I want adults and children to understand this regarding MUSLIMS
These were the first few words I came across when opening an email sent to me. As a precursor, someone forwarded me this email in regards knowing I have graduated college focusing on the array of religions; they wanted to know what I thought about the contents of this email. Let me just say, having a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies DOES NOT mean I know all about every religion, but it helps me uncover and research the validity of certain arguments. Upon receiving this email, I do want to say that my emotional side was provoked when reading each of this man’s statements for the little amount of background information given and lack of a solid argument when trying to get people to “be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. They obviously cannot be both ‘good’ Muslims and ‘good’ Americans. Call it what you wish, it’s still the truth. You had better believe it. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future” (the last sentence of the email). Even with an emotional side provoked, I am responding to each statement with research, first-hand experience with people associated with the Islamic religion, and knowledge from previous courses.
Every statement that is in BOLD is his statement from the email. My answers follow.
- “Theologically – no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, The moon god of Arabia.”
IF America was based, founded, and solely referred to as “THE Christian nation” then this statement would be correct, but that’s not 100% historically correct. The founding fathers did NOT rely on Christian beliefs and principles when organizing the governments and creating the Constitution for America. A lot of the founders took religion into account and looked at it from a wide perspective, that is why today we have separation of church and state and Freedom of Religion. Did you know the men who signed the United States Constitution instilled the No Religious Test Clause where no one holding a federal office position has to be of a specific religion? This is Article VI, Section 3. Now if our federal office can’t hold a religious test, what holds true for an American to hold this religious test to be considered a good American? Culturally speaking, America is populated with mostly Christians, so culturally America is Christian, but the government was not established as “THE Christian Nation.”
It does me no injury for my neighbor to believe in twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg – Jefferson
In reference to “Allah, the moon god of Arabia,” there is no inscription that classifies Allah as a moon god/ pagan deity. Scholars also express that the name Allah comes from the expression ‘ilah meaning “the God,” which is sometimes noted as related to the Biblical Hebrew words ‘eloh and ‘elohim.
- Religiously – no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except Islam. (Quran,2:256)
This statement would be correct IF being an American specifically encompasses being a Christian. If this statement was correct, then religiously any person of any religion, except Christians, would not be considered a “good American.” Is a Buddhist a bad American because their central aim of religious belief and practice is to be liberated from attachment to material things? Is a Hindu a bad American because they believe in the pantheon of gods and goddesses or The Absolute being Brahman?
Again, compare this statement to a different “type” of American: let’s compare the Muslim to the American who is an Atheist. Is the Atheist not a “good American” because he does not have allegiance to God?
- Scripturally – no. Because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the Quran.
Oddly enough, before I received this email, I spent NYE with some of my Muslim friends and they asked me what I knew about their religion. They ended up refreshing me on the Five Pillars: (1) Believing – in Allah, (2) Praying – 5 times a day, (3) Helping the Poor – donating, (4) Fasting – Ramadan, and (5) Traveling to Mecca – Hajj.
Scripturally speaking, there is not much of a difference between an “American” (since he is using Christianity in reference to an American) and a Muslim regarding his statement. Do you see the similarities between these 5 pillars and what is asked of a Christian? Let’s take a look: Christians are to be devout to God and the Bible with very close similarities to the 5 pillars, just in different contexts. They are also expected to believe and have faith in God, pray, help the poor, and sometimes fast (Catholics fast from material items or certain foods/drinks during Lent).
- Geographically – no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.
Because a Muslim is not near the Mecca, geographically, and prays in a certain direction, it makes them not a “good American?” Muslims are able to turn in prayer towards the Mecca because of the First Amendment explained in the first argument: Freedom of Religion. This is why in Mosques there are mihrabs (niches that distinctly indicate the direction of the Kaaba). I see no solid argument behind this statement. Any type of American can pray in any direction they please, due to our right as an American.
- Socially – no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.
If you take a look at Quran 5:51 it says to not take the Jews and Christians as allies, but it is not a plausible answer to take one passage and create a whole statement on it. Just like the Bible, (staying consistent and relating Americans as Chrsitians like the author of the email does) there are more passages in the Quran regarding this topic. Take a look at the verse right after (5:52) and 60:8-9. These passages of the Quran make it aware to not befriend those who take the Muslim religion and use it against them for mockery or believe it to be a “game” (5:57). My friend also explained to me, when I asked him this question, that Muhammad was friends with and took care of a Jew and a Christian. Now let’s look at this from any religious point of view: how often do people befriend those who mock their religion? Or on a general note, how often do people befriend those who mock them for any reason?
Fun fact: Safiyya, a woman of Jewish origin, was a wife to Muhammad and he stood up for her Jewish heritage.
- Politically – no. Because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America, the great Satan.
A Mullah is a man or a woman who has learned Islamic theology and the sacred law. I searched scholars and articles to find nothing on them teaching the “annihilation of Israel and destruction of America.” When speaking to my friend he made a connection between this stereotype and the KKK. There are extremists of every religion. People can think the same way about Christians in a similar manner that this man tries to enforce his argument. The KKK used terrorism and attacks on the groups of individuals they opposed and swore to uphold a Christian morality, but the statement of arguing that all Christians are bad because of the KKK is an invalid argument. There is no exception when comparing this to Muslims. The argument is invalid to say that every Mullah and every Muslim is learning the “annihilation of Israel and destruction of America, the great Satan” just because there are extremist Muslims in the world.
- Domestically – no. Because he is instructed to marry four women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him. (Quran 4:34).
Half of this is correct and half of this is incorrect. A man IS allowed to marry up to four women, only under certain circumstances that they can treat each wife 100% equally. It was explained to me in this manner: if he buys one wife a house, he has to buy all three a house; if he can lavish one, he has to equally lavish them all. But a man is not ordered to marry more than one woman if he cannot handle it (Quran 4:3; 4:19; 4:20; 4:129; and 33:4).
Regarding the passage he states, 4:34, this is not to be taken literally. Muhammad is their prophet and they are to follow in his footsteps. To Muslims, Muhammad was a man of kindness and compassion and never did strike his wife, nor would he encourage it.
The Bible has sayings just like this actually. Matthew 5:30 says to cut off your hand if it causes you to stumble. There are dozens of brutal passages in the Bible and from one of my courses, I learned that these passages are not meant to be taken word by word. Even back then there was a thing called ‘figurative speech.’ Each passage has a meaning and interpretation. That was what we uncovered in the class – The Bible was not always a historical representation of the time period as a lot of the chronological timelines are incorrect – the importance of the Bible is for Religious reference, not just historical.
- Intellectually – no. Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.
When did an American’s intellectual capacity become judged on a person’s acceptance and understanding of the Constitution? Like I said in the first statement – the Constitution was NOT founded on Biblical principles, but there was an influence (ex: separation of church and state). If this is the argument, you cannot focus on just one religion. There are Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, and Atheists that are American… What are they then?
- Philosophically – no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.
If you think deep enough about it, his statement contradicts itself. He is [still] comparing “America,” a nation, to a religion. If he is trying to say that a Muslim living in Saudi Arabia would be a bad American that is true because their culture does not allow it, but if he is saying an American Muslim is a bad American because of choosing their religion, it makes no sense. That is what America is – Freedom of Religion (First Amendment), they have chosen their freedom to be Islamic; in all actuality, they are being a “good American.” The Bible does not say “You can be a follower of God, but choose your own religion like Daoism, or Atheism.” It was a group of people who decided that Freedom of Religion is what makes America great; that is what the Muslims in America have chosen, their freedom to their religion.
Again, this argument is faulty because he is using “American” as a Christian. Let’s replace “good American” with “good Christian,” then the answer would be no because they are two separate religions. American is not a religion.
Regarding the comment: “it does not allow them the freedom of religion and freedom of expression”… Clearly, neither does he as an American, as he is doing exactly what he sees wrong with their religion.
- Spiritually – no. Because when we declare ‘one nation under
God,’ The Christian’s God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in the Quran’s 99 excellent names.
This statement is saying that a good Muslim cannot be a good American, spiritually. Like many of the previous statements, when did being American come with a “spiritual” characteristic? He uses God’s different names to back up his argument but that does not seem to fully support it. I’m curious to know if he has read the 99 names of Allah? Allah may not be called the Heavenly Father but he is called: The Merciful, The Holy, The Peace, The Supreme, The Powerful, The Creator, The Just, The Judge, The Great, The Nourisher… etc.. All of these, of which the Christian God is the same. Yet again, what about those of different religions that do not believe in God and say the pledge of allegiance, are they bad Americans too?
The common theme in the man’s statements is that he is using an American as an interchangable person who is Christian.
All in all, these statements cannot be used as an argument since a Muslim is a follower of the religion of Islam; the definition of an American is not being the follower of a specific religion.
To properly argue the question if a good Muslim can be a good American, and all of the following statements, there has to be a definition of a “good American.” Does this mean a “good Samaritan,” a “good Christian?” There is no legitimate or logical reasoning to this man’s’ answers without a proper definition of American. The author of this email is using a “good American” as one who is Christian, but does not precisely state his definition of a “good American.” Historically speaking, an American is a legal citizen of the United States who is protected by the constitution. Nowhere does it state an American to be categorized in a specific religion.
It’s unfortunate to think that the emails we are being forwarded these days include hate, discrimination, and not wanting people in our country based on their religion. As Obama states in his farewell speech (27 min-37min):
An order based … on principles, the rule of law, human rights, freedom of religion and speech and assembly and an independent press… That order is now being challenged. First by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam… The fear of people who look or speak or pray differently… A belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or the propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right… we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are… That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans…we should reject “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties” that make us one… America, we weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character aren’t even willing to enter into public service. So coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are seen, not just as misguided, but as malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others… Embrace the joyous task we have been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours because, for all our outward differences… If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life.
This is not about who you support as President; this is about holding dear to our values, working towards equality in a world that is expanding in globalization, getting to know the facts before making assumptions based off a small tab of information, and speaking to the people we share outward and inward differences with to learn what is true and what is false. There should be no persistence in trying to prove who is not a “good American” based on a religious background. The religious war is bigger than we know it because there are people out there who are weakening these ties and not indulging in religious knowledge before making their claims.
I’m sorry to anybody who has been told that they are not a “good American,” based on their religious status. Those people are not more American than you and you are not more American than them, as all that matters is what we can gain from our inner and outer differences to grow and improve our nation and being. Thank you for embracing and contributing your differences to America, in hope that more and more people will be open to making our ties stronger.