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June 24, 2002

A former Southern Baptist Convention President, Rev. Jerry Vines chose bigotry and hate-filled language against Muslims in a pastors conference on June 10, 2002.

 He told conventioners that many of this country's problems can be blamed on
religious pluralism. Pluralists "would have us to believe that Islam is
just as good as Christianity, but I'm here to tell you, ladies and
gentlemen, that Islam is not just as good as Christianity," Vines, pastor
of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., told several thousand
delegates at the gathering in St. Louis.

"Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12
wives - and his last one was a 9-year-old girl. And I will tell you Allah
is not Jehovah either. Jehovah's not going to turn you into a terrorist
that'll try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands
of people."

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on
American-Islamic Relations, said the comments were outrageous.

"It's really unfortunate that a top leader in a mainstream Christian
church ... would use such hate-filled and bigoted language in describing
the faith of one-fifth of the world's population," Hooper said Tuesday.
"This is the level of bigotry that requires a clear statement from the
top leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention..."

Ingrid Mattson, vice president of the Islamic Society of North America
and a professor of Islamic studies at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut,
called the comments "medieval." She said statements like this from such
high-placed religious leaders can lead to violence against Muslims.

"It makes me wonder what's the hateful religion right now that we should
be worried about," she said.

The above report comes from ALLEN G. BREED, Associated Press, on 6/12/02 and is taken from http://www.cair-net.org website of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.


Alas! The world is engulfed in violence and rancor. While there is a dire need of peace makers and just rulers and there are many among Muslims, Christians, Jews and other religions who are trying to promote peace and justice for all, unfortunately, some in Southern Baptist leadership have chosen to take the Satanic route. Of course not all Baptists think that way. I have met several Baptists who have a high moral character and are very loving people. Mr. Vines and the current Convention President Rev. Jack Graham are unfortunately not among them. Have they not read their Holy Book, the Bible which says:

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."

Don't they know that we Muslims love and honor Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and treat the wives of the Prophet as our spiritual mothers and honor them above our own parents?

When I spoke to a local Baptist about this, he said that the basis of Rev. Vines' comments are Hadith (Vol. 7, Book 62, number 65) which states "that the Prophet married her (Aisha) when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old."  Other verses that call for believers to "Slay the idolators wherever you find them" (Sura 9:5) have been used to inappropriately justify murder, including the WTC. 

This is the worst type of ignorance where things are taken out of context and without any basic knowledge of Islamic texts.  First of all, statements on the age of Aisha (spiritual mother of all Muslims) do not appear in the Quran. Statements in Hadith are subject to classifications in various categories from authentic to false. Hadith books were written about two hundreds years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). There are at least three different conclusions on the age of honorable Aisha. Regardless of what age it was, her marriage was consumated only when she was an adult and not as a child. As far as the age of adulthood is concerned, it depends on what it was 1400 years ago in Arabia among Arabs and not what we have established today in America.

Perhaps we need to find out the age of the mother of Jesus (peace be on them) when she got married to Joseph according to Christian writers. Was she not  around 15 years old or less according to Christian scholars?. Are you going to establish then that Mary was sexually abused as a child? What were the Jewish customs of marital age then? May peace and blessings be on honorable Mary, Jesus, Muhammad, Aisha and all other true believers of God.

The most respected Aisha is known as the greatest Muslim woman scholar of all ages. We honor and respect her as our own mother. Can the Southern Baptist leadership not follow some basic moral ethics and pay respect to the honor and dignity of Muslims?

As far as many wives of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) are concerned, find out what the Bible says about Israelite prophets. Take for example:

"King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter-Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites." (1 Kings 11)

If these Baptist leaders do not care to respect any prophets including Solomon and David, and  just want to follow Jesus (peace be on all prophets), perhaps they should NOT even take ONE wife, since Jesus never did. Catholic priests don't for that reason. Let me point out that Islam strongly encourages one wife, which is what most Muslims do. More than one wife is an exception in some Muslim countries, but not a rule.

As far as your reference to a passage from the Holy Quran is concerned, you have once again taken text out of context and out of hatred towards Islam and Muslims. I can give you many quotations from the Bible which when taken out of context promote violence.

Let me mention just a few verses from the Old Testament and New Testament and tell me what do you say about them (see for reference: http://islam101.com/terror/bibleT.htm ): 

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you. And when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. (Deutronomy 7:1-2)

“When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you… Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes (Deuteronomy 20:10-17)

Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves. (Numbers 31:17-18)

Even in the New Testament we read the following statements attributed to Jesus saying to his disciples:

“I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence. (Luke 19:26-27)

"Do not think that I have come to send peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. I am sent to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law" (Matthew 10:34-35)

Religion has been used by some Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and others to promote violence and is not limited to just Islam. There are enough examples of this if any one knows how to read history books.

Muslims believe in all Prophets sent by Allah, and so do not misuse or misinterpret the religious texts of other faiths in order to defame them. Even in recent times, Muslims have and are facing genocidal campaigns in Bosnia, Kosova, Chechnia, Kashmir, and Palestine - but they have not questioned Judaism and Christianity. Such spirit needs to be reciprocated.

Another point is Rev. Vines comment on Allah. He needs to learn Arabic and read the Arabic Bible and find out what word Arab Christians use for God. (Read: http://islam101.com/religions/aibible.htm )

Southern Baptist leadership needs to repent and apologize to the 1.2 billion Muslims of the world and work to get rid of terrorism regardless of who commits it. They need to work for justice for all the "children of God." Let us all join hands together to work for peace and justice for all.

While Muslims are deeply hurt and insulted by these remarks, the following verse from the Holy Quran should heal us:

"Ye shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and ye shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods.  But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil, that will be a determining factor in all affairs."

With prayers of peace.