Saturday, February 25, 2012

Franklin Graham and the Art of Misinformation

The anti-Muslim base in America is no stranger to promoting misinformation about Islam, Muslims and even President Obama. During Franklin Graham's Feb. 21 "Morning Joe" appearance, nothing changed.

Graham reiterated the oft-repeated claim that Muslims are persecuting Christians because "Under shariah law, a Muslim can take a Christian's property without restriction and subject Christian women against their will." Mind you, no evidence or references are offered to support such a claim, but for those who prefer clear evidence to the contrary, here it is: The Quran is the first and only religious scripture that commands its adherents -- Muslims -- to protect churches, synagogues and temples from attack and to do so in preference to protecting mosques (22:40-41).

Accordingly, in a letter to St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, Prophet Muhammad gave his written oath that Muslims must protect Christian churches and properties until the end of time. He added that should anyone take anything belonging to a Christian, he would break his covenant with God and Prophet Muhammad. Under sharia (Islamic law), taking another's property -- regardless of the other person's faith -- is theft, a violation of the other's rights and honor, and severely punishable.

Likewise, any belief that sharia "allows" Muslim men to subject women against their will -- Christian or not -- is baseless. The Quran explicitly declares, "O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will..." (4:20). The Quran protects all women, regardless of faith. Those Muslims who persecute Christians and harm women are to be categorically condemned. Those so-called Muslims perform these atrocious acts in spite of Islam, not because of it.

Graham also alleged that the "Muslim world considers Obama a son of Islam because his father, grandfather and great grandfathers were Muslim -- that's sharia -- that's just the way it is." Ignoring for the moment how one would know what the Muslim world is thinking, such an assertion is, again, patently false. Islam -- like Christianity -- rejects the notion of inherited faith, requiring Muslims to actively affirm their faith by reciting the Shahadah if they claim to be Muslim. The Shahadah, which declares, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger," serves a role for Muslims similar to that of baptism for Christians.

Whatever the Muslim world thinks, sharia is clear: a person is a Muslim if he or she claims to be, and not a Muslim if he does not claim to be. President Obama has been forced -- most unfortunately -- more than any President in American history to perpetually reaffirm his Christian faith and belief in Jesus as his Savior. For some, however, this is just not enough. Perhaps in misrepresenting President Obama's faith, critics glossed over Matthew 7:1, "Judge not lest ye be judged."

Frankly speaking, such critics should stop speaking on anything related to Islam, others' faith, or foreign policy if they are not willing to support their assertions with facts and objective reasoning. Such discrimination against Muslims and those not "Christian enough" is frighteningly similar to evangelist Muslim clerics who express intense bigotry to Christians and those not "Muslim enough." Instead, as American Muslims, we invite people of all faiths -- and certainly evangelical Christians -- to open and candid dialogues based on pluralism and conflict resolution.

In fact, when Christians from Najran traveled to Mecca to see about Prophet Muhammad's claim, this is exactly what history records. The Christian travelers became Prophet Muhammad's honored guests, even offering their worship services -- unhindered -- in his personal mosque at his invitation.

Enough of misinformation and discrimination. Muslims and Christians must actively work together to achieve what both peoples want -- peace. As the Quran says, "Surely, those who have believed, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians -- whoso believes in God and the Last Day and does good deeds, on them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve." As Muslims who believe in the messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, we believe peace means developing a bond between man and the Creator, and letting the judgment be His and His alone. 

By Qasim Rashid

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.