This is my comment to an article I read at http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/09/09/why-muslims-dare-not-burn-the-bible-in-return/ I think it is important enough to post it here.
The brief bio next to your article, “Why Muslims Dare Not Burn the Bible in Return” indicates that you are a medical doctor and a writer. As such, I expected your article to be reflective of an intellect commensurate to such a background. Instead, I found it condescending and vituperative. Rather than a cogent, reasoned argument for your point of view, I found it excessive in emotional invectives. Your superior and prejudiced attitude actually makes you come off sounding no better than the small-time preacher who threatened to burn the Quran.
The message of this insignificant pastor was so hated by your brother Muslims on the other side of the world that mobs burned him in effigy and also burned the American flag, a symbol of the freedoms we enjoy in this country. Let’s see, which is worse: a handful of what we call in my country a ‘fringe element’, or mobs of thousands of Afghanis calling for the death of Americans? Your article indicates you consider the former to be worse and the latter justified. And if not you, then most of Islam because whenever someone in the West exercises freedom of speech, Muftis issue fatwas for the death of those westerners guilty of insulting Islam.
Granted, not all Muslims interpret fatwas the same. And not all Muslims are “extreme”, yet more importantly, there is no significant movement within Islam to condemn death sentences issued for authors, political cartoonists, movie makers or Quran burners. There is a silence in the media about Muslims condemning that kind of behavior. But there is much in the media about how Muslims demand their special needs be met, whether it is the use of sharia law, not having to remove burkas for identification or security, public calls to prayer that are disruptive to non-muslims, the installation of ritual foot washing facilities in public areas, etc.
Muslims immigrate to this country and not only expect to have freedom of religion, but they demand accommodation for every aspect of their Islamic culture. This is not at all what one can expect in your home country, Egypt. I would be arrested for wearing a cross or carrying a Bible in public. Muslims know full well that non-muslims do not have religious freedom in Islamic nations. You come to my country and take advantage of the freedoms we offer in America, only you cannot accept those same freedoms for your adversaries. Unfortunately for you, everyone in this country enjoys freedom, not just you. Our law is not like Sharia law, which gives women and non-muslims less freedom and less legal standing than Muslim males. Our laws were founded on Biblical, not Quranic values.
The irrational fervor of Islam’s intolerance of any and all perceived insults has clearly influenced your writing. In your article, you chose words which demonstrate your own fervor goes hand in glove with the most violent elements of Islam. Describing American Quran-burners and their sympathizers you use such words as: megalomania, disgraceful, stupid, extremism, sick, low, bigotry, primitive, deluded, misled, shameful, 9/11 myth, horrible, extremists, intolerant, violent, hateful, horrid, profane, and freak. I may have missed a few. All of those words paint a picture of how bad Islam sees Terry Jones — so bad that his “death sentence” is justified in your thinking.
That is the same kind of thinking that led another Muslim doctor to perpetrate the Fort Hood massacre. Your article is driven by and articulates that same kind of hatred and intolerance. In spite of your intelligence and education, you are not able to respect the way my culture sees things. I am totally against any book burning. I also do not approve of flag burning, effigy burning or the mob mentality. To me, freedom of speech is just that: speech. But, of course, I don’t write the laws, so those things are also protected. In my culture a person who demonstrates by burning religious symbols has never been accepted by the general public, but most often is considered a fringe element and ignored. However, it is still their right to do so.
In your article you wrote that burning the Quran, “… demonstrates how sick people could exploit the freedom of expression in a free society like America. Being free to do this bonfire does not mean that it is the right thing to do.” I feel very much the same every time I see the American flag being burned. But it’s legal. Many Christians were deeply offended by government-supported “art” consisting of a crucifix suspended in a jar of urine and a statue of Mary covered in dung. But those were legal. I even read about an American pastor burning Bibles because they weren’t the King James Version. That upset a lot of main-line Christians. But no one rioted. There were no religious leaders calling for the death sentence in any of these cases. Freedom of expression, even when it is abused like this, is legal. To my (western) way of thinking, none of those things is as egregious as Islamic fatwas calling for the death of infidels who offend them.
You asked, “What burning the Quran has to do with commemorating 9/11.” As an American, let me tell you. All of the terrorists who were responsible for the death and destruction to those thousands of unsuspecting and innocent civilians on 9/11 were Muslims and all of them were waging jihad according to their convictions about the Quran. If Islam is a religion that teaches killing infidels is a good thing, it must be understandable to a Muslim that non-muslims might be quite intimidated by that fact. Also, in the wake of 9/11, many Americans have made an effort to learn more about Islam. We may not be as ignorant as you think. For instance, many of us now realize that Islam is not just a religion. It is a whole system of religion, law and politics designed to control every aspect of a person’s life. There is no freedom in Islam.
And speaking of ignorance, I always am surprised when Islamic apologists refer back to the Crusades in order to justify themselves. The Crusades are over. The Crusades are history. Most people are ignorant of history, or convinced that they know the proper version of it. Yet as important as I consider history, American attitudes toward Islam have nothing to do with the Crusades. The history of the Crusades is just about as meaningful to the average American as an Indiana Jones movie. What has awakened American interest in Islam is what we’ve been seeing in the news for the past few generations: bombings of school buses, and other public atrocities, mobs screaming in the streets, bodies dragged behind trucks and hung on bridges, filmed beheadings, so-called “holy men” calling for the death of America. Americans don’t really understand all that. But you surely must see how terror in the name of Islam may actually make some Americans quite angry.
Some of our ignorant leaders think that if we show ourselves to be respectful to Islam and treat Muslims well, that we can live in peace. They have been fooled, because the “peace” that Islam seeks is the “peace” of having global control under a Caliphate. Americans want to live and let live. Islam wants to make sure everyone lives according to the dictates of the Quran. You surely can see why some Americans may want to go so far as to actually burn the document that authorizes our very demise as a free society.
In your article, you made some amazingly ignorant statements for someone who boasts of being a doctor and a writer. You wrote: “Jesus Christ and mother Mary are considered holy and highly revered by every Muslim. This is the missing link here. Westerners should know that Islam is not some local cult like Buddhism or Hinduism which i personally respect. It is a universal faith stemming from the same origins of the Judeo-Christian faith which along with Islam are recognized as Abrahamic religions.” Here are the facts: 1) The Jesus and Mary that Islam reveres are not the same as are recorded in the New Testament. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, while Islam teaches that he was only a prophet. And Islam does not consider the Bible to be accurate, reliable or the word of God, so they do not actually believe the words of Jesus; 2) In the entire discussion of Islam, who thinks of Islam as a ‘local cult’? Equally, how can you refer to Buddhism or Hinduism as local cults? Everyone in the west considers each of those three to be a major world religion; 3) You seem to be outside the normal marketplace of ideas because if you “respect” Buddhism and Hinduism as perceived local cults, then how is it a bad thing for westerners to perceive Islam as a local cult? I think you are saying you want westerners to respect Islam, but you are self-absorbed in how you say it; 4) There is no such thing as “the Judeo-Christian faith”. The Jewish and Christian faiths are quite different. But obviously you, as an Islamic apologist, disrespect Biblical religions by lumping us all together as infidels.
5) Finally, let me disabuse anyone of the notion that there can be any meaningful ecumenism between the Biblical religions of Judaism and Christianity, and the Quranic religion of Islam because of their “Abrahamic” origins. Both Jews and Christians believe what is written in the Bible about Abraham and his offspring. In the Book of Genesis the son of Abraham who received God’s special promised blessing was Isaac, not Ishmael. Ishmael and his offspring became enemies of Isaac and his offspring. After that, Isaac’s son Jacob inherited that same promised blessing, not his brother Esau. Esau and his offspring became enemies of Jacob and his offspring. In fact Esau even married a daughter of Ishmael, cementing the enmity between him and Jacob, who’s name God changed to Israel. Israel’s twelve sons then became the twelve tribes of Israel — God’s chosen people. Many places in the Bible illustrate this. One of my favorites, taken from 1 Kings 18:36, is a statement of the prophet Elijah. It says, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel,” [This is Adonai, not Allah.] “let it be known today that you are God in Israel …”
The fact that Allah of the Quran is not the God of the Bible is clear to anyone who takes the time to examine those two, very different documents. They describe two, very different concepts of God. The claims of Islam may look back to Abraham for their origins, but they are born of the envy of brothers who got the short end of the stick when it came to the promises of God. God chose Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau. Islam refuses to accept those facts, and by so doing are opposed to God and his plan. Both Christians and Jews believe that the Messiah will bring salvation to the entire world. They just don’t agree on who that Messiah is. There has been much ugliness, hurt, antisemitism, hate and intolerance between us throughout history. But today, in the here and now, we don’t wish to kill one another over our disagreements. We want to have the freedom to express ourselves. That even includes the symbolism of burning icons of those who threaten us. On the other hand, Islam perpetuates its own Crusades in the form of Jihad, such as the senseless acts of 9/11. The civilized world is asking Islam to stop the madness.