Hello forum contributors and site managers,
First, I want to thank you for creating and developing this site. FFI, is one of the very few sites that offers intelligent commentary and articles regarding Islam that I've found on the web.
Before September 11th, I would read the paper and watch TV in horror about the barbaric and evil acts of terrorism that went on in the world, and mourn for the death and destruction that it wrought. But I never thought that it would affect me personally, so I didn't take much time to investigate who and what was behind these acts. I was content to know only general facts and history about Islam. September 11th, changed my complacency for good. The terrible vision of people trying desperately to hold on to the sides of the WTC towers before plummeting 101 stories to the ground might stay with me forever.
The first two months after the attack, I ate, drank and slept news on the latest developments and related issues. Politicians stressed endlessly that this is not a war against Islam, but against terrorism, which was obvious to me, but it seemed the Muslim world needed constant reassurance. There were relentless sound-bites that Islam means peace, tolerance, and equal rights, though I already had my doubts, since I saw little evidence of peace, tolerance, or equal rights in any Islamic country. I read article after article about the accusations against the U.S. and the stunning amount of bitterness and hatred that existed in Muslims toward the West, particularily towards Americans. The more I learned, the more worrisome the situation became.
To get a better understanding of the Muslim viewpoint which I was hoping would help to calm my fears, I had joined many of the Islamic message clubs in Yahoo. What I found in these clubs only shocked and disturbed me further. I had never seen so much hostility, anti-semitism, ignorance, intolerance, and paranoia, even coming from Muslims living in the West. Threats of all kinds against people who didn't share a particular viewpoint were common place. Many Muslims defended the fatwa against Salman Rushdie! Many Muslims displayed little to no critical thinking skills and would believe anything, without question, that supported their anti-western, anti-semetic view, and dismiss off-hand anything that did not support their
views. Muslims could go on endlessly criticizing the West, but would not accept even the smallest criticism against the Islamic world. Many would also lie shamelessly in defense of Islam. There was a curious tendency for some to accuse other members of having double or even triple identies, or to be lying as to their race or background (I still hadn't figured that one out).
I bought the Quran, almost on a whim, at Barns and Noble, while I was picking up the newest selection of books about the Middle East. I had resisted buying the Quran, partly because I had no interest at all in becoming Muslim, and I knew it would be hard to make any sense out of it without buying another five books on commentary. I did browse through some of the few books on commentary of the Quran. They seemed to tread far too lightly on the sensitive subjects, like the descriptions of Muhammed's conquests, and verses on how to treat captives of war, and the subjects of how Muhammed treated his detractors, and emphasized the more benign subjects like gave a description of the beauty of taking the hajj and and lots of historical background and definitions. None of books I looked through (I certainly didn't do a thorough search) seemed to offer much penetrating insight and a thorough critique that one would expect from a good commentary on a religious book.
I have to say that I ended up reading only a portion of the Quran and half skimmed the rest. It was hard to read, and the parts that I could understand were at best very divisive and at worst evil and cruel and harsh. I checked Islamic sites on the internet for some intelligent commentary but most Islamic sites were filled with anti west propaganda , especially regarding the plight of their brothers and sisters in Palestine. (why aren't they so bothered about the thousands of Kurds killed and oppressed by Sadam Hussein or the slaughter that goes on in Nigeria that involve Muslims?) I found the same flavor of deception that I find so often tainting sites regarding Islam. For example, a site will offer long articles about true Islam is peace, and that the Sept 11th, was not perpetrated by real Muslims, (if they admit that it was perpetrated by Muslims at all) but there are few, if any verses from the Quran offered to back up this posistion. And, while an article will acknowledge that so many people are accusing Islam of being violent and oppressive, they will not often present the verses that trouble so many people. If an article does present a questionable verse, the Muslim apologist will deny the meaning and go into a convoluted, distorted discussion. I wonder if this is a ploy an apologist will use confuse and make a person too bored to read through so the writer can win if only because the reader can't understand the point in order to disagree?
There were a few occasions where in a discussion with friends or co-workers regarding the current affairs that I would say (timidly) that maybe Islam isn't as peaceful as they say. I would be immediately admonished for having such a narrow, intolerant view. I didn't articulate my reasons very well, and saying something like "You should see what those Muslims are saying in the Yahoo chat clubs," was a lame argument. One friend even accused me of being ignorant, which, I don't know why I should be the ignorant one, when I'm out there spending a fortune on books and reading and researching the subject-not him. But I understand their reaction, because whenever someone has something negative to say about a minority race, or culture or religion, or whatever, my gut reaction is to lable the person ignorant. And I'm ever ready to jump to the defense of someone who has the disadvantage of not being a member of the powerful majority. Its a very PC world today for some very good reasons, even if the PC world has some drawbacks. I would rather have this way than turn the clock to the 1950's where everyone had their place, homosexuals stayed in the closet, everyone stayed within acceptable social boundaries, and hell would break loose for anyone who attempted to "rock the boat." Witness the women and black civil rights movements and that really started to rumble in the 50's and all the years of stuggle the U.S. went through to topple the injustice of the accepted social order.
After some months, I had decided that even though I have found little evidence to support the idea that Islam means peace, tolerance, and equality, not in the Quran, not in the Muslim mindset, and certainly not as it's practiced in Islamic countries, I would still tow the party-line. There's no need to contribute to any thinking that Muslims in this country pose a threat. I figured that Islam is not to blame just because I didn't look hard enough or know where to look for intelligent, straightforward commentary that could make sense of these seemingly cruel verses and explain the virtues of "true Islam." Also, what is the real harm in just going along with it? The West is strong, and we're getting through the dark days faster than anyone had hoped. The U.S. is making good decisions, the economy is recovering faster than any prediction, and we have not turned the clock on social progress too far back. I had dropped off of the messages in the chat clubs, closed the Quran, and decreased my internet research on the subject of Islam.
Then, about two months ago, i was watching Crossfire. The topic was If Islam means peace, and the guests were Jerry Falwell (yes, i thought it was a humorous choice too) and an Islamic community organization representative (I dont remember his name or what organization he was from). Jerry Falwell was arguing, rather clumsily, that Islam is not tolerant. He provided an example of the fact that he isn't allowed to pass out bibles or preach the gospel in Saudia Arabia :roll:. The Islamic community leader, who appeared to be a Western convert with an American accent, rebutted Falwell by providing inflated percentages of the numbers of Christians in several Islamic countries, as if numbers had anything to do with how these minorities are treated in these countries. I was deeply disturbed by this. What power does Islam have that even someone from the West, with Western sensibilities, would deliberately mislead the public about suffering that goes on in these countries? If Islam truly means peace and tolerance, why is he not speaking out against the crimes that are committed against people in Islamic countries in the name of Islam? And more horrifying, what motivation would he have to protect the image of Islam, even if it meant getting up on national TV and looking the other way while his fellow Muslim suffers?
I resumed my search, and this time, I typed in something similar to "against Islam" in the google seach on the internet. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to try "against Islam" a long tme ago. Finally, a site which offered the intelligent commentary I was looking for. I realized how cowardly i had been to keep my views to myself, when others literally risk their necks speaking against Islam. This site helps me to develop an thorough understanding of Islam and the issues, so that when i speak about Islam, I can properly separate my views against the religion of Islam from Muslim people.
Keep up the good work.
Please do not remain silent. Fighting back the western compliancy and their lack of interest to learn the real cause of terrorism is one of our greatest challenges. We should not get disheartened. One of the good qualities of the people in the West is that they are, generally speaking, fair minded and just. This desire to defend Islam stems from that sense of openness and tolerance that they feel. But they need to face the facts and facts speak very laud. We are facing a very dangerous doctrine that could cause more harm than Nazism did in the third and forth decades of the last century.
September 11 is not going to be the end of Islamic terrorism and Osama Bin Laden is not the only terrorist. ANY MUSLIM who believes in Quran and tries to live by it is a potential terrorist. It has nothing to do with their nationality or race. They could be American, British or Australians. As long as they believe in Islam and follow Quran they are to be feared.
The general population in the West must learn that those Islamic schools are rearing terrorists. They teach hatred of the Westerners and the Non-Muslisms to innocent Muslim children. These schools must be monitored. Independent inspectors must visit them periodically or even become residents there. They must be shut down because they preach hate and cause disintegration of the society. We need to promote unity. These schools do the reverse. We cannot afford to have thousands of Osama Bin Ladens and Atas raised in America, Canada, Europe and Australia. You have to speak out. Write to your congress person or MP, to your local newspaper, call in the talk shows, tell the world that it is a mistake to assume that Islam is a religion of peace. It is time that we pull out our heads out of the sand and see the real face of Islam. The very Islam that has destroyed all Islamic countries inflaming the fire of hate and reducing them to warmongering paupers is now set to invade the West and your country. Stop it now before more lives are lost.
This is a war between civilization and barbarity. This is a war between love and hate, between wisdom and ignorance, between sanity and madness. This is a war that cannot be won by missiles and supersonic jet fighters. This is a war of ideologies. It must be fought on ideological grounds and it can be won by information. Information is our weapon and the power to use it is now in our hands. We shall destroy this evil through the spread of information. We shall fight the ignorance with knowledge. We shall overcome this hate with love. This night will pass and the day of unity of humanity will dawn. We shall be victorious and we shall live in peace. Nazism and communism are crumbles. Islam is the last bastion of evil that must be destroyed before it destroys the humanity. .
permission from Faith