Anger, yes, but neither CAIR nor anyone else can establish that anything he said is false. In fact, Muslim leaders confirm in this story that what he said is true — even Muhammad’s marriage to nine-year-old Aisha. From IslamOnline, with thanks to Girasol:
WASHINGTON, June 15 (IslamOnline & News Agencies) – A Florida minister from the Southern Baptist Church sparked anger in the U.S. Muslim community earlier this week with derogatory remarks concerning the Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
Reverend Jerry Vines, speaking at an annual church conference in Saint Louis, Missouri, attacked Prophet Mohammed and said that the “the man who founded Islam had 12 wives, the last of which was a nine-year-old girl.”
Vines claimed in the speech that many of America’s problems could be blamed on religious pluralism.
Pluralists “would have us to believe that Islam is just as good as Christianity, but I’m here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that Islam is not just as good as Christianity,” said Vines.
“And I will tell you Allah is not Jehovah either. Jehovah’s not going to turn you into a terrorist that’ll try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of people,” he continued.
During Vines” address missionaries handed out green ribbons to encourage Baptists to pray for Muslims’ conversion to Christianity.
Speaking on the issue of the Prophet’s marriages, prominent Muslim Scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi said that before the advent of Islam, it had been the habit of men to marry an unlimited number of women. The Old Testament states that David had 100 wives and Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. However, Islam nullified marriage to more than four women.
“Allah Almighty granted Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, something that is not allowed to any other Muslims. He Almighty allowed him to keep the wives that he had married and did not order him to divorce, replace any of them, or to marry anymore women,” he said….
“He did not marry any of his wives for lust or worldly desires, but for the good of Islam in order to strengthen the ties between the people and the new religion, especially because kinship and blood relations were well respected among the Arabs….”
Another Muslim Scholar, Muhammad Ali Al-Hanooti said that the marriage of A’isha was Allah’s plan for the Prophet.
“Allah usually is not the one who we are allowed to argue with for any ordinance or commandment. The Qur’an says, “He is not questioned for what He does, but they (people) are questioned for what they do.”
“A’isha got married when she was 9, when the Prophet (SAAWS) died, she was 19. Her 10 years were of the life of a fully dedicated deciple, trainee and scholarly student with the Prophet (SAAWS). She was the source of knowledge for almost every companion. She was of the main sources for revealing knowledge and information of the private life of the Prophet (SAAWS). She was a big celebrity in politics and the best example of generosity. Her life is a token of a person who lived on earth, but never liked anything of dunya. She was always looking forward to joining the Prophet (SAAWS) in heaven. What is wrong in her marriage of six or nine or whatsoever?,” said Al Hanooti
In response to Vines” comments, an indignant Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on U.S. President George W. Bush, Christian and Jewish leaders to condemn the minister’s “reckless, Islamophobic statements.”
“Reckless Islamophobic statements from individuals regarded as leaders in their faith community will harm America’s image and interests worldwide and will serve to divide Americans at this time of national crisis,” said CAIR president Omar Ahmad.
He said that such rhetoric from “respected leaders” could motivate hate crimes against some of the seven million Muslims living in the United States.
Seven million? Probably not even half that. But anyway, why doesn’t Ahmad spend any time trying to dampen the inflammatory rhetoric that fuels actual violence by Muslims against non-Muslims around the world, instead of invoking the imaginary specter of vigilante violence against Muslims in the U.S.?
Eric Erfan Vickers, executive director for the American Muslim Council (AMC), in a statement noted the Southern Baptist Church’s historical legacy of supporting segregation between whites and blacks, said, Vines” remarks “not only reflect unpardonable ignorance, but also indicate at a growing climate of religious prejudice in America.”
“Any failure by our nation’s political and religious leaders to condemn Vines” bigotry will only give license to other hatemongers,” Vickers asserted.
Why is it bigotry and ignorance and Islamophobia if it’s true? Vines said that Christianity is superior to Islam, but don’t Ahmad and Vickers believe that Islam is superior to Christianity? Is one bigotry and the other isn’t?
But of course the problem is not so much Aisha as the suggestion that Islam teaches violence:
Shakur Bolden, president of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, called Vines’ comments misinformed and said they unfairly painted Muslims as if they were all religious extremists.
“We don’t let the bad eggs define our way of life,” Bolden said to the Florida Times-Union, “just as he would not let the Ku Klux Klan or the IRA [Irish Republican Army] or other fanatic Christian organizations define mainstream Christianity.”
Yet here again, the perspectives of the KKK and IRA were never accepted by any mainstream Christian sect or organization, while violent jihad is taught by every mainstream sect and school of jurisprudence in Islam.
“It’s really unfortunate that a top leader in a mainstream Christian church … would use such hate-filled and bigoted language in describing the faith of one-fifth of the world’s population,” said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
“This is the level of bigotry that requires a clear statement from the top leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention,” he added….
Let Hooper denounce child marriages undertaken in imitation of Muhammad, and declare Muhammad’s example unacceptable in this case as well as in cases of violence perpetrated in the name of Islam, and he may have a leg to stand on. As it is, he doesn’t.
However, in St. Louis, where the Southern Baptists were meeting, religious leaders distanced themselves from Vines.
“In the name of God, we condemn the hateful statement made in our city about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad,” said Episcopal Bishop George Wayne Smith.
Does Smith really believe he was a prophet?
UPDATE: This article, according to some commenters here, date from 2002. My apologies. It is dated only “June 15” by IslamOnline, and so when I received it this morning, I thought it was referring to today. I will leave it up, however, since the points I made in commenting on it are, I believe, still valid.