Islam receives unfair coverage from media, Rauf says
Placing his hands on the podium, Feisal Abdul Rauf hunched down slightly to speak into the microphone. He looked out into the large audience with dark brown eyes and spoke slowly, with deliberation as he described his first time experiencing the shahada, the first of the five pillars of Islam that is a profession of faith.
One day while praying, he was deeply moved.
“For a moment, I felt a oneness with all humanity,” he said. “For me, it was my first experience of the Shahada.”
The experience fueled his desire to foster interfaith unity, tolerance and acceptance, he said. A Sufi Muslim, the Kuwaiti American imam and scholar gave a speech entitled “The Evolving American Muslim Identity” at the DoubleTree Hotel on Oct. 21.
Hundreds of people attended the event hosted by the Montana World Affairs Council as a part of their Distinguished Speakers Program. After his talk, Abdul Rauf fielded questions from the audience and signed copies of his new book, “Moving the Mountain: A New Vision of Islam in America.”
In the comments of a Missoulian article announcing Abdul Rauf’s presentation, people anonymously said “there is no such thing as a ‘moderate’ Muslim” and “I must protest highly about this ‘scholar’ sharing whatever lies he can get away with in front of high school kids.”
That’s exactly what he does.
But audience members were fairly quiet throughout the question and answer session, asking several questions on extremism.
Someone asked Abdul Rauf to respond to presidential candidate Ben Carson’s remark that he would not support a Muslim president.
Rauf took a long pause before replying.
“I want to know the neurological basis for that comment,” he said.
People in the west should be more interested in the neurological basis of slick deceivers like Abdul Rauf. Dr Carson is a Neuro-surgeon with his faculties intact.
One audience member asked about Sharia law, which prompts many people to leave Muslim countries and immigrate to Europe.
Abdul Rauf said it was a flawed question, to which one audience member said, “Is it?”
“When Americans think of Sharia, they think of the Talmudic penal code,” he said.
No. They think of headchoppers and 9/11.
The religious penal code includes laws that require people to be stoned to death for adultery.
“Really, it’s about the ten commandments in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran,” he said.
There are no ten commandments in the Quran.
Rauf said he feels there are extremists in every group, and the media tends to cover extremist Muslims far more than moderates.
“It deems those things newsworthy and the moral majority of Muslims as not being newsworthy,” he said.
Islam is highly immoral. There is no evidence whatsoever that there is a “moral majority” of Muslims.
He went on to discuss ISIS, the Middle Eastern conflict and Islamic American culture, which he said he hopes to see develop further.
“America has traditionally been a multicultural society,” he said. “We need to develop an American culture for Islam for our descendants.”
No, we don’t. We need to fight it by all means possible.
The Montana World Affairs Council brought Abdul Rauf to Missoula to bring about dialogue surrounding Muslim American culture, Interim Executive Director Aubrie Lyons said.
“Even in remote corners of Montana, what happens around the world does impact us,” she said.
She said the council wanted to bring greater awareness and understanding of different cultures in Missoula.
Although she said Missoulians are generally receptive to people from different cultures, Lyons was expecting a diverse audience.
“In every community, there are dissenting opinions,” Lyons said. “That’s our job — to bring people together.”
Islam divides the world in believers and unbelievers. That’s not bringing people together, that’s divisive.
Rauf said his experience in Montana has been positive, and he has found Missoulians to be genuine.
“You are the best of America, here in Montana,” he said.
And he, what is he?