This Raleigh News & Observer story about Kamil Solomon’s presentation on Islam at Enloe High School in North Carolina, “Students told to shun Muslims” by Yonat Shimron and Kinea White Epps, quotes CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper and a student, but not Kamil Solomon himself. As such the claims about what was said have to be taken with a grain of salt. And a few elements bear closer examination:
RALEIGH – A national Muslim advocacy group has rebuked the Wake County Public School system for allowing a Christian evangelist to speak at Enloe High School and distribute pamphlets denouncing Islam.
The Council on American Islamic Relations said the school system will have created a “discriminatory, hostile learning environment,” violating federal civil rights law, if it does not investigate the incident and apologize to students.
The complaint stems from a guest appearance last week in several classes by Kamil Solomon, a Raleigh-based Christian evangelist, who urged students to shun Muslims.
“When you bring in somebody to distribute hate-filled literature without an opportunity for rebuttal, you have a disturbing situation,” said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the national council, known as CAIR….
Great, Ibrahim. I am available to rebut your literature whenever and wherever you distribute it. You know where to contact me.
Solomon’s appearance Friday in teacher Robert Escamilla’s social studies classes at Enloe, a magnet school for gifted and talented students, shocked many who took the pamphlets home and showed them to their parents, students said. One pamphlet, comparing Jesus with Muhammad, says the Muslim prophet “enslaved people, abused women and taught Muslims to terrorize non-Muslims and force them into Islam.”
Well, that’s a summary statement, of course, but a case can be made for it. The N&O assumes prima facie that it is false, but on what evidence? Hooper’s word?
One wonders, however, why people keep getting this impression about Muhammad. Hooper could do more to keep this sort of thing from happening by dropping the bully-boy intimidation tactics and addressing the elements of the Qur’an and Sunnah that give rise to this view of Muhammad. Did he enslave people? Of course. His life, as detailed in the earliest Islamic sources (which I used for my own biography, The Truth About Muhammad) is full of battles, after which his men enslaved their captives. This is also in the Qur’an, which assumes that a Muslim will be a slaveowner, and prescribes freeing a slave as the penalty for breaking an oath (5:89). The Qur’an also includes directions about marriage with slaves: “And marry such of you as are solitary and the pious of your slaves and maid-servants” (24:32).
“Abused women”? Well, the Qur’an does sanction wife-beating: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them” (4:34).
“…taught Muslims to terrorize non-Muslims and force them into Islam”? Terror is in the Qur’an too: “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies…” (8:60). “Force them into Islam”? Forced conversion? No. But non-Muslims, including the “People of the Book” — Jews and Christians — are to be fought until they are subjugated and made to pay a poll-tax (jizya) from which Muslims are exempt: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (9:29).
So is Kamil Solomon being vilified for telling the truth? Memo to Ibrahim Hooper: non-Muslims can read those Qur’ans you’re sending out. In fact, I encourage them to do so. And they can see that when people do what I just did — quote some problematic passages — you don’t explain them, or make any effort to keep Muslims from taking such passages as marching orders. Instead, you vilify the non-Muslim who quotes them as “hateful.” Well, people are seeing through your game. Until you engage these issues honestly and forthrightly, people will see you as disingenuous or worse — except the mainstream media, I suppose, and that’s all that matters.
Back to the article:
“He basically told us Muslims were bad and we should convert to Christianity,” said Alyssa Kaszycki, 14, of Cary, who heard Solomon during a freshman seminar class. “He told all the girls we should never marry a Muslim man because they would take away our freedom and beat us.”…
Did he really tell her “Muslims were bad”? Maybe he did, but I doubt it. I don’t know Kamil Solomon, but I expect he is as aware as we all are that human nature is everywhere the same, people are people everywhere, some are good, some are not so good, and no one is perfect. But none of that negates the fact that some Muslims do act upon Qur’an 4:34 and other verses regarding women, and their presence in the Islamic holy book, unmitigated by any interpretative tradition that rejects literalism, makes the mistreatment of women systemic and self-perpetuating.
Michael Evans, Wake County schools spokesman, said the district was looking into the matter.
“We’re going to take the accusations seriously,” Evans said. “It is part of our ongoing investigation. We need to ascertain what happened and what comments were made.”…
I hope they do, accurately, without allowing themselves to be mau-maued by CAIR.