Why I’m Absolutely Not Islamophobic

A Presbyterian minister calling Christians to wage war against our Muslim neighbors has Jesus all wrong.

I first met Daoud Abudiab on the night some skinheads burned down his mosque.

It was February of 2008, a few days after the presidential primary here in Tennessee. The skinheads had spray painted swastikas on the outside walls of the small storefront that housed the mosque, along with the words, “White Power, We Rule the World.”

Then they’d torched the place. It was still smoldering by the time I arrived to report on the fire for the Tennessean newspaper. Across the street, three men from the congregation sat stunned, their faces filled with disbelief.

“Call Daoud,” they told me.

Daoud, it turned out, was the president of the mosque. We talked that night on the phone and then in person the next day as he showed me around the ruins of the mosque. This kind of thing is not supposed to happen in America, he said.

I later learned that the skinheads who burned down the mosque claimed to be doing God’s will.

“What goes on in that building is illegal according to the Bible,” they reportedly told police after being caught.

Rather than becoming bitter, Dauod was gracious. He did not lose faith in America. Nor did he doubt goodwill of his Christian neighbors — some of whom reached out to help the mosque rebuild.

I thought of Daoud this week, after reading a blog post titled “I’m Islamaphobic, Are You?” by the Rev. Cass of DefendChristians.org. The blog was also reposted by Charisma News under the headline, “Why I am absolutely Islamaphobic.” (After much backlash, the publication removed the post from its site.)

Like most of us, Rev. Cass is horrified by the actions of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a murderous terrorist group that brutally kills anyone who does not share their view of Islam.

Cass also claims that all real Muslims are terrorists. And ISIS, he says, is doing “what every true followers of Mohammed wants to do to you and yours; subjugate or murder you.”

Then Cass goes on to claim that God hates Muslims, and that, for all intents and purposes, Muslims are so evil that not even Jesus can save them.

His advice? Toss every Muslim out of America. If they won’t leave, sterilize them so they can’t have kids. Or even better, Cass says, buy a gun and get ready to shoot your Muslim neighbors before they shoot you.

“Muslims cannot live in a society based on Christian ideas of equality and liberty,” he wrote. “They will always seek to harm us. Now the only question is how many more dead bodies will to pile up at home and abroad before we crush the vicious seed of Ishmael in Jesus name?

That’s right. Cass, a Presbyterian minister, says that Christians face so much danger from our Muslim neighbors that we should get some guns and shoot them all in “Jesus’ Name.”

No. I’m not going to get a gun. And I’m not going to shoot anybody in the name of Jesus.

Especially not Daoud, who lives just a few miles away from me in a small town south of Nashville. (One of our other neighbors is former Saturday Night Live star Victoria Jackson, who also thinks that every Muslim is out to get her.)

Look, I’m not naive. The terrorists of the Islamic State are evil. They must be stopped. But so must any Muslim or Christian or atheist or Hindu or Buddhist or fascist or skinhead who believes that their ideology gives them the right harm or kill others.

But I will not give up my faith — in God or in America — to do so.

Cass says that Muslims have no place in a society based on Christian ideals. Perhaps he missed the following part of the Declaration of Independence, which draws on the Christian doctrine that all human beings were created in God’s image:

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

For years I’ve heard people like Cass claim that religious liberty and freedom don’t apply to Muslims. It was one of the central claims of a suit that tried to block the construction of the mosque in Murfeesboro, Tennessee.

It’s time for that to stop. Either we are all free or none of us is. And for those of us who call on the name of Jesus, it’s time to follow his commands, even in troubling times like the ones we live in.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. And take heart, for Jesus has overcome the world.

So no, I won’t buy a gun. And I refuse to live in fear. I’ve seen where that leads: fire and hatred and death — and a world left in smoldering ruins.

Instead I’ll put my faith in the hope of the gospel: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Image courtesy of Morgan Rauscher/Shutterstock.com.

Bob Smietana
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  • http://vanessatheeditor.com Vanessa Correa

    To be very honest, I’m shocked to see such a charged term as skinheads in the first line of this article. The negative connotations it has on its own, coupled with the need to label criminals as anything other than criminals, kept me from reading further.

  • jimbo

    I’ve often wondered why so many journalists continue to swim in ignorance about Islam. Have they been brainwashed into thinking that if anyone criticizes anything about Islam then they are by default a bigot? If they spent half as much time trying to understand real Islam, based on the Quran, hadith, and sira, and Muhammad’s life, as they do putting down other people I think they’d be able to understand where Islam’s critics are coming from. Instead all they can do is point fingers and say “Islamaphobe!” “bigot!” They are unable to make a logical or convincing argument why Islam is not at fault, why Islam should not be criticized.

    The brutal acts of ISIS are very similar to what Muhammad did during his life. Muhammad had men and women assassinated. Muhammad robbed and plundered people. Muhammad allowed females slaves to be raped. Muhammad massacred an entire tribe of Jewish men, the Banu Qurayza, and enslaved their women and children. Muhammad forced Jews and Christians to pay jizyah, an extortion, or die, if they didn’t want to convert to Islam.

    I do not advocate killing others but I do know that Islam, real Islam, Muhammad’s Islam is evil. The horrors that you are seeing today have existed since the founding of Islam.

    Instead of engaging in solid journalism all Smietana posits is self-righteous gossip.

  • Jeff Willhelm

    I agree, Vanessa. The implication of ‘skinhead’ is often a tactical pejorative to align the ‘bad guy’ of the whatever the story may be to a fascist ideology, but skinheads aren’t so much ideological as they are tribal, anarchistic, and anti-authority where fascism is a system of coerced social unity – much like the one radical Islamists are seeking to bring to fruition.

    I read a little about the Reverend Gary Cass and while I certainly would not agree with the person described in the article, the real person seems a little more sober minded. He does not advocate sterilization or killing Muslims. He does advocate deportation which is silly, but knowing the futility of that measure he says we must prepare. Why would one ridicule those who prepare?

    The writer says he maintains faith in America: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Uh…This is kind of the point Rev Cass is making….Mainstream Muslims of the Middle East and Arab world are not advocating these principles and those who do are either (A.) in opposition to their own faith which as a very political faith – Shariya or (B) they are engaged in the Muslim act of Taqqiya – The Islamic scriptural duty of concealment and lying to bring about impactful change in society.

    We have a strong vocal minority on this country who love to fight little evils or make believe evils like carbon emissions and oppose standing up to the big ones.

    And why ridicule gun ownership? I would advocate all law abiding and responsible citizens to own guns. Guns are not evil and guns have nothing whatsoever to do with Muslim extremism except that incidents like have occurred to Christians in Iraq and several African countries could not happen here to any person or minority groups of people on anywhere near the scale it has happened there.

  • Deuce Prez

    This society, the society in the United States of America, was not based on Christian principles/ideals. Too many historical revisionists before Rev. Cass had claimed that lie. They, too, were debunked.

    Again, I asked: Can anyone name any of these so-called Christian-only ideals to the “good reverend” was implying?

    In all the years I’ve asked that question, I’ve never received a truthful reply . . . .