Dr. Aslam Abdullah
Compared with what was written and said by some of the most prominent Christian reformers of the past, such as Martin Luther of Germany, Pope Urbana II, Francis Voltaire of France, Queen Isabella of Spain or Queen Victoria of Colonial Britain, Charles Moore’s December 12 article in the London Daily Telegraph is a very mild attack on Islam.
There is nothing new in his assertion that Islam is a barbaric faith that denies the freedom of all people, including its own adherents. There are no surprises in his attack on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a pedophile, or on Islam as anti-Christian faith. What is new is the article’s timing and its belligerent tone.
His message echoes what many Christian scholars of the past have said: Christianity will be secured only when Islam is completely annihilated or defeated or changed to suit the interests of European Christian elites.
The intention is clear. They wish to create an enemy out of Islam and let the people engage in street fights to the point that Muslims decide to relinquish their citizenship of America and Christian European countries, and force those who intend to convert to Islam to think twice.
Muslim scholars have written volumes on issues raised by Charles Moore. His ignorance is evident, judging by his reliance on stories that have long been identified as unauthentic. For instance, the issue of `Aisha's marriage to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) at the age of nine has been dealt with at length by several past and contemporary scholars, with the conclusion that the story cannot be accepted as fact.
The issue of dhimmis has also been extensively dealt with in several scholarly Muslim works that have proven that “dhimmi” was not a derogatory term, but rather an institution to protect Christian and Jewish minorities.
It is ironic that Moore is attacking Islam for being intolerant of other religions while ignoring the entire history of the persecution of Christians and Jews at each other’s hands. Christian Hitler's persecution of Jews in Germany is not by any means a secret. Interestingly, many Christian scholars now deny that Hitler was Christian, despite his numerous statements showing his full faith in Christ as "son of God" and the Messiah.
As for the religious persecution of Christians in the Muslim world, Charles Moore has to look no further than the history of 20th century Europe and modern Latin America. More Christians are being killed in Latin America by intolerant Christian groups than anywhere in the Muslim world. Under dictatorial right-wing regimes supported by the United States and several European countries, hundreds and thousands of Christians were killed in Latin America because of their beliefs.
South Africa offers a very recent example of institutionalized persecution among Christians, with white Christians persecuting black Christians.
This does not mean that there are no problems between Christians and Muslims in the Muslim world. However, it is the repression and general lack of freedom in most countries, rather than an intolerance towards other faiths, that is responsible for the situation, as both Muslims and non-Muslims are denied their rights to freely express themselves.
Obviously, Moore’s article is part of a long-term strategy for those who actively seek to see our world divided by war, to create hatred against Muslims and an Islam portrayed as the “anti-Christ.” In so doing, they hope to reawaken the anti-Muslim passion of the Crusades. This time, however, the zealots do not have to journey to Jerusalem to rid the world of the anti-Christ, because Muslims and Islam now live in the midst of their own societies.
It was a strategy that many Christian zealots applied in the past to rid their societies of Jews. It is a strategy that some want to use for much the same purpose, albeit against Muslims.
However, within Christian scholarship, there is a growing trend that seeks to move beyond the ideology of the Crusades. There are many Christian scholars who sincerely believe that Islam is being vilified by certain special interest groups. These scholars should be the first to challenge writers like Charles Moore, whose pens emit nothing but hatred against Islam and Muslims.
Dr. Aslam Abdullah is editor of the weekly Muslim Observer, the monthly Minaret and director of the Islamic Society of Nevada in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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