“Killing infidels assures you of Paradise.”
“Certain Men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying ‘Let us go and serve other gods, which you have not known’; Then shalt thou enquire, and make search and ask diligently, and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you, Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein… and shalt burn with fire the city… for the LORD thy God.”
On November 14th CNN’s Glen Beck asked Representative Elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to congress, to prove that he wasn’t a terrorist “working with our enemies”.
The question was answered as best it could be. There were no cries for Beck’s resignation, no major newspaper articles, and no concerns raised over a CNN representative asking such a question.
The first problem, known to journalists, logisticians, philosophers, politicians, and lawyers alike, is that it’s often impossible to prove negative. How would you go about proving that you have never committed murder, robbed a bank, or attended a communist rally? While proving that you have not been caught doing any of these things may be relatively simple, proving you haven’t done them is all but impossible, and any responsible news commentator should know that.
But that Glen Beck could ask such an unfair question is not the most frightening part. What is most frightening is that it’s been five years since 9/11, and members of the mainstream media (and the public at large) still don’t understand who our enemy is, or appear to have any interest in making a concerted effort to distinguish between them and us.
While most Americans are cognizant of the fact that not all Muslims hate America or believe in killing infidels, many none the less still, at the very least, hold in the back of their minds some reservations about members of the religion. Many, if they encounter a Muslim who claims not to condone the murder of innocent people, do not believe him. If they believe him, they do so with a nagging sense that he could at any time be converted to the violence of his faith. If they believe he never would, they applaud his courage in standing up to his religion while secretly wondering if they can trust the kind of bankrupt individual would choose a faith and then turn his back on it.
How do we know Islam a violent faith? Because they kill each other, because they kill us, and because their holy book commands that they kill non believers?
While they may be true, none of these facts are even remotely exclusive to Islam.
The Christian bible (their holy book, made up of the Old and the New Testaments) advocates the exact same thing, expanding the definition of “infidels” to include anyone who disagrees with a judge (Deut 17:12), homosexuals (Lev 20:13), people who claim to be psychic (Lev 20:27), people who curse or strike their parents (Prov 20:20, Lev 20:9), adulterers and fornicators (Lev 20:10 – 21:9), and people who work on the Sabbath – all of whom it is one’s obligation to kill.
Most Christians do not follow these commandments, since they are in the Old Testament. Yet the Old Testament is a part of the Christian bible. If there are parts of the bible which Christians feel they are not bound to (and in fact should ignore), why is it so hard to believe that Muslims might feel the same way about parts of the Qur’an? Is it not hypocritical to condone Muslims for violent commandments in the Qur’an but not Christians for violent commandments in the Bible?
The 9/11 hijackers may have been Muslim, as may Al-Qaeda be. But while they are prominent villains in our society, they represent an interpretation of the Qur’an held by less than 1% of 1% of the Muslim population. Over 1.3 billion Muslims live on this planet, the vast majority of them peacefully.
The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are terrorists (for what is a cross burning if not an act designed solely to terrorize). They fire bomb homes and churches, they murder African Americans and homosexuals, and have even been known to advocate the overthrow of the United States government. They are also Christians, or, at the very least, call themselves Christian and commit their terrorism in the name of the Bible.
While members of the KKK consider themselves Christians, the overwhelming majority of Christians disagree, and vehemently oppose both their views and methods. The same is also true for Al-Qaeda, an organization calling itself Muslim, but denounced by the vast majority of Muslims who shutter at the thought of being associated with these murderers.
Yes, a number of Shiites and Sunnis kill each other. So do Protestants and Catholics, whose violence in Belfast is checked only by the vigilance of military and civilian authorities (who had successfully contained the sectarian violence in Iraq until we disbanded them).
Muslims didn’t cause World Wars I or II. They didn’t cause the Spanish or Medieval Inquisitions, or the Holocaust, and are no more to blame than Christians for the Crusades. They represent the second largest religion in the world, but Islam has been used to justify far fewer atrocities than other religions.
And Muslims in this country try to tell us this, that violence in their religion is the exception, not the norm. But we don’t listen to them, because… well… they’re terrorists, they’ll say anything.
If we decry getting drunk and blaming Jews for all the wars in history, or someone throwing the “N-Word” at hecklers during a comedy act, but allow news commentators from respected networks to ask Muslims to prove that they are not terrorists, we become a country, not of freedom and acceptance, but of hypocrisy and ignorance.
And if we become those things, what exactly is it we fighting to defend?