Dennis Prager is a well known nationally syndicated talk show host whose article, "Five Questions Non-Muslims Would Like Answered" , written from a very Islamophobic perspective, appeared in the Los Angeles Times' Faith Front section, November 13, 2005 as an op ed. Mr. Prager made open accusations and demanded responses to his questions from Muslims. What follows is my humble responses (shown under the red headings) sent to Mr. Prager and the LA Times on December 17, 2005. My reply was published in several newspapers and magazines in the US. I am sure that you will agree that the questions and answers are very relevant for today.
The rioting in France by primarily Muslim youths and the hotel bombings in Jordan are the latest events to prompt sincere questions that law-abiding Muslims need to answer for Islam's sake, as well as for the sake of worried non-Muslims.
First of all, for you to associate a heinous act that someone commits with the religion of Islam, without citing authentic Islamic teaching endorsing the action, is disingenuous. The problem with the Western media is that the words "Muslim", "Islam", etc., are prominently connected to actions that are not only against Islam, but also strongly condemned by the religion.
If Mr. Prager can cite from the Qur’an, or any authentic Islamic literature, words that prove that Islam endorses any of the specific actions Mr. Prager associates with it, he would be right in demanding a response from Muslims. Muslims would be obligated to respond, because our religion would be to blame.
The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of Muslims have strongly condemned and even mobilized against the events that the media is so quick to add Islamic prefixes and suffixes to.
Mr. Prager should compare the riots in France to the Watts riots and other US riots and blackouts, along with the criminal behavior of Christians during hurricane Katrina. The media was careful to not include Christian prefixes and suffixes to those behaviors, although the people are Christians inside a Christian nation. The natural question should be why? Why the double standards?
I will answer each of Mr. Prager’s questions below. In doing so, I will show how similar and even greater wrongs are being committed by some Christians than those attributed to Muslims. However, Christians can rest assured that Muslims will never make the same ugly mistake they make; namely, to attribute those evils to the teachings of the Noble Christ and to good, G'd-conscious Christians.
No! Muslims will put the blame where it belongs, and that is on evil people who use the name of Christ to perpetrate their wrongs. Evil men and women have cast dirt on the good name of Christ with their evil deeds and these same evil, war mongering, hypocritical, people are attempting to smear and falsify Islam. They are at it again. They want war and they are using the name of Christ to justify it and smearing the name of Muhammad to achieve it.
My hope is that since Mr. Prager asked for sincere answers from Muslims, he would fearlessly publish my answers. I will go into detail with my answers in hopes that sincere Americans, Christians and all who read would gain sufficient understanding. I also welcome further questions and rebuttals so that we can have a healthy dialogue in our efforts to arrive at truth.
Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week's protests in Jordan against the bombings, while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in the name of Allah.
There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to protest their country's moral failing. Why has there been no comparable public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?
The short answer to Mr. Prager’s first question is that Muslims are not quiet. Muslims who have the knowledge, courage, and information to debate the lies being told have not been given a vehicle in the West to reach the mainstream of American society.
The long answer is that there is a depth of injustice and deliberate misinformation about Islam and Muslims -- that most Americans don't know about -- that needs to be corrected. Maybe the reason you don’t see the demonstrations that you are asking for is because most Muslims do not buy into the misinformation about Middle East events like Americans do. It is quite possible that Muslims, and many others in the world, know things first hand, that Mr. Prager and most Americans do not know. Let me list a few:
What you do not seem to know is that Jews, Christians and Muslims have lived in Palestine together in peace and harmony for centuries under Muslim rule. The following is a quote from a Christian Palestinian and I can also cite similar statements from Israeli Jews, as well.
There was also the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980s where more than a million lives were lost, but--not ONE due to suicide! But amongst Christians, we saw the mass Jonestown suicide by the followers of Reverend Jim Jones. Amongst the Jews, we have the Masada, where 960 Jews died. The men in the community killed their families and then committed suicide en-masse. This is celebrated in Israel as heroic. Since 2005, half of all Israeli Defense Forces deaths were due to IDF soldiers committing suicide. There is no history of mass suicides like that in Islam. Yet, it is the religion that most Americans give knee jerk acceptance to as promoting suicide.
At the same time, we have a news media that is eager to enlighten and spread the word about those crazy Muslims killing themselves for 72 virgins. This, by the way, is not even in the Qur’an. There is nothing in Islam that states that Muslim martyrs or those who commit suicide will receive 72 virgins in paradise. This is a cruel and ugly lie about Islam that has been so widely perpetuated that it is accepted as fact.
Corrections to these falsehoods about Islam regarding suicide and the killing of innocent people are not made in the media. Rather than report these crimes as people disobeying the tenets of Islam, the media prefers to promote these stories as crimes committed by Muslims imbued with Islamic religious fervor. This is so widespread that well known media personalities like Barbara Walters broadcast it to millions of uninformed Americans as fact.
While this misreporting is spread rampantly, there are numerous confirmed reports of Americans, British and Israelis caught attempting to fake suicide bombings by Palestinians, Afghans, Pakistanis and Iraqis. Numerous reports detail how bombs were planted by the occupational forces in car vehicles and trucks used by Iraqis to carry fruits and vegetables. When stopped at check points, Iraqis later discover that bombs had been stuck in their barrels by soldiers or Mossad agents. Israelis were caught wiring a retarded Palestinian boy for remote detonation to be labeled a suicide bombing. There were also many admissions by Israeli Mossad agents of faking suicides to blame on Muslims, and I can go on and on.
If the planted bombs, etc attempts were successful and were not discovered to be false flags, our too compliant media would have reported them as Muslim suicide killings. In September, 2005 two British soldiers, dressed as Arabs, (after killing Iraqi police and attempting to frame Iraqis for another suicide attempt) were caught and put in jail by Iraqi forces. Rather than have these men questioned to get the full story, the British “allies” broke down the jail with a tank and rushed the soldiers out. You can learn more about this and other false flag operations at the following links:
As regards today’s terrorists actions, it is interesting to note that Israelis and western forces have been caught in false flag operations (the act of committing terrorist actions and "staging" them so that others are blamed) numerous times attempting to have Muslims blamed, but yet there is not one false flag operation where Muslims were caught attempting to frame and blame Jews and Christians. If suicide is an Islamic predilection, why have Israeli and western forces been caught so many times staging events to have Muslim blamed for suicide killings?
With information about Islam readily available to the news media, you would think that a “truthful” media would consult reputable and knowledgeable Muslims to know the truth about Islam’s position on suicide, 72 virgins, etc. But they do not inquire, they do not interview knowledgeable Muslims in their media—they prefer to repeat the lies, very irresponsibly, as fact.
4) As for the sympathy Muslims around the world showed for the suffering of Americans during 9/11, read and compare the following two reactions: Contrast the Muslim reaction to 9/11 with the lack of concern the West has shown and is showing for the thousands of innocent Palestinians who are being killed and have been killed by Israel.
Contrast the Muslim’s generous display of love and sympathy for the 9/11 victims with the callous non-concern for the millions of Iraqis who have died in Iraq, as a result of sanctions--most of the deaths being innocent children. Now with this unjustified war in Iraq, that death toll and suffering has climbed to more than 2,000,000 civilians.
Contrast the Muslims prayer vigils, willingness to donate blood to the victims of 9/11 and Muslim countries’ active participation in the war on terror--with the callous, heartless massacres of more than 200,000 Afghans whom Americans cruelly refer to as ‘collateral damage’.
As for a religious guilt complex, Christians and Jews need to examine how their religion has allowed and continues to allow such savage and beastly things to happen by Christians and Jews. What is wrong with their faiths to cause their members to behave in so inhumane and barbaric a fashion?
Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?
If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in Israel, why do no Christian Palestinians engage in terror? They are just as nationalistic and just as occupied as Muslim Palestinians.
This is an easy question to answer.
”The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a much more violent group than Arafat's Fateh, was led by Christian George Habash. In fact, the PFLP had to hire Eastern Orthodox priests to minister to its fighters. Christians in the Middle East, whether Palestinian Christians, or Maronite Christians in Lebanon, have been just as much parties to the violence in the region as Muslims. And, of course, Israeli Jews haven't exactly been pacifists.” (Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan.)
There is also the leftist Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP), later known as (DFLP) formed by Nayef Hawatmeh, who was Christian and has many Christian Palestinians fighters against Zionism.
As I mentioned before, the Zionists did not discriminate. They massacred and humiliated Christian, Muslim and even Jewish Palestinians who stood up against their injustice. Today in Palestine these groups are united against the Zionists.
The idea of fighting against an occupier and injustice is part of humanity's history and not just limited to Muslims. It should also be noted that some European populations, such as those in Northern Ireland and the Basque country, have felt justified to take up arms and form resistance organizations that their enemies labeled as "terrorist". These Irish and basque fighters were heavily influenced by Christianity not Islam.
Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?
According to Freedom House, a Washington-based group that promotes democracy, of the world's 47 Muslim countries, only Mali is free. Sixty percent are not free, and 38% are partly free. Muslim-majority states account for a majority of the world's "not free" states. And of the 10 "worst of the worst," seven are Islamic states. Why is this?
Are these the same Washington-based opinion makers who fooled the American people into attacking Iraq for WMDs and are still attempting to fool them into believing the war in Iraq is to establish democracy? Well that comes as no surprise. The cardinal rule in getting people to hate enough to want to see others killed is to demonize the enemy. Demonize--then destroy; that is the rule.
Of all the countries in the world, Muslim countries have the lowest crime rate. We never hear that, we only hear what is negative about Muslim countries. The subliminal message is that yes, Muslim countries are not free and it is because of their backward religion.
Most Americans normally do not care to examine and look into history for cause and effect. They just see the effects and take things on face value for what they are. But, to truly understand anything, cause and effect are important and understanding the history of how things came to be the way we see them today is essential.
Few Americans know that less than 70 years ago most of the Islamic world was under colonialism and was ruled over by Western powers for many years. During Western rule, much was done to kill true Islam in the people and to foster counter-productive developments in Islamic countries that would make them of no competition to the West.
This was accomplished in several ways. One way was to carve Muslim lands into separate countries in the Middle East and place puppet leaders over them (like the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein and others, who were more loyal to selfish greed and Western masters than to what was good for their own people).
Another method was to keep Muslim countries destabilized with constant wars and interference in their internal affairs. Most importantly, an attack on the religion of Islam itself was most potent. They propagandized Muslim populations, emphasizing ritualism, cultural practices, weak Islamic scholars, and false Hadiths above the Qur’an. This was done to detach the people from the enlightenment in the message of the Qur’an. Today the lack of freedom that we see in so-called Muslim countries is a result of the handiwork of Western Imperialism and colonialism.
So the question should not be, “what is wrong with the Muslim countries?” More correctly, the question should be, “what is wrong with Western rule that causes countries ruled to be left in far worse shape than before they had contact with the West? Why couldn’t contact with the West bring about more freedom, growth, prosperity and happiness for the countries ruled over?”
The condition of Islamic countries and most of the world ruled by Colonialism is more an indictment against the West than it is against the dominated people of those foreign countries. In fact, the Muslim lands, the African lands, the Indian lands, the Asian lands, the Latino lands and the Native American lands, have all been plundered and despoiled and wrecked by European/Christian rule. Why is this?
Certainly this has not been the experience with countries touched by Islamic rule. From Africa to the Middle East and into the Far East, wherever Islam went it brought enlightenment, upliftment and growth to the countries it touched. The Jews boldly proclaim that they experienced the most prosperous times during their Golden Age in Muslim Spain and their Silver Age in Muslim-ruled Persia. Under Muslim rule, places in Africa like the empires of Ghana, Mali, Songhai, and cities like Timbuktu, and Gao led the civilized world in learning, intellectual achievement, culture and refinement. The same can also be said of Islam in India, Spain, the Far East and even Baghdad before the Mongol invasion.
The spread of Islam stands in contrast to the actions of the followers of Christianity, who since the time of the Emperor Constantine, have made liberal use of the sword - often basing their conduct on Biblical verses. This was especially true of the colonization of South America and Africa, where native peoples were systematically wiped-out or forced to convert.
It is also interesting to note that when the Mongols invaded and conquered large portions of the Islamic Empire, after living amongst the Muslims they conquered, instead of destroying their religion, in time they ADOPTED Islam. This is a unique occurrence in history - the conquerors adopting the religion of the conquered! Since they were the victors, they certainly could not have been forced to become Muslims! We see some of that today where American soldiers in the Gulf and even some security guards at Guantanamo have embraced Islam as a result of being exposed to it.
Ask any of the over one billion Muslims alive in the world today are they being forced to remain Muslim! The largest Muslim country in the world today is Indonesia--and there were never any battles fought there to convert them to Islam!
The history of America is a history of a people who sought and gave themselves to "freedom." The country quickly rose to great heights because of new discoveries and new inventions. In a short time the people had developed a technology that was advanced enough to provide them with the tools they needed to overcome the world.
American people have been deceiving themselves by thinking that Christianity and democracy put America and the West on top of the world. Although Christianity and democracy were used, the West was put on top by superior weapons, by better and faster transportation, and by other significant developments in technology and warfare. Contrast this development to the spread of Islam where even the conquerors adopted it and there was never any warfare or technological breakthroughs to bring even the largest Muslim country in the world to Islam.
Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?
Young girls in Indonesia were recently beheaded by Muslim murderers. Last year, Muslims — in the name of Islam — murdered hundreds of schoolchildren in Russia. While reciting Muslim prayers, Islamic terrorists take foreigners working to make Iraq free and slaughter them. Muslim daughters are murdered by their own families in the thousands in "honor killings." And the Muslim government in Iran has publicly called for the extermination of Israel.
If you cannot condemn Christianity for the colonization and massacre of unarmed civilians across the globe from Africa, the Far East and to the Americas during the last two millennium, including the mass suicide in Jonestown, killings in Waco, Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Daghestan, Nagorno Karabach, Uganda, Rwanda, Liberia, Mindanao Islands (in the Philippines), the more than 2,000,000 civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan; then you cannot condemn Islam for the events Mr. Prager blames on Islam.
If you cannot condemn Judaism for the crimes of Baruch Goldstein or Rabbi Kahane’s group, or war crimes of Sharon and Netanyahu government in Israel and you cannot condemn Hinduism for the massacre of thousands of Muslims in Kashmir, Bombay, Assam and Gujarat; then you cannot point the finger at Islam.
If you cannot condemn Buddhism for the killing fields in Cambodia, or the massacre of Rohinga Muslims in the Arakan (Myanmar or Burma), or the killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka – you have no right to condemn Islam for the events Mr. Prager unjustly heaps upon the religion of Islam. It is pure and simple!
Truly, there is much in common between the fanatical Hindu followers of the Sangh Parivar - Bajrang Dal, VHP, BJP and Hindu Mahasabha; the Jewish settlers in Palestine; the Serbian Orthodox Christian marauders of Milosevic and Karadzic in Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo; the Russian Orthodox savages of Putin and Yeltsin in Chechnya and the Caucasus; and the Christian KKK burning crosses on lawns to prove their “Christian” motivations for their actions.
As I stated above, the things Islam is being accused of are things strongly condemned in the religion. Volumes can be written for each of the charges listed in Mr. Prager’s questions above. I will briefly address each one:
1. Young girls in Indonesia were recently beheaded by Muslim murderers…
Well, playing your prefix game, I can show you how many more young girls were killed and massacred in more vicious ways by Christian and Jewish serial murderers ranging from David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz, Charles Manson, Gary Ridgway and a list of names longer than anything you could find in the Islamic world. The truth is that murderers beheaded those young girls. Murderers who were in no way, shape or form following the dictates of Islam.
2. Muslims — in the name of Islam — murdered hundreds of school children in Russia…
Well, I can show you where Christians murdered thousands more of not only school children, but innocent babies in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of “democracy” and Christian values. Furthermore, the numbers of Palestinian children shot in the head (admitted by Jewish IDF soldiers to be the best place to shoot them) by Jewish civilians and soldiers numbers in the thousands. Recently an IDF Captain walked up to and point blank emptied his magazine, putting 17 bullets into an unarmed, frightened, Palestinian school girl and said publicly that even if it was a 3 year old he would have done the same. When this Captain was tried in Israeli court, he was found – in the name of Judaism-- innocent of all charges.
3. While reciting Muslim prayers, Islamic terrorists take foreigners working to make Iraq free and slaughter them.
I find it very interesting that while the death toll for Iraqis is more than 2,000,000 the only TV deaths we get to see are the astronomically fewer American deaths. Suppose we were shown how each of the more than 2,000,000 Iraqis were killed; children blown to bits, bodies of innocents melted down by white phosphorous as in Fallujah, people burned to death, bullets sprayed into Iraqi cars killing whole families including new born babies, tanks destroying buildings with the residents being crushed to death, bombs blowing up people with pieces of their bodies scattered, etc, etc. You, Mr. Prager, know what would happen in any decent American mind. Their sympathies would be more towards the Iraqis and the deaths of the few foreign invaders would be seen as justified.
Imagine also if Iran was a greater military power than the US and invaded the US for false claims of WMD and to impose Shariah rule. Imagine if the Iranians murdered more than 2,000,000 Americans, yet their TV stations only broadcasted the few Iranians caught by praying Baptist Texans and killed? What would you think about the Iranian media? Yet somehow even when greater atrocities are being done against the Iraqis, every effort our “non-biased” media makes is to further demonize those “praying Muslims” slaughtering the good foreigners who are only there to make Iraq free.
4. Muslim daughters are murdered by their own families in the thousands in "honor killings."
The Italian origin of the Mafia is cradled in the same country where the highest authority in Catholicism resides. “Contract killings” by the Mafia are a mainstay of Christian societies and can be found in just about any Christian country in the West. We could ignorantly associate the origin of the Mafia and contract killings with the seat of Catholicism by using examples of how Mafia men were seen going to Mass and donating heavily to the Church. We could claim that “Contract killing” and the Mafia are as much Christian as “honor killings” are Islamic. But, would we be correct?
There is nothing in the Qur’an, the example of Prophet Muhammad (saaw), in any of the sayings or teachings of Islam that endorses honor killings. So-called “honor killings” are a cultural phenomenon -- NOT a religious one. Many Islamic organizations have been formed in the Middle East to combat this ugly CULTURAL phenomenon. Note that there are as many “honor killings” amongst non-Muslims as there are amongst Muslims in the Middle East.
5. And the Muslim government in Iran has publicly called for the extermination of Israel…
First off, this is a blatant mistranslation and deliberate lie! Ahmadinejad never said "wipe Israel off the map". That phrase is an invention by MEMRI -- the Zionists propaganda tool that mistranslates articles written in the Middle East and demonizes Arabs and Islam.
So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in Farsi:
"Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad."
That passage will mean nothing to most people, but one word might ring a bell: rezhim-e. It is the word "regime" pronounced just like the English word with an extra "eh" sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase "rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods" (regime occupying Jerusalem).
So this raises the question… what exactly did he want "wiped from the map"? The answer is: nothing. That's because the word "map" was never used. The Persian word for map, "nagsheh" is not contained anywhere in his original Farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. Nor was the western phrase "wipe out" ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran's president threatened to "wipe Israel off the map." despite never having uttered the words "map", "wipe out" or even "Israel."
What Americans fail to realize is that the Israeli government has publicly called for the extermination of Iran numerous times, long before the media’s false claim against Iran’s President. Did anyone make a fuss about that? Here are just a few examples (and I can list many more) taken from headlines of articles calling for Iran’s extermination by Israel:
November 5, 2002 "Times/UK"
"Attack Iran the day Iraq war ends", demands Israel!
By Stephen Farrell, Robert Thomson and Danielle Haas
September 30, 2004 "The Insider"
Israel Instructs America To Attack Iran And Syria
March 16, 2005 "U.S. Crusade"
Israel's Broken Record - Attack Iran
By Kurt Nimmo
September 29, 2005 "South Asian Analysis Group"
UNITED STATES-ISRAEL PLANS FOR PRE-EMPTIVE MILITARY STRIKES ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR SITES
June 14, 2005 "The NewYork Sun"
SPY CASE REVEALS ISRAELI PLOT TO PLANT IRAN WMD DATA
BY ELI LAKE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
Dec 5, 2005 “MichNews”
Netanyahu: “If elected, I won't hesitate to order a pre-emptive strike on Iran”
By Ryan Jones, JNewsWire.com
Now, imagine if Iran had been saying those things about Israel all along? The most recent news is that Israel has ordered its military to be ready for a pre-emptive attack on Iran. This readiness has been in place since 2006. Where is the world’s outrage at this blatant act (not words) of aggression?
The hypocritical double standards of the US and Israel is appalling.
Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?
No church or synagogue is allowed in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban destroyed some of the greatest sculptures of the ancient world because they were Buddhist. Sudan's Islamic regime has murdered great numbers of Christians.
You charge Islam with being the persecutor of other religions? Let us consider the following facts. It was American Christians who:
1) Went to war murdering more than 200,000 in Afghanistan and more than 2,000,000 civilians in Iraq who had nothing to do with 9/11 that Americans claim was in retaliation for 3,000 killed on 9/11.
2) Raped and tortured innocent Muslims in Abu Ghraib and other places around the world.
3) While claiming to attack Iraq for Saddam’s chemical weapons, used those very same chemical weapons (like white phosphorous) on defenseless Muslims.
4) Even today, as the headlines are blaring out the fact that the war in Iraq was fought on completely false pretenses, the average conservative Christian in America has adopted an irrational fear of Islam and does not care the least about these facts.
While all of the above atrocities are true and directed against Muslims, there is no huge backlash against Christians by the more than 1.3 billion Muslims in Muslim countries around the world. Conditions for Christians in Muslim countries are the same or better than they were before 9/11.
What better sign of Islamic tolerance can there be than after suffering unimaginable wrongs done by Christians, there are no violent outbursts by Muslims against Christians in Muslim countries. But what can be said about conditions for Muslims in the “tolerant” West after 9/11?
Although the devastation done by Christians against Muslims is astronomically greater than what Muslims have been charged with doing to Christians, the Muslim’s image has been stereotypically reduced to unthinking, fanatical individuals who have no concern for human life, and imbued with an innate hatred for Christianity.
Muslims have been made easy targets in an effort to facilitate their repression. There is a huge propaganda campaign seeking to depict Muslims as individuals driven by pure fanaticism. The religion of Islam has been demonized. Well-known and respected Christian leaders have called the Prophet of Islam a terrorist and a pedophile, and others are claiming that America should attack all Muslim countries, kill all of their leaders and convert them to Christianity. Muslims have been arrested, persecuted and deported on trumped up charges.
And yet, and YET, those who are suffering from these injustices are expected not to be angered or affected. They are expected to lie down and allow inhumanity to consume their existence as if they were subhuman themselves without an ounce of worth. All the instincts which are used in justifying America's (and all others') acts of war throughout history, instincts rooted in self-preservation and survival, are conspicuously NOT afforded to those in the Middle East who are supposed to calmly accept being reduced to concentration camp victims until their number for extermination comes up.
The destruction of the Buddha statues by the Taliban had more to do with protesting UN funding to maintain statues instead of feeding starving Afghans, than it did with attacking the religion of Buddhism. Although our “truthful and unbiased” media reported the statues’ destruction as Taliban’s version of Islamic intolerance, the Taliban publicly stated the reasons for their actions: The Taliban said: the destruction of the Buddhas protested the fact that UNESCO, NGOs, and the West were pouring money into restoring statues, when Afghanistan's people had endured more than two decades of war, and vast segments of the population were literally starving. The Taliban went on to describe the numerous pleas they made to the UN and how they were ignored and people were allowed to die while funds were diverted to statues.
Compare this with the destruction of the 900 year old Muslim’s Babri Mosque in India. I know, you never heard of it, because this was done by religious Hindus against Muslims. Unlike the Taliban’s destruction of statues where no one was killed, Hindu mobs attacked Muslim households, killing, torching and plundering for nearly twelve hours (per BBC reports) that day.
The Hindus publicly declared their motivation for the attacks as in the following: Acharya Dharmendra, VHP leader, said: "Although the local Hindu residents did ask me to hold the crowds from burning Muslim homes I would have never stopped them. This is the only way in which Ayodha could become like the Vatican." (Quoted in the Times of India)
As for Sudan, there are many nations in the world. Why is it that the only two nations screaming genocide and massacre of Christians in Sudan are the US and Israel? Why is it that other nations of the world have disagreed with this and voted in the UN that there is no genocide of Christians in Sudan? The Muslims in Sudan were big hearted and tolerant enough to include the Christian opposition into their government and take the Christian leader, John Garang, and make him Vice President. When are Jews in Israel going to take a Muslim Palestinian and make him Vice President? Now who is more tolerant and open?
In all Muslim countries, Christians, Jews and other religions are allowed to thrive. Even in Saudi Arabia, Christians are allowed to have churches in the compounds where they live. I know, because I live in a Compound in Saudi Arabia and a church is right down the street from me.
The decision to not have churches in Saudi Arabia in public is not an Islamic edict but a decision made by the Saudi government. Partly, it is because most of Saudi Arabia was developed only recently and under the influence of the current regime. It is markedly different from the situation in other Islamic states such as Syria and Iran, where notable Christian shrines and architecture are maintained and valued. The current Saudi regime restricts churches and has also destroyed Islamic sites which were revered by minority sects such as the Shias.
The Saudi restrictions cannot be associated with Islam, because they are uncharacteristic. Throughout the Islamic world there is free expression of religion and it has been this way for centuries. Even in Iran -- where no one is forcing Jews to stay and Jews have an open invitation to migrate to Israel and to also receive financial benefits, Jews have came out expressing support for their country. They are not being forced to stay in Iran, they are doing so out of their own free will. Here are some of the things they have been saying:
Instead of confronting these problems, too many of you deny them. Muslims call my radio show to tell me that even speaking of Muslim or Islamic terrorists is wrong. After all, they argue, Timothy McVeigh is never labeled a "Christian terrorist." As if McVeigh committed his terror as a churchgoing Christian and in the name of Christ, and as if there were Christian-based terror groups around the world.
As a member of the media for nearly 25 years, I have a long record of reaching out to Muslims. Muslim leaders have invited me to speak at major mosques. In addition, I have studied Arabic and Islam, have visited most Arab and many other Muslim countries and conducted interfaith dialogues with Muslims in the United Arab Emirates as well as in the U.S. Politically, I have supported creation of a Palestinian state and supported (mistakenly, I now believe) the Oslo accords.
Hundreds of millions of non-Muslims want honest answers to these questions, even if the only answer you offer is, "Yes, we have real problems in Islam." Such an acknowledgment is infinitely better — for you and for the world — than dismissing us as anti-Muslim.
We await your response.
I think the simple words of a Christian friend sums up best the basis for the misconceptions and source of wrong understanding about Islam and events in the Middle East:
Yes, the implied claims inherent in your questions about Islam are very unusual indeed. They are far from anything that is the norm for Muslims and Islam. I hope my answers to the questions presented will help many good Americans see that. I look forward to continual dialog with my fellow Americans regarding the information presented.