B U L L E T I N

Happy New Year!

1. New Year Message - A purposeful life – Huffington post
2. A Note about Sean Hannity, Stuart Varney and Fox News –request
3. Note about Bridgette Gabriel’s comment on Fox News – upon request
4. American Muslims are proud of taking the right step - Link
5. Moderate Muslims Speak out? Link

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Religious Conversions

Conversion or recruitment?

(Updated Friday, March 5, 2010 @ 4:52 PM: About 70 comments in Facebook and nearly 30 comments at Washington post - links posted below)

Religions are beautiful, if every one gets it as Jesus intended, Mohammad wanted, Moses taught, Krishna explained, Nanak practiced, Buddha enlightened, Zathustra showed or the native tradtions point out... there would be no problem. All they wanted was a better world by following a few basic principles. They were looking at the end result and not the means. Religion is not the problem.

The purpose of religion is to bring a sense of composure and a balance within oneself and with what surrounds; life and environment. All religions or traditions whether scripted or not, have the same goal; to create a continual balance.

When you buy a $700 suit for $100, you will call all your friends to go get one. I guess the same zeal enters one's mind if they are rejoiced with their faith.

Arrogance is the mother of all conflicts that is why every possible tradition out there requires one to bow, kneel or prostrate to show humility and acceptance of a greater being than ourselves. To believe my faith is better than yours is sheer arrogance, it breeds conflicts, and assumes that other faiths are less than mine; and "they" need to catch up, Hell no!

To believe that other faith is deficient is being disrespectful to the otherness of other. God has not signed a deal with any one behind my back, if God were to favor one over the other, we have not understood the nature of God, all loving, caring and generous, after he is your and my creator. But if you insist God does favors to you, keep him, we don't need it, we don't need that kind of God illusion.

Spirituality and Arrogance are inversely proportional. To be religious is to be humble and to be a peace maker.

There is no need to have institutions of proselyteziation. Every faith is beautiful, however one should have complete freedom to choose what he or she wants to believe or ritualize. Let there be no compulsion in religion. (Quraan 2:256).

After all, NO ONE is responsible for my actions other than myself, that I have to reflect upon in my solitiude and be accountable on the elusive Day of Judgment.

I am a Muslim and I proclaim, my faith is NOT superior or inferior to any. My faith requires me to be humble and my role is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill that is what leads to the kingdom of peace. My faith works for me as your faith works for you, you enjoy your faith and I will mine. (Quraan 109:6)

Mike Ghouse is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. He is a thinker, writer, speaker, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Co-existence, Peace, Islam and India. His work is reflected at three websites and 22 Blogs at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Also at Facebook/ 60+ Comments: http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages&tid=1018615040843#!/note.php?note_id=367793897773
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Conversion or recruitment?

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/muqtedar_khan/2010/03/the_difference_between_conversion_and_recruitment.html


Q: Is there a problem with proselytism overseas by U.S. religious groups? Isn't sharing one's faith part of religious freedom? When does it cross the line into manipulation and coercion?

I believe systematic and institutionalized endeavors to proselytize on a global stage is warfare by other means. I am not opposed to conversion per se. If someone finds meaning in a particular message and seeks to embrace it, congratulations. If one feels an urge to share one's beliefs and what it means with others, then again that is welcome. But if one starts a campaign to "recruit" people through an organized crusade, then it is, I believe, contrary to the very idea of spiritualism as understood by most faiths, and is an act of aggression.

Faith is not a commodity that lends itself to a global consumer marketing campaign. To treat it as such is demeaning to faith itself. Marketing it using brochures and not compassion, arguments and not service, providing material incentives and not spiritual comfort, is abhorrent.

Islam and Christianity have reputations for proselytizing. But often the rapid growth of Islam is assumed to be as a result of Christianity like attempts at systematic proselytizing. This is far from the truth. There are no lifelong missionaries in Muslim societies. Mosques do not have budgets or fund raisers for missionary work. Islam is today the fastest growing religion in America and Europe and that is not because of some major missionary campaign, but indeed in spite of all the demonization of Islam in the media as a false religion, as a religion of violence and as a value system intolerant towards women.

Many Western commentators interpret the extremism of al-Qaeda and other groups as indicative of the Islamic mandate to convert people to Islam. I personally have difficulty understanding this claim. How does one convince others of the virtue of one's ways through murder and slaughter?

On the other hand, many Islamic and third world countries associate Christian missionaries with crusades, colonization and imperialism. If you see a Christian missionary, run! Western armies are not far behind, or they are already there. Even the U.S., the champion of secularism and freedom of religion, has had so much trouble disassociating itself and its foreign policy from proselytizing. U.S. armies in occupied Iraq have been used to protect Christian missionaries distributing Bibles along with food to starving Iraqis and associating Christian symbols with military ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Efforts to safeguard freedom of religion, such as the now controversial U.S. Commission of on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has been shown as biased towards Christianity. It has over the years shown more concern for opening opportunities for evangelism in the Muslim World than protecting the religious freedoms of Muslim Women in France.

In India too there is a large constituency for banning conversions because they see it as a cultural invasion of India, by Islam and Christianity. Clearly proselytizing has no place in the global village.

Islamic sources, regardless of how some Muslims may act or interpret them, are overwhelmingly against active proselytization. The Quran states very clearly that there is no compulsion in religion. There is no need for compulsion, since the truth is elf evident (Quran 2:256). In several other places, the Quran states very clearly that the role of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is to only deliver the message from God. He does not have the right to exercise power over those who receive his message (Quran 88;21-22), it is God, not people, who will exercise accountability upon the creation (Quran 88;26]. The job of a Muslim is to deliver the message, not to manage, not to act as an advocate nor to seek to act as a guardian of others (Quran 10:18, 3:29, 18:29).

I like Jefferson's idea that the best way to communicate what one's values and beliefs are is by living them. If Muslims want to bring the message of Truth to others, then rather than launching global campaigns to proselytize, they should live their faiths and let its grace work. The same applies to others. Be good so we know your values are good.

To be concise proselytization is neither good religion nor good politics. Religion's objective is to build a spiritual link between the creation and the creator, not to serve as an identity marker engaged in a battle for market share of souls.
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Link to the article: http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/03/religious-conversions.html

Comments at: http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/03/religious-conversions.html#comments

____________________________

COURTESY OF WASHINGTON POST
COMMENTS IN REVERSE CHRONLOGICAL ORDER
LAST IN FIRST, FIRST ONE AT BOTTOM


RENTIANXIANG;

Your words, "you can try to cherry-pick Quran verses if you want, but you aren't fooling anyone who is actually reading the whole book and paying attention to how it is generally and historically understood."
Finding the truth is your own responsibility, until a decade ago, I had nothing to do with Islam or Quraan, though I have always respected people's belief, traditions and cultures. Reading the Quraan as you do, as Ali Sina or Robert Spencer do, I was turned off, I did not like it and did not want to read it.
When the attacks on Islam intensified to the point of stupidity, I read in Bhagvad Gita, that finding the truth is your own responsibility, even if your parents told you so. I pushed the refresh button and stripped all that nonsense on the market that was passed on as facts. Then I read it from a point of view of Pluralism, co-existence, and respecting each other... I found the whole book to be beautiful. HOLD IT my friend, all the religions are beautiful and I have done workshops on each one of them and have done over 700 hours of Radio talk show including Atheism, Wicca and some native Traditions. Before you comment on anything, please read my earlier comments to free yourselves from bias.
Quraan is as Pluralistic a book as Bhagvad Gita, Torah, Bible, Avesta and other books. We all exist, and we have to figure out and learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us. Except 1/10th of 1% of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus or any one, the other percent are moderate people who get along with all. Put some numbers and see for yourselves.
Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net
Posted by: mikeghouse March 5, 2010 5:47 PM

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Ghoose et al:
The most critical yet more convincing complaints against the Muslim ideology come from educated ex Muslims. This is mainly because they lived that ideology for some time and they know besides what their books say what their imams and clerics really teach.
I take very seriously what is said by Rasheed of the Hayat TV, Ali Sina of Faith freedom, Mosab Hasan , the son of Hamas founder. On these threads I study seriously what AKafir and Arif write, especially what pertains to the practices of Islam in the Indian subcontinent.

Posted by: abhab1 March 5, 2010 4:15 PM
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Muktedir HAn,
you know the caps of oak seeds.
is there any person you know with such a cap of oak seed over his head? is there any Papers from an Oak Seed around you?
Posted by: tctowercover March 5, 2010 4:07 PM
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Muktedir Han,
do you love St Augustine?
while there is a storm in the bare field, what does happen in the forest? this is a new koan. shall the guests dine? shall there be worms in the apples after the storm?
what shall the inhabitants eat in the forest during the storm in the field? shall you afforest against a storm?
what is the difference between squirrels and worms, Muktedir HAn? squirrels are known with oak seeds, worms are known with apples. do oak tree give apples? what about worms in the oak seeds? what about the rain?
Muktedir Han, israel or phoenicia or skopje, which one? are they questionable? what do the mouses dine with?
mouses have also two teeth in front of their mouth. do they have two teeth especially for cheese?

Posted by: tctowercover March 5, 2010 4:03 PM
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but right at the moment, two teeth in one tooth path is a matter of squirrels, maybe squirrles have especially for oak seeds : )
Posted by: tctowercover March 5, 2010 3:45 PM
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in these ten years of time, Uranus shall be touching the nervous system of people, according to planets' station. an old man can put two teeth in one tooth path. even the milk-infant can put two teeth on one tooth path in a decade of years.
Posted by: tctowercover March 5, 2010 3:43 PM
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if there is one ditto there can be one caret. all are punctuation. but, if there is one oak, should there be one squirrel?
Posted by: tctowercover March 5, 2010 3:40 PM
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and there shall be answer for the question "how can there be a two teeth in one tooth path".
Posted by: tctowercover March 5, 2010 3:37 PM
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i think, Colgate in this Toothpaste would love us to study on St Steve, would not? lets turn on the Wikireader for St Steve's Vitality, Saint Saint Eve, in the Episcopal Church.
Posted by: tctowercover March 5, 2010 3:35 PM
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Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief is the best toothpaste i have ever put onto my toothbrush, i thank.
squirrels dont argue for seeds or about the oak tree. whether there shall be one seed from one oak tree is not a matter of squirrels. that's a matter of oak trees.
Posted by: tctowercover March 5, 2010 3:24 PM
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Great post, Rentianxiang. I couldn't have said it better myself.
Although you forgot to mention that millions of people were given the choice between conversion to Islam and a life of slavery. Personally, I'd consider that quite the inducement, lol.
ZZim
Posted by: ZZim March 5, 2010 2:15 PM
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Islam has always placed a great emphasis on dawa and has encouraged its followers to spread Islam whenever they can using whatever methods, including violence, they have at their disposal. Once again, a Muslim apologist is trying to say that Muslims aren't as bad as the Christians so focus on the Christians. I have read the history books and Islam was spread by the sword throughout the levant, Persia, North Africa, India, etc. The Muslims used organized warfare to spread the "faith" by forced conversion (convert, pay a tax and be treated as a second class citizen, or die) and actively inflicting the Arab culture and Muslim faith on all they came across. How dare this person whitewash the bloody history of the rise of Islam and pretend that the spread of Islam was peaceful while so many associate the spread of Christianity with the Crusades. The extent of the Crusades, which was merely a response to repeated violent and unprovoked attacks by the Muslims on the Byzantiines, pales in comparison to the horrifying breadth of warfare perpetrated by Muslims on Christians, Hindus and everyone else in the name of spreading their religion of oppression. I am a non-believer and agree that Christianity was also often spread using deplorable tactics, but the behavior of the Christians does not exonerate the Muslims and, to be fair, Islam has much more to apologize for on this front than any other religion in world history. And, Mike Ghouse, you can try to cherry-pick Quran verses if you want, but you aren't fooling anyone who is actually reading the whole book and paying attention to how it is generally and historically understood.
Posted by: rentianxiang March 5, 2010 1:52 PM
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Kafir,
You describe Islam, it's prophet and the crimes committed in its name very well.
Thank you.
Arif
Posted by: Arif2 March 4, 2010 9:35 PM
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"Religion is the best thing happened to humankind,"
That is disputable. An awful lot of evil has been done in the name of and by religion. And it is extremely unclear whether the good claimed by the religious is due to religion or intrinsic to our biology.
From the guy you quoted ( Farooq ) he gives a link to the genocide of 1971 in Bengal. That is merely one small example of the evil done by muslims against Kaafirs.
http://www.globalwebpost.com/genocide1971/
http://www.gendercide.org/case_bangladesh.html
The earlier biographies of Muhammad the prophet of Islam show that Muhammad was not a very nice human being. He divided the world into his followers and the rest he called Kaafirs and he looted them, killed them, raped them, beheaded them, etc. And now his followers want to tell humankind that the barbarity that Muhammad wrecked on the innocents "is the best thing that happened to them"!!!
I am sorry I completely disagree, and I know that anyone who is even slightly free from the psychological hold of Islam will see that Muhammad's actions were far far from the best thing that happened to humankind.
Posted by: AKafir March 4, 2010 8:32 PM
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Dear AKafir;
Bad things have been done by every group of people inspired by criminalindividuals, that is not religion, but their politics of insecurity.
Just about every group (religious, racial, ethnic, linguistic or otherwise) has men who have done wrong in the name of that group.
Is there any one who can cast the first stone? Right now Bahais, Wicca and Shinto have not had a bad record, if they get in power, one of them would possibly do the wrong.
It is human to be good, and each one of us has a streak of criminality and brutality running in our veins if we let loose.
Religion is the best thing happened to humankind, and the insecurity in humans is the worst thing for the society.
It is not the religion, it is the individuals and small band of thugs that are bad to the society. All those bad outfits will remain small and will not grow big, as the society does not subscribe to extremism.

Posted by: mikeghouse March 4, 2010 6:57 PM
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Mike Ghouse, the following is from the link you gave:
"Undeniably, the traditional position of Muslim scholars and jurists has been that apostasy [riddah] is punishable by death. The longstanding problem of the traditional position, as held by Classical jurists or scholars, can be explained and excused as not being able to see apostasy, an issue of pure freedom of faith and conscience, separate from treason against the community or the state."
It has nothing to do with calling the Imams neocons, is it? Your and the few other westernized muslims that you quote have an issue with the "traditional" Islam, the Islam that exists in actual Muslim countries of the world at present. Even by you link, there is no freedom from compulsion in religion in Traditional Islam.
Best of luck to you in trying to spread your heretical version of Islam. Bahai's in Iran, and Ahmeddiya in Pakistan, Alevi's in Lebanon etc all discovered that heresy in Islam does not go very far in muslim countries. It goes much further in the safety of the Kaafirs.
Posted by: AKafir March 4, 2010 3:34 PM
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"You got the Neocon hearsay on apostasy, here is another one documented and verifiable version at www.ApostasyandIslam.com . It draws from the history and 100 scholars have signed it."
Why do you call the great Imams of Islam neocons? Do you think Hanbali, Shafi, Maliki are neocons? What standing does the author have in any Islamic circle? Zilch. He is a nobody in Islam. Who recognizes him as anyone in islamic matters? And then there are no signatories to the statement. It is a combination of a bibliograpy and some westernized muslims who have their own views.
What are the laws that are implemented in the Shariat courts of the various countries of Islam? What are the sharia laws that were implemented and practiced for a thousand years in the muslim countries. Wikipedia has correctly stated that in Islam the apostates are put to death. Now you want to change that in Islam, then good for you. But you lie when you claim it was never so historically or it is not so in islamic countries right now. Apostates are brutally killed in Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabai, Sudan, Libiya, Nigeria, Malayasia, etc in the here and now, and you lie when you say that their laws were not dervied and historically tied to Islam.
So you bring forth a handful of "heretics" of Islam who live safely among the Kaafirs of the West to claim that a muslim is free to apostasize in Islam, and you think that is believable? Why don't you go to Saudia Arabia and state there that any muslim can leave Islam and let us see how long you keep you head attached to your neck?
Posted by: AKafir March 4, 2010 3:13 PM
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It is a perfect example of what you see in the paper is the ultimate truth; truth emerges when you seek different sources to find it. The truth is we exist, be it evolution, creation or big bang. One does not need a religion, but thus far, every religion has helped understand oneself, the purpose of life, of accountability and of responsibility to each other. It is because of religion the world is in relative peace, that you and I can go to work and come home; our kids can go to school and come back home safely.
AKAFIR, no intellectual relies in Wikipedia, although there is a lot of good stuff in it and I have found many mistakes as well. Any one can get on and say the world is flat and that will not change the shape of the world.
You got the Neocon hearsay on apostasy, here is another one documented and verifiable version at www.ApostasyandIslam.com . It draws from the history and 100 scholars have signed it.
INDIAN51, people will respond to specificities and not rhetoric
Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net
Posted by: mikeghouse March 4, 2010 12:49 PM
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"Islam is not a religion of peace. The biggest terrorist is the God of the Quran. I know this is very dangerous and this will offend many people. The more you follow the steps of the prophet of Islam and the God of Islam, the more you get close to being a terrorist." --Mosab Hassan Yousef, the Hamas spy in an AP interview.
Posted by: Indian51 March 4, 2010 10:02 AM
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Mike Ghouse:
"A few countries use death penalty for an apostate, that does not mean it is Islam; most Muslim countries don’t. Killing an apostate is not Islamic, it is the practice of a few nations. A few countries have capital punishment and few don’t, you cannot ascribe that to religion, it is politics in the name of religion."
Rubbish. That is not a rule that a few nations came up on their own with no rhyme of reason. It is part of Islam from the very early days. Wikipedia ofcourse cannot be explicitly forthright given the way it is structured, but still it covers enough material to lay to rest the rubbish that mike wants to spread.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostacy_in_Islam
In Islamic law (sharia), the consensus view is that a male apostate must be put to death unless he suffers from a mental disorder or converted under duress, for example, due to an imminent danger of being killed. A female apostate must be either executed, according to Shafi'i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), or imprisoned until she reverts to Islam as advocated by the Sunni Hanafi school and by Shi'a scholars.[15]

It is only after the disbanding of the Calipha and the pressure of the West that some Islamic countries removed the deathy penalty for apostacy from their laws. Before that All muslim countries killed the apostate. Now those who want sharia imposed want the death penalty for the apostate reinstated.
It is hard to sustain lies in the age of easy access to information and good search engines.
Posted by: AKafir March 4, 2010 1:46 AM
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Muslim Missionaries are indeed visible. Drive down a freeway, you will find billboards of Why Islam, you see the signs on Bussess as well.
Next time a missionary knocks on your door, ask for the authorization personally signed by God, Jesus or Muhammad and if that is verifiable.

Posted by: mikeghouse March 4, 2010 1:37 AM
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What a few of our soldiers have done in Iraq is not the American thing to do; What our President had done with wire tappings is not the American thing to do.....
Like wise what some Christian missionaries and Muslim Missionaries have done in the name of their religion is not the religious thing to do. Theire excesses in the name of religion were wrong.
We need to discern between religion and what is practiced in the name of religion. I will leave it upto the Christian and Muslim scholars to push the "refresh buttons" of their minds to speak up that neither Jesus nor Muhammad wanted to harvest people to utter a few words, they rather meant to help people become good citizens, and not necessarily become a ritualistic Christian or a Muslim.
Mike Ghouse
Mike Ghouse
Posted by: mikeghouse March 4, 2010 1:27 AM
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AKafir makes an assumption that if it is in Arabic, no one would know it as if it is language only Muslims know. The Arab Christians speak the same language and is is taught in universities all over the world. It is not a secret language as alluded.
Another assumption, “Islam would not be demanding the death of apostates”. Islam allows one the freedom to become and unbecome a Muslim, no one can force a person to believe that which he or she does not want to. That is the reason for that verse. A few countries use death penalty for an apostate, that does not mean it is Islam; most Muslim countries don’t. Killing an apostate is not Islamic, it is the practice of a few nations. A few countries have capital punishment and few don’t, you cannot ascribe that to religion, it is politics in the name of religion.
Mike Ghouse
Posted by: mikeghouse March 4, 2010 1:18 AM
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Clarification of my earlier post:
In the words of the muslims themselves
http://www.hidaya.org/publications/zakat-faqs/
"*Muallafatul Quloob: Those poor and needy persons who are given Zakat with the intentions of solidifying their hearts because they maybe recently converted to Islam or to bring them closer to Islam."
In arabic it is far clearer and honest than the "solidifying their hearts" or "bring them closer". It is clearly and explicity to help win converts.
"*Fi Sabeelillah: Those who are away from home in the path of Allah. Those in Jihaad, those seeking knowledge or a stranded Haji may be assist with Zakat if they are in need."
Normally stranded Haji does not fall under Fi Sabeelillah (in the way of Allah). It is understood to mean in support of Jihaad, direct and indirect support of Active Jihaad or stealth Jihaad.


Posted by: AKafir March 3, 2010 11:43 PM
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@ Abhab1: “The Quran states very clearly that there is no compulsion in religion. There is no need for compulsion, since the truth is elf evident (Quran 2:256).”
This is one of those instances where the believers say one thing in arabic and another in english. Through Islamic history this verse never meant what the hypocrites tell the Kaafirs in the west these days. If there was really "no compulsion" in religion, Islam would not be demanding the death of Apostates.
This means that Islam cannot be imposed on another by "force" but others can be "induced" to accept it. However once they accept it they should know that there is no way out. It is only a one way door. Exiting from Islam means death and muslims carry out that punishment with great enthusiasm. You cannot hold a gun to the head of a Kaafir and say convert but you can induce him to convert by making his life a living hell on earth, and then pointing out that all his pain and difficulties disappear if he accepted Islam.
Just last week the beheading of a young sikh boy in Pakistan was reported all over world. He was beheaded because he would not convert to Islam although his family had already paid the ransom demanded by the Taliban. Just do a search and you will find it since that is relative new news.
Posted by: AKafir March 3, 2010 11:29 PM
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" There are no lifelong missionaries in Muslim societies. Mosques do not have budgets or fund raisers for missionary work."
This is a bald faced lie. Just one society from the land of Muqtedar, the Tablighi Jamaat (which literally means Society of spreading faith) is very big and very activie in Pakistan and India. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tablighi_Jamaat

Its members travel extensively all over the world trying to win converts to Islam. The call to Islam is given via Dua and there are lectures and techniques that are taught on how to be effective in converting the Kaafirs.
Converting is built into the very foundation of Islam.
Zakat is the obligatory charity or "tax" that Islam imposes on muslims.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zakat#Who_is_entitled_to_receive_Zakat
The following are the ones who the state can spend this tax on:
Eight categories of individuals may receive the zakat:[7]
* 1. The needy ('Muslims)- Fuqara'
* 2. Extremely poor ('Muslims) - Al-Masakin
* 3. Those employed to collect - Aamileen
* 4. Those whose hearts are to be won - Muallafatul Quloob
* 5. To free the captives - Ar-Riqaab
* 6. Those in debt (Muslims or non-Muslims) - Al Ghaarimeen
* 7. In the way of Allah - Fi sabil Allah
* 8. Wayfarer (Muslims)- Ibnus-Sabeel
4 means the non-muslims, the Kaafirs, who can be converted or are on the verge of converting and "whose hearts can be won" by giving them monetary inducement. Coupled with the draconian dhimmi laws in muslim socities, this monetary inducement is very effective in getting conversions.
The category "In the way of Allah" means Jihad. The main purpose of Jihad is to convert the Kaafirs who are not under the rule of Islam as dhimmis.
Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia, and others spend billions of dollars supporting the "conversion" activities of the organisations like Tablighi around the world, and supporting the mosques around the world.

Posted by: AKafir March 3, 2010 11:03 PM
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Ghoose:
I read your cited link and frankly I was disgusted. Maybe you can pass this propaganda of yours on primitive illiterate people, but you cannot convince any reading thinking person with your silly double talk.
As for your allegation that the Quran is not translated accurately, how would you know? Maybe you can read its Arabic letters, but do you understand the language? I still have to meet someone from the part of the world where you came from who understands Arabic.
The allegation that Muslims only engage in defensive wars is laughable if it were not sad. You mean to convince us that the Syrians, Egyptians, Iraqis, Algerians, Moroccans and Spaniards among others are the ones who attacked the desert people of Hijaz in the 7th and 8th Centuries and not the other way around?
As to your justification of the way the indigenous Christian and Jewish populations of the lands overran by the nomads were humiliated , marginalized and impoverished is a blatant disrespect for the knowledge and intelligence of the Washington Post readers. Peruse the conditions imposed on the original populations of the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe by the so-called Omar Pact cited below which institutionalized the worst type of religious persecution the world had ever witnessed.
http://www.bible.ca/islam/islam-kills-pact-of-umar.htm

Posted by: abhab1 March 3, 2010 10:33 PM
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All right Mike, I'll buy that. Sounds like you moderates have your work cut out for you. I wish you the best of luck in animating this silent majority to replace people like Muqtedar Khan as the public face of Islam.
Until you do though, the public face of Islam will continue to be controlled by the vicious minority and the silent majority have to accept responsibility for having been passive enablers of their misdeeds.
Muslim-Americans have been a stalwart ally against the depredations of foreign extremists since the beginning of the GWOT. I have taken this position publicly here on these boards time and again. But I also feel that foreign Muslims have not yet forsaken the role of passive enablers of extremist violence. Although forces are at work to change that, it is a generational strugggle that has only just begun and - if successful - it will not be concluded within our lifetimes.
Again, good luck with your struggle (jihad) against the extremists.
ZZim
Posted by: ZZim March 3, 2010 8:45 PM
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DEAR ZZIM,
A Majority of the society is made up of moderates, so is Islam. The right wingers in all faiths are the most outspoken people, they are relentless in their belief, which is fine, but believing that others are wrong is the issue.
We are not a tiny minority, but a real majority that remains silent.
The moderates who are shaking and speaking now and I am one. So many good things remain suppressed due to fear from the society and the clergy. We have to push the refresh button, get chewed out and cursed out, but do the right thing to speak up. God is Universal so are his religions, every one of them. I don’t lose and ounce of my faith by placing all other faiths on the same platform.
Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net
Posted by: mikeghouse March 3, 2010 5:13 PM
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"Islam is today the fastest growing religion..." Do you know the real reason?With the sanction to have as many wives as he wants, a Muslim man is free to produce as many children as his wives are capable of producing. In an average Muslim family, there are at least 15 children per father. That’s why there are 1.5 billion of you, and you keep on growing. Again, most of these 1.5 billion live in slums and with no education whatsoever. About 1.3 billion are illiterate. That’s why you cannot change them or improve their minds. A closed mind is a death trap. That’s why you can get a healthy teenager to go out and blow himself up for 70 virgins. You know that. We all know that. Except that you don’t like to admit that. Right?

Posted by: Indian51 March 3, 2010 5:12 PM
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Arif,
It is easy to be misled and derogatory towards other's faith. One has to have the will to find the truth, to find the peacee within oneself.
Your comment, “Qur'an 111:1. Yusuf Ali: "Perish the hands of the Father of Flame! Perish he!"
Here is a translation up from one of the most popular Islamic sites; http://www.islamicity.com/quranSearch
111:1 (Asad) DOOMED are the hands of him of the glowing countence: [1] and doomed is he! -

Note 1 (Quran Ref: 111:1 )
The real name of this uncle of the Prophet was Abd al-Uzza. He was popularly nicknamed Abu Lahab (lit., "He of the Flame") on account of his beauty, which was most notably expressed in his glowing countenance (Baghawi, on the authority of Muqatil; Zamakhshari and Razi passsim in their comments on the above verse; Fath al-Bari VIII, 599), Since this nickname, or kunyah appears to have been applied to him even before the advent of Islam, there is no reason to suppose that it had a pejorative significance. -
The expression "hands" in the above clause is, in accordance with classical Arabic usage, a metonym for "power", alluding to the great influence which Abu Lahab wielded.
Before you write another comment, please do the search, and you'll find out that you have the wrong hand out.
Best wishes.
Posted by: mikeghouse March 3, 2010 5:04 PM
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ARF, I have challenged many a guys before, if this paper allows, let's have it. There is nothing in Quraan or any holy book that is wrong, it is your misreading my friend, if you are determined to paint Islam or Christianity in bad light, no one can do anything about it, but if you genuineely seeking to share and learn, they are wholesome books for the good of mankind.
======================================
The name is Arif. Challenging people to defend your faith is futile. Both can never agree on anything. Quran is not a holy book, its a filthy one. Verses like this;
Qur'an 111:1. Yusuf Ali: "Perish the hands of the Father of Flame! Perish he!"
read the full thing it gets worse. This is filthy speak from a creator in ANY context. Koran is a hodge podge and its clear an un-educated person penned it. It is a book that cannot stand on its own without the Bible or Jewish text. It has no head or tail, it is not chronological. People (your "Brothers") can use it to justify anything. One can stone a woman for adultery and award 100 lashes to anyone they choose. You have been duped, you are a convert, you may love the word revert but I think that is repulsive believing all mankind is muslim. Looking at your arguments I see a very simple man who is being used.
safiyah111: Go and read your namesake and decide yourself who this "prophet" of yours really was, a criminal rapist or a war lord ravaging his criminal desires. either ways this man (your prophet) was nothing less than a thug and a criminal. If he lived today he'd be in an asylum if not killed.
Posted by: Arif2 March 3, 2010 4:15 PM
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Islam is more about Justice, peace and harmony.
Mike Ghouse
Posted by: mikeghouse
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Mike, it looks to me like this makes you a member of a tiny minority within your faith.
A tiny minority, by the way, that does not include people like Muqtedar Khan.
Honestly I hate arrogant jerks like him, whatever their religion.
Posted by: ZZim March 3, 2010 1:55 PM
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Peace
Safiyah,
I believe the essence of Islam lies in humility in this context, "...my faith is not superior or inferior to any." It is time for us to push the refresh button.
The need for co-existence is inherent in Islam. Co-existence can occur when we respect the otherness of other, so beautifully narrated in Sura Kafirun, “to you is your faith, as my faith is to me”. Qur’aan does not say or denigrate the other faith in each one of the six verses of the chapter (http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/2008/07/sura-kafirun-un-believers.html ), it puts the other on the same pedestal as the Muslim.
The Madinah document was initiated by the Prophet, where he offered religious freedom to all and his signature was not Mohammad the Prophet of God, but rather Mohammad son of Abdullah. It was a secular government he ran in Madinah and he acknowledged the otherness of other faiths. Had he believed that other faiths were wrong, he would not have initiated that document.
Islam is more about Justice, peace and harmony. It is unity in diversity and all religions are motivated by the same. To claim mine (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism or any faith) is superior amounts to arrogance and that has been the reason we have had conflicts in the society. Back to Islam, God loves the most, the one who forgives and the least, one who is arrogant.
Mike Ghouse
Posted by: mikeghouse March 3, 2010 1:24 PM
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Asalaamu Alaikum, Brother;
I agreed in large measure with what you have said regarding your discomfort with the United States government engaging in activities that are clearly aimed at converting individuals aboard to Christianity. The bottom line for me is this: I am not a Christian and I do not want any of the money I pay in taxes spent in this way-period. I say this without reservation.
I, however; do disagree with your concluding statement that "...my faith is not superior or inferior to any." That might be how you personally feel but I do not think the majority of the scholars would agree with you on this point. Muslims affirm that there is only one god who is Allah and that Muhammad, the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is his messenger. This affirmation is made by Muslims five times a day during their daily prayers. This is not an opinion. This idea is announced in many places and in as many ways as one can think to express it by Allah in the Qur'an.
Allah the All Mighty Says: "This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Quran 5:3]
This statement was not reserved just for those gathered to hear the Prophet Muhammad, the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, recite this. Allah makes it very clear that this statement was to all of mankind-then and in the future. The truth is always superior to falsehood and as Allah says in the Qur'an:
"Nay, but We hurl the true against the false, and it doth break its head and lo! it vanisheth." 21:18
Allah clearly states what joy awaits the believers here and in the next life while not understating what horrors await disbelievers in the next life. These joys and horrors are Allah’s to give and His promises are true.
As a Muslim I do not want anyone to suffer the fate promised to the disbeliever. Not proclaiming the Qur'an is the truth and not suggesting to those I meet that they take a serious look is at it is the worst kind of cruelty that I could inflict on anyone.



Posted by: safiyah111 March 3, 2010 11:16 AM
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Wow, what a jerk.
Typical Islamic double-speak. The guy's world-view is so biased he probably has no idea how twisted his words appear to anyone not already on his side.
Posted by: ZZim March 3, 2010 9:45 AM
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As far the comment by ABHAH in reference to "goose pontificates". It is Ghouse, I hope you read the stuff when you respond.
I did not get the content out of it, please be specific
Mike Ghouse

Posted by: mikeghouse March 3, 2010 9:43 AM
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Dear Mr. ABHAH1
here is a response to your question about
Quraan 2:256 free will v. 9:29 compulsion and Jiziya

From time to time I take up challenges, I believe that all the holy books are the wisdom of living a balanced life in the society with the society. Quraan is frequently and deliberately maligned based on mistranslations by the Europeans during the Crusades to paint Islam as a bad religion to sheild their own political insecurities.
In the compilation below; a man challenges the "no compulsion" verse 2:256 in Quraan with 9:29 at Washington post article and my response below.
Link for this article: http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/2010/03/quraan-2256-free-will-v-929-compulsion.html
Mike Ghouse
http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/

Posted by: mikeghouse March 3, 2010 9:39 AM
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Dr. Khan,
I stood in a room in Kuwait City full of books about every aspect of Islam, in every major language in the world. The books were systematically shipped around the world as part of a proseylatizing effort. Please don't tell me that Islam does not have lifelong missionaries and systemic efforts to convert others. I've met Muslim missionaries in many parts of the world.
John Morris
Posted by: revmorris March 3, 2010 8:26 AM
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Goose pontificates to Arif thus:
“There is nothing in Quran ... that is wrong, it is your misreading my friend.”
Well here is my reading of it.
“A book with no chronology of events or a sustained theme other than a supremacist selfserving document to its author, a desert warlord. It is replete with incitements against the other and obsession with sex and violence. It is riddled with inconsistencies and outright contradictions. It lists legends and myths from Arab, Persian and Sumerian pagans along with embellished stories and quotations from the Old and New Testaments as well as the Jewish Talmud and pre-Islamic Arab poets. It is full of scientific heresies, mathematical mistakes, historical blunders, grammatical errors and logical fallacies. The book talks of flying horses, speaking ants and arguing birds. It describes an afterlife gardens with rivers of wine and honey and brimming with young black eyed receptive beauties placed there along with preteen boys, who double as bartenders, to service the believers in Mohammad in an eternal celestial orgy.

Posted by: abhab1 March 2, 2010 10:38 PM
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Muqtadar Khan asserts:
“The Quran states very clearly that there is no compulsion in religion. There is no need for compulsion, since the truth is elf evident (Quran 2:256).”
As an educated man he should definitely know that this verse about no compulsion in religion was mentioned in the early part of Mohammad’s ministry while living in Mecca among a largely hostile population. Later when he and his followers migrated to Yathrib and his followers became numerous enough to threaten Mecca his tune changed; he abrogated (cancelled) this verse and many other somehow tolerant verses and replaced them with more intolerant ones such as Quran 9;29 which openly incites the Muslims to wage war on the non-Muslims till they accept him as the messenger of Allah.

Posted by: abhab1 March 2, 2010 10:15 PM
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Nuclear power energizes the world; we enjoy the benefits of it, yet the same power is dangerous in hands of wrong dudes. Is it the Nuclear power or the user?
Religions are beautiful, if every one gets it as Jesus intended, Mohammad wanted, Moses taught, Krishna explained, Nanak practiced, Buddha enlightened or Zathustra pointed out... there would be no problem. The problem is the nuclear power is in the wrong few hands.
Clear thinking; neither Jesus nor Mohammad wanted to go stamp the people, all they wanted was a better world following the principles. They were looking at the results and not the means. Religion is not the bad guy here.
ARF, I have challenged many a guys before, if this paper allows, let's have it. There is nothing in Quraan or any holy book that is wrong, it is your misreading my friend, if you are determined to paint Islam or Christianity in bad light, no one can do anything about it, but if you genuineely seeking to share and learn, they are wholesome books for the good of mankind.
Mike Ghouse
Foundation for Pluralism
Posted by: mikeghouse March 2, 2010 7:59 PM
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PROSELYTIZATION is a manifestation of the SUPREMACIST foundation of Christianity & Islam.
No one else has this serious flaw that Christians and Muslims have in their "religions" or spiritual systems. Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Jews, Wiccans, Animists, etc.. are all trying to make themselves better, not trying to undermine others.
Conversion has caused some of the biggest problems in third world countries.
The "charity" and "kind deeds" are insincere and deceptive actions, and therefore, are acts of evil.
Muslims & Christians don't seem to get the basics of goodness and spirituality. Pretending to be good while having and ulterior motive fools no one and is an act of evil. This can lead to crusades and suicide terrorism.
REMEMBER: Almost all religious conflicts in the world involve Muslims or Christians on one side or both.
Sneakiness, deception, conversion, undermining other cultures, etc... is offensive and nonspiritual.
You really feel the urge to do charity? Go to the inner city in America and help those in need. Look in your own family and help those who are depressed or drunk or angry.
Stop going to 3rd world countries and causing problems & hurting others.
Posted by: clearthinking1 March 2, 2010 7:38 PM
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By telling yourselves islam is the fastest growing religion then you'll begin to believe it. Its not. With a horrid book like the Koran and a womanizing war mongering prophet no one is buying your religion. Marrying a western woman and converting her is not spreading of islam.
Please refrain from quoting your koran, it is a book of clear conflicting views, it seems where ever you find a peaceful verse there is an equal and opposite horrid verse. The message in islam is quite clear and there is no room for interpretation; conversion by any means is sanctioned and force is always recommended.

Posted by: Arif2 March 2, 2010 7:27 PM
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Muqtedar well written piece.
When you buy a $700 suit for $100, you will call all your friends to go get one.
I guess the same zeal enters one's mind if they are rejoiced with their faith.
The purpose of religion is to bring a sense of composure and a balance within oneself and with what surrounds; life and environment. All religions or traditions whether scripted or not, have the same goal; to create a continual balance.
Arrogance is the mother of all conflicts that is why every possible tradition out there requires one to bow, kneel or prostrate to show humility and acceptance of a greater being than ourselves. To believe my faith is better than yours is sheer arrogance, it breeds conflicts, and assumes that other faiths are less than mine; and "they" need to catch up, Hell no!
Spirituality and Arrogance are inversely proportional. To be religious is to be humble and to be a peace maker.
There is no need to have institutions of proselyteziation. Every faith is beautiful, however one should have complete freedom to choose what he or she wants to believe or ritualize. Let there be no compulsion in religion. (Quraan 2:256).
After all, NO ONE is responsible for my actions other than myself, that I have to reflect upon in my solitiude and be accountable on the elusive Day of Judgment.
I am a Muslim and I proclaim, my faith is NOT superior or inferior to any. My faith requires me to be humble and my role is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill that is what leads to the kingdom of peace. My faith works for me as your faith works for you, you enjoy your faith and I will mine. (Quraan 109:6)
Mike Ghouse
World Muslim Congress

Posted by: mikeghouse March 2, 2010 7:24 PM
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