Mar 31 2009

Whose God and Religion? Controversy over Bus ad.

Ad for Islam on Broward bus may lead to a ban

Here we go again.  An ad by CAIR  (Cauncil on American-Islamic Realions) advocating tolerance with the aim of starting a dialogue and thinking process  is turned into an offense towards other religions:

Joe Kaufman, who organized protests against the ads for Americans Against Hate, said: “We were not concerned about whether Muslims or Jews or Christians put religious messages in advertising. We were concerned that the ad was offensive and demeaning to other religions.

Ad on Broward bus2009

One of the county’s 290-bus fleet is seen here in the downtown area near the main bus terminal. The ad says: “ISLAM: The Way of Life of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.” (Sun Sentinel/Lou Toman / January 14, 2009)

Quote: In the wake of controversial bus ads saying Jesus followed the principles of Islam, Broward County Click here for restaurant inspection reports commissioners are considering a ban on advertising religious messages on public transportation and all other government property.

The new policy would still permit churches and other religious organizations to place general ads promoting activities such as services or fairs. An ad saying “Jesus Saves” would be prohibited, but one publicizing the annual festival at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale Is your Fort Lauderdale restaurant clean? – Click Here. would be allowed.

Broward has had no advertising standards that apply across the board at the port, airport, parks, libraries, government buildings and mass transit. County commissioners will consider the proposal Tuesday, but both sides in the January dispute believe it goes too far.

“This is a knee-jerk reaction from our elected officials to small voices of extremism,” said Altaf Ali of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which bought the ads.

Joe Kaufman, who organized protests against the ads for Americans Against Hate, said: “We were not concerned about whether Muslims or Jews or Christians put religious messages in advertising. We were concerned that the ad was offensive and demeaning to other religions.”

The target of the protest was a $60,000 ad that ran from November to January on 50 buses. It proclaimed, “ISLAM: The Way of Life of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.” …

There is no way denying that Islam is following the same principles of humanity like all the Prophets of Christianity and Judaism (of course)  including Jesus, who is a Prophet to Muslims. One cannot be a Muslim without believing in all of them!  The birth of Jesus was miraculous one as we can read in the Quran with a minor difference to the story in the Bible:  in the Quran Jesus is told to be born under a palm tree.

Why should I  struggle convincing my readers with my limited English,  when we can read it ourselves in the Quran (topic no. 7 on the right panel) and I quote, sorry for the length of it, but it is necessary to prove my point:

About Jesus:
“Say: ‘We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord; We make no difference between one and another of them, And we submit to God.” (Qur’an 2:136)
Muslims believe that Jesus (p.b.u.h.) was a messenger of God whose birth to his mother Mary was miraculous and that he was able to do miraculous deeds, very much in accordance with the Bible.

“When the angels said: ‘God gives you good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next. Near stationed to God. He shall speak to the men in the cradle, and of old age, and righteous he shall be.’ ‘Lord’, said Mary, ‘how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me?’ ‘Even so’ he said, ‘God creates what He will.’ When He decrees a thing He does but say to it, ‘Be’, and it is.”
(Quran 3:45-7 and also Q.3:37, Q.19:22-23, Q.19:34-5, Q.3:59, Q.4:171-3, Q.5;116-19, Q.3:45-51, Q. 61:6)

“And God sets forth, As an example to those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh: Behold she said: ‘O my lord build for me, in nearness to you, a mansion in the Gardens, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings and save me from those who do wrong.’ And Mary the daughter of Imran who guarded her chastity and We breathed into her body Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her lord and of His revelations and was one of the devout” (Qur’an 66:11-13)

“The Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God’ ..God assail them ! How they are perverted !.. They were commanded to serve but One God; there is no God but He.” (Q.9:30-31)

“And for their unbelief, and their uttering against Mary a mighty calumny, and for their saying, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God’, yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. Those who are at variance concerning him surely are in doubt regarding him, they have no knowledge of him, except the following of surmise; and they did not slay him of certainty, no indeed; God raised him up to him; God is Almighty, All-wise. There is not one of the people of the Book but will assuredly believe in him before his death, and on the Resurrection Day he will be a witness against them.” (Qur’an 4:156-9)

This teaching can also be found in the Christian-Gnostic Tradition, f.e. Johns Records 97, 99 , 101, 102; Basilides Simon of Kyrene was crucified in the place of Jesus. According to the Qur’an Jesus (p.b.u.h.) did not die on a cross.

Qur’an 22:40 “Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is GOD. And had there not been God’s repelling some people by others, certainly there would have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques in which God’s name is much remembered; and surely God will help him who helps His cause; most surely God is Strong, Mighty.”

Christianity, Judaism:
“There is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clearly from falsehood; whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks and God is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.” (Qur’an 2:256)…

“God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loves those who are just.” (Qur’an 60.8) … “Truth comes from your Lord. Let anyone who will, believe, and let anyone who wishes, disbelieve.” (Qur’an 18.29).

“And certainly We gave the Book and the wisdom and the prophecy to the children of Israel, and We gave them of the goodly things, and We made them excel the nations. And We gave them clear arguments in the affair, but they did not differ until after knowledge had come to them out of envy among themselves; surely your Lord will judge between them on the day of resurrection concerning that wherein they differed.” (Q.45:16-17)

“And most certainly We gave Musa (Moses) the Book and We sent apostles after him one after another; and We gave Issa (Jesus), the son of Mariam (Mary), clear arguments and strengthened him with the holy spirit, What! whenever then an apostle came to you with that which your souls did not desire, you were insolent so you called some liars and some you slew. And they say: Our hearts are covered. Nay, God has cursed them on account of their unbelief; so little it is that they believe.” (Q.2:87-88)

“O children of Israel! call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and that I made you excel the nations. And be on your guard against a day when one soul shall not avail another in the least, neither shall intercession on its behalf be accepted, nor shall any compensation be taken from it, nor shall they be helped.” (Q.2:47-8)

“And they say: None shall enter the garden (or paradise) except he who is a Jew or a Christian. These are their vain desires. Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful. Yes! whoever submits himself entirely to God and he is the doer of good (to others) he has his reward from his Lord, and there is no fear for him nor shall he grieve. And the Jews say: The Christians do not follow anything (good) and the Christians say: The Jews do not follow anything (good) while they recite the (same) Book. Even thus say those who have no knowledge, like to what they say; so God shall judge between them on the day of resurrection in what they differ.” (Q.2:111-113)

“And they say: Be Jews or Christians, you will be on the right course. Say: Nay! (we follow) the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham), the Hanif (”true in faith”), and he was not one of the polytheists. Say: We believe in God and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqoub and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Musa (Moses) and Issa (Jesus), and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit. If then they believe as you believe in Him, they are indeed on the right course, and if they turn back, then they are only in great opposition, so God will suffice you against them, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (Receive) the baptism of God, and who is better than God in baptizing? and Him do we serve. Say: Do you dispute with us about God, and He is our Lord and your Lord, and we shall have our deeds and you shall have your deeds, and we are sincere to Him. Nay! do you say that Ibrahim and Ismail and Yaqoub and the tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Are you better knowing or God? And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that he has from God? And God is not at all heedless of what you do.” (Q.2:135-140)

“And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd,’” (Qur’an 17:104)

“And thus have We sent it down an Arabic Quran, and have distinctly set forth therein of threats that they may guard (against evil) or that it may produce a reminder for them. Supremely exalted is therefore God, the King, the Truth, and do not make haste with the Quran before its revelation is made complete to you and say: O my Lord ! increase me in knowledge. And certainly We gave a commandment to Adam before, but he forgot; and We did not find in him any determination. And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam, they made obeisance, but Iblis (did it not); he refused. So We said: O Adam! This is an enemy to you and to your wife; therefore let him not drive you both forth from the garden so that you should be unhappy; Surely it is (ordained) for you that you shall not be hungry therein nor bare of clothing; And that you shall not be thirsty therein nor shall you feel the heat of the sun. But the Shaitan (Devil) made an evil suggestion to him; he said: O Adam! Shall I guide you to the tree of immortality and a kingdom which decays not? Then they both ate of it, so their evil inclinations became manifest to them, and they both began to cover themselves with leaves of the garden, and Adam disobeyed his Lord, so his life became evil (to him). Then his Lord chose him, so He turned to him and guided (him). He said: Get forth you two therefrom, all (of you), one of you (is) enemy to another. So there will surely come to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, he shall not go astray nor be unhappy; And whoever turns away from My reminder, his shall be a straitened life, and We will raise him on the day of resurrection, blind.” (Q.20:113-124)

“Ibrahim (Abraham) was not a Jew or a Christian; but he was true in faith, and bowed his will to God’s (= was a Muslim) and he joined not gods with God. Without doubt, among people, the nearest of kin to Abraham are those who follow him, as are also this apostle (Mohammad) and those who believe. And God is the protector of those who have faith.” (Qur’an 3:67-68)

“And who is your Lord, O Musa (Moses)? He said: Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it (to its goal).” (Q.20:52)

“And certainly We sent Nuh (Noah) to his people: Surely I am a plain Warner for you: That you shall not serve any but God, surely I fear for you the punishment of a painful day. But the chiefs of those who disbelieved from among his people said: We do not consider you but a mortal like ourselves, and we do not see any have followed you but those who are the meanest of us at first thought and we do not see in you any excellence over us; nay, we deem you liars. He said: O my people! tell me if I have with me clear proof from my Lord, and He has granted me mercy from Himself and it has been made obscure to you; shall we constrain you to (accept) it while you are averse from it?” (Q.11:25-28)

“Say, we believe in God and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to other prophets, from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit.” (Q.3:83)

“When Allah will say: O Issa (Jesus) son of Mariam (Mary)! Remember My favor on you and on your mother, when I strengthened you I with the holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle and I when of old age, and when I taught you the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Bible); and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments, but those who disbelieved among them said: This is nothing but clear enchantment.” (Q.5:110)

“People of the Book (= Jews and Christians), go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not ‘Three’. Refrain; better is it for you. God is only one God. Glory be to Him – that He should have a son.” (Q.4:171)

“And before it the Book of Moses (Musa) was a guide and a mercy: and this is a Book verifying (it) in the Arabic language that it may warn those who are unjust and as good news for the doers of good. Surely those who say, Our Lord is Allah, then they continue on the right way, they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. These are the dwellers of the garden, abiding therein: a reward for what they did.” (Q.46:12-14)

“Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.” (Qur’an 2:62)

“Certainly you will find the most violent of people in enmity for those who believe (to be) the Jews and those who are polytheists, and you will certainly find the nearest in friendship to those who believe (to be) those who say: We are Christians; this is because there are priests and monks among them and because they do not behave proudly. And when they hear what has been revealed to the apostle you will see their eyes overflowing with tears on account of the truth that they recognize; they say: Our Lord! we believe, so write us down with the witnesses (of truth).”(Q.5:82-83)

“And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers? And it is not for a soul to believe except by God’s permission; and He casts uncleanness on those who will not understand.” (Qur’an 10:99-100)

Let us open our minds at least a little bit, there is no other way than sharing this planet in Peace!



Mar 19 2008

Obama: “Being Called a Muslim Is Not a Smear”



“Being Called a Muslim Is Not a Smear”

What a strange header for an article by the well known Canadian writer Naomi Klein!

The Nation: Obama, Being Called a Muslim Is Not a Smear, by Naomi Klein

Hillary Clinton denied leaking the photo of Barack Obama wearing a turban, but her campaign manager says that even if she had, it would be no big deal. “Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.”

Sure she did. And George W. Bush put on a fetching Chamato poncho in Santiago, while Paul Wolfowitz burned up YouTube with his antimalarial African dance routines when he was World Bank prez. The obvious difference is this: when white politicians go ethnic, they just look funny. When a black presidential contender does it, he looks foreign. ..

So far, Obama’s campaign has responded with aggressive corrections that tout his Christian faith, attack the attackers and channel a cooperative witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee. “Barack has never been a Muslim or practiced any other faith besides Christianity,” states one fact sheet. “I’m not and never have been of the Muslim faith,” Obama told a Christian News reporter.

Of course Obama must correct the record, but he doesn’t have to stop there. What is disturbing about the campaign’s response is that it leaves unchallenged the disgraceful and racist premise behind the entire “Muslim smear”: that being Muslim is de facto a source of shame. Obama’s supporters often say they are being “Swiftboated,” casually accepting the idea that being accused of Muslimhood is tantamount to being accused of treason…

How bad things can get?

The second largest religion in the world with 1,2 billion believers worldwide is being brandmarked as a terrorist religion in a campaign where the other party is black. Political correctness does not allow attacking him on grounds of his skin color or other minority related matters like his Kenyan grandmother.

What is more convenient than look for something what is politically correct? Smearing Islam and Muslims is very popular lately. Unfortunately Muslims are unable to defend themselves partly because they are not familiar with western thinking and politics, and partly because they do not care. What some extremist Muslims do must not necessarily be Islamic.

Terror has always been a way to reach goals all over the world. Besides the Islamic terror we have f.e. in Spainthe Eta terror and Northern Ireland ethnic terror etc. After decades of  colonialism in the Middle East andCold War when the Islamic world got divided between superpowers they were mere chess figures in their political game. Today we are reaping the fruits of it.

But slowly they are emerging from the dark and there are signs that moderate progressive forces within the Islamic world are finding their voice. Thank God.

No, it is not a smear being called a Muslim!

“There is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clearly from falsehood; whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks and God is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.” (Qur’an 2:256)



Jan 19 2008

Tolerance towards other faiths, Part II


Again and again while reading other blogs and forums the notion comes up, that Islam does not tolerate other faiths and that its main aim would be to convert others under Islam by violent means. As proof they quote isolated Hadiths and suras of the Quran .

Nothing would be more wrong and against the spirit of Islam.

It is true, that believers are encouraged to invite people of other faiths to get to know Islam by good example and friendly discussions, but never by force.

As I wrote in the first part of this theme (pls. scroll this page down) the Prophet himself instructed believers not to harm people, who came under the government of the new Muslim state.

There are numerous suras of the Quran and Hadiths to prove this. Many more than there are others, which are taken out of context (from a war situation, when Islam was under attack).

And as always, the text of the Quran is more accurate than the Hadiths, which were sorted out according to their truthfulness as late as 250 years after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.). Please read also on the right panel Topic No. 7 What the Qur’an says about… … other faiths.. tolerance and Hadith’s.

Freedom of Religious Assembly and Religious Autonomy:
Given consent by the constitution, the Jews had the complete freedom to practice their religion. The Jews in Medina at the time of the Prophet had their own school of learning, named Bait-ul-Midras, where they would recite the Torah, worship and educate themselves.
On one occasion, the Prophet received a delegation of sixty Christians from the region of Najran, then a part of Yemen, at his mosque. When the time for their prayer came, they faced the direction of east and prayed. The Prophet ordered that they be left in their state and not harmed.

There are also examples in the life of the Prophet in which he cooperated between with people of other faiths in the political arena as well. He selected a non-Muslim, Amr-ibn Umaiyah-ad-Damri, as an ambassador to be sent to Negus, the King of Ethiopia.

May God bestow upon us wisdom and tolerance to be able to tackle the problems the human race is facing in the near future.

. . . . .

There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan (Devil) and believes in God he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and God is Hearing, Knowing.” (Q.2.256)

“God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for [your] faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loved those who are just.” (Quran, 60:8)

“Say, we believe in God and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to other prophets, from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit.” (Q.3:83)


Sep 04 2007

Tolarance towards other faiths, Part I

Contrary to the common assumptions, the early Muslim Umma (the Muslim community) practiced tolerance towards other faiths.
A Christian or Jewish woman was not forced to change her faith in case of a marriage to a Muslim man. In the Holy Qur’an Jews and Christians are called “People of the Book”. But a marriage to a pagan woman was not valid if she did not convert to Islam.

The Prophet emphasized in many letters to his emissaries that religious institutions should not be harmed. Here in a letter addressed to his emissary to the religious leaders of Saint Catherine in Mount Sinai who has sought the protection of the Muslims:

“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against anything that displeases them.No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are declared to be protected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

“…There is no compulsion in religion…” (Quran 2:256)

“…If they do come to you, either judge between them or decline to interfere…” (Quran 5:42)

“Whoever kills a person who has a truce with the Muslims will never smell the fragrance of Paradise.” (Hadith by Saheeh Muslim)

“Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.” (Hadith by Abu Dawud)



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