I recently received an email from a co-worker titled “Can Muslim be good American’s” It ended with stating that Barack Obama is a Muslim, which I know NOT to be true so I started to check out some of the other statements. The more I read them I began to realize very similar arguments could be made about a Christian Fundamentalist. It is not like all Christians interpret the Bible in the same manner nor do all Christians take every word and sentence in the Bible literally, as this email insinuates all Muslims do with the Quran.
Not that I want to be or that I don’t want to be a defender of the Muslim faith or Barack Obama, but I do want to be a defender of truth and not promote inaccurate and confusing messages in this already complex political world. In attempt to achieve that end, please read below as I utilize someone else’s detailed critique of the email, point by point.
Here is the link to the original analysis of a similar email:
I don’t particularly like the above person’s sarcastic tone but he does layout and interesting argument. It also appears he was responding to a different and slightly harsher version of the email?
Here is some of the text below but a bit toned down to focus on the content and not the name calling (go to the link above to see the full argument):
The original email text will be in Italic and in “quotes”.
The response will be in BOLD ——————————————————————————————————–
“CAN MUSLIMS BE GOOD AMERICANS?
This is very interesting! We all need to read it from start to finish……… and send it on to anyone who will read it. Maybe this is why our American Muslims are so quiet and not speaking out about any atrocities.
Can a good Muslim be a good American?
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.”
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.
“Religiously – no. . . . Because no other religion is accepted by His Allah except Islam (Quran, 2:256) (Koran).”
A translation 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 appears to say 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.
“Scripturally – no. . . . Because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the Quran.”
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, which are:
1) Profess to believe that there is no God except for God, and that Muhammed was his messenger.
2) Pray to God at least five times a day, if it’s practical and you can manage it.
3) Give alms (“zakat”) to the poor. This is usually money, but can be food if you can’t give money.
4) Fast from dawn to dusk for one month a year, known as Ramadan. This is only for adults, and not for people who are sick or elderly.
5) If practical, and you can afford it, make at least one pilgrimmage in your life to visit Mecca.
Those who believe in these five pillars say that if you meet them that makes you a Muslim regardless of just about anything else.
“Geographically – no. . . . Because his allegiance is to Mecca , to which he turns in prayer five times a day.”
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.
“Socially – no. . . . Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.”
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).
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.
“Politically – no. . . . Because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America, the great Satan.”
“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).”
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.
“Intellectually – no. . . . Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles, and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.”
The words “God” or “Bible” or “Christian” are nowhere in the entire text of the Constitution? Here’s a link to the Constitution to search through. And here’s a link to the Bill of Rights.
Our First Amendment reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof……
“Philosophically – no. . . . Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression.
Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist.”
This is interesting considering the citation above (see Quran, 2:256) of a verse from the Koran that clearly says there can be no compulsion in religion–which sounds like freedom of religion and thought?
“Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.”
The Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has been one of the world’s foremost advocates of democracy, urging all Muslims to vote and be a part of the democratic process both in his homeland of Iraq (which is now a democracy) and around the world. He says voting and being part of democratic processes is a fundamental duty of all Muslims.
Democratic nations dominated by Muslims include Indonesia, Mali, Senegal, Turkey, Albania, Niger, and Nigeria–and nowadays, also Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon.
The largest democracy in the world is India. Who’s India’s president? Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam–a Muslim.
“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.”
“And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good.” (Koran 2:195)
“Surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves.” (Koran 2:222)
“Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (3:31)
“Those who spend (benevolently) in ease as well as in straitness, and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good (to others).” (3:134)
No, the Koran doesn’t refer to God as the “heavenly father.” But love, compassion, mercy, and benevolence are all ascribed to God over and over again. The 99 names of God mentioned in the Koran include “Peace and Blessing,” “The Subtly Kind,” “The All Forgiving,” “The Bountiful, the Generous,” and “The Loving, The Kind” (more here.)
“Therefore after much study and deliberation, perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country.”
Or “suspicious” of the original author of this email, as all of the content can be debunked with a simple Google or Wikipedia search
“They obviously cannot be both “good” Muslims and good Americans.“
No reason to comment here as it has been laid out above
“* * * Call it what you wish; it’s still the truth.”
Interesting the author feels the need to say this is the “truth”
“* * * You had better believe it.”
Again, why have to reiterate this if what has been stated is the “truth”?
“* * * The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future. The religious war is bigger than we know or understand.”
Or the more confused people will be? And what “religious war” are we in? I thought it was a war on terrorism, or Iraq, or Afghanistan? If the US was in a religious war which side would we be fighting for? I thought we came over on three ships to get away from religious oppression not start it? Maybe we would be of the side of “freedom of Religion”?
“And Barack Hussein Obama, a Muslim, wants to be our President?”
Barack Obama is not a Muslim and he will not be swore in on the Quran. This is easy to confuse with the fact that Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota’s 5th district swore in on the Quran
“You HAVE to be kidding?! Wake up America!”
And Google all the “facts” or statements in this email
“Obama even says if he wins the election, he will be sworn in on the Quran (Koran)—not the Bible!”
Again, not true – see above
“PLEASE, please pass this to all in your address book.”
Along with the comments (in BOLD) to give people an alternative argument and let them come to their own conclusions
Just my $.02,