“A closer look at Islam,” by Joe Sarnicola in The Citizen, June 21:
About 20 people gave up a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon to learn more about Islam at the Unitarian Universalist Church. The church’s Social Responsibilities Committee sponsored the event, which consisted of the playing of a film called “The Reformation of Islam” by Irshad Manji followed by a question and answer session with Imam Abdur-Rahim Muhammad of Auburn.
Here’s to the day that Muslims in the Islamic world””say, Saudi Arabia””give up a Saturday afternoon to host a seminar about Christianity in their local mosques.
Irshad Manji is a journalist and the author of “The Trouble with Islam Today: A Musilm’s Call for Reform in Her Faith.” She is also the director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University. The goal of the project is to develop leaders who will challenge political correctness, intellectual conformity and self-censorship. [“¦]
Noble endeavors, to be sure”¦.
The colorful and controversial woman gave answers such as “I believe the Quran absolutely teaches the dignity of women,” [“¦]
What kind of female dignity””the kind understood by the West, i.e., full equality with men, or a specific kind of dignity, one hemmed in by sharia law as well as the hejab, and which makes women inferior to men in so many ways? One wonders if the typical Western woman would find polygamy, sanctioned beatings by the husband (stoning for extreme cases of infidelity), and being accounted half as valuable as men in court and inheritance cases a “dignifying” experience. But wait: Muhammad did ban the beduin practice of burying unwanted female babies alive, thereby dignifying womankind. Anything else?
Locally, Imam Muhammad is the head of the Community-Wide Dialogues in Auburn and is the Muslim chaplain at three area correctional facilities.
“I was invited to this forum,” he said. “We’d like to see as many new people enter into dialogues as possible, so we can better understand each other. We’re trying to bring together Muslims, Christians and people with no professed faith. Neighbors can be friends. Not necessarily agreeing with each other, but retaining our identities.”
As part of his own presentation, Imam had several books on an information table for attendees to examine. One was “War, Peace and Non-violence, an Islamic Perspective” by Imam Muhammad Shirazi and the Quran according to Tajweed Rules. Muhammad explained that Tajweed Rules referred to the pronunciation of the text of the Quran, which when read aloud is more like a chant than a simple oral reading.
Fascinating, to be sure, but how the Koran is supposed to be chanted is hardly germane to the Imam’s professed task at hand: “trying to bring together Muslims, Christians and people with no professed faith” to become “friends.” Perhaps he would do better to address those many verses and hadiths that incite hostility against Christians and those “people with no professed faith–”i.e., idolaters, al-mushrikin, lowest as they are on the infidel totem pole.
“Islam is often misunderstood,” Muhammad said.
Why, I wonder? Why are we not constantly exhorted, day after day, that Christianity, or Judaism, or Hinduism, or Buddhism, or Scientology are “misunderstood”? Why only Islam?
“The most outstanding characteristic of Islam is the same as that of Christianity, charity.”
Yes, when I read the New Testament, charity””as well as grace, hope, love, mercy, and forgiveness””abound; when I read Islam’s sacred texts, I do indeed see charity””but I see a whole lot of other things that are, well, the antithesis of charity (you know, jihad, dhimmitude, draconian sharia punishments, enmity for all things non-Muslim, female inferiority, etc.). So yes, there is charity is Islam, but it is hardly the “most outstanding characteristic,” and is in no way near as prominent as in Christianity.
Muslims are very caring and compassionate people. Of course, there are exceptions.
Such as those Muslims who try to follow Islam’s laws literally; the ones who would have non-Muslims paying the jizya while feeling themselves “utterly subdued” in accordance with Koran 9:29.
The people of Islam have made many mistakes, and some of those mistakes have been exploited by some people outside of Islam. [“¦]
Note, after actually admitting to mistakes being made by””gasp!””Muslims, Imam Muhammad, immediately and in the selfsame sentence, also blames those outside of Islam, and so subtly exonerates the former. So much for a Muslim sense of responsibility.
When asked about some of Manji’s claims about women within the Islamic community Muhammad said, “The Quran says, ‘Reverence God and reverence the womb that bore you.’ A mother is the first teacher. The woman’s place in Islam is very revered.”
Tell that to Islam’s polygamist prophet who, after getting a glimpse of hell in a “vision,” informed his companions in an authentic hadith that the vast majority of the denizens of hell will be””drum roll please””women!
Muhammad said that in order for the world’s people to come together, individuals have to reach out to other individuals.
“World events are forcing us to look beyond our comfort barriers,” he said. [“¦]
Read: “Internationally speaking, we are currently not in a position to antagonize, let alone subjugate, our traditional enemies, the infidels; so let’s, for the time being, break our “˜doctrinal barriers” and play the role of friend.”