Unfair to Islam? Round 2
Published: 6 December 2008 (GMT+10)
Photo by sxc.hu
Our feedback item Unfair to Islam , an answer to a constructive critic of our article on ‘Fundamentalism’ in Creation 30(4), has generated more responses ranging from critical to favourable. Jonathan Sarfati explains further in reply.
First, David M., a creationist from France, expresses major concerns.
I don’t see what Islam and suposedly Islamic terrorists, have to do with Creation. I am almost angry about that. This is a very delicate subject, since Muslims in the Middle East are enduring atrocities.
So that a westerner throws more stones at them is very frustating for me. More over I have a link to this web site, where your recent article is being shown. I do feel bad about that. Since my readers can be Muslims, since I am French and live in France.
I have nothing against you and I appreciate your great work, really I do. But I don’t like and I feel uneasy about anti-Islamic articles that have nothing to do with Creationism.
Thanks. But we argue that an important part of creationism is the identity of the Creator. And the article was really only a feedback, responding to someone who had come back on an article in which Islam was only a side issue in the context of the word ‘fundamentalist’.
I am a YEC myself.
The problem with talking about Islam is that a lot of Muslims feel oppressed and feel like victims (and rightly so) of the West.
Perhaps Muslims might feel like victims, to the extent that that is the case, because of the factors that leading economist and author Dr Thomas Sowell discusses in Why do they hate us? pasted below:
Nowhere have whole peoples seen their situation reversed more visibly or more painfully than the peoples of the Islamic world. In medieval times, Europe lagged far behind the Islamic world in science, mathematics, scholarship, and military power. [But see also Christianity, Islam and science—JS]
Today that is all reversed. The number of books per person in Europe is more than ten times that in Africa and the Middle East. The number of books translated into Arabic over the past thousand years is about the same as the number translated into Spanish in one year.
Photo by Owais Khan, sxc.hu
Islamic Counter-Tasbih. Arabic words from the Qur’an are used to count on these pearls as a part of Islamic prayer.
There are only 18 computers per thousand persons in the Arab world, compared to 78 per thousand persons worldwide. Fewer than 400 industrial patents were issued to people in the Arab countries during the last two decades of the 20th century, while 15,000 industrial patents were issued to South Koreans alone.
Human beings do not always take reversals of fortune gracefully. Still less can those who were once on top quietly accept seeing others leaving them far behind economically, intellectually, and militarily.
Those in the Islamic world have for centuries been taught to regard themselves as far superior to the ‘infidels’ of the West, while everything they see with their own eyes now tells them otherwise. Worse yet, what the whole world sees with their own eyes tells them that the Middle East has made few contributions to human advancement in our times.
Even Middle Eastern oil was largely discovered and processed by people from the West. After oil, the Middle East’s most prominent export has been terrorism.
Even if the Islamic world set such goals and committed the material resources and individual efforts required, they could not expect to pull abreast of the West for generations, even if the West stood still. More realistically, it would take centuries, as it took the West centuries to catch up to them.
What will happen in the meantime? Are millions of proud human beings supposed to quietly accept inferiority for themselves and their children, and perhaps their children’s children?
Or are they more likely to listen to demagogues, whether political or religious, who tell them that their lowly place in the world is due to the evils of others—the West, the Americans, the Jews?
If the peoples of the Islamic world disregarded such demagogues, they would be the exceptions, rather than the rule, among people who lag painfully far behind others. Even in the West, there have been powerful political movements based on the notion that the rich have gotten rich by keeping others poor—and that things need to be set right ‘by all means necessary’.
These means seldom include concentration on self-improvement, with 19th-century Japan being one of the rare exceptions. Lashing out at others is far more immediately satisfying—and modern communications, transportation, and weaponry make it far easier to lash out destructively across great distances.
Against this background, we may want to consider the question asked by hand-wringers in the West: Why do they hate us? Maybe it is because the alternative to hating us is to hate themselves.
Look at the unjust atrocities going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine. I feel sorrow for those innocents. I don’t think the western propaganda of supposed Muslim terrorists are true. The CIA and other secret agencies are doing more terrorists acts than anybody else. Of course they will say those are terrorists attacks, because it’s so easy to accuse someone else who can’t defend himself/themselves.
It’s not CMI’s charter or mandate to debate American foreign policy, although I should point out that Americans are free to criticize it, a freedom missing in Islamic countries. Same goes for the domestic policy of the only democracy in the middle east, Israel.
Anyway, at least write with a more loving and kind tone towards Muslims. I have met a lot of Moroccans here in France, and they were the kindest and warmest persons I have ever met.
Even with Christians I never felt that welcomed. I am Christian by the way. But Muslims are my friends. They love to debate about theology and Islam. The sweetest girl at the University i have ever met was Algerian. And we talked about Christianity and Islam. It was so enriching really. Her name was Ibtissem (which means Smile).
One major point of the article was that I don’t dispute that there are nice Muslims (I know some), but that the alleged peaceful majority is despite not because of the Qur’an.
Anyway I understand that you feel Muslims are a threat since the Western media portrays them as such.
It’s really the ideology (Islam) that is the threat, not people as such (in this case, those declaring themselves to be Muslims). That’s why Scripture’s counsel is to demolish arguments (that set themselves up against the true knowledge of God), not using the ‘weapons of the world’ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Another major point of our article is that, far from ‘Western media portraying’ Muslims as terrorists, in reality the Western media goes out of its way to downplay the Islamic root of such aggression. Everything you say could be found in some media outlets, always prattling on about moral equivalence. Don Feder, president of Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation, writes in NY Times’ Politically Correct Coverage of Mumbai Massacre, 1 December 2008:
In a series of six alleged “news” stories on the Mumbai massacre, from November 27 to December 1, The New York Times (America’s newspaper which sounds like a broken record) refused to call the terrorists Muslims or Islamic extremists.
The killers were variously described as “terrorists”, “gunmen”, “militants” and “assailants”, but never Muslims. The only time readers could catch a glimpse of the terrorists’ motivation was when the paper quoted them directly—as when they complained about the treatment of Muslims in India and the Kashmir or called for the release of “mujahedeen prisoners”.
The Times adamantly refuses to recognize a connection between Islam and worldwide terrorism, even though most terrorist acts are committed by Muslims, terrorist groups have names like jihad-this and Islamic-that, and terrorists regularly quote the Koran’s kill-the-infidels verses.
Collectively, this constitutes the greatest denial of reality in the history of journalism.
In thousands of words of coverage, The New York Times never mentioned that victims’ bodies frequently bore the marks of torture.
But believe me if they chanted about the 9/11 attacks is to show their joy that the oppressor was hit.
It’s sad they rejoiced over deaths, but let’s not forget the 1,000,000 deaths toll in Iraq for nothing… :(
Again, it is not my job to defend or condemn US foreign policy. By way of adding some balance to the discussion, however, I would venture that many of these alleged million deaths were due to Saddam himself, or his sons, as shown by the mass graves there, or to the UN sanctions that Saddam rorted. And he attacked the Muslim nation of Kuwait. I also know of no dancing in the streets in the West when people were killed. The only rejoicing here was by Iraqi refugees when Saddam was captured.
Please don’t feel like I am attacking you, I am not. I am just trying to tell you what I am feeling about the article you wrote. And for my Muslim friends.
I appreciate your gracious tone. I would gently say, by way of a personal note (not on behalf of CMI) that in regard to atrocities in the Middle East against Muslims, I don’t see anyone bombing mosques in the way that synagogues have been bombed even in your country, stabbing imams in the way filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in broad daylight for daring to make a film critical of the treatment of women in Islamic countries, or riots and even murders of Muslims if they say something against Christianity in the manner of the aftermath of the Pope mentioning the violent history of Islam (ironic that Muslims use violence to protest against a claim that Muslims are violent!). School buses carrying Muslim children are not being blown up. Israeli girls don’t go into Muslim shopping centres, weddings and discos with explosives strapped to their bodies. And after this email was written, Islamist terrorists in Mumbai, India, murdered innocents in cold blood (including some Australians) after viciously torturing many, in an elaborately planned attack.
That is not to say that one should support even one solitary case of injustice against anyone, Muslim or otherwise—I just wanted to add what I feel is some appropriate balance to the discussion.
thank you for your time and attention.
Thank you too.
K from South Africa is next, and he recounts his experience of living in an Islamic country.
Photo by Javier Ramos, sxc.hu
Hi Just some comment on life in Saudi Arabia which may help Andrew C regarding his Unfair to Islam letter. Having spent a little time in Riyadh and seeing an Islamic state firsthand it is very oppressive.
As a Christian I had to keep a very low profile. I may not try to evangelise or I could face the death penalty.
Day to day living requires ladies to wear bhurkas at all times in public. Ladies may not drive vehicles. Females may not work with very few exceptions. Ladies have to stand in separate queues at shops. Men and women may not be seen together unless they are married in which case they sit in a special ‘family’ area which is cordoned off from the rest of the people.
Walking your pets and the sale of new pets has been banned as there were cases being reported of males using their ‘cute’ pets to attract attention from the opposite sex.
At the ten pin bowling alley a curtain was drawn down the middle of the building with women on one side and men on the other side. Interaction is prohibited between sexes in public at all times.
Five times a day the Muslims are called to prayer. The evening prayer at 8pm is the most important and should you be in a restaurant staffed by staunch Muslims you will be asked to leave the premises even if you are still busy eating your meal. I was allowed to stay in one restaurant but the doors were locked, the blinds closed and the lights dimmed until the evening prayers were finished.
Photo by hasim, sxc.hu
Very little reading material was to be seen in the shops other than a few books with anti-Christian or pro-Islamic slants.
All hotel facilities, e.g. swimming pool and gym are for the exclusive use of men.
Any reported insults or perceived insults against Allah or Muhammed will have you facing the death penalty.
Currently there is an argument in Saudi clerical circles as to whether you may be allowed to celebrate your birthday with some clerics saying it should be banned as it is a western tradition whilst other clerics say you should be allowed to have a small celebration.
These are just some of the conditions I experienced in Saudi Arabia. It left me with and deep feeling of sorrow for those people living under the yoke of Islam.
I visited the national museum and you follow a yellow line around the exhibits so as to keep the order of events. The first display tells us that Allah created everything but the second display told us how everything evolved. If that is the case what did Allah create?
Please do not use my name and location in any publications as I may have to return to the region and don’t want to risk my security.
Thanks for a fantastic ministry.
Thank you for this information. I recently came across the following information from Australian conservative journalist Andrew Bolt (who is not a Christian) in Europe’s new religious strife, which warns that the oppressions seen in Islamic countries may spread to the west. Indeed, it already has spread to parts of David M.’s country.
The US National Intelligence Council in its Global Trends 2025 report warns that Europe faces even more trouble between Muslims and non-Muslims—and that the US and Israel may pay for the Islamisation of the continent:
Western Europe’s Muslim population currently totals between 15 and 18 million … If current patterns of immigration and Muslim residents’ above-average fertility continue, Western Europe could have 25 to 30 million Muslims by 2025.
Countries with growing numbers of Muslims will experience a rapid shift in ethnic composition, particularly around urban areas, potentially complicating efforts to facilitate assimilation and integration. Economic opportunities are likely to be greater in urban areas, but, in the absence of growth in suitable jobs, the increasing concentration could lead to more tense and unstable situations, such as occurred with the 2005 Paris surburban riots.
Slow overall growth rates, highly regulated labor markets, and workplace policies, if maintained, will make it difficult to increase job opportunities, despite Europe’s need to stem the decline of its working-age population. When coupled with job discrimination and educational disadvantage, these factors are likely to confine many Muslims to low-status, low-wage jobs, deepening ethnic cleavages. Despite a sizeable stratum of integrated Muslims, a growing number—driven by a sense of alienation, grievance, and injustice—are increasingly likely to value separation in areas with Muslim-specific cultural and religious practices….
Ongoing societal and political tension over integration of Muslims is likely to make European policymakers increasingly sensitive to the potential domestic repercussions of any foreign policies for the Middle East, including aligning too closely with the US on policies seen as pro-Israeli.
We should note that the above extract seems to assume that children born and raised in Muslim households will remain Muslim. That is not always the case, as Christian converts from Islam would testify—at least, those who haven’t already been martyred for bravely professing Christ Jesus is their Lord, Saviour, Creator. Thankfully, laws in western nations continue to allow individual freedom of religious belief—despite the increasing push in some jurisdictions for sharia law to be imposed.1
DS from Australia:
Dr Sarfati’s response is most fair and balanced, and indeed slightly understates the issues raised by Andrew C. Firstly, 20th and 21st Century peoples have little knowledge of Islam and so could be forgiven for not understanding that Jihad has been in force against all ‘infidels’ for most of the past 1400 years, with a few exceptional periods. Secondly, Dr Sarfati’s responses could be coupled with some very balance reading, for example, Jesus and Muhammad—Profound Differences and Surprising Similarities, by Mark Gabriel. It would be difficult to find a more balanced and concise contrast (as pointed out by Dr Sarfati and others) than Gabriel’s contribution. Islam and Christianity cannot! be the same when Islam claims that Jewish/Christian writings (The Bible) have been corrupted with absolutely no academically supported evidence.
Thank you. Yes, Mark Gabriel was former professor of Islamic history at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt, who became disillusioned with Islam’s teaching of Jihad and later became a Christian—see his account. One must wonder whether those that claim that Islam is a religion of peace really know more than its experts? For another example:
Islam is Not a Religion of Pacifists
by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, 1942
Islam@rsquo;s jihad is a struggle against idolatry, sexual deviation, plunder, repression, and cruelty. The war waged by [non-Islamic] conquerors, however, aims at promoting lust and animal pleasures. They care not if whole countries are wiped out and many families left homeless. But those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [God’s law]. …
Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does that mean that Muslim should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill the [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender [to the enemy]? Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors!
There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.
A few other brief feedbacks follow:
JG. From the UK:
It is good to see well reasoned argument from one who is well acquainted with a subject. All too often the reverse is true, as with the opposition in this case, where so much that is not desirable in the eyes of the proponent is ignored.
Unfortunately the same applies to ‘christians’ (small c) who have not realized the importance of believing the Bible in totality.
JM from Australia:
I support Jonathan Sarfati’s response. One mistake we Christians can make is to think that Islam is peaceful because some of its adherents are peaceful. My response is to look at the founder for the prime example, and it is obvious that Jesus is who He claimed to be, the Son of God to be worshipped and adored. … The letter from Andrew C unfortunately seems to be edging towards the dangerous area of moral equivalency. Islam is not peaceful, but worse, it leads its followers to eternal destruction by denying Christ. CMI and Dr Sarfati, I support your stand.
- The British government has recently sanctioned the powers for Islamic sharia judges to rule on cases that come before them; see Abul Taher, Revealed: UK’s first official sharia courts, Times Online, 14 September 2008. Return to text.