WHEN ISLAM ISN’T ISLAM: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAITHFUL MUSLIMS & RADICAL ISLAMIST TERRORISTS — What We Must Understand

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The most recent terrorist attack by a radical Islamist* (see note on terminology) suicide bomber in Manchester, England once again highlighted an ongoing debate/controversy — i.e., 03Manchester.jpgwhether or not the religion of Islam (along with the Koran) advocates, encourages, and even demands:

• using terrorism to inflict as much senseless suffering as possible;

• murdering innocents (i.e., children);01Manchester.jpg

• killing unbelievers/non-Muslims; and

• destroying non-Muslim societies/cultures.

It is the view of many people, especially staunch supporters of Donald Trump, that the religion of Islam supports the monstrous barbarism, unbridled hatred, twisted thinking, and pure evil that is terrorism.

Anti-Muslims also assert that all (or nearly all) faithful Muslims—even though they might not participate in terrorism—harbor an acceptance of terrorism because the Koran teaches it. Therefore, all/most Muslims are enemies. And as enemies, should be:

a) ostracized from western society;
b) excluded from non-Muslim communities; and
c) barred from entering the West as refugees.

Muslims can’t be trusted, it is argued, because they follow the Koran, which allegedly teaches that all non-Muslims are worthy of death. Islam is not even a true religion, according to this way of thinking. It’s a political ideology hell-bent on destroying western ideals and all true religions.

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This perception of Islam/Muslims is voiced almost daily across social media sites via posts made by highly agitated, angry, and accusatory anti-Muslims. And the remarks grow particularly intense and frequent whenever a terrorist attack occurs in the western world (such comments, interestingly, are usually absent whenever there is a deadly attack against Muslims in the Middle East/Far East).

The following is just a small sampling of FB posts made soon after the Manchester bombing. They are surprisingly similar—almost as if all of the posters had read the same anti-Muslim information, watched the same anti-Muslim videos, and/or listened to the same anti-Muslim lecturers/radio hosts. The excerpts are from threads in which I personally interacted:

POSTER #1: Christianity is not a religion that teaches one to murder or be subservient to their masters, but the religion of Islam teaches that it’s OK to kill, deceive, and torture nonbelievers of their faith. So really wake up, read the Koran for yourself, and stop being so stupid please, the world needs less stupid already.

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POSTER #2: Terrorism is what is inside ur own Koran.

POSTER #3: What’s amazing is the amount of muslims that reside in England. And amazingly when these things happen, none are to be found around. POSTER #4: They are probably warned in advance.

POSTER #5: Islam has no place in the west. No place at all.

POSTER #6: Muslims getting their feelings hurt. NVM the fucking dead kids. This is why Britain is crumbling, people like you [defenders of Islam].

POSTER #7: When the quran says not to trust Jews or Christians, I’m supposed to take it as another meaning? Lol! When the entire premise is that Muslims are worth more verse after verse after verse in the same context? Wow, you are a special kind of apologist aren’t you? POSTER #7: . . . I can prove the quran says not to make friends with Jews and Christians, it isn’t just one verse either, lol. POSTER #7: Richie Abanes have you read the quran? Because it teaches to not be friends with Jews and Christians. Or do you deny that?

POSTER #8: Why aren’t the everyday peaceful Muslims protesting the people who pervert their religion? Do you know in places in Europe labeled ‘no go zones’ where muslim extremists live and nonmuslims can not enter without threat of harm. Why aren’t everyday muslims more vocal about these atrocities carried out in the name of Allah, the Quaran or the muslim faith? If another religion was used in this manner, the faithful would be out in masses condemning it.

• POSTER #9: . . . if a Christian does stuff like this, they are disobeying their God and risk damnation, but the Muslims that are constantly doing this are rewarded with a river of wine and 72 virgins.

POSTER #10 Have you read the Koran. The Bible does not call for murder!!! The two religions have nothing in common.

One thing I’ve noticed about anti-Muslims (based on these and other social media threads) is how they seem to have absolutely no willingness/desire to even consider the possibility that today’s acts of terrorism might not be part of Islam and might not be consistent with living as a faithful Muslim. It’s as if anti-Muslims want to hate Muslims/Islam. It seems that they actually need to hate all Muslims/Islam to have a clear enemy; that they desperately need a group on which to dump their frustration, rage, fear, hopelessness, and feelings of helplessness. The same thing happened to Jews in Nazi Germany. It’s called scapegoating. (There’s also a substantial dose of racism/bigotry also coming into play among anti-Muslims, as evidenced by their oft-repeated comments about how America should remain a White/Christian nation.)

Scapegoating is a rather common response to emotional pressure when there exists no viable solution to a specific problem or troubling situation. According to a Dec. 21, 2013 Psychology Today article (updated Jan. 12, 2017), “ego defense of displacement plays a role in scapegoating, in which uncomfortable feelings such as anger, frustration, envy, and guilt are displaced and projected onto another, often more vulnerable, person or group. The scapegoated target is then persecuted, providing the person doing the scapegoating not only with a conduit for his uncomfortable feelings, but also with pleasurable feelings of piety and self-righteous indignation. The creation of a villain necessarily implies that of a hero, even if both are purely fictional.”

Muslims today are quite obviouly being targeted as scapegoats for a nation full of frightened citizens suffering from Islamophobia. This malady, according to a very insightful Huffington Post article titled “6 Rules Of Islamophobia In America,” consists of six deceptions/falsehoods:

1) Muslims are not American;
2) All Muslims are terrorists;
3) Pork is to Muslims as a crucifix or garlic is to vampires;
4) All brown people are potentially Muslim, and are therefore potentially terrorists;
5) Islam is not a religion, it’s a violent ideology;
6) There’s a secret Muslim plot to take over and/or destroy the United States and/or Western civilization from within.

This current blog entry of mine focuses on point # 2. It’s not meant as a thorough analysis, nor is it designed to answer every question/objection that might be raised by an anti-Muslim/Islamophobe. And it certainly isn’t for anyone who’s already made up their minds about Islam/Muslims and who doesn’t want to be confused by the facts. This article, which a follow-up to my “FB, Muslims, and Islamophobia” article, is for those who truly want to learn the difference between Religious Islam (practiced by the majority of Muslims) and Perverted Islam (a.k.a. Islamist Terrorism, practiced by an extremely small minority of criminals, who call themselves “Muslims”).

There is enough hate, evil, prejudice, anger, fear, and deception in the world. We can’t afford to allow ourselves to add any more of those things to the mix.

Dead Men Tell No Tales, or “The Russians Are Dying!”

We are now neck-deep in Russiagate (March. 10. 2017), which according to legendary journalist Dan Rather, might end up being a far bigger issue than Watergate. In a March 4, 2017 FB post, the renowned news anchorman insightly observed:

Every once in a while in Washington, the fuse is lit for what seems to be a big scandal. Much more rarely does that fuse lead to an explosion of the magnitude we are seeing with Russia and the new Administration, and frankly the Republicans in Congress. How can anybody say, with all this billowing smoke and sights of actual flames, that there is no need to at least independently investigate whether a fire is burning down the very pillars of our democracy?

T&P.jpgMr. Rather is correct. We might indeed be in the midst of a political scandal unparalled in U.S. history; one involving treason at the highest levels, money laundering, widespread corruption, perjury, and even murder.

This latter aspect of Russiagate involves the untimely deaths of various spies, politicians, diplomats, military personnel, and private citizens, some of whom are linked in varying degrees to: a) Donald Trump; b) Trump associates; or c) the so-called “dirty dossier” on Trump that contains salacious details about Trump’s activities in Russia with local prostitutes. This dossier, many people believe, represents just one piece to a very complex political puzzle. If validated, the “dirty dossier” could explain, at least in part, Trump’s ongoing /inexplicable loyalty to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Unfortunately, various persons who might (note: I say, might) have had information regarding the “dirty dossier” (or links between Trump and Russia/Putin) have suddenly died.Deaths.jpg

As of March 5, 2017, eleven Russian political/military officials and one Ukrainian businessman had been murdered, assassinated, or found dead under suspicious circumstances. Only a few of the deceased/victims can be linked to Trump. This must be kept in mind. Again, please note, not all of the deceased/victims can linked to Trump or to persons his administration (at least none that I could find). But the sheer number of dead bodies showing up within such a short period of time is, at the very least, curious. To make things even more odd, the deaths began, coincidentally, on Nov. 5, 2016, just a few days before the U.S. presidential election.

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[CLICK EACH LINK FOR FULL INFO   or   BROWSE BY PAGE NUMBER AFTER LIST]

1. MIKHAIL LESIN (age 57)
Former Aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin
Nov. 5, 2016, died in Washington, DC
Official Cause of Death: Blunt Force Head Trauma / Murder(?)
Established Links to Trump: Unknown

2. SERGEI KRIVOV (age 63)
Security Officer/Duty Commander, Russian Consulate
Nov. 8, 2016, died in New York, NY
Official Cause of Death: Unknown / “Heart Attack”(?)
Established Links to Trump: Unknown

3. PETR POLSHIKOV (age 56)
Senior Diplomat, Russian Foreign Ministry
Dec. 19, 2016, died in Moscow, Russia
Official Cause of Death: Murder
Established Links to Trump: Unknown

4. ANDREV KARLOV (age 62)
Ambassador to Turkey
Dec. 19, 2016, died in Ankara, Turkey
Official Cause of Death: Assassination

Established Links to Trump: Unknown

5. ALEXANDER SHUSHUKIN (age 52)
Major-General / Commander
Dec. 27, 2016, died in Moscow, Russia
Official Cause of Death: Unknown / “Heart Attack”(?)

Established Links to Trump: Unknown

6. OLEG EROVINKIN (age 61)
Ex-KGB Chief / FSB Chief
Dec. 29, 2016, died in Moscow, Russia

Official Cause of Death: Unknown / “Heart Attack”(?)
Established Links to Trump: Noteworthy

7. IGOR SERGUN (age 58)
Colonel-General / Military Spy
Jan. 3, 2017, Lebanon
Official Cause of Death: Unknown / Killed? (Secret Mission, Lebanon)

Established Links to Trump: Unknown

8. ANDREY MALANIN (age 54)
Senior Russian Diplomat
Jan. 9, 2017, died in Athens, Greece

Official Cause of Death: Unknown / “Natural Causes”(?)
Established Links to Trump: Unknown

9. ALEKSANDR KADAKIN (age 67)
Ambassador to India
Jan. 26, 2017, died in New Delhi, India
Official Cause of Death: Unknown / “Heart Attack”(?)

Established Links to Trump: Unknown

10. VITALY CHURKIN (age 64)
Russian
Ambassador to United Nations
Feb. 20, 2017, died in New York, NY
Official Cause of Death: Unknown
Established Links to Trump: Minor

11. ALEX ORONOV (age 68)
Ukrainian Businessman
Mar. 2, 2017, died in New York, NY
Official Cause of Death: Unreported / “Cancer”(?)

Established Links to Trump: Significant

FB, Muslims, and Islamophobia

To: Jon Barnes & Jon Michael Philip

I saw your thread and couldn’t resist adding my two cents because I cannot, in good conscience, allow such grievous misrepresentations of truth, religion, and reality go unchecked. Nor can I allow such unbridled Islamophobia to go unchallenged.

I read the link “POLITICAL ISLAM” referenced in your lengthy back-and-forth thread and found one statistic strangely absent — i.e., the number of Muslims killed by Jihadists/Terrorists/ISIS. I realize that the purpose of this link is to give “a rough estimate of the death of non-Muslims by the political act of jihad.” But the question is: Why? Why limit deaths by Jihad and/or Radical Islamic Terrorists to non-Muslims?

Might I suggest that the reason is because the author of the page is seeking to push an Islamophobic “Us-vs-Them” scenario. And such a scenario can only be legitimaized by omitting a tally of Muslim deaths due to Jihadists/Terrorists. In other words, if this website were to show how many Muslims have been killed by other Muslims, then such a statistic would reveal that there apparently exists sides/divisions WITHIN Islam that allow radical Muslims/Jihadists to murder other Muslims that they consider enemies. (I’ll get back to these divisions shortly and expand on the significance.) 01.jpg

The fact is that more Muslims than non-Muslims are killed by terrorists/ISIS/Jihadists. According to the US State Dept.’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2015 (released June 2016), there were 11,774 terrorist attacks in 92 countries in 2015. Of the 28,328 people killed in these attacks, 6,924 (24%) were the perpetrators, which leaves 21,404 victims worldwide. Where did these attacks happen? Records for 2015 show that more than 55% of all attacks took place in just five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria); and 74% of all the deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria). And who comprises a majority of those killed? Muslims.muslim peace.jpg

This is simply an issue of math as it relates to the Muslim-majority countries where most terrorist attacks occur. It has been the case for many years. “Between 2004 and 2013 about half of all terrorist attacks, and 60% of fatalities due to terrorist attacks, took place in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan — all of which have a mostly Muslim population,” according to a spokesperson for the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) at the University of Maryland. And according to a 2011 report by US government’s National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC), “In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97% of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years [i.e., 2007-2011].” These are facts.

muslim2This reality is significant. There is apparently one brand of Islam wherein its adherants will not hesitate to slaughter both non-Muslims and Muslims. They see no differentiation. Moreover, we are confronted daily with over 1 BILLION Muslims, nearly ALL of whom are practicing Islam in peace,while simultaneously hating ISIS/Terrorists/Jihadists. This, once more, shows that there is one brand of Islam at odds with another brand of Islam. So, at the very outset of any discussions, people must understand that it is NEVER accurate/appropriate to say “Islam” or “Muslims” across the board is/are the enemy. Nor is it proper to say there is a war between “Islam & America,” “Islam & the West,” “Islam & Christianity.” The enemy is not Islam, as if it were some monolithic, centralized, religious belief system. And to assert otherwise is flat wrong. It’s also dangerous and prejudiced. Inaccuracy helps NO ONE. muslim1.jpg

Everyone’s enemy today is one factional/fractional cult-like minority of various kinds of fundamentalist, radical, violent, criminal, thug-like, murderous barbarians who fly the banner of Islam to justify their actions. They do not represent the prevaling, contemporary understanding and interpretation of the Koran or the faith system known as Islam that is embraced by 1billion+ Muslims. This brings us to a very CRUCIAL question: How is it possible for there to be such diametrically opposed understandings/interpretations of the same religion based on the same Holy Texts? Herein lies the problematic point being ignored by various persons who present websites, articles, videos, lectures, etc. etc. etc. that claim “Islam” in general is the enemy. Before answering this question/issue, I want to say a little something about the website link in your discussion that kicked off my response: Politicalislam.com.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

billfrenchTo be blunt, this website is BS. The author of the site, a man named Bill French, aka Bill Warner, is an anti-Muslim propagandist. The “info” he offers is a skilled mixture of truths, half-truths, and non-truths, all designed to convince readers that Islam, as a religion, is the enemy. He also heads the for-profit “Center for the Study of Political Islam” (Nashville). French is a former physics professor with NO training or credentials in the area of religion, Islam, or issues relating to Islam (e.g., Shariah Law). He promotes himself by his videos/writings as a sort of expert and authority on Islam when he is actually neither. In reality, he’s someone who hates Islam and looks at it from a highly Americanized, nationalistic, Christian viewpoint. For example, in 2011, he declared “The two driving forces of our civilization are the Golden Rule and critical thought. … There is no Golden Rule in Islam. … There is not really even a Ten Commandments” (Daily Times, March 4, 20). And in 2010, at a meeting of fellow opponents to a new Mosque in Murfreesboro, TN, he pointed to an American flag and said, “This offends Allah. You offend Allah.”

First, contrary to his assertion, there is NOTHING in any Islamic Holy Text that would suggest Americans and/or the American flag are offensive to the Muslim deity known as Allah. The charge is ridiculous and groundless. Second, Warner/French is pitting Christianity against Islam in a way that elevates Christianity to a place of ethical/moral/social/political superiority over Islam simply because there is no “Golden Rule” per se in Islam. Not only is this prejudiced, but it’s incorrect (as is most everything else Warner/French says). The Golden Rule appears in the following Islamic texts, albeit in slightly different ways:

• “Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good – to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess [the slave]: For God loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious” (Q:4:36).

• “Return evil with Kindness.” (Q13:22, 23:96, 41:34, 28:54, 42:40).

• “Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and to enter Paradise…should treat the people as he wishes to be treated” (Sahih Muslim).

• “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself” (Forty Hadith-Nawawi).

• “Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you; and reject for others what you would reject for yourselves” (Abu Dawud).

Clearly, there is indeed a Golden Rule within the foundation of Islam. But accepting these aspects of modern Islam do not fit into the anti-Muslim narrative that Islamophobics want to spread. This must stop. The inaccuracies and broad condemning strokes that French/Warner and his ilk use to create fear, distrust, anger, and hatred for Islam/Muslims is only going to make things worse. It’s EXACTLY what ISIS/Jihadists want. They WANT a theological/ideological war with the West.

THE BIG QUESTION

Now, back to the question previously noted: How is it possible for there to be such diametrically opposed understandings/interpretations of the same religion based on the same Holy Texts?

The answer is relatively simple for anyone who is interested in truth and who wants to see the truth. Like many religions, Islam (founded in the year 610) has gone through a lengthy period of splits, factions, and re-interpretations. It has evolved. It cannot be denied that Islam was indeed founded as a rather war-like religion. The year 610 was a war-like era, much like the days of ancient Israel when tribes/nations were in a constant and violent struggle for land, wealth, power, and political domain (take a moment now to go read a bit of the Old Testament).

Originally, Islam was a national faith that went hand-in-hand with the political/military control that Muslims leaders sought (both offensively and defensively) throughout it’s earliest years. This is a matter of history. And any well-educated Muslim will admit this fact. For example, thanks to numerous military campaigns, Syria, Egypt, and Persia/Iraq fell to Muslim control in 638, 642, and 644 respectively. So, yes, bluntly put, there was a great deal of fighting, death, and destruction involving Islam AND their enemies over political/geographic disputes and goals. (And a great deal of militaristic language can be found in the Koran.) Hey, it was 7th century! Remember the Crusades? Yeah, Rome/Christianity got involved, too, and launched some rather massive campaigns. Basically, everyone was fighting everyone back then for hundreds of years. Get the picture?

Interestingly, Muslims actually had a number of rules to follow during warfare, as outlined by Abu Bakr, the first caliph of Islam:

“Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone” (see Aboul-Enein, H. Yousuf and Zuhur, Sherifa, Islamic Rulings on Warfare, p. 22, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Diane Publishing Co., Darby PA).

There also seems to have been a prohibition against forced conversions. After the Muslims captured Jerusalem, for instance, a treaty that was signed included the following provisions:

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. This is the assurance of safety which the servant of God, Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, has given to the people of Jerusalem. He has given them an assurance of safety for themselves  for their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and healthy of the city and for all the rituals which belong to their religion. Their churches will not be inhabited by Muslims and will not be destroyed. Neither they, nor the land on which they stand, nor their cross, nor their property will be damaged. They will not be forcibly converted. No Jew will live with them in Jerusalem” (quoted in The Great Arab Conquests, from Tarikh Tabari).

To be sure, there are MANY passages in the Koran that involve warfare, killing, enemies, infidels, etc. And these were certainly applicable in a rather literal way during the early days of Islam. However, as time passed, these verses became re-interpreted into passages that dealt not with real/literal warfare, but with personal/spiritual warfare occuring within the heart, mind, and soul of each Muslim! A “Jihad’ against infidel nations, for example, eventually became a holy war against the internal self. “Death” the the enemy gradually came to mean death to the sinful soul. But for radical Jihadists/Terrorists/ISIS such re-interpretations are rejected. Moreover, they not only selectively pick Koranic verses to conveniently justify their evil deeds, but they also ignore prohibitions/restrictions against harming the innocent (see above war rules by Abu Bakr, the first caliph of Islam). Today’s radical Islamic terrorist represent neither modern Islam, nor even the original Islam that was indeed somewhat warlike. They have taken aspects of early Islam, perverted them, and added to them their own concepts born of hate, then gone out into the world believing themselves to be the righteous, empowered, Allah-serving, warriors of the Koran. They are, in essence, a cult of Islam — in the same way that the murderous Jim Jones group or the child-abusing Branch Davidians were cults of Christianity.

Islam today, when it comes to most Muslims in the world, is indeed a religion of peace. To equate ISIS/Jihadists/Terrorists with the broad category of “Islam” is reducing a complex, multi-faceted, religion of great variance down to the worst of the worst examples of it — i.e., murders, riots, assorted crimes, terrorist attacks. The comparisons are not justified. It’s like condemning Christianity by reducing it down to backwoods snake-handlers, suicide cults, “Christian Identity” white supremacists/Klansman, and a myriad of other nasty “churches” that have committed all kinds of atrocities, including murder/violence, in the name of Jesus. It’s factually wrong, ignorant, prejudiced, and dangerous.

SPECIFIC RESPONSES TO…..

At this point I need to reply specifcially to comments made by a FB poster named Jon Michael Philip (JMP). If you’re reading this JMP, I do hope, sir, that you’ll not be to offended at my bluntness. But given your tone of posts, it appears that being blunt is acceptable to you. I shall address your posts in the order they appeared.

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JMP: Islam is an evil totalitarian ideology. It is not a religion.

REPLY: Actually, Islam is a historically, socially, culturally recognized by academicians and religion experts as a world religion that is, in many ways, similar to Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. It is a faith-based system into which are embedded concepts of God, heaven, hell, salvation, right/wrong, and other facets of belief/life that fit both the “substantive” and “functional” definition of religion as noted within multiple fields of study. I offer the following references as an extremely small represenation of the vast number of sources that thoroughly contradict your patently false assertion:

1. “‘A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices about life and the world relative to the supernatural that unite the believers or followers into a social organization or moral community.’ This definition includes four essential elements of a religion: (1) a belief in the supernatural; (2) a set of beliefs regarding life and the world; (3) a set of ritual practices manifesting the beliefs; and (4) a distinct social organization or moral community of the believers and practitioners” (“A Definition of Religion for the Social-Scientific Study of Religion,” Oxford Scholarship Online, 2011).

2. “Drawing from these aspects of the academic study of religion, we can now turn to some of the characteristics of religion. . . . The list includes the presence of beliefs, concerns with community, myths, rituals, ethics, emotional experiences, material expressions, and ideas of the sacred’ (Religious Studies Course, 2110, “Religions of the World,” online lessons, University of Missouri).

3. “In United States v. Meyers, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, navigating the unsettled waters surrounding what is and is not a religion, adopted a test composed of a variety of religious factors that various courts have identified. These factors include ultimate ideas, metaphysical beliefs, a moral or ethical system, comprehensiveness of beliefs; and the accoutrements of religion, which includes a founder, teacher or prophet, important writings, gathering places, keepers of knowledge, ceremonies and rituals, structure or organization, holidays, diets or fasting, prescribed appearance and clothing, and propagation.” (Jeffrey Omar Usman, “DEFINING RELIGION: THE STRUGGLE TO DEFINE RELIGION UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND THE CONTRIBUTIONS AND INSIGHTS OF OTHER DISCIPLINES OF STUDY INCLUDING THEOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY, SOCIOLOGY, THE ARTS, AND ANTHROPOLOGY,” North Dakota Law Review).

Islam fits well within the criteria outlined here and elsewhere, which is why Islam is always referred to as a religion, not as you falsely claim, a “totalitarian ideology.” Consider, too, the following references to Islam as a religion.

1. “This entry provides an overview of the topics and discussions in science and religion. Section 1 outlines the scope of both fields, and how they are related. Section 2 looks at the relationship between science and religion in three religious traditions, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Religion and Science,” published Tue Jan 17, 2017).

2. “[T]his approach might also be fruitfully applied to portray the relationship between the three Abrahamic faiths. For Judaism, Christianity and Islam may be seen as diverging traditions within the extended family of Abrahamic monotheism” (Dr. Victoria Harrison [University of Glasgow], “The Pragmatics of Defining Religion in a Multi-cultural World,” The International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 2006).

3. “The actual timing and introduction of Islamic religion and religious practice to Southeast Asia is somewhat of a debate.” (Dr. Susan Russell, “ISLAM: A WORLDWIDE RELIGION AND ITS IMPACT IN SOUTHEAST ASIA,” Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University).

Clearly, sir, Islam is a bonifide, accepted, and well-established religion; as much of a religion as is Taoism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism. . . .

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JMP: They are mentally ill. They cling to delusional beliefs. They are no different that people who believe that elves live in their garden.

REPLY: Oh, you mean they believe things like:

• … there’s an invisible God who created everything?
• … millions of people walked through the Red Sea when it suddenly became dry land?
• … it once rained for 40 days and 40 nights, until the whole earth was covered in water?
• … there are mystical invisible beings we can’t see all around us called angels & demons?
• … a poor carpenter who lived 2,000 years ago was born to a woman who never had sex?
• … a messiah in Palestine could walk on water, heal lepers, and after he was killed he rose from the dead?

Wait….. hold on ….. that’s not Islam or Muslims… Sorry, my bad.

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JMP: Study the Hijra. Hijra always precedes Jihad. Always. It’s basic orthodox Islamic theology.

REPLY: Are you getting your information from the now disgraced Michael “I’m a kooky, unhinged, conspiracy-believing nutjob” Flynn? Cause that’s what it sounds like.kitchen-flynn-1.jpg

The truth is that Hijra is nothing but the ancient Muslim practice of peaceful migration away from dangerous territories to places where they will be safe. It originated when Mohammad fled from Mecca to Medina in 622 to avoid assassination. Recently, this term has been hijacked by Radical Muslims/ISIS/Terrorists to mean migration from one location to another for the purpose of Jihad. But this is a PERVERSION of the term that is being used now and is in no way connected to the vast majority of Muslims. You, sir, like so many others, are taking little bits and pieces of truth and merging/blending them with utter lies to sow hatred, fear, and anger. YOU are a far worse danger to society than any Muslim living down the block or around the corner. You relish false information, fake news, and alternative facts that can be used to divide and destroy. Your only reality is the one you create in your own bigoted, twisted, and dangerous mind. Your claim about Jihad-connected Hijra being “basic orthodox Islamic theology” is an absolute lie. Hijra in recent years has been, as noted, co-opted by the terrorists and militarized for their purposes. The average, rank-and-file Muslim does not understand Hijra in such a way. And, in fact, Muslims have spoken out against using the term Hijra in a militaristic fashion. Please stop lying to the world about this issue.

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JMP: I’ve been studying Islam for 20 years. I’ve read thousands of pages of Islamic holy texts.

REPLY: Forgive me, but if that’s true, then you’ve wasted a LOT of time and a lot of money. I suggest you start over again, under the tutledge of someone who knows the subject, maybe leave behind the likes of Breitbart News, Milo Yiannopoulos, Michael Flynn, and whatever other assorted nutjobs have filled your head with bad intel. But, to be honest, I have little hope for you. I’ve met people like you before. You’re not interested in truth. You hate what/who you hate. You believe what you believe. And you do not, under any circumstances, want to be confused by the facts. It’s very cult-like, to be honest. It’s sad and it’s dangerous.

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JMP: “Your ignorance and arrogance is outright dangerous.You are mentally ill. You are the equivalent of someone who thinks he is a pilot without ever flying a plane or studying piloting.Your arrogant ignorance will get people killed.It is disgusting that you think you are an expert on something you have never studied.”

REPLY: The irony here is……. beyond belief. It’s as if you were looking into a mirror and for one brief moment were able to speak the truth. Your words here bring to mind a relevant, almost prophetic, comment by Jesus, as he stood before the Pharisees: “I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).

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JMP: Islam does not preach peace. It preaches hatred of and war against non-believers, first through deception and then after infiltration through violence and outright genocide. . . . Muslims are SUPPOSED to infiltrate a society as refugees because that is what Muhammad did in Medina . . . . Muslims are SUPPOSED to lie to non-Muslims as to the true nature of Islam. . . . The punishment for truly befriending a non-Muslim as laid out in the Qur’an is eternal Hell, yet Muslims are commanded to be outwardly friendly to non-Muslims. . . . A distinctive characteristic about Islam is the absolute WORST person to learn Islam from is a Muslim because they either don’t know their faith (many don’t) or if they do they are commanded to lie to you about it . . . I would never befriend a practicing Muslim as I would never befriend a Nazi.

REPLY: I don’t know where to begin with this statement. You’re stuck in an extraordinarily literalistic, wornout, simplistic, non-contemporary, Crusader-era-like understanding of Islam from around the 7th Century. Even at that, you don’t get it completely correct. What makes you so filled with hatred? It’s tragic. To pick this apart would require pages upon pages of text. And that is the danger of lies, fake news, and alternative facts — i.e., most lies can be stated in a sentence or two, quickly and pointedly, while the unraveling and correcting of those lies often takes far more time, information, and documentation. Liars have the edge.

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JMP: I have a Summa Cum Laude degree from the top ranked Study of Religion program. . . . UCLA. . . . What do I know, right? I’m only a religious scholar whose personal mentor has institutes named for him across the globe and adviser for my 250 page thesis was the Director of UCLA Near East Studies program.

REPLY: Really? Now, this would be rather odd since even a cursory look at the materials put out by UCLA bear no resemblenace at all to your bizarre, inaccurate, conspiratorial, extremist, paranoid ranting about the horrors of Islam. The materials produced by UCLA present Islam as a respectable faith that fits into the greater field of world religions with its principle areas of influence/content/history being in the Middle East and Asia. I refer you to the writings of Professor Nile Green (Dept. of History, UCLA), Professor James Gelvin (Dept. of History, UCLA), and Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl (Dept. of Law, UCLA).

According to Gelvin, for example, “IS is an instance of a phenomenon that recurs in most religions, and certainly in all monotheistoc religions. Every so often militant strains emerge, flourish temporarily, then vanish.” He also compared IS to “some apolcalyptic Christian groups” (“UCLA faculty voice: Understanding Islamic State,” Feb. 23, 2016). Interestingly, as far back as 2002, an LA Times article had featued a wonderful article on the patient chaplancy program at UCLA, covering how so many different religions were already included:

“While the patient directory at UCLA is usually about 65% Christian, the number of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and members of other religions continues to increase. Training programs like UCLA’s, which is officially called the Clinical Pastoral Education Program, have been in place since the ‘50s. Many of them were designed to prepare seminary students to become part of a patient’s treatment. A Baptist minister named Janice Humphreys launched UCLA’s program in 1989. The first students were Christian seminarians, but this year the group represents an array of the world’s religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism and Islam as well as Judaism and Christianity” (Mary Rourke, “Spiritual Rainbow Coalition Ministers to Patients’ Needs:UCLA student chaplains reflect the city’s religious diversity,” LA Times, Mar. 3, 2002). This doesn’t sound like any school at which you became a “religious scholar.”

TBH, Mr. Philip, I think you actually have nothing but a SUM KINDA LAUGHABLE degree from your racist Islamophobic internet buddy Bill Warner/Bill French, who for some reason seems to be the only person I ever see you quoting. You never quote academic, respected, recognized sources/authorities on religion or Islam/Muslims. And, as for you being a “religious scholar”? Really? Ok, I’ll bite. Please provide links and/or the titles of articles (or books) that would qualify as scholarly works (or even popular works) on the subject. Also, please provide any link to academic institutions where your bio/resume as a “religious scholar” can be viewed/verified.…. clock is ticking….. This should be interesing. I’ll say it now. I don’t think you’re a scholar of any kind. Prove me wrong.

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****** CLOSING

At this point in the FB discussion, Mr. Philip simply began posting nothing but rantings and ravings against Islam/Muslims, calling my friend “mentally ill,” quoted various passages from the Koran, and repeating his hate-filled accusations and conspiracies against all Muslims (as if they were all a single, nice, clean, tidy “enemy” group). In other words, there was really not much left to say or do, except leave Mr. Philip in the miasma of hate, ignorance, and fear that has infected his mind. Tragic.

Your Rights Against ICE/CBP

Last week immigration and border patrol officers broke the law by forcing all passengers on a domestic flight from San Francisco to NYC to show theiceeir IDs before disembarking. “Before passengers even stepped onto the jet bridge, they were met by two officers from CBP” (Huffington Post). “The incident comes as the Trump administration cracks down on border security and intensifies deportations of people in the U.S. without proper documentation” (Charlotte Observer). This was a violation not only of the law but of the personal rights/freedoms of every American on that plane.

So, for information purposes, if you are an American citizen, you do NOT have to show your ID when it is requested of you by either Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs Border Protection (CBP). They can request from you “voluntary cooperation” to show your ID, but you are not bound to comply. The following text represents the law: C5T_FF4VUAADqmv.jpg

The ICE authorizing statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1357, provides that agents can conduct warrantless searches of “ANY PERSON SEEKING ADMISSION TO THE UNITED STATES”—if, that is, the officer has “REASONABLE CAUSE TO SUSPECT” that the individual searched may be deportable. CBP’s statute, 19 U.S.C. § 1467, grants search authority “WHENEVER A VESSEL FROM A FOREIGN PORT OR PLACE, OR FROM A PORT OR PLACE IN ANY TERRITORY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES, ARRIVES AT A PORT OR PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES.” CBP regulations, set out at 19 C.F.R. § 162.6, allow agents to search “PERSONS, BAGGAGE, AND MERCHANDISE ARRIVING IN THE CUSTOMS TERRITORY OF THE UNITED STATES FROM PLACES OUTSIDE THEREOF.”

The  PDF document BELOW, if printed, will provide a credit card sized reproduction of the above text to be kept in your wallet or purse. Carry it with you. Be informed.

C5UYatjUoAESx33.jpgDo not allow fascism to overrun our democracy. We still live in a free America (for now). This is not yet Nazi Germany. There is no legal reason for any American citizen to have to show their “papers.”

ice_bcp <- PRINTABLE PDF WALLET-SIZED LAW

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS/EDITS

I looked into this event a bit more since first publishing, and from my understanding of both case law & current regulations over both ICE/CBP, it was indeed “illegal” (i.e., going outside the laws governing the authority of ICE/CBP). These agencies have the authority to ask suspected illegals for their ID & specific other persons for their IDs (if it is reasonably suspected that such persons may be deportable). BUT they cannot, as I understand it, indiscriminately “search” non-suspected persons. I also spoke to a fairly prominent attorney friend of mine in NYC about this event, and she said the actions were indeed legally challengeable.

For all readers, please note that I am NOT saying it was illegal for ICE/CBP to make the “request” of the passengers. Again, please hear me…. it was NOT illegal for ICE/CBP to make a request for voluntary production of ID for inspection . What was illegal was how ICE/CBP framed their so-called “request.” It was framed as more of an either you show us your ID, or you do not disembark order. It was basically intimidation & forced volunteerism. THIS is the issue.

HOW this search was done…
WHEN this search was done…
WHERE this search was done, and…
WHY this search was done…

… fall under the umbrella of unorthodox. A New York Magazine article () covering the story called the ICE/BCP move “unusual.” And a NY Civil Liberties Attorney quoted in this same article referred to the “dragnet” as “alarming” (see Customs Agents Check Passengers’ IDs on Domestic Flight at JFK)