During his Inaugural Address earlier this afternoon, President Bush said this:
In America’s ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character – on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before – ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Yes they are, Mr. President, but are you really sure, aside from political calculations, that those ideals are as fully present in the Qur’an as they are in the Ten Commandments handed down on Mt. Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount?
Since he mentioned these texts, some parallel quotes are in order. I will limit myself to one set only, because it makes my point:
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:44
“Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” Qur’an, Sura 48:29.
Mr. President, do those texts teach the same ideals of justice?
Out of context, you say? All right. Here is an open invitation to anyone who may be reading this: don’t just quote me Qur’an verses about Allah’s compassion and mercy. I know they’re there. What I ask you to do is establish definitively that they apply to unbelievers, and have been understood as such in mainstream Islamic thought throughout the ages.