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The Jihad....... Interesting - - - this appears to sum up what we are faced with

Allah or Jesus?  By: Rick Mathes

Last month I attended my annual training session that's required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who explained each of their belief systems.

I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video.

After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers. When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Imam and asked:

"Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad* [Holy war] against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in heaven. If that's the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?"

There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, "Non-believers!"

I responded, "So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can go to Heaven. Is that correct?"

The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He sheepishly replied, "Yes."

I then stated, "Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr. Stanley ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go to Heaven.

The Imam was speechless.

I continued, "I also have problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me. Let me ask you a question. Would you rather have your Allah who tells you to kill me in order to go to Heaven or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to Heaven and He wants you to be with me?"

You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame. Needless to say, the organizers and/or promoters of the 'Diversification' training seminar were not happy with Rick's way of dealing with the Islamic Imam and exposing the truth about the Muslim's beliefs. (*see Dave's remark at foot of page)

This is a true story and the author, Rick Mathes, is a well known leader in prison ministry in the USA

Comment by a Queensland humanist

As a Humanist, I don't agree with Rick Mathes’s religious beliefs, but I agree with the issues he raises about Islam. I've been expressing similar comments since my first encounter with the dark side of that religion over 30 years ago. I had a few groups of Indonesian students back in the early seventies, some of whom were very dogmatic.

Most Christian clerics at least preach love, forgiveness and salvation, even if they don't always practise what they preach. Of course the Old Testament still contains verses urging the faithful to kill non-believers etc, but most Christian clergymen categorically reject violence as a tenet of their faith. Islam, on the other hand, preaches total submission to the will of Allah, jihad and death to infidels. What's more, their clergy actively support the doctrine of violent jihad, and continue to preach this evil dogma in their mosques. Christians are urged to turn the other cheek, while Muslims believe in an eye for an eye. For them, to die a martyr is a great honour. As one young militant jihadist put it, "you love life, but we love death"! What a sick philosophy!

On the other side, the Christian Crusaders were also a bunch of murderous thugs; on one of their holy missions, they managed to slaughter thousands of innocent people for heresy before they even left Europe for the Holy Land. As we've said before, religion is the greatest divisive force ever invented by man, the cause of many wars throughout history, and the deaths of millions. In many respects, we've come a long way since the 'dark ages', but the forces of irrationality are still hard at work, on both sides of the religious divide.

With its integral bond between faith and state, Islam is the antithesis of modern liberal democratic philosophy. Its Sharia law prescribes rigid codes of behaviour and dress, particularly for women, and severe punishments for infringements. Many Muslim countries are Islamic republics (totalitarian theocracies), run by the Mullahs, Imams and Ayatollahs. At least people wouldn't have to worry about politicians keeping their promises after elections - there wouldn't be any. Although countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan have managed to remain token democracies, they have only done so with a considerable military presence in government. And there is continual agitation from the clerics to establish an Islamic republic, complete with Sharia law. As usual, of course, it's all about power.

Even though we Humanists don't believe in any supernatural beings, we do believe in freedom of religion (provided it is not harming others), because we believe in mutual respect, and none of us can know everything; but we also believe in freedom from religion. Islam does not permit that freedom, and many more which we have fought for over the centuries, but demands absolute submission to the will of Allah, and attempts to dominate and subjugate other beliefs, and particularly non-believers.

How anyone can argue that we in the West should accomodate a religion like Islam, when Islam will not accomodate the West, is beyond my comprehension. Unfortunately, many politicians are shackled by religion themselves, and seem to be quite unable to combat this militant faith. They have already started down the path of cultural and religious suicide.

Why can't the PM (and other political leaders) come right out and demand that all religious leaders, particularly Muslim clerics, openly and publicly reject any commitment to violent religious tenets, of any kind? If they don't, then their silence would condemn them, and their organisations should be proscribed forthwith.

Also, I cannot understand the mentality of politicians who would enact legislation to protect religion against criticism, as has happened with the recent anti-discrimination legislation. Why should religion, which after all is a matter of faith (belief without proof), be treated as a sacred cow, and other more rational beliefs treated with scorn and contempt? Are we not allowed to think for ourselves anymore, or speak out against what we perceive as wrong? Is a person's religion not their own personal belief, or are we condemned to simply perpetuate the beliefs of our forebears, whatever they might be? Because mostly, that's what happens. Beliefs which were written down by scientifically illiterate people at the dawn of human history have perpetuated throughout the ages, largely because they were handed down from parents to their children. It's high time that all religions, particularly Islam, were subjected to rational scrutiny and free and open debate.

Remark by Dave Robinson on Mathes's final question to the Imam

*This question proves that Mathes’s Humanism takes precedence over his Christianity, and that he is imploring the Imam to form an opinion on the same terms - to make a judgement of conscience independently of the commands of any deity. For how else can you compare two religious doctrines, except by reference to Human values? Obviously the judgement is not internal to either religion.

It also suggests that Humanist values are absolute, or at least, better than religious values. In another age (and indeed for some people in the present age) the Jihad option might have seemed the morally correct one. But we do know better now, don’t we – I mean really better, not just relatively better?

The fact is, the merits of religious dogmas are largely judged in terms of Human values, even by religious people. So if Human values are superior, why should anyone be guided by archaic religious dogma?

In fairness to most Muslims, I don't think Rick Mathes's anecdote is well informed.
For rebuffs, see the Ask about Islam site

*However, also note that recently there have been attempts by Western muslims to water down the meanings of words like "jihad", to give them an air of respectability. While any kind of dilution of religious dogma is most welcome, I doubt whether changing or limiting the original meanings of words is the way to go. It can only add yet more confusion to the already tortuous vocabulary of Islam.