When Is A NYC Mosque Like A Christian Center In Florida?

 

Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere.  C. S. Lewis

 

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard the controversy about a mosque that is going to be built in close proximity to Ground Zero. A brief background is in order. From Wikipedia we learn:
 

 

“Park51, originally named Cordoba House and sometimes controversially referred to as the "Ground Zero mosque", is a planned $100 million, 13-story, glass and steel Islamic community center and mosque. Plans are for the facility to include a 500-seat auditorium, theater, performing arts center, fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, childcare area, bookstore, culinary school, food court serving halal dishes, and Islamic prayer space for 1,000–2,000 Muslims. It would replace an existing 1850s Italianate building that was damaged in the September 11 attacks, and is located two blocks (about 600 feet, or 180 meters) from the World Trade Center site in Manhattan, New York City.

 

 

Though the building is privately owned, has no affiliation with local or state government, and is currently used for Muslim worship, the proposed location of the project triggered an intense nationwide controversy.”
 

(As an aside to our North Carolina readers, the building used to be leased to the Burlington Coat Factory).

 

“Feisal Abdul Rauf, a Kuwait-born Muslim Sufi of Egyptian descent, is the chief proponent of the project. Some U.S. politicians and others voiced concerns about his views. Nineteen days after the attacks, he told CBS's 60 Minutes that fanaticism and terrorism have no place in Islam. When asked if the U.S. deserved to be attacked, Rauf answered, "I wouldn't say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States' policies were an accessory to the crime that happened."
 

“Some claim that Rauf "has a record of support for causes that were sympathetic with terrorism". In June 2010, when asked in an interview whether he agreed with the U.S. State Department's assessment of Hamas as a terrorist organization, Rauf said: "I'm not a politician. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question." Adding "I am a peace builder. I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy.”

 

A couple of other points to consider are this. There are already four mosques within close proximity to this planned mosque. The Islamic Center has been offered land nearby. Also, according to some sources, it is a tradition for Muslims to erect mosques at the site of successful conquests and this history certainly raises the hackles and opens old wounds for those who lost loved ones on 9/11.
 

Most Americans believe that the Islamic Center has a legal right to build their complex at that site. But the vast majority of Americans believe that the Islamic Center should not build because the site has profound significance as the final resting site for many of the victims of 9/11. They were killed by those espousing radical Islamic beliefs. On several news programs today I heard statistics of American opposition to the mosque that ranged from 70-85%. There is also a concerted effort being made amongst union labor to refuse to work on the site. Apparently union labor must be used in renovations.
 

There is another incident that gives a depth of insight of a measured response in a similar situation. The Carmelite nuns built a convent and erected crosses next to the infamous Auschwitz Concentration camp. I visited Auschwitz as a teenager and became physically ill as I stood in the gas chambers where so many Jews had lost their lives. The Pope ordered the nuns to vacate the convent to show sensitivity to those Jews who were offended by the presence of the convent on what Jews considered hallowed ground. Here is a link to the story. 
 

The Muslims may be free to build their site but is it wise to exercise that option? Does Raulf believe that this is the best way to win friends for the Muslim faith? I heard a compelling argument for showing sensitivity after 9/11. There was an incident on a plane when passengers became concerned about the presence and actions of some Muslim clerics. The passengers refused to fly with them and it was decided to remove the men and place them on another plane. Obviously the clerics were angry and decided to sue.
 

But, one person made the observation that the clerics could have turned this incident in their favor. She suggested that the moment the clerics realized there was an issue that they should have stood up and asked to address the passengers. They could have said the following. “We understand that you are upset and mistrustful. The United States has undergone a terrible tragedy. In the interest of goodwill and solidarity, we will leave the plane so that you may fly in peace.”
 

What do you suppose the reaction on the plane would have been? My guess is the passengers would would have felt both relief along with a little guilt. They most likely would have asked the men to stay and a new bond would have been formed. Sometimes the best way to create goodwill is not to demand one’s rights. If Rauf really wants to show goodwill to his fellow citizens, he might find widespread goodwill if he accepted the offer to build elsewhere.
 

However, such a response is not likely to be forthcoming. Unfortunately, this situation is escalating and I am sure that New Yorkers are concerned that the protests may get out of hand.
 

Moving all the way down the eastern seaboard we end up at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. From the Huffington Post we learn the following.

 

“Members of a church in Gainesville, Florida are planning to commemorate the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 by burning Korans. The "International Burn A Quran Day," is just the latest in anti-Islamic protests that the Dove World Outreach Center holds each year on 9/11.

"The goal of these and other protests are to give Muslims an opportunity to convert," said the church's pastor, Terry Jones.The church stirred up controversy last year when in July, they put out signs that read "Islam Is Of The Devil," which is also the title of the pastor's book.
"We are definitely trying to send the message that Jesus Christ is the only way, said Jones.
 

Do these self avowed Christians have the right to burn the Quran? In terms of the legal code, I guess they do. But, their stated intent is to let Muslims know that Jesus is the only way. Do they think their message will be heard?
 

Paul found himself in a culture where there were many altars filled with pagan idols. Lets look in on an incident in Athens found in Acts 17:16-23 (NIV)

 

16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean." 21(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
 

Paul did not burn or trash the idols. Instead, because he had studied the various philosophies of the day, he was able to give a reasoned defense of the faith with respect and charity towards the unbelievers.
 

What was the outcome of this discourse? In verse 32 (ESV) we learn “ 32When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." 33At that, Paul left the Council. 34A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.”
 

Some came to a belief in Jesus. Others merely sneered. Yet Paul conducted himself with dignity towards all. Paul was a learned man and had spent much time in study. So many Christians want to take the easy way out. It is far easier to burn some books than to study what is in that book and learn to give a reasoned apologetic of the faith.
 

Pete Briscoe once commented that we have not done a particularly great job of evangelizing the world. He said that he believed that God brings people of all backgrounds to the United States to make it easy for us to reach those who do not know Christ.
 

But this demands some work on our part. We need to read and study the belief systems of others and then learn how to more effectively witness to them. That also means we have to know our Bible inside and out.
 

Far too many Christians sit back and show very little concern for the unsaved world around them. Sometimes it is just too hard to study and learn and for some, deep down inside, they really don’t care that much. It is far easier to go to a rally, wave a flag, say a few prayers and go home. It is even easier to burn a couple of Qurans and sit back with a smug attitude that “We sure showed them, didn’t we?”
 

In many respects we are no different than the folks behind the mosque at Ground Zero. We know our rights and we exercise them. But, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
 

Both the Dove Outreach Center and the Islamic Outreach Center in NYC are guilty of self-centered egotism. Both could benefit by a healthy dose of humility and lovingkindness. However, I am not optimistic that either group will see beyond their “rights.”

Comments

When Is A NYC Mosque Like A Christian Center In Florida? — 44 Comments


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    There were many Muslims among the victims at the WTC, including people who were innocent passengers on the plane and people who worked in the towers. At least one of the rescuers who died that day was a Muslim, clearly a hero.

    Would a Christian facility be more appropriate? What about near the places where alleged Christians committed atrocities, like the sites where lynchings occurred, where the KKK burned crosses, where McVey destroyed a federal building with children inside, or Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where by 1946 there were Christian churches in cities that were bombed by American Christians.

    If this were a Saudi facility, it might be appropriate to protest, since the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi. But the Muslim sect seeking to build in NYC could not build in Saudi Arabia — they are not radical enough for the Saudi religious leaders.

    At less distance from the WTC site than the Cordoba center would be, there are porno shops, clubs with erotic dancing, etc. If people are concerned about symbolic encroachment on the “sacred” site, they should be more incensed about these than a group trying to build a Muslim equivalent of a YMCA.


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    I don’t agree with Arce in this matter; I think that most Americans unfortunately equate the 9/11 tragedy with Muslims and Islam, making no distinction between those who practice and believe in jihad, and those who don’t. To a lot of Americans, the building of this mosque feels like dumping salt into a still-healing wound.

    There is another interesting little religious quirk here. A tiny Greek Orthodox church was crushed by the fall of the South Tower. They’ve been trying to rebuild as a part of the Ground Zero memorial, but are now at a seemingly unbreakable stalemate with the NY Port Authority. (More here.)

    As far as the church is Florida is concerned, you’re right, dee. Their approach to “show Muslims that Jesus is the only way” will fail because they don’t show any respect at all to the individuals they want to reach.


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    Arce

    As always you challenge me to think deeply. Your points are excellent.


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    Tikatu

    I have heard about this Greek Orthodox situation and wished I had mentioned it.Thanks for brining it up and providing the link.


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    The bigger problem that no one wants to tackle is that Islam is totally at odds with our Constitution. Islam cannot be the Islam of the Quran/Hadith and peacably coexist with our Consititution. Why is everyone pretending that it can? Is it because they do not understand Islam?

    Personally, I am not willing to go along with gutting the individual rights of the Constitution for them to practice any part of Sharia law as a community. Or to give religious exemptions in order to oppress or women. (It is astonishing to hear of the honor killings that go on in England!)

    We all want to sound so fair and non judgemental but a huge civil problem is coming upon us fast. I, for one, have been astonished at how quick liberal Americans are willing to overlook the civil rights of women to embrace the “rights” of Islam. It has been astonishing to me. What happened recently in Dearborn at the ARAB Festival is enlightening.

    We must make it clear to Muslims that individual rights for both men and women are the cornerstone of our laws and we will not budge an inch.

    Arce, The difference with your “Christian” Atrocities such as the KKK is that many Christians LOUDLY spoke out against them and worked against them. (The Abolitionist movement started in churches!) That has not been the case with Muslims. Even the moderate ones are very careful in what they say and it is rare to find a Muslim who will actually say that Jihad is evil. They cannot for it is presented in the Quran as necessary. (Perhaps you do not remember the street celebrations in Dearborn, Michigan after 9/11? In a small town in my state, A Palestinian doctor, could not contain his glee when the twin towers were hit and danced a jig in his office. His entire staff walked out that day, astonished! They had NO idea of his REAL feelings…for he had been here for 20 years!)

    I was not aware that McVeigh was a Christian. And to bring up Hiroshima as a Christian atrocity is curious since it was a WAR. Since my step dad was part of the invading force for Japan, I have read up on a bit of history. They were estimating a million casualties to invade Japan. Have you ever read about what the Japanese did to babies on Saipan? They threw them in the air and caught them with bayonets as sport.

    How does one deal with such an enemy? The bomb saved lives in the long run and now Japan is our great ally. And now, they have civil rights in Japan. To cite that as a “Christian” atrocity is hyperbole, Since America is not a theocracy.

    Arce, if a madman broke into your home and tried to rape and maim your daughter, you would not do ANYTHING to protect her? Would you give her over so as not to hurt the evil man?

    BTW: The church is Florida is being silly. Unfortuantly, they have the right to do this just as others have the right to burn Bibles. But they should wear masks. Muslims have assassinated people who drew cartoons of Mohammad or dared speak out such as Van Gogh who produced Submission.

    Check out Fitna by Geert Wilders

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgQdZgojOFI

    The funny thing about history is that we never learn from it. We tend not to believe what is clearly there. We did it with Hitler, Stalin and others. And we are doing it again.

    So, the question we must ask is this: Do Muslims agree with the Quran or not? If they do, we have serious problems because Islam is a fast growing religion.


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    Thank you for a very insightful article.


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    Lydia,
    There have been thousands of Muslims in this country and across the world that have condemned the 9/11 attacks. Many of them were silenced by the Bush decision for a war of choice against Iraq, which was not involved in the 9/11 event at all. But our media do not find reporting of the Muslim condemnation of 9/11 to be newsworthy, and the fact of it gets lost in the garbage put out as news.

    The proposal is not to build a Mosque. It is to build a community center that will have a space for prayers, but that space will not constitute a mosque, any more than the chapel in a hospital constitutes a church building.

    This matter has been demagogued to death, by people who have a political axe to grind. The site is not visible from where the WCT stood, and there is a Muslim facility, of a different sect, closer to the WCT site.

    It is an intentional misrepresentation (translation: a willful lie) to call it a “ground zero mosque” — actually several lies. It is not a mosque, it is not at or adjacent to ground zero. It is farther from the WCT site than my house is from my church, where we drive on Sunday rather than walk.


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    Some op-eds on this matter:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/opinion/22rich.html?_r=1&ref=opinion
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/opinion/22dowd.html?ref=opinion
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/opinion/22friedman.html?ref=opinion
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/opinion/22kristof.html?ref=opinion

    All of this hullabaloo about the proposed center in NYC is playing right into the hands of the radical Islamists, like bin Laden. We should be welcoming those who are of the Muslim faith who profess peace. Keep in mind that much of the OT is loaded with references to holy war and the slaughter of innocents, and that Christians have a history of violence toward those of other faiths. We do not, today, like being tarred with that brush. Nor do most of the Muslims in the world desire to be characterized by the violent few in the wide and varied world of Islam who are throw-backs to a medieval mind-set, the same one that fostered the bloody Crusades.


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    Arce, you cannot be serious? Muslims were silenced because Bush invaded Iraq to get rid of a tyrant who put MUSLIMS through meat grinders? (We were going to deal with Saddam sooner or later and let me remind you that France, Jordan, Egypt and England all had the same intel about wmd. Of course, I know that facts do not matter when it comes to liberal politics best to ignore. Our grandchildren will be dealing with these evil ME regimes and fighting Islam.)

    You mean, they CHOSE to be silent. Besides, I am not sure where you found the “thousands” who spoke out. I saw a few who said they were not in agreement with Jihad. But then, Koran teaches it is a virtue to lie to unbelievers so how do we know?

    I could care less about the Muslim Y or whatever it is. My point is much bigger. Islam and the Constitution cannot peacably coexist unless all Muslims denounce certain teachings of the Koran. Bin Laden said that it is the duty of all Muslims to know the Koran so they will do their Jihad duty.

    Again, The Koran teaches that lying to “unbelievers” is a virtue. I simply cannot believe how many liberals support and excuse Islam which oppresses women and kills those who convert to Christianity. What has happened to old fashioned liberal ideals of individual freedom?

    Perhaps if you saw what I have seen recently with the Muslim refugees from African war torn countries. The young men most at 17 and above speak English, have an education. The young woman are totally ignorant…know nothing of basic math or anything. They will hardly even talk to the workers through an interpreter unless the interpreter is a brother or cousin. (We think they are instructed by their Fathers and brothers to do this) I am at a loss as to what is going to happen to these women. They are too old for school and the government cannot force them into ESL or GED programs. And there are tons of them! What will become of them?

    Islam is Evil. I am stunned at how many liberals excuse it’s practices against women and those who choose to leave Islam.


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    ARce, Are you saying that standing up to bullies never works?

    Muslims who profess peace either do not know the Koran or are lying about what it says. It would behoove people to study it and know what it teaches before they believe anything.

    Arce, we are not under the Old Covenant. What a great teaching point to Muslims when they point to the violence of the OT…we have a Savior! It bothers me when Christians use the violence of the OT to support Islam.

    How can we be tarred with the same brush as those who used violence hundreds of years ago in the Name of Christ? We denounce it. Are you responsible for your ancestors behavior?

    However, the US government will strive to protect the innocent from bullies who do not care if they blow up children in their madness(Well, at one time the US government would…probably not now)

    Muslim violence is RECENT history.

    BTW: You chose all the good anti Bush writers as your links.Because you want to make this about Bush and liberal vs conservative.

    I tried to make it about a bigger problem:

    What the Koran teaches vs our Constitution.

    I sure wish folks would engage that. We are going to have to.


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    Hi ARCE and Lydia

    I think the real issue for me is the culture in the United States has descended to a point that we demand our rights. There is a lack of sensitivity on both examples-of the underlying issues.

    Point:

    The Pope ordered the nuns out of the Auschwitz area due to his sensitivity to the issues surrounding the convent. Christians dies at Auschwitz but in far fewer numbers than Jews and so, in the hearts of the Jews, this is a sacred place. The nuns were not provocative and they had a real passion for reaching out to the Jewish families to bring lovingkindness and solidarity to the situation.I think this example is compelling and applicable to the situation.

    I heard Rauf use the word mosque on a news show.Although he stated that the site was primarily a cultural center, he did say a mosque would be present.I admit that I don’t know the difference between a prayer center and mosque. I think it would show sensitivity to make the offer to move, hold onto the property and let a few years pass.

    I predict everyone will dig on in and there will be violence.


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    People lose the facts here. The center would be more than five blocks from the WTC tower site, would not be visible from any of the “ground zero” site, and between the proposed center and the site are erotic dance clubs with private room lap dances (a euphemism?), porno shops etc. If we are going to talk about desecration, etc., let’s get rid of the trash first.

    Second, the leader of this effort and his spouse have spoken against the subjugation of women in much of Islam and have shown that that is not a necessary interpretation of the Koran. Most Muslims understand the word “jihad” to apply to the idea of a struggle against the sin of ego and habits that take one away from God, rather than some violent act.

    We do not have to go far back to see violence committed in the name of Christ. This group has denounced the violent extremists in Islam, just as we have denounced the KKK, lynchings, the Bull Connors and racist Protestant pastors of the pre-1970s. But there still exist such today and we do not consistently denounce them publicly. And do not get me started on the subjugation of women extant in some sects and denominations, as well as independent churches, today.


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    ARCE

    You are correct about the desecration of the area with strip clubs, etc. Frankly I am sick and tired of Christians thinking that God sent Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans because of the licentious culture. How about NYC, Las Vegas, Sweden, etc.? I could make a case for just about any city. No one city holds the corner on piety.

    There is no question that the Christian faith has done its share of atrocities although I am not sure that those who say they are Christians always are. I would love to chat with the folks in charge of the Inquisition, KKK members, etc and see if they really were believers. I must admit, I have my doubts.

    Tomorrow I am going to write about a blog which linked to our blog and then unlinked. One comment, I will post if verbatim, made some air headed insinuation that women could possibly teach basket weaving with authority.

    Of course there are feelings on both sides of this issue. My point is that I am in favor of the example of the Pope’s dealing with the nuns. It shows an understanding of the complexity of emotion. I also think the imam could hold onto the building and give people time to calm down. Perhaps, by going to another site, the spotlight would be on the new center and it would give people an example of his moderate stance.

    I have been reading ferociously on this subject ever since your initial comment. I always appreciate you making me think beyond my set of assumptions.

    I am some what of a realist. I have heard a number of statements made by Rauf that are concerning, that could be taken a number of ways. I suspect he is trying to play both ends against the middle, hoping to be a mediator. Mediators often get stung as they are played by opposing factions.

    I think it would be wise for all sides to take a step back, slow down and communicate. I would love to see some meetings between the families of 9/11 and members of the Islamic community. I would like to see the imam answer some hard questions in a more straightforward manner.

    This center does not have to be built immediately. Perhaps the imam has become so Americanized that he has taken on our cultural attribute of life in the fast lane.

    There is no question that this thing is going to escalate. The unions are organizing against it.That could spell trouble.

    There needs to be a negotiator who arises out of this mess: someone who is trusted by both sides. But, it is going to take time.

    I am realist and I see a volatile situation that is going to spiral downwards and I fear the end result.


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    “There is no question that the Christian faith has done its share of atrocities although I am not sure that those who say they are Christians always are. I would love to chat with the folks in charge of the Inquisition, KKK members, etc and see if they really were believers. I must admit, I have my doubts”

    Of course they were not Christians! One cannot live consistently and willfully in sin and claim His Name. Hebrews 10:21-31 is clear on this.

    Most people do not know the Koran and that is why they make comments such as Arce made. The Koran started advocating violence as Mohammad could not make converts easily. Their “prophet” is a pedophile even in those days marrying a 6 year old when he was 50. The Koran also does not recognize secular government outside of Islamic governing authorities. This is a huge problem for Saudi rulers and they walk a thin line.

    One needs to ask themselves how a westernized society with women doctors and other women professionals can revert back to the stone age so quickly? How did it happen in both Iran and Afghanistan in the age of communication? Why did the people in those countries go along? The answer is important. Think about it. It was a “religious” revolution.

    Just take a real close look at what is happening in Europe.

    http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2010/08/city-of-dearborn-now-endangering-david.html


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    Lydia,
    You do not want to think of all who claim Christ as Christians and be held in any way to be associated with their acts. That is also true in Islam among the different sects within Islam. Thus there are ongoing “wars” among the various sects and understandings of Islam. We are playing into the hands of the extreme radical Islamicists when we push a moderate, modernist sect into the same category as those who perpetrated 9/11. We prove the point of bin Laden and his ilk with the tirades against all Islam.

    We have a different understanding of the role of government today that envisioned in the New Testament, and definitely than in the OT. Similarly, when the Koran was written, there was no real secular state (Europe was a “Christian” empire, for example.) So just as we have to interpret the NT to our times or live anachronistically, so Muslims must. The group in NYC understands the Koran differently than the extreme Islamicists. Thus, their objection to the subjugation of women and of violence as the proper meaning of “jihad”, which literally means “struggle”.

    The real problem in reactionary Christianity and in much of Islam is the interpretations and expansions added over time — limits on the interpretation of the scripture or expansions thereof. An example in Judaism is how the kosher laws grew from a relatively straightforward set in the Mosaic law to a complexity that today requires that food be wrapped in non-recycled plastic wrap and the alum used in kosher pickles be made from raw alumina ore and freshly made sulfuric acid, no recycling allowed.

    We should not hold people accountable to an interpretation of their faith that they themselves do not hold to be true.


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    Rauf is not altogether off the mark about U.S. foreign policy being an accessory to the twin towers tragedy, I was surprised only that it didn’t happen sooner.

    The U.S. has a long history of propping up brutal dictators throughout the third world when senior policy analysts deem it essential to advance and preserve U.S. hegemony and influence.

    We sided with the French colonialists at the close of WWII instead of the Vietnamese people’s right to self-determination and it cost us DEARLY in American blood & treasure from 1962-1975.

    We installed the Shah so that Iran would remain friendly to British oil interests and so that American oil interests could gain a foothold in the region. In short, we created the breeding grounds and festering sores which gave us the Ayahtollas, bred the Islamic crazies and allowed them to thrive.


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    A slight correction Muff: Clandestine American forces were in SE Asia, including Viet Nam, during the later 1950s, and our policy there was set by the Eisenhower Administration. We lost American forces, operating under the aegis of the CIA, in that area as early as 1956.


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    Arce+Muff

    Thank you for the history lesson. Did the Islamic crazies not have standing in those cultures prior to , say, the Shah? If the US had not intervened, would these brutal dictatorships not have arisen? How about Saddam? Was the US’s involvement only because of oil interests?

    There was an article in Christianity Today a few years back. Here is the link.
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/december/26.58.html
    This discusses the continued to decline and persecution of the Christian faith in this area. My son’t best friend at school is a Lebanese Christian. His extended family left Lebanon about 25 years ago due to persecution of Christians. There family had lived in Lebanon for generations as Christians and lived in relative peace until the last two generations.This family still bears the scars of their pain.

    I have another friend who hails from Syria. He converted to Christianity from his Muslim faith about 10 years ago. Our family planned a vacation with his family. We invited my son’s friend to come. His mother let him come but she expressed serious concern that our friend from Syria would be unkind to her son. She said the pain was too deep to fully trust. Thankfully, we had a marvelous time.

    It seems that there is some persecution in this region that has nothing to do with the US politics. Thoughts?


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    “You do not want to think of all who claim Christ as Christians and be held in any way to be associated with their acts. That is also true in Islam among the different sects within Islam. ”

    Arce, you are comparing apples to anvils. As to those who claim Christ and consistently do not act as Christians, we AS Christians can point to the NC Word and proclaim truth and their error! We have a duty to do so.

    Are you suggesting the same can be done with the Koran? If you are, then you are believing a lie. You are putting Islam on a level with Christianity. While I have called Islam a religion, it is more like a dictatorship government.

    I am quite familiar with the different sects of Islam. I have had some from both sects living in my home at the same time as a teen! I have been around Muslims since I was about 12. I LOVE individual Muslims. As a religion, it is a lie and the only thing that surprises me is that there is not more violence

    ” We are playing into the hands of the extreme radical Islamicists when we push a moderate, modernist sect into the same category as those who perpetrated 9/11. We prove the point of bin Laden and his ilk with the tirades against all Islam.”

    You do not get it. You did not answer my questions above. I will ask again. How can a very Westernized society, 99% claim to be Muslim, yet with educated women professionals resort to the Islamic stone age immediately following a religious revolution? Think about it. Almost ALL the people in those Westernized countries of Iran and Afghanistan were “moderate” Muslims. Did you not realize that? Or perhaps you do not want to believe it.


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    Dee,

    I would recommend reading Brother Andrew’s book about his work in the ME. Brother Andrew & Janssen, Al (2007). Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ. Fleming H. Revell.

    It is amazing what God is doing among Muslims! I have several family members (in missions/humanitarian) in different Muslim countries so I am told a little about what they are seeing on a small scale. God really is using dreams with this population. And because of these dreams they carefully and secretly try to seek “Isa”.


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    Arce, Just a few more thoughts. What if only 10% of Muslims are from the violent realm of Islam that actually studies the Koran? How many would that be worldwide since there are 1.57 billion Muslims (as of 2009). That is quite a few suicide bombers or those who would behead a Christian or Jew.

    From an Article written from WND on Pentegon briefing Paper:

    With suicide bombings spreading from Iraq to Afghanistan, the Pentagon has tasked intelligence analysts to pinpoint what’s driving Muslim after Muslim to do the unthinkable.

    Their preliminary finding is politically explosive: it’s their “holy book” the Quran after all, according to intelligence briefings obtained by WND.

    In public, the U.S. government has made an effort to avoid linking the terrorist threat to Islam and the Quran while dismissing suicide terrorists as crazed heretics who pervert Islamic teachings.

    “The terrorists distort the idea of jihad into a call for violence and murder,” the White House maintains in its recently released “National Strategy for Combating Terrorism” report.

    But internal Pentagon briefings show intelligence analysts have reached a wholly different conclusion after studying Islamic scripture and the backgrounds of suicide terrorists. They’ve found that most Muslim suicide bombers are in fact students of the Quran who are motivated by its violent commands – making them, as strange as it sounds to the West, “rational actors” on the Islamic stage.

    In Islam, it is not how one lives one’s life that guarantees spiritual salvation, but how one dies, according to the briefings. There are great advantages to becoming a martyr. Dying while fighting the infidels in the cause of Allah reserves a special place and honor in Paradise. And it earns special favor with Allah.

    “Suicide in defense of Islam is permitted, and the Islamic suicide bomber is, in the main, a rational actor,” concludes a recent Pentagon briefing paper titled, “Motivations of Muslim Suicide Bombers.”


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    Lydia

    Thank you so much for the book suggestion. A teacher who teaches world views allowed a convert from Islam to Christianity come into the classroom to speak about his torture. I hasten to add this teacher had members of all faith groups in the class but CAIR decided to protest this man and the teacher got in trouble and sent to an alternative school.

    The local newspaper did a hack job on this poor man’s history and I blew up at the editorial staff while I was serving on a community panel. I became a persona non grata. This man was hung by his feet and electric shocks were applied to his body.

    Said newspaper’s lefty columnist said she didn’t believe him after I set up a meeting between her and him. She used me and I am ashamed that I actually believed she might write a thoughtful column.

    She never apologized even though I had an enormous amount of proof of his torture. Brother Andrew’s group was involved in getting him out of Egypt. I corresponded with a Minister of Parliament who was involved in the behind the scenes negotiation to get him out alive.Showed all of this to the newspaper and they wouldn’t budge because it was an “opinion” column.

    The newspaper refused to retract the column stating that Miss Lefty was a columnist so her opinions did not need to be based in fact!!!!!When I pointed out that she had some blatantly false information in the column, they still refused to do anything. She wrote me an email trying to justify her “feelings” and I was so angry that I refused to answer her. I almost suggested that she do a trial run of the electric shock torture this man had gone through. I was almost ready to apply it myself. God finally calmed me down.

    Anyway, I am grateful to Brother Andrew’s group for the proof they gave me even if this newspaper did the wrong thing. I will never, ever trust a columnist again.


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    Arce, thanks for the correction toward greater precision. I didn’t know of any U.S. intervention (CIA black ops) in French Indo-China (Vietnam) prior to the Kennedy administration.

    And yes Dee, religious persecution has little to do with geopolitical machination. Northern Ireland had plenty of Christian crazies shooting and blowing each other up with no U.S. intervention whatsoever. I never meant to suggest that the Middle East quagmire is based SOLELY on the result of U.S. intervention, only that we helped to grease the wheels liberally. I will say though, that if the Persian Gulf’s main resource and exports were date palms and camels, the likelihood of our long term involvement there would have been greatly diminished.


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    This does not surprise me at all. It is amazing what is NOT being reported or allowed in mainstream media sources for sake of totalitarian niceness.

    Can you imagine being tortured for your faith and then the media in the West not believing you with all that proof? Please do not tell me there is not an agenda out there.

    And I hope that readers will understand that while I believe Islam is pure evil, I love Muslims. I have been around them most of my life since the age of 12. They have lived in my home and I have worked with Muslim refugees for years. I have family in Muslim country’s who are missionaries.

    If there is one thing I know about them…they respect confrontation and absolutely see the way we tend to handle things as cowardly.

    When I came across Jay Smith a few years back, I was astonished at how he handles Muslims since he is an Islamic scholar and a Christian. He gets it because he understands Islam.

    http://www.youtube.com/pfanderfilms

    Most Sundays he can be found in Hyde Park debating Muslims.


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    Lydia,
    You gave yourself away when you mention “both sects” of Islam. There are many more than two! Two are rather famous, because they are the dominant ones, and there are variants within those two. It is just as Catholicism and Orthodoxy were the dominant sects of Christianity prior to the reformation. The smaller and lesser known sects do study the Quran and find different meanings there, just as did the reformers, that the orthodoxy of the majority.

    Every town in America has at least one radical fundamentalist church and pastor, spewing hatred from the pulpit, talking about taking up arms for the faith, calling down curses on other Christians as being false, etc., etc. When was the last time you publicly condemned them.


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    “You gave yourself away when you mention “both sects” of Islam. There are many more than two! Two are rather famous, because they are the dominant ones, and there are variants within those two. It is just as Catholicism and Orthodoxy were the dominant sects of Christianity prior to the reformation. The smaller and lesser known sects do study the Quran and find different meanings there, just as did the reformers, that the orthodoxy of the majority.”

    Which ones totally eschew the Quran? There are two dominant sects that fight each other the most. What I said is that we have folks from each sect of Islam staying at our home. I did not realize that would communicate to you that there were no other “sects” of Islam in the world.

    Just to clarify, I do not view Islam as a religion. I see it as an ideology. It is no different from Fascism. A devout Muslim cannot practice Islam to the full in a pluralistic society. Do you not understand that? Do you not understand what the Quran teaches? If you do not have time to read the Quran then at least watch Fitna.

    There is no moderate Islam. There ARE moderate Muslims that do not follow the Quran.

    A escapee from Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who became a member of Parliament in the Netherlands, wrote the script for “Submission” for which Theo van Gogh was murdered by Muslims, tells us that we are not fighting a war on terror. We are fighting Islam.

    Islam teaches terror. What will it take for folks to “get it”?

    More innocent dead?

    BTW: When you find professing Christians going around suicide bombing folks, let me know and I will blast them, too. But keep in mind, our NC Scriptures do not teach them to do it. The Quran does.


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    I believe that that is a selective interpretation of the Quran. A similar selective reading of the Bible, especially the OT, suggests that our God is a violent God, appeased only by blood. And to some degree that continues into the NT.

    There are people who read the Quran who do not find it to be the violent book that you find. I have read it, and I can see both interpretations, just as I can see multiple interpretations of the Bible are possible by people trying to understand. The Christian interpretations of the Bible, until 1500, were violent.

    When I was an academic, I studied how people “know” what they believe they know. It is called epistemology. You have read the Quran with a lens that results in your conclusions about it. It is a natural phenomenon over which few have any control at all. So continue in your prejudice.

    Some people believe anyone not believing in a young earth are heretics, and say that is because the latter do not believe the Bible in the way that they believe the Bible. The same is true of sects within Islam.


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    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/Games-Muslims-Play.htm

    Everybody reads with “lenses” on, including those who refuse to see anything negative.

    I’ve read the Quran, the whole thing, plus a stack of history books by Muslim theologians, former Muslims, and secular history records about Islam. It is exactly as Lydia describes it: a system of life, a government with religious backing. No one who knows and follows the Quran and Hadith can be trusted or believed.

    Epistemology is not a new word to any of us; we didn’t enter this debate– or many others– yesterday. And it’s clear that you too, Arce, have read the Quran with a “rosy” lens that determines your conclusions about it. So you too can “continue your prejudice” and, I might add, your naivete. (See how insulting that sounds when you hear it back? Just FYI.)

    Some people believe anyone doubting Darwin is a heretic or a fool, and they say that because they don’t believe the Bible’s internal evidence (Jesus, Moses, etc. all held creation week to be literal). Again, how does that sound when someone uses it on you? We could play this game all day, if I were inexperienced enough to go along with it.

    I just can’t fathom how anyone looks at the Quran, Mo’s life, or Islam’s track record and have anything good to say about it. It’s irrational, IMHO.


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    Hi Paula, Arce, and Lydia
    Tis your humble and glamorous blog queen checking in. One of the most awesome things that has happened since starting this blog is to have personal insights into some of the dear people who inhabit this domain.

    In fact, I was going to comment that I have been so enjoying the exchange between Lydia and Arce because both are so passionate and educated about their positions. This sort of exchange is what I hoped for on this blog, unlike the Here I (Cringe) Blog which fears open and honest debate.

    Paula, Arce is one of the really good guys. You would be impressed with the way that he conducts his life. I am humbled by it. He has some thoughts that come from careful thought and deliberation and a whole bunch of impressive education. Each time he writes, I am challenged to think deeply and look beyond my prejudices. He is a champion of women within the church and holds them in high regard, far more than many of the patriarchal idiots that parade around spouting off about their authority.

    On the same note, Lydia is one of the most thoughtful elucidators of the role of women in the church. She has taught me so much about women and their relationship to God. I keep trying to get her to write a book. I mean that sincerely. I respect her Bible knowledge and, in particular, how she applies that knowledge in practical ways. She also conducts her life with kindness and cares for many people. She, along with Arce, has a servant’s heart. She is well read and can hold her own in any argument.I respect and admire her as well.

    Paula, as you know, I am an old earth creationist with leanings towards some aspects of theistic evolution. However, we allow all ranges of belief on this blog.I enjoy people who have a strong opinion. Goodness knows, I am among them having started a blog that is not known to shy from controversy.

    So, keep a stiff upper lip and join in the fray.

    Now, I heard two things today that might be of note. There is a community group that is trying to get the factions together to talk. Secondly, there is supposed to be a report coming out from a Middle Eastern think tank that has collated all of Rauf’s speeches. Apparently, there are a few corkers.

    Anyway, keep the thoughts flowing.


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    As I said, I can see the interpretations that result in the extremist violence, both in the Quran and in the Bible. I can also see interpretations that do not support violence, both in the Quran and in the Bible. As a committed follower of Jesus Christ, I try to model my life after His teachings, more than anything else in the NT, and treat the other NT scriptures as interpretation and elaboration in a first century world, so that they require us to understand the context and the meaning that the first readers would most likely have had, prior to making application to today. The teachings of Jesus are the key for me. (I do not presume to say that there is anything God could not have done or do, except fail to be righteous and just. And I understand the purview of the scriptures, with most of the OT put into writing during the Babylonian exile with a political and social-psychological purpose as part of its context.)

    Thus we (my wife of over 30 years and I) have chosen to live on a reduced income so I can help abused women in child custody fights with their abusers, and other poor people. We live in a neighborhood where in one direction the population is mostly Black, then Hispanic, and lastly Caucasian. In the other direction, it is mostly Hispanic, then Black, and lastly Caucasian. It is one of the highest crime zip codes in the area and one of the poorest communities in our state. We regularly provide food to neighbors, hire people to do things we would rather do ourselves so as to not give them money, but pay them for work done. Since we moved here, there has been a significant revitalization of the neighborhood.

    I have been an egalitarian on ethnic issues since age 10 or 11, on gender issues since 16 or 17, and on gender identity-sexual preference issues since my 30s. The life of Jesus suggests that He accepted everyone who came to Him and lived among the poor and outcasts, and I believe to be a Christian, we must do the same. Our first witness must be the love we express to every human being we encounter, without condemnation of their lives. We have friends who have spent a lot of time as guests of the state and are working to put their lives aright. We have mourned the loss of a friend who went off the wagon and wandered into the street in front of a car and another who is in prison for homicide because he was too drunk to have any memory of what happened one night. And we have been rejected by some in our church because of these choices, which we feel we have made in response to a call from our Lord.

    We do not judge people, because Jesus said not to. We love them and accept them and what they say about themselves we do not dispute, nor do we necessarily agree, but we do accept as a part of who they are.

    Similarly, when a Muslim says that he believes that the Quran does not teach violence, we accept that as his honest belief. I have read the book, and I see that it is possible to read it that way. The Hadith is different. I liken it to the traditions of the Catholic church, which protestants and evangelicals reject as human interpretation. I am not saying that all Muslims are peaceful nor that Islam is necessarily peaceful, nor that the Quran cannot be read to support violence. But those Muslims who chose to read and understand it as not teaching violence, I will not reject as false.


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    Arce, what is your opinion of Hamas’s endorsement of the proposed development?


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    That’s all very nice, and I could tell some heartwarming stories too, but it has nothing to do with how a shepherd is to treat a wolf. We are commanded to judge at many times; this excuse is trotted out to make us unable to protect the church from falsehood, and lifted from context in the process.

    The truth is that Islam is a great threat to not only Christianity but the whole world politically, and we dare not try to dialog with these wolves. The Quran is a FALSE teaching about a FALSE god, and if we as Christians refuse to recognize it as such, we are traitors to the ONE TRUE GOD.

    This attempt to look for the good in the camp of the enemies of God is, again, treason. There is no polite word for it. The lost will never see a need to be saved as long as we keep telling them they’re okay, they have good teachings, they just need to scratch out the bad parts and ignore the extremists.

    Do read that link, it gives a lot of excellent defenses against Islam, by people who know it well. They love Muslims too, but hate their “holy” book and the character of its founder, who was a pedophile, obsessive-compulsive murderer. That’s historical fact. It isn’t pleasant but it is true.


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    ” am not saying that all Muslims are peaceful nor that Islam is necessarily peaceful, nor that the Quran cannot be read to support violence. But those Muslims who chose to read and understand it as not teaching violence, I will not reject as false.”

    As “false” what?

    Do you believe Allah is God? I guess I am a bit confused. You seem to be lending credibility to Islam and comparing the Quran to the Bible. It always confuses me when Christians do this. It means we are starting with a false premise.

    I think it is important to note that there ARE moderate Muslims but there is no such thing as moderate Islam.


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    Paula

    These are not just some heart warming stories. They are the truth. I think that Arce understands your objections to his thinking.

    I think you are wrong about something. You said “The lost will never see a need to be saved as long as we keep telling them they’re okay, they have good teachings, they just need to scratch out the bad parts and ignore the extremists.”

    I know a man who is a well respected radiation oncologist at a major cancer hospital. He was Muslim. His wife converted to Christianity (she was not Muslim).A small group of us continued to share the faith with him, with gentleness and respect for his Muslim faith. His wife still attended some of the festivals with him. No one beat him over his head about his false faith. We shared the truth of the Bible and showed him kindness. His wife did the yeoman’s work of this witness.

    Today, he is a committed Christian, actively sharing his faith with his Muslim family. He also speaks to issues of the faith and Islam and the muddle it gets into when it deals with politics.There was no beating him over the head about the falsehood of Islam. Instead there was a sound presentation of the truth of the Gospel. Truth won out without having to beat him over the head about the faith of his childhood.

    Paula, on another stream, you became very upset when I pointed out that I did not believe in conspiracy theories. This was in regards, I hope I remember this correctly, to your belief that there is a conspiracy to hide evidence for young earth creationism. I neither believe in young earth nor a conspiracy, having a husband who has been intimately involved in the world of science.

    I think you could learn a lot about rigorous disagreement and discussion by following the thread of Lydia and Arce’s discussion.I highly respect both of them. Frankly, I get both of their views and it is causing me to investigate this matter in a deeper fashion. I also intend to read your link.


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    Dee,

    1. I did not say that Arce’s stories were false, but that they missed the point.

    2. I never advocated beating people over the head with anything. This is a straw man. What I’m saying is that “there is a time for everything”, and those who believe one approach is the ONLY way to ever use on anyone are negating the work of the Spirit in others. It would be helpful if those who believe their way is the only way would just leave us who disagree with them alone.

    3. Bringing up past disagreements on other topics is a red herring. Your assessment of my emotional state is subjective at best. But it’s why I rarely try to comment here, and the reason I can assure you I will not try it again. It’s your blog and you can run it how you like, but I won’t stay and irritate you, even if it might mean someone would be favorable to the gospel because I defend it with passion. If we cannot recognize a dangerous and evil religion and oppose it without hesitation, we stand for nothing but “niceness”.

    4. I think you could learn a lot about rigorous disagreement by looking at the Bible and the examples of Jesus and the apostles. They weren’t always irenic, to say the least. And in all the instances people have objected to my alleged “tone”, not once has anyone been able to point to a specific violation and show how it is worse than their own. Not once.


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    Sighhhhhhh


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    I do not believe that the Allah of the Quran is the same as the God of the Old Testament, but most Muslims do. But one must be careful because the word for “God” in Arabic is “Allah”, so that Arabic speaking Christians pray to “Allah” meaning the God of the Bible. The Allah of the Quran is not the triune God that Christians believe in. The Quran and Islam treat Jesus as the supreme prophet, but Mohammed as the last prophet.

    I also believe that the best witness to Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc., is to accept them as people of goodwill, as most who live in this country are. I try to extend the love of Christ to them. At times, they ask why I accept and love them, and I say it is because the God I worship, in the person of Jesus, commanded me to live a life of love for my fellow human beings. It leads to dialog about the nature of God, the concept of incarnation, redemption, atoning love, etc. Some are very moved.


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    Arce

    I, too, have a couple of Muslim friends. I have gone out of my way to be kind and thoughtful to them. They know of my faith. In fact, there were four of us: Muslim, Hindu, Catholic (very committed to Catholicism) and me. We travelled together because of my son’s soccer team. We had such interesting conversations and enjoyed our times together very much. Interestingly, none of us ever compromised on our particular beliefs but we were able to discuss the in-depth beliefs with charity and good humor.

    I still remember a particularly funny experience. My son’s school (Protestant tradition) played the Catholic man’s son’s school in soccer. My son scored the only, and winning, goal. The man was sitting on his son’s side of the field. He started yelling, “Damned heretics!!!! I was laughing so hard because it truly was meant to be funny.(There were a few raised eyebrows on our school’s side.)

    We are commanded to treat all with charity and respect. The murky area is when people use a faith to harm others. There is no question that people have used Christianity in the past for nefarious purposes. The problem is that there are some who use Islam to spread hatred and destruction in the here and now.

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran claims to talk to the 12th imam. This supposedly is some sort of soon to come descendant of Mohammed who has been in “occlusion” since the 12th century ( I think) who will usher in the golden age of Islam. Unfortunately, it also means that all those who do not adhere to Islam will be violently killed.This man now has a nuclear power plant and is launching test missiles.There is cause for concern.

    We also know that there are terrorist cells in the United States. Which means there is a clear and present danger from adherents to violence. These folks fight differently than us, very much hidden and very willing to take innocent lives, including lives of other Muslims.

    Frankly, I think many people are afraid of the possibilities of all out conflict which might originate from within the US.There is some legitimacy for this point of view. I listened to a close friend of Daisy Khan (Rauf’s wife) the other day. The host of the show tried to get her to condemn Hamas. Arce, she would not do it.He asked her 10 times in a 20 minute segment and she kept changing the subject. He finally forced her to say something and she said, “oh, yeah, yeah, its not great”. That was it. Very flippant. At that moment, I realized something wasn’t right but, to be honest, I am not sure what it is. Do they fear for their lives and therefore won’t condemn Hamas or do they not really think Hamas is all that bad?

    I then heard a recording of Rauf, who said, in 2005 in Australia, “The United States has more Muslim blood on their hands than Hamas has non-Muslim blood on their hands”. I wrote it down as soon as I heard it. There is something that is not on the up and up here and I can’t put my finger on it. Is it fear?

    Where does that leave me? Very confused and increasingly concerned about violence in this situation. May God give us all clarity.


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    Rauf’s 2005 statement in Australia is true. The voluntary war in Iraq accomplished that in less than a week, and that was after years of economic constraint that had resulted in malnourishment among many children in Iraq and problems in obtaining medical care. Sorry, but that is the truth. I do not blame only the United States, but also Saddam Hussein, who apparently to keep the Iranians off, led everyone to believe he had the WMD he did not have, among the other atrocities committed by that man.

    Some truths are uncomfortable for us. Historians have determined that the entry of the Soviet Union into WWII against Japan led to the capitulation to the U.S., because the Japanese feared the treatment that they would receive at the hands of the Soviets. An implication has been made that the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima may have been unnecessary. Whether one accepts that or not (and I do not), the fact is that the nuclear bombs were effectively terrorist weapons. Similarly the fire-bombing of the non-industrial city of Dresden in Germany.

    The fact is that Hamas provides many social services and charitable activities and has done that for a long, long time. They also fire rockets at Israel, conducts raids into Israel, and use violence to maintain their political power. Not a group to be admired. But Rauf’s point is, I think, that the U.S. needs to remember that when you point one finger at others you point three or more at yourself. The U.S. does not come to any table with “clean hands” and we need to park the RAH RAH and ego at the door, and be a little more humble in our approach to international affairs. It would be more effective in the long term in international affairs. The idea that the U.S. is God’s gift to the world should be a heresy to a Christian.

    And I love my country, fly a large flag on holidays, respect our veterans and military. To me, patriotism means helping our country live up to its ideals, not denying the truth about our past.


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    Hi Arce
    As always, you stretch my thinking! I am leaving ridiculously early in the morning to take my daughter back for her last year in college. She is the one who had a brain tumor and was not expected to survive her early childhood. She will be a nurse and loves being in the hospital, helping others, especially children and babies. Praise God for HIs mercy to our family!

    But doesn’t Hamas hide behind the children and women? They discriminate against women in Islam and then use them as shields for their cowardice. They do not accept Israel’s right to exist and see a Middle East without Israel. Does Hamas help out of humanitarian reasons or merely to retain support amongst the people?

    Arce, I know you are a patriot. I would never question your heart in this. I think that these issues are complex and I am concerned that we are not necessarily hearing the truth from Rauf. As you say, the US has not done things perfectly. Why then should I trust a man who will not condemn Hamas?

    As for God and the US, there is a man who attends our Sunday school class who hails from Germany. He is both a patent attorney and a world class scientist well as a visiting as a part time professor. He has a lengthy Wikipedia page. We ate lunch with him and his wife. I made some comment about mega churches. He said that I needed to look at things a bit differently.

    In Germany, no one goes to church.Church is looked at as archaic and useless. He says we should rejoice that at least people darken the door of churches and pay lip service to Gd. He says this keeps morals and ethics in front of the community. He says it also provides a witness to a European world which has largely rejected Christianity.He feels that the adherence to faith in the US provides a witness to the world that faith is alive and well.It apparently is the subject of discussion in Europe. In that regard, he says we give a gift of alive faith to Europe.

    He expresses concern of the increasingly conflicts with Islam in European culture which is demanding the freedom to practice their laws, which as you know, are discriminatory to females. Again, I am confused and concerned and plan to do some more reading. Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough answer.


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    Dee,

    Were Rauf to be even-handed, he would also have to condemn the U.S. for its many sins of killing innocents, in Dresden, in Japan, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, etc., etc. He has not done that. He has merely pointed out that the U.S. does not have clean hands. There are many who love this country who believe that the Iraq war was a commercial enterprise having to do with oil, and others who believe that it was a fit of pique over an alleged plot by Saddam to kill “Daddy Bush” (their term, not mine).

    Rauf has made the point that, for Americans to expect him to condemn people who commit violence against innocents, when they refuse to condemn the violence against innocents committed on their behalf, is hypocritical. As many claim that we are a “Christian nation” (as opposed to a nation primarily of Christians), that alleged “Christian nation” has the blood of a lot of innocents on its hands. I find nothing in the Bible to justify that, and a lot that stands against it.

    BTW, I love our military personnel and veterans. They do or did the job they with which they have been tasked and well. For me, the issue is at the top and the choices made there. I have no problem with bombing industrial centers and armaments factories. Schools, hospitals, and indiscriminately cities full of women and children, that is another matter. Our country needs to carry out a very ancient statement of the way to serve God: Practice justice with mercy and humility. And that justice is not retribution against innocent persons, but serving the least of those for whom He died.


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    My father flew one of the B-17’s that helped to burn Dresden to the ground. Many years later and in private, he would say that at the time (Feb 1945), the Wehrmacht was finished, and that there was no good military reason on God’s green earth to destroy Dresden.

    Dad even opined once that the decision to destroy Dresden was made to satisfy Churchill and Stalin’s thirst for revenge on the German people. Roosevelt only got arm twisted into it for political expedience.

    I heartily agree that patriotism is much more than waving flags and going along with anything the powers that be decree.