Opinion | Op-eds

I am not a terrorist

It amused me that the profundity of a Bollywood film’s impassioned plea for the world to stop seeing Islam as a violent religion was in the cheesy line: “My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist.” “My main problem with this,” I said to a friend on the subway back to campus after watching the film, “is that it’s so irrelevant to the U.S. today.”

It’s obvious now how I could be so wrong to think racism had come under control in the nine years since Sept. 11, 2001—I hadn’t lived in the States for 10 years, and during the 10 months in which I had been here for my first year of college, I had been nestled in a hub of diversity on a campus that boasted students from just about every country in the world. I couldn’t take a class without encountering a new culture or go a week without meeting someone whose accent I had to try to figure out.

Even in the heart of Manhattan, where tolerance came hand in hand with living amongst people of different races and religions, where I never felt degraded for or embarrassed of wearing a hijab, I was cushioned from the real New York I’ve never known. This is a city in which 70 percent of inhabitants oppose the construction of a Muslim community center close to Ground Zero.

I found myself on the lookout for any news relating to Park51. I was pleased to find support for the practice of our freedoms from religious leaders of different faiths, and to hear from bloggers who understood the difference between the masterminds behind Sept. 11 and the typical American Muslim. Furthermore, I was moved by Mayor Bloomberg’s eloquent speech on interfaith tolerance. In other parts of the media spectrum, Jon Stewart could be found mocking the insane levels of fear mongering, while Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich were “refudiating” this project as an “unnecessary provocation” and a work of “radical Islamists” seeking to subjugate America.

What was more difficult to ignore was what I’d read after I scrolled down to the comments section of each of these web pages—the masses of opinions of plumbers, teachers, lawyers Joe and Jane, whose possible outrage was reflected in adverts of the World Trade Center.

What stands out amongst the hordes of comments is the idea that Muslims subscribe to an “imperialist/racist ideology, that should not even have the right to be called a religion,” seeking to ‘‘wage a war against the civilized world.” That’s an interesting thought—considering that the best memories I’ve had at college this past year came from debating with students of the Hillel Association about the Israeli wall and making friends in the process, catching the school’s Shakespeare troupe’s late night springtime performance of “Measure for Measure,” and running cartwheels down the lawn in front of our library. Hardly the stuff world-domination is made of—although I’m willing to bet that’s what you could expect to see in 11 out of the 13 stories of Park51, devoted to providing space for swimming pools, a performing arts theater, and a gymnasium. The slight doesn’t just come from the baseless accusations, but from their implications.

In the times soon after Sept. 11, when a passerby called my father Osama bin Laden, her eyes first sweeping over the topi on his head and then over his beard, I couldn’t help but read her anger as an elaborate form of the kind of racism my father quietly endured. I find myself wondering: What comes next? Will the cloth I wear on my head, the color of my skin, the way my “i’s and t’s” sometimes roll off my tongue differently, all rouse images and emotions that make it too painful to bear to be around me?

And why should that be? Why must I be associated with a group of terrorists who practiced a radical distortion of the religion I practice? I respect the pain of those who were in any way touched by the Sept. 11 attacks, but shouldn’t the insult I feel on hearing that my faith is a “provocation” be considered, and my sensitivities as an American citizen respected in return?

That’s where I start to think, sadly, that maybe Bollywood actually got it right. If people are still terrified that we’re going to transform this community center into a vortex of terror, maybe we haven’t come as far since Sept. 11 as I’d thought we had. Maybe it’s about time Muslims responded to the refrain in the thoughts: “Why do we only hear non-Muslim leaders defending this place? Why don’t the moderate Muslims stand up?” That’s a good question, one that I hope each Muslim will take the initiative to answer.

Here’s my own.

My name is Sameea Butt. I’m a college sophomore, hoping to help to save millions back in Pakistan from the throes of poverty and illiteracy. I believe in God, that He’s kind and merciful, that neither He nor the Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] would condone the events of Sept. 11. I would love to run cartwheels up and down a gym in a Muslim community center, where I could make new Muslim and Non-Muslim friends, where interfaith tolerance could help to heal the wounds that the ill-fated day nine years ago seared into our lives. And I am most definitely not a terrorist.

The author is a Columbia College sophomore. She is a member of the Organization of Pakistani Students and Representatives-at-Large.

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Anonymous posted on

I LOVE SAMEEA BUTT

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Anonymous posted on

If the center was not near ground Zero, it would not face 70% opposition. The idea of this center is to take advantage of naive Americans, to dishonor memories of 9-11 victims.

America is not racist and neither is New York. Praise this country and city that allowed you to attend one of the best universities in the world, probably on Financial Aid and financed by U.S. taxpayers' money.

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Anonymous posted on

If you read it you'd see she's not being disrespectful or ungrateful to the USA

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Anonymous posted on

Foreign Students don't get any financial aid like American students. And she def is praising this country and city.

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Anonymous posted on

I think Sameea and her family are U.S. taxpayers,too.

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Anonymous posted on

Sameea, you are wonderful and this piece is very moving. I hope to read more of your writing in the future.

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Arafat posted on

,
Ms. Butt writes, “What stands out amongst the hordes of comments is the idea that Muslims subscribe to an “imperialist/racist ideology, that should not even have the right to be called a religion,” seeking to ‘‘wage a war against the civilized world.”

Reality:

Mohammed: Ordered 65 military campaigns
and raids in his last 10 years.
(Ibn Ishaq)
Mohammed’s companions: Attacked and conquered the populations in
parts of 28 modern countries in just the first
three decades following Muhammad's death.
Mohammed’s followers: Declared holy war on the people of five
major world religions in just the first
100 years following Muhammad's death.
Mohammed’s followers: First 240 Years:
11 of the first 32 caliphs were
murdered by fellow Muslims.
And then there is the fact that leading up to the First Crusade Muslims had ravaged and conquered all of the Middle East, all of North Africa and parts of Central Africa, large sections of Asia and southern Europe. But, but, but, it is a religion of peace, just ask Ms. Butt.

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Anonymous posted on

Arafat,

I am sure that all empires of the past were made peacefully without any bloodshed whatsoever before the advent of this radical religion Islam. Alexander met the Persians and they agreed that Alexander should become their ruler......The Romans ...........they were a phenomena..................no wars no bloodshed and the empire just expanded..........then came the Holy Roman empire..............that was just a continuation..........we havent seen blood there were no conspiracies, Julius ceasar wasnt killed by Brutus a fellow Roman... we just like to say that because it makes life more interesting .....................the British decided to have a new slogan " the sun never sets on the British empire" and hence somehow without bloodshed ...........they had half the world under them......The French and the Italians decided that they wanted to join the party...........people were not enslaved..........Never!! Have you heard about the native Americans................nope thats ok..........you probably wont have heard about Slavery either............................moving on, the Muslims killing their own caliphs.......so much war and destruction etc all caused by the Muslims.... ahhh those Muslims and their radical religion .......what about the world wars.................I hope everyone agrees that they were the most devastating Events of all time..............................who started them.............must have been the Muslims.................the holocaust............the most tragic event of all time.............are you sure the Germans are not Muslims.......makes me wonder ...... its a vast topic ................there is 9/11 and there is the holocaust ......there is Islam and Christianity..............no wait ...its not like that ...............9/11 = ISLAM......holocaust= Germany ......................how come ? But, but, but, it doesnt matter, because all the evil in the world is caused by Islam, even the evil before Islam came into being... was Islam's fault, just ask Mr. Arafat (whoever you are!)

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Anonymous posted on

Please elaborate on how building a masjid dishonors the memory of those who perished in 9/11, given that they included Muslims as well. That's what Sameea is trying to say, that please stop associating the Muslim faith with these terrorists. And the great controversy over whether or not Obama is a Muslim, and recent stabbing of a taxi driver just because he said he was Muslim, show that there is definitely some antagonism towards Muslims in America. Though no one is denying the generosity and kindness extended by Americans towards foreigners either.

99% of those who call themselves Muslims are not terrorists. Just as not every Christian is happy with "Burn a Quran Day"; you can't judge so many based on so few. The ones who planned 9/11 are also the ones responsible for the bombing of many masjids in Pakistan, Afhganistan, Iraq (countries that have suffered tremendously at the hands of these extremists). So how could building a masjid possibly dishonor their memories? Terrorism has no religion and Islam thoroughly completely and absolutely condemns it, and rather, it teaches peace and respect for others of different faith.It's time we move on from this "West" vs. "Islamic countries", move on from the past and try to work towards peace, tolerance and reconciliation (on both sides).

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Anonymous posted on

do u really know who was behind in the bombing of 911? Not Muslims brother...the whole world knows its a setup to bring the Muslim world to a crisis and to take over our strong faith that many have and the world knows that when Muslims are brother together under ALLAH name and cause. nothing can stop this UMAH of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). we Muslims are truly the best of the best. I just pray to ALLAH that let us wake up again and realize what we have done wrong in our history and now pray to GOD not to repeat the same mistakes and let us guide to the light and let us be the most successful human kind of all race on Earth and at last grant us the highest level of Paradise.

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Anonymous posted on

If one wishes to understand Islam, one should look to how the Prophet (P.B.U.H) practiced it. It is a general truth that people have used religion as an excuse and cover to commit acts of barbarity and gain power. There is no point in looking to the later caliphs as an example of Islam, because they themselves did not follow its teachings. It's the same thing with the popes of Europe as well, who sent nations to war in the hope of gaining power. Heck, there have even been militant Buddhists in the past. There's a difference between a religion actually teaches, and those who claim to practice it.

And as for the battles that occurred during the Prophet's (P.B.U.H.) time, you should look up the context, cause, and actual manner in which they occurred. There is nothing wrong about fighting to defend oneself, and Islam acknowledges that Muslims have a right to defend themselves. Prove me wrong, but I don't think that there was any war fought in which the Muslims were the first ones to provoke during the Prophet's (P.B.U.H.) time. In fact, it says in the Quran that if in battle your enemy surrenders, and calls for peace, your are obligated to protect him and treat him with kindness and forgiveness. It is absolutely forbidden to hurt anyone who is not fighting against you. If you want a historical example of that in action, then please look up conquest of Makkah that occurred during the Prophet's (P.B.U.H) time, and you will see yourself how much he loved peace. And please take out the time to read what is written in the following link entirely: http://www.mohammad-pbuh.com/3...

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Anonymous posted on

Dude y is ur name Arafat. and please don't make rubbish comments about our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

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Arafat posted on

Khan,

Despite your rants about the brutality carried out by Western powers -- and there's no denying this, although all Muslims deny their role in barbaric acts -- those atrocities committed by the West were not done in the name of religion. Christ was a man of peace. Mohammed was a man of the sword.

“Other religions kill, too.”

The Muslim Game:

Bringing other religions down to the level of Islam is one of the most popular strategies of Muslim apologists when confronted with the spectacle of Islamic violence. Remember Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber? Why pick on Islam if other religions have the same problems?

The Truth:

Because they don’t.

Regardless of what his birth certificate may or may not have said, Timothy McVeigh was not a religious man (in fact, he stated explicitly that he was agnostic). At no time did he credit his deeds to religion, quote Bible verses, or claim that he killed for Jesus. His motives are very well documented through interviews and research. God is never mentioned.

The so-called “members of other faiths” alluded to by Muslims are nearly always just nominal members who have no active involvement. They are neither inspired by, nor do they credit religion as Muslim terrorists do - and this is what makes it a very different matter.

Islam is associated with Islamic terrorism because that is the association that the terrorists themselves choose to make.

Muslims who compare crime committed by people who happen to be nominal members of other religions to religious terror committed explicitly in the name of Islam are comparing apples to oranges.

Yes, some of the abortion clinic bombers were religious (as Muslims enjoy pointing out), but consider the scope of the problem. There have been six deadly attacks over a 36 year period in the U.S. Eight people died. This is an average of one death every 4.5 years.

By contrast, Islamic terrorists staged nearly ten thousand deadly attacks in just the six years following September 11th, 2001. If one goes back to 1971, when Muslim armies in Bangladesh began the mass slaughter of Hindus, through the years of Jihad in the Sudan, Kashmir and Algeria, and the present-day Sunni-Shia violence in Iraq, the number of innocents killed in the name of Islam probably exceeds five million over this same period.

In the last six years, there have been perhaps a dozen or so religiously-inspired killings by people of all other faiths combined. No other religion produces the killing sprees that Islam does nearly every day of the year. Neither do they have verses in their holy texts that arguably support it. Nor do they have large groups across the globe dedicated to the mass murder of people who worship a different god, as the broader community of believers struggles with ambivalence and tolerance for a radical clergy that supports the terror.

Muslims may like to pretend that other religions are just as subject to "misinterpretation" as is their “perfect” one, but the reality speaks of something far worse.

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Anonymous posted on

I am from Bangladesh and I just wanted to point out the fact that during the 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh Pakistani soldiers engaged in what is now one of the 10 worst acts of genocide in modern history against the local Bangladeshi population. The Pakistani soldiers did not look @ the creed of the people they murdered; muslims and non-muslims alike were murdered. Around 7 million people were killed. There was nothing religious about these murders, it was strictly political. An army trying to oppress a population that was seeking liberation. Whenever that issue is brought up, I do not think in terms of religion, but rather people of a certain country.

Bangladesh was liberated with assistance from Indian forces (predominantly Hindu army) on Dec 16th, 1971. So I do not think they will be helping the Bangladeshi Freedom Fighters if they were engaged against mass genocide against Hindus. So whoever the victims of genocide in Bangladesh during the war were of every faith in Bangladesh. Also their killings were not motivated by religious causes; rather it was political. Present day Bangladesh has a eclectic population with all major world religions represented in schools and colleges when we talk about religious holidays and rights. We have Muslims attending Hindu religious celebrations such as Holi and everything else conceivable. Easter Sunday and Christmas are national holidays; this for only 0.3% of the population. Holidays and events celebrated by Muslims, Christians and Hindus alike.

Say whatever you may about Islam, it does not change my dedication to my faith. But please do not make the people in my country religious fanatics. Wars are not always caused by religion, politics are also involved. Remember War of 1812, War of Independence, Vietnam to name a few.

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Anonymous posted on

You assume, as do many others, that it is because of antisemitism, but the book is becoming very popular in India as well, The reason for this is because of the incredible discipline that the man had, which is very lacking in the sub-continent. It is not because they look favorably upon his belief in the master race or the holocaust, as again, in your abrupt jumping to conclusion reasoning, you have deduced.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sou...

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Anonymous posted on

Arafat,

First of all you just jotted down how things happened in the name of Islam, my reply was that the same happened everywhere else. What you fail to register in historic events is that Islam too had different seats of power, different kingdoms and different empires yet you label it as one big Islam...........true the empires existed because of Islam...........but they consisted of human beings............it is a fact that Muslims are human beings just like Christians and Jews and Hindus etc why is Islam taken as a big Whole where as the rest of the world is divided into countries?

When you say that Jesus was a man of peace, I completely agree...........But Muhammad (PBUH) was a man of sword..............only sword..........I disagree....there is more to Islam then just a sword......there is no sword in Christianity, there is a sword in Islam...but only when there is no other way around it...............people and empires have used religions according to their desire..........distorting the very essence of religion most of the time..........Muslim rulers were no exception to this...........

You seem like a well read person and a Christian. How can you deny the wars and the atrocities committed in the name of Christianity...............true the horrendous ones occurred earlier on in history.........but there is no denying that they occurred.......Spanish inquisition.........and there are others...........even in Vietnam "soldiers of Christ" ...long story.....the thing is I am not apologising for Islam ...............I am just saying dont turn a blind eye on the others...............

Look, in 1971............Bangladesh was a Muslim Majority province of Pakistan .......afterwards it became a Muslim Majority Bangladesh as a country.........constitutionally its a Muslim country ...............the problem in Bangladesh was not the Muslim armies killing Hindus ........it was more complex.........it was the treatment of west Pakistan...............The leadership of the current Pakistan (back in the 60's and 70's) was in other words cruel towards east Pakistan (now Bangladesh)...........both countries were majority muslims back then and even now! It was basically a problem between the people of same religion.....

The problems of Sudan and Algeria.........frankly speaking I havent read much about them..........Kashmir ..........the people of Kashmir are fighting the Indian Army...............they call it an occupation.......they want freedom from India..........

Shia Sunni is a big problem..............Iran and Iraq have fought wars over the issue.............so i agree......and I also agree to the fact that the world heavy weight title for the religiously inspired killings is currently held by Muslims................why is that so..............that is one long debate.................because as moderate you are ...................your still not willing to listen to us.............we are the fastest growing religion currently.........every fifth person in the world is a Muslim now.....(i am not sure about the accuracy of this statistic) but we are there and we are there in huge numbers..............it is unfair that you condemn everything about Islam.........if the civilized so called world continues to label Muslims because of Islam...................eventually every Muslim will be forced to join the ones who have created this mess...................thats a whole lot of people............

Yes, Islam is perfect.........for Muslims...........just as Christianity is for Christians...............and yes it is misinterpreted..............unfortunately most Muslims countries are not developed..........hence illiteracy is rampant....................hence the so called clerics distort and take parts of the Quran and do what they have been doing................misguide illiterate fools.............but you my friend will keep your view and this circle will continue.............that is the sad truth................we will never try to understand each other!

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Arafat posted on

.“Look, in 1971............Bangladesh was a Muslim Majority province of Pakistan”

Yes, but how did it become a “majority” Muslim country. Long, long before Mohammed was even a twinkle in his mommy’s eyes Pakistan was a thriving Hindu and Buddhist “province”. What came of all those people? Why is Pakistan now almost entirely Muslim? Did this change result from invading Muslim hordes with swords?

“The problems of Sudan and Algeria.........frankly speaking I havent read much about them..........Kashmir ..........the people of Kashmir are fighting the Indian Army...............they call it an occupation.......they want freedom from India..........”

Impressive logic! So in Kashmir the Muslims are fighting the “occupation?” Where have I heard that before? It’s awfully convenient that you have not read about Sudan nor Algeria. Let me fill you in on them just a little bit. Algeria was once home to a large Berber Empire, but then the Muslim hordes invaded and changed all that. Today Algeria is something like 100% Muslim. No Berbers left. Sudan was once home to a large Animist and Black African demographic, but Islam and its swords are taking care of that one too.

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Anonymous posted on

I mean, I know you're a troll, so there's really no use in replying to you, but: "Those atrocities committed by the West were not done in the name of religion."

Is that... a joke?

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Arafat posted on

Hillary,

Thank you for challenging me on this, and I readily admit you are right on several accounts. My writing was generalized and sloppy. Let me try to clarify.

Islam is THE only major religion whose prophet is a murderous thug. Christ was not. Christ never murdered, raped, pillaged or maimed his foes or followers like Mohammed did.

Christians who have justified killing did so, and do so, against Christ’s teachings.
Muslims who justify killing are doing so in accordance with Mohammed’s teachings.

One other thing worth noting. The First Crusade began after Islamic hordes had violently captured all of the Middle East, all of North Africa, huge areas of Asia, and large sections of Southern Europe. For four hundred years Muslim hordes slaughtered Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Zoroastrians, Assyrians, etc…before the First Crusade began. Muslim hordes had conquered Spain, Turkey, sections of Italy and were marching toward Rome before the First Crusade began.

Yes, the Crusades were bloody, and awful, and yes Christianity was the justification for them, but yes it WAS a perversion of Christ’s teachings and the example he set while alive. In sharp contrast to this the four years of Islamic genocide leading up to the Crusades were exactly what Mohammed would have wanted.

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Arafat posted on

The new mantra from Muslims is to remind us of how there were Muslims killed in 9/11. Gosh, is that supposed to make me feel guilty?

Pretty soon Muslims will have us feeling guilty about the 1,000,000 Muslims killed in the seven year long Iran/Iraq War. Or about the tens of thousands Sunnis and Shi'ites killed by one another.

Usama would have us believe that 99% of Muslims are not terrorists. He's right about this. It's just that a significant percentage of those who do not actually carry out the task provide the funding and/or cheer when the nasty deed is done.

It's also interesting to note that almost all Islamic leaders -- and this includes all Imams -- encourage terrorism. In fact, last year the genocidal leader of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir was invited to and warmly embraced at an Arab League Summit.

Is this how Islam's large majority choosed to distance themselves from genocidal terrorists?

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Anonymous posted on

This a great piece. All Muslims/Islam should not be held responsible for what some radicals have done. Neither all Catholics nor Catholicism is considered horrible because of the mindblowing atrocities committed by the KKK. Similarly, all Christians are not being discriminated against because of Hitler's actions in the Holocaust. It is completely unfair that all Muslims be faced with prejudice because of the actions of a few extremists.

Muslims worked in the World Trade Center as well-there are numerous Muslim families grieving over the death of their loved ones that died on 9/11. Almost all Muslims feel the same hatred toward the extremists that participated in the September 11th actions as the rest of the world.

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Anonymous posted on

I would also like to add that not all people who call themselves Muslims practice Islam the way it should be practiced. However, most Muslims digress from Islam in minor ways, while the extremists completely deviate from Islam's true message. It says explicitly in the Quran that killing on person is like killing all of humanity. Islam does not promote violence.

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Arafat posted on

Usama,

Is this the man of peace you revere?

"Muhammad never killed anyone.”

The Muslim Game:

In order to give others the impression that Muhammad was a man of peace, Muslims sometimes claim that he never killed anyone. By this, they mean that he never slew anyone with his own hand (except in battle… which they may or may not remember to mention).

The Truth:

By this logic, Hitler never killed anyone either.

Obviously, if you order the execution of prisoners or the murder of critics by those who are under your command, then you are at least as guilty as those who carry out your orders. In Muhammad’s case, the number of people that he had murdered were literally too many for historians to fully know.

There were the men taken prisoner at Badr (including one who cried out for his children at the point of execution), a mother of five (stabbed to death for questioning Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet), dozens of Jewish citizens, including poets and merchants who were accused of mocking Islam, numerous adulterers, at least one slave girl, 800 Qurayza men and boys taken captive and beheaded on Muhammad’s order, a Qurayza woman made delirious by the execution of her family, and an unfortunate individual who was tortured to death so that the prophet of Islam could discover his hidden treasure and then “marry” his freshly-widowed wife.

Indirectly, Muhammad is also responsible for the millions upon millions of people who have been slaughtered down through the centuries by those carrying on his legacy of Jihad. Not only did he kill, he is truly one of the bloodiest figures in history.

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Anonymous posted on

Muhammad only engaged in battle when provoked. Muhammad and his followers were persecuted and tortured and murdered in brutal ways. They endured attack upon attack without raising an arm in defense, until the revelation came down that if people are being oppressed, they must defend themselves.

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Arafat posted on

HB,

You're as transparent as all Muslim apologists are. Are Muslims in Sudan simply protecting themsleves too?

The Muslim Game:

Muslims often claim that their religion only orders them to kill in self-defense (ie. when their own lives are in danger).

The Truth:

In fact, self-defense is just one of several conditions under which Muslims are permitted to take the lives of others. The myth of killing only in self-defense is easily disproved from the accounts of Muhammad’s own life as recorded in Islam’s sacred texts (with which Muslim terrorists are only too familiar).

Muhammad’s career of killing began with raids on merchant caravans traveling between Syria and Mecca. His men would usually sneak up on unsuspecting drivers and kill those who defended their goods. There was no self-defense involved here at all (on the part of the Muslims, at least). This was old-fashioned armed robbery and murder – sanctioned by Allah (according to Muhammad, who also demanded a fifth of the loot for himself).

The very first battle that Muhammad fought was at Badr, when a Meccan army of 300 was sent out to protect the caravans from Muslim raids. The Meccans did not threaten Muhammad, and (turning this Muslim myth on its ear) only fought in self-defense after they were attacked by the Muslims. Following the battle, Muhammad established the practice of executing surrendered captives – something that would be repeated on many other occasions.

The significance of this episode can hardly be overstated, because it lies at the very beginning of the long chain of Muslim violence that eventually passed right through the heart of America on September 11th. The early Muslims were not being threatened by those whom they attacked, and certainly not by those whom they had captured. They staged aggressive raids to eventually provoke war, just as al-Qaeda attempts to do in our time.

Muslims try to justify Muhammad's violence by claiming that he and his followers “suffered persecution” at the hands of the Meccans in an earlier episode, in which Muhammad was evicted from the city of Mecca and had to seek refuge at Medina. But even the worst of this persecution did not rise to the level of killing. Nor were Muhammad and his Muslims in any danger at all in their new home of Medina. They were free to get on with their lives.

Even Muhammad’s own men evidently questioned whether they should be pursuing and killing people who did not pose a threat to them, since it seemed to contradict earlier, more passive teachings. To convince them, Muhammad passed along a timely revelation from Allah stating that “the persecution of Muslims is worse than slaughter [of non-Muslims]” (Sura 2:191). This verse established the tacit principle that the authority of Muslims is of higher value even than the very lives of others. There is no larger context of morality against which acts are judged. All that matters is how an event impacts or benefits Muslims.

Under Muhammad, slaves and poets were executed, captives were beheaded, and adulterers were put into the ground and stoned. None of these were done during the heat of battle or necessitated by self-defense. To this day, Islamic law mandates death for certain crimes such as blasphemy and apostasy.

Following his death, Muhammad’s companions stormed the Christian world - taking the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. They attacked and conquered to the East as well, including Persia, Central Asia, and well into the Indian sub-continent. Few, if any, of these campaigns involved the pretense of self-defense. They were about Jihad.

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Anonymous posted on

The Muslim extremists who fight under the pretense of Jihad are wrong. Jihad only exists in purely Islamic states, which do not exist in this day and age. There are very specific guidelines of when Jihad in the form of fighting is allowed, and the extremists that scream "Jihad" as they kill are misguided.

The verse that you cited is indeed correct, as the revelation was sent to Muhammad and served as advice for the Muslims. This was to show that killing people of your own kind is worse than killing those that do not allow you to practice your religion. Taking the lives of fellow Muslims is strictly forbidden.

You have stated that "the early Muslims were not being threatened by those whom they attacked, and certainly not by those whom they had captured...Muslims try to justify Muhammad's violence by claiming that he and his followers “suffered persecution” at the hands of the Meccans in an earlier episode, in which Muhammad was evicted from the city of Mecca and had to seek refuge at Medina. But even the worst of this persecution did not rise to the level of killing"

On the contrary, the early Muslims were threatened in extreme amounts. To name just a few incidents, Bilal ibn Rabah was laid out naked on the hot sand and had burning coal put on him as his pagan masters ordered him to give up his faith. Ammar ibn Yasir's parents Yasir and Sumayya had their limbs tied to posts and were stretched out until they were killed. Muhammad urged patience to these people and did not allow a single Muslim sword to be raised. The Quran repeatedly states that patience is the best way to deal with negativity.

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Anonymous posted on

Brilliant article. Nevermind what arafat says since his replies are without reference and utterly unsubstantial. Sensibility tells one that they can never judge a religion on the basis of what its followers do. If a muslim kills someone its completely outrageous to blame Islam for that.
That way the debate goes to a whole new level with a lot of cases of christians and jews killing people too. But thats just a pointless debate since no religion in any way preaches terrorism. If the debate is that Islam is a religion of terrorism, thats just a plain futile statement without any rationale so really whoever thinks that is either a racist or just generally too benighted.
And what most people forget is that the so called war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan was for a lost cause. The american armies didn't find any nuclear weapons, it was just hideous plan to invade these countries and kill innocent people and the result was it turning out to be one of the biggest atrocities in the world. So since it was a political genocide does it give it the liberty to be less atrocious ? No.
Islam does not preach terrorism or killing innocent people hence someone who lives by the teachings of Islam cannot be a terrorist similarly a terrorist cannot be a true Muslim.
We should condemn any act of terrorism, be it the indian occupation of kashmir, the american invasion of Iraq/Afghanistan, the israely occupation of palestine, the attacks of september 11, the mumbai attacks or the dozens of bomb blasts in Pakistan.
Violence should be condemn without the religious or political bias and clearly thats what our religion teaches us.

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Anonymous posted on

Now this is childish. Arafat, it might help to cite what you are saying. Without references do you really expect me to take all that seriously?

Many barbaric acts have been committed in the name of other religions, as anybody with knowledge of history can tell you. For example, western colonialists justified their occupation of countries in Africa and South Asia by saying that they were going to convert these 'ungodly' people to Christianity. Surely you didn't overlook these...trivial facts of history intentionally?

We can bicker about that back and forth all day, anybody who wants to judge the validity of your statements need only read the biography of the Prophet (S). Such as can be found here: http://www.cyberistan.org/isla... . To find out what kind of personality the Prophet (S) had, have a look at this: http://www.answering-islam.org... . As I keep on saying, look at things in CONTEXT. People have many misconceptions about Islam that arise because they are quick to judge and refuse to see the reasoning behind it. Your callous slander of why the Prophet (S) had many wives is a perfect example of that. If the Prophet (S) personality had not been all that it is marveled to be, Islam would have never taken such strong hold in a pagan dominated society to begin with. The fact that Islam spread so incredibly rapidly is in itself is a miracle, as is the fact that an illiterate man was able to reveal such an enormous volume of poetry, of such unparalleled quality that it is still marveled at today; so incredible that hearing it being recited brought Hadhrat Umar to tears, and he at once converted to Islam. Not at the point of a sword, but because of the recital of the beautiful word of Allah.

"Islam is associated with Islamic terrorism because that is the association that the terrorists themselves choose to make." Yes, and I can dress up as a Christian priest, go bomb the Taj Mahal in India, and then upload a video on youtube taking full responsibility for my actions declaring a crusade on brown people. Anybody who knows what a Christian is will at once realize that it takes more than the outfit and me saying it to fulfill the credentials of me being a Christian. However, then you will have the vast majority who will be emotionally stricken by the loss of the world heritage site and the people who died, that they will conveniently overlook this fact of life and blindly in rage and hate start cursing Christianity in general. Well, it might happen if India's media was as powerful and influential as the USA's...but my point being, you can call them what they want to be called or you can use your head and see them for what they really are (frauds).

And wow, way to be one-sided. Your generalizations are amazing. "Almost all Islamic leaders encourage terrorism" "It's just that a significant percentage of those who do not actually carry out the task provide the funding and/or cheer when the nasty deed is done." For your information, these terrorists ironically received their funding and resources from the U.S. and its allies during the Cold War period in Afghanistan when they were trying to kick out the Soviets, and it is the fact that these countries completely forgot about the plight and horrible state they left these countries in after communism was no longer an issue there that these militants flourish today. I have no desire to get into an immature blame game and bashing contest with you, because it will achieve nothing with one bent on demonizing the other side. I think us Muslims have made our point. And on that note, good night from here in Pakistan.

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Arafat posted on

Usama,

You take the cake. When it comes to Muslim apologists, you really do. You have the skill to twist anything into making Muslim’s look good, even at their most abhorrent, and that takes a lot of skill seeing as though Muslims at their most abhorrent is pretty much right up there alongside Hitler.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl...

But as to your claim about Hitler’s “discipline” I can see why this would appeal to a people with a prophet like Mohammed (who was known for his complete lack of discipline), but why do you suppose Muslims chose Hitler as their role model of discipline while ignoring, say, Buddha who was also a very disciplined chap? Or, Job, night do, too. The Book of Job is available to Muslims too. Oh, I almost forgot. That book is not allowed in almost all Muslim countries under pain of death. My bad.

But you're right, Buddha and Job are not up to snuff for the Muslims. Hitler really is their man. That's just one of the reasons your people sided with him during WWII.

Oh, and by the way, here’s a funny video about Hitler’s great discipline. I think everyone will get a good laugh over this one!

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010...

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Anonymous posted on

LOL! I do hope you are not a Columbia student...it's my favorite American university, and you're kind of ruining that reputation with this prejudicial immaturity.I am not an apologist, just as terrorists are not Muslims. There is no 'skill' in it, other than actually being a Muslim and having been raised in a Muslim country, the history of which you try so adamantly to teach me. I think many have already tried to make this point to you...but I'll humor the situation by making it again: not everything that people do has a religious motivation. Nor are the governments of every country representative of their people. Furthermore, interest in books does not equal making Hilter their role model (ooh! I just used my 'skills' *read common sense* again). Yet another brilliant generalization on your part, as is assuming that everybody in India and Bangladesh interested in Mein Kempf is Muslim. Prophet Mohammad (S) needs no defending, I think it says enough that Islam is currently the fastest growing religion in the world, including the 'west'. And my people were busy fighting alongside the British, so I presume that your assumption that they all loved Hitler is yet another reflex callous generalization. Now please, drop this matter and leave this argument feeling a little more enlightened that the world is not black and white, it would be most astute of you. However, if you still feel obliged to continue with your hate speeching, then by all means do so, but know that hardly anybody can take you seriously anymore. I for one, am done bothering replying. Night.

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Anonymous posted on

Sameea, please join the Spectator! We need more hot and intelligent people like you. :)

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Anonymous posted on

Whoa, if your essay is this hot- I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW HOT YOU MUST BE.

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Anonymous posted on

JK I MEANT ARTICLE

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Anonymous posted on

Sameea Butt you wrote an amazing article and please continue to write more!

Arafat, Muslims believe in Jesus also....get your facts straight. What Khan said is true.... it is a sad fact that many Muslim countries aren't highly developed and their ignorance leads to many horrific acts.

I mean just look at yourself for example... your ignorance and denial won't even let you consider the comments that other people are trying to get through to your head. You're at that sad point of denial when you've been proven wrong so many times but you continue to argue... may the Lord guide your soul.

Have you heard about the mass killings of Palestinians in living in Gaza? The mass killings of Bosnian Muslims? The treatment of Afghans when Russian soldiers took over? The list goes on buddy ...Muslims are CLEARLY victims in these situation. So don't try to flip the situation and say that Muslims are always the bad guys. AND that doesn't mean I'm justifying the acts of these Muslims, so don't bother going there either. What I'm trying to prove is that killings happen by followers of various religions and you can't blame ONE religion for all the evils in the world. The world can be a sick place and people like you are only going to make it sicker by spreading hate.

Like President Obama said, "The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few." So please open your mind/heart and judge the individuals not the religion.

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Anonymous posted on

SAD
Columbia is infested with terrorist sympathizers

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Anonymous posted on

Props to the artist of the above picture- very drammatic portrayal of a six- year- old Aisha escorted to consummate her marriage with Prophet Mohammad [Peace be upon him].

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Anonymous posted on

I find it rather strange that American Muslims and their fellow travelers seem to think it is harsh to judge based on 9 nine years of history, when they (the Northern intellectual elite sympathetic to Islam,mostly liberal Jews or lapsed Proddies) generally base their opinions of the American South on an event from 145 years ago. They say forgive and forget to Islamic terrorism and it's supporters, and point out that American/ Israeli aggression had a large part to do with the Muslim's bitterness. However, they are unwilling to say to their own Southern countrymen the same. Instead, they call them racists, reactionaries, and rednecks for their unwillingness to toe the line of an aggressive federal state or express pride in their heritage. They demand that the South apologize for it's rebellion against Northern socio-economic imperialism. They demand that the federal government int the form of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 be given a free hand to interfere in Southern elections when Northern ones are just (or in some cases ahem Chicago) more corrupt. Perhaps we will care about what the professional Orientalist Grievance-mongers have to say about Israel's occupied territories when they start caring about our occupied territories.

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Anonymous posted on

Arafat,
Just what exactly are your sources? All the statements you made about the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, are absolutely false and blasphemous. It's sad to hear that so many people are bereft of the truth about the Prophet's life. I advise you to get your facts straight before you even start to consider discussing the Prophet's life and his morals.

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Arafat posted on

Fatimah,

You are correct. As far as rpaists and mirderers go Moahmmed really was a pretty good one.

Promise me you won't go on a killing spree or place a fatwah on my head for mentioning this. TIA

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Anonymous posted on

yes you are

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Anonymous posted on

I accused her for calling America racist. Do you see American students receiving financial aid to attend university in Pakistan? There is no country that is more tolerant for different cultures than this country. No country embraces diversity the way U.S. does- calling it racist IS ungraceful and disrespectful

She IS on financial aid and I doubt her parents, even if they are taxpayers, pay enough taxes to fund her education.

And, hey, Sameea, what prevents you from doing your cartwheels in CU Gym? Or what prevents you from organizing group prayers at Columbia?
Ground Zero is a sacred ground and no Islam- glorifying centers should be allowed there.

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Anonymous posted on

'the best memories I’ve had at college this past year came from debating with students of the Hillel Association about the Israeli wall and making friends in the process, catching the school’s Shakespeare troupe’s late night springtime performance of “Measure for Measure,” and running cartwheels down the lawn in front of our library. '

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Anonymous posted on

Nowhere in the text or tone of the article did she convey ingratitude. And NOWHERE was Ms. Butt presumptuous enough to condemn an entire country as being ‘racist’.

The point that Ms. Butt is making is that American values are undermined when citizens of a secular nation, decide to question or begrudge the rights of other American citizens to build a community center focused on promoting inter faith harmony on a piece of privately owned property.

Something which you should have been able to deduce had your individual racist inclinations not prevented you from doing so.

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