Friday, November 18, 2005

5 questions non-Muslims would like answered:

By Dennis Prager

November 13, 2005

THE RIOTING IN France by primarily Muslim youths and the hotel bombings in Jordan are the latest events to prompt sincere questions that law-abiding Muslims need to answer for Islam's sake, as well as for the sake of worried non-Muslims.

Here are five of them:

(1) Why are you so quiet?

Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week's protests in Jordan against the bombings, while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in the name of Allah.

There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to protest their country's moral failing. Why has there been no comparable public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?

(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?

If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in Israel, why do no Christian Palestinians engage in terror? They are just as nationalistic and just as occupied as Muslim Palestinians.

(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?

According to Freedom House, a Washington-based group that promotes democracy, of the world's 47 Muslim countries, only Mali is free. Sixty percent are not free, and 38% are partly free. Muslim-majority states account for a majority of the world's "not free" states. And of the 10 "worst of the worst," seven are Islamic states. Why is this?

(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?

Young girls in Indonesia were recently beheaded by Muslim murderers. Last year, Muslims — in the name of Islam — murdered hundreds of schoolchildren in Russia. While reciting Muslim prayers, Islamic terrorists take foreigners working to make Iraq free and slaughter them. Muslim daughters are murdered by their own families in the thousands in "honor killings." And the Muslim government in Iran has publicly called for the extermination of Israel.

(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

No church or synagogue is allowed in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban destroyed some of the greatest sculptures of the ancient world because they were Buddhist. Sudan's Islamic regime has murdered great numbers of Christians.

Instead of confronting these problems, too many of you deny them. Muslims call my radio show to tell me that even speaking of Muslim or Islamic terrorists is wrong. After all, they argue, Timothy McVeigh is never labeled a "Christian terrorist." As if McVeigh committed his terror as a churchgoing Christian and in the name of Christ, and as if there were Christian-based terror groups around the world.

As a member of the media for nearly 25 years, I have a long record of reaching out to Muslims. Muslim leaders have invited me to speak at major mosques. In addition, I have studied Arabic and Islam, have visited most Arab and many other Muslim countries and conducted interfaith dialogues with Muslims in the United Arab Emirates as well as in the U.S. Politically, I have supported creation of a Palestinian state and supported (mistakenly, I now believe) the Oslo accords.

Hundreds of millions of non-Muslims want honest answers to these questions, even if the only answer you offer is, "Yes, we have real problems in Islam." Such an acknowledgment is infinitely better — for you and for the world — than dismissing us as anti-Muslim.

We await your response.

Dennis Prager's nationally syndicated radio show is heard daily in Los Angeles on KRLA-AM (870). He may be contacted through his website:


Zadok said...

In a Muslim/Christianity (What can tey learn from each other?)debate on 16th Nov at St Mary's, Oxford, an Islamic scholar, Y. Michot answered a question posed to him about reasons for recent violence in Islamic communities by blaming the Islamic conflicts of the past century on colonialism and bad decolonialisation. In essence a scholarly form of, 'it is the West's fault'.

I do not doubt that he is right to a greater or lesser extent.

But the problem is not thus solved. This article well highlights the more important question. Violence in certain situations is understandable on sociological levels, but the response to it, particularly on a religious level is the most important issue.

So to repeat the question, "why are you so quiet?"

Because there is nothing that they (non-violent Muslims) can say theologically to oppose violence that cannot be argued more strongly against by those who purport use of force.

Unlike other ideological wars, like the infamous Crusades, which could find no backing in actual Christian ideals, Muslims do not have to look far in their doctrines to find support for use of violence. For example Sura IX:5, 'Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolators wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.'

In a religion which spread via an incredible military campaign in the first couple of centuries after the life of Muhammad, and which was in fact started by the Prophet, it is difficult to overturn doctrines of violence which were present from so early on, in the formative years. If there is to be a change of attitude in Islam with regard to peace, there needs to be a huge upheaval and reassessment of key doctrines. This has happened in some Islamic circles.

Sufi Muslims see Jihad (often loosely translated as Holy War) as Jihad al'nafs, that is, the struggle against the self. Sufis also focus more on the concept of a loving relationship with God... it is unsurprising then that the majority of Muslims, along with the aforementioned Michot, dismiss Sufis as over-Christianised.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a thoughtful post, on something which has continually perplexed me. Your writing about it is so clear and balanced.