Hugh Fitzgerald: Swift Current’s Muslim Community Hoping for Education on Islam in Wake of Mosque Shootings [Part II]


We stopped last time just as Anas, a Muslim in Swift Current, Newfoundland, suggested that “whoever has a problem with Islam, I recommend them to come up to a Muslim person and ask them about anything.”So it’s Ask-A-Muslim-Anything? Okay, not for the first or the last time, here goes:

1. What did Muhammad mean when he said in a hadith that “I have been made victorious through terror”?

2. What does the Qur’an mean when in one verse (3:110) it describes Muslims as “the best of peoples” and in another verse (98:6) describes non-Muslims as “the most vile of created beings”?

3. Could you comment on verses 2:191-194, 3:151, 4:87, 8:12, 8:60, 9:5, 9:29, 47:4, wherein Muslims are commanded to “fight” the Infidels, to “smite at their necks,” to “strike fear” into their hearts?

4. What do you think of the treatment of Kinana of Khaybar, who was tortured so as to make him reveal where valuables were hidden, and then he was killed?

5. What do you think of Muhammad’s responses to learning about the killings of Asma bint Marwan, Abu Afak, Ka’b bin al-Ashraf?

6. If the lesson of Islam is “peace and tolerance” why is the Qur’an, why are the Hadith, so full of violence, individual and collective?

7. When Muhammad took part in the killing of 600-900 helpless prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, was that an example of a deed to be emulated, as provided by the Model of Conduct (uswa hasana) and the Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil)?

8.When Muhammad married Aisha, she was six years old. When he consummated his marriage to her — that is, had sexual intercourse with her — she was nine years old and he was fifty-four. How many later Muslims have emulated Muhammad’s marriage to a young girl?

9. In Islam, a husband is allowed to “beat” a wife he fears may be disobedient (4:34). In the same Qur’anic verse, men are described as “superior” to women and therefore must be their “guardians.” Muhammad explains in a hadith that the reason a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man is “because of the deficiency of her intelligence.” What do you think about the status of women in mainstream Islam?

10. The Qur’an instructs Muslims not to take Christians or Jews as friends, “for they are friends only with each other.” (5:51). Do you believe that Muslims should ignore that verse, and be true friends to Christians and Jews?

Anas continued:

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He added that, as an immigrant, education about how they benefit the communities they move to is crucial.

“There are a lot of stories about the immigrants who come to any country, not just New Zealand or Canada. A lot of people came to new countries and they started new businesses, and they helped develop that country, so immigration is always good for any country they live in,” he continued. “We came here to start a new life, trying to help us first off, and then help the country we live in, building and creating jobs, and helping the economy in general.”

Apparently many people in Europe do not agree that the large numbers of Muslims living among them “benefit the communities they move to.” They take note of the skyrocketing rates of criminality, and especially the rise in violent crime — rape, murder — among Muslim migrants. They view with alarm the rise in robberies, burglaries, street muggings, attacks on Jews and women, the grooming gangs of the U.K., with thousands of young girls as their victims, the sexual assaults on 2,000 German women in Cologne by 1,400 Muslim assailants on New Year’s Day 2016.  They observe the creation of No-Go areas in major cities, neighborhoods where non-Muslims fear to tread, where even firemen need a police escort,  and the police themselves enter these neighborhoods only in groups, never alone, for safety’s sake. And thy are keenly aware, as well, of the huge costs to their societies in Europe, where benefits of all kinds are lavished on Muslim economic migrants, including free or highly subsidized housing, free education, free medical care, family allowances, and even the equivalent of unemployment benefits for those who in their new homes have not been employed.

Anas said that the people of Swift Current have been supportive of him, and that he had not faced any discrimination since moving here.

Mounjed Trad shared in the same experience, in terms of inclusion.

“We have not felt [discrimination] here, and we hope we do not feel it. I don’t think it is going to happen here. I personally feel safe in this area.”

Danish Ahmed came to Canada from India in December of last year, and he said being exposed to this type of attack persecuting Muslims was concerning.

“Hopefully we don’t have any kind of attacks in the future, and Canada is a safe country… I find myself safer here, but seeing these kind of attacks across other countries, I feel a little unsafe.”

Iman Syad also immigrated to Canada from India, and condemned any discriminatory violence.

“Besides religion, it’s all about being human first. Everybody should stand up [against] this, doesn’t matter what religion, what race, or what region you live in, we should step up against these kinds of actions.”

What do Danish Ahmed and Imad Syad think should be done about the “discriminatory violence” other than that directed at Muslims? Are they not aware, as good Muslims, of the more than 100 Qur’anic verses that command Muslims to “fight,” to “smite at the necks,” to “strike terror in the hearts” of the Infidels? Have these verses not led Muslims, over the past 1,400 years, to murder tens of millions of Unbelievers and to forcibly convert tens of millions more? The Indian historian K. S. Lal estimates that between 70 and 80 million Hindus were killed during the centuries of Muslim rule in India. Are Ahmed and Syed aware that since 9/11, there have been more than 34,500 terrorist attacks by Muslims? When they say that “everybody should stand up [against] this” [terrorism] and it “doesn’t matter what religion” you are, do they mean all terrorism or just that directed at Muslims? Do they intend to discuss, with non-Muslim audiences, the Qur’anic verses that call for “striking terror” in the hearts of the Infidels? Do they think Muslims like themselves have a duty to the non-Muslims they now live among, not only to denounce those terrorists who base their acts on unambiguous commands found in Islamic texts, but to hold up for inspection and discussion the offending Qur’an verses? And if so, surely they will wish to begin their discussion by making the obvious distinction among terrorists: Muslim terrorists justify their attacks by reference to specific verses in the Qur’an, verses that cannot be changed. “White supremacy” terrorists, including the lone lunatic who shot up the two mosques in New Zealand, have no textual authority in the Bible to justify murdering anyone. They’re on their own. That’s a difference to ponder.

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