Hijacking Tolerance: Radical Islam’s War with Christianity
All over the Muslim world, conversion to Christianity can mean more than prison. It can be a death sentence.
In countries where Islam reigns, Christians struggle just to stay alive. But Muslims in the United States and other western countries are protected and free to proselytize. And Islam is thriving here in America, aggressively taking advantage of western religious tolerance.
Post-Saddam Iraq recently provided a vivid example of the worldwide double standard that Islam enjoys. It seems some people would rather let Iraqis suffer than see Christianity offering hope in the midst of a Muslim population. Iraq is in desperate need of necessities like water, food, and medical attention, and Christian charities have offered to help with lifesaving aid. But instead of being applauded, the effort has been attacked as a cover for Christian evangelization.
It seems liberals and Muslims would rather let Iraqis suffer than see Christianity offering hope in the midst of a Muslim population. Iraq is in desperate need of necessities like water, food, and medical attention, and Christian charities have offered to help with lifesaving aid. But instead of being applauded, the effort has been attacked as a cover for Christian evangelization.
Headlines have ranged from concern, like The Los Angeles Times headline, "Bundling of Aid, Christianity Stirs Concerns," to alarm, like The Times of London’s headline, "Alarm at American Crusade," to outright opposition, like The Washington Post title, "Evangelize Elsewhere."
It is as if Christian groups might share a dangerous virus in Iraq, and not a message of peace and tolerance. There is little tolerance in the Muslim world when it comes to Christianity. Millions of Christians have now died from persecution and war in the Muslim world.
Although Saudi Arabia is the geographical heart of Islam, less than one fifth of the world's Muslims are Arabs. Most Muslims live east of Pakistan. And Islam continues explosive growth in Africa. By one estimate, the number of Muslims in Africa grew from 34 million in 1900 to 300 million in 2000 [Source: The History of Islam in Africa].
Christianity in Africa is actually growing faster, but has not caught up. In 1900, there were 10 million Christians there, and by 2000 there were 250 million [Source: The History of Islam in Africa].
Islam dominates above the 10th parallel, on a line that splits many nations in half. The northern portions of countries like Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, and Somalia are Muslim. Southern parts of these countries are Christian or other religions.
Islam’s growth is fueled in part by Saudi oil money, and by Moammar Ghaddafy's pan-Arab aspirations.
In most of Africa, where Islam and Christianity meet, people die. And in Nigeria, Africa's largest country, the rise of Islam in the north has plunged parts of the nation into a religious civil war. Twelve Nigerian states now have Islamic fundamentalist sharia law, in violation of the constitution.
Islamist activist Abdul-Karim Abdullah said, "I am a Muslim. Sharia is the law every Muslim is guided on. It is a rule, a regulation, a binding, every Muslim, wherever he is."
To the renowned human rights expert Paul Marshall, the killings in Nigeria and the killings in New York on 9/11 happened for the same reason. "We don't really think people do things for religious reasons. These people do. They die for religious reasons. They kill for religious reasons. And unless we understand their religion, we will not understand them at all," Marshall said.
Marshall says it's not about America's support for Israel, or about alienation or poverty. It's about getting rid of the biggest obstacle to an Islamic planet: the United States.
"The expression ‘Al Qaeda’ means, ‘The base,’ ‘The organization.’ But it does have an official name, and its name is ‘The World Islamic Front for Holy War Against Christians and Jews,’" Marshall said. "Osama Bin Laden, in many interviews, said there are two parties to this conflict. The first is world Christianity and its allies, the Jews, aided by America, Europe and Israel. The second party is the Islamic world. That's how they see this."
Many American Muslim leaders have publicly condemned violence against Christians and Jews. Most American Muslims are peace-loving. But in Islam’s holy city of Mecca, in Arabic-language sermons, important Wahhabi preachers continue to call for the murder of Christians and Jews. And Saudi money has made its violent Wahhabi sect the dominant form of Islam in the world, and here, in America.
Christianity may not be welcome in most Islamic states, but Islam has been welcomed here, and it has used America's tradition of religious tolerance to full advantage.
A study by the Council on American Islamic Relations says hundreds of new mosques have been built in the United States in the last 20 years. Estimates on the number of American Muslims vary widely, from three to eight million. Stephen Schwartz, author of The Two Faces of Islam, says we should not be alarmed by the growth of Islam in the United States, but by who controls it.
"I would say billions of dollars have been spent in the United States to advance Wahhabism," Schwartz said. "The Wahhabi sect, backed by Saudi Arabia, controls 70 to 80 percent of the mosques in the United States. That means they control the teaching, the preaching, the literature that's distributed, and they control the training of the Imams. They control all the Imams in the federal and state prisons, and they control the imams in the U.S. military. That is, they instruct, they indoctrinate and they certify the chaplains in the federal and state prison systems and in the military."
Schwartz says he was not surprised to learn that Sergeant Asan Akbar, the U.S. solider alleged to have killed his commanding officer in Kuwait, had a long trail of Wahhabi association. "That he came from a Wahhabi mosque in Los Angeles, that he belonged to a Wahhabi mosque at the University of California-Davis, that he had belonged to a Wahabbi-controlled branch of the Muslim students association," Schwartz said.
New York Senator Charles Schumer's office is investigating how Muslim chaplains are recruited into the U.S military, and has also demanded that the Federal Bureau of Prisons investigate its own chaplain-recruiting methods.
A lawsuit is pending in New York state alleging that all of that state's more than 40 Muslim prison chaplains are Wahhabi. Schwartz says there need to be congressional hearings into Saudi Wahhabi control of Islam in America.
"We've never previously had the experience of a major attempt by a foreign government to control a religion in the United States," Schwartz said. "Just as the Communist Party recruited spies and traitors, the Wahhabi imams recruit terrorists… Jose Padilla was recruited in prison. Jose Padilla came back to the United States looking for the recipe for a dirty bomb. This is a reality."
The Wahhabis are also continuing to build academies that are alleged to have used anti-Christian and anti-Semitic curricula, while Saudi Arabia does not even allow Christian worship in homes.
Marshall says the United States should tell the Saudis: if you want to keep spreading Islam in the United States, stop banning churches and torturing Christians in Saudi Arabia. "I think it would be perfectly legitimate to say, ‘As long as you do that, we're not going to allow you to expand your facilities in our country,’" Marshall said.
The Council on American Islamic Relations, which bills itself as "America's largest Islamic civil liberties group," did not respond to our request for an interview. The Islamic Society of North America, perhaps the leading Wahhabi organization in the country, said it opposes the way Christians are persecuted in many Muslim nations, and called for Christians and Muslims to work together. That might be possible in America, but seems unlikely in those nations where Wahhabi Islam rules.
American Muslim leaders have said they are not under the control of Saudi Arabia because they don't take money from the Saudi government, but only from private Saudi citizens. However, one spokesman admitted to the Associated Press that the "money does not come free. It always comes with strings attached."
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