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Terrorism>>Christian Extremists: "Hate Thy Neighbor"

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Oct. 15, 2002

  It appears that some Christian leaders missed some important lessons from the teachings of Jesus Christ (peace be on him). Recent hate mongering remarks by Frank Graham, Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell against Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) reflect ignorance, arrogance, self-conceit and bigotry. They need to hang the Ten Commandments around their necks and recite "Love Thy Neighbor" hundred times a day. They also need to read the following daily:
Matthew 5:9:"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."
James 3:18:"Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."

bulletFalwell defames Islam: Why is there a lack of reaction?
bulletSouthern Baptist Leadership Chose to Spew Hate
bulletWill the Muslims of the world be able to control and marginalize extremists and hate mongers among them?
bulletWill the Christians, Jews, Hindus,... of the world be able to control and marginalize extremists and hate mongers among them?

Some editorials follow:

Alan Cooperman, Washington Post, 10/15/02

A recent series of disparaging remarks about Islam by the Rev. Jerry Falwell and other evangelical Christian leaders have sparked riots in India, helped religious parties win elections in Pakistan and undermined public sympathy in Islamic countries for the U.S. war on terrorism, experts said yesterday…

"Jerry Falwell makes a statement, he pleases his constituents, then he says he's sorry and apparently thinks that's the end of it," said Akbar Ahmed, chairman of Islamic studies at American University. "What Americans don't realize is that remarks like this are flashed all over the Muslim world, and they are doing very serious damage to U.S. interests..."

Shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush visited a mosque and said the U.S. war on terrorism was not a war against Islam, which he called a "religion of peace." Bush's approach quieted the evangelical community for a few months, but "it wasn't very long before I began to pick up rumblings in the grass roots -- sermons saying not all religions are equally correct, evangelicals saying the president may have gone a little too far," said John Green, a professor at the University of Akron who closely follows the Christian right.

"Once some prominent people stepped forward, like Franklin Graham, that made it easier for others," Green added. "I suspect that it's just become more and more acceptable for evangelical leaders to speak out against Islam…"


Elizabeth Schuett, Cox News, 10/14/02

GIBSONBURG, Ohio - There will be a moment's silence from the Rev. Jerry Falwell, preacher, leading member of the Southern Baptist Convention, and spokesperson for America's Moral Majority, while he recovers from his most recent bout of foot-in-mouth disease _ "I think Muhammad was a terrorist. . . a violent man, a man of war."

Such a pronouncement could have gone relatively unnoticed had the Rev. chosen another venue from which to out Islam's prophet as a killer. Possibly, he could have gotten away with it from the pulpit, or even in a classroom at his Liberty University. Maybe. But to call the holy man of millions a "terrorist" on national television was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a swift move. Did Mr. Falwell think no one would be listening? That no one might take exception to his sweeping condemnation? Or did he expect to be the instrument of enlightenment for millions…?

Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations commented: "Anybody is free to be a bigot if they want to. What concerns us is the lack of reaction by mainstream religious and political leaders who say nothing when these bigots voice these attacks."

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said only an ignorant person would make such a remark and urged Muslims not to take the matter too seriously. "I'm not going to accuse all Christians," he said, "only one person made such a statement…"

America loves its comics. Always has. But religion doesn't belong in the funnies. Between Mr. Falwell's thoughtless repartee, and televangelist Pat Robertson's appearance on Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes," where he called the Prophet Muhammad an "absolute fanatic," as well as a robber and a brigand, we've got a regular Laurel and Hardy sketch going here…

Thanks a lot, gentlemen, you've been a big help _ to God and country.


Ottawa Citizen, 10/15/02

In the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, God orders the death of everyone who stands in the way of his chosen people, the Israelites. Accordingly, Joshua sends his army rampaging across the Promised Land, "utterly destroying all the souls that were therein…"

Sacred texts can be inspiring, dramatic and even revelatory, but they are not always models of religious tolerance. Like all great literature, these documents are rich with contradiction and complexity. We can be exhorted to slaughter infidels on one page and to love our neighbour on the next. Those with a true spiritual calling are sensitive to the ambiguities and tensions inherent in Scripture and will spend a lifetime studying them.

There is, then, a certain dishonesty about the current campaign to discredit the Koran, Islam's holy book. Robert Spencer, a Catholic intellectual, has just published Islam Unveiled, a nasty work filled with damning quotations from the Koran such as "When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly." The American baptist leader Jerry Falwell recently said on CBS-TV's 60 Minutes that the Koran's author, Mohammed, "was a terrorist" and the religion he founded "teaches hate."

In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, there were decent folk who, ignorant of religion, wanted to know if Islam was inherently a primitive, violent creed. Books on Islam were in great demand, and as people read them they learned, perhaps to their surprise, that Islamic societies were once more enlightened than Europe. Muslim women owned property and enjoyed more dignity than their counterparts in the West. Minorities who faced persecution in Christian lands often fled to the Islamic world because they knew that among Muslims they'd be unmolested…

(Editorials texts taken from C.A.I.R.'s emails: http://cair-net.org )