Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Media and the Mosque

Why has Western civilization turned so viciously against its own Christian roots? Why do our institutions that started as Bible schools – Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Brown, and Dartmouth – now mock the mother that gave birth to them? The latest manifestation of Western self-contempt is the embrace of Imam Rauf who is now a USA paid emissary.

In regards to Rauf, the president of ACT for and Lebanese immigrant to the USA, Brigitte Gabriel, writes,

“More Americans now know that Rauf, as recently as March, said in Arabic that he opposes interfaith dialogue. They know he is a vocal supporter of sharia law, that he says governments which do not employ sharia law are ‘unjust’ and that he has refused to label Hamas a terrorist organization. They know he has refused to sign the ‘Freedom Pledge,’ issued by Former Muslims United, which pledges to oppose retaliation and punishment toward Muslims who leave Islam. The more Americans learn, the more concerned they become.”

It wasn’t our mainstream media that has disclosed these unsettling but important facts. Gabriel explains that instead it was “investigative reporters, bloggers and watchdog organizations.”

Meanwhile, the mainstream media largely paints those who raise questions about Rauf and his mosque as simply fearful or, even worse, as instruments of hate. They are also referred to as “extremist elements” or just “ignorant.”

However, is it hate that causes us to question Rauf’s rationale for rejecting Donald Trump’s generous offer to buy their property so they can relocate the mosque at a less contentious site? Rauf explained that this option couldn’t be considered because it would anger Muslims! Is it extremism that causes us to be concerned about what else might anger Muslims? Wouldn’t transparent dialogue about the real nature of Islam also anger Muslims? And what does this say for the future of interfaith dialogue? Is it ignorance that would lead us question moderate Muslims about their understanding of certain Koranic verses like:

• [3:27] “Let not the believers take the disbelievers for friends rather than believers. And whoever does this has no connection with Allah…

• [5:54] O ye who believe, take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other.

Or is it extremism that would lead us to inquire about the Islamic doctrine of “Taqiyya,” which authorizes lying to the infidel in order to promote Islam? Perhaps it is a legitimate fear that would engender concerns about other verses impacting our 1st amendment rights:

• [33:59-61] Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and women believers to make their outer garment hang low over them, so as to be recognized and not insulted: God is most forgiving, most merciful. 60 If the hypocrites, the sick of heart, and those who spread lies in the city [Medina] do not desist, We shall arouse you [the Prophet] against them, and then they will only be your neighbors in this city for a short while. 61 They will be rejected wherever they are found, and then seized and killed.

Should we be concerned about how such a teaching might impact free speech? Why are we so willing to gloss over these verses and the potential threat of these teachings to Western civilization, while our Bible is customarily torn to shreds in the very academic halls it had once founded? One Nigerian woman privately lamented, “The media is crazy. They just don’t know Islam. They have no idea what it’s like living under Sharia law.” I think she’s wrong. The media does know, but their lens prevents them from clearly seeing what seems to be alarmingly ubiquitous – the intolerant Jihadist core of Islam.

Imam Rauf comes across as grandfatherly and reasonable, but as Gabriel points out, this seems to be no more than a neatly cultivated veneer for his naïve multi-cultural, religiously-pluralistic Western audience. Indeed, he endorses Sharia law, which reduces non-Muslims to a tertiary status and relegates Muslims who deny their faith to the sword. Gabriel concludes:

“Terrorists are only one manifestation of radical Islam. As Americans look even closer they will come to realize that the same ideology that produces a terrorist also produces a seemingly moderate Muslim who is dedicated to the advancement and imposition of Sharia law. They will learn that the Islamist in a suit and tie, who wants to replace the Constitution with Sharia law, differs from the terrorist only in the means to the end, not the end itself.”

Why aren’t we coming to terms with what has already become so obvious around the world? I don’t understand much about the European Union. However, no one seems to dispute the fact that they have criteria for membership. The Union just doesn’t receive every nation into membership. Instead, there has to be a fit. Is it therefore unreasonable to examine the fitness of Islam?

However, when Islam’s fitness is called into question, those who do so are dismissively labeled “Islamophobes.” Meanwhile, the media is happy to give time to any radical who has a new angle on how to deconstruct the Christian faith. Why this discrepancy? Is it a matter of crucifying Christ all over again? The Christ Himself might agree:

• "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(John 15:18-20)

Ironically, it is the Biblical revelation alone that provides the indispensible foundation for the freedoms that secularism values. It is only the revelation that we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and therefore have certain unalienable rights that can provide an adequate philosophical foundation for the Bill of Rights. Even the skeptic, Thomas Jefferson, confessed:

“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?” (Notes on the State of Virginia)

Can secularism also insist on these liberties? Well, it can, but not in a way consistent with its anti-theistic position. If all it has is a materialistic orientation, then we coerced into regarding one another materialistically! Consequently, all aren’t equally deserving of society’s freedoms and protections. Some of us are a credit to society, while some are a financial drain on society. Some are deserving; some aren’t! On the basis of what should each have an equal vote or protection? There is no secular basis! So it must secretly borrow from its hated parent.

As secularism continues to wage its auto-immune war against itself – Christianity – it fails to see that it consumes itself in the process. Welcome Islam!

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