Categories
Christian Deception Op-Ed

Nabeel Qureshi (1983-2017): Some Thoughts On His Death

Nabeel Qureshi died at the age of 34 years old from a “rare and deadly form of stomach cancer”1 on 16th September 2017. The online communities of Muslims and Christians, especially those who were involved in apologetics on the World Wide Web, came to receive the news of Nabeel Qureshi‘s death with mixed reactions, as his funeral was streamed live on YouTube.

  1. CBN News, Nabeel Qureshi’s Plea: ‘Please Pray For Me! Please Pray That God Will Heal My Whole Body’, 22 August 2017 []
Categories
History Op-Ed

King Abdullah I: As the Arabs See The Jews

Editor’s Note: This fascinating essay, written by King Hussein’s grandfather King Abdullah, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In the article, King Abdullah disputes the mistaken view that Arab opposition to Zionism (and later the state of Israel) is because of longstanding religious or ethnic hatred. He notes that Jews and Muslims enjoyed a long history of peaceful coexistence in the Middle East, and that Jews have historically suffered far more at the hands of Christian Europe. Pointing to the tragedy of the holocaust that Jews suffered during World War II, the monarch asks why America and Europe are refusing to accept more than a token handful of Jewish immigrants and refugees. It is unfair, he argues, to make Palestine, which is innocent of anti-Semitism, pay for the crimes of Europe. King Abdullah also asks how Jews can claim a historic right to Palestine, when Arabs have been the overwhelming majority there for nearly 1300 uninterrupted years? The essay ends on an ominous note, warning of dire consequences if a peaceful solution cannot be found to protect the rights of the indigenous Arabs of Palestine.

The Transcript

I am especially delighted to address an American audience, for the tragic problem of Palestine will never be solved without American understanding, American sympathy, American support.

So many billions of words have been written about Palestine — perhaps more than on any other subject in history — that I hesitate to add to them. Yet I am compelled to do so, for I am reluctantly convinced that the world in general, and America in particular, knows almost nothing of the true case for the Arabs.

We Arabs follow, perhaps far more than you think, the press of America. We are frankly disturbed to find that for every word printed on the Arab side, a thousand are printed on the Zionist side.

There are many reasons for this. You have many millions of Jewish citizens interested in this question. They are highly vocal and wise in the ways of publicity. There are few Arab citizens in America, and we are as yet unskilled in the technique of modern propaganda.

The results have been alarming for us. In your press we see a horrible caricature and are told it is our true portrait. In all justice, we cannot let this pass by default.

Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been almost 100 per cent Arab. It is still preponderantly Arab today, in spite of enormous Jewish immigration. But if this immigration continues we shall soon be outnumbered — a minority in our home.

Palestine is a small and very poor country, about the size of your state of Vermont. Its Arab population is only about 1,200,000. Already we have had forced on us, against our will, some 600,000 Zionist Jews. We are threatened with many hundreds of thousands more.

Our position is so simple and natural that we are amazed it should even be questioned. It is exactly the same position you in America take in regard to the unhappy European Jews. You are sorry for them, but you do not want them in your country.

We do not want them in ours, either. Not because they are Jews, but because they are foreigners. We would not want hundreds of thousands of foreigners in our country, be they Englishmen or Norwegians or Brazilians or whatever.

Think for a moment: In the last 25 years we have had one third of our entire population forced upon us. In America that would be the equivalent of 45,000,000 complete strangers admitted to your country, over your violent protest, since 1921. How would you have reacted to that?

Because of our perfectly natural dislike of being overwhelmed in our own homeland, we are called blind nationalists and heartless anti-Semites. This charge would be ludicrous were it not so dangerous.

No people on earth have been less “anti-Semitic” than the Arabs. The persecution of the Jews has been confined almost entirely to the Christian nations of the West. Jews, themselves, will admit that never since the Great Dispersion did Jews develop so freely and reach such importance as in Spain when it was an Arab possession. With very minor exceptions, Jews have lived for many centuries in the Middle East, in complete peace and friendliness with their Arab neighbours.

Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and other Arab centres have always contained large and prosperous Jewish colonies. Until the Zionist invasion of Palestine began, these Jews received the most generous treatment — far, far better than in Christian Europe. Now, unhappily, for the first time in history, these Jews are beginning to feel the effects of Arab resistance to the Zionist assault. Most of them are as anxious as Arabs to stop it. Most of these Jews who have found happy homes among us resent, as we do, the coming of these strangers.

I was puzzled for a long time about the odd belief which apparently persists in America that Palestine has somehow “always been a Jewish land.” Recently an American I talked to cleared up this mystery. He pointed out that the only things most Americans know about Palestine are what they read in the Bible. It was a Jewish land in those days, they reason, and they assume it has always remained so.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is absurd to reach so far back into the mists of history to argue about who should have Palestine today, and I apologise for it. Yet the Jews do this, and I must reply to their “historic claim.” I wonder if the world has ever seen a stranger sight than a group of people seriously pretending to claim a land because their ancestors lived there some 2,000 years ago!

If you suggest that I am biased, I invite you to read any sound history of the period and verify the facts.

Such fragmentary records as we have indicate that the Jews were wandering nomads from Iraq who moved to southern Turkey, came south to Palestine, stayed there a short time, and then passed to Egypt, where they remained about 400 years. About 1300 BC (according to your calendar) they left Egypt and gradually conquered most — but not all — of the inhabitants of Palestine.

It is significant that the Philistines — not the Jews — gave their name to the country: “Palestine” is merely the Greek form of “Philistia.”

Only once, during the empire of David and Solomon, did the Jews ever control nearly — but not all — the land which is today Palestine. This empire lasted only 70 years, ending in 926 BC. Only 250 years later the Kingdom of Judah had shrunk to a small province around Jerusalem, barely a quarter of modern Palestine.

In 63 BC the Jews were conquered by Roman Pompey, and never again had even the vestige of independence. The Roman Emperor Hadrian finally wiped them out about 135 AD. He utterly destroyed Jerusalem, rebuilt under another name, and for hundreds of years no Jew was permitted to enter it. A handful of Jews remained in Palestine but the vast majority were killed or scattered to other countries, in the Diaspora, or the Great Dispersion. From that time Palestine ceased to be a Jewish country, in any conceivable sense.

This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still own Palestine! If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world would dance about!

Italians might claim England, which the Romans held so long. England might claim France, “homeland” of the conquering Normans. And the French Normans might claim Norway, where their ancestors originated. And incidentally, we Arabs might claim Spain, which we held for 700 years.

Many Mexicans might claim Spain, “homeland” of their forefathers. They might even claim Texas, which was Mexican until 100 years ago. And suppose the American Indians claimed the “homeland” of which they were the sole, native, and ancient occupants until only some 450 years ago!

I am not being facetious. All these claims are just as valid — or just as fantastic — as the Jewish “historic connection” with Palestine. Most are more valid.

In any event, the great Moslem expansion about 650 AD finally settled things. It dominated Palestine completely. From that day on, Palestine was solidly Arabic in population, language, and religion. When British armies entered the country during the last war, they found 500,000 Arabs and only 65,000 Jews.

If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation for nearly 1,300 years does not make a country “Arab”, what does?

The Jews say, and rightly, that Palestine is the home of their religion. It is likewise the birthplace of Christianity, but would any Christian nation claim it on that account? In passing, let me say that the Christian Arabs—and there are many hundreds of thousands of them in the Arab World—are in absolute agreement with all other Arabs in opposing the Zionist invasion of Palestine.

May I also point out that Jerusalem is, after Mecca and Medina, the holiest place in Islam. In fact, in the early days of our religion, Moslems prayed toward Jerusalem instead of Mecca.

The Jewish “religious claim” to Palestine is as absurd as the “historic claim.” The Holy Places, sacred to three great religions, must be open to all, the monopoly of none. Let us not confuse religion and politics.

We are told that we are inhumane and heartless because do not accept with open arms the perhaps 200,000 Jews in Europe who suffered so frightfully under Nazi cruelty, and who even now — almost three years after war’s end — still languish in cold, depressing camps.

Let me underline several facts. The unimaginable persecution of the Jews was not done by the Arabs: it was done by a Christian nation in the West. The war which ruined Europe and made it almost impossible for these Jews to rehabilitate themselves was fought by the Christian nations of the West. The rich and empty portions of the earth belong, not to the Arabs, but to the Christian nations of the West.

And yet, to ease their consciences, these Christian nations of the West are asking Palestine — a poor and tiny Moslem country of the East—to accept the entire burden. “We have hurt these people terribly,” cries the West to the East. “Won’t you please take care of them for us?”

We find neither logic nor justice in this. Are we therefore “cruel and heartless nationalists”?

We are a generous people: we are proud that “Arab hospitality” is a phrase famous throughout the world. We are a humane people: no one was shocked more than we by the Hitlerite terror. No one pities the present plight of the desperate European Jews more than we.

But we say that Palestine has already sheltered 600,000 refugees. We believe that is enough to expect of us — even too much. We believe it is now the turn of the rest of the world to accept some of them.

I will be entirely frank with you. There is one thing the Arab world simply cannot understand. Of all the nations of the earth, America is most insistent that something be done for these suffering Jews of Europe. This feeling does credit to the humanity for which America is famous, and to that glorious inscription on your Statue of Liberty.

And yet this same America — the richest, greatest, most powerful nation the world has ever known — refuses to accept more than a token handful of these same Jews herself!

I hope you will not think I am being bitter about this. I have tried hard to understand that mysterious paradox, and I confess I cannot. Nor can any other Arab.

Perhaps you have been informed that “the Jews in Europe want to go to no other place except Palestine.”

This myth is one of the greatest propaganda triumphs of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the organisation which promotes with fanatic zeal the emigration to Palestine. It is a subtle half-truth, thus doubly dangerous.

The astounding truth is that nobody on earth really knows where these unfortunate Jews really want to go!

You would think that in so grave a problem, the American, British, and other authorities responsible for the European Jews would have made a very careful survey, probably by vote, to find out where each Jew actually wants to go. Amazingly enough this has never been done! The Jewish Agency has prevented it.

Some time ago the American Military Governor in Germany was asked at a press conference how he was so certain that all Jews there wanted to go to Palestine. His answer was simple: “My Jewish advisors tell me so.” He admitted no poll had ever been made. Preparations were indeed begun for one, but the Jewish Agency stepped in to stop it.

The truth is that the Jews in German camps are now subjected to a Zionist pressure campaign which learned much from the Nazi terror. It is dangerous for a Jew to say that he would rather go to some other country, not Palestine. Such dissenters have been severely beaten, and worse.

Not long ago, in Palestine, nearly 1,000 Austrian Jews informed the international refugee organisation that they would like to go back to Austria, and plans were made to repatriate them.

The Jewish Agency heard of this, and exerted enough political pressure to stop it. It would be bad propaganda for Zionism if Jews began leaving Palestine. The nearly 1,000 Austrian are still there, against their will.

The fact is that most of the European Jews are Western in culture and outlook, entirely urban in experience and habits. They cannot really have their hearts set on becoming pioneers in the barren, arid, cramped land which is Palestine.

One thing, however, is undoubtedly true. As matters stand now, most refugee Jews in Europe would, indeed, vote for Palestine, simply because they know no other country will have them.

If you or I were given a choice between a near-prison camp for the rest of our lives — or Palestine — we would both choose Palestine, too.

But open up any other alternative to them — give them any other choice, and see what happens!

No poll, however, will be worth anything unless the nations of the earth are willing to open their doors — just a little — to the Jews. In other words, if in such a poll a Jew says he wants to go to Sweden, Sweden must be willing to accept him. If he votes for America, you must let him come in.

Any other kind of poll would be a farce. For the desperate Jew, this is no idle testing of opinion: this is a grave matter of life or death. Unless he is absolutely sure that his vote means something, he will always vote for Palestine, so as not to risk his bird in the hand for one in the bush.

In any event, Palestine can accept no more. The 65,000 Jews in Palestine in 1918 have jumped to 600,000 today. We Arabs have increased, too, but not by immigration. The Jews were then a mere 11 per cent of our population. Today they are one third of it.

The rate of increase has been terrifying. In a few more years — unless stopped now — it will overwhelm us, and we shall be an important minority in our own home.

Surely the rest of the wide world is rich enough and generous enough to find a place for 200,000 Jews—about one third the number that tiny, poor Palestine has already sheltered. For the rest of the world, it is hardly a drop in the bucket. For us it means national suicide.

We are sometimes told that since the Jews came to Palestine, the Arab standard of living has improved. This is a most complicated question. But let us even assume, for the argument, that it is true. We would rather be a bit poorer, and masters of our own home. Is this unnatural?

The sorry story of the so-called “Balfour Declaration,” which started Zionist immigration into Palestine, is too complicated to repeat here in detail. It is grounded in broken promises to the Arabs—promises made in cold print which admit no denying.

We utterly deny its validity. We utterly deny the right of Great Britain to give away Arab land for a “national home” for an entirely foreign people.

Even the League of Nations sanction does not alter this. At the time, not a single Arab state was a member of the League. We were not allowed to say a word in our own defense.

I must point out, again in friendly frankness, that America was nearly as responsible as Britain for this Balfour Declaration. President Wilson approved it before it was issued, and the American Congress adopted it word for word in a joint resolution on 30th June, 1922.

In the 1920s, Arabs were annoyed and insulted by Zionist immigration, but not alarmed by it. It was steady, but fairly small, as even the Zionist founders thought it would remain. Indeed for some years, more Jews left Palestine than entered it—in 1927 almost twice as many.

But two new factors, entirely unforeseen by Britain or the League or America or the most fervent Zionist, arose in the early thirties to raise the immigration to undreamed heights. One was the World Depression; the second the rise of Hitler.

In 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, only 9,500 Jews came to Palestine. We did not welcome them, but we were not afraid that, at that rate, our solid Arab majority would ever be in danger.

But the next year — the year of Hitler — it jumped to 30,000! In 1934 it was 42,000! In 1935 it reached 61,000!

It was no longer the orderly arrival of idealist Zionists. Rather, all Europe was pouring its frightened Jews upon us. Then, at last, we, too, became frightened. We knew that unless this enormous influx stopped, we were, as Arabs, doomed in our Palestine homeland. And we have not changed our minds.

I have the impression that many Americans believe the trouble in Palestine is very remote from them, that America had little to do with it, and that your only interest now is that of a humane bystander.

I believe that you do not realise how directly you are, as a nation, responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am certain that if you realise your responsibility you will act fairly to admit it and assume it.

Quite aside from official American support for the “National Home” of the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist settlements in Palestine would have been almost impossible, on anything like the current scale, without American money. This was contributed by American Jewry in an idealistic effort to help their fellows.

The motive was worthy: the result were disastrous. The contributions were by private individuals, but they were almost entirely Americans, and, as a nation, only America can answer for it.

The present catastrophe may be laid almost entirely at your door. Your government, almost alone in the world, is insisting on the immediate admission of 100,000 more Jews into Palestine — to be followed by countless additional ones. This will have the most frightful consequences in bloody chaos beyond anything ever hinted at in Palestine before.

It is your press and political leadership, almost alone in the world, who press this demand. It is almost entirely American money which hires or buys the “refugee ships” that steam illegally toward Palestine: American money which pays their crews. The illegal immigration from Europe is arranged by the Jewish Agency, supported almost entirely by American funds. It is American dollars which support the terrorists, which buy the bullets and pistols that kill British soldiers — your allies — and Arab citizens — your friends.

We in the Arab world were stunned to hear that you permit open advertisements in newspapers asking for money to finance these terrorists, to arm them openly and deliberately for murder. We could not believe this could really happen in the modern world. Now we must believe it: we have seen the advertisements with our own eyes.

I point out these things because nothing less than complete frankness will be of use. The crisis is too stark for mere polite vagueness which means nothing.

I have the most complete confidence in the fair-mindedness and generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no favours. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it. We ask only that when you judge the Palestine question, you put yourselves in our place.

What would your answer be if some outside agency told you that you must accept in America many millions of utter strangers in your midst—enough to dominate your country—merely because they insisted on going to America, and because their forefathers had once lived there some 2,000 years ago?

Our answer is the same.

And what would be your action if, in spite of your refusal, this outside agency began forcing them on you?

Ours will be the same.

Abdullah I was the first King of Jordan. This article was published in The American Magazine, November, 1947
Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "King Abdullah I: As the Arabs See The Jews," in Bismika Allahuma, January 16, 2009, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/history/as-the-arabs-see-the-jews/
Categories
Op-Ed Polemical Rebuttals

Missionary VS Terrorist: An Examination of a Missionary’s Mental Imbalance and Behaviourial Problem

The recent barrage of missionary dementia gives us a marvelous opportunity to expose the character of the missionary Sam Shamoun, his mental disorder and the extremes he is willing to undertake in order to unleash his abuses and prejudice towards Muslims. Indeed, he convincingly demonstrates that he is a confirmed Islamophobe. Muslims should bear in mind that many missionaries, who claim to “love Muslims” and “care about Muslims”, in reality hold such prejudiced views concerning them as does this missionary. So we should not be fooled by his crocodile tears.

The discussion is concerning the use of the term “missionary”. The missionary claims that we should not refer to him as a missionary because even though he is a missionary, many Muslims nevertheless have alleged “negative” views concerning the title “missionary” according to his opinion. Hence he argues that we are making an ad hominem attack against him every time we rightfully call him a missionary. He claims that his arguments will be allegedly dismissed beforehand by Muslims when they find out that he is a missionary.

The missionary writes:

    Before responding, something needs to be said about […] use of the term “missionary.” As was noted in my response to MENJ, in Muslim vocabulary there can hardly be a worse insult than calling somebody a missionary. A person labeled a missionary will automatically be dismissed and not be taken seriously by Muslim readers. It is used to create anger towards that person. This is exactly what Bravo wants to achieve and why he uses this word. Understanding the Muslim use of language, it is the classical ad hominem.

The first point to note is that it is completely false and misleading to claim that in “Muslim vocabulary” to call somebody a “missionary” is an insult. We wonder who duped him to accept such a laughable claim. Christian missionary organizations have a rich and active participation in a variety of arenas all over the Muslim world, from Pakistan to the Middle East. A number of Christian missionary schools exist in Pakistan for instance with the majority of the pupils being Muslims. These schools and organizations openly proclaim themselves to be missionaries. Now, it is true that most Muslims look upon the activity of the propagation of Christianity by way of outright deception and distortions in a negative light. However, to claim that the word “missionary” itself is an “insult” in the “Muslim vocabulary” is quite a stretch of the imagination. Most Muslims treat anyone who claims to be a “missionary” with respect. They are not “automatically dismissed” as the missionary has deluded himself to imagine, nor does this term create “anger” towards a person who claims to be one. As proof, none of us at Bismika Allahuma, who are all Muslims, are “upset” or “angry” towards anyone for being a “missionary”. Amazingly he has the audacity to talk about “anger” when he has a very rich history of abusing and insulting Muslims in the most vulgar and vicious fashion!

It should be noted that the use of the term “missionary” is simply because the missionary, Sam Shamoun, is indeed a Christian missionary. However, he uses terms such as “clowns”, “pagans”, “cartoon character” and claims that we worship a “demon-god” not because we are “clowns”, “pagans”, “cartoon characters” or do worship a “demon god”, but because he wishes to insult and abuse his Muslim opponents and their religion in a low, cheap and vulgar manner when he is angry. Hence, his claim of ad hominem is simply his psychological projection upon us and reflective of his own mental disorder.

“Missionary” is a term used in reference to those Christians whose aim is to convert others to their religion by way of active preaching and propagation. If Shamoun is willing to admit that his purpose is most certainly not the propagation, preaching and defense of Christianity, and that his mission has never been to convert others to his religion, that he only wastes time authoring pro-Christian articles for no apparent reason perhaps because he is jobless and therefore has nothing else to do, then we will gladly stop referring to him as a missionary.

His next “argument” is even more foolish than the prior one. He argues that since we rightfully call him a “missionary” since he is a missionary, he will therefore start labelling us as “terrorists” even though we are not “terrorists”! Here his prejudice is quite transparent for all to witness. In recent years a number of prejudiced, racist and Islamophobic individuals have started to label all Muslims as “terrorists” and “potential terrorists” merely because they happen to be Muslims no matter how peaceful. The missionary?s choice of the label “terrorist” is only indicative of his own extreme prejudiced and hate-filled mind set towards the Muslims.

What if we start referring to him as a homosexual merely because we believe that he is “insulting” us by rightfully calling us “Muslims”? That a person labeled a Muslim will automatically be dismissed and not be taken seriously by Christian and Western readers and that it is used to create anger towards that person? Thus being called a “Muslim” is an insult even though we are indeed Muslims? We will, as such, refer to Shamoun as a homosexual every time he calls me a “Muslim” as an “educational device”! This is precisely the type of silly, childish attitude of this Christian missionary, a unique insight into his downright twisted way of thinking.

He writes:

    Therefore, throughout my response I will at times use the term terrorist in reference to Bravo. This will be done in order to demonstrate to our readers the disrespect intended in the title “missionary.” If Bravo objects to my labeling him a terrorist, then he needs to show more respect to the Christians he seeks to refute. This is strictly an educational device on my part, and should Bravo revise his articles accordingly, I will glady remove this term as well.

There is no “disrespect” intended by calling a missionary a missionary just as no “disrespect” is intended by referring to a policeman as a policeman.

In short, we call the missionary Sam Shamoun a missionary simply because he is a missionary whereas he calls me a “terrorist” not because I am a terrorist, but merely because we happen to be Muslims. In other words he is only abusing us. He believes that Muslims are terrorists by default for being Muslims, or at least potential terrorists, because they are “evil” and the religion they follow is “evil” and because they worship a “demon god”.

Naturally, those who worship a “demon god” cannot be any better than terrorists. Hence the only word that entered his mind was “terrorist” to label me because we happen to be Muslims. We have already read his statement that the Muslims worship a “demon god” and that they are “pagans”, so to call Muslim “terrorists” just for being Muslims, no matter how peaceful, does not come as a surprise. It only goes on to show the abusive, disrespectful and highly insulting behaviour and attitude of this missionary towards Muslims. These are simply his true feelings which get unleashed when he enters a fit of uncontrollable anger.

This outright prejudice, stereotypical abuse and vehement insult is then conveniently dressed up as an “educational device” as if that would somehow alter its appearance or minimise its intended purpose! How desperate can one get? Hence if anything, he is the only one who is required to revise his papers and offer an unconditional apology for heaping vicious stereotypical abuses and lies towards others merely due to their religious beliefs that he despises.

Our challenge to the missionary is to prove his claim that we are “terrorists”, the meaning of which is:

Definition 1. one who uses violence, torture, or physical intimidation to achieve one’s ends, esp. one’s political ends.”

If, however, he fails to demonstrate and prove the above, and of a surety he will, then not only does he prove himself to be a narrow minded, hate-filled, prejudiced, Islamophobic and bigoted individual, he also convincingly proves himself to be a bold-faced liar.

A few paragraphs later he makes a few more interesting statements that further shed light upon his stereotypical prejudiced mindset and hate towards the Muslim community:

    [Note: Just as “terrorist” is obviously a very negative word in the non-Muslim world, while for many Muslims those who “strike terror in the hearts of the unbelievers” are heroes and should they even loose their life in the process are venerated as martyrs, so the word “missionary” is despicable word in the Muslim world, while it is a title of honor in the Christian church for those who take upon themselves much hardship to bring God’s Gospel of salvation to the people who do not yet know it.]

This argumentation is still senseless and illogical because even if we assume that the term “terrorist” is “very negative” in the non-Muslim world whereas it is supposedly very “wonderful” in the Islamic world, the simple fact remains that we are still not terrorists. However, if we were a terrorist, then we would have argued using “Shamounian logic” as follows:

    “Don’t call me a terrorist because even though I am a terrorist this term is very negative in the non-Muslim world. No one will listen to what I have to say if you call me a terrorist. But since you still call me a terrorist even though I am one, I will call you a homosexual as an “educational device”.

Our stand on terrorism, however, is very clear, thus to label any writer at bismikaallahuma.org a “terrorist” is still simply a blatant lie, stereotypical prejudiced insult and vicious abuse. The fact is that no similarity exists between my referring to the missionary as a missionary because he is a missionary and me being labelled a “terrorist” by him when I am not a terrorist. My statement that he is a missionary is the solid truth whereas his claim that I am a “terrorist” is a cheap lie, stereotypical abuse, prejudice, and insult. He says I am a “terrorist” simply because I happen to be a Muslim. This is the basic flaw in the missionary’s “logic”.

The bizarre argument now is that the word “terrorist” is “negative” in the non-Muslim world whereas it is supposedly highly prized, respected and a much adored term in the Islamic world. Is there anything one can say regarding such a sick mentality? These words speak for itself and are a very good window and indicator to view the amount of hate, prejudice and bigotry of the missionary towards the Muslims and his character. Such is the typical mentality of all racist Islamophobes who live in the delusion that “terrorist” is a “respectable” title in the Muslim world.

The simple fact of the matter is that the term “terrorist” is as much negative in the Muslim world as it is in the non-Muslim world. If you travel to the Muslim word and call any person walking on the street a “terrorist”, they will feel extremely offended and highly-insulted as any human being. Muslims are also human beings, something missionary Shamoun does not realize. No Muslim will walk up to you shake your hands and proclaim “oh thank you, you called me a terrorist, I can’t tell you how proud and happy that makes me feel.” Instead, you will receive an extremely hostile reaction just as you would if you were to label any non-Muslim a “terrorist” just for the fun of it.

Unlike the Western world, most Muslims are horrified with the “collateral damage” terrorism actively practised by the Western world that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians in the past 2-3 years. Racist Islamophobes fail to realize that there are non-Muslim Judeo-Christian terrorists in the Western world, professing Christian and Jewish faiths, and that terrorism is not a unique property of Muslims. For instance in Gujarat in secular India, hardly a few months ago, no less than 2000 Muslims, mostly women and children, were murdered in the most cruel, gruesome and barbaric manner imaginable, with the wombs of pregnant Muslim women cut open and the fetuses thrown on fire.

But the missionary of course does not deem this as “terrorism”. He will probably find an excuse to justify this carnage. They fail to understand that Muslims take the word “terrorist” as much negativity as any other non-Muslim woul. The mentality of such prejudiced, hate-filled, bigoted and racist individuals — such as the missionary — leads them to believe that Muslims are sub-human creatures, “barbarians”, etc., who “like” terrorism because of their genetic make-up and because they are “evil” and their religion is “evil”. In this, their mentality is not much different from that of the Nazis who held similar beliefs concerning the Jews and their religion.

As for “striking terror in the hearts of unbelievers”, meaning those who wage war on Muslims, then yes, the martyrs who defend the innocent and die while fighting the aggressors will, insha’allah, go to heaven, unlike the aggressors.

Lastly, even if we assume that the title “missionary” is supposedly “despicable” in the Muslim world (which is a rather huge exaggeration), the demand that Muslims stop referring to missionaries as “missionaries” makes little sense. If it is admitted that the title “missionary” is one of highest honours in the “Christian Church”, should he then not be willing to suffer even more hardships and troubles for the sake of a title held in immense “honour” in the Church? For example, we will continue to refer to ourselves as Muslims because we are Muslims and will ask others to address us as such no matter how “despicable” the word “Muslim” may be be to them. But to suddenly refer to the opponent as a “terrorist” when he/she is only calling you by your true title, and to disguise this blatant, abusive behaviour as an “educational device” is simply nonsense, childish and an example of the mental instability of one’s own mind.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Missionary VS Terrorist: An Examination of a Missionary’s Mental Imbalance and Behaviourial Problem," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/op-ed/missionary-vs-terrorist/
Categories
Op-Ed

What I Did Not Say And The Missionary Myopia

Introduction

There are those who say that lying and deceiving is at the soul of all crime and that Christianity epitomizes these traits more than any other faith.1 As proof of their assertion they often quote Paul of Tarsus, arguably the true founder of Christianity, who is recorded to have said, “But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? Any why not do evil that good may come? – as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” (Romans 3:7-8)

While I want to exclude myself as one who would condemn an entire religious tradition based on such statements, I must admit that the temptation is too great when I see how the fanatics of evangelical Christianity, the bigots with their highly bloated ‘holier than thou’ notion of moral superiority, often try to set hallmarks of lying and deceptions. To these xenophobic bigots, there is nothing good in Islam, Qur’an and Muhammad (S) – the religion, the Scripture and the Prophet of Muslims; dialogue with Islam is out of question. The mere acceptance of Islam as a “go-between” Judaism and Christianity would be “disastrous”, especially now that “relations between Jews and Evangelical Christians in America are flowing smoothly.” To them, “if Muslims were to join the dialogue, then they must leave their holy book far behind them in public, especially in areas of legislation. Islamic law must never be considered in deliberations, for it is too harsh and barbaric.”

By the way, none of the above quoted statements are mine, but comes from a die-hard Christian missionary. Soon after my speech at Vanderbilt University on the subject of “Islam and Coexistence” got posted in the Internet, this activist reacted vehemently with his 13-page polemical writing and silly propaganda objecting to what he calls my ‘errors and omissions’ — what “I should have said at Vanderbilt” -– obviously asserting my speech as a “non-speech”. I must admit that I was unaware of the existence of this propagandist before some of my readers pleaded that I should respond. I told them that I try to avoid participating in debates on comparative religion for the mere fact that they often burn more bridges than I can ever afford to build. After realizing that the Christian polemist’s writing display a penchant for anti-Muslim bigotry, I relented.

Some background information on my speech. A few weeks before the event, when the organizers of the Interfaith Coalition of Nashville contacted me to represent Islam, I politely suggested that they should instead contact Dr. Robert D. Crane.2 Apparently, he turned them down, and I ended up speaking on the subject of “Islam and Co-existence”.

Like other speakers, I was allotted only 15 minutes to cover such an important and vast subject, especially in the aftermath of 9/11 when interests are high to learn about Islam. Oddly, none of the other speakers said anything from their own scriptures, talking only on generalities.

During the question and answer session, when I tried to respond to a question from the audience, some bigots from the rabidly anti-Muslim Jihad Watch group tried to disturb me. They were arrogant and rude. They won’t allow me to respond to the question and instead insisted that I answered their question first. When I provided the answer from the Qur’an, they won’t yield because it did not agree with their poisonous and confused “learning” about Islam, thanks to Spencer and his ilk. When I challenged them to prove me wrong from the Qur’an, they didn’t have anything to say other than rambling that they did not “believe” me. I told them that they were entitled to their erroneous opinion and that I must answer the question posed to me first. They stared angrily at me before leaving the conference room.

This incident once again demonstrates what kind of malicious and bigoted sermons and hate literature many Christians are now fed about Islam. Naturally, the merchants of Christian religion have found that selling the poisonous pills of bigotry and Armageddon is much more lucrative to their coffers than communion breads!

In what follows, I shall discuss some major themes raised by the Christian missionary. Other issues have long been answered by me and others.

A. Violence:

The evangelical Christian missionary was not gay about the selection of verses from the Qur’an that exemplified coexistence with people of other faiths.3 He would rather have me quote the verses from the Surah at-Tawbah, which were revealed about the anti-Muslim mushriqs of Arabia so as to prove how intolerant Islam is or its prophet Muhammad (S) was. As I have explained many times, all the scriptures have their share of violent passages. The Qur’an does not have a monopoly there. As a matter of fact its share of violent passages is insignificant compared to those in the Bible.4 If such passages in the Qur’an make the Prophet of Islam a violent man, then most of the great personalities in the Bible, from Jacob to Moses to David to Jesus were no less violent individuals.

When Christian zealots shield those Biblical violent verses from a comparable critique, and yet demand a different set of rules for Muslims, it is intellectual dishonesty. Such a norm is exemplary of the ancient Latin phrase: Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi –- which means “what is allowed to Jupiter is not allowed to the cattle”. Therefore, I am not too surprised to see how these Judeo-Christian fanatics always relegate the role of cattle to others. It is in this pompous vein that the propagandist complains:

    But Siddiqui makes some errors and omissions. He assumes, for example, that Jim Jones of the Guyana mass suicide and David Koresh of the Waco incineration were Christians, but they were not. They deviated far from the New Testament and its teaching of love demonstrated by Jesus Christ.

How wonderful! Zarqawi and OBL are Muslims, but Jim Jones and David Koresh are not Christians! They might as well be Muslims (for the sake of deceiving missionaries)! So must be Hitler!

How about King Richard, the so-called “Lion-Heart”? Wasn’t he a Christian when he killed 3000 Muslim prisoners of war in Accre?5 How about all those mass-murderers in history who professed Christianity? To those fanatics: genocide, murder, mayhem, rape and plunder were no predicament but God’s vengeance brought about by faithful upholders of Christianity who were inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit!

I shall have no problem discussing the Qur’anic verses that are violent in nature when my counterparts are willing to wash their dirty laundry in the open. In the meantime, let them reflect on the instruction enunciated in the gospel according to Matthew (7:1): Judge not that ye not be judged.

The Jesuit asks: when did Jesus and his first generation of Christians take up arms to kill people or to impose a dhimmi tax on those who refused to submit? My question is: did Jesus run the affairs of his people? If not, how can he be compared with someone who did? The actions of Muhammad (S) should, in all fairness, be compared with prophets of the Bible who held similar responsibilities –- the likes of Moses.6 When we do that we’ll find Muhammad’s (S) and his ashab’s (Companions) treatment of the conquered people was far superior. In contrast to the Biblical prophets who killed all people, including infant males and unarmed women who had known (sex with) men (see, e.g., Numbers 31:17-18), except virgins, Muhammad (S) instructed his army not to kill any old man, unarmed civilian, child and woman.7 They were also instructed not to demolish homes, nor to destroy cattle and trees. So, if death is better than life, then the so-called dhimmi tax would be construed as being worse than murder.8910

The Biblical prophets also burned down the cities of the conquered people (see, e.g., Numbers 31:10).

In spite of many leadership shortcomings (e.g., being rejected by his own people), the portrayal of Jesus in the so-called New Testament is not the “love-all” and “forgive-all” kind of personality that the Church would have us believe. He appears rude (John 2:4, Matt. 12:48, Mark 3:33-4), mean-spirited (Matt. 15:26, 17:17, 23:33-5), offensive (John 8:44, Matt. 23:13-29), abusive (Matt. 12:39, 23:23-9, Luke 11:44), disrespectful (Matt. 11:21-3, 16:4, 23:13-9), divisive (Matt. 10:35, Luke 14:26), racist (Matt. 15:26) and prone to violence (Matt. 10:34; Mark 11:15; Luke 12:49-53, 19:27, 22:36). He is even tempted by the devil (Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2). He commands stealing (Matt. 21:1-3, Luke 19:29-34), and may even be a homosexual (Mark 14:49-52, John 13:23). [Na ‘oozu billah!]

The apocryphal Gospel of Thomas puts the following words in Jesus’s mouth: “I shall destroy this house and no one will be able to (re)build it.” The depiction of Jesus during his second coming is anything but flattering or peaceful.11

The early history of Christianity in the pre-Constantine era (324-337 CE) is not immune from violence either. It is a history of heresy, riots, torture, torment, extortion, competition/rivalry, excommunications, banishments and assassination.12 It is therefore not difficult to understand the statement of James in the NT: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. … Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? .., Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:1-8)13

The situation did not improve much even after Christianity was adopted as the state religion. The Roman emperor Justinian (332-63 CE) described the “love” of Christians for each other in this way: “I experienced that even beasts of prey are not that hostile minded to human beings than Christian sinners to each other.”14 With state backing, Christianity soon revealed its “my way or highway” type mentality annihilating all competing faiths from vast territories it came to control. There was to be no rivalry, no qualification to the rigid unity of the Church.

During his reign Catholic emperor Flavius Theodosius (346-395 CE) took severe measures against Arianism and the surviving remnants of paganism. In 388 a prefect was sent around Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor for the purpose of destroying temples and breaking up pagan associations; it was then that the Serapeum at Alexandria was destroyed. He prohibited pagan religion and introduced heavy financial penalties.15 The imperial decree stated: “We command that those persons who follow this rule shall embrace the name of Catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom We adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas, their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retributions of Our own initiative, which We shall assume in accordance with the divine judgment.” And later, with regards to pagan houses of worships, he decreed: “We command that all their fanes, temples, and shrines, if even now any remain entire, shall be destroyed by the command of the magistrates, and shall be purified by the erection of the sign of the venerable Christian religion.”

These codes resulted in further legislation, culminating in the death penalty for non-Christians in 435 CE. All citizens had to belong to the authorized “Catholic” Christianity, except Jews who were permitted to practice in places isolated from the rest of the population. Between 429 and 439 CE some 150 different laws were enacted defining and defending the “Catholic faith.” Church lands were made exempt from taxation and bishops immune to chastisement.

Theological support for repression of religious plurality was formally indoctrinated by St. Augustine (354-430 CE), Bishop of Hippo.16 As part of his hostility to the Donatist heresies, he formulated his doctrine of Cognite intrare (Italian: costringali ad entrare, meaning: “compel them to enter”), which was used throughout the Middle Ages to justify the suppression of differences and tyranny against the dissenters. Augustine stated: “The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy. To love with sternness is better than to deceive with gentleness… In Luke 14:23 it is written: ‘Compel people to come in!’ By threats of the wrath of God, the Father draws souls to the Son.”17

The interested reader may like to read the book: The Dark Side of Christian History by Helen Ellerbe for an account. Excerpt from chapter 8 reads: “The Reformation did not convert the people of Europe to orthodox Christianity through preaching and catechisms alone. It was the 300 year period of witch-hunting from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, what R.H. Robbins called “the shocking nightmare, the foulest crime and deepest shame of western civilization,”…that ensured the European abandonment of the belief in magic. The Church created the elaborate concept of devil worship and then, used the persecution of it to wipe out dissent, subordinate the individual to authoritarian control, and openly denigrate women.”

So my suggestion to these myopic missionaries who seem to suffer from chronic mental ailment of “cognitive dissonance” is: before you nitpick the Qur’an by cherry-picking violent passages you ought to study your own scripture first and make an objective evaluation. Truly, if you are looking for violence, you don’t have to go beyond your own Bible. It is arguably the most violent book in the annals of human history.

B. Slavery:

Writing on slavery, the Jesuit alleges, “Moreover, the Quran endorses slavery—not merely permits it because it was too deeply entrenched in society. Muhammad himself traded in slaves.” He continues, “The slave trade was lucrative for Muhammad and his original Islam. It traded in slaves throughout its history…”

There is not an iota of truth in his assertions. Instead if the Jesuit had studied his own Bible well, he should have seen how it endorsed and encouraged slavery: “You may possess slaves, but make sure they are foreigners. You may also make slaves of the natives who dwell among you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. You may own them as chattels and leave them to your sons as their hereditary property, making them slaves forever. But you should not lord it over your own countryman, your own kinsmen.” [Lev. 25:44-46] (See also: Deut. 21:10) Even in the NT, not a single statement can be found in Jesus’s mouth that comes close to uprooting slavery. (See also: 1 Timothy 6:1, 1 Peter 2:18, Col. 3:22 for endorsement of slavery.)

The ancient world was deeply entrenched into slavery, and the Arab society in Muhammad’s (S) time was no exception. The pagan aristocracy in Makkah, Jewish landowners and merchants in Madinah and many wealthy Christian Arabs were slave owners.18 Most of the early believers in Muhammad’s (S) message of pure monotheism, on the other hand, were slaves, who were brutally tortured for their faith by their non-Muslim slavers. It became, thus, incumbent upon the Prophet (S) and his Companions (notably Abu Bakr and Uthman – may Allah be pleased with them) to free those slaves. Muhammad (S) bought freedom of 63 former slaves, A’isha (RA) 67, Abbas (RA) 70, Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) 1000 and Abdur Rahman ibn Awf 30,000.19 It was no wonder that some of the best-known Muslims and soldiers in the defense of Islam were these former slaves and their children.20

The Qur’an unequivocally makes it clear that no man, irrespective of his status (including a prophet), can enslave any other human being: “It is not (possible) for any human being unto whom Allah had given him the Scripture and wisdom and ‘Nabuwah’ (Prophethood) that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah …” [3:79]

Thus, Islam’s credit lies in being the only major religion to curtailing slavery and encouraging emancipation of slaves.21 Following the dictates of the Qur’an, personal and public wealth from zakat fund and the Baitul-Mal was used for manumitting slaves.22 Here are some relevant Traditions (ahadith) encouraging emancipation of slaves, Muslims and non-Muslims alike:

  • “A person who frees a Muslim slave, Allah will deliver every one of his limbs from the fire of Hell in return for each of the limbs of the slave, even his private organs for the sake of the freed slave’s organs.” – Muhammad (S) [Bukhari and Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
  • “The atonement for beating or slapping a slave (Muslim or non-Muslim) on the face, for no fault of his, is that he should be set free.” – Muhammad (S) [Muslim: Ibn Umar (RA)]
  • “Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).” – Muhammad (S) [Bukhari: Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (RA)]
  • “Allah the Most High said, I will be the opponent of three persons on the Day of Resurrection. They are the one who makes a covenant in My name and then prove treacherous. Or the one who sells a free person (Muslim or non-Muslim) as a slave and appropriates his price for himself. And the one who hires a laborer and having taken full work from him, fails to pay him his wages.” – Muhammad (S) [Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
  • “There are three people whose prayers are not accepted. And one of these three is a man who enslaves a free person (Rajulun iitabada muharraran).” – Muhammad (S) [Abu Dawud]
  • “No son can repay his father unless he finds him as a slave and purchases him and sets him free.” – Muhammad (S) [Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]

As hinted earlier, many of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (S) were freed slaves who went on to become great leaders of the Islamic community. Bilal the Abyssinian became the first caller to Islam [note: the position of mu’addhin is next to the imam]. Ammar ibn Yathir was from Yemen, Salman al-Farsi was from Persia, Suhayb al-Rumi was from Byzantium. Many of the rulers in Muslim territories were freed slaves and their descendants.

On the other hand, throughout our known history, many of the notorious slave traders (including those involved in the Atlantic slave trade) were Christians and Jews.23 To them, the fate of dark-skinned (African) race was sealed with Genesis 9:25: “And he [Noah] said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” (See also Joshua 16:10.) The Church did not believe that Africans possessed human souls.24 Not surprisingly, when the British Crown asked the Christian clergy for supporting documents to justify the slave trade, they readily found them within the Bible.

Dr. George Best, a non-Muslim historian, says, “Christianity did not object to slavery. Politically or economically, it did not encourage the believers to oppose the traditions of their generations as regards slavery. Christianity did not even discuss the problem and said nothing against the rights of slave owners. It did not urge slaves to demand their freedom and did not basically ask to free the slaves.”

Nor should we forget that the movement to abolish slavery in Europe and America is rather a new phenomenon and dates back only to the 19th century,25 nearly 1200 years after Islam forbade taking any free man as a slave (see Imam Bukhari’s chapter: Baab Ithm man ba’a hurr wa akala thamanahu). Even with the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 in the British Parliament, the practice of owning slaves continued for another century in the West. The Grand Larousse of the 19th century reads: “Man does not wonder at the presence of slavery and its being common among the Christians till now. The religious representatives approve it and believe that it is legal. In brief Christianity approves it completely till our time and it is very hard to prove that Christianity tried to abolish slavery.”

Unfortunately, modern-day slavery still exists today in one form or another, e.g., sex labors in many parts of the world, captives or prisoners of war held in many parts of the world, forced labor in Burma and China, and slave camps run by the SPLA and Lord’s Army.

Diversion has always been a favorite ploy utilized by shrewd strategists to divert attention. Imperialists and their agents have successfully used it to colonize and mislead others.26 This tactic still has tremendous appeal among the modern-day empire dreamers. So, as it was during the pre-colonial days of Africa, we were bombarded not too long ago with allegations that the northern Sudanese were enslaving the southern animists and Christians. Thanks to the CBS program which unearthed the hoax of slave emancipation by the Christian Solidarity, now we know that there is no truth to these allegations. The program established that the Christian SPLA and Lord’s Army routinely practice this crime by enslaving free people (against their own kind in Sudan and Uganda) and trading thereafter for money and arms. It is a lucrative business for these savages and their western/Christian patrons to slicing Sudan and establishing their zone of influence. For years, these criminals used every means at their disposal, including heinous propaganda campaigns and arms shipment, to encourage secession movement in the southern Sudan. [See the link in http://www.sudanembassy.org/ for a CBS interview with Dan Rather on the hoax of The Sudan Slave Trade.27

C. Treatment of Jews:

To prove Islam’s alleged mistreatment of Jews, the Jesuit provides a link to Spencer’s hate literature. As have been repeatedly demonstrated by many scholars he simply cannot be relied upon to provide the truth on anything pertaining to Islam and Muslims.28 He is a merchant of hatred – an Islamophobic maniac. Period! Scores of Jewish scholars and historians can be cited, including Ben-Sasson29 and Abba Eban30 to prove him unreliable, hostile and lying.

Let me quote from the scholarly work, A History of the Jewish People, edited by Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson (Harvard University Press, 1976), an Israeli historian:

“The height of magnificence and luxury was reached by the wealthy Jews in the lands of Islam, particularly in Moslem Spain. We know that the court bankers of Baghdad in the tenth century kept open house for numerous guests and for the poor. Similarly, the ceremonies of the Jewish leaders in Babylonia [Iraq] and the patronage of the leading Jews in Moslem Spain, indicate conditions of ease and plenty.

“The attitude toward these non-Moslems in the Islamic territories was shaped in principle in accordance with the concept of dhimma, meaning protection granted to them by agreement or treaty… In return, their lives and property were protected and, in accordance with the general attitude of Islam to infidels, they were assured liberty of faith and worship. They were also permitted to organize themselves as they wished, and the Jews fully availed themselves of that permission.

“From the Jewish viewpoint, this conglomerate of Moslem attitudes to infidels was easier to live with than the one that had been established by Christianity, particularly in the Byzantine Empire. As we have noted above, for hundreds of years the overwhelming majority of Jews lived in the Islamic territories. Although it is possible to perceive some Christian impact on the Moslem attitude towards non-believers and even towards the Christians themselves, the moderation with which the Moslems applied this influence proved to be of great importance to the majority of Jewry over a long period. Unlike the masses of Christians and pagans who joined the Moslems over the first half century or so, the overwhelming majority of the Jews under Moslem rule held firmly to their own faith.”31

As to the settlement and economic activity in the 16th and 17th centuries and the establishment of the Sephardic Diaspora in the Ottoman Empire, the above book states:

“A considerable stream of exiles from Spain overflowed into the Ottoman Empire. Once the latter had annexed Erez Yisrael, it became a lodestone for Marranos who wished to repent and return to their former faith…. The sultan at the time of the expulsion, Bayezid, welcomed the refugees fleeing from the fanatical Christians. As recorded by a Jewish contemporary ‘the Sultan sent men ahead, and spread the word through his kingdom in writing as well, declaring that none of his officers in any of his cities dare to drive the Jews out or expel them, but all of them were to welcome the Jews cordially.’ It can be assumed that this imperial protection and the order granting right of domicile were issued through the influence of the leaders of the long-established Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire… Success was not restricted exclusively to medical and court circles. It seems that in the Ottoman Empire it was felt that the absorption of the exiles from the West provided social, cultural and even military advantages… The exiles gradually dispersed throughout the main cities of the Empire. Many synagogues were to be found in Constantinople during the sixteenth century. In this city they settled in quarters where Jews had not formerly resided. Salonika also became one of their main centres, and similarly Adrianople and Smyrna (Izmir). The exiles also established themselves in smaller cities. Expulsions from southern Italy helped to diversify the Jewish community and increase the various congregations in the Empire.”32

What is clear is that historically the relationship between Jews and Muslims living under Muslim Sultans was rather amicable and, that even in places like Palestine, Muslim people did not have any problem with Jews living there. The relationship soured only after the Balfour Declaration (1917) when the British allowed European Jews to colonize Palestine.33

As to the matter of jizya imposed on Jews, one simply has to read European history about what had happened to the European Jewry who sought protection from the Christian royalty in the medieval times. In return for royal protection during the first two Crusades, German Jews were made ‘serfs of the Imperial Chamber’ and were required to pay vast sums of ‘protection money’ for this privilege. Those Jews eventually became a very real source of royal revenue. As the king’s property, they could be – and were – bought, loaned and sold, to pay off creditors. The custom spread to other European countries. Church leaders justified this status theologically on the basis of earlier Church teaching that the Jews were doomed to eternal servitude for having crucified their lord – Jesus Christ.34

Unfortunately, the protection for which the Jews paid such a hefty price in Europe did not always materialize. For instance, before setting out for the 3rd Crusade the Crusaders plundered the possessions of the Jews, who had fled into the royal castle where they were besieged by the warriors – many of whom were deeply in debt to their quarry. In York, England, the climax was reached when a stone, thrown from the castle, killed a Christian monk. A battle cry was raised urging the people to “destroy the enemies of Christ.” When the Jews saw the fury of the besiegers and felt their fate to be sealed, they took their own lives, cutting one another’s throats. When the mobs gained access to the tower, the few Jews left, who begged for baptism and deliverance, were slaughtered. The total casualties have been estimated variously from 500 to 1500. From this scene of carnage, the attackers converged on the cathedral and burned all the records of financial obligations to the Jews kept in its archives.35

Writing in 1135, the French scholar Pierre Abelard has a European Jew in “Dialogue between a Philosopher, a Jew, and a Christian” spoke these words:

“No nation has ever suffered so much for God. Dispersed among all nations, without king or secular ruler, the Jews are oppressed with heavy taxes as if they had to repurchase their very lives every day. To mistreat the Jews is considered a deed pleasing to God. Such imprisonment as is endured by the Jews can be conceived by the Christians only as a sign of God’s utter wrath. The life of the Jews is in the hands of their worst enemies. Even in their sleep they are plagued by nightmares. Heaven is their only place of refuge. If they want to travel to the nearest town, they have to buy protection with the high sums of money from the Christian rulers who actually wish for their death so that they can confiscate their possessions. The Jews cannot own land or vineyards because there is nobody to vouch for their safekeeping. Thus, all that is left them as a means of livelihood is the business of money-lending, and this in turn brings the hatred of Christians upon them”36

Bottom line: the status of a dhimmi in a Muslim-run state was much better compared to that of a Jew living in Christian-run Europe.

There is no denying that the Jewish tribe of Bani Quraiza was punished by the Prophet of Islam. But can Muhammad (S) be blamed for their treason? They were punished not for rejecting Muhammad (S) as the last Prophet (nabi) of Allah, but for their confessed crime against the nascent Islamic state, and judged by their own laws, by their appointed judge. My question is: was Musa [Moses] (AS) more merciful to the Jews when he and his faithful disciples killed 3000 misguided Children of Israel (Exodus 32:28)? [See Md. Saidul Islam’s “Were the Jews maltreated by Prophet Muhammad, or vice-versa?” for a good analysis.]

A closer scrutiny will show that the verses in the Qur’an that castigated Jews of Madinah for their nefarious activities were comparatively milder than those found in the Bible (see, e.g., the Books of Isaiah, Micah, Hosea and Ezekiel, and especially those of Jesus in the so-called NT).37

D. Israel and cost of progress:

As any evangelical Christian-Zionist would be expected these days, the Jesuit missionary is very gay to report about the “progress” of the colonizing enterprise – Israel. He does not tell us that the land was stolen in a landmark Christian-Zionist conspiracy from its native people and given to outsiders from Europe (mostly Kharazites) who had no claim. He also does not tell us that the so-called progress of Israel has been costing America billions of dollars. The latter’s naked support of the rogue state has given us the cliché: the tail that wags the dog! [Interested readers may like to read John Mearsheimer and Stephan Walt’s recently published work “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” London Review of Books, March 2006, to understand Israel’s harmful effect.]

E. Status and Worship:

Commenting on the Qur’anic verse 98:4-6, the Jesuit says, “This implies that the Bible is inferior. Verse five says that Jews and Christians must do salat (prayer five times a day) and give zakat (required charity).” Such comments once again show that he needs to study the Bible before getting jumpy with the Qur’an. Don’t Jews and Christians pray and pay alms?38 Didn’t Jesus pray also (Mark 1:35, 14:35-39; Matt. 26:39-44)? So why complain? Interestingly, he is very upset about the Qur’an having put the idolaters in the same sentence as the people of the Book, as can be seen in the last phrase of the next statement where he says, “Verse six categorizes unbelievers among the People of the Scripture (= the Bible) with idolaters, the most impure of all humans.” It is no coincidence that the Biblical prophets killed the idolaters en masse whereas, after the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet of Islam announced a general amnesty against the idolaters. (See, e.g., Exodus 22:20 – “Anyone who sacrificed to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.”)

F. Law of Retaliation:

The Jesuit makes a fool of himself when he alleges, “Siddiqui omits Sura 5:45, which imposes retaliation, literal eye for an eye. Would radical Muslims want to impose this around the world?” The Qur’anic verse in question talks about the retaliatory laws of the Books of the Children of Israel, e.g., Exodus (21:23-5), Leviticus (24:20) and Deut. 19:21. If the Christian missionary had an open mind, and not the kind of obsessed mind he had demonstrated, he could have noticed the clear preference enunciated in the Qur’an in the very next sentence within the same verse 5:45, which states, “But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself.” As has been noted by Karen Armstrong every harsh verse in the Qur’an is followed by those that seek compassion and not retaliation. The Qur’anic message is of moderation, and not extremes. Muslims are, thus, called upon to be a “middle” nation (ummatan wasatan).

G. Morality:

Let me now touch upon the matter of the Judeo-Christian morality in the Bible of which the Jesuit is convinced that Islam cannot contribute anything. Let us look at this haughty assertion from the Bible itself.

  • A prophet is reported to have committed sex with his own daughters.
  • A prophet is reckoned to have committed adultery with another man’s wife.
  • A prophet indulges in calf-worship.
  • A prophet’s son impregnates his own son’s wife and becomes the father of twin sons who are to become father of great prophets to come later (e.g., David, Solomon and Jesus). Yet this son is blessed by the prophet. Another son commits fornications with the prophet’s consort.
  • A prophet abandons his faith in one True God and take to idolatry and builds idol temples.
  • One of the prophets wrongly attributes his own false statements to God.

Need I continue any further to show how hollow such assertions about superiority of Judeo-Christian morality sound?39

Jesuit Christians give the impression that celibacy is preferred over marriage for the clergy. Yet a reading of the so-called New Testament gives the impression that the disciples of Jesus may not have abstained from sex (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6, 1 Cor. 9:5). There are now claims that Jesus himself may not have been celibate either.

As hinted earlier, according to early Christian fathers, truth is called falsification and vice-versa. In a Gnostic Gospel, an early Christian Theodore asks Clement of Alexandria (150-215 CE) – an early Church father – the veracity of the recorded message that Jesus was a homosexual (na ‘oozu billah). In reply, Clements writes, “To them, therefore, as I said above, one must never give way; nor, when they put forward their falsifications, should one concede that the secret Gospel is by Mark, but should even deny it on oath.”40

There are Christian churches in the USA that ordain gay and lesbian priests and draw their legitimacy from such claims. One simply wonders if sodomy and other forms of sexual abuse of children by Christian priests draw their moral justification from such records of Jesus’s life (na ‘oozu billah)! Evidence suggests that many instances of child abuse by clergy were not one-time, isolated incidents. Shielded by a church culture of secrecy, some priests preyed upon numerous victims during multiple parish assignments. Church records have revealed stories of many other repeat abusers, including priests who traded drugs for sex with minors, fathered children, and physically assaulted their victims. In the case of almost every predator priest, church officials had reports of abusive behavior, but allowed the priests to remain in ministry. In many cases, accused priests were sent for brief periods of psychological evaluation and then returned to parishes — where they abused again.41

According to Catholic moral theology42 (for ordained priests), priests can have sex three times a year (for details consult: St. Alphonsus Liguori’s work.43). In a 1983 doctoral thesis by Richard Blackmon, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner and 38% admitted to other sexualized contact with a parishioner.44 In separate denominational surveys, 48% of United Church of Christ female ministers and 77% of United Methodist female ministers reported having been sexually harassed in church.45 17 percent of laywomen said that their own pastor had sexually harassed them. Ten percent of Protestant pastors had been sexually active with an adult parishioner.

According to the dictates of the NT, the Church does not allow divorce (Matt. 5:32). This ruling has contributed to illicit sexual relationship. Surveys by Baltimore psychologist and marital researcher Shirley Glass showed that 25% of wives and 44% of husbands in the USA at one time or another have had sexual relationship outside of marriage (USA Today, Jan. 9, 2003).46 It does not take a psychologist to understand the effect of unhappy marriage on crimes that is glued by Church edicts! [The leading cause of death of pregnant women in the USA is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).]

One-third of all U.S. children are born out of wedlock. One-half of all U.S. children will live in a one-parent house (CNN, Dec. 10, 2004). A recent survey in UK showed that the proportion of children born outside marriage has leapt from 12% in 1980 to 42% in 2004, according to the Office for National Statistics. In contrast, 15 other EU countries had an estimated average of 33%, the annual ONS’ Social Trends report said.47 In the USA, 70% of all black children are born out of wedlock. Sixty-five percent of never-married black women have children, double that for white women.48

As to violence, rape, murder, the less said the better. The crime statistics in any major city in the USA is sure to dwarf crime rates in many eastern countries.49

One simply wonders how much of all these immoral and criminal activities in the Christian society draw their inspiration from the Christian teaching of vicarious atonement, so tersely articulated by our Jesuit propagandist: “I do not believe that my good works get me into heaven. Only Christ’s good work on the cross does this – a bodily and literal crucifixion that the Qur’an denies in Sura 4:157!”

Succinctly speaking, Christianity has no moral high ground and has failed abysmally.50

Conclusions

In closing, let me say that unlike Christianity, which is responsible for breeding a society devoid of any moral obligation through its notion of original sin and the accompanying theology of vicarious atonement, Islam preaches individual accountability for oneself. Its practicality, notions of peace, justice and pluralism put it on a serious level to have a genuine dialogue of civilizations.51 Bigotry and racism should not stand in the way of the West to open that dialogue. They need it more than they are willing to admit it.

Islam, more than any other religion, embodies the concept of coexistence.52 Denying it will only reflect on one’s inherent xenophobia and bigotry. Let the Christian xenophobe reflect on Muhammad’s (S) statement:

“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

Such were the memorable words of Muhammad (S), the Prophet of Islam, in the year 628 CE, when he granted this historic document, also known as the Charter of Privileges, to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai.53

Is there anything remotely similar to this document that an Islamophobe can produce from his/her founder(s) of the faith? Not a chance!

Peace, Salam, Shalom, Shanti.

The author, Dr. Habib Siddiqui may be contacted directly at saeva@aol.com
Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "What I Did Not Say And The Missionary Myopia," in Bismika Allahuma, May 22, 2006, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/op-ed/missionary-myopia/
  1. See e.g., http://www.bare-jesus.net for a detailed analysis, which are unflattering to Christianity. []
  2. For a short biography see here. []
  3. See this author’s article, Islam and Co-existence. []
  4. See this author’s article, Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi: Why a different yardstick for Muslims? for a sample of violent and demeaning verses in Christian and Jewish religious books. []
  5. We should not, therefore, be surprised with the killings of POWs in Iraq and Afghanistan by Jesus-loving, faithful Christian warlords. []
  6. Deut. 18:18 offers a close resemblance. []
  7. In a celebrated hadith Muhammad (S) instructed his army: “Depart in the name of Allah, and be His helper. And kill not any old man, nor young boy, nor child, nor woman. But be good-doers, for Allah loves those who do good.” []
  8. It is worth mentioning here that this tax was collected to guarantee protection of lives and properties of the ‘protected’ people, who needed not to participate in Jihad. The dhimmis were also exempt from payment of other forms of taxes that were mandatory on Muslims. []
  9. See the article: Non- Muslims and the Law of Social Security in Islam By Shaykh Shawkat Husayn – for an excellent analysis. See also: Anecdotes from the life of the Prophet Muhammad by Mumtaz Ahmed Faruqui; “A True Word – Here’s to You, Dr. Robertson” by Amir Butler. []
  10. See also this author’s article “Real Islam and Jihad – a rejoinder” for an understanding on the subject of Jihad. []
  11. See the Book of Revelations []
  12. The Outline of History by H.G. Wells; The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon. []
  13. See also Acts 5:1-11. []
  14. Quoted from Kurt Eggers []
  15. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14577d.htm []
  16. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm []
  17. Edward Peters, Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe; R. Dean Peterson, A Concise History of Christianity; James A. Haught, Holy Horrors; J.N. Hillgarth, Christianity and Paganism; Malcolm Lambert, Medieval Heresy. []
  18. A study of the lives of many former slaves who became the Companions of the Prophet (S) is sufficient to prove this. For instance, Salman al-Farisi’s (RA) slave master was a wealthy Jew from Banu Qurayza. (See also Maulana Rumi’s masterpiece – Mathnabi.) []
  19. Human Rights in Islam by Abul ‘Ala Mawdudi. []
  20. Read this author’s The Book of Devotional Stories (in print) for stories of some of these early Muslims. []
  21. See the Qur’an for many such references, e.g., 4:92, 5:89, 58:3, 90:13, 24:33, 9:60, 2:177, 2:221, 4:25, 4:36. []
  22. See Fethullah Gulen’s article: How is it that Islam, a religion inspired by God for the good of humanity, allows slavery? []
  23. According to some historians, eighteen million Africans are estimated to have died during the Atlantic slave trade. In American Holocaust (1992), David Stannard estimates that some 30 to 60 million Africans died being enslaved. Howard Zinn puts the number at 40 million. []
  24. See, this author’s “An anatomy of racism” and “White Man’s Burden: the never-ending saga.” []
  25. The only real exception is Portugal (1761), however, the practice continued for decades in its colonies. []
  26. For a full treatment, interested readers may consult Prof. Ali Mazrui’s books, including The Africans, a PBS Documentary, USA. []
  27. http://www.sudanembassy.org/ (and click the link to The Sudan Slave Trade). []
  28. See, e.g., Choose: Islam Scary, Lite or Dry?by David Need for a review on Spencer’s book. []
  29. A History of the Jewish People, edited by Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson. []
  30. Heritage: Civilization and the Jews by Abba Eban. []
  31. For a brief review of the book, see: http://www.muhajabah.com/jewsofislam.htm []
  32. op. cit., pp. 631-3 []
  33. See this author’s article: The Case of Jerusalem — for a detailed treatment of the holy city. []
  34. Edward H. Flannery, The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism, Paulist Press, New York/Mahwah, 1985; Michael L. Brown, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, 1992. []
  35. Flannery, op. cit. []
  36. ibid. []
  37. See this author’s article, Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi: Why a different yardstick for Muslims? for detailed analysis. []
  38. See the book: “To pray as a Jew: a guide to the prayer book and the synagogue service” by Hayim Halevy Donin, New York: Basic Books, c1980. []
  39. The interested reader may like the read Mowlana Rahmatullah Kairanvi’s “Izhar-ul-Haq” for a detailed analysis of the Bible. []
  40. For details, see: The Gnostic Society Library, Gnostic Scriptures and Fragments, The Secret Gospel of Mark; see also Acts of John, from “The Apocryphal New Testament,” M.R. James – translation and notes, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924 []
  41. http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/12707654.htm; http://www.bishop-accountability.org/; http://www.telegram.com/static/crisisinthechurch/092205.html; http://www.ffrf.org/timely/pedo1992.php; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/extras/coverups_archive.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories5/040704_vermont.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories5/022804_victims.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/scandal/; http://www.ffrf.org/timely/1990study.php; http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MKY/is_16_29/ai_n15779345; http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0412/09/asb.01.html. []
  42. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14611a.htm []
  43. http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_author/129/St._Alphonsus_Liguori.html []
  44. Richard A. Blackmon, unpublished Ph. D. dissertation (1984). The Hazards of Ministry. Fuller Theological Seminary: Pasadena, CA. Note: The author noted that 16 ministers did not answer the question concerning sexual intercourse with parishioners, indicating that the percentage is probably higher. []
  45. Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence (1992). Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Abuse in the Ministerial Relationship. Seattle, WA []
  46. http://www.dearpeggy.com/announce20.html; Conservative estimates in the West suggest that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair (http://www.dearpeggy.com/affairs.html#3). []
  47. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4733330.stm []
  48. http://www.saveus.org/docs/factsheets/portrait_black_family7-12-05.pdf; http://www.citypages.com/databank/26/1264/article12985.asp. []
  49. http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/; http://www.singstat.gov.sg/ssn/feat/4Q94/feat.html; http://www.crimestatistics.org.uk/tool/; http://www.police999.com/stats/index.html []
  50. See, e.g., the book: Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church by Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Penguin, 1990 []
  51. See this author’s 1994 article: Islam and the West: The Need For a Bilateral Talk []
  52. See this author’s “Islam and Coexistence” for supporting evidences. []
  53. ‘Muslim History: 570 – 1950 C.E.’ by Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq, ZMD Corporation. P.O. Box 8231 – Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8231. []
Categories
Op-Ed Polemical Rebuttals

Some Thoughts on Muslims Converting to Christianity and Vice-Versa

This article was written as part of my answer to a Christian calling himself “AIbrahim”, who raised the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity as “proof” for the truth of Christianity as well as denying that Christian reverts to Islam were even “practicing Christians”. Below is the reproduction of that dialogue, with some modifications to suit the topic.

Transcript

    (In response to my challenge for him to back his claim of “hundreds of Muslims leaving Islam” with facts and figures)

    It is hard to get those figures because all Muslim background believers are VERY security conscious

Or is it because there are no such figures, to begin with?

Anyway, I’m not trying to deny that there are Muslims leaving Islam. God has given free will to humans and they are free to reject truth or falsehood at their whim and fancy. The Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion, truth stands clear from error”.1 A person who leaves Islam is thus exercising that free choice and no one will shoulder the results of such a choice but himself. But you should not be accusing Islam of things that can be found in your own Bible (in the Old Testament), i.e. the killing of apostates.2

    Regarding the ‘Christians’ who are becoming Muslims, most of those who do so have never practiced their faith.

Maybe you’re right, but I’m not a judge of what they did or did not do when they were Christians before they finally decided to, alhamdulillah, become Muslims. Anyway, what I had in mind when I first wrote the paragraph above are Christian priests and scholars. Or maybe you wish to deny that these people were “practicing Christians”?

    They are just nominal Christians because they were born in the western world.

I’m not denying that there are nominal Christians who revert to Islam, but these are not the only group of people accepting Islam. On the contrary, there are many Christian scholars who accepted Islam.

A good example is the Christian Professor Abraham Phillips, who was a missionary to the Muslims in Egypt. He first studied the Qur’an in detail to shake the Muslim belief and convert them to Christianity. But after 5 years, he reverted to Islam and changed his name to Ibraheem Khaleel Ahmed and have since written several books on Islam and Christianity, among them a book titled AL-MUSTASYRIGUN WAI MUBASSYIRUN FIL ALAMIL ARABI WAL ISLAM, which I own.3

Why am I telling you this? To show that there are unbiased Christians out there like Abraham Philips who, despite their deep Christian background, seek the truth and recognize the truth when they see it. And they are certainly not “nominal Christians”, as you like to allege.

    Many convert for business reasons or because they want to marry a Muslim.

So do these “former Muslims”. Most of these Muslims who were “saved by Christ” never had a deep study of Islam and were simply nominal Muslims. Their Islamic knowledge and practice is minimal, and/or come from Muslim families where the parents themselves do not care about Islam. It happens. However, I have never heard of an imam or an Islamic scholar converting to Christianity, but there are many cases of Christian scholars and priests reverting to Islam.

Concluding Remarks

In the end, anyone who reverts to Islam from Christianity deals a bigger blow for Christianity, not the “Muslims” who convert to Christianity. Why? Because from the two, it is Christianity which has the easier, more seductive path to salvation, i.e. emotional appeal (believe in the crucifixion and you will be saved!) when compared to Islam, which is based on intellectual integrity, i.e. emphasizes both faith and deeds to attain salvation (and therefore is much “harder” than Christianity).

So why do former Christians take the “hard way” instead of the easier path? That is a question you should ask yourself. Maybe the answer is in what J.G. Vos, a Christian, said:

There is nothing in Islam to lead a man to say, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death”? or “I know that in me; that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.” A religion with reasonably attainable objectives…does not give the sinner the anguish of a guilty conscience nor the frustration of trying without success to attain in practical living the requirements of an absolute moral standard. In brief, Islam makes a man feel good, while Christianity necessarily first, and often thereafter, makes a man feel bad. The religion of the broken heart is Christianity, not Islam.4

And only God knows best!

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Some Thoughts on Muslims Converting to Christianity and Vice-Versa," in Bismika Allahuma, October 7, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/op-ed/muslims-converting-to-christianity/

Postscript

Here is a reproduction of an e-mail I received from a Brother commenting on this article, who decided to keep himself anonymous. May God reward him with something better, insha’Allah.

I read your article and agree. The strongest Muslims I know are all converts from Christianity, and many of them were strong Christians before. I found the Christian’s comments interesting. Was he Evangelical or Pentecostal, because when I was still a Christian, everybody talked about “faith” and being filled with the “holy spirit.” They always said, “if don’t have faith you won’t get the holy spirit.” I always asked how do I get this faith? I was told that I had to “spend time reading God’s word and praying for the Holy Spirit or Jesus to come into my life and then I would feel him.” So I tried it, but got depressed, because the more I read “God’s word” the more logic was telling me that the Christian doctrines were unsupported and the only thing that seemed like the Holy Spirit was telling me that Islam was the truth.

I am always told by Christians that Christianity must be true because of two things: the complexities of its doctrines, like the Trinity, which I could think of a thousand arguments against, and its emotional appeal, the crying God on the Cross feeling the pain of man’s sins, which confused me, because I thought if man was so incapable of doing right, and that if God had to die, why would man still have to accept his death. What I mean is, if Jesus died for all sins, then he surely must have died for the sin of unbelief and how is it possible for the post-resurrection man to still be born sinful. I then concluded that most of this “faith” was built on nothing more than emotion. Christianity gains most of its converts from the poor and the dispossessed by using this emotional appeal, preaching a god that is suffering with his people, is wholly good but somehow let evil come into the world, man can have guaranteed salvation, and that God has totally got rid of the law allowing people to “live in the spirit.”

Ismail Al-Faruqi and Shabbir Ahktar both talk about this and use it as part of their basis for Muslim-Christian dialogue. I think this is why Christianity has failed in many places, because of its almost totally sentimental nature. I have seen places where Christianity failed, like the American ghettos where lawlessness reigns. Islam provides law and structure, and because of this Islam comes in full force and does the most amazing reforms. I finally feel that the faith I was lacking in Christianity is in Islam, and its built on something stronger. I’ve read almost every anti-Islamic book you could name and it had only made my faith stronger. I am not married yet but it is a shame that when I do I will have to fend off Christians’ favorite attack: “You just became Muslim for the women.”

  1. Qur’an, 2:256 []
  2. Refer to Deuteronomy 13: 6-9, Deuteronomy 17:3-5 and Leviticus 20:27, c.f. Romans 1:20-32 []
  3. The book I own however, is a Bahasa Melayu (Malay) translation, entitled Siasat Misi Kristen dan Orientalis []
  4. J. S. Vos, A Christian Introduction to Religions of the World, pp. 66-67 []
Categories
Christianity History Islam Op-Ed

Christians Killed Apostates Too

The saga of Abdul Rehman’s conversion to Christianity may be over but the aftermath is far from settled. Like a clockwork of hate, the episode has brought upon yet another wave of criticisms against Islam and its record for religious tolerance. But what few would realise is that the West has a history of religious intolerance and persecutions that would put Muslim Afghanistan to shame.

Examine the following verse closely:

“If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying: Let us go and worship other gods, do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people.”1

Despite all the staunch criticisms they make about Islam, that was not a verse from the Quran. In fact, the Quran is void of any instructions to murder apostates.

Instead, the line above has been taken taken from Deuteronomy 13: 6-9 that outlines very vividly, the fate of apostates and followers of other religions. Another verse reads:

“And he should go and worship other gods and bow down to them or to the sun or the moon or all the army of the heavens, …..and you must stone such one with stones and such one must die.” 2

And follow these verses they did.

In May 1096, a group of Crusaders en route to the Holy Land to kill Muslims, stopped by a Rhineland town called Worms between Mannnheim and Mainz, near present day Germany to preach the message of God to its population of Jews. The Crusaders urged them to convert to Christianity, explaining that it is the only path to salvation.

But when the town refused, the Crusaders under the command of Count Emmich of Leiningen, dragged them out of their homes and put up a massacre of every one in the town. 800 people met a bloody death at the edge of a sword for their refusal to convert. Women and children were not spared and many were decapitated as blood flowed through the streets of the town. Some of them were even burnt alive as they took refuge in the very same church that the Crusaders have built and preached from.3

Worms was definitely not the only town that was plundered over the years. Christian preachers storming their way from the West forced the religion upon the locals through threat and terror. In the city of Mainz, 1000 Jews met the same morbid fate when they refused to take up Christianity. Entire families were slaughtered systematically.

The author of Gesta Francorum wrote to describe the mayhem during the incident: “All the streets of the city on every side were full of corpses, so that no one could endure to be there because of the stench, nor could anyone walk along the narrow paths of the city except over the corpses of the dead’. Historians have referred to this obscure incident as the “first holocaust”.

The people of other religion who refused to convert into Christianity were not the only ones who were feverishly persecuted. Christians who were known to opt out of the religion or were seen as heretics, have been mercilessly put to death too over the course of history.

Somewhere around 1200, a new religion emerged in Western France amongst the people of Languedoc called Catharism and was gaining a steady stream of converts from the Christian world. The Cathars, as they are called, abjured marriage and the eating of meat in an effort to obtain purity. The new religion appealed to the Christians in a very refreshing way.

The spread of Catharism alarmed the Christians of Europe greatly and the Church sent in preachers and papals year after year to reverse the situation. In an effort to delegitimise the movement further, Catharism was declared as a heresy and a deviant branch of Christianity. But the religion continued to flourish and threatened to spread to an even greater part of Europe.

The Christians could take it no more and in 1208, the Pope decided to unleash a full-blown crusade against the Cathars, known as the Albigensian Crusade. Thousands of apostates were slaughtered in the ensuing campaign, including 7000 residents of a town called Beziers who were locked and burnt in a church. A horrified onlooker rushed to the papal gates and reminded the crusaders that the some Christians were still trapped in the church together with the Cathars. The officer overseeing the massacre then made a remark that has resounded through the centuries: “Kill them all. God will know his own”.

It would be tempting to list all the other examples of Christians killing apostates in order to answer the growing wave of criticisms from the West against Islam. But that is not the point of this article. Two wrongs do not make one right.

The point is to compare the attitude of Christianity towards apostasy then and now. Christianity today has none of these violent characteristics against apostates. People who leave the religion are not given death threats nor persecuted violently at the edge of a sword — unlike what happened before during the medieval times. It is now a largely peaceful religion and has taken few qualities of its earlier practitioners from the earlier periods.

But this peaceful nature of Christians towards apostasy took time and a considerable amount of evolution over the centuries. Education, tolerance and enlightenment did not find its way into Christianity overnight. It took an awful part of 2000 years for Christianity to be where it is today.

Islam must be given the same chance. At only 1400 years old, Islam is a relatively young religion when compared to other faiths of revealed scriptures. It is unfair to keep putting Islam to the perpetual ridicule of violence and intolerance, when Christianity has been given a much longer time to evolve in a head start of about 600 years.

Apostasy is still a very touchy subject in much of the Muslim world, similar to Christianity during the times of the crusade. Different interpretations may exist, but Islam is definitely not a religion of violence nor murder towards any group including apostates who leave the religion peacefully and mean no harm.

Already beacons of tolerance and excellence can be seen emerging in a handful of Muslim communities around the world, such as Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom. The rest of the Muslim Ummah must be given that same chance.

  1. Deuteronomy 13: 6-9 []
  2. Deuteronomy 17:3-5 []
  3. Malcolm Billings, The Crusades : Five Centuries of Holy Wars, Sterling Publishing New York, 1996 []