Can a good Muslim be a good American?
This is obviously a loaded question.
Of course, there are many American Muslims who are Americans first and Muslims only peripherally or in name only.
The question resurfaces in emails that continually circulate on the web: a never-ending eternal forwarding of information in which some emails seem stuck.
One arrived here via email today.
An attempted rebuttal of the email's points by one Dean Esmay, was found at Dean's World. It comes from a 2006 post.
We decided to tag a few of his comments--minus the most of the disdain and insults-- onto the original email writer's points. Also tagged were a few comments and observations from this writer.
It all makes for an interesting discussion: the cold simple points of the email vs. the enlightened interpretations of Dean vs. the occasional two-cents-worth of DBKP.
We're hoping to spark a few comments at the end of this post.
Can Good Muslims be Good Americans?
Let's take a look at the email and responses.
"This question was forwarded to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years.
The following is his reply:"
* Theologically - no. .. . . Because his allegiance is to Allah, The moon God of Arabia.
DEAN: The moon God? Are you kidding me? The word "Allah" means "God." In Arab-speaking lands, Jews and Christians and Muslims all refer to God as "Allah." Because that's what the word means: God.
Muslims believe they worship the same exact God as the Jewish and Christian God. They worship the God of Abraham. They consider the Bible flawed but still a holy book.
Comment: Allah was indeed originally the Moon God of one of an Arabic tribe. It would help Dean's arguments--in this point and elsewhere--if he presented a bit more balanced historical info and less incredulity that someone would pose the questions.
From Wikipedia: "Allah is the Arabic word for "God". While the term is today best known in the West for its use by Muslims as a reference to God, it is used by Arabic speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews in reference to "God".
Was Allah the Moon God of Ancient Arab Pagans, by Syed Kamran Mizra: "Pre-Islamic Pagan peoples worshipped Allah as their supreme deity (moon-god). Allah’s name existed in pre-Islamic Arab. In ancient Arab the Allah was considered to be the supreme God/deity (as Moon-God) and Arab Pagans worshipped Allah before Islam arrived."
* Religiously - no. . . . Because no other religion is accepted by His Allah except Islam (Quran, 2:256) (Koran).
DEAN: Gee. The translation I use says this:
[2.256] There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
All this says to me is that religion is voluntary, not compulsory (the Koran says that in more than one place) but if you believe in God and reject Satan then God will know and you'll be in good shape.
Jeez, someone should wipe the drool off of this great scholar's chin, put him in a playpen, and give him some blocks to play with.
Comment: Dean would make an enlightened teacher of Islam.
He would also make a dead teacher of Islam in many countries.
The problems are not caused by the Deans of this world interpreting the Koran for Muslims. Problems arise when less enlightened thinkers do the interpreting.
And that is the vast majority in the Islamic World today. If more enlightened thinkers would step forward to champion their views, then it would be a different story. Fear is a big reason almost no one does.
* Scripturally - no. . . . Because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the Quran.
DEAN: First off, not all Muslims follow the "five pillars." Most Sunni do, most Shia do not. But either way, there's nothing particularly sinister about those pillars...
Those who believe in these five pillars say that if you meet them that makes you a Muslim regardless of just about anything else.
Comment: This last comment causes some confusion about Muslims who call for the death of those who leave Islam and convert to Christianity and Judaism.
* Geographically - no. . . . Because his allegiance is to Mecca , to which he turns in prayer five times a day.
DEAN: This is like saying Jews can't be good Americans because their allegiance is to Israel, or Catholics can't be good Americans because their allegiance is to the Vatican in Rome. Tripe, in other words.
Comment: Tripe seems to be the word Dean uses for a fact which he can't refute. Catholics don't daily turn toward Rome five times a day, nor do Jews turn toward Israel in the same way.
* Socially - no. . . . Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.
DEAN: Here we have not one, but two lies rolled together!
The Koran in parts says don't be friends with treacherous unbelievers, but then in other parts says God may give you friends among the unbelievers. Most Muslims I know interpret that to mean you shouldn't be friends with treacherous or deceitful unbelievers, but if unbelievers treat you honorably then you can be friends with them.
Furthermore, the word "infidel" is a Christian term. It was invented centuries ago by Christians to describe Muslims, Jews, idol-worshippers, and other non-Christians. Indeed, here's a lengthy quote from the King James Bible:
4 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (emphasis mine.)
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
That would be 2 Corinthians:14-17. (See also 1 Timothy 5:8 in the King James).
Gee, that's a pretty good rebuttal to this entire claim, isn't it? Because doesn't that say that Christians shouldn't be friends with unbelievers? Yes, if you take it literally that's exactly what it says. Indeed, it says people who aren't Christians are unclean and shouldn't even be touched, if you read it too literally.
The thing is, very few Christians believe such a thing. Because those verses need to be read in their proper historical context, and in the context of the rest of the Bible. Which is exactly how you have to take anything that's in the Koran: in proper historical context, and in the context of the full book and not just one or two verses. Duh!
Comment: Dean has a leg to stand on here in his argument.
There were over 4.1 million references to "infidel". After looking through the first 200 or so references, except for the etymological origin of the word (from the Latin for "unfaithful"), all referred to Muslims calling members of other faiths "infidel".
I scoured the Internet for a picture or mention of a Christian calling someone an "infidel".
There were none found.
The word, "infidel" may have originated from Latin, but Muslims have, over the centuries, made it their own.
As far as historical context, "infidel" is a word being used every day in the Muslim world and broadcast in Muslim media.
* Politically - no. . . . Because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America, the great Satan.
DEAN: "Mullah" is not even found in the Koran, and most Muslims don't use that word. But it's not a bad word: it's a Persian term, used mostly in Iran, and it means "religious scholar" or "teacher." In other words, it's virtually identical to the word "rabbi," which is a Hebrew and Aramaic word that basically means: mullah!
There is only one country in the world--Iran--where by law Muslims are forced to obey mullahs, because a vicious group of renegades, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, seized power in 1979. That is the only country in the world like that.
There are over one Billion muslims in the world. There are only about 68 million muslims in Iran. And by all accounts, most people in Iran hate the mullah regime and wish it would go away.
* Domestically - no. . . . Because he is instructed to marry four women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34).
DEAN: The fourth book of the Koran, known as "The Women," says that a man may marry as many as four women, but only if he can do justice to all of them. And if he has any doubts about that, he should marry only one woman (Koran 4:3). Historically, this practice is usually only when a man is very rich, or, when a widow who has children at home needs a new husband and no single man is able or willing to marry her. In primitive, poverty-ridden societies, women and children with no man to provide for them are usually in serious trouble.
As for wife-beating: The Muslim site "Answering Christianity" has a very detailed rebuttal to Christians who claim the Koran endorses wife-beating, citing chapter and verse in the Koran and other Muslim sources. The short answer is that there is one controversial verse, which has multiple interpretations, which MIGHT make it okay to do this in extreme circumstances--MAYBE.
Compare to the bible: If you look through the Bible you'll find that many biblical figures had multiple wives, including Abraham, Jacob (also known as Israel), Judah, David, and Solomon. You'll also find parts of the Bible which say people should be stoned to death for blasphemy or adultery. Most Christians and Jews today don't take such instructions literally, and neither do most Muslims today.
Comment: Dean is obviously on his shakiest ground in this reply. See the video sermon of August 2007, DBKP's "Weekly Multicultural Lesson: How to Beat Your Wife", for a graphic rebuttal of Dean's point.
* Intellectually - no. . . . Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles, and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.
* Philosophically - no. . . . Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.
* Spiritually - no. . . . Because when we declare "one nation under God," the Christian's God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in The Quran's 99 excellent names.
Dean has answers for these last three questions also. If desired, readers can read the rest of Dean's rebuttal at "Fisking the Islamophobes".
Dean's view follows the lines of the Rodney King school of multicultural thought: "Can't we all just get along?"
That is: "This is all just a big misunderstanding."
There are those the world over who have risked their lives to put the lie to that statement. In Europe and the U.K. this daily debate rages about not only the effects of an unassimilated mass of mostly Muslim immigrants, but also the European elitist political weenies with their multicultural apologist cant.
However, that's Europe and the U.K.
We're talking America here, and the question remains. It's doubtful it's the last time this question is raised in the coming months.
Regardless of those like Dean who offer their sneering assurances, it's a valid question.
The hopeful among us might do well to remain hopeful--but gather information and defer any final answers to a later date.
Can a Good Muslim be a Good American?"
What do you think?
UPDATES February 28, 2007
* We just discovered that an earlier DBKP post, "Obama: Sounds of Muslim Prayer "Sweetest Sounds on Earth"" got tagged onto the end of an excellent and lengthy post at Atlas Shrugs, "Obama and Islam: The Third Rail in American Politics". There is a ton of meaty info in this post--information that readers likely won't be able to find in the MSM.
* email- Scott & Vicki
* Fisking the Islamophobes
* Was Allah the Moon God of Ancient Pagan Arabs?
* How to Beat Your Wife
Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.