Thursday, October 26, 2006

Religion & News: How an American Muslim reacts to al-Qaida's command to "kill Americans"

[Source: Jerusalem Post]

If you're one of the people that asks "where's the Muslim outrage?", you can find some of it by following the link to the article in the Jerusalem Post. The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq has recently issued a decree to its members to kill at least one American in the next two weeks. Aslam Abdullah, a Muslim living in Las Vegas, says in reply, "Count me as the one of those you have asked your supporters to kill."

A few choice excerpts from the article:
  • ...the plurality of opinions does not mean that we deprive ourselves of the civility that God demands from us.
  • We feel totally disgusted with your action and we condemn you without any reservation.
  • We accept the divine scheme of diversity in the world and you want to impose conformity.


preacherman said...

Very intersting.
Thank you for the links and this post.
I have always wondered abou the outrage of other Muslims.

I do however find that the Koran does promit torturing, killing, cutting head off with the sword, of the non-Muslim converts.

Grea post.
Thanks again for the links to the Jerusalem Post.

Josh said...

If only Abraham would've trusted God instead of sleeping with Hagar (his servant, not the comic book character... HA!), I wonder how the world might be different.

Laymond said...

Thanks for the iink

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

preacherman - I have read a handful of chapters of the Quran, and yes, there are places that advocate violence in the name of Allah. There is a fair share of that in the Old Testament as well. I think that is where the Quran betrays itself to be a religion with a pre-Christ mentality. But that's probably a statement I don't have the scholarly background to make.

Weekend Fisher said...

Japhy - with all due respect, I think you've missed something really important. Mohammed has a unique place in Muslim theology: he is the ultimate example of right thought and action for all time, to be emulated by all followers. Because Mohammed ordered assassinations and torture, his followers CANNOT say these things are categorically wrong. Imagine if Jesus had ordered Annas and Caiaphas assassinated rather than face trial -- would Christianity have the resources to say assassination was wrong?

Because of the example Mohammed set, all that Muslims can say is maybe this isn't the right time or place for the assassination of critics or the torture of those who will not give up their treasures to your conquering army, but they can never say it's genuinely wrong. Likewise with the other things Mohammed did and taught. Because Mohammed ordered the assassinations of quite a few people who disagreed with him, Islam considers the assassination of critics of Mohammed to be a praiseworthy thing, because Mohammed praised it.

Kind of different from OT examples that hardly apply to us anymore because Jesus has come.

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

Weekend Fisher, I won't deny I'm missing something. ;) I'm curious what your interpretation of the multitude of wars described in Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles is. I see them as the preservation of Israel at God's command.

Certainly, Christ taught mercy, forgiveness, and love. The need to "preserve" Israel was gone, since the purpose of Israel's existence and history (Genesis 12:3b, in Jesus) had been met. The preservation of Christianity is attained in a different manner (although it has in the past been acheived through violence).

Of course, I could be way off, since I'm typing this as I think it, since I'm at work and should really be doing office-type stuff.

Josh said...

Yeah Japhy, that's one thing I've realized. I think that some Christians are on a crusade against Muslims, saying that the Koran teaches that Muslims should kill all infidels. But how many Christians kill adulterers? Not even Jews practice many of those rules for punishment today.

Weekend Fisher said...

ROFL, yes, I'm fine with the interpretation of the various Israeli wars as Israel being preserved at God's command.

It's arguable whether Jews are bound by the Torah to (say) kill adulterers ... and that argument is for their own people, whether it is possible to be an observant Jew without that, whether that involves setting up things as the Torah asked (whether that's contingent on living in Israel, etc), whether not doing so is unfaithful to the Torah.

Christians are not under the Sinai covenant, so there's no reason we should be bound to kill adulterers, refrain from pork, etc ... Whether Gentile Christians are bound by the Torah was covered way early in church history (see Acts 15) and it was decided that we are not bound by Jewish law. Long story short, Christians aren't supposed to kill adulterers to be good Christians. We're not under the Sinai covenant but under the New Covenant.

It's an open question in the Muslim community whether they are really supposed to do what the Qur'an says and follow Mohammed's example (which does include killing us under various circumstances). But the majority of Muslim opinion historically -- including the present time -- is that, if the circumstances are right, they're obliged to kill us. And then the details of the "right circumstances" have received much discussion. Those who keep an eye on such things have noticed that Iran has been systematically moving to fulfill the obligations of being able to justly declare war against the U.S. according to the mainstream interpretations of what constitutes sufficient cause to declare jihad. In which case, it wouldn't be renegade suicide bombers who are the issue, but many of the more mainstream folks would likely move on a properly-done, theologically clean declaration of war.

A Muslim who says it's wrong to kill someone who insults Mohammed is in roughly the same position as a Christian says it's wrong to love his enemy: not doing what they're supposed to be doing. And he's then going against the mainstream opinion of that religion.

Btw those who would say that Islam doesn't have a pope are not very historically informed. Up until WWI, Islam had a caliph, roughly a combination pope/commander-in-chief. That's one of the stated goals of the restless branch of Islam: to undo that grave insult to Islam when the Caliphate fell and to re-instate the caliphate.

I don't think there's any point in alarmism, but there is a point in having good information and adequate analysis of it. I have often seen analysis that goes roughly like tihs: "everybody does bad things, so anyone who says Islam has unique theological problems because of Mohammed's example is an alarmist bigot" -- that really is a heads-in-the-sand analysis. Does Mohammed's example matter to a Muslim or not?

Take care & God bless

Josh said...

I guess what I'm wondering is where are all of the peaceful muslims who are speaking out against the violence of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

I'm not saying they're for terrorism, but reports like the one mentioned in this post seem very rare.