“Islam means peace”
Â (it doesn’t, it means submission)
“…and Â becauseÂ Timothy McVeigh did not represent Christianity, Â Tamerlane Tsarnaev doesn’t Â represent Islam.”
(McVeigh never Â did anything for Christianity, but Tamerlane clearly did what he did for Islam.)
Ahmed Akbar writes like a snake slithers. He always writes the same BS, but because he wears a suit and shaves, some Moonbats think he’s not a savage.
Is it progress when a cannibal knows how to use knife and fork?
More islam means peace and Tamerlane Tsarnaev doesn’t represent islam atÂ CG NewsÂ (thanks to Mullah)
Akbar Ahmed gets help from theÂ aptly-named professor Hatem Bazian:
Pointing your finger at Muslims for the crimes they commit in the name of allah causes “suffering and pain” to Koranimals who then feel compelled to commit more crimes and terror to defend Islam from ‘Islamophobes’ and “anti-Islamic bigots.”
Enough of this perversion of reality.
I say Hatem back!
Washington DC – From the time Salman Rushdie’sÂ The Satanic VersesÂ was published over two decades ago, when I was at Cambridge University, I have been fully involved in promoting dialogue and understanding between the West and the Muslim world.
I have met with great minds at the White House, Pentagon and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and spoken with rabbis, priests and imams, only to find that, despite countless hours spent as a goodwill ambassador among civilisations, there is a persistent, divisive misunderstanding between Muslims and the West, and it manifests in tragic displays of violence.
Post 9/11 thinking conflates religion and culture in the Muslim world, brands it as dangerous, transforms the mosaic of Islam into a monolith and pits it against the globalised West, which is seen as modern, decadent and secular. These conceptions are both inherently flawed and worryingly reductionist. As a bridge between cultures, worldviews and religions, Muslim-Western relations, which seeks to unpack and decode each culture for the other, has much to offer.
Indeed, anyone questioning whether the field of Muslim-Western relations is still relevant has only to look at current – and unfortunate – events in American and international news.
In the United States, fear and retaliatory anger from the tragedy at the Boston marathon has been directed towards innocent Muslims by their fellow Americans, who are confused and upset by the death and destruction visited upon runners and spectators. Some have made the miscalculation to lump all Muslims together into one threatening, homogeneous group. We have even seen senseless acts of violence directed at Sikhs, who fit a stereotypical – and inaccurate – profile, which holds that all Muslims are bearded and wear turbans.
I have found that ultimately it is ignorance, a lack of compassion, a feeling of helplessness and overwhelmingly misplaced rage that drives individuals to lash out at each other and commit acts of aggression.
A gap exists between Muslims and the West, demonstrated to shocking effect by a study compiled by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs in April 2012. A full 47 per cent of “millennials” – 18 to 24 year olds – questioned on whether Islam was at odds with American values answered in the affirmative. Similarly, the Public Religion Research Institute’s 2013 survey on Religion, Values and Immigration Reform also found that 47 per cent of people asked this exact question agreed that the values of Islam were contrary to the American way of life.
In light of these findings, the necessity for interfaith understanding becomes even more urgent. It is much more difficult to hate – or even dislike – a person based on religious beliefs alien to you when you have met them, shared a meal or a cup of tea, listened to their successes or defeats and allowed yourself a moment to recognise them as human.
Like me, my friends at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC have demonstrated admirable support for interfaith dialogue through endeavors such as the Sunday Forum, where intellectuals of all faith traditions come to the Cathedral to explore the roots of religious intolerance, building a pluralistic future for our children, and fostering understanding among all faith communities.
The Anti-Defamation League, an organisation made up of a predominately Jewish membership, is also committed to the protection of their fellow Americans, including Muslims. They condemn the spread of hate literature about Muslims, attacks on mosques and legal campaigns that would limit the ability of American Muslims to freely practice their religion. Similarly, the Islamic Society of North America collaborates with both Christian and Jewish organisations to promote tolerance and cooperation among faiths.
While some Islamophobic individuals turn to scripture to shore up their claims that Islam and Western values are categorically destined to be at odds with each other, I would charge them to look past the fragments of information they collect to thoroughly examine the entire tapestry that is Islamâ€”a religion whose very definition means peace. I would remind them that just as Timothy McVeigh did not represent Christianity, neither does Tamerlane Tsarnaev represent Islam.
Labelling each other as monolithic, static cultures has yielded nothing positive – misunderstanding leads to negative consequences, whether in daily communication or on a global, political scale. It is only by adopting the wisdom of Harper Lee’s immortal character, Atticus Finch, that we will achieve clarity: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of viewâ€”until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
* Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, DC, former High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK and Ireland and author ofÂ The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror became a Global War on Tribal Islam. This article, the third in a series on contemporary Muslim-Western relations, was written for theCommon Ground News Service (CGNews).
September 10, 2010 – by Laura Rubenfeld
Akbar Ahmed, the chair of Islamic studies at American University, has advised many government officials, including General Petraeus, Richard Holbrooke, and George W. Bush. He speaks regularly on BBC and CNN, and has appeared on many U.S. shows, including Oprah and Nightline.
To oppose the “burn the Quran” event planned by Pastor Terry Jones, Ahmed wrote an editorial for CNN in which he stated:
Not only are the actions of Jones contrary to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, but they are also against the ideals of the American Founding Fathers.
The Founding Fathers read and honored the same Quran that Jones is now seeking to burn.
[John Adams, America’s second president] showed the utmost respect for Islam, naming the Prophet Mohammed as one of the greatest truth seekers in history.
These statements are utterly opposed by the facts.
John Adams did indeed own a Quran â€” the copy he owned contained the following in the preface:
This book is a long conference of God, the angels, and Mahomet, which that false prophet very grossly invented; sometimes he introduceth God, who speaketh to him, and teacheth him his law, then an angel, among the prophets, and frequently maketh God to speak in the plural. … Thou wilt wonder that such absurdities have infected the best part of the world, and wilt avouch, that the knowledge of what is contained in this book, will render that law contemptibleÂ …
Perhaps Akbar Ahmed misspoke, and was referring to John Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams? The sixth president, not the second?
No. Here is what John Quincy Adams wrote about the Islamic prophet Mohammed:
In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar, the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust, by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE.Â [emphasis in the original]
John Quincy Adams also described the Quran in one of his essays as follows:
The precept of the koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.
Ahmed also claims in his editorial that “Benjamin Franklin called the Prophet Mohammed a model of compassion.” Ahmed made similar claims onÂ The Daily Show:
I quote the Founding Fathers. … John Adams on the Prophet of Islam: He called him one of the greatest truth seekers in history. (Ben) Franklin called him a model of compassion. And Jefferson had the first Iftaar … and owned a copy of the Quran. … Those Americans who are attacking Islam simply as a terrorist religion or a religion of evil, really need to go back to their own Founding Fathers.
In a March 23, 1790, letter to the editor of theÂ Federal Gazette, Ben Franklin wrote:
Nor can the Plundering of Infidels be in that sacred Book [the Quran] forbidden, since it is well known from it, that God has given the World, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to enjoy it of Right as fast as they conquer it.Â
Thomas Jefferson? Like John Adams, he did own a Quran, one translated by George Sale. Here are some of Sale’s comments on the Quran, included by Sale in his introduction:
It is certainly one of the most convincing proofs that Mohammedism was no other than human invention, that it owed its progress and establishment almost entirely to the sword.
In his editorial, Akbar Ahmed claims:
Thomas Jefferson kept the … Quran in his personal collection and it informed his decision to host the first presidential iftaar during Ramadan.
President Obama repeated this claim â€” that Jefferson hosted the first presidential iftaar â€” at the most recent White House Ramadan dinner.
Let’s review the facts.
During the Barbary Wars, in 1805, the bey (i.e., monarch) of Tunis threatened war with the United States after the U.S. had been successful in capturing some Tunisian pirate ships. The bey sent an envoy to the United States to negotiate for the return of the ships. This envoy stayed in Washington for six months, during which the month of Ramadan passed.
One of Thomas Jefferson’s many invitations extended to this envoy to meet with him at the White House was during the month of Ramadan. To accommodate the envoy’s religious obligation, Jefferson changed the time of dinner from the usual “half after three” to “precisely at sunset.”
Jefferson was being polite â€” not celebrating the first White House iftaar, as Akbar Ahmed suggests.
The first Ramadan iftaar was not actually held at the White House until 1996.
Indeed, in a letter dated June 26, 1822, Jefferson had this to say about Islam in a passage regarding Calvinism:
Verily I say these are the false shepherds foretold as to enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. They are mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mahomet.
For good measure, Akbar Ahmed also mentioned John Locke:
The Founding Fathers were also inspired by Christian thinkers like John Locke, who declared that the true Christian’s duty was to “practice charity, meekness, and good-will in general toward all mankind, even to those that are not Christians.”
Akbar Ahmed is currently Ibn Khaldoun chair and professor of Islamic studies at American University. Ibn Khaldoun was a 14th century Islamic philosopher and scholar, a man about whom Akbar Ahmed has written. Ibn Khaldoun advocated for violence against non-Muslims as a religious duty, in order to achieve the larger goal of dismantling non-Muslim civilization and imposing an Islamic caliphate.
Ibn Khaldoun makes it clear that holy war is the duty of every Muslim. From his most famous work,Â Muqaddimah:
In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the (Muslim) mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.
Akbar Ahmed is, as previously noted, an advisor to General Petraeus. One wonders if General Petraeuss has been influenced by the false teachings of this professor.
Laura Rubenfeld is an analyst for the Investigative Project on Terrorism.