoned. Grow up. Stop believing lies and stop spreading them. You have no idea who you are, none who anyone else is.Are you talking about yourself?

  • Kingofkings1

    I spent 5 years in Saudia Arabia. The most memorable thing I learned about Islamic culture in those 5 years is this:Islam is the best thing that ever happened to mankind

  • yasseryousufi

    Farnazzzz……Dude~!You are getting over obsessed about me. CCNL1 would be the last person i’d like to be associated with and frankly this is one insult I cannot take. He’s much more in your league. All bluster No substance~!

  • Beckola

    I don’t want any religious group trying to clog up public spaces–don’t they have their own spaces? What’s the point?

  • iamredwolf

    They’re coming to get you,

  • anonymous_

    The problem with this scenario is thus: One day Republicans will control the Congress and President’s office. Believe me when that day arrives, Hassen Abdellah will wish he never organized this this event.I for one am disappointed that American leaders simply cannot grow up enough to rise above crap religion politics.

  • anonymous_

    The problem with this scenario is thus: One day Republicans will control the Congress and President’s office. Believe me when that day arrives, Hassen Abdellah will wish he never organized this event.I for one am disappointed that American leaders simply cannot grow up enough to rise above shiit religion politics.

  • arancia12

    Oh for heaven’s sake, CCNL1. Christians have had their times of violence too. And some have been fairly recent. If you don’t want to be a Muslim, don’t be one, but our Constitution recognizes that the state will not prohibit the free exercise of a religion. I am so deathly sick of scared, little Americans and Christians that don’t act like Christians. BTW, you might add how many civilian Iraqis were killed by American bombs to your list.

  • global-truth

    Peace, Grace and Truth be unto you all.

  • MichaelSpeaks

    The writer of this article seems ignorant of the historic diversions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam took. Classic Christianity began in Jerusalem as the fulfillment of Judaism – originally never thought of as a new religion. Of course, this is not how it ever played out. Nonetheless, historic Christianity unified around the historic Creeds, and still affirms that Christianity is not separated from Judaism but is its fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah. Before Islam fully flowered, Muhammad had much exposure to Christianity and rejected it for many reasons, not the least of which was the doctrine of the Trinity. In fact, the Qur’an itself declares in Surah 5:73 (see also 4:171) that Christians believe in three gods, and that this is blasphemy against Allah. Islam arose in the Christian era, when theologians and laity still hotly debated the great Trinitarian formulas. Some Christians were teaching heretical notions of the Trinity in Mecca, where Muhammad lived. One such heresy claimed something like this: God has a wife named Mary, with whom he had intercourse, resulting in Jesus.This is the distortion of the doctrine of the Trinity that Muhammad heard. He assumed, as do many others who call Christians “tri-theists,” that this is what we believe and teach. He may have rejected a distortion, but Muslims reject the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity as well. And with that, they forsake Christians’ conceptual framework for understanding the story of Jesus as the story of God incarnate. Room does not permit a thorough treatment of Islam and Trinitarian Christian Orthodoxy, but this is where the split is most misunderstood. As our current author wants to affirm, the three great monotheistic faiths all worship the same God, theologically, this is historically and theologically inaccurate. Any scholar worth her salt will tell you this. So much for Universalism. Theology matters and some things cannot be merged. This does not negate that we all share the same planet and should promote civility towards each other, respecting the right to think, accept and live our lives under the light and convictions we individually share. While drawing the correct theological distinctions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, let us pursue peace and human dignity towards one another. We can agree to disagree and get on with living together in peace.