Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Islam's One-Sided Dialogue with Christianity


I see where 138 Islamic scholars have written an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI and some 25 other Christian leaders, warning that “The ‘survival of the world’ is at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace with each other.” (“Pope told ‘survival of world’ at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace”).

Among the 138 scholars are Nihad Awad, National Executive Director and co-founder of CAIR, and Professor Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Readers are well familiar with CAIR. ISNA is not quite so famous. It was begat by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) in 1981, which in turn was begat by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1963. As we reported about the ISNA before this in “Just What Is the MSA?” and “The Plan of the Muslim Brotherhood ", and as described in Congressional testimony:

The Islamic Society of North America is an influential front for the promotion of the Wahhabi political, ideological and theological infrastructure in the United States and Canada.

Established by the Muslim Students Association, ISNA seeks to marginalize leaders of the Muslim faith who do not support its ideological goals. Through sponsorship of propaganda, doctrinal material and mosques, is pursuing a strategic objective of dominating Islam in North America. ISNA provides ideological material to about 1,100 of an estimated 1,500 to 2,500 mosques in North America. It vets and certifies Wahhabi-trained imams and is the main official endorsing agent for Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military.

The Times Online quotes the 29-page letter as follows:

The scholars state: “As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them - so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes.”

In other words, we Muslims are not against Christianity, so long as Christians don’t do any of the myriad things we Muslims are hard-wired to regard as “waging war against” us. This is often repeated by apologists of Islam who maintain that Islam, the religion of peace, only resorts to war in self-defense.

Robert Spencer explains just “how elastic and essentially meaningless the concept of fighting only in self defense” actually is in Islam.

By way of example, he records the answer to an inquiry about offensive jihad given by South African mufti Ebrahim Desai, who confirmed that, since “the primary responsibility of the Muslim ruler is to spread Islam throughout the world…if a country doesn’t allow the propagation if Islam to its inhabitants in a suitable manner or creates hindrances to this, then the Muslim ruler would be justified in waging Jihad against this country…If the Kuffar [unbelievers] allow us to spread Islam peacefully, then we would not wage Jihad against them.” (The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades).

Spencer concludes the concept has no boundaries at all:

What constitutes a sufficient provocation? Must the defending side wait until the enemy strikes the first military blow? These questions have no clear or definitive answers in Islamic law, making it possible for anyone to portray virtually any struggle as defensive without violating the strict canons of that law. But this also renders meaningless the oft-repeated claims that jihad warfare can only be defensive.

As we’ve seen, Muslims can justify defensive warfare over slights including a non-belligerent Christian leader addressing a Christian audience (Benedict at Regensburg), in a Christian nation and making mention of some failings of Islam, or the insupportable cartoon riots when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published drawings of Mohammed--neither of which remotely entailed waging war on Muslims nor driving any from their homes: (but of course, many found themselves “oppressed” by being forced to share a planet with people holding contrary opinions about the Prophet!).

Any abused enabling wife will tell you that her black eyes are not the fault of her husband for being a brute, but her fault for always doing things that drive him crazy. If she would just give him what he needs to remain peaceful, he's as harmless as a lamb.

Ryan Evans at The Investigative Project believes the open letter isn’t really intended for the Pope or the other Christian leaders at all, but rather “is meant to influence the Christian public around the world.” (“A Common Word Between Us and You is a Call for Conversion”).

He points out that the choice of Quran verse 3:64, (the selection of which by the scholars Ryan calls dishonest), does not signal that the letter's drafters sincerely recognize common ground between Islam and Christianity, because the context of that verse makes clear that Islam views neither Christians nor Jews as worshippers of the true God.

(Aal ‘Imran 3:64) Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).

3:65: Ye, People of the Book! Why dispute ye about Abraham, when the Law and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have ye no understanding?

3:66: Ah! Yes are those who fell to disputing (even) in matters of which ye had some knowledge! But why dispute ye in matters of which ye have no knowledge? It is Allah who knows and ye who know not!

3:67: Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian, but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah's (which is Islam) and he joined not gods with Allah.

3:68: Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Abraham are those who follow him, as are also this Apostle and those who believe: And Allah is the Protector of those who have Faith.

3:69: It is the wish of a section of the People of the Book to lead you astray. But they shall lead astray (not you), but themselves, and they do not perceive.

3:70: Ye People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah, of which ye are (yourselves) witnesses?

3:71: Ye People of the Book! Why do you clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth while ye have knowledge?

Writes Ryan:

In full context, it is clear that this section of the Quran, including 3:64, is a condemnation of Christianity and Judaism and a call for conversion. Why would this verse be included in a call for peace and understanding between Islam and Christianity? The authors and signatories of this letter are among the most learned scholars of Islam in the world. They know the context of 3:64 and its true message, which is exactly why they included it. This letter is not a call for peace. It is a call for conversion.

Read the rest of Ryan’s article here.

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