Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Debating the fear of Islamic terrorism.

Yesterday I posted a commentary: Are we really suffering from a false fear of Islam after so many terrorist acts in America? and I received a lengthy, well written opinion from a gentleman named Gerry Schulze offering what he believed to be numerous arguments. I have agreed to post his entire reply and debate it. It should be noted that Gerry Schulze is a well educated lawyer who has posted commentary on an atheist web site called Atheist Nexus and his profile can be found on as well as his personal web site. Here is Mr. Schulze's reply:
This is a thought-provoking article.  I don’t want to sound too negative, but there are a few minor points I’d like to make here.  The claim that there is a statue of Moses at the Supreme Court to show the Judeo-Christian origin of our legal system is a half truth.  It is true that there is a statue of Moses at the Supreme Court.  It is not true that the purpose is to show the Judeo-Christian origin of our legal system.  Further, the term “Judeo-Christian” is meaningless in the context of the origins of our legal system.

First, the statue of Moses.   “The South Wall Frieze includes figures of lawgivers from the ancient world and includes Menes, Hammurabi, Moses, Solomon, Lycurgus, Solon, Draco, Confucius, and Augustus. The North Wall Frieze shows lawgivers from the middle ages on and includes representations of Justinian, Muhammad, Charlemagne, John of England, Louis IX of France, Hugo Grotius, Sir William Blackstone, John Marshall, and Napoleon. Wikipedia

Wait a minute!  Did they say Muhammad?  Say it ain’t so!  Well, it’s so, but political correctness has made the court personnel pretend it ain’t so.  Tourist materials have been edited to clarify that the statue isn’t really a depiction of Muhammad since we don’t know what Muhammad looks like.  Wikipedia.  Frankly, I call nonsense on this.  Muhammad was a secular lawgiver and belongs on in the list as a matter of history.  That he is also recognized as a prophet by a religion is not a matter of concern.  Pagans may claim Augustus was deified on the testimony of Suetonius.  Should we mention that in the brochure as well?  I think not.

Second, the Judeo-Christian origin of our legal system only exists in the sense that throughout most of the development of the common law the people who developed it also happened to be Christians.  Most would not have recognized the term “Judeo-Christian” which is of fairly recent vintage.  Certainly there are some common principles, in that both the Christian and the secular legal systems frown on much of the same behavior.  But the English Common Law and the American Constitution are not explicitly based on anything found in Christian scriptures, and the system of justice bears no resemblance to those found in scripture.  The central teachings of Jesus of Nazareth regarding repentance and forgiveness are nowhere to be found in our legal system, and despite vigorous argumentation to the contrary, Jesus was not a free market capitalist.

Third, the assertion that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim is a violation of the commandment against bearing false witness against one’s neighbor.  Barack Hussein Obama has said that he is a Christian and that Jesus Christ died for his sins.  That is not a Muslim speaking.  That is a Christian.  Some say that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim because his father was a Muslim.  Nonsense.  If “Charlie” thinks Barack is a Muslim because Barack’s father was a Muslim, that doesn’t mean Barack is a Muslim. That means Charlie is a Muslim. That one’s religion can be inherited from one’s father is a tenet of the Muslim faith, not the Christian faith, and not the non-believer’s faith.

I have friends who are Muslims, friends who are non-believers, and friends who are Christians.  I submit that the paranoia about Muslims as Muslims is indefensible.  Sure, there are some Muslims who are out to get us.  But there are some Christians who are out to get us, some Chinese who are out to get us, some Frenchmen who are out to get us, and even a few non-believers who are out to get us.  When we allow a handful--and it is a handful--of extremely dangerous radical people to be the face of Islam for us, we surrender our reason and our sanity to them.  Imagine if we were to allow David Koresh, Fred Phelps, and Tony Alamo to be the face of Christianity to us.  Imagine if we were to allow Timothy McVeigh to be the face of white people.  Look at the statistics.  An American is over five hundred times more likely to die at his own hand than to die at the hand of a terrorist.  Do we devote five hundred times more resources to suicide prevention than we do terrorist prevention?  We have made air travel far more expensive, inconvenient, and time consuming with unnecessary and excessive precautions--strip searching grandmothers and babies.  That has turned how many plane trips to far more dangerous automobile trips, resulting in how many deaths?  We are unable to adequately assess risk, and thanks to that real people die every day.

So does that mean that the fear of terrorists as terrorists is indefensible?  Not at all!  There are really terrorists and they are really dangerous.  The problem is that we have allowed those terrorists to disguise themselves as the “faithful.”  I submit that they are not the true believers at all.  I submit that genuine Islam does not permit the killing of innocent non-combatants, nor does it permit suicide attacks.  While there are certainly violent passages in the Koran, there are violent passages in other scriptures as well.  A proper understanding of any religious tradition in cultural context cannot begin and end with a study of its scripture.  Tradition, history, culture, and the like must also be considered.  There are many peaceful, even pacifist traditions within Islam.  We cannot and should not cede “Islam” to these bullies and villains.  They are not the true face of Islam.  Of the one and a half billion people in the world who are Muslims, only a tiny fraction of a fraction participate in terrorism.

Can a properly phrased poll portray the radicals as far more popular than they are?  Of course it can.  A poll of Americans would show many who would like the country run on “Christian” or “Biblical” principles, but we’d see how long that lasted the first time someone tried to enforce Deuteronomy 21: 18-21, now wouldn’t we?

We should not fear the wrong thing.  We should fear the right thing.

My reply: America was founded by a religious group called Puritans who arrived on the Mayflower from England in 1620. The Pilgrims left England to escape persecution by the Church of England so that they could practice their religion freely. It is said that our nation was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles and Wikipedia offers further meaning as shown below along with the hypertext references:
In our country, "Judeo-Christian values" is shorthand for a complex idea: the common culture of the American majority. The values are called Judeo-Christian because they derive from the complementary ideas of free will, the moral accountability of the individual rather than the group, the spiritual imperative of imperfect man's struggle to do what is right and the existence of true moral law in the teachings of Christ and the Jewish prophets. Along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they are the political and cultural heritage of the Founding Fathers. The Declaration and the Constitution define the source and the limits of state power. But they do not tell us how a moral life within this society should be led. While they have provided a durable structure for America's success, only Judeo-Christian values, freely held by the majority, explain its continuing realization. These values are not identical with the Christian religion, although they manifest its universal insights. Americans, as the Founding Fathers hoped, uphold the Constitution, but live according to "Judeo-Christian values".[2]
Mr. Schulze excerpted part of my blog's heading where I mention that: "Images of Moses adorn the Supreme Court in recognition of the Judeo-Christian origin of our laws." And, indeed, as this photo shows, there is an image of Moses in the center holding the Ten Commandments above the South entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court building. Wikipedia also notes that Moses appears eight times in carvings that ring the Supreme Court Great Hall ceiling, so the significance of Moses and the Ten Commandments as a "law giver" and source of our laws is very important. 

Mr. Schulze also mentions that on the opposite side of the Supreme Court there is another frieze that depicts the Prophet Mohammad among another group of lawmakers. When the Supreme Court building was constructed in 1935 there was no vocal Islamic fundamentalists calling it an insult to Islam to show an image of their prophet as they do today. In many parts of the world there have been violent riots sparked by Islamic clerics that caused many deaths for just such an innocent illustration. So what is the real source of contention here? Is it the Islamic religion or is it the faithful Muslims who follow it? It is my belief that the vast majority of Muslims in America are good people who simply follow the teachings of an ancient religion that still holds to a 7th Century ideology. But the version of "law" credited to the Prophet Mohammad for historical purposes is still extremely barbaric by modern day standards. And the religion of Islam, in the very words contained in the Qur'an, still make incessant commands to wage war on every non-Muslim everywhere. 

It can be argued that there are two kinds of Muslims, good Muslims and bad Muslims, just as there are good Christians and bad Christians, but the labels confuse the meaning. A good Christian is one who reads the Holy Bible, goes to church every day and applies the principles of "love thy neighbor as thyself" to every aspect of his life. A bad Christian does not go to church. From a modern day perspective, the good faithful Muslim is one who has been reminded by someone he recognizes as an authority that his Prophet has commanded him to wage war on non-believers and that he must not make friends with them. The bad Muslim is one that does not follow his religion that closely and thus tries to be a good citizen. The problem is not with the Muslim but with the way his religion is explained to him. It is his choice whether to follow the teachings or not.

I have been a baptized Roman Catholic all my life and attended church whenever possible until a liberal element made grave changes to the major parts of my church and my religion. That change occurred after the Second Vatican Council in 1965. That liberal change destroyed the Holy Mass and subsequently led to a degraded selection of applicants into the seminaries that created a new generation of priests. Years later we have seen how many child molesting priests, outright pedophiles, some who actually belonged to such groups as NAMBLA the North American Man Boy Love Association virtually destroyed the church from bankrupting lawsuits.  I chose not to be a practicing Catholic because of those changes and I am not at all surprised at how the situation has deteriorated today. By some standards I am not a good Catholic because I reject what my church stands for. This same argument must be applied to Muslims for the changes that have occurred in their religion.

On the question of whether Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim or not is not "bearing false witness against one's neighbor". Obama was enrolled in school in Indonesia as a Muslim under the name Barry Soetoro where he was taught to read and speak Arabic and quote the Qur'an. And among the teachings in the Qur'an is the use of Taqiyya as the Prophet Mohammad explained in Sera 3:28. Qur’an 3:28 enjoins believers not to take the company of doubters unless as a means of safeguarding themselves. “Let not the believers take those who deny the truth for their allies in preference to the believers – since he who does this cuts himself off from God in everything – unless it be to protect yourself against them in this way…” Regarding 3:28, Ibn Kathir, a prominent authority writes, "Whoever at any time or place fears their [infidels'] evil may protect himself through outward show." As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad's companion, al-Hassan, who said, “taqiyya is acceptable till the Day of Judgment [i.e., in perpetuity].”

Click to view larger image

So when Barack Hussein Obama proclaims that "he is a Christian and that Jesus Christ died for his sins" he is practicing the art of lying that he was taught in his Muslim faith. This debate is not about Barack Hussein Obama, but if it were there would be only one question I would ask and that would be "why do you spend millions in lawyer fees to keep your personal records hidden from the public?" If you (Mr. Schulze) are willing to take everyone's word at face value that is your problem. For a lawyer to do so I think that is quite gullible. I personally believe that Obama has some dark secrets he wants to hide. The parts about Obama's 20-year following at Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ, with his anti-white, anti American rhetoric, that we do know leaves me to believe he is far from being a "Christian" in any sense of the word.

Back to the subject, we do seem to agree to some extent that the religion of Islam has been hijacked, as you say, "The problem is that we have allowed those terrorists to disguise themselves as the “faithful.”" But how has that been accomplished? You must acknowledge the facts that the majority of mosques that have spread across America in recent years have been financed by the government of Saudi Arabia. Along with that finance they were required to use printed material espousing Wahhabism, a hate-filled version of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia that attacks western culture. Many of these mosques became recruitment centers for domestic terrorists. The Center for Religious Freedom 95-page publication Saudi Propagada in mosques  available in Adobe Acrobat describes it:  
Furthermore, the Saudi government has directly staffed some of these institutions. The King Fahd mosque, the main mosque in Los Angeles, from which several of these publications were gathered, employed an imam, Fahad al Thumairy, who was an accredited diplomat of the Saudi Arabian consulate from 1996 until 2003, when he was barred from reentering the United States because of terrorist connections. The 9/11 Commission Report describes the imam as a “well-known figure at the King Fahd mosque and within the Los Angeles Muslim community,” who was reputed to be an “Islamic fundamentalist and a strict adherent to orthodox Wahhabi doctrine” and observed that he “may have played a role in helping the [9/11] hijackers establish themselves on their arrival in Los Angeles.” 
Several hate-filled publications in this study were also gathered from the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in Fairfax, Virginia. According to investigative reports in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., served as chairman of this school’s Board of Trustees, and some 16 other personnel there held Saudi diplomatic visas until they were expelled for extremism by the State Department in 2004.10 Until late 2003, the institute was an official adjunct campus of the Imam Mohammed Ibn-Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, part of Saudi Arabia’s state-run university system, funded and controlled by the Saudi Ministry of Education.11 Although Saudi Arabia claims to have severed official links with it, the Institute the Saudis established continues to operate in northern Virginia. 
Some of the works were published by the Al-Haramain Foundation, run from Saudi Arabia with branch offices in the United States until the FBI blocked its assets in February 2004, finding that it was directly funding al Qaeda. In October 2004, the Saudi government’s Ministry for Islamic Affairs dissolved the foundation, and, according to a senior Saudi official, its assets will be folded into a new Saudi National Commission for Charitable Work Abroad. 
Some of the Wahhabi materials in this study were printed by publishers and libraries functioning as publishing houses in Saudi Arabia. Some of these are directly government-supported and-controlled, such as the King Fahd National Library and the General Presidency of the Administration of Scientific Research, Ifta’, Da’wa and Guidance (General Administration for Printing and Translation). Others, which may be privately run, are monitored closely by the state, which does not grant the free right to expression, and, according to the State Department, the government’s Ministry of Information has the authority to appoint and remove all editors-in-chief.
So while you may believe these terrorists are not "true believers" the jihad preached by the clerics within these mosques seems to have convinced many followers that they are. If you wonder how this can happen all you need to do is understand the Qur'an itself. I call your attention to another Adobe Acrobat publication called Statistical Islam an 11-page study written by the Center for the Study of Political Islam. One section reads:
There is a second division that overwhelms the reader of the historical Koran. A majority of the text concerns the kafir (unbeliever). It is not about being a Muslim, but about the kafir. A note: most Koran translations use the word “unbeliever” instead of kafir, but kafir is the actual Arabic word.  
This term is so important and so unknown that the meaning of kafir must be defined. The original meaning of the word is one who covers or conceals the known truth. A kafir knows that the Koran is true, but denies it. The Koran says that the kafir may be deceived, plotted against, hated, enslaved, mocked, tortured and worse. The word is usually translated as “unbeliever” but this translation is wrong. The word “unbeliever” is logically and emotionally neutral, whereas, kafir is the most abusive, prejudiced and hateful word in any language.  
There are many religious names for kafirs: polytheists, idolaters, People of the Book (Christians and Jews), atheists, agnostics, and pagans. Kafir covers them all, because no matter what the religious name is, they can all be treated the same. What Mohammed said and did to polytheists can be done to any other category of kafir.
Islam devotes a great amount of energy to the kafir. Not only is the majority (64%) of the Koran devoted to the kafir, but also nearly all of the Sira (81%) deals with Mohammed’s struggle with them. The Hadith (Traditions) devotes 32% of the text to kafirs.
How easy is it for someone to read the passages in the Qur'an an visualize a "Religion of Peace" and not understand the true nature of the book itself? Here is another passage from Statistical Islam that explains it.
Case 4: Abrogation and Dualism
Not only are there two Korans, Meccan and Medinan, that are different in tone and subject matter, but also the Koran has many verses that contradict each other.

Koran 2:219 says that Muslims should be tolerant and forgiving to People of the Book.

Koran 9:29 says to attack the People of the Book until they pay the jizyah, the dhimmi tax, submit to Sharia law and be humbled.

Which verse shows the true nature of Islam?

The Koran recognizes its contradictions and even gives a rule to resolve the contradictions. The later verse abrogates (supercedes) the earlier verse. This does not mean, however, that the earlier verse is wrong or in error. This would be impossible since the fundamental hypothesis is that Allah created the Koran and, hence, the earlier verse must be true or Allah would be wrong.

Abrogation has an impact on the arguments about the true nature of Islam. At endless interfaith dialogs, the early tolerant verse is quoted to show the nature of Islam as being peaceful. When both verses are quoted and then abrogation is applied, we see that the later verse trumps the earlier tolerant one. Jihad abrogates tolerance. In general, the Medinan Koran abrogates the Meccan Koran. In the two verses above, tolerance is abrogated by jihad against the Christians.

But, the earlier verse is true and still used. Abrogation does not negate the early verse. Indeed, the earlier “peaceful” verse that is abrogated is the one most apt to be used in public discourse.

This creates a logical problem, since if two things contradict each other, at least one of them must be false. This is a fundamental element of Western unitary logic. In Koranic logic, two statements can contradict each other and both are true. This is dualistic logic.

An alternative explanation is that the early verse is first stage in a process, like a seed, and the later verse is a second stage, like a plant. There is truth to this, but the process model does not take into account the fact that both truths are available at the same time. To go back to the analogy, you don’t have the seed and the plant at the same time. The verses contradict each other and are both true at the same time. This is dualistic logic.
The contradictions are usually explained by abrogation, the classical doctrine, but the principle of abrogation is limited to the Koran. Duality includes the special case of abrogation and it explains how the entire doctrine of Koran and Sunna work. It is not just the Koran that is contradictory, but all of the Sunna.
Another dualistic aspect of Islam is its ethics. One of the chief features of Islam is the doctrine of the kafir. It treats them dreadfully and horribly. No one would ever want to be treated as a kafir is treated in the Trilogy. This leads us to the Golden Rule. There is no Golden Rule in Islam because of the division of humanity into believer and kafir. The Golden Rule is to treat ALL people as you would be treated. Since no one wants be treated like a kafir, and the kafir is so central to Islamic doctrine, it proves that Islam has no Golden Rule. Islam has one set of rules for Muslims and another set of rules for kafirs. This is dualistic ethics.
An example of the dual ethics is the subject of friends. The Koran has 13 verses that say that a Muslim is not to be a friend of kafirs.
One last point is about the true feelings of Muslims in America. In answer to your last comment:
"Of the one and a half billion people in the world who are Muslims, only a tiny fraction of a fraction participate in terrorism.

Can a properly phrased poll portray the radicals as far more popular than they are?  Of course it can."
The number I have read say that as many as 10% of the world's 1.5 Billion Muslims are terrorists.  That is 150 Million terrorists if my math is right. A recent poll conducted among American Muslim college students by the Pew Research Center said that:  "One in four younger U.S. Muslims say suicide bombings to defend their religion are acceptable at least in some circumstances, though most Muslim Americans overwhelmingly reject the tactic and are critical of Islamic extremism and al-Qaida, a poll says." That's scary and I don't think it is an irrational phobia for anyone to be concerned about this. I wish the majority of Muslims that oppose terrorism would be more vocal about it. I know they are out there but I think they are scared to speak out and condemn Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood.


1 comment:

  1. Oldironsides,

    First of all good post!

    Mr. Schulze is really spiting a hair on his first two points. Typical for a lawyer that could argue about the definition of “is”.

    His third point is also a false narrative, as there are MANY documented examples that BHO is not a Christian as he claims. I don’t need to go into details as you already know them. The fact that he is or isn’t a Christian doesn’t mean a hill of beans to me. I would just appreciate that he do the job that he was elected to do and not be the epic failure that he has proven to be so far. Telling the truth about any subject would also be refreshing.

    With respect to his Muslim friends, I too have a few with which I have had many frank conversations concerning the Koran and the Bible. My attention to the Koran was peaked after 9-11. I attempted to understand why the religion of peace condoned such an act of war. I downloaded an English version of the Koran and engaged my Muslim acquaintances. I asked them about the several passages concerning the killing of infidels. Uncomfortably they admitted that true believers are required to kill infidels. That admission was enough for me.

    As Oldironsides has stated, 15,000,000 is plenty to worry about. Further, Pew reports that 85% of educated Muslims worldwide believe in Sharia Law.

    Why should any lemming worry about those statistics?


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