Suspicion of Islam is not a bad thing. It is a sign of moral, mental and spiritual health. Especially when it comes from among Muslims.
In the recent story, “Backlash from Brussels terrorism frustrates Muslims in Maine,” by Matt Byrne, Portland Press Herald, one of the Muslims interviewed, Ahmed Abdiraham, described a “low-level hum of suspicion that permeates [Muslims’] everyday lives.”
Mr. Abdiraham attributes that “low-level hum” to the “anger and hostility displayed nationally during the political campaign season,” which he claims stokes fear and anger against Muslims.
I wonder if that “low-level hum” which Mr. Abdiraham hears might not be coming from a different source.
At the very outset of the article, Matt Byrne frames the story in a deeply personal way:
When the images of the terrorist attack in Brussels began to flood across Ahmed Abdiraham’s television screen last week, his mind went in two directions.
First he thought: Please, don’t let it be in the name of Islam.
Then, like so many Muslims in Maine, he was reminded [of the horrific violence] of his own past…
… “That happened to me”, said Abdiraham… who fled Somalia’s violent civil war before resettling in Maine’s largest city.
There are two revealing lessons to be drawn from this dramatic and honest response to the horrific Belgium jihad attacks:
First, before any evidence had been presented as to the nature of the Brussels attacks, or the identity of the attackers, Mr. Abdiraham’s immediate instinct was to suspect the attacks were committed “in the name of Islam”.
And secondly, that Mr. Abdiraham’s immediate suspicion of Islam being the cause was based upon his own experience.
Dear Mr. Abdiraham, God’s peace be with you. That “low-level hum of suspicion” you hear? It is coming from within you.
You reacted the same way most non-Muslims reacted: you suspected Islam was at the root of the Brussels attacks.
You —and we — were correct.
But that suspicion is not a bad thing. It is a sign of moral, mental — and even spiritual — health.
Your suspicion of Islam is a welcome sign that your normal human conscience is still functioning, and has not yet been completely supplanted by the commands of Allah, commands such as these, which inspire and direct Muslim terrorists all around the globe:
“And kill them wherever you come upon them… Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.” (Qur’an 2:191-193)
“I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so strike above the necks, and strike every finger of them!” (Qur’an 8:12)
“Then, when the sacred months are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.” (Qur’an 9:5)
“Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed.” (Qur’an 9:111)
“When you meet the unbelievers, strike their necks…” (Qur’an 47:4)
Now, what does this mean? Where do we go from here, Mr. Abdiraham?
I think the answer is obvious, though it may initially pain you to confront it.
I even think that you suspect the answer, even though you dread to admit it.
The tragic truth is that you are beginning to suspect that you belong to a false religion, and follow a false prophet, which, for all its claims to be a religion of peace, commands its followers to fight, kill, distrust, subjugate, behead, crucify and wage war against non-Muslims.
Mr. Abdiraham, that “low-level hum” you hear is your conscience, calling to you, begging you, pleading with you, to wake up from your long journey through a desert religion of darkness and delusion.
We stand here waiting for you, Mr. Abdiraham, with open arms, hoping you will listen to your conscience, leave the darkness, and come to the light.
We want to see you set free from that “low-level hum”, free and fully alive. This is our hope for you, ourselves and all people. For as one of the early Christians wrote, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”
And without a low-level hum.
Ralph Sidway is an Orthodox Christian researcher and writer, and author of Facing Islam: What the Ancient Church has to say about the Religion of Muhammad. He operates the Facing Islam blog.