Editor's Note: We are devoting many posts today to the anniversary of 9/11, with first-hand accounts, insight, and commentary dedicated to that day seven years ago that changed our world. Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of themuslimguy.com and Contributing Editor for Islamica Magazine in Washington DC.
Arsalan Iftikhar | BIO
Mahatma Gandhi once said that, “I have nothing new to teach the world…Truth and nonviolence are as old as the hills.” Since time immemorial, our human experiment has revolved around the enlightened advancement of collective human thought. Within the current ungodly global mix of perpetual war, everlasting human poverty, extremist terrorism and global racism; our human race has completely and utterly lost its collective mind. Since our world has gone completely bonkers, the unquenchable thirst for social justice of this young American Muslim human rights lawyer and public diplomat must be positively channeled at this juncture of infinite global sadness towards a purpose-driven life guided down an untaken road called Islamic Pacifism.
9/11 was ten days after my twenty-fourth birthday. As a second year law student at the time, even though I had already lived more than two decades; in many ways, my life only truly began at 8:46 am EST on September 11, 2001. Because as an American Muslim, that would be the day that my country was attacked by people who would also infamously hijack my religion.
Since that fateful day seven Septembers ago, my life as a human rights lawyer, media troubadour and public diplomat has now become one big absurd game of television musical chairs and YouTube video clips. From CNN to The TODAY Show to BBC World News, I have spent a dizzying chunk of the last several years on the proverbial 'hot seat'; as a global Muslim public intellectual for over a billion mainstream Muslims who never want to be represented by the bobble-headed terrorist, Osama bin Laden.
So alas, with my trusty ThinkPad and red Swingline stapler, that day began my never-ending quest to condemn terrorism as an international media spokesperson, defeat hate crimes as a leading American Muslim civil rights lawyer, educate the general public about Islam and help create a millennial version of Islamic Pacifism for our entire global community today.
This revived gentle giant of global pacifism shall welcome all people; regardless of any race, religion or socioeconomic status. Whether you are white, black or purple, whether you are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or celebrate Festivus; our next generation of youthful global pacifists can help reclaim our culture of humanity from sinister warmongering dinosaurs with names like Osama, Coulter, Hamas and Cheney.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that, “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” By giving global pacifism a millennial makeover, we shall use the witty humor of Jon Stewart, the humanistic nuance of Noam Chomsky and the fearless determination of Nelson Mandela to quench our collective thirst for social justice.
With the hipster slyness of Danny Ocean to the groovy idealism of John Lennon, for anyone in the world who has ever earnestly prayed for a Muslim Gandhi; you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that the life memoirs of this young Muslim pacifist shall one day be playfully entitled ‘The Autobiography of Gandhi X’.
Finally proving that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, everyone can rest easy knowing that Barack Obama is not the only brown civil rights lawyer from Chicago with the audacity of hope running through his every vein.
Do not worry, ladies and gentlemen, a billion Muslim pacifist sisters and brothers continue to challenge those who hijacked Islam and we will spend our lives serenely hijacking it back; by any peaceful means necessary.
Even though some Americans may mistakenly think that Muslims only know recipes for Molotov cocktails; here are some other societal contributions of Muslims to modern civilization:
For example, it was Muslims who invented algebra.
Most people would also probably be surprised to learn that it was a Muslim who designed the Sears Tower in my sweet home of Chicago.
Even more surprising is the fact that 4 out of 57 Muslim nations on earth have already elected female heads-of-state; something that we as Americans have been unable to do thus far in history.
Additionally, the greatest American boxer ever, Muhammad Ali; and the funniest dude in America, Dave Chappelle, are both Muslims.
Most importantly, 3 out of the last 5 Nobel Peace Prize winners have been Muslims; one for fighting poverty in Bangladesh, one for disarming nuclear weapons and Shrin Ebadi, the Iranian Muslim human rights lawyer valiantly fighting for the rights of women worldwide.
But more important than Nobel Peace Prizes, Muslim culture has brought crunchy falafel, henna tattoos and yummy hummus to our American shores.
But all because of one terrorist cave-dweller, 1400 years of Pan-Islamic cultural and societal progress goes down the drain.
Thanks a lot, Osama…
Your ‘Gandhi X’ has also been cast in an upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio Hollywood spy movie thriller (Body of Lies with Russell Crowe) and has also emerged victorious at The Doha Debates in front of 300 million BBC World television viewers.
Honoring the fact that two Nobel Peace Prize winners and an American president (Bill Clinton) had also previously graced that same stage in Doha; this Muslim pacifist used that same global stage to call for the complete eradication of every form of global racism in the world, including Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism.
Black. White. Muslim. Jew. It doesn’t matter. It’s all wrong.
Nonetheless, I still get called a 'terrorist' by knucklehead racists because of my unabashed love of Islam and am still called a Muslim 'hippy' by knucklehead extremists for my unabashed platform of peace.
Well, since Islam means 'peace' anyway, I shall proudly wear the 'Islamic Peacenik' label as a badge of honor. Because with such seething hatred in the world today, the only thing that anyone can condemn me for is my seething love.
As the Religious Lefty or whatever other silly names Osama and Coulter can conjure in their puny little brains; this Islamic pacifist will continue to reclusively perch atop the shadowy rooftops of the world somberly awaiting the next global light beacon from the Muslim Bat-Signal in the form of silly Danish cartoons, ungodly acts of terrorism or diplomatic calls for reconciliation.
In explaining the utter human simplicity of my global pacifism, we should be reminded of the sage words of Albert Einstein: “My pacifism is an instinctive feeling; a feeling that possesses me because the murder of men is disgusting…My attitude is not derived from any intellectual theory but is based on my deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred…”
It should be no secret that our world is in darkness tonight. A pacifist Mozart to every racist Salieri out there, by successfully turning the world into a United Colors of Benetton advertisement, we can ensure that the only thing that all the beautiful babies of the world will ever need to worry about is filling their cute tummies, pooping in their smelly diapers and deciding which color Nerf ball to play with today.
Alas, everyone on all sides should now lay down their bombs and/or water-boards for one moment and contemplate whether we collectively wish to take a path towards perpetual war or coexistent peace and align ourselves with devilish racist warmongers or choose to be on the side of loving warrior angels.
Until that wondrous day when racist warmongers worldwide are overcome with the righteous ferocity of global peacemakers, this Islamic Pacifist welcomes one and all to our globally-warmed Sherwood Forest as our merry band of billion pacifist believers continue to gently comfort the afflicted, ruthlessly afflict the comfortable and lovingly wonder if God will ever forgive us for what we have done to each other.
Why do we have all this religion in this world and no tolerance???
Where would this world be without religion? Hmmmm.....PEACEFUL!!
my thoughts and prayer are with all the families and loved once of the victim's of 9/11, this unjustifiable ' senseless act of violence the world will never forget, and I would like to add to this, why won't we also remember the hundreds of thousand of Innocent Iraqis that also lost their lives? a life is a life, and we should never value on life over another, the hearts of American mothers who lost her child ' does not hurt more or less ' than the Iraqi mother who also lost her child, death hurts us all just the same, Bush personal hate for Islam, and Saddam has blinded him from making the right decision, he wanted to please the American people by any means necessary' even if it meant the destruction of an entire country, and the killing of so many Innocent people, Please. Pause for a moment and think about this " The Iraqis paid a Heavy Price for a Crime That They Did Not Commit. May God Bless the souls of those who lost their lives in Vain
Thank you. That was very well written. And thank you CNN.
This is hard for me.
I am not religious and I don't understand the faith that people can put so heavily into religion however it is days like today that I wish I could believe, it is days like today that I wish I had something or somebody to be angry at, to blame.
I SO wish that we as a world could come together and work to move forward more united world. Everybody needs to strive to be more open-minded. We all know that not everyone has the same beliefs. So why should every Muslim person be held responsible for the extremists actions? We cannot blame the religion. They all have their nuts.
For those of you who lost a friend or family member- I am sorry. I can never know what it feels like to be in your shoes and I realize there is nothing I can say to make it better, even a little. But I hurt for you. My heart breaks for you. I hope that you are able to forgive, if not today then someday.
@ P Larsen & others who think this way:
My question to you is – if there really is 1 billion peace loving Muslims out there, why are they so quiet? Why don’t I hear anything but radical voices from the side of the Muslims?
You hear what the US media let you hear. The US media, contrary to popular belief, are not 'free'. Now that I live in the UK, and watch CNN-International (still biased, but MUCH less so), I see news every day, which is simply NOT news in the USA.
If nobody tells you, how are you supposed to know? I recommend reading (Qatari) 'Al-Jazeera' online. It is one of the most scrupulously accurate news sources on the PLANET.
It's not news unless the news media SAY it's news. So here are some bits of 'news' from CNN-I:
Over half of all university students in Iran are women. They have women fire-fighters in Iran! A Qatari Sheikha is one of the biggest real-estate developers in her area. Beirut is coming back, as the 'Jewel of the Mediterranean'. The backlash against the US (and Coalition) Forces in Afghanistan does not come from Taliban/Al-Quaeda, but from the Afghanis, who do not suffer conquest - and NEVER have done! Business in the Middle East is MUCH more than oil-drilling. There is a place in Qatar where it rains in the Summer, and it is beautifully green, lush, and peaceful. Yemeni Jews are Yemeni, as much as they are Jewish.
Another New Yorker for Peace.
Sala'am, Shalom, Shanti.
ulysses your statment placing Bush and Bin Laden on the same side makes you an unashamed idiot. Just thought that needed to be pointed out.
What a great article? As a Christain I believe my religion has been hijacked by right-wing conservatives to promote a political party or to create a cultrual war in country.
Amen! Beautifully stated ~ I stand with you.
I applaud you, sir. The world needs more people like you.
Spoken like a true pacifist! Now let´s get to the realities of the world. YOUR religion is what is responsible for the terrorism of 9/11, 3/11704, 7/7/05, Bali, Saudi, Yemen, etc, etc., besides the thwarted plans of dozens of others. YOUR religion and the words of the Koran is what inspires the tens of thousands of terrorists around the world, their recruiters, their financiers, and their ideologists. It´s ISLAMIC preachers calling for the destruction of all unIslamic, and doing so through violence and "martyrdom" and the callings from the Koran. Only in MUSLIM families are girls and women butchered by their own fathers and brothers for " honor." Yea, right, we should lay down our weapons and seek peace. Sorry, that hasn´t worked. So why don´t "all" (as you catagorize peace loving Muslims) Muslims rise up against the supposed " few" of you and put and put down these " knuckleheads" you say have hijacked your religion? Come on...the world is waiting. Take charge. (And by the way, Islam doesn´t mean " peace," it means " submission." Which is what Islam demands of us all, Muslim or not.)
In response to Matt from New York
No, unfortunately the term "jihad" was not hijacked by the media. it does in fact mean holy war and the jihad that we are facing today is something that is commanded of all muslims in the Koran. You have been fooled by propaganda, as many are.
You would be well advised to look into the writings of Brigitte Gabriel, a lebanese christian who knows first hand what it is like to lose your homeland to the followers of Muhammad, and Steve Emerson (author of "American Jihad").
nyb angli: Yes, there are "arab muslims, asian muslims, far eastern muslims, european muslims and african muslims…" But they all have one thing in common–the Koran/Hadith/Sunna of your Prophet and his successors, as well as1400 years of butchering/enslaving kaffirs from Africa to India. I frankly fail to see what the difference is.
I agree with Matt in NY and am also responding to Raymond in DC: it is absolutely untrue that Muslims have to turn away from the Qur'an if they befriend Christians or Jews...it is comical that you are learning what you know about Islam from your "non-practicing" Muslim friends (where is the common sense in that?), and unfortunate that you wrote such a narrow-minded response to this article. Peace begins from all sides – with everybody dropping their prejudices taught to them by country & family. It is a very hard thing to do...but it can be done.
. . .By the way, Islam means "submssion," not "peace." Algebra was not "invented" by anyone, though the word comes from Arabic. Rather, it evolved over centuries in places as far apart as Greece and China. And to place Osama and Coulter together in a sentence is to broadcast your ignorance and lack of perspective. Thanks.
All of the world's major religions are based on the communication by The Supreme Being to humans many centuries ago. They seem to be targeted to the people of those specific times and places. Anybody that says they communicate with The Supreme Being these days is written off as a lunatic and a heretic. Why did The Supreme Being stop talking to those of us who can write, in modern parlance, the words of wisdom needed to stop such hatred and violence? And why did this Supreme Being give us humans such incredible common sense, only to demand that we disregard such rationalism in favor of blind faith? I am in favor of using religious beliefs to promote peace and understanding, but I cannot get past the destruction most belief systems have wrought.
There are all these responses: where are other peaceful muslims and why aren't they speaking out?
Instead, I say, appreciate this response and hope that the millions of other non-violent muslims feel safe enough to come out of the woodwork. We all remember 9/11, but do we remember how many people that were of Asian/Middle Eastern descent were beaten, battered and murdered in the name of revenge during this time seven years ago? The Sihk man killed because he looked like he could be muslim? They have reason to fear speaking out because we gave them that fear.
I loved the article and appreciate the honesty of what your life has been like since that horrible day seven years ago. May this give more "Ghandi X"s the courage to also speak up.
I applaud you for not losing your way after all that has happened! You are definitely not alone in your hopes for a brighter future! As a person who has always been the subject of racism since a young age, I could have been bitter and angry and accusing the world in general, but I try to love everyone equally, and strive to make the world a better place, little by little. One day, we will reach this dream goal.
Many muslims, particularly those who live in the US, were appalled by the Sept 11 attacks and seek to justify their religion by saying that this is not the way of Islam. However all one has to do is to read the Koran to see that those who follow the Koran believe that violence is justified to meet one's goals, including Dar Al Islam, which is to have Islam take over the non-muslim world. I too noticed the polls that showed that a disturbing number of muslims thought that the attacks were justified.
I applaud this author for trying to stop this thinking, but those muslims who follow the Koran will not be changed because violence is in their scripture.
Thank you !
Please let me know when the Million Man Muslim American March Against Terror will start. . .I've been waiting 7 years.
As someone who grew up Jewish and orthodox, I spent many years hearing anti-Islamic rhetoric. Since high school, I have studied other religions and am thankful that I know what the Qur'an preaches. It preaches love and peace for the entire world, and it is the unfortunate interpretation of zealots (much like in other religions) that leads the world to see such a loving and peaceful religion in such a negative light.
Thank you for this story. I look forward to sharing it with my family and friends.
I wonder if any of these peace loving / teaching muslims will go to any muslim country and try to change their view of other religions. Tell them that others are not infidels. Only in America (or western countries) you can talk about other religious believes and defend it. You go to countries like Iran, middle east countries, India or Pakistan and talk to them about Christianity or Jewism, they will burn you alive.
My problem with this, is that Radical Muslim beliefs are tolerated within the Muslim community around the world. So the impression that Islam gives to the rest of the world is that the only difference between moderate Muslims and Radical Muslims is that radicals strap bombs to their bodies to kill people, while moderates just hate everyone that is not their particular brand of Islam and look on while the radicals blow people up in the name of their god.
Amen! I agree with this inspirational article what you state is very true. What people don’t realize is that if we don’t learn from the past how can we fix the present, nor will we be able to make a future of peace for our children and there children. If we continue down this path we as humanity should not think it would be impossible for a new Hitler to be born out of the chaos that is slowly spreading to turn our light of civilization to darkness. If we don’t learn from the past we will be doomed to continue on this spiral of hate and racism. Take a second and look back in history and you will find that every race that has come to the shores of America has either been the ones being oppressed cause of race or gender or the ones doing the oppressing we have come along way in the past 5 centuries, even though all races have at one time been the target of racism or religious discrimination we have never learned from it. We need to learn from all things good and bad we have do to each other as humanity to try and stop the cycle of hate and oppression and help each other to grow and live in peace and fix our planet before we destroy ourselves, or are consumed by our hate and fall into another dark age.
The "Autobiography of Gandhi X" Mr. Iftikhar ??!!?? You certainly have an ego the size of Texas !! Gandhi never went about saying "One day people will call me Mahatma (enlightened soul)", he just went about his work quietly and with purpose. Piece of advice for you ...... if you truly aim to be a Muslim Gandhi, first pick up some lessons on humility from your idol.
As for your very slick post ..... please dont try to package Islam into some kind of doe-eyed deer lost among the angry mullahs who bastardize it for their benefit. Islam's holy book (the Qur'an) exhorts "Slay non-believers where they stand". Can such a religion be peaceful ? Millions of souls butchered in Asia and Africa over the past 1386 years would vigorously disagree .....
Say you stand for REFORMING your religion and maybe the world will believe you. Otherwise, please take your wordsmithing and put it where the sun dont shine.
And oh, by the way ..... algebra was not "invented" by muslims. Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry originated east of the Indus river almost 1500 years before Muhammed was a gleam in his dad's eye.
I just do not buy this "My Religion has Been Hijacked" stuff, and I am truly sick of hearing it.
As an Atheist, I fear that this dogmatic deity worship will someday bring about the extinction of our species.
I see no enlightenment but insecurity, any prophets, but just ordinary men throughout history, some of whom were slave owners.
I also hold these so-called moderate Muslims very much responsible for 9/11.
Muslim countries do not hate the western.. They do not like the U.S. Goverment.
If you or anyone goes to a arab country like Egypt, Saudi, Dubai you will see alot of western living there... not to mention the restaraunts, shopping etc. If they hate western living like you assume, why would they be bring the west to the east.
Stop being so closed minded and take what you hear from the media as the gospel..
IT's people like you that make people like me have to fight to bring our religion back.
Islam does not condone violence or terrorism....
Bet you never thought of Timothy McVey being a terrriost did you... even though he was an american, christian and in the military...
Does that not count or what
First, this was a very fine article, I heartily applaud the sentiments expressed here. I am thrilled by the concept of "Islamic Pacifism." I am a Buddhist. By and large, Buddhism is already a pacifist traditon, with a few regrettable exceptions in history. And that is my point– why is it, that the history of Islam has had so few voices like yours? In Buddhist history, sporadic religious violence has been the exception, not the rule. In Islamic history, sporadic expressions of pacifism have been the exception, not the rule. You are obviously an educated man, so you are clearly lucid enough to see the difficult truth of the historical record. And I am not talking about Islam since 9/11– I am speaking of the history of Islam down through the centuries. Others on this list have pointed out– correctly– that your very sane perspective is notable, in the absence of other voices like yours.
When the state of affairs in the world is such that a Muslim perspective like yours is no longer newsworthy, you will be living in the world you want to make. I hope you work yourself out of a job.
I wish you well, with all my heart, in your effort to craft a new "Islamic Pacifism." May many more Muslim voices like yours rise up and speak out. With so many Muslims in the world, if you succeed in shifting this paradigm, you will have changed the world. I fear otherwise, but will hope for the best. Please do us all a favor, get a good publicist so your message of peace and goodwill can spread far and wide. Make sure the publicist specializes in Arab-language media outlets. Remember that your heroes, Ghandhi and King, were murdered, so cultivate the same fearlessness that the religious fanatics display. You will need it. Good luck.
Muslims living in America have the opportunity to help the war on terrorism which has yet to be acted upon. Islamic terrorists hate America because we do not treat Muslims fairly? Muslims who live here–in particular those that chose to emigrate here from Arab countries-would help the fight by shouting that you love this country. Let the Muslim terrorists know they are wrong. Demonstrate on a regular basis–or at least once–take out ads, do everything possible so it gets back to Muslims overseas that you love this country.
I believe what you describe of yourself to be true. You truly believe in a 'peaceful' Islam and see other extremists as non-brethren.
I, however, am an open-minded agnostic yet believe that no religion has ever brought 'peace' to the world, with the exception of a select few, such as Buddhism (a truly peaceful religion).
Every mainstream religion this world has ever conjured have all had their own conquests with tears, death, and blood spilled over their respective continents, all in the name of their belief in their God(s). Entire advancing civilizations have been lost to this world because of religion, civilizations that may have brought more culture to this world than any one religion could bring.
If their were no religions in this world... at least our wars would have been fought for actual attainable goals between governments, rather than waving our dominating faith-based wands around.
How are we to ever progress/advance as a world of people when everyone's God wants us dead?
Re: silence of Muslims in the world concerning 9/11, Americans need to understand that many Muslims have suffered greatly and directly as a result of American foreign policy toward several Muslim nations for decades. There are too many examples to cite here. After 3 or 4 generations of oppression by corrupt leaders, many proped up by the US government, thus leading to torture, death and lack of democracy in those countries. We must keep this history in mind before assuming that all Muslims will immediately jump up to condemn terrorist actions against the US. Muslims have been subject to their own forms of 9/11 with thousands of their own people dying due to US policies. This is certainly not meant to condone terrorism in any manner, only that US complicity is so easily forgotten when it comes to Muslim lives.
This is probably the most poignant writing I've read related to 9/11. The biggest tragedy of ideas and great thinkers is not enough people listen. Many people like myself seek comfort and hope from hearing voices such as this one, voices drowned out by the hate and self indulgence of the majority. My first thought when I saw the 9/11 tragedy was to ask God to "please forgive them for they know not what they do". The act of terror and the deaths of the victims pales in comparison to the certain ripple of infinite time to heal the hate that was born.
My sentiments exactly....You wrote exactly what I have been thinking for the past 7 years.
I appreciate your thoughts and join you to wish for a Gandhi X. At the same time i fail to understand why the community which preaches PEACE, is breaking into pieces. I am happy to know that Muslims gave Algerba to this world and are nobel prize winner and even some have lady leaders. Contrary to the above, there are large pockets of muslims who continue to prefer "MADARSA" to a "Govt. School", Girl child eduction is almost nil, and overall litteracy rate in most of the Islamic Countries today is poor. Middle east if is the oil dum of world, it also stores the most notorious minds, who stay away from lime light but take active part in activities, which my frnd. has taken an oath to condem through out his life.
No point beating around the bush. Pherhaps just voicing our concern or agreeing to some noble thoughts may not be enough. What is need is to find reasons why in a list of 10 convicts 7 believe in Islam. What is causing the readers of "Kuran" decode it wrongly. What has happened to childrens of Prophet, which motivates them to lay their lives for piece of land in Kashmir? What is it?
If some one has answers to the above questions, that would be perhaps the start point which will help our frnd. win (and not hijack) back the glory of Islam.
Osama bin Ladin represents Islam no more than those American soldiers who committed those abusive acts at the Abu Ghraib prison represent our US Military. Ann Coulter does not represent the Conservative block. I suppose you shouldn't blame the religion but the people.
And for those here who say religion is the root of all evil, how about Stalin, being an atheist, killing millions of Russians, the 1994 Rwandan Genocide when 10,000 people were killed in one night, and finally the thousands of American who die each year in US not by terrorist acts but plain gun violence.
You do the thinking!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Blessings to the author of this article. And thanks to CNN for posting. Like John Lennon, I too hope for the day of people "living life in peace".
To Bev Meslo – re US "support" for our "government", haven't you seen the polls – Bush's approval rating is hovering between 25-30%. Don't give up on us yet.
To Peter – comparing Osama to Cheney is perfectly legitimate. Water-boarding, anyone?
I also agree with Ralph Wiley that "the pen is mightier than the sword" is a statement made by cowards who want to preen as heroes. After the first Gulf War, journalists bravely wrote on behalf of the Muslim Kurds. But it didn't save one life. Now, the Kurds have a future. Their democracy might be imperfect, but it is better than a mass grave.
I am always leery when someone professes to speak for one billion people. There isn't even a Cleric who supposes he speaks for all. Most of the billion Muslamics are not tolerant of Christians and Jews.
It would be nice if the world was a peaceful place, but it isn't.
Incidentally, if all followed the Ten Commandments, the world WOULD be a peaceful place. But we are all human, and fall short...
I applaud your idealism. Temper it with some reality.
Raymond in DC is 100% correct. Matt in NY...wake up and smell the coffee!
To quote a previous poster "One of my greatest criticisms of Muslims has been the lack of objective and public criticism of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Queda."
How many times has any one here watched Al Jazeera? Probably not too many. So then how can your complaint be about something to which you never really investigated? The muslim world is outraged by the extremists, and it is only a small, but growing faction, that are backing the extremists. It isn't because they back their agenda of violence and terrorism, its because when they losing their women and children in airstrikes, and they have no chance of fighting back. They are doing the same thing American's would do, if another country were to invade and occupy the USA, and carry out bad airstrikes on our civilians repeatedly.
My previous attempt at posting was rejected by CNN!! It had no profanity, no hate, just a reasoned response as to why the concept of a progressive muslim culture *TODAY* (not 1000 years ago) is laughable.
Answer this: What other culuture/religion takes such murderous offense in men shaving, women driving, cartoons, women's bodies, democracy, daughters marrying whom they wish, secular education, existence of churches and Buddist temples, books, bibles, drinking alcohol....?
Specifically in response to Raymond in DC:
Unfortunately, the word "jihad" has also been hijacked by the media. Ever since 9/11 everyone automatically translates "jihad" as holy way.
To be more precise, "jihad" means struggle. And if you were to read the Quran, you would find that the jihad that is spoken about is the struggle to spread the good word of god. Just as Christians are called to spread the good word.
Yes, there is violence in the Quran. But there is also violence in the Bible. These were books that were written millenia ago, when times were very different.
That makes the two of us Araslan.
Here's another Moslem condemning terrorists and warmongers alike. I'm not a practising Moslem because I believe you don't need religion to tell you that killing innocent humans, no matter what the reasons, is not justified by any God. Nor will those who do that go unpunished.
So all you Moslems, the true path to heaven is through compassion, not hatred.
The Holy Quran says, "Let there be no compulsion in religion". That's true Islam, not what these terrorists represent.
I do applaud the writer for pointing in a public setting what I've been saying for seven years: The epic battle is not between East and West, nor between Muslims and Christians. It's a battle between those who are willing to kill civilians to achieve their political objectives, and those who are not. To this end, I declare that I'm on the side of Gandhi and Iftikhar, and not on the side of Bush and bin Laden.
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