As you no doubt know, yesterday Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense — a purely defensive operation designed to stop rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel. And as you also know, too many voices in the media and across the country are focusing on Israel’s strikes while ignoring the context which necessitated them. This means that all of us must now become Israel’s ambassadors and explain to our family, friends and neighbors why Israel has the right — and the responsibility — to defend its citizens.
Israel needs you. And you need the facts:
• In the week preceding the launch of yesterday’s operation, over 120 missile were fired from Gaza into southern Israel.
• Since the beginning of 2012, over 760 rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel’s southern communities.
• Since Israel launched this operation yesterday, an additional 245 rockets have been fired into Israel, killing three Israelis and injuring many more.
• These rockets target Israeli civilians, and have forced over one million Israelis into bomb shelters.
• In recent years, Hamas has acquired an arsenal of long range Fajr-5 missiles from Iran capable of hitting Tel Aviv and now two rockets have landed in the outskirts of Tel Aviv.
• Operation Pillar of Defense is a limited operation targeting Hamas’ missile stockpiles and the Hamas terrorists responsible for firing them.
Every nation on earth has the right to defend its citizens from attacks. Most nations would have taken action after one or two missiles were fired into their territory. Israel has once again exercised enormous restraint and waited until over 760 rockets had been fired into its territory before launching Operation Pillar of Defense.
As always, Israel is targeting Hamas’ missiles and the terrorists who fire them while taking every reasonable precaution to avoid harming Palestinian civilians. By contrast, Hamas and its allies are specifically targeting Israeli civilians, while hiding behind Palestinian civilians. There is no moral equivalence in this fight.
- Israeli forces pound Gaza from the air after missiles threaten Tel Aviv (timesofisrael.com)
Many analysts believe that the radical organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood will gain great influence with a change of government in Egypt.
A closer examination of the secretive group provides insight as to why its possible climb to power has Western observers so uneasy.
Before Osama bin Laden formed al Qaeda, he belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood. So did his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri and the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
In addition, the terrorist group Hamas identifies itself as the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch.
Why are there so many jihadists drawn to the Brotherhood? The group’s official motto may tell the story.
* Allah is our objective.
* The prophet is our leader.
* Qur’an is our law.
* Jihad is our way.
* Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Egypt, with the goal of spreading Islamic Sharia law worldwide and uniting all Muslim nations into one Islamic super state. It was eventually banned in Egypt, but for the past several decades has worked behind the scenes to the point where it’s now considered the most influential Islamist organization in the world — with chapters in more than 100 countries.
“It has been repressed in Egypt and in many other countries where the Brotherhood has affiliates and entities,” said retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Myers, who has called the Brotherhood an “insurgency movement.”
“The state security services work against them because they are a subversive insurgent organization and they conduct terrorist acts and have been involved in violence as well,” Myers told CBN News. “Seeking to overthrow and change the governments where they’re represented.”
Although the group has been severely repressed in Egypt for years, it represents that country’s most organized and powerful opposition force.
Former FBI Special Agent John Guandolo told CBN News the United States must become more aware of the Brotherhood’s growing influence.
“Here in the United States, virtually every prominent Islamic organization is controlled and led by the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Gunadolo. “Why this is key, is because they see that they are going to destroy our Western civilization from within.”
The Brotherhood’s immediate goal, though, is an Islamic state in Egypt — and an end to that country’s peace treaty with Israel.
Here is a YouTube moment explaining what Islamic taqiyya is. ***** Taqiyya – Islamic Art of Deception
See on oneway2day.wordpress.com
Israhell or Israel…. do Bible allow this ???
Clora Phillips OH MY GOSH. So muslims is not a nationality but a religion. I know that sounds dumb lol? but I have never been into 3 world countries. I studied Medical Science. Don’t watch the late night news , just the local news. This is very interesting. So an ordinary man wrote the Quran and the muslims follow it like it was God’s scripture. fascinating.
Nusaybah Bint Ka’b ISRA HELL!~!!!!! May Allah(SWT) curse the pigs who are abusing Palestinians by Robbing them of land, food, clean water, medical care, dignity, and their lives in many cases!
You Christians are being FOOLED!!! Israhell isn’t any better to Palestinian Christians than they are to Palestinian Muslims!! They USE you for their ZIONIST brainwashing, but when they don’t need you anymore they will stab you in the back the same way they did everyone else! They are criminals and the only “god” they follow is Shaytan! DOWN with ZIONISM! VIVA PALESTINA!!!!!!!!
Nusaybah Bint Ka’b Kelly Williams Hamas is NOT a terrorist organization! They are a duly elected political party. The US called them a terrorist organization because the US is Israhell’s whore and and they’ll do whatever Israhell asks them to do! But you really ought to do some reading and see for yourself.
Nusaybah Bint Ka’b Like I said, rednecks are not bad… read up on it. It’s US History, find the original meaning, it’s very interesting. As far as my hatred of Israhell, absolutely! I despise Israhell and I have every right to do just that. Every right! And no one, especially no one who has never been there, can tell me that I am wrong to feel this way, it was earned.
Nusaybah Bint Ka’b Oh Clora Phillips I wanted to mention, if she was going to slap that guy it is well earned. There is something that most Americans do not know that happens at checkpoints there. That is abuse. Men are very improper when patting down women sometimes, and I mean VERY improper… to anyone’s standards. It even happens to young girls sometimes. There is a documentary about it, I will have to try and remember.. oh I think it’s called “Silent Victims” something like that. I think you can get it on http://ifamericansknew.org/If Americans Knew is dedicated to providing Americans with everything they need to know about Israel and Palestine.
Clora Phillips She never told me her rreligion. We both made it clear to each other we did not involve ourselves with each others religion. She didnt eat pork. She was a kind, giving , caring person. We helped each other when it was needed. We would have coffeee together at each others house. Her kids loved me and my kids loved her. One of my kids don’t believe in our Christiananity and one of her kids became a Christian. Not by us. Her kid married a Christian girl and my kid married another girl with a diff religion.
Greg Williams Hog wash…I have never been to many places that I can unequivocally say commits numerous tragedies, and not be wrong..that is a pathetic excuse and a pathetic attempt at justifying hatred!!!!I was born and raised in the south…calling me or anyone else a ‘red neck’ is inexcusable and exposes your prejudices….what little respectii had is lost…
Nusaybah Bint Ka’b Kelly Williams you said you wanted the evidence that Israel is killing millions of ppl. I don’t know about millions but it could be that high after 62 years actually. Anyway look at the site I just posted and you can get all the proof you want. I can also give you other sources as well if you like.
Clora Phillips So sad, I heard so many people are being killed. Look what Saddam Hussien did to so many people. Many Christians cry out for Jesus to return. but we got to have the Tribulation times and that will be worse all over the world. In the USA and other civilized crountries. I hope I am not around when it happens. Hoping if I am that the rapture takes me. I am ready.
Clora Phillips I am called a Hillbilly. Cause I am from the mountains. But I was raised in the city. Now I live around the rednecks in SC. I have since 1996. The only difference here is the Southerns tell you off so politely one doesn’t even know they been told off haaaaaa. Just kidding . We make fun of each other all the time. They call me a Yankee from the North. I didnt even know I was a Yankee till I moved South. lol
Greg Williams Clora, Nusaybah’s appearance was an absolute Godsend, providing a perfect example of exactly what I was talking about in spamming and ad hominem attacks. She is one that is also here for no other reason than to attempt to intervene, not so much for individuals, but for Islam in general when it is being exposed. She and a guy named Alonso go from group to group trying to promote propaganda against Israel, and to promote the lie that Islam is being poorly represented, and to try to convince everyone that they are victims of misconceptions and media bias….but you saw her true nature and intent in her absolute hatred for the chosen people of God to bring His name and the Messiah to the entire world, including Muslims. Her attacks on me personally are nothing new, and stem from past episodes in other groups where her attempts didn’t work out all that well…as soon as we are talking about Islam, and the tactics of Muslims, like a dream come true, she provides us wiht a perfect example…I couldn’t have asked for a better timing and scenario!!! Muslims are performing 2 major efforts on social media..dawa…attempts to win converts to Islam,mainly by preying on naive and ignorant vulnerables and taqqiya propagandizing through trying to appear nonviolent and peaceful….all it takes is to mention Israel and they always blow their cover.To sum up their efforts, it is called cultural jihad, and is being stepped up recently. CNN did a report about it a few weeks ago, and interestingly, it s NOT working..in fact it is back firing so much that Iran is contemplating trying to protect its citizens from exposure to social media, as many Muslim countries already black out many sites that expose Islam and its real face… because instead of it changing the minds of the west, it is exposing Muslims to the fallacies and flaws behind Islam’s origins and the real face of Islam that has been hidden from many new converts who see only the 5 pillars and NOT ALL that is involved in the TRUE ISLAM, its history and the real life of Muhammad…….thank you Nusaybah for providing such a concrete object lesson!
Greg Williams Kelly, Nusaybah thinks that if she says it we will swallow, just like they swallow everything spoon fed to them , without ever doing any objective research….Hamas’ terror involvement is well documented and common knowledge…Nusaybah is a Muslim spin doctor who shows up to try to divert attention from these issues and to con us into believing he same lie that all Muslims want us to accept…Islam is ‘really just peaceful’….Muslims are victims of ‘media bias’, and they are all just ‘victims’ of those evil 14 million Jews that are such a threat to the 1.3 billion Muslims…pardon me while I puke!
Greg Williams ’Ben Aufogul Case Biersteker you bloody hypocrite is it how we treat you on our site? you christians will always be rotten and from the core… i lost all respect for you Case… tell your admins we are challenging them to come over, but as cowards as they are they never will…. we are not cowards we came here and we cannot be handled thats why we are being deleted… but we wil never delete you on our sites, you know what we’ll do to you hehehehehe… come and debate over there and bring your best with you, invite them 1 by 1 its a challenge Case…Hahahaha..we can’t handle you???? Hehe…..show me ONE example Ben….just one, LOL!!!4 hours ago · Like
Clora Phillips Muslims excape to the USA you will get Hospitalization, food stamp card, 10,000.00 per adult for living expences. And living arrangements in some great hotels or Luxury Apartments. And the USA will give you free education. USA , the Uk are the greatest countries for peace. You can even serve what ever God you want.
Will your country do that for the less unfortunate. ??3 hours ago · Like
Murtad Ustaz Clora Phillips: The thing about this is that they think it is the duty of the USA and others to give them these things becasue it is ordained for them by Allah. It is theirs in the first place and eventually when Islam controlls the wold all you own is going to be theirs anyways. So, to them, it is like taking an advance on their salary. they is not grateful like you would expect.
Nusaybah Bint Ka’b Kelly yes you are reasonable. But I do not think Hamas is terrorist, and they are not the ones sending out “suicide bombers”, that would be ridiculous of them to do. That is done by an entirely different underground group… not Hamas.. You should read their website.. that might clear things up for you.
Nusaybah Bint Ka’b Greg Williams PLEASE look up the original meaning of redneck! IF you are a redneck and I do not think you are it is a COMPLIMENT! Go google it for goodness sake!! LOL! I wish I were a redneck! But I can’t be as I was born in that place you think you know all about. So go check it out.
Palestinians putting up shows for the world’s media to view, documentry that will truely shock you – and the rest of the world just beleive it. Get the TRUTH…
- Mahmoud Abbas proves prejudice of Palestinians against Jews (paulmarcelrene.wordpress.com)
Greetings my fellow infidels. It is my sad duty to inform you that Facebook has adopted sharia. A bold claim to be sure, so here is the proof.
Obama says “respect it!” And Facebook says “don’t criticize it!” What is the ‘it’ in question?! It is sharia, the legal system associated with islam, a totalitarian political ideology disguised as a religion.
One of the tenets of islam is that criticism of islam, mohammed and sharia itself are prohibited.
Jesus as the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. A Christian Reply to Zakir Naik’s Explanation of John 14:6
by Sam Shamoun on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 4:48am
Most of the readers of our site are already quite familiar with Muslim dawagandist Dr. Zakir Naik. Although hailed by many Muslims as one of the best debaters, in our opinion Naik is one of the worst Muslim apologists out there and his arguments are laden with logical fallacies and egregious errors. Yet seeing that he is quite popular it becomes necessary at times to address his distortions in order to show that he is not the religious expert that he and others make him out to be.
In one of his lectures (*; *) Naik had an exchange with a Christian concerning the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this particular clip we get an idea of what transpired between the two of them. From Naik’s reply we see that the Christian tried to use John 14:6 (“I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me”), 9 (“he who has seen me has seen the Father”), and 10:30 (“I and the Father are one”) to prove that Jesus claimed Divinity.
Naik responded by first addressing John 14:6 and 9. He claimed that one should look at the immediate context of John 14:6, beginning at verse 1, where Jesus mentions that there are many mansions in his Father’s house and that he goes to prepare a place for his followers. Jesus tells his followers that they know the way to where he is going which leads Thomas to respond that they do not know where Jesus is going and therefore don’t know the way. We pick it up from there,
“So he says, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto my Father but by me,’ and I agree with that statement! Jesus Christ, peace be upon him (pbuh), was the way, the life, and the truth, no man came unto God Almighty but by Jesus (pbuh), during his time! Every messenger during his time was the way and the truth to Almighty God. At the time of Moses, Moses (pbuh) was the way, the truth and the life. No man came unto God Almighty but through Moses (pbuh). At the time of Jesus (pbuh), he was the way, the truth, and the life. At the time of prophet Muhammad (pbuh), he was the way, the truth, and the life. So every prophet at his time he was the way, the truth; and I agree with that statement! It meant that if you follow me you are following Almighty God. He was the way!”
Before addressing Naik’s assertion it is important that we first look at the passage to see whether Naik has exegeted it correctly:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In MY Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am THE Way, and THE Truth (al-haqq), and THE Life (al-hayat). No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known MY Father also.’” John 14:1-6
Anyone familiar with the basics of Islamic monotheism will immediately spot the problems that these verses raise for Naik’s beliefs and explanation.
For starters, Jesus not only claims to be the exclusive way to the Father he also says that he is THETruth and THE Life. This wasn’t the only time where Jesus called himself the Life:
“Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ … ‘Your brother will rise again,’ Jesus told her. Martha said, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am THE Resurrection (ana huwa al-qiyama) and THE Life (al-hayat). The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she told Him, ‘I believe You are the Messiah,the Son of God, who was to come into the world.’ … So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’” John 11:1-4, 25-27, 41-44
The resurrection of Lazarus provided supernatural confirmation that Jesus is indeed the Resurrection and the Life, or the One who raises and gives life to the death both spiritually and physically. In fact, this is precisely what Jesus told the crowds on another occasion:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him…Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD, and those who hear will live… Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear HIS [the Son’s] VOICE and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.’” John 5:19-23, 25, 28-29
According to the above verses Christ can do whatever the Father does, something that no mere God-fearing creature would or could ever say (especially one who is supposed to have been a Muslim) since the Father does the things that only God can do. Christ further informs his audience that he is the judge of all and that everyone must honor him in the same way that they honor the Father, which means that they must worship him as God since this is the kind of honor that the Father receives.
As if this weren’t astonishing enough the Lord further arrogates to himself the exclusive prerogatives of God (the Father), such as raising the dead and giving life. He even goes so far to say that he is able to and actually will raise the dead both spiritually and physically just by his voice!
At a different occasion Jesus tells the crowds that he will be the One to resurrect the dead at the last day, i.e. on the day of resurrection/judgment:
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’ At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I came down from heaven”?’ ‘Stop grumbling among yourselves,’ Jesus answered. ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day… Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’” John 6:35-43, 54
Jesus’ statements become all the more significant when we realize that the Quran teaches that Allah is the truth and the living one who gives life and raises the dead from their graves, especially at the last day:
That is because Allah, He is the Truth (al-haqqu), and it is He Who gives life to the dead, and it is He Who is Able to do all things. And surely, the Hour is coming, there is no doubt about it, and certainly, Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves. S. 22:6-7 Hilali-Khan
Wherefore let God be exalted, the King, the Truth (al-haqqu)! There is no god but He! Lord of the stately throne! S. 23:116 Rodwell
And trust thou in the Living One (al-hayyi) Who dieth not, and hymn His praise. He sufficeth as the Knower of His bondmen’s sins, S. 25:58 Pickthall
Look then at the effects (results) of Allah’s Mercy, how He revives the earth after its death. Verily! That (Allah) Who revived the earth after its death shall indeed raise the dead (on the Day of Resurrection), and He is Able to do all things. S. 30:50 Hilali-Khan
He is the Living (One) (huwa al-hayyu): There is no god but He: Call upon Him, giving Him sincere devotion. Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds! … S. 40:65, 68 Y. Ali
As one Muslim author wrote:
And while He is the Resurrector of the dead after He resurrects them, He merits the same name before their actual resurrection. Likewise, He merits the name the Creator before their actual creation. (The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi (al-Aqidah al-Tahawiyyah), translated, introduced, and annotated by Hamza Yusuf [Zaytuna Institute, first edition 2007], p. 50; underline emphasis ours)
There are other Divine attributes and names which Jesus claims for himself. For instance, Christ is THELight of the world:
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am THE Light (al-nur) of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12
“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light (nur) of the world.” John 9:4-5
Whereas the Quran teaches that Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth:
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth (Allahu nooru al-samawati wa al-ardi). The parable of His Light is as (if there were) a niche and within it a lamp, the lamp is in glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east (i.e. neither it gets sun-rays only in the morning) nor of the west (i.e. nor it gets sun-rays only in the afternoon, but it is exposed to the sun all day long), whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it. Light upon Light! Allah guides to His Light whom He wills. And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything. S. 24:35 Hilali-Khan
Moreover, Jesus is the Lord who knows all things:
“The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things (Ya Rabb! Anta talam kulli shay); you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’” John 21:17
Notice that Christ doesn’t rebuke Peter for his statement.
However, the Quran is clear that Allah is the Lord that has knowledge of everything:
And fear Allah, and know that Allah has knowledge of everything (anna Allaha bi-kulli shay-in aleemun). S. 2:231
Lo! your Lord is Allah (Inna rabbakumu Allahu) Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then mounted He the Throne. He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His command. His verily is all creation and commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds! S. 7:54 Pickthall; cf. 10:3
And according to the Quran Allah would never command his followers to take any prophet or angel as their Lords:
He would never order you to take the angels and the Prophets as Lords (arbaban); what, would He order you to disbelieve, after you have surrendered? S. 3:80 Arberry
This is where Naik runs into a bit of a problem since in his definition and understanding of Islamic monotheism one cannot assign the exclusive names and attributes of Allah to any creature:
Definition and Categories:
Islam believes in ‘Tawheed’ which is not merely monotheism i.e. belief in one God, but much more. Tawheed literally means ‘unification’ i.e. ‘asserting oneness’ and is derived from the Arabic verb ‘Wahhada’ which means to unite, unify or consolidate.
Tawheed can be divided into three categories.
1. Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah
3. Tawheed al-Ibaadah…
B. Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (maintaining the unity of Allah’s name and attributes):
The second category is ‘Tawheed al Asmaa was Sifaat’ which means maintaining the unity of Allah’s name and attributes. This category is divided into five aspects…
(iv) God’s creation should not be given any of His attributes
To refer to a human with the attribute of God is also against the principle of Tawheed. For example, referring to a person as one who has no beginning or end (eternal).
(v) Allah’s name cannot be given to His creatures
Some Divine names in the indefinite form, like ‘Raoof’ or ‘Raheem’ are permissible names for men as Allah has used them for Prophets; but ‘Ar-Raoof’ (the Most Pious) and Ar-Raheem (the most Merciful) can only be used if prefixed by ‘Abd’ meaning ‘slave of’ or ‘servant of’ i.e. ’Abdur-Raoof’ or ‘Abdur-Raheem’. Similarly ‘Abdur-Rasool’ (slave of the Messenger) or ‘Abdun-Nabee’ (slave of the Prophet) are forbidden. (Naik, Concept of God; underline emphasis ours)
In light of this how can Naik say he agrees with Jesus’ statements in John 14:6 when in that passage the Lord is claiming some of the very exclusive traits and titles of God Almighty? How can he dare say that every prophet in his time was the truth and the life when this violates the Islamic doctrine oftauhid since it attributes the very unique characteristics of God or Allah to mere creatures?
By making such comments Naik is clearly guilty of shirk, or the sin of associating partners with Allah, for ascribing some of Allah’s names and attributes to true prophets like Moses and also to the false prophet Muhammad, thereby elevating them to the level of divinity.
There is another problem that Naik faces by accepting Jesus’ words in John 14. He conveniently overlooked the fact that Jesus repeatedly referred to God as the Father or his Father, which goes against the teaching of the Quran that Allah is not a father and has no children:
And they say, ‘The All-merciful has taken unto Himself a son. You have indeed advanced something hideous! The heavens are wellnigh rent of it and the earth split asunder, and the mountains wellnigh fall down crashing for that they have attributed to the All-merciful a son; and it behoves not the All-merciful to take a son. None is there in the heavens and earth but he comes to the All-merciful as a servant; He has indeed counted them, and He has numbered them exactly. Every one of them shall come to Him upon the Day of Resurrection, all alone. S. 19:88-95
They say: ‘The All-merciful has taken to Him a son.’ Glory be to Him! Nay, but they are honoured servants. S. 21:26
The Muslim scripture actually condemns the Christians for believing that Jesus is God’s Son, saying that Allah will fight against them for believing in such a thing:
The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the Son of Allah’; the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of Allah.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. Allah assail them! How they are perverted! S. 9:30
Since Naik kept harping that he agreed with Jesus then this means that he basically disagrees with Muhammad and his concocted scripture. So why is he still a Muslim and why is he promoting the teachings of the Quran when they contradict the plain and explicit statements of the Lord Jesus which he claims to accept?
The final problem that Naik faces is that in the very same context where Jesus says that to see him is to see the Father he went on to tell his disciples that they can pray to him and he will answer all their prayers!
“‘From now on you do know him and have seen him.’ Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in MY NAME, this I WILL DO, that the Father may be glorified inthe Son. If you ask ME anything in MY NAME, I WILL DO IT.’” John 14:7-14
Jesus explains to his disciples that the reason why they will be able to do greater works than he himself did while on earth is because he is returning to the Father in heaven. Jesus’ point is that once he is there the disciples will ask him in his name to do such works and Christ will answer them, meaning that he will empower them to perform similar deeds to the ones Christ performed.
Yet in saying this Jesus shows that he is omnipotent and omniscient (as well as omnipresent) since he must know who is praying to him in his name and must have the ability to enable and empower his followers to perform these feats no matter where they are! It also shows that Jesus taught his followers that they could pray directly to him once he returns to heaven!
Does Naik really want us to believe that he has no problems with any of this?
We move to Naik’s explanation of John 10:30. Naik again stated that the context of this particular verse is crucial in properly understanding it, and we wholeheartedly agree.
“Now again I will give you the context. After context you tell me that yet you believe that Jesus (pbuh) is Almighty God or not.”
After quoting the passage Naik contends that,
“In context you come to know in purpose Jesus and Almighty God they were one. My father is a medical doctor, actually I even am a medical doctor. If I say, ‘I and my father are one,’ does it mean that we are one person [sic]? No! When I say I and my father are one it mean my father is a medical doctor, I am a medical doctor, in profession we are medical doctors! It doesn’t mean one as a person [sic]; in purpose! It’s very clear! But still if you say brother, ‘no this one means one as a person [sic],’ I say ok. If you read further in the Gospel of John, chapter number 17, verse 21, it says that, ‘My Father is thou in me, and I in ee [sic],’ he tells the twelve [sic] disciples, the same one is used. ‘We all are one.’ If you read further, Gospel of John, chapter number 17, verse 21 says, ‘My Father art in me and I art in you,’ in the disciples he says, and the same, ‘We all art one.” If you say one in purpose [sic] you have to believe in fourteen gods – Almighty God, Jesus Christ, and twelve [sic] disciples. And if you go the original manuscript, brother, the word used one out here is the same. The one that is used in Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse number 30 which brother quoted, ‘I and my Father are one,’ is the same used in Gospel of John, chapter number 17, verse 21. Same one! ‘My Father is in me, I in you, we all are one.’ Verse 23 says that, ‘I am in you, we are one.’ Again same one, same word! In context means Almighty God, and Jesus Christ, and the apostles, they taught the same truth, the same message, in giving the message they were one. But if you say no, they were actually one then you should change Trinity into another concept meaning fourteen gods – God Almighty, Jesus Christ, and the twelve [sic] disciples.”
Naik’s statements are laden with errors. First, there were not twelve disciples when Jesus prayed in John 17 but eleven since Judas had already left to betray Jesus. Besides, Jesus himself said he wasn’t praying for Judas:
“While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” John 17:12
Second, Naik’s statement that John 10:30 doesn’t mean that Jesus and the Father are one Person exposes either his ignorance or his willingness to distort what historic Christianity actually teaches concerning the relationship between the Father and the Son. Informed orthodox Christians do not claim that Jesus is the same Person as the Father, or that they are one in Person. Rather, Christians believe that the Father and the Son are one in essence and nature, while being personally distinct from one another. Trinitarians use John 10:30 to prove their assertion that Jesus is personally distinct from the Father while being one with him in essence since it is clear from the context that Jesus is claiming the exclusive and unique prerogatives of God:
“Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.My sheep listen to MY VOICE; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father, we are one (ego kai ho pater hen esmen).’ The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.’” John 10:25-33
Amazingly, Jesus says that he is one with the Father in the same context where he just got done saying that the Father is greater than all! Jesus is clearly excluding himself from those whom the Father happens to be greater than since he, unlike the rest, is actually one with him.
However, John’s use of both the neuter form of heis along with the plural verb form of eimi (esmen, “we are”) dispels any attempt of trying to turn the Father and the Son into a single Person. John’s use of hen which is in the neuter gender, as opposed to masculine heis, clearly demonstrates that their unity is not in terms of Personhood but in respect to their essence, e.g. they are not the same Person but two distinct Persons that share the same essence fully and equally.
This can be further seen from Christ’s statements that he gives eternal life to his sheep and that he is one with the Father in preserving them since none can pluck his flock from out of their hands. According to the Hebrew Scriptures all of these are exclusively Divine functions since it is Yahweh who gives life and there is none who can deliver out of his hand.
“See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39
“There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God… The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.” 1 Samuel 2:2, 6
“Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” Isaiah 43:13
Furthermore, the faithful are the sheep of Yahweh’s hand, e.g. his people whom he protects, and are supposed to hear his voice:
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,” Psalm 95:6-8
Hence, Jesus gives life like Yahweh does since Christ is Life itself. None can deliver out of Jesus’ hand just like none can deliver out of Yahweh’s hand since Jesus is Almighty. And like Yahweh the sheep hear Jesus’ voice since they are the flock of his hand, i.e. the people whom he preserves forever by his power, which again shows that he is the Almighty.
What makes this even more amazing is that the OT says that there is no person who can perform works in the same way that Yahweh does:
“Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” Psalm 86:8
“For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.” Psalm 89:6-8
And yet Jesus does exactly what Yahweh does! The reason why? Because he is Yahweh God the Son! To put this in a form of syllogism:
- No one can do the works that Yahweh God performs, especially in the manner in which Yahweh performs them.
- Jesus does whatever work can God do, and performs such works in exactly the same way.
- Therefore, Jesus is Yahweh God.
Evangelical NT scholar Murray J. Harris puts this all together quite nicely:
“Similarly, when Jesus declared ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10:30), he was not claiming that he and the Father were personally identical, for John uses the neuter for ‘one’ (hen), not the masculine (heis). Nor is Jesus simply affirming a unity of will or purpose or action between him and his Father, so what the Father wishes, he also wishes and performs. In the context Jesus has just declared that no person will be able to snatch his sheep out of his hand (10:28) or out of his Father’s hand (10:29). Such equality of divine power points to unity of divine essence: ‘I and the Father are one.’” (Murray J. Harris, 3 Crucial Questions about Jesus [Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 1994], Chapter 3: Is Jesus God?, fn. 14, p. 119; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Is it any wonder that the Jews thought that Jesus was blaspheming? Being familiar with their inspired Scriptures they could see that Christ was clearly making himself out to be God by claming to be able to do what only Yahweh does and for actually thinking that he was just as powerful as the Father!
Third, even though Jesus does use the same word for “one” in John 17 the context is completely different from John 10. In John 17 it is clear that Christ is praying that his followers experience perfect fellowship and union with one another as well as with the Father and the Son, just as the Father and Son enjoy perfect loving fellowship. However, in his haste to refute the Deity of Christ Naik conveniently overlooked what Jesus said concerning the fellowship and love that the disciples would experience:
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him… And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed… I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be IN US, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I IN THEM and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, AND I IN THEM.’” John 17:1-2, 5, 20-26
Here, Jesus claims to be the Son whom the Father will glorify and who actually existed and shared in the same glory with the Father before the world was created. Does Naik really believe this seeing that it contradicts his Islamic beliefs concerning God and Christ?
Moreover, the reason why the disciples can enjoy fellowship with God and experience his love is because Jesus is personally indwelling them, e.g. “I in them”! In other words, the believers are united with the Father because Christ is in union with all of them, thereby allowing them to share in Christ’s own glory and union with the Father. Nor is this the only time where Jesus says this:
“‘In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you IN ME, and I IN YOU. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.’… Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and WE will come to him and make OUR home with him.” John 14:20-21, 23
In the above citation Jesus claims to be present with all the true believers in the same sense and to the same degree that the Father is! And:
“Abide in me, and I IN YOU. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I IN HIM, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
It is Christ’s union with us and our union with him which results in a godly fruitful life since apart from his grace and power we can do nothing beneficial in the eyes of God.
However, the only way for Christ to be able to indwell and have fellowship with all of his followers no matter where they happen to be is if he is omnipresent. Yet the only way for him to be omnipresent is if he is God since only God is omnipresent!
At the end of the video clip when the Christian challenged his interpretation of John 10 and 14 Naik claimed that he is open for correction since he is human and can be mistaken. He then challenged the Christian to prove him wrong with evidence from the Holy Bible. Hopefully, now that we have exposed his blatant distortion of these specific Biblical passages with clear-cut evidence from both the Holy Scriptures and his own religious sources, he will do what he says and acknowledge his errors. Naik needs to publicly rectify his gross perversion of what the Holy Bible actually teaches so as to not mislead or deceive Muslims into thinking that he has correctly exegeted God’s inspired Word and that he is an authority on comparative religions. Naik is neither a scholar nor a serious student of this field of study, and is unqualified to speak on these matters.
If the Lord wills we will have further rebuttals to Naik’s distortion of Biblical truth in the near future.
- Son of God Jesus sent to ALL mankind (paulmarcelrene.wordpress.com)
Islam, Jihad, and Terrorism in Post-9/11 Arabic Discussion Boards
Article first published online: 6 JUN 2007
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Volume 12, Issue 3, pages 1063–1081, April 2007
This study analyzed the contents of three of the most popular Arabic-language online message boards regarding the attacks of September 11, 2001 on the United States. Although terrorists claimed that the attacks were committed in the name of Islam, those who posted messages on all three forums rejected this claim. More than 43% of the messages condemned the attacks as a criminal act of terrorism that contradicts the core teachings of Islam. Some 30% saw some justification behind the attacks, even if they felt sorry for the victims and their families. However, those participants viewed the attacks as a political, rather than a religious, issue.
Islam is the youngest, fastest growing, and perhaps most controversial of the three monotheistic religions. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States (henceforth, 9/11), Islam and Muslims started to come to the forefront of the Western media, albeit not for very positive reasons. Because Osama Bin Laden cited religious motives for his criminal attacks, a debate started brewing in the Western media over the true nature of Islam and whether or not it justified or even encouraged violence, particularly against non-Muslims. Many media outlets referred to the 9/11 terrorists simply as “Muslims,” which fueled stereotyping of Islam and did nothing to help stop the verbal and physical attacks taking place against Muslims in the U.S. at the time.
In an attempt to study how Muslims viewed the attacks from a religious point of view, this article examines the online message exchange on three major discussion boards in the Arab and Muslim world. Through a descriptive content analysis of these messages, the different viewpoints reiterated through Internet conversations are examined. This is an important medium in this part of the world (the Middle East), since most of the media are government-owned and controlled. The Internet, however, provides a relatively free expression forum for Middle Eastern audiences. It therefore has the potential to reveal Muslim points of view without governmental slanting of ideas in any particular political or religious manner.
Arabs and Muslims in the Western Media
At the outset, there is a need to differentiate between the terms “Arab” and “Muslim,” which tend to be used interchangeably in the Western media. Arabs are members of an ethnic group of people who reside in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Muslims are those who choose Islam as their religion. Most Arabs (more than 90%) are Muslims. However, the majority of Muslims are not Arabs. The majority of Muslims come from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, all of which are non-Arab countries (Abdulla, 2007).
Long before the attacks of 9/11, Arabs had voiced their concerns about their image in the Western media. In 1980, journalist Djelloul Marbrouk noted that the Arab in American television stands for “terrorism, hijack, intractability, sullenous, perverseness, cruelty, oil, sand, embargo, boycott, greed, bungling, comedic disunity, primitive torture, family feuds, and white slavery” (Shaheen, 1980, n.p.). Shaheen quotes Newsweek regarding the image of an Arab on television, “He is swarthy and bearded, rich and filthy, dabbling in dope smuggling and white slavery; swaddled in white robes, he carries a curved knife, rides a camel and abuses young boys. He knows a thousand vile curses such as ‘May the fleas of a diseased camel infect the hair of your first born’” (n.p.). Shaheen provides examples of many programs that portrayed Arabs in a negative light in the late 1970s, from Hollywood pictures and productions such as Vegas, Fantasy Island, andCharlie’s Angels to comic strips such as Brenda Starr and Dennis the Menace. He also provides examples of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim coverage from reputed news shows such as 60 Minutes and 20/20, in addition to regular news bulletins that associated Arabs and Muslims with terrorism.
A few years later, Shaheen (1984) noted that “the stereotype [of Arabs] remains omnipresent, appearing in new programs and dated reruns” (p. 113). Shaheen reports on an interview with a CBS Vice President who confirmed the notion, saying he “had never seen a ‘good Arab’ on TV,” and that Arabs are rather usually portrayed as “warmongers and/or covetous desert rulers” (p. 114). Indeed, Slade (1981)analyzed a poll of American attitudes and perceptions towards Arabs and found that Americans have little knowledge of Arab culture, history, or contributions to the world. She reported that Americans commonly think of Arabs as “anti-American,”“anti-Christian,”“unfriendly,” and “warlike.”
Christensen (2006a, b) argues that the spread of Islamophobia in the West is at least in part the responsibility of distorted and imbalanced media coverage. He argues that news programs are perceived usually as “serious” and “truthful” because journalism is associated in the public mind with objectivity and fairness. Western news stories, he says, tend to show a mosque, a minaret, or a veiled woman regardless of the nature of the story, even when the story is about terrorism. “The combination of stereotypical images adds up to a whole that is, in many ways, greater than the sum of its parts” (Christensen, 2006b, p. 30).
Said (1997) argues that the image of Islam in the U.S. media has always been influenced by a framework of politics and hidden interests and is therefore laden with “not only patent inaccuracy but also expressions of unrestrained ethnocentrism, cultural and even racial hatred, deep yet paradoxically free-floating hostility” (p. ii). He characterizes the image as involving “highly exaggerated stereotyping and belligerent hostility” (p. xi). Said, himself an American Christian scholar, states, “Malicious generalizations about Islam have become the last acceptable form of denigration of foreign culture in the West; what is said about the Muslim mind, or character, or religion, or culture as a whole cannot now be said in mainstream discussion about Africans, Jews, other Orientals, or Asians” (p. xii).
If this was the image before 9/11, things took a turn for the worse after the criminal attacks. Despite the fact that all Arab countries condemned the attacks, for the most part, voices communicated through the mass media still failed to differentiate between Arabs and Muslims, on one hand, and terrorists, on the other. Pintak (2006) reports on Eric Rouleau of Le Monde, who criticized the tendency to portray images of “Muslims praying, mosques or women in chadors to illustrate stories about extremism and terror” (p. 33-34). Pintak adds that after the events of 9/11, “the U.S. media immediately fell back on the prevailing—and stereotyped—narrative about Arabs and Muslims and reverted to its historic tendency to present the world, in Henry Kissinger’s words, as ‘a morality play between good and evil’” (p. 39).
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR, 2001) noted that “many media pundits focused on one theme: retaliation. For some, it did not matter who bears the brunt of an American attack” (n.p.). For example, on September 12, 2001, Steve Dunleavy wrote in the New York Post: “The response to this unimaginable 21st-century Pearl Harbor should be as simple as it is swift—kill the bastards. A gunshot between the eyes, blow them to smithereens, poison them if you have to. As for cities or countries that host these worms, bomb them into basketball courts.” On September 11, former U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger commented on CNN, “There is only one way to begin to deal with people like this, and that is you have to kill some of them even if they are not immediately directly involved in this thing” (FAIR, 2001, n.p.).
On September 13, Bill O’Reilly, on his popular The O’Reilly Factor show on the Fox News Channel, said it “doesn’t make any difference” who you kill in the process of retaliation against the attacks (FAIR, 2001, n.p.). On the same day, syndicated columnist Ann Coulter wrote:
This is no time to be precious about locating the exact individuals directly involved in this particular terrorist attack…. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war. (FAIR, 2001, n.p.)
At a meeting of the Global Policy Forum, Hans Giessmann of the University of Hamburg’s Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy criticized the Western media for how it “fully attributed blame for the September attacks on ‘Muslim terrorists’ and stopped there” (Inbaraj, 2002, n.p.). He added that “the media accepted the side effects of a stigmatization of religion, cultures, states, people and minorities and this paved the way for prejudices” (n.p.). Journalists at the meeting agreed that the media failed to provide context for their pictures and stories. That, they said, would have “allowed readers, viewers and listeners to gain a clear understanding of the background issues and of the clash on interpretations in a war where the lines were blurred between reporting and propaganda in a controlled atmosphere” (Inbaraj, 2002, n.p.).
Perhaps most offensive to Muslims was Reverend Jerry Falwell’s statement on 60 Minutes: “I think Mohammed was a terrorist. I read enough of the history of his life written by both Muslims and non-Muslims, that he was a violent man, a man of war” (CBS news, 2002, n.p.).
Statements like this coincided with and may have contributed to an increasing anti-Muslim sentiment. CNN reported that the anti-Islamic sentiment following 9/11 was spreading around the world. Several mosques in Europe and Australia were petrol-bombed by individuals who believed they were “doing the U.S. a favor.” In South Shields, Northern England, graffiti on a wall near a mosque read in red paint, “Avenge U.S.A. Kill a Muslim now” (Jones, 2001, n.p.).
Such trends in the American media coverage of the post 9/11 attacks were documented in several studies. Pintak (2006) reports on a content analysis of CBS newscasts carried out by the Center for Media and Public Affairs. The study found that in covering the war on Iraq, the network was “most supportive” of U.S. government policies (p. 44). Those who displayed an anti-war message or attitude were found to constitute fewer than 10% of interviewees on CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. The study concluded that CBS coverage was even more conservative than Fox News, which is seen as “the headquarters for patriotic fervor” (p. 44). Pintak further reports on another study by the U.S. Department of Defense, which analyzed U.S., European, and Middle Eastern newspapers. The study concluded that the American media “primed its audience to support the war,” while silencing opposition voices (p. 43).
Fadel (2002) conducted a content analysis of an Egyptian daily newspaper (Al Ahram) and an American daily newspaper (USA Today) in the three months following 9/11. The study showed that the top two subjects mentioned in relation to Arab countries in both newspapers were terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. However, while Al Ahram stressed the Arab world’s condemnation of the attacks and of fundamentalism, USA Today linked Arabs to Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism, and extremism all over the world. The study also reported that the American newspaper “adopted a clear line of linking violence and terrorism with resisting Israeli occupation in parts of Lebanon and the Palestinian territories” (p. 451).
Gomaa (2002) conducted a content analysis of the image of Islam and Muslims in the American, French, and German press. She analyzed the International Herald Tribune, Le Monde, and Frankfurter Allgemeine during the 50 days following 9/11. She reported that although the Herald focused on Osama Bin Laden as the party responsible for the attacks (even before any evidence had surfaced), the newspaper tackled the issue in light of Huntington’s (1993)“clash of civilizations” thesis and portrayed it as a start for a Crusade between Islam and the West. The Herald claimed that the Arab and Muslim countries have become a safe haven for terrorism and are breeding a “culture of violence” (p. 239). The study contrasted this with Le Monde’s coverage, which stressed the dangers of terrorism as a global issue that is not restricted to the Muslim world, and clarified the nature of Islam as a religion of tolerance and peace. The French newspaper focused its analysis on the importance of understanding the other and acquainting oneself with foreign civilizations. It stressed that the issue is not one of a clash of civilizations, but rather a clash between extremists and moderates within each civilization and across ethnicities and religions worldwide. In this light, the newspaper argued, France should support the U.S. not in a war against Islam but in a war against the terrorists who carried out these attacks on humanity. Still, the study reported that Le Monde reported negatively on the Arab and Muslim worlds in about 65% of its total coverage. This figure was up to 78% in the Herald, and 86.5% inFrankfurter Allgemeine. In its coverage of the sources of terrorism worldwide, the Herald linked terrorism with the Arab and Muslim world 96% of the time.
Chomsky (2001) asserted that the mainstream media in the U.S. constituted “well-run propaganda systems” whose capacity “to drive people to irrational, murderous, and suicidal behavior” should not be underestimated. He urged citizens to resist the notion of responding to terrorist crimes with more terror directed against civilian Muslims abroad but said the “hysterical” attitude of the media in such circumstances was not surprising (p. 69).
Pintak (2006) contended that the bias in American media after 9/11 constituted what could be called “jihad journalism” (pp. 42-44). He added that such slanted coverage was “the hallmark of the post-9/11 era” (p. 44). Fruit (2001) called it “a result of racist jingoism,” adding, “This is shocking but not surprising in the face of the Anti-Islamic, xenophobic hysteria in the media and from our ‘world-leaders’” (n.p.).
In light of the above literature, this study examines discussions about Islam in the Arabic-language postings of Arabs and Muslims after 9/11. It discusses whether those who posted messages thought Islamic teachings were the reason behind the attacks, and whether the attacks are considered acts of terrorism or acts of Islamic jihad.
The Arab World, 9/11, and the Internet
The latest estimates assess world Internet users in January 2007 at more than 1.1 billion (Internet World Stats, 2007). Out of this enormous number, the estimated number of users in the Arab world is about 18 million. However, with major developments in the Internet technology markets of Arab countries, the growth rate for users in the Arab world is exploding by a factor of 500% in some countries (Abdulla, 2007).
Arabic portals have started growing on the Internet. Several websites now offer Arabs the full service of a Web portal, including email services, search engines, news, culture, sports, art, music, discussion forums, and blogs. Islamic portals also offer information about the religion, recitations and interpretations of the Quran, and religious teachings, as well as sections for Muslims to communicate with Islamic scholars through posting questions whose answers appear on the websites. Arabs and Muslims have taken to discussion boards on the Internet, since they provide an alternative to the otherwise primarily government-owned and government-controlled media systems. These discussion boards cover a variety of topics, including politics, sports, culture, religion, and civic society.
Some scholars believe that discussion forums and bulletin boards can help people get through difficult times in an almost therapeutic manner (James, Wotring, & Forrest, 1995; Rosson, 1999). After the attacks of 9/11, a variety of online bulletin boards were dedicated to discussing the event and sharing sentiments of grief and anger. In addition, most online news outlets had a discussion board dedicated to 9/11. These included, for example, The New York Times, CNN, and USA Today.
Arab and Islamic portals also had discussion boards for Arab Internet users to voice their opinions concerning the attacks. Since these forums are uncensored and are outside the realm of government supervision, they provided a good opportunity for Arabs and Muslims to voice their honest opinions, even if those opinions contradicted those of the governments, whose official stance was to condemn the attacks. This study may therefore help us gauge the true feelings of Arabs and Muslims regarding 9/11.
A descriptive content analysis was conducted of message boards on three of the most popular Arab portals: Masrawy (http://www.masrawy.com), Islam Online (http://islamonline.net), and Arabia (http://www.arabia.com).1 Masrawy is the first and one of the most popular Arabic-language portals on the Internet. The word “Masrawy” is colloquial Arabic for “Egyptian.” The site offers its users free Internet connectivity, free email, and domain name registration, in addition to all the regular services offered by major portals such as news, directories, classified ads, search options, health, sports, stock market information, entertainment, shopping, auctions, instant chat, and message boards.
Islam Online is one of the most popular and most comprehensive Islamic portals on the Internet. The site is supported and maintained by a large group of Muslim scholars headed by Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi, one of the top authorities in the Muslim world today. The portal, offered in both Arabic and English, is run by a staff of over 200 people from different backgrounds. In addition to all of the usual Islamic information, the site features large sections on science and medicine, psychology and cyber-counseling, political news and current affairs, women’s rights, parenting, the Internet and IT technologies, arts and culture, and live discussions. Each of these sections is handled by professionals, many of them Ph.D. holders in their respective fields. According to El-Kashef (2005), in the aftermath of 9/11, the site witnessed a dramatic increase in visitor numbers, with page views increasing from an average of 24 million to 150 million per year.
Arabia was a major portal that offered its users the option to access it in Arabic or in English. Owned and operated by Arabia Online, which is based in Dubai’s Internet City in the United Arab Emirates, the site offered a wide array of services, including a search engine, free email, free greeting cards, news, games, entertainment, business, sports, Arab and international media outlets, horoscopes, an instant messenger service, cartoons, travel and shopping information, as well as chat and discussion boards. Rossant (2002) reported estimates of 1.5 million visitors per month to Arabia, making it one of the most popular portals in the Arab world.
Because of the difficulty of selecting a random sample on the Internet (December, 1996; McMillan, 2000; Stempel & Stewart, 2000), I decided to examine the population of messages on the three chosen portals regarding the events of 9/11. Still, the sampling process was not easy. Discussion boards on different websites organize messages in different ways. Some offer more structure than others: In this study, the Masrawy discussion board was found to be more organized than the Arabia board, and the Islam Online board was the least organized. Masrawy offered fewer overall topics for discussion, and the topics were posted by the message board moderator. To start a new thread, participants sent a message to the moderator suggesting the new topic, after which the moderator posted the suggested topic under a new title and a new thread. While participants could reply to a particular message by entering that message number, their reply was posted as a new message under the same main thread, rather than as a sub-thread. It followed that the postings to a particular topic were easier to access, scan (by title), and quantify.
The Arabia message board allowed its users to post new topics as they pleased. The board also allowed for sub-threading of messages, meaning that each message within the same topic could have several replies accessible only through that message. The resulting structure is more problematic for the content analysis researcher (or even for a keen user) to grasp. There is no easy way of knowing how many messages are posted on a particular topic, since the topic could be fragmented under as many messages as users choose. Each message within a particular topic could be posted as a separate topic, and each message could have an unlimited number of replies in its thread. While the number of replies is posted, the only way of knowing how many messages relate to a particular topic is to scan every message title on the board, determine which ones relate to the topic of interest, and add up the replies to those messages, hoping that all replies actually relate to the topic. This process is time-consuming and frustrating, since the site hosted an average of about 50 pages of questions (or topics) at any given time.
The Islam Online website was the most problematic of the three. The site offered seven main areas of discussion (politics, religion, sports, culture, society, creativity, and Internet). Within each area were seven to ten main discussion topics, and within each topic was a structure similar to the Arabia website. The problem resided in the fact that there was an undefined number of questions or topics to go through, without a clear indication of where discussion on a particular topic started. For example, one could not assume that 9/11 would be discussed under politics alone, since it could also be discussed under religion or society.
For the purposes of this study, a total of 752 messages was analyzed on the three portals. The Masrawy website had 517 messages on 104 pages, posted between September 11th and 20th.2 All messages were in response to the question posted by the moderator, “Do you support the September 11 attacks on the United States?” From the Islam Online website, I analyzed 175 messages posted under different headings, although most were commenting on three themes: whether the participants thought Bin Laden was a terrorist or a hero; whether they thought these attacks would help or hurt Muslims; and whether they agreed that the attacks were an inhumane act. The messages were posted between September 11th and October 19th. From the Arabia website, I analyzed a total of 73 messages posted under numerous threads. Those messages were posted from September 11th to October 5th.
Some messages were eliminated because they were deemed irrelevant, although they were posted under a relevant title or message heading. This problem was particularly evident with the Arabia website. In some cases, some participants began sending personal messages to each other on the site. Others tried to solicit interest in a different discussion topic by posting their views about the other topic under 9/11, since that was the hot issue of the day. The total number of relevant messages analyzed for quantification in this study came to 265 messages on Masrawy, 161 on Islam Online, and 47 messages on Arabia, for a total of 473 messages. The message was the unit of analysis for this study.
Variables and Operationalization
Each message was coded for: (a) message identification number; (b) source message board (Masrawy, Islam Online, or Arabia); (c) date of message submission; (d) user member type (only provided for Masrawy users, categories defined below); (e) gender (male, female, unidentified); (f) attitude toward the 9/11 attacks (agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, or attitude not mentioned; categories defined below); (g) sympathy toward victims (mentioned, not mentioned); and (h) Islam (mentioned as probable reason, mentioned as not a probable reason, not mentioned).
An attempt was made to identify the gender of message posters where possible, based on the name or signature if provided and/or on the text of the message, since many Arabic words and pronouns require different masculine or feminine endings.
Attitude towards the 9/11 attacks was coded as: “agree” for messages showing support for any possible justification, rationalization, or excuses for the attacks (even if the message poster feels sorry for the victims); “disagree” for messages showing disagreement with the attacks in terms of denouncing them, condemning them, disapproving of the act, classifying the attacks as a crime or an act of terrorism, offering condolences for the victims and/or their families (without showing any signs of support or justification for the attacks); or “neither agree nor disagree” if the message posters admitted to not being able to make up their minds or adopt a viewpoint regarding the attacks. Messages that only raised questions or offered comments or possible answers to issues raised in other messages without taking sides were coded as “attitude not mentioned.”
Intercoder reliability was determined by having another Arabic native speaker, who is also fluent in English and has a master’s degree in communication, recode a random sample of 10% of the valid messages (n = 48; 27 messages from Masrawy, 16 from Islam Online, and 5 messages from Arabia). The reliability rate was calculated after excluding the variables of message identification number, source message board, date of message submission, and user member type to avoid falsely inflating reliability. Using the Holsti (1969) formula, intercoder reliability was determined to be 0.936. The author had the final say in cases of disagreement and also recoded the selected sample, which produced an intracoder reliability score of 0.962.
All Arabic entries were translated into English for the purposes of this study by the author. Efforts were made to remain faithful to the tone, structure, and punctuation of the original entries.
Relevant Methodological Issues
Lindlof and Shatzer (1998) pointed out the problems of participation and identity verification on an Internet discussion forum. In this study, although message posters logged in with a name, almost no one logged in with his or her real name. The name used was usually a self-chosen nickname. Sometimes, however, participants signed the actual message with their real name, which was different from the name they used to log in.
The domination of a thread by a single or a few message posters is another issue frequently encountered in content analysis of discussion boards (Miller & Gergen, 1998; Perlman, 1999). In this study, several login names at times dominated the discussions.
The geographic location where a message originated is another issue. Even on Masrawy, which means “Egyptian,” it cannot be assumed that all messages were posted by Egyptians. Although most messages were written in colloquial Egyptian Arabic,3 this is a dialect widely spoken in the Arab world; hence, any Arab (or anyone who speaks Arabic) could have posted the message. There were also some English-language messages, which could have been by non-Arabs or by Arabs whose Web browsers do not support Arabic characters or who simply chose to post their messages in English. The Arabia site featured more messages in English than did the other two sites, some of which were clearly self-marked as posted by Americans.
External validity is another concern in Internet research (Miller & Gergen, 1998; Stempel & Stewart, 2000). While this study is limited to Internet users, who constitute only a small percentage of the Arab population, it nonetheless draws on one of the few uncensored media channels in the Middle East, and represents the basic sentiments voiced in the Arab world regarding the events of 9/11 and the religious arguments made in connection with them.
Message posters on Masrawy were classified on the site by member type: junior members were those under 21 years of age, and senior members were those above 21. Theoretically, a user can enter a fake age, although there is little reason to do this, since both user types have the same rights and responsibilities on the website.
Out of the message posters on Masrawy, 63.4% (n = 168) were junior members, and 21.9% (n = 58) were senior members. The remaining percentage was listed as “member,” probably because posters did not list their age upon registration. Of the messages on all three discussion boards, 53.1% (n = 251) were from males (judging by either the names they signed or the pronouns they used in the syntax of their message), 16.7% (n = 79) were from females, and 30.2% (n = 143) had no indication of gender.
Of all messages on the three websites, 43.1% (n = 204) condemned the 9/11 attacks as an act of terrorism with no justification, political or otherwise. However, 30.2% (n = 143) offered some justification for the attacks, even if they acknowledged feeling sorry for the victims and their families. The rest of the message posters (26.7%, n = 126) were either undecided, showing feelings of pure shock for the most part, or they offered political analysis without taking sides. Justification messages tended to be shorter and were mostly posted during the first four days following the attacks. For example, on September 11, several messages on Masrawy just said, “Yes, I agree with the attacks.” In contrast, condemnation messages were longer and continued to be posted throughout the time period analyzed.
Almost all justification messages on the three websites cited as their reason American foreign policy regarding the Middle East. Message posters who saw justification for the attacks viewed the issue as political, rather than religious or social. The political issues identified mainly focused on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Iraq. Other messages cited American foreign policy in several other parts of the world, including Japan, Vietnam, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iran, Lebanon, and Pakistan.
For example, a female junior member wrote on Masrawy on September 11, “Americans have to feel what the Palestinians feel, the destruction, terror, and all the homeless people. And they have to know that their foreign policy and their support for Israel will hurt their country and their interests in the Middle East.”
On the other hand, many condemnation messages cited the killing of innocent civilians as barbaric and inhumane. One male junior member wrote on Masrawy on September 12:
Any human being with a heart rejects the killing of children, men, women, elderly people, and all innocent people. There will be victims from all nationalities. We are against killing Palestinians, and also killing Jews. Any religion forbids killing. What did the men and women and children who were killed do? It could’ve been your brother or your son or your father or your mother or your wife. This is not permissible under any religion.
Another male wrote on Arabia on September 13 (in English): “I feel bad for all our Middle Eastern families being killed, but two wrongs don‘t make a right here. All innocent people have a right to live a happy life, both Middle Eastern and Americans.”
One member wrote on Masrawy on September 12:
I or any Arab or Muslim cannot support barbaric, vengeful revenge like I saw yesterday. No, a thousand no to such naïve, idiotic, barbarian operations. If it were in my hands, it would kill every terrorist that had to do with this. My hearty condolences to the victims’ families.
Could Islam be a Justification for the Attacks?
Although the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks claimed that they committed their crime in the name of Islam, the participants in this study clearly believed otherwise. Only 11% (n = 52) of all messages posted on the three websites mentioned Islam as a probable justification for the attacks. In comparison, 30% (n = 142) stressed that such attacks are against the core teachings of Islam. The remaining 59% (n = 279) did not mention Islam at all in their discussions of why the attacks could have happened, which indicates that religion was not a factor in their view of the events.
A male poster on Islam Online posted his message together with a copy of the fatwa (Islamic ruling) of Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi. Parts of the fatwa read:
We are extremely sorry for the attacks on the World Trade Center and other entities in the United States of America. This is in spite of our objection to the political policy of the U.S. that is pro-Israel on all fronts, military, political, and economic.
This is because our religion respects the human soul and protects it, and prohibits any such attacks on humanity, and denotes it as a huge crime. The Quran says, “If anyone slew a person—unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land—it would be as if he slew the whole people; and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.”… Islam does not permit the random killing of people, innocent and un-innocent alike, for no soul shall carry the burdens of another…. These killings are therefore a major crime in the eyes of Islam.
However, there were still some who argued that the killings are justified in light of what the U.S. is doing with its foreign policies in the Middle East. For example, one male on Islam Online wrote, “Those who are saying what happened in the U.S. was terrorism, what do you call what happens in Palestine every day?” Another wrote, “America has chosen to wage war against God. Henry Kissinger, their former Jewish Secretary of State, said publicly, ‘Islam is not our religion,’ so what does that mean? Don’t they deserve what happened? They deserve more.”
Responding to these messages were many others that strongly opposed the view that the attacks could be backed by religion. One male junior member on Masrawy wrote on September 12:
I’m an Egyptian Muslim, but before anything else I’m a human being, and what happened is not permissible under any religion. I pray for mercy for those who died innocently for no reason, whether they were Muslims, Christians, or Jews. They have their religion and I have mine.4
A male who signed, “A Muslim who loves his religion,” wrote on Islam Online on September 12:
The most criminal act in the eyes of God is killing an innocent soul as stated by Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi in his fatwa (Islamic ruling) about the attacks in the U.S. Even if they do kill innocent Muslims, this does not justify killing innocent Americans. This is not an Islamic principle.
One female senior member wrote on Masrawy on September 14:
This is against all religions. God did not say to kill innocent people…. It is totally against our Islamic religion to terrorize innocent people…. Terrorizing innocent people is not acceptable in Islam, it is totally against the religion.
Some posters had harsh words for those who use Islam as a backup for terrorism. One male wrote on Masrawy on September 14 (in English):
I don’t see how people can use our wonderful religion to justify such horrible acts. I am a Muslim who loves his religion, but I want to say something here. If this is Islam, then I don‘t want to be a Muslim. What I know about my religion is that it is about peace, mercy, and compassion. Anything else is not Islamic.
On Islam Online, this member wrote, “I condemn these acts because they are not legitimate, whoever did them. Killing innocent people was never a way of confronting an enemy in Islam.”
Another male wrote on Arabia, “Islam is a peaceful religion. These terrorists aren’t true Muslims. In the Quran it is forbidden to kill innocent people. My heart and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy. I feel that my religion is being raped by these terrorists. I wish they would just leave Islam out of it.”
Some message posters took it upon themselves to explain the true meaning of some Islamic concepts that might be used to justify the attacks. On September 14, a female senior member posted a lengthy explanation on Masrawy of why the attacks can not be attributed to, or justified by, Islam. She referenced the concept of kassas (retribution) in Islam:
Kassas as dictated by Islam is murdering a murderer, and only the murderer. This serves the ultimate good of the human life, because then you decrease the percentage of murder crimes. But this kassas as portrayed by the terrorists or the American media is what was prevalent in pre-Islamic times, and it led to much fighting and wars between tribes and hurt many innocent people. And actually you cannot call this kassas at all, this is pure murder. Our Prophet (peace and prayers be upon him) laid the foundations for these basic rules in Islam. Islam has regulated all this, and put strict rules even for times of war, and it clearly prohibits killing innocent lives. Even if we were at war with America, this would not be permissible in Islam. And since we’re at peace, these are definitely not the regulations dictated by Islam.
Another male junior member took to Masrawy to explain the concept of jihad. He wrote, “This is not jihad, this is nonsense. According to our Prophet Mohammad (peace and prayers be upon him), jihad is struggle 1) against oneself to achieve a higher level of purity, and 2) against enemies in times of war. This is not jihad.”
Some messages discussed whether the attacks, justified or not, would help or hurt Arab and Muslim interests. Most seemed to believe that the attacks would have negative effects on the Arab and Muslim world. These posters were especially concerned about the West not differentiating between such criminal attacks on one hand and efforts to fight Israeli occupation on the other. This female wrote on Masrawy:
Whoever did this cannot be Arabs or Muslims. This is an inside operation. But whoever did it, it caused us a greeeeeeeeeeeat deal of harm:
Now Israel will do whatever it pleases to Palestinians and no one will ever care. They will use this opportunity to its full potential.
Arabs and Muslims in the States and Europe are already facing a lot of hassles and being treated as terrorists.
America will now support Israel even more to face what they call “Palestinian terrorism.”
One female junior member wrote on September 14 on Masrawy:
I’m against American policies in the Middle East, but the innocent civilians had nothing to do with politics. This is forbidden in Islam, whether the victims are Iraqis, Americans, or Palestinians. And do you think Arabs will benefit from these attacks? Not at all. We will suffer as a result (although I’m sure whoever did this are American extremists). But look at what’s happening. The world is so concerned about the United States, and in the meantime yesterday Israel went into Jenin and Ariha. They killed 11 Palestinians yesterday, and four today. No one cares of course.
One female on Islam Online thought the attacks would be both of benefit and cost to Muslims. In her words:
This is not an easy question. I think these attacks both hurt us and benefited us. The hurt will be that anti-Islamists will seize the opportunity to paint a negative image of Islam in the West and make the West hate us. The good part is that Muslims who face American terrorist acts in Palestine and Iraq will get a sense of hope that this undefeated giant has been defeated, and it might also make American citizens pay attention to their government’s policies that are so unfair to Muslims. But I think the cost is so much more than the benefit. We need huge political and media efforts to make up for the damage to the image of Islam.
Another female on Arabia wrote:
This will only make life harder for Arabs, here (in the Arab world) and in the States. An advisory was issued to Arabs in the States to stop talking to each other in Arabic on the streets, and Muslims are facing a lot of hassles already. I’m sure this was not done by Arabs or Muslims, but it will only cause more mistreatment to Arabs.
A male wrote on Islam Online:
What’s happening to Muslims now is the best evidence that Bin Laden is a dangerous man. What he did is not heroic, what he did is a crazy act of terror. Dangerous and important things have started happening to Muslims worldwide as a result, he has only done a great favor for anti-Islamists by his acts. For example, in India, they put the Islamic Liberation Front on the list of terrorist organizations. And in China they detained a lot of Muslims and killed some, and also in the Philippines and elsewhere. Many will use this against Muslims in the name of fighting terrorism. And now we have to prove to the West that Muslims are not terrorists.
Several messages on Islam Online tackled the same issue of whether Bin Laden was a hero or a terrorist. Although the majority of respondents stated that the attacks were an act of terrorism, some still thought Bin Laden committed a heroic act, and some did not believe Bin Laden was the person behind the attacks.
The few who saw Bin Laden as a hero were taken by the ability of this one man to terrorize a nation as powerful as the U.S. Others believed that he must be a true believer since he abandoned a millionaire’s life of luxury and instead took to his form of jihad. One female wrote on Islam Online, “I think Bin Laden is a hero. Don’t you see how this one person managed to terrorize the United States and cause it to be insecure and worried? He has done what the whole Arab world and Arab governments could not do.”
A male poster wrote, “Osama Bin Laden is a true fighter for Islam. He has given up on a life of plenty in this life for the hope of a better afterlife. He is the only millionaire in the world who gave himself and his money to Islam and Muslims. God be with him.”
Other posters had their reasons for not believing that Bin Laden could do such an act. This male poster wrote, “I do believe Bin Laden is a hero. I do not think he had anything to do with these attacks in New York though.” Several messages agreed with this line of thinking. Another male replied to this message, saying, “I totally agree with you. I do not think Bin Laden did it, not because he can’t, but because he is a man of high morals and standards, and he could not be involved in such criminal acts.” Another poster said, “I don’t believe Bin Laden did these attacks. The U.S. still does not have any proof.” This female wrote:
Thank God we are Muslims for our religion is great. I can’t believe you’re asking whether Bin Laden is a terrorist or not. The answer lies in the teachings of Islam. If Osama is a true Muslim, he will not have had anything to do with these attacks because a true believer cannot do these horrible acts…. Our religion is not a religion of killings or terrorism, these acts are by no means a victory. If our enemies have resorted to terrorism, this is not an excuse for us to do the same.
To the same effect, one poster wrote, “To know if Bin Laden is a terrorist or a hero, look at his way of jihad and compare it to the merciful nature of Islam.” Another message came from a male poster: “By God Bin Laden is the worst terrorist. He is using our great religion to kill people in its name. He is taking people backwards to pre-Islamic times.” Finally, the following message, posted in English on Masrawy, tended to reflect several others:
The one thing we should protect the most is our humanity, our religion that urges us to rise above greed and anger and malice represented in the American and Israeli forces of darkness. They should never succeed in robbing our Islamic identity and our morality. Islam is the religion of forgiveness not revenge. We don’t kill the innocent no matter how hard it is to target the guilty.
Discussion and Conclusions
This study analyzed the contents of three of the most popular Arabic-language online message boards regarding the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The findings documented that more than 43% of the messages condemned the attacks as a pure criminal act of terrorism. However, some 30% of the message posters still saw some justification behind these attacks, even if they felt sorry for the victims and their families. It is worth noting that most of the justification messages were posted in the few days immediately after the attacks, and were short and abrupt, suggesting a hasty and impulsive reaction. Justification messages tended to become fewer over time. In contrast, condemnation messages were longer, tended to contain well-structured analysis, and continued to be posted throughout the time period included in this study. These findings were consistent across the three message boards, with no apparent ideological differences between them. The main theme that kept appearing throughout was an overall frustration with American foreign policies in the Middle East region.
Posters condemning the 9/11 attacks felt that the massive killing of innocent civilians in such a random manner was barbaric, inhumane, and contradicted the core teachings of Islam. Many posters wrote that they felt that their religion was being raped by criminals who use it to carry out their own hidden agendas. On the other hand, those justifying or supporting the attacks tended to cite American foreign policy in the Middle East. This was particularly true with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Iraq. It should be noted that these messages were posted before the launch of the current American intervention in Iraq.
More than 81% of the messages mentioned some aspect of frustration and/or dissatisfaction with American politics in the Middle East. This is an interesting finding, given that fewer than 30% justified the attacks. This means that another 51%, who mostly posted messages supporting the victims and condemning the attacks, still felt dissatisfied with American foreign policy in the Middle East.
Although the attacks of 9/11 were justified by the terrorists who committed them as having been carried out in the name of Islam, those who posted messages on all three forums—Masrawy, Islam Online, and Arabia—rejected this claim. On all three websites, only 11% of those who posted messages mentioned that Islam was a probable justification for the attacks. In contrast, more than 30% stressed in their messages that such atrocities were against the core spirit and teachings of Islam. The remaining 59% of the message posters did not mention Islam at all in their discussions, which suggests that the religion was not on their minds as a possible reason for why the attacks took place. These posters seemed to view the attacks as a political, rather than a religious, issue.
This is another interesting finding, given that, as illustrated in the literature review, most American media coverage of the issue tended to portray it as a clash of civilizations, based in essence on a confrontation between Islam as a religion and the West as a culture. The findings of this study show that Arab Muslims did not view the issue in a religious light. Rather, Arabs saw the issue as primarily political. They were (and are) frustrated with the seemingly consistent support for Israel that the U.S. displays in its foreign policy towards the Middle East, particularly regarding the Palestinian conflict and Lebanon. They see the U.S. as a “monster” that is quick to judge and take one side in support of a single entity against all others in the region.
Arab message posters also expressed concern about the then-potential problem of framing Islam as a violent and terrorist religion, a concern that was shown in the literature review to have materialized in the days and months following 9/11. In the minds of these message posters, such media coverage of the nature of Islam is distorted and hurts the interests of Arabs and Muslims everywhere.
It is the concern of this researcher that such media coverage may also have increased anti-American sentiments in the Middle East over the past few years, since Arabs felt that the U.S. insisted on dealing with Islam as an enemy. As indicated in the findings of this and other studies (Fadel, 2002; Gomaa, 2002; Inbaraj, 2002; Pintak, 2006; Said, 1997; Shaheen, 1980, 1984), Arabs feel that the U.S. media are unduly focused on Islam as a breeding ground of violence and terrorism and that the media refuse to pay attention to moderate voices, which constitute the great majority of the more than 1.3 billion Muslims around the world. Of course, terrorist acts speak to the media much more loudly than non-terrorist acts. However, Arabs feel that the U.S. media ignore coverage of any non-violent aspect of Islam, as evidenced by the near non-existence of any content about the everyday lives or the scientific achievements or the rich cultures of Arabs and Muslims worldwide and throughout history. In the minds of most Arabs, terrorism is not related to Islam as a religion. Rather, it is born and bred out of a sense of frustration with seemingly endless unfair political policies, a point that is validated daily by the flagrant rise of violent acts in Iraq since the American intervention in 2003. This is another point that Arabs believe the American media refuse to acknowledge or even consider.
Arab messages posters discussed different aspects of the relation between Islam and the 9/11 attacks. They concluded that the attacks caused more harm than good to Islam and Muslims, both in the Arab world and in the West. Although a minority hailed Bin Laden as a hero for what they perceived to be his victorious confrontation with the U.S., the majority saw him as a terrorist who is taking advantage of Islam to serve his own agenda. Muslims took to the discussion boards to defend their religion, saying that they felt it was being “raped” by such terrorists. They posted messages trying to explain to the world the basic principles on which Islam was based as a religion of tolerance, mercy, and compassion.
The Internet provided a much needed public sphere for Arabs to express their views and speak their minds on an issue as important as this one. This is particularly valuable in a region of the world where the media are mostly government-owned and controlled. Access to public media in the Arab world is not easy, and if one is lucky enough to get through with a letter to the editor, chances are that the letter will be “edited,” sometimes heavily, before it appears in print. The Internet provides Arabs with a staggering alternative to traditional media. As is shown in this study, they have used it in the aftermath of 9/11 to denounce what they perceived as attacks on humanity and on their own religion, and to attempt to spread awareness and knowledge about the true nature and the core teachings of Islam to the world.
Some messages were posted twice, apparently due to a technical difficulty on the website. Those pairs of duplicate messages were analyzed and counted as one message.
The author is Egyptian. Arabic is her mother tongue.
“You have your religion, and I have mine” is a literal translation of a verse from the Quran, the Muslim holy book that dictates tolerance to people different from oneself. The verse is from a Sura (chapter) called “Al Kaferoon” (The Infidels), and it stresses tolerance not just of people of other religions but of any persons, even if they are infidels or have no religion. Another translation that captures the spirit of the verse is provided on IslamiCity.com: “To you be your way, and to me mine” (The Holy Quran, 109:6).
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Rasha A. Abdulla is an Assistant Professor in the Journalism and Mass Communication Department of the American University in Cairo. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Miami (2003). Her research interests include the uses and effects of mass media, particularly new media and the Internet.
Address: Journalism & Mass Communication Department, The American University in Cairo, 113 Kasr Al Aini Street, P.O. Box 2511, Cairo 11511, Egypt
- CAIR Participated In A “Criminal Conspiracy” Led By Hamas: State Of Tennessee New Bill ~ Makes It A Felony To Knowingly help Terrorist Organization With Money, Advice Or Any Other Aid. (politicalvelcraft.org)
- Muslims complain about cartoon in NY Post Newspaper (paulmarcelrene.wordpress.com)
- Obama Disarms FBI Counter Terror Training Programs, Purges Truth about Jihad (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- No jihad threat in the U.S.? Really? (wdednh.wordpress.com)
- FBI submits, removes 1,000+ documents on Islam; Islamists suggest overseeing future training (pauls2k.wordpress.com)
- Is Obama is Leading USA to Radical Islamic Interests? (oneway2day.wordpress.com)
- Canadian teens being exposed to Islamic extremism in high schools (creepingsharia.wordpress.com)
The Treaty of Tripoli (Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary) was the first treaty concluded between the United States of America and Tripolitania, signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796 and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797. It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797.
The treaty was a routine diplomatic agreement but has attracted later attention because the English version included a clause about religion in America.
- As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
The treaty is cited as historical evidence in the modern day controversy over whether there was religious intent by the founders of the United States government. Article 11 of the treaty has been interpreted as an official denial of a Christian basis for the U.S. government.
The treaty in no way shape or form implies or otherwise is the definitive determination of the US as anything except a Christian nation.
The new and Navyless country was at the mercy of the muslim terrorist states that began piracy and enslavement of Americans after the French stopped being our protectors after we won the War of Independence.
In effect, we were practicing as a dhimmi country, paying the “tax” of appeasement as outlined in islam to get the terrorists to leave us alone (at least until we could get a Navy up and running and establish our superiority and end their terrorism toward the US. – reference the US Marines and the Marine Theme Song).
The reason this inaccurate section was inserted in the treaty was because the terrorist muslim countries rightly refused to sign as islam says specifically says not to engage in treaties with unbelievers unless it is as a deception to get an advantage before then breaking the treaty.
In other words, we lied to the terrorists just as they were lying to us, until we could overpower them.
Forward 200+ years and we are still fighting the terrorists.
(PS. The treaty, by government fiat, was in place more than a half a year BEFORE a copy even reached the US and “official” ratification could be voted upon. Due to this, it was NOT possible to make changes, send back, etc. – thus it was official before it was presented for a democratic vote. It was already defacto law.)
On Faith Under Fire, historian David Barton and secularist Annie Lauri Gaylor debated the question of whether America is a Christian nation.
Barton lays out what we mean when we speak of America as a “Christian nation.” We aren’t talking about a theocracy; the founders deliberately prohibited a theocracy with the First Amendment. America is not, never has been and no one wants it to be a church-run state or have a state-run church.
Rather, America is a nation founded by Christians on Christian principles. As is so descriptively outlined by French historian Alexis de Tocqueville in “Democracy in America,” “Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must nevertheless be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of free institutions.“
In other words, Christianity is the underlying and overriding philosophy that guided the founders when they set up our nation.
Barton also debunks the claims of secularists that America is not a Christian nation because we have a “Godless constitution.” The Constitution is not a religious document, but it was crafted under the influence of the Christian thinking of the founders–even to the point that it deliberately excludes Sundays (the weekly Christian day of worship) from the number of days a president has to consider signing new legislation. The Constitution also points out that it was signed not just in 1787, but “in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.”
Gaylor tried to make the claim that because the Constitution does not specify “so help me God” in the president’s oath of office, this is somehow evidence that America is not a Christian nation. She made the misleading claim that “that was added later,” as if this statement was added to the oath many, many years later when in fact our first president established the tradition at his first inauguration. And then kissed the Bible upon which he made his oath.
She also tried the tried-and-false favorite of secularists by citing the Treaty of Tripoli. As secular revisionists usually do, she cited part of the treaty without providing the text around that language which provides the context:
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion…
But an examination of the full text of Article 11 of the treaty
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Why did the writers of the treaty say the United States of America is not founded on the Christian religion (when signer of the Declaration of Independence John Adams says himself that “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity”)? Because, as is evident from our prohibition of theocracy, America, unlike many of the European nations that had either state-run churches or church-run states, had no theological quarrel with Muslim nations–which were virtually all theocratic. As the last sentence in Article 11 of the treaty states, since America is not a theocracy, we cannot have a state-to-state theological disagreement with these Muslim nations on the basis of religious opinions.
Interestingly, Barton also mentioned a treaty with the Indians made by Thomas Jefferson (misunderstoodpatron saint of atheists and secularists everywhere) in which Jefferson agreed to provide money for Christian churches and clergy for the Indians. Odd behavior for someone who supposedly believed the Christian faith of our nation should be divorced from our government.
That’s because, even though Jefferson was one of the least religious of the founders, he did not believe that at all. Jefferson attended church in the U.S. Capitol building and commissioned the Marine Corps band to play worship music for the services. Indeed, one need only look around the Capitol Building and across our nation’s capital to find a plethora of evidence of our nation’s Christian heritage.
Was America founded by Christians on Christian principles? Undeniably (unless you a rabid secularist who is uninterested in the truth, as experience has taught me some people are).
Is America still a Christian nation? We definitely don’t honor God as we used to, nor do we as a nation try to continue basing our laws on objective Christian truth.
But as Barton points out, more than 80% of Americans still identify with Christianity. We have been fed the secularist lie for more than half a century, with pop culture and academia selling us a revised version of history, telling us that Christian belief don’t belong in the “real world,” and media feeding us a steady diet of moral rot…and still more than 80% of Americans call themselves Christians. How frustrating that must be for those who despise our Christian foundations!
With her desperate clinging to “Well, the Constitution doesn’t explicitly mention God,” Gaylor reminds me of an obstinate child, stamping her foot and trying to avoid the discipline of her parents on the basis of “Well, when you told me not to go outside, you didn’t tell me not to go outside between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00.”
Secularists don’t have to like the fact that America was founded on Christian principles. They don’t even have to like the fact that after more than 50 years of propaganda, lies, deception and enticement from all the short-term temptations that the Godless life offers, most Americans still identify with Christianity. It’s their right as an American, if they insist, to not like any of this.
But they don’t have the right to rewrite history. And if most Americans are smart enough to rememberGeorge Washington‘s admonition to us that “Religion and Morality are indispensable supports” of our nation’s political prosperity, we will not allow them to rewrite our future and doom this nation along with our unique liberties, either.
Unbelievable! Superman turns Traitor to America! I’m so mad at the writers and DC Comics that I could just explode! What next? Superman converts to satanic Islam and starts enforcing Sharia Law world wide? New Motto: Taqiyya, Oppression, and the pedophile women hating free speech hating oppressive Mohammad way! He flies to the farther outpost to chop of the head of an infidel (Christian or Jewish). Issue #901: He is best man at wedding of a Muslim male and his 6 year old bride. He saves a man falsely imprisoned for the honor killing of his daughter who dated a Christian man. He stops all Israeli missles fired to intercept Hamas attacks on civilians. He demolishes the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Israel as an insult to Islam, then takes down the Wailing Wall to build a stone pathway to the Dome of the Rock.
Superman Renounces US Citizenship in ACTION COMICS #900
Superman has renounced his US citizenship, and for a character long-known for “truth, justice, and the American way,” that’s big news.
Though DC’s promotion of this week’s 96-page Action Comics #900 centered around the main story — the conclusion of the year-long “Black Ring” saga starring Lex Luthor — it was a back-up written by David S. Goyer and illustrated by Miguel Sepulveda that’s making headlines.
In the story, Superman is scolded by a member of the president’s security staff for appearing at a protest in Iran, with the notion that Superman’s actions reflect the positions of US government as a whole. As a result, Superman chooses to renounce his US citizenship, rather than have his deeds be construed as a statement of any one entity’s policies.
Unsurprisingly, the story has been picked up by several national news outlets since the issue’s release on Wednesday. The New York Post called it a “shocking pronouncement,” and quoted DC Entertainment co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee as stating, “In a short story in Action Comics #900, Superman announces his intention to put a global focus on his never ending battle, but he remains, as always, committed to his adopted home and his roots as a Kansas farm boy from Smallville.”
In a Fox News article on Superman’s proclamation, “GOP activist” Angie Meyer is quoted saying, “Besides being riddled with a blatant lack of patriotism, and respect for our country, Superman’s current creators are belittling the United States as a whole. By denouncing his citizenship, Superman becomes an eerie metaphor for the current economic and power status the country holds worldwide.” In contrast, the same piece quotes Wired’s Scott Thill, saying, “Superman has always been bigger than the United States. In an age rife with immigration paranoia, it’s refreshing to see an alien refugee tell the United States that it’s as important to him as any other country on Earth — which, in turn, is as important to Superman as any other planet in the multiverse.”
It’s unclear at this time whether or not the move will be followed up on in the pages of Action Comics or elsewhere. Goyer, the screenwriter of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, is not currently regularly working on any comic books for DC.
BOYCOTT DC COMICS GROUP ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-DC-Comics-for-Superman-Traitor-Issue
Lying (Taqiyya and Kitman)
Question: Are Muslims permitted to lie?
Muslim scholars teach that Muslims should generally be truthful to each other, unless the purpose of lying is to “smooth over differences.”
There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman. These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause Islam – in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them.
Qur’an (16:106) – Establishes that there are circumstances that can “compel” a Muslim to tell a lie.
Qur’an (3:28) – This verse tells Muslims not to take those outside the faith as friends, unless it is to “guard themselves.”
Qur’an (9:3) – “…Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters…” The dissolution of oaths with the pagans who remained at Mecca following its capture. They did nothing wrong, but were evicted anyway.
Qur’an (40:28) – A man is introduced as a believer, but one who must “hide his faith” among those who are not believers.
Qur’an (2:225) – “Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts” The context of this remark is marriage, which explains why Sharia allows spouses to lie to each other for the greater good.
Qur’an (66:2) – “Allah has already ordained for you, (O men), the dissolution of your oaths”
Qur’an (3:54) – “And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers.” The Arabic word used here for scheme (or plot) is makara, which literally means deceit. If Allah is deceitful toward unbelievers, then there is little basis for denying that Muslims are allowed to do the same. (See also 8:30 and 10:21)
Taken collectively these verses are interpreted to mean that there are circumstances when a Muslim may be “compelled” to deceive others for a greater purpose.
From the Hadith:
Bukhari (52:269) – “The Prophet said, ‘War is deceit.’” The context of this is thought to be the murder of Usayr ibn Zarim and his thirty unarmed men by Muhammad’s men after he “guaranteed” them safe passage (see Additional Notes below).
Bukhari (49:857) – “He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar.” Lying is permitted when the end justifies the means.
Bukhari (84:64-65) – Speaking from a position of power at the time, Ali confirms that lying is permissible in order to deceive an “enemy.”
Muslim (32:6303) – “…he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them).”
Bukhari (50:369) – Recounts the murder of a poet, Ka’b bin al-Ashraf, at Muhammad’s insistence. The men who volunteered for the assassination used dishonesty to gain Ka’b's trust, pretending that they had turned against Muhammad. This drew the victim out of his fortress, whereupon he was brutally slaughtered despite putting up a ferocious struggle for his life.
From Islamic Law:
Reliance of the Traveler (p. 746 – 8.2) – “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory… it is religiously precautionary in all cases to employ words that give a misleading impression…
“One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie.
Muslims are allowed to lie to unbelievers in order to defeat them. The two forms are:
Taqiyya – Saying something that isn’t true.
Kitman – Lying by omission. An example would be when Muslim apologists quote only a fragment of verse 5:32 (that if anyone kills “it shall be as if he had killed all mankind”) while neglecting to mention that the rest of the verse (and the next) mandate murder in undefined cases of “corruption” and “mischief.”
Though not called Taqiyya by name, Muhammad clearly used deception when he signed a 10-year treaty with the Meccans that allowed him access to their city while he secretly prepared his own forces for a takeover. The unsuspecting residents were conquered in easy fashion after he broke the treaty two years later, and some of the people in the city who had trusted him at his word were executed.
Another example of lying is when Muhammad used deception to trick his personal enemies into letting down their guard and exposing themselves to slaughter by pretending to seek peace. This happened in the case of Ka’b bin al-Ashraf (as previously noted) and again later against Usayr ibn Zarim, a surviving leader of the Banu Nadir tribe, which had been evicted from their home in Medina by the Muslims.
At the time, Usayr ibn Zarim was attempting to gather an armed force against the Muslims from among a tribe allied with the Quraish (against which Muhammad had already declared war). Muhammad’s “emissaries” went to ibn Zarim and persuaded him to leave his safe haven on the pretext of meeting with the prophet of Islam in Medina to discuss peace. Once vulnerable, the leader and his thirty companions were massacred by the Muslims with ease, belying the probability that they were mostly unarmed, having been given a guarantee of safe passage (Ibn Ishaq 981).
Such was the reputation of Muslims for lying and then killing that even those who “accepted Islam” did not feel entirely safe. The fate of the Jadhima is tragic evidence for this. When Muslim “missionaries” approached their tribe one of the members insisted that they would be slaughtered even though they had already “converted” to Islam to avoid just such a demise. However, the others were convinced that they could trust the Muslim leader’s promise that they would not be harmed if they simply offered no resistance. (After convincing the skeptic to lay down his arms, the unarmed men of the tribe were quickly tied up and beheaded – Ibn Ishaq 834 & 837).
Today’s Muslims often try to justify Muhammad’s murder of poets and others who criticized him at Medina by saying that they broke a treaty by their actions. Yet, these same apologists place little value on treaties broken by Muslims. From Muhammad to Saddam Hussein, promises made to non-Muslim are distinctly non-binding in the Muslim mindset.
Leaders in the Arab world routinely say one thing to English-speaking audiences and then something entirely different to their own people in Arabic. Yassir Arafat was famous for telling Western newspapers about his desire for peace with Israel, then turning right around and whipping Palestinians into a hateful and violent frenzy against Jews.
The 9/11 hijackers practiced deception by going into bars and drinking alcohol, thus throwing off potential suspicion that they were fundamentalists plotting jihad. This effort worked so well, in fact, that even weeks after 9/11, John Walsh, the host of a popular American television show, said that their bar trips were evidence of ‘hypocrisy.’
The transmission from Flight 93 records the hijackers telling their doomed passengers that there is “a bomb on board” but that everyone will “be safe” as long as “their demands are met.” Obviously none of these things were true, but these men, who were so intensely devoted to Islam that they were willing to “slay and be slain for the cause of Allah” (as the Qur’an puts it) saw nothing wrong with employing Taqiyya in order to facilitate their mission of mass murder.
The near absence of Qur’anic verse and reliable Hadith that encourage truthfulness is somewhat surprising, given that many Muslims are convinced that their religion teaches honesty. In fact, it is because of this ingrained belief that many Muslims are quite honest. When lying is addressed in the Qur’an, it is nearly always in reference to the “lies against Allah” – referring to the Jews and Christians who rejected Muhammad’s claim to being a prophet.
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