Daniel Pipes opines that this could be the very worst article on Islam, and with good reason: “It has every platitude, inaccuracy, and banality in the book, from mistranslating the word Islam to getting the number of Muslims in the United States wrong to that hoary business about “A Muslim can’t be a terrorist, and a terrorist can’t be a Muslim.”
To those I would add that this article also purveys nonsense about the position of women in Islam and Islam’s view of Christianity.
“Islam: a religion based on peace,” from USC’s Daily Trojan:
What is the second-largest religion in the United States?Islam. And what is the nation’s fastest-growing religion? You guessed it. The Islamic movement is on the rise, and its presence is alive and flourishing at USC.
“Prophet Muhammad prophesized that Islam would become the largest faith,” said Karim Vidhani, president of the Muslim Students Association, and a junior majoring in computer science. “But it is also prophesized that there will be an increasing lack of knowledge about Islam, too.”
Yes, the level of ignorance of Islam is astounding. Why, just look at this article itself — here is this peaceful, nonviolent religion of women’s rights, and what do we see in the world? Huge groups of people who are violent and oppress women — and who dare to call themselves Muslims! The audacity! If only these huge numbers of Muslims realized that they had fallen victim to an “increasing lack of knowledge about Islam”! Muhammad foresaw it all!
The Muslim Students Association
Vidhani and the MSA, which describes itself as an association that “strives to educate Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam,” are intent on moving forward. “We have many goals,” Vidhani said. One of those goals is called dawah, which means informing non-Muslims about Islam.
“We hold lectures, hand out flyers, pamphlets and basically just tell people about our faith on campus,” Vidhani said. “We welcome questions about our faith; Islam is not a faith that is without answers.”
A religion of peace?
Yet some might have the question: Is Islam a religion of peace? “The word Islam means peace in Arabic,” said Murat Surucu, a doctoral candidate in biomedical engineering and president of Muslim Students for Dialogue, an organization that helps promote Islamic understanding and interfaith dialogue. “A Muslim can’t be a terrorist, and a terrorist can’t be a Muslim. So people who want to terrorize people … either don’t know Islam or think they are doing something in benefit of Islam, but, in fact, they are not. They are only damaging Islam.”
Aliha Khan, a Muslim and graduate student in electrical engineering, said it’s also wrong to say that Islam was spread by violence or force. For example, Indonesia, the most populace Muslim nation in the world, was not converted to Islam through force but, rather, through choice. “And it’s the same way in South Asia,” she said. “You can’t be forced to accept Islam; the desire has to come from you.”…
Women and Islam
Yolanda Solis, an adviser to MSA and administrative assistant for the computer science program, said one of the biggest misconceptions about Islam is that the status of women is lower than men.
“There is a high level of importance given to women in Islam,” Solis said.
“In a lot of religions in their early foundations, women were either unwanted at birth or a great burden. In Islam women are not a great burden.”
Women are actually considered an asset in Islam, Solis said. “There is even a part in the Quran where a follower asked the Prophet, ‘Who should I respect after God?’ And the Prophet said, ‘Your mother, and after that, your mother, and after that your mother.’ So basically he’s telling you that your mom – a woman – is that most important (person).”
Khan said that some women even had a formative role in Islam. “For example, one of Mohammad’s wives, Aisha, narrated thousands of sayings of the Prophet,” said Khan. “Through her narrations, she contributed one-fourth of the hadiths (a compilation of Mohammad’s sayings).”
Erin Moore, an anthropology professor who has studied Islamic cultures in other countries, said that the Christian creation story portrays the woman as the allurer who tempted the man while the Islam has a different account. “The Islamic (Adam and Eve) story is that they both fell together and realized their nakedness,” she said. “And there is not something on blaming woman, and there isn’t this thing about women as the temptress – that sexuality is OK, and men and women can enjoy each other in the right context.”
Women of power: women who wear the hijab
Hijab means ‘covering’ in Arabic. Hijab can also go by other names, including headscarf or veil, said Fethiye Ozis, a doctoral candidate in environmental engineering.
Ozis, who has been wearing the hijab for six years, said it is nothing more than a sign of modesty to empower women.
“Hijab is a chance for a woman to express herself totally – to express her ideas – to express her identity and personality without being identified as a desirable sex object,” she said. “The hijab lets women focus on what’s important, what’s inside.”
Sporting a colorful hijab and pink shirt, Kamile Yuksek, a doctoral candidate in microbiology, said the main reason why she wears the hijab is because it is mentioned in the Quran: “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their bodies (when abroad) so that they should be known and not molested” (Quran 33:59).
You can’t be forced to wear the hijab, Yuksek said. “Wearing the hijab is very personal, and wearing it has to come from you,” she said. “You are allowed to take off your head scarf off if you are among women and your family: your husband, your father, your uncles, your brothers and your grandparents.”
Solis said that she does not wear the hijab because she’s a new convert, and it wouldn’t feel right for her yet. “You should wear it only when it feels natural to you,” Solis said. “I’m probably in a transitional phrase.”
Moore said that when we see the headscarf or hijab, we shouldn’t have just one interpretation of what that means. “Different individuals that veil have different reasons for veiling,” Moore said.
Some people veil out of a sense of ethnic identity, said Moore. “(Veiling for them can be a way to say) ‘I am Muslim. I want you to know it,'” Moore said. “Other people veil to tell men that, ‘I’m a respectable person and to stay away from me if you’re not respectable, too.’ Others veil as a declaration against the domination of the West.”
All in the family
Moore said that Christians often forget, though, just how similar they are to Muslims. For example, Christians and Muslims follow the same line of prophets and many of the same Old Testament stories. “We’re really all related,” Moore said. “We have this continuum, and maybe that’s why we fight like siblings from the same nest,” Moore said. “So I would just like Christians to realize that we are all brothers.”
Never mind that little bit about Christians being under Allah’s curse (Qur’an 9:30).
But then Jihad Watch reader JS sent in another article that gives that one stiff competition for the worst-ever article on Islam prize: “Jihad defined,” from the Pioneer Times:
So what does the word jihad really mean? The Koran, (Muslims’ holy book) defines jihad as, “the effort made to remove obstacles that stand between humanity and God.”
I’d like to see a chapter and verse reference on that.
In the faith of Islam, jihad is not associated with terror, or hatred. It is not a declaration of a “Holy War.”
One cannot go any further without understanding the faith of Islam, the Muslim religion. The religion itself is misunderstood, as well as associated with terror and hatred.
The Muslim religion is a peaceful religion. The word Islam means submission to God, peace, security, and well-being; nothing to do with being a terrorist. In the words of the fame Turkish Imam/scholar, Fethullah Gulen, “In true Islam, terror does not exist.”
Alas, we live in a world awash with false Islam! What are we to do?
And he is right terror does not exist in Islam, even in times of war. Islam is a faith that believes in killing an ant to be a major sin.
Hmmm. I have read the Qur’an innumerable times but I don’t remember anything in it about killing ants. But those bits about killing unbelievers (2:191, 9:5, etc.) tend to stick in my mind.
Since the one who gives life and death is God, it is forbidden to kill. No one can take away the life that God has given. One cannot harm people who worship in God’s house (i.e. churches, synagogues). The killing of innocent people is an unforgivable crime against humanity.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), messenger of God, has demanded that non-Muslims be treated well.
“Those who ill-treat Christians and Jews will answer to me on judgment day. And those who do injustice to Christians and Jews will not be able to enter Paradise.”
With the understanding of the Muslim religion, we now can understand the word jihad….
Jihad is not a scary word. The word is misunderstood and misused. A “Holy War” does not exist.
How about you? Got any candidates for The Worst Article on Islam of 2005? Send entries to firstname.lastname@example.org.