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Crescent & Cross
"Islam versus Christianity" A Reply to The Pope! by Nashid
The media has done a lot to demonize Islam and create hatred between Christians and Muslims. When you consider that the purpose of religion should be to bring peace, when war and hatred replace love in the name of religion, it should really make the thinking mind wonder.
The American Muslim leader, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed said,
"When we read the Quran and Bible with proper understanding, we can clearly see that these great religious leaders were not divided one against the other. Jesus not only supported the scripture that Moses taught, but he interpreted it and explained it so that the people could get more light on what Moses had taught them. When Prophet Muhammad of Arabia came behind Jesus, he did the same thing. He spoke from the scriptures that Jesus had left and he explained and interpreted what Jesus left. If our great heroes in religion have not divided themselves one against the other, and if they have shown us that they belonged to one unified family, why are we divided?"
Obviously the message that each religious leader brought supported each other from Moses to Jesus and to Muhammad. But the history of the followers of these religions has not been peaceful. Today Islam is being accused of the worst things. Along with that, Quranic verses are being deliberately taken out of context and misquoted to give the impression of endorsing war and the source for terrorist actions. This misquotes, out of context remarks and mistranslations do not in any way accurately reflect what the Islam teaches.
Pope Benedict XVI joins in this by repeating statements about the religion of Islam without any supporting reference to anything in the Qur’an or Islamic history.
Instead of speaking from actual teachings from the Qur’an, the Pope chose to quote from a 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II – an Emperor who lived in the time of the final crusades and during the end of the 2,200 year-old Eastern Roman empire. Ironically, this Emperor comments about a supposed “command” from Muhammad to spread Islam by the sword, while being himself embroiled in many wars even against family members and also against Muslims.
The Pope even goes so far to repeatedly during his speech refer to this Emperor favorably as being erudite or scholarly. What is that telling us about the Pope if he thinks that way about an Emperor who makes false unsubstantiated claims about Islam? A fair question to ask is: why choose a remnant from the crusades to quote from and not the Qur’an, if indeed Islam endorses terrorism and violence? His Holiness, if you wanted to make a point to condemn attempts to “convince reasonable souls” using violence, threats, weapons, etc. as a means to bring them to faith, there is much in the rich history of Christianity to point to. There is even the recent example of the Christian nation America doing just that to bring Iraqi souls to have faith in “democracy”. Why pick the Islamic religion and bring in words from a 14th century remnant of the crusades? This in no way reflects the example of unity and understanding amongst religions as pointed out by Imam Warith Deen Mohammed in the messages brought to the world by Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
His Holiness, if Islam teaches that God is transcendent above reason, it does not negate any of the wonderful qualities of the Supreme Being such as Most Generous, Most Beneficent, Most Loving, All Knowing, etc. Nor does it mean that reason should be abandoned and negated in God’s universe. It is just stating that the Being who created us all has no limitations, no defects, no weaknesses and cannot be limited by anything in creation. Especially for human beings Islam teaches that true spiritual development cannot be attained without true rational development. Rational development is an intrinsic prerequisite to the proper development of the human being. This rational development is fueled by knowledge. Islam places great importance on knowledge to the point where the ignorance of an ignorant man is considered to be worse than the sins of a sinful man as captured by these words from the Prophet of Islam:
The Prophet said: The ignorance of an ignorant man is more harmful than the transgression of a sinner. On the Resurrection Day a man will be raised to the rank of nearness to God in proportion to his intellect.
The Prophet said: Nobody earns a better thing than intellect. It shows him the path towards guidance and saves him from destruction…When his intellect becomes perfect he obeys God and disobeys his enemy the Satan.
The Prophet said: Have you not heard the words of the sinners in Hell: “Had we heard and understood, we would not have been the inmates of Hell.” –al Ghazali, Ihya Ulum-Id-Din
So in Islam we do not believe in an existence for human beings absent of reason.
I will list some accusations made against Islam (indeed there are many) by leading Christians and Christian Zionists starting with the most recent remarks from The Pope and then I will respond to them:
1. “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached'." Pope Benedict XVI quotes Christian Emperor Manuel Pale
2. “Islam is simply "a religion of war." You may protest that your Islamic neighbor down the street could not possibly be a threat. Free Congress says you should bear in mind that "there are lax Islamics.” Or to put it another way, the peaceful individual Muslims are out of step with their religion. They are outsiders looking in.” Statement by the Free Congress.
3. Franklin Graham, fundamentalist preacher son of Billy Graham, pronounced on NBC Nightly News November 16, 2001: "The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It is a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion."
4. Pat Robertson, said on the "700 Club" television program on February 21, 2002 that "Islam is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy."
5. "Nobel literature prize winner Elias Cannetti has defined Islam as "a religion of war – literally a killer belief." "Islam has made war on Christendom and Christians since it first swept out of Arabia to conquer much of the Christian Mediterranean world."
6. Ann Coulter boldly wrote that the US should conquer the entire Muslim world and convert them to Christianity. She pronounced these words of war and conquest with no criticism or outcry by “turn the other cheek” Christians. In fact she is loved and encouraged by them.
7. Conservative Baptist Evangelist, Jerry Falwell, in an interview on the CBS news program 60 Minutes (October 6, 2002) said," I think Muhammad was a terrorist. I read enough of the history of his life written by both Muslims and non-Muslims, (to know) that he was a - a violent man, a man of war,"
Not to be outdone by the Christians and fueling the flames of hatred, especially Muslim-Christian hatred have been leaders amongst the Jews. Israel now enjoys major support and major endorsement by more than 30 million Christian Zionists and Evangelicals who believe that Islam is their enemy and that they must support Israel against Muslims. In their fundamentalist vision of the world, the Evangelicals see supporting Israel, right or wrong, as the best way to fulfill -- and even speed up -- the Bible's doomsday plan for the world. The founding of Israel in 1948 was the first step in the Biblically-mandated series of events leading to Armageddon and the return of Jesus. They are preparing for a period of extreme violence costing millions of lives including many Jews. Those who remain will embrace Jesus as Savior.
The Israelis are enjoying this because despite the Christians claim to a future beneficial outcome for Christians, the Israelis are reaping the benefits TODAY of strong Christian support against their enemies. They have even predicted a future Christian crusade against Muslims as in the following statement:
“Within a few years a Christian crusade against Islam will be launched, which will be the major event of this millennium...” Benny Elon, Israeli Tourism Minister and high level envoy.
At the same time many in the leadership of Judaism don’t see the world of Christianity as a threat. They view the Christian world as a civilization that has already been conquered with their only remaining challenge being the Muslim world. This is reflected in the following statement:
“The Jews are not a nation, neither a religion,” he said. “They are a civilization, and they have their civilizing mission. They cannot tolerate the competing civilization of Islam, as they could not tolerate Christendom or Communism. That is why the war with Islam is unavoidable.”
Yehuda Bauer, director of the Holocaust Memorial Institute Yad va-Shem in Jerusalem
The turmoil brought on by hatred and wars between Christians and Muslims works well for these Jews. Without lifting a finger they gleefully enjoy how the Christian Zionists are fighting Muslims for them. Through the ownership of the world's media they also help in the propaganda war against Islam by painting it to be a religion of violence and terrorism.
In response to these charges and which religion is the religion of violence and war, I would like to mention that "people who live in glass houses should never throw stones."
It was not Muslims who went to Christian lands to wage 8 successive Crusades to take their land away from them as directed by their Islamic leaders as Christians were, following the direction of their Popes.
It was not Islam whose leadership claimed that the purpose for the first crusade was (1) to rescue their brothers of the faith in the East from Muslim hordes and (2) liberate Jerusalem. But lo and behold then by the second crusade their Christian brothers in the East – who supposedly needed rescuing from the Muslims – joined the Muslims to fight against the crusaders due to the savage, barbarous and cruel behavior of their “rescuers”.
It was not Islam that went conquering people all over the world and colonizing them as Christians did forcing defenseless people to embrace Christianity after being militarily defeated by the more powerful Christian armies of Europe. These actions are being repeated in this time with the military conquest of Iraq by America and Britain only to be followed by enthusiastic Christian Zionists seeking to convert Muslims to Christianity. "The opportunity for broadcast expansion in post-war Iraq is phenomenal," enthused Don Black, Vice President of In Touch Ministries in Atlanta, in an interview with the web site Salon. Samaritan's Purse, a relief headed by Franklin Graham, is another group planning to proselytize the people of Iraq. All these groups are doing it under the guise of providing aid to the Iraqi people. Of course this is strongly encouraged and supported by the Bush administration which claims “it's not the administration's responsibility to determine which groups can provide aid to Iraq.”
It was not Islam, whose Holy Book teaches “make no graven images” yet portrays the son of God as a Caucasian crucified savior on a cross for all the races in the world to worship. Then to also portray his virgin mother, apostles, and all the saints as Caucasians, belonging to the ‘divine white race’ for all to revere and love. This fostering of white supremacy in religious form caused Caucasians to feel superior over the non-white ‘un-Godly’ races thereby justifying the colonization and subjugation of other human beings. As a result of worshipping a Caucasian-looking God, it caused non-white races to feel inferior and Caucasians to feel superior, bringing about serious racial inferiority complexes among the non-white races and inspiring the rise of cruel inhumane organizations like the Ku Klux Klan, that committed lynching, murders and other racial atrocities.
It was not Islam that encouraged the slave trade in Africa declaring it was OK because the heathen Africans were having their souls saved by being converted to Christianity. It was not Islam that cursed a whole race of people and described them as inferior, children of Ham because of the color of their skin. Then to add further humiliation and deepen racial tensions have this story embellished showing ridiculous origins of African features as done by Rabbis in the Jewish Talmud.
It was not Islam which caused the decimation of over 50% of the population of the Congo as was done by the Belgian Christian King Leopold (11 million massacred out of a population of 20 million).
It was not Islam that attempted to Frenchify Algeria at the cost of over a million Algerians (which at the time represented over 10% of the population) as Christians from France did to this defenseless country in Africa.
It was not an Islamic nation that uttered the arrogant and conquering statement "the sun never sets on the British Empire" as was done by a leading conquering Christian nation.
It was not Islam which dominated and conquered the world, not as a result of superior ideas and excellent examples of humanity, but as a result of superior weapons of war possessed by Christian nations used against weaker nations, as we see being done by Christian America today against Iraq and Afghanistan, and tomorrow against Iran, Syria and other Muslim countries.
It was not Islam whose history is mired with constant cycles of vicious wars and hostility as experienced for Centuries by the Christian nations of France, England, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Russia and others.
It was not Islam that went to the Far East and conquered Asians and as part of the Asians’ humiliation and subjugation introduced addictive drugs into their societies, forcing those countries to fight Opium wars to free themselves from Christian tyranny.
It was not Islam that caused the misery, suffering and whole scale deaths of millions with mass destruction of cities like the Christian nations did in WWI and WWII. During one night of February 13, 1945, the allied armies Britain and US bombed the city of Dresden in Germany, and it is estimated that as many as 350,000 - 600,000 victims were incinerated beyond being identifiable or even recognizable as human remains in that Holocaust. Only 35,000 could be identified. Then the Christians culminated this death and destruction by dropping atomic bombs on Japanese cities killing an estimated 115,000 victims, and many later with radiation sickness, disfigurement and permanent damage to thousands of innocent people.
It was not Islam that persecuted and murdered thinkers and scientists, like Galileo, Copernicus and the great female scientist Hypatia in the worst way because they dared to state their scientific findings that differed from Catholicism. It was not Islam that defied scientific facts and insisted for years that the universe was Geo-centric rather than Helio-centric simply because Muhammad lived on earth as Christians did with Christ and persecuted anyone who dared to say different. During the recent invasion and occupation of Iraq, US occupation forces detained more than 600 top Iraqi scientists, whose fate is totally unknown. Before this invasion, an American scientist, David Albright, wrote an article "IRAQ: Resettle the Scientists," in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (page 17, Jan/Feb 1998) foretelling the US plans.
It was not Islam that kept its followers in perpetual ignorance, superstition and barbaric filth during a period of time known as the Dark Ages. It was not Islam that allowed its people to live in the most un-hygienic ways, discouraging cleanliness and baths and causing them to suffer Bubonic Plagues and other life-threatening diseases for centuries. This Bubonic Plague was responsible for decimating 25% of the European population at that time which was approximately 137 million people.
It was not Islam that instituted the Inquisition that punished millions of "heretics" for several centuries who did not go along with the official version of Christianity with imprisonment, torture and death. Then in the 1500’s, the Christian Spaniards brought the Inquisition to the Americas demanding instant conversion by the Indians and death to any Indian daring to refuse.
It was not Islam that caused people to flee religious persecutions as Christianity did in Europe causing Europeans to find and establish religious freedom in a new land. Then due to the horrible, inhumane experience with Christianity the country formed in the new world said “never again”. Never again would we let the ignorance and cruelties of the Christian religion rule our government. We insist and we legislate that there will always be a separation of church and state!
It was not Islam that encouraged the ethnic cleansing of Native American Indians and ruthless theft of their lands as done by Christians from England, France and Spain. The number of deaths caused by European Christians on poor hapless American Indians was upwards of 250 million.
It is not Islam whose countries are decaying from within because of high crime rates, immorality, corrupt leaders, high divorce rates, social unrest, rampant accepted homosexuality like in Sodom and Gomorrah, destruction of the family, extreme selfishness, greed and other ills that plague Christian nations today.
It is not Islam which has championed the cause of another people's religion identifying them as "God's chosen people" and then provided the means for these people to steal Palestine and ethnically cleanse innocent Palestinians including fellow Christians. The war crimes committed, barbarism, cruel and inhumane treatment of Palestinians and the Israelis’ in brazen defiance of UN resolutions are rewarded by the most powerful Christian nation in the world with free money, undying support and special consideration.
It is not an Islamic nation that has imposed sanctions on another nation that has caused deaths of mainly innocent children in the range of 4000-5000 per month. Then to add insult to injury threaten and attack that nation – killing more than 250,000 CIVILIANS -- on false pretense causing millions more to live in squalor and misery as the great Christian nation of America is doing to Iraq. Now that the WMD claim for attacking Iraq proves to be false, this Christian nation changes the rules and claims that the WMD reason to attack Iraq does not matter.
It was not an Islamic nation that has brutally massacred more than 20,000 innocent Afghans and threw the Geneva Convention out the window in their inhumane, barbaric treatment of Afghan prisoners as the great Christian nation of America has in its false war on terrorism against Afghanistan. While the world, including Islamic nations, mourned the innocent deaths of about 3000 Americans on 911, the great Christian nation of America degrades the dignity of human beings by describing the 20,000 innocent Afghans killed as collateral damage.
It is not an Islamic nation that already has a plan mapped out known as A Project for the New American Century (PNAC) whose National Security Strategy - promulgated as late as September 2002 - now includes pre-emptive attacks on possible future competitors first, assuming regional hegemony by force of arms in the Middle East, controlling energy resources around the globe, maintaining a permanent war strategy, and more as Christian America does. It is easy to surmise that Christian America is after oil, but not one of the Muslim nations, not even Iraq, has denied America the purchase of its oil. The Christian nation of America does not care. It is bent on pursuing a warlike imperial foreign policy and is chomping at the bit to attack Iran next.
Need I say more? I could go on and on.
While the Zionists and Christian Zionists write and talk about Islam being warlike, the above information proves that Christians are the ones who are truly warlike. More evil has been committed in the name of Christianity than has been committed by any other religion in human history. Their history has been one of a people who have “the mark of the beast” in their hands or actions. But the elite Jews who are rejoicing and reaping the benefits of the turmoil caused by Christians are the ones with the “mark of the beast” in their foreheads. After all they gave the Europeans their version of Christianity and even boast about it as in the following:
We conquered you as no empire of yours ever subjugated Africa or Asia. And we did it all without armies, without bullets, without blood or turmoil, without force of any kind. We did it solely by the irresistible might of our spirit, with ideas, with propaganda.
We made you the willing and unconscious bearers of our mission to the whole world, to the barbarous races of the earth, to the countless unborn generations. Without fully understanding what we were doing to you, you became the agents at large of our racial tradition, carrying our gospel to the unexplored ends of the earth.
Marcus Eli Ravage, Jewish Scholar and Official Rothschilds Biographer
Muslims will never say, as some Christians do, that the evils done by Christians were due to the teachings of the Noble Christ. Muslims will never blame good God conscious Christians for those evils. No, Muslims will put the blame where it belongs and that is on evil people who used the name of Christ to accomplish their wrongs. Evil men and women dirtied the name of Christ with their evil deeds. Now these same evil, war mongering, hypocritical false people are trying to smear and falsify Islam. They are at it again. They want war and they are using the name of Christ and smearing the name of Muhammad (saaw) to achieve it.
The truth is that there is no “command” in Islam about spreading the religion by the sword. There is nothing in Islam that is known as “holy” Jihad or kill the infidel concept. Most people who state that make those claims in a vacuum or deliberately take words out of context to support their claims. They are vicious lies done to demonize Islam and cause hatred. It is especially sad to see these words coming from the leader of Catholicism when the message of Jesus was one of truth, love and kindness.
The Qur’an on the contrary is rich with verses showing tolerance and understanding for others of different religions. Rather than an attitude of war, air of superiority and degradation of good people of other faiths, the Qur’an is resplendent with verses guaranteeing good non-Muslims rewards from God for their goodness. Here are a few:
2: 62. Those who believe (in the Qur’an)
And those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures)
And the Christians and the Sabians, -
ANY who believe in God
And the Last Day,
And work righteousness,
Shall have their reward
With their Lord: on them
Shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
“They are not all the same; among the followers of the scripture, there are those who are righteous. They recite God's revelations through the night, and they fall prostrate.”
”They believe in God and the Last Day, they advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and they hasten to do righteous works. These are the righteous.” (3:113-114)
If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them. [4:124].
As for a “command” to spread the religion by the sword, the words of the Qur’an condemns that idea and strongly so. The idea of no compulsion in religion and freedom of conscious choice pervades the Qur’an from beginning to end. Here are just a few verses reflecting that:
Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. [16:125]
"...There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is here forth distinct from error..." [2:256]
"Say (Muhammad it is) truth from the Lord of all. Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, LET him disbelieve." [18:29]
“If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe?” [10:99].
There is much propaganda about Islam and the “command” to spread it by the sword, but Muslims are still waiting to find out where our religion teaches that. Today Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world especially after 9-11. It should be obvious to everyone that despite all of the negative publicity and association of Islam with terrorism, there are people finding it to be more attractive than any other religion in the world. More and more people are finding out the truth about Islam and converting because they became curious and decided to find out more about this "terrorist" religion that they keep hearing so much about. Where is the sword in all this? Who is pointing the sword at the doctors, scientists, clergy, professionals and common people to force them to become Muslims?
The truth is Islam has always spread through contact with Muslims and peaceful introduction to the teachings of Islam as it is spreading today. Not military warrior crusading Emperors, but peaceful thinkers and scholars from around the world know this and many of them have written about it as in the following:
1. Historian De Lacy O'Leary has to say on the subject of “the sword of Islam”.
“History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated” (Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923 p. 8 )
2. From Israeli Journalist, humanitarian and former Knesset member, Uri Avnery:
“Muslim Spain was a paradise for the Jews, and there has never been a Jewish Holocaust in the Muslim world. Even pogroms were extremely rare. Muhammad decreed that the "Peoples of the Book" (Jews and Christians) be treated tolerantly, subject to conditions that were incomparably more liberal than those in contemporary Europe.
”The Muslims never imposed their religion by force on Jews and Christians, as shown by the fact that almost all the Jews expelled from Catholic Spain settled in the Muslim countries and flourished there.
”After centuries of Muslim rule, Greeks and Serbs remained thoroughly Christian. When peace is established between Israel and the Arab world, the poisonous fruits of anti-Semitism will most probably disappear from the Arab world (as will the poisonous fruits of Arab-hating in our society.)”
3. From Mahatma Ghandi, Hindu and liberator of India from British colonial rule:
'I become more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme for life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and his own mission. These and not the sword, carried everything before them and surmounted every trouble.'
(M.K. Gandhi, Young India, 1924).
4. From an Atheist, Mathematician and Philosopher Bertrand Russell:
I have always been told throughout my youth of the fanaticism of the Mohammedans, and especially that story of the destruction of the library at Alexandria. Well, I believed all these stories, but when I came to look into the history of the times concerned, I had a great many shocks. In the first place, I discovered that the library of Alexandria was destroyed a great many times, and the first time was by Julius Caesar. But the last time was supposed to have been by the Mohammedans, and for this I found no justification whatsoever. Nor did I find that the Mohammedans were fanatical. The contests between Catholics, Nestorians, and Monophysites were bitter and persecuting to the last degree. But the Mohammedans, when they conquered Christian countries, allowed the Christians to be perfectly free, provided they pay a tribute. The only penalty for being a Christian was that you had to pay a tribute that Mohammedans did not have to pay. This proved completely successful, and the immense majority of the population became Mohammedans, but not through any fanaticism on the part of the Mohammedans. On the contrary they, in the earlier centuries of their power, represented free thought and tolerance to a degree that the Christians did not emulate until quite recent times.
Bertrand Russell (Eng. philosopher, mathematician, 1872-1970): "Reading History As It Is Never Written" 
5. Sir George Bernard Shaw, Writer:
'I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - that wonderful man - and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the savior of humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.
(G.B. Shaw, The Genuine Islam)
As the leader of Catholicism in the world, the Pope should learn the truth about Islam and not single out hateful false statements about the religion of 1.5 billion people to publicize. Rather than praise the ignorance of an Emperor embroiled in war against Muslims as being erudite, he should learn the truth about Islam or go to truly erudite peaceful scholars as listed above to quote from. This would be more in line with following the noble example of Christ in spreading love, peace and happiness in this world.
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