Introduction and Perspective
Ever since the advent of 9/11 and the subsequent backlash against Arabs and Muslims alike, the writing of this essay for me has been both a spiritual journey and a pilgrimage for justice and sanity. It has been a personal appeal for us to bring out the essence of good in all our humanity. It has been a voice in the wilderness declaring that we are all of God’s children and that no one speaks for God but God himself. He is the redeemer, protector, all-powerful, the light and the way.
I dedicate this essay to those who have fallen victim to the terrible plight of terrorism both in this country and around the world. My heart goes out to you. I know that I can’t begin to feel your pain, anguish, and suffering. I pray to almighty god that he will heal you spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally.
To the men & women in uniforms in New York City, Washington, DC, Fairfax County, Virginia, Somerset, Pennsylvania, and our Armed Forces, I salute you because you are indeed my heroes. On that faithful day on September 11, you were there for us in all that misery and devastation.
To my fellow American Muslim brothers and sisters who have endured this terrible wave of backlash, I stand with you side by side.
To the likes of Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden, you are the sons of Satan. You will not win because people of good conscience from various races, creeds, cultures, and religions will stand up as a United Front to your evil oppression.
I also would like to thank Neria Harish Hebbar, MD and the brothers and sisters of Indian Nest.com: A Study In Diversity http://www.indianest.com/index.htm for allowing me the opportunity to reprint his poem entitled “Lest Bigotry Consume Us All. In addition, I would also like to thank the brothers and sisters of ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) and their project Website called WhyIslam.org http://www.whyislam.org for sending me both a copy of the Holy Qur’an and a Concordance. Without which I would have never really grasped the full meaning of Islam and its message of peace, tolerance, and understanding.
Blessed In The Name Of God Almighty,
Richard L. Dixon
In The Name Of The Most Merciful God:
Dear Misguided Brethren Of The Gospel Of Christ:
I have read with dismay and have been appalled by the insensitive and intolerant remarks that you have made against the religion of Islam and my fellow American Muslim brothers and sisters. Your rhetoric has a racist and warlike tone to them. During a time that we as Americans should be united against the Lunatic fringe Islamist terrorist like Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, you seek to drive a wedge of fear between us by condemning a whole group of innocent individuals. Just in case you might have forgotten your insensitive remarks towards Muslims, let me refresh your memories. In a November 20, 2001 dedication of a chapel in North Carolina Evangelist Frank Graham said the following about Islam:
“as a very evil and wicked religion”. the God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the Son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion. I don’t believe this is a wonderful, peaceful religion. when you read the Koran and read the verses from the Koran, it instructs the killing of the infidel, for those who are non-Muslim.” 
Then one week later on November 28, 2001 Reverend James Meredith of the Southern Baptist Convention “urged his 16 million members to fast and pray for Muslims so God will miraculously reveal himself through Jesus Christ to Muslims on December 16, the last day of Ramadan, Islam’s holy month. Just as they can pray and fast, we want to pray and fast that they will find the true way to heaven, and this is through Jesus Christ said Merritt.”  And in his self-righteous ignorance, Reverend Merritt showed a total disregard for tolerance between between peoples of differing faiths and religion traditions in this country by stating: “There is the idea that we all worship the same God at these interfaith meetings and we do not. If Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, the only true religion therefore must by Christianity. Every other religion gives a false hope of having a relationship with God. That’s not what I say, that’s what Jesus says.” 
It wasn’t long thereafter that Reverend Maury Davis; Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Nashville, TN jumped on the religious intolerance bandwagon as well in his attacking remarks about Islam as well:
“I want to go on record as telling you that I believe the greatest threat to the American way of life, to the Constitution of the United States of America and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is the religion of Islam as it stands today (Davis admitted that he has never read the Koran but relied on others who have written about the religion.” 
Not to be outdone in the insensitivity departments towards Arab and Muslim Immigrants and citizens in general, Dr. Pat Robertson of CBN’S 700 Club characterized them as “a veritable infestation of America with violent subversive Muslims. our immigration policies are now so skewed towards the Middle East and away from Europe that we have introduced these people into our midst and undoubtedly there are terrorist cells all over them. They want o coexist until they can control, dominate, and then if need be destroy.”  and in a repeat performance by the Southern Baptist Convention, Reverend Jerry Vine said of Islam: “Islam was founded by Mohammed, a demon possessed pedophile who had 12 wives and his last one was a nine-year old girl.” in a recent June 12, 2002 airing of the CNN news show called “Crossfire”, Dr. Jerry Falwell of Liberty University also stood behind the savage attack and misinformation of Islam by Reverend Vines:
“I’ll tell you what he did I’ll tell you what he did, I’ll let you decide if he’s a pedophile. Among his many wive’, and no Muslim scholar denies this, he had a wife who was given to him-betrothed to him at age six by his best friend, Java Bacar (ph), and he at age nine, when she was nine consummated the marriage. Now in a civilized society when a 54 year old man consummates a marriage with a nine-year old girl, I think it is reasonable to believe that to say that pedophilia is not taking it beyond the limits of reality.” 
Gentlemen, since the tragic attacks on our country on 9/11 we are indeed living in perilous times. There are increasing incidents of racial attacks against Muslims, Arabs, Jews or anybody else from a Middle Eastern or Asian background (shortly after 9/11, there were 520 documents violent incidents of terror against Arab and Muslim Americans). Your careless remarks towards Islam and Muslims in General are cruel, crude, and help to fan the flames of hate that are now threatening to engulf our country. However, what is really disturbing is that you have so little regard for religious tolerance, which has been an integral part of our country’s history. I truly believe that you are setting the stage for a clash of civilization between Christianity and Islam. Hussein Ibish of The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee validated this point brilliantly in his debate against Jerry Falwell in the same Crossfire episode on June 12, 2002:
“They are doing it because I think in many cases these are fundamentalists dispensationalists who yearn for Armageddon. They like Bin Laden. They have the same agenda. They want to promote a generalized conflict between the Islamic world and the West. They are trying to stoke the fires of hatred and fear. They want to provoke a conflict. That’s why they’re being so insulting, so outrageous and so provocative. It is in fact, the analogue of the kind of hateful rhetoric that you see also in the Middle East, and all of it is wrong and bad.” 
It is important to point out that the Christian Fundamentalist Movement in this country is nothing more than the soft underbelly of the hardened Christian Identity movement which wishes to ignite total irreligious warfare between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in order to usher in Armageddon on its own terms. The FBI in its report on domestic terrorist cults and right-wing religious groups entitled Project Megiddo: pointed out the danger that they posed to Middle East Peace:
There is general concern among Israeli officials that Jewish and Islamic extremists may react violently to the influx of Christians, particularly near the Temple Mount. The primary concern is that extreme millennial cults will engage in proactive violence designed to hasten the Second Coming of Christ. Perhaps the most likely scenario involves an attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Some millennial cults hold that these structures must be destroyed so that the Jewish Temple can be rebuilt, which they see as a prerequisite for the return of the Messiah. Additionally, several religious cults have already made inroads into Israel, apparently in preparation for what they believe to be the endtimes.
It is beyond the scope of this document to assess the potential repercussions from an attack on Jewish or Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. It goes without saying, however, that an attack on the Dome of the Rock or the Al-Aqsa Mosque would have serious implications. In segments of the Islamic world, close political and cultural ties between Israel and the United States are often perceived as symbolic of anti-Islamic policies by the Western World. Attacks on Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, particularly by Christian or Jewish extremists, are likely to be perceived by Islamic extremists as attacks on Islam itself. Finally, the possibility exists that Islamic extremist groups will capitalize upon the huge influx of foreigners into Jerusalem and engage in a symbolic attack. 
In essence, what makes Christian fundamentalists like you so dangerous, is that you espouse the ill-fated policy of irregular religious warfare that so characterized the disastrous Crusades into the Holy Land and the thirty years war in Europe. It was conflicts such as these that caused massive amounts of destruction and human life and pushed humanity into a brief period of darkness. The brilliant economist and presidential candidate Lyndon Larouche has also been warning about the intentions of fundamentalists such as you for quite a long time:
“As a matter of fact, you have some of the worst anti-Semites in the United States, are the so-called pro-Armageddon Christian Fundamentalists. They’re anti-emitic. Anyone who comes from the southern part of the United States knows that. These guys were, these are the real anti-Semites in the United States. These are the real Nazis. They think like fascists, anyway. You think these guys like Jews? No! They don’t care about Jews. They don’t care about that. What they care about is their policy. They’re saying, look, if you can get the Rapture next week, I don’t have to pay my rent next month! I mean its that bad. So this, we have created a society of madmen in these so-called thunder cults, these thunder religious cults inside the United States. They’re crazy. Psychotic, in effect. Not in the real world. They have begun a significant political force behind people like Pat Robertson in Virginia, for example. They’re dangerous. This is the constituency of hate, the Ku Klux Klan constituency. They have to have somebody to hate, somebody to kill. And they say, Them A-rabs look like black people to me, they do, don’t they?” 
One would ask what would be the consequences if we as a society allowed you and your cohorts to push Western Civilization and the East into the throngs of an all out war? Presidential Candidate LaRouche once again gave an excellent depiction if such a war were to take place:
“If these things are allowed to continue this kind of war which they’ve got young Bush tied into right now, then I assure you, given the realities of the economic situation, given the military realities, given the political realities, you will not have civilized life on this planet for generations yet to come: a dark age for all of humanity.” 
In your quest to defame, degrade, demoralize, and destroy Islam, you have failed to grasp the its true nature, its noble purpose, and how it fits into the promulgation of mankind. One cannot really appreciate the beauty, wonder, and sheer simplicity of this glorious religion that God have so lovingly given Mankind through the Noble Prophet Mohammed (may peace be upon him) without knowing the history and tenets of the Islamic Faith. It is quite evident from your scandalous remarks that you have no understanding, knowledge, or concept of Islam as a religion and its place in the development and influence of world history. Let me enlighten you about the basic essentials of the Islamic Faith.
Islam means “submission to the Will of God.” In its ethical sense Islam signifies striving after the ideal.” A Muslim is one who submits to the Will of God. Islam and Muslim derive from the same world as the Arabic for peace. The traditional Muslim greeting is Peace be unto you. Islam offers hope for salvation to the righteous and God-fearing of all religions. Muslims believe in the Divine Revelations of many prophets including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, but do not believe that God assumed human form. The Quran, Muslims believe, is God’s Word and Final Revelation to The Prophet Muhammad. 
There are five Pillars to Islam that every devout Muslim must adhere to, they are:
SHAHADAH – the first of the five basic foundations, is the declaration, knowingly and voluntarily, of: La ilaha illal lahu Muhammadur rasulul lah. “There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” This declaration is the basis of all actions in Islam, and the other basic duties Follow this affirmation.
SALAH – (compulsory prayer) is offered five times a day. It is a practical demonstration of faith, and keeps a believer in touch with her Creator. The benefits of Salah are far-reaching, long lasting and immeasurable. It develops in a believer the qualities of self-discipline, steadfastness and obedience to the Truth, leading her to be patient, honest, and truthful in the affairs of her life.
ZAKAH – (welfare contribution) is a compulsory payment from a Muslim’s annual savings. It can only be spent on helping the poor, the needy, and the oppressed, and for the general upliftment of society. Zakah is one of the fundamental principles of Islamic economy, which insures an equitable society where everyone Has a right to contribute and share.
SAWM – is the annual obligatory fasting during the month of Ramadan – the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. A Muslim every day of this month, refrains from eating, drinking, smoking, and sex, from dawn to sunset. Sawm develops a be-liever’s moral and spiritual standard and keeps him away from selfishness, greed, extravagance and other vices. Sawm is an annual training program that increases a Muslim’s determination to fulfill his obligation to the Almighty Lord.
HAJJ – (pilgrimage to the House of Allah) is an annual event, obligatory on those Muslims who can afford to undertake it, at least once in their life time. It is a journey to the “House of Allah” (Al-Ka’bah) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. Hajj symbolizes the unity of humankind; Muslims from every race and nationality assemble together in equality and fraternity to wor-ship their Lord. 
There are approximately 1.2 billion men, women, and child who adhere to the Islamic faith. They come from every continent on the Globe and within the United States alone there are six to seven million individuals who call themselves Muslims.
In your pursuit to light a torch of hatred and misunderstanding between west and east, you have failed to grasp the similaries of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. That being, we are all descendants of the great prophet Abraham and that God has made each and every one of us in his own image regardless of race, creed, or color.
The fundamental question which has to be asked-and it’s not asked often enough, and sometimes our churches are the worst enemy of religion on this account: The foundation of Christianity, of Judaism, and Islam, is the concept of man, as created in the image of the Creator of the universe. This defines the individual as different than any animal. That each individual has, with the cognitive powers of reason, a power of creativity, which no animal has. And therefore, each human being is born good, or at least redeemable to good; and each human being is a life, which is sacred in the eyes of the Creator because we embody the quality of the Creator. 
Long before the terrible plights against humanity such as slavery, the inquisition, and the Holocaust, the religion of Islam was and still is the beacon of universal brotherhood that the world is desperately trying to seek out. Contrary to your preaching that Islam is a religion of war and violence, history has proved you wrong. Islam has always been about respect and tolerance. Since the beginning of the Crusades (starting in 1095 under the decree of Pope Urban II and Pope Innocent III thereafter) to the present 21st century, there has been a concerted effort within the ranks by some in Christendom, to wage a campaign of disinformation, economical pressure, political influence, military might, colonialism, and religious indoctrination to head off the influence of Islam throughout the world.
Despite the presence of violence in many regions of the world ranging from Ireland to Lebanon to the pacific Basin and involving many religions from Christianity to Hinduism, The Western world associates Islam more than any other religion with violence. The Muslim conquest of Spain, Crusades-which were not begun by Muslims, and the Ottoman domination of Eastern Europe has provided a historical memory of Islam as being related to force and power. Moreover, the upheavals of the past few decades in the Middle East especially movements using the name of Islam and seeking to solve problems of the Muslim world created by conditions and causes beyond the control of Muslims have only reinforced the ideal prevalent in the West that in some special way Islam is related to violence. 
Islam is also about moderation and respect for humanity. The lives of all humans are sacred. It has never espoused hatred or attacks on innocent human beings. It is against the very character of the great prophet Mohammad to preach terrorism and the harming of innocent people. Even in war, Islamic law states that the preservation of noncombatants should be preserved at all cost.
Islamic law opposes all uses of force in this sense except in the cause of war or for punishment of criminals in accordance with the Shari’a. Even in war, however, the inflicting of any injury to women and children is forbidden, as is the use of force against civilians. Only fighters in the field of battle must be confronted with force it is only against them that injurious physical force can be used. Inflicting injuries outside of this context or in the punishment of criminals according to the dictum of the Shari’a and the views of a judge is completely forbidden by Islamic law. 
The Holy Quran is very clear about the unnecessary taking of human life:
On that account: We ordained for the Children Of Israel that if anyone slew a person-unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land. It would 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. 
Throughout the ages, Islamic civilization has proven to be a haven for other religious minorities fleeing religious persecution. The Muslims rulers of those times practiced the highest forms of compassion, tolerance, and pacifism towards their subjects. Whether it was India, Spain (Andalusia), The Arabian Peninsula or Ancient Palestine. In these societies, the highest levels of culture were advanced in the arts, sciences, mathematics, medicine, and commerce. The great orientlist, lecturer, and writer Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall espoused the role and importance that religious tolerance has played in Islamic history:
There is no doubt that, in the eyes of history, religious toleration is the highest evidence of culture in a people. Let no Muslim, when looking on the ruin of the Muslim realm which as compassed through the agency of these very peoples whom the Muslims had tolerated and protected through the centuries let no Muslim seeing this, imagine that toleration is a weakness in Islam. 
Under the rule of the Great Caliph of Palestine Umar:
Muslims brought civilization to Jerusalem and all of Palestine. Instead of beliefs that showed no respect for other people’s sacred values, and which killed them simply out of differences of belief, there reigned the just, tolerant, and moderate culture of Islam. After its capture by Umar, Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived together in peace and harmony in Palestine. Muslims never tried to use force to make people convert, although some non-Muslims did so of their own free will. 
It is quite evident based on the facts that I have presented, that with the advent of Islam upon the world scene, no other religion up to that point (in its purest form) had espoused the principles of universal brotherhood, compassion, tolerance, and human rights.
“Islam gave to mankind an ideal code of human rights fourteen centuries ago. These rights aim at conferring honour and dignity on mankind and eliminating exploitation, oppression, and injustice. Human rights in Islam are firmly rooted in the belief that God, and God alone, is the lawgiver and the source of all human rights. Due to their divine origin, no ruler, government, assembly or authority can curtail or violate in any way the human rights conferred by God, nor can they be surrendered. 
The idea that comes closest to the Islamic interpretation of a code of human rights is the American form of constitutional government. Muslims in this country have had the freedom to demonstrate the true nature of Islam because of the freedoms that are not necessarily forthcoming in some repressive Muslim Countries.
It is unfortunate that human rights are being trampled upon with impunity in many countries of the world, including some Muslim countries. Such violations are a matter of serious concern and are arousing the conscience of more and more people throughout the world. 
Since the advent of colonialism, the traditional educational institutions that were used to foster a more mainstream form of Islam was destroyed so that it was easier to rule the inhabitants with an iron rule by the European Imperialists. The end results were an uneducated populace, dictatorial rulers who cared more for themselves then the people, and individuals who were allowed to make individual interpretations of Islamic Law that were inconsistent with centuries of Islamic traditions and customs. Harun Yahya in his book entitled Islam Denounces Terrorism points out the harm that was done to Traditional Islam by the meddling influence of European Colonialism:
The result has been examples of extreme religious practice devoid of any real knowledge and characterized by bigotry, intolerance, harshness, and excessiveness-all of which are in opposition to Islam as exemplified by the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, who always advocated the middle way. 
It can be safely said that the mass importation of the American idea of democracy from an Islamic standpoint to the Mass populace of these countries would stifle the negative effects of Islamism that is trying to grasp hold in the Muslim world. The Muslim populations have great respect for American values and traditions but not pop culture or rampant militarism. The values and ideas I talk about are called the “American Intellectual Tradition.” The American Intellectual Tradition derives its roots from the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It is the belief that as I had stated earlier in this paper, that we were created in the image of our creator with cognitive abilities such as the powers of reason and creativity. Mr. LaRouche elaborated further about the democratic traditions that has arisen from this most basic principle:
“Function of government must be, not to impose religion, but to recognize this as a principle of natural law: that government has no right to exist, except as insofar as it is efficiently committed to promote the general welfare of all people, and their posterity. And to honor the aspirations and achievements of those who have gone before us, who created the foundation upon which we are able to do good. That’s the function of government. That’s the meaning of the Preamble of the Constitution, which is the fundamental Constitutional law of the United States-the principle of the General Welfare-to promote and defend our sovereignty, and to promote the common good, both for our people, and in our relations among states abroad. 
Before the advent of Colonialism, there were many noble and just Muslim rulers who embodied the principle of the “American Intellectual Tradition” within the confines of the Islamic Faith in every corner of the Muslim world. Among them was Akbar The Great (1543-1605), Suleyman The Magnificent (1494-1566), and Saladin Sultan Of Egypt ((1138-11993)). During their reigns, the Islamic Faith’s commitment to justice, compassion, and tolerance was commonplace. It is important to bring light upon their accomplishments because in Euro-centric history, noble Muslim rulers are looked upon as barbaric and bloodthirsty. It was Saladin who repelled the Crusaders who were hellbent on killing every Muslim in sight. They killed 70,000 in total. In fact, the streets of Jerusalem ran red with blood. The Crusaders destroyed Mosques and killed Byzantine Christians and Jews as well. When Saladin retooked Jerusalem in 1187 from the Knights of the Latin Kingdom, he could have easily replicated the carnage that was perpetuated upon the Muslim citizenry. Instead, upon retaking Jerusalem, he allowed the people to keep their churches and synagogues. Examples of Saladin’s compassion included dispatching his own personal physician when the General of the Crusader army took ill and being moved to tears when a woman had lost a child and dispatching his own personal envoy to find the missing little one.
The legacy of Suleyman was even more famous then that of Saladin. Suleyman was called the magnificent in the Western world but known as the lawgiver in Islamic society.
In Islamic history, Suleyman is regarded as the perfect Islamic ruler in history. He is asserted as embodying all the necessary characteristics of an Islamic ruler, the most important of which is justice (‘adale ). The Qur’an itself points to King Solomon as embodying the perfect monarch because he so perfectly embodied ‘adale ; Suleyman, named after Solomon, is regarded in Islamic history as the second Solomon. The reign of Suleyman in Ottoman and Islamic history is generally regarded as the period of greatest justice and harmony in any Islamic state. 
Under Suleyman, the Ottoman Empire reached its peak in terms of influence and shaping of World History. However, it was his reputation as a lawgiver that he was most known for. In the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan was known as the Supreme Lawgiver. In fact, they had a whole set of laws outside the Shari’a called Kanun. As the Supreme Lawgiver, the Sultan could overturn situations in which he felt it was unjust to the common people. Therefore, it was not uncommon for Suleyman to move amongest his subjects undetected in order to spot situations where they were being mistreated. Just as with Saladin, the inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire were allowed to live and practice their faiths unmolested this included whole Jewish and Christian Communities. In fact, after the fall of Andalusia (Spain) in 1492 to the Christian Conquerors Queen Isabelle and King Ferdinand, the Jews escaped to Istanbul because of their policy of force conversion.
Akbar the Great was the lesser known of the three Sultan rulers.
Akbar was also an exact contemporary of Elizabeth I of England but was the ruler of far greater number of people in India than the sparse population of England. The population of the subcontinent of India at the end of the sixteenth century is estimated at 140 million people with most of them living in the territory controlled by Akbar, between the Himalayas and the Deccan plateau. Compare this with the population of five million in England and 40 million in Western Europe. Akbar was indeed a true monarch and India with its enormous manpower quickly became rich again.
The benevolent monarch suspended all unjust taxation of non-Muslims. These taxes, called jizya had been collected ever since the Muslim rulers took control of India. Initially the Brahmins and some Buddhists were exempt but later Feroz Shah Tughlaq had made the taxes mandatory for all non-Muslims. Though handicapped with learning disabilities, Akbar appreciated art and music and honored artists, whoever they were. Miniature paintings from his era are considered to be masterpieces and the legendary musician Tansen was his royal singer in his court. Akbar’s reign also began an unprecedented period of political stability in India. A crafty and intelligent minister Birbal is the subject of much folklore. 
During his reign, “Akbar never discriminated between Muslim and Hindus and conferred nobility to many, with equal justice in mind.” 
As you can see the tolerance in Islam as practiced and carried by these early Muslim leaders is unheralded in human history. Compare this to the acts of barbarity, betrayal, murder, pillaging, force conversion, and enslavement as practiced by the early church before the Protestant Reformation. The early years of Christendom are filled with atrocities committed against Muslims, Jews, and other Christians who were considered heretics. On January 2, 1492 the Muslim Kingdom of Granada fell to the Kings of Castile, Ferdinand & Isabella. Under the agreement that transpired between the kings of Castile and Granada’s deposed ruler (Muhammed XII Abu’Abd Allah (he was guaranteed safe passage by secretly handling over the city), the Moors were guaranteed to worship and practice their religion. However, by 1500 the rulers along with Cardinal Ximenes mandated that Muslims either convert to Catholicism or driven out of Spain. Hence started the bloody reign of the Spanish Inquisition, as we know it. Thousands of Muslims were either forced converted or massacred on the streets. Every vestige of Moorish culture was either destroyed or subverted. Mosques were converted to churches. Books were burned. The Jewish inhabitants faced the same consequences as their Moorish counterparts. Such ceased to be the pageantry of Andalusia. It was indeed a graphic example of both treachery and barbarism that the world had never known at that time. It is estimated that upwards to 32 million people lost their lives in the Inquisition.
You speak of Islam as an evil religion, yet under Christianity the status of world civilization was at its darkest dued to the acts of ruthless individuals and rulers. It has been individuals like you that have dared to turn the gospel of Christ into a revelation of hate. Christianity was used to justify the dark institutions of slavery, which incarcerated up to 300 million Africans (25 percent were Muslims) against their will over a 400-year period. Cecil Rhodes and the Afrikaners used it to support the brutal system of apartheid. And yes there are white Supremacists in your fundamentalist ranks that have used it to justify the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. You should be shamed because it is your religious dogma that is staining the social gospel of Jesus Christ. When you say that the Holy Qur’an is filled with verses inciting violence against unbelievers, the same can be said about the Holy Bible (especially in the Old Testament) or the Torah. However, just as it was done in the past, scripture can be used, changed, and subverted to justify evilness. Unfortunately, Islam is being assailed from the same forces of extremism that is trying to destroy the Christian faith from within as well: the ideology of a one-tract philosophy of religion that is totally devoid of tolerance towards others. It has manifested itself in the hijacking of Islam by radicals who claim to speak for all of Islam. Not subscribing to their particular brand of Islamism makes you an enemy. The end results is that the fanatical acts of a few, condemns the 1.2 billion plus adherents of Islam who are peaceful. Therefore, an important distinction must be made that those who carry out these acts of terror against innocent civilians and noncombatants should be condemned as despicable heathens who murder against the glory of God.
All these reveal that organizing acts of terror against innocent people is utterly against Islam and it is unlikely that any Muslim could ever commit such crimes. On the contrary, Muslims are responsible for stopping these people, removing mischief on earth” and bringing peace and security to all peoples all over the world. Islam cannot be reconciled with terror. Just the contrary, it should be the solution to and the path to the prevention of terror. 
Those who commit acts of terror are actually moving further away from God.
The aggressors can commit such violence only with the intention of attacking religion itself. It may well be that those who carried out this violence do so to present religion as evil in the eyes of people, to divorce people from religion and to generate hatred towards those who are religiously inclined. Consequently, every attack on American citizens or other innocent people having a religious facade is actually an attack made against religion. 
In this context, it doesn’t matter if the terrorist attacks on innocent civilians is in the name of Islam, Christianity, or Judaism, you are still a terrorist and far removed from the love and graciousness of God. Also the same standards should be applied when one verbally attacks the faith of 1.2 billion adherents based on religious falsehoods and dogma. Saying and professing a belief in the name of God and wishing ill fortune on people because they are different culturally, racially, or religiously makes you very narrow-minded in the worst possible way.
The fact that people do things in the name of God or even swear in his name, in other words that they use the kind of language designed to show themselves as very religious does not mean that what do is in conformity with religion. On the contrary, what they do can be quite against the will of God and the morality of religion. The truth of the matter lies in their actions. If their actions are “causing corruption and not putting things right”, as the verse reveals, then you can be sure that these people cannot be truly religious, and that their aim is not to serve religion. 
As we approach the one-year anniversary of 9/11 and the subsequent involvement of our country’s war against terrorism in Afghanistan, my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters have had to bear the full weight of racial and religious backlash verbally, physically, economically, and religiously.
Unfortunately, as grief gives way to understandable anger, a pattern of collective blame and scapegoating against Arab Americans and Muslims seems to be emerging even before the culpability of any single individual has been established. Even if persons with connections to the Arab World or the Islamic faith prove to have had a hand in this outrage, there can be no reason or excuse for collective blame against any ethnic or religious community. Already we have received numerous disturbing reports of violent attacks, threats, and harassment against Arab Americans and Muslims in many parts of the country and the pattern seems to be growing. As a result Arab Americans, in addition to feeling the intense depths of pain and anger at this attack we share with all our fellow citizens, are feeling deep anxiety about becoming the target of anger from other Americans. We appeal to all Americans to bear in mind that crimes are the responsibility of the individuals who committed them, not ethnic or religious groups. 
The backlash against Muslims and Arab Americans has manifested itself against other ethnic groups whom you consider unpatriotic and Unamerican as well by virtual of their race and religious preferences. These groups included Sikhs, Indians, Filipinos, Chinese, and even Hispanics.
In Arizona, the story was even worst. Bablir Singh Sodhig, a Sikh man and an Indian immigrant, was shot and killed as he worked at his gas station. The same shooter fired at, but miss, a Lebanese-American clerk at another gas station. The gunman also shot into his former home, when a family of Afghani descent now occupies when finally arrested, the accused killer yelled. I stand for America all the way. 
It is crackpot zealots like these who honestly believe that their random acts of violence against law-abiding ethnic Americans will solve, stem, and stop the tide of international terrorism.
Somehow a negative stereotype and misconception has entered among you that all Muslims are Arab and all Arabs are Muslims. Such a belief is the furthest from the truth.
Arabs are those who speak Arabic as their native tongue and who identify themselves as Arabs. The Arab world is not to be confused with the Middle East, a strategic designation developed during the heyday of the British Empire, which encompasses such non-Arab countries of Israel, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. And though Arab history is intertwined with Muslim history, the Arab world does not correspond to the Muslim world. There are significant non-Muslim Arab communities and most Muslims are, in fact, from large non-Arab countries such as Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, and many of the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. There are also large Arab and non-Arab Muslim communities in North America. 
Yet an intelligent discussion about all Arabs are not Muslims and all Muslims are not Arab seems to fall on deaf ears within elements of the Fundamentalist Christian Right. You are still hell bent on starting irregular religious warfare between Islam and Christianity even if it means killing significant amounts of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It seems that you have decided to draw a line of demarcation between east and west with no cultural or religious connection. Such an assumption is false and misguided by cultural prejudice.
For a variety of reasons, Westerners including Americans, often assume there is a deep division between Arab and Islamic culture on the one hand, and European and Christian culture on the other. Western civilization is said to be based on the Judeo-Christian tradition of the Orient is thus distinguished from the Occident. In fact, Arab and Muslim societies have much more in common with Europe, Christendom, and the West than is often assumed. Islam recognizes the Judaic and Christian traditions and Arab Christians and Jews have always been integral members of the Arab world. 
I truly believe that the fundamentalist Christian Right and anti-immigrant proponents (doctrinally and ideologically you guys are both in the same camp) treat both Muslim and Arab Americans as new entrants who are deliberately pressing their culture, religion, and ways of life upon the United States. Such narrowed-minded philosophical thinking is not consistent with our nation’s history of multicultural immigration.
While many people think Arabs are new to the United States, in fact, Arabs have been coming to the United States for hundreds of years. There are reports that Arabs came to the Americas with the Spanish explorers in the 15th century. In the late 1700’s, Arabs from Morocco (a North African Country) were discussed in the South Carolina House of Representatives, who decided that they should be treated according to the laws for white people, not the laws for African Blacks Arab immigrants were a significant part of the Great Migration, the period in U.S. history between 1880 and 1924 when more than 20 million immigrants came from southern and eastern Europe, but more than 95,000 Arabs to the U.S. from “Greater Syria” alone. Greater Syria includes present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine/Israel. Smaller numbers of Arabs came from Yemen, Iraq, Morocco, and Egypt during this time. By 1924, there were about 200,000 Arabs living in the United States. 
This nation was built by the hard work, sweat, blood, and labor by our immigrant forebears. Regardless if they came voluntarily or involuntarily. Muslim and Arab Americans are very much part of this contribution to American society. They are our retail merchants, business owners, doctors, lawyers, teachers, pilots, soldiers, athletes, clergy, and elected officials. They include notable personalities such as Jamie Farr actor, Doug Flutie quarterback, former senator Spence Abraham of Michigan, WWII heroes, Co. James Jabara, Major General Fred Safay, Brigadier General Elias Stevens, General George Joulwan, and Navy Lt Alfred Naifeh. They include both elected and appointed officials like Nick Joe Rahall II (West Virigina), Ray LaHood (Illinois), Donna Shalala, Phillip C. Habib, and former Senator George Mitchell. In Business you have Jacques Nasser former CEO of the Ford Motor Company, Najeeb Halaby former head of the FAA (Federal Aviation Commission), Paul Orfalea founder Of Kinkos, and Tony Ismail of the Alamo Flag Company which is the biggest retailer of flags in the United States. Among activists you have the likes of Ralph Nader, Candy Lightner founder of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), James Zogsby founder of the Arab American Institute, Ziad Asali President & Hussein Ibish who is Communications Director of the American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, and Ingrid Mattison Vice-President of the Islamic Circle Of North America. In Entertainment you have the likes of Danny Thomas, Marlo Thomas, Frank Zappa, Casey Kasem, Paula Abdul, and Paul Anka. It has included spiritual leaders, clergy, and clerics such as Shaykh Muhammad of the ISCA (Islamic Supreme Council Of North America) and Muhammad Nur Abdullah President of ISNA (Islamic Society Of North America).
These are men and women who are dedicated to the preservation of this country, their communities, families, and religion. By attacking their religion, culture, and ethnicity, you attack the American idea of fairness.
The terrorist attacks on the Pentagon, World Trade Center, and Flight 93 by Al Qaeda was not only an attack on this country, but upon the very heart and soul of the religion of Islam itself. Immediately after the horrible attacks on our country, every mainstream Muslim & Arab Group such as the AMC (American Muslim Council), Islamic Supreme Council Of North America, ICNA (Islamic Circle Of North America), The Islamic Institute, CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), Arab American Institute, Arab American Anti- Discrimination Committee, and ISNA (Islamic Society Of North America) condemned them in the most strongest and possible language. They issued press releases to television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet. They participated in interfaith services for the victims of the attacks. They held blood drives, collected money, held open houses at Mosques, and participated in seminars and teachins about the peaceful tenets of the Islamic Faith. They gave their full support to President Bush and the congress in the fight against terrorism. Where were you when this entire flurry of activity took place right after 9/11? Did you console families of the victims and the wounded? The answers to this question is no. Instead of condolences to the victims and their families in their hour of need, you heap scorn upon them by blaming the attacks as God’s judgment against those groups that didn’t adhere to your ideology.
Television evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson two of the most prominent voices of the religious right, said liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals, and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for Tuesday’s terrorist attacks because their actions have turned God’s anger against America. “God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve,” said Falwell, appearing yesterday on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club,” hosted by Robertson.
Falwell said the American Civil Liberties Union has got to take a lot of blame for this,” again winning Robertson’s agreement. “Well, yes.”
Then Falwell broadened his blast to include the federal courts and others who he said were “throwing God out of the public square.” He added: “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad, I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way – all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, “You helped this happen.” 
I consider such remarks as pathetic, irresponsible, and unpatriotic. It is just the typical example of the lack of regard that you hold towards other religious, social, or political groups other than your own. It is no wonder than that you are so intolerant towards Muslims. What is really sad is that over 3000 men, women, and children lost their lives at the World Trade Center (And that total doesn’t count the lost of life at the Pentagon or Flight 93) and they had nothing to do with your or Osama Bin Laden’s political agenda.
There were many heroes who gave their lives trying to save people during 9/11. The list included police officers, firemen, soldiers, clergy, and ordinary citizens like you and me. What is not told though, is that of the over 3,000 who died from this terrible tragedy, a great many were Muslims. This is a partial list of the hundreds of Muslims killed during the terrorist attacks:
White House Coalition Information Center (202) 456-4636
Rahma Salie, 28, an observant Muslim of Sri Lankan nationality and seven months pregnant with her first child, was a passenger with her husband, Michael Theodoridis, on American Airlines flight 11.
They were on their way to the wedding of one of her best high-school friends in California. Her husband, Michael had converted to Islam before marrying his college sweetheart. (Source: The Independent, U.K.).
Amenia Rasool, a Guyana-born Muslim, was a mother of four children (aged 8,6, 3 years and 10 months) who also worked as an accountant in the World Trade Center. As a young woman, she had come to America with her parents from rural Guyana, much like her husband. Their marriage was arranged by their parents, and flourished on a mix of Islamic tradition and American opportunity.
(Source: New York Times).
Shabbir Ahmed emigrated from Bangladesh in 1982, worked as a waiter in Windows on the World restaurant in the World Trade Center. His memorial service was held at the Jamaica Muslim Center inQueens, New York. (Source: New York Times & Tribune Newspaper Project)
Khalid Mohammed Shahid, son of a Pakistani father and a Colombian mother, engaged to be married in November, a graduate of Montclair State College, a talented tennis player, and a practicing Muslim. (Source: Newsday).
Touri Bolourchi and her husband, Akbar, immigrated to the United States from Iran in 1979. The couple raised their 2 daughers, Neda and Roya, in Los Angeles, creating a family proud of both its U.S. citizenship and Muslim faith. “True Muslims don’t believe in killing to prove what they believe in,” said Bobby Turan, Touri’s grandson. (Source: CNN.com)
Salman Hamdani loved not only Islam but also the country [the terrorists] hated. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, the 23 year-old laboratory technician, at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was on his way to work by train on 11 September. Trained in emergency medical assistance, it appears he climbed aboard an ambulance headed for the World Trade Center. (Source: The Independent, U.K.).
Taimour Khan always identified himself not just as an American but also as a Muslim. The son of a Pakistani couple, he was a commodities trader for the firm Carr Futures and was already hard at work in the World Trade Center when the first hijacked plane hit the building. (Source: The Independent, U.K.).
Ehtesham Raja, a Muslim from Lahore, Pakistan, worked for TCG Software in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Like many Muslims from India and Pakistan, Mr. Raja, 28, loved Hindi music. (Source: New York Times).
As you can see these people weren’t the monsters that you purport all Muslims to be. They were victims of a Monster called Osama Bin Laden who has taken upon himself to represent all of Islam. It is no different than Timothy McVeigh or David Koresh claiming to represent all of Christianity. Such individuals in the eyes of God (whom you say you speak for) are evildoers and tyrants of the worst kind. Terrorism is terrorism and doesn’t matter if its suicide bombers or indiscriminate shelling in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Columbia, or Africa. To kill and maim innocent people in the name of religion for any reason is morally repugnant. My heart cries out in anguish because the victims of terrorism did not deserve to die because of someone else’s misguided religious or political views. It is all about humanity not about what group has brought shame upon America because of their social or political agenda.
I truly believe that the key to a better understanding and acceptance of Islam in American society is that the voices of Moderate Muslims must be heard. Their voices have been drowned out by the hysteria of the radical Islamists and the right-wing Christian fundamentalists.
The moderate voice is not an elitist or westernized voice. It is not a lonely or persecuted voice. And it is not a purely secular voice. It is a voice of the Muslim mainstream, grounded in a Quranic verse: We have willed you to be a community of Moderation (2:143) and in the admonition of the Prophet Muhammad to stay away from extremism.
It is the voices of Moderation within the Islamic community that must be heard not only for a better understanding of Islam in the West, but speaking out for a more balanced American foreign policy in our dealings in the Middle East. Ingrid Matteson who is Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America has said that Muslims have a special duty to speak out on such issues:
Who has the greatest duty to stop violence committed by Muslims against innocent non-Muslims in the name of Islam? The answer, obviously, is Muslims. We have to speak against oppressive interpretations of Islam and against emotional, superficial, and violent apocalyptic depictions of a world divided. And in our desire to show ourselves to be Patriotic Americans, we cannot suppress our criticisms of the United States when we have them.
We have to do this, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because if we do not, the Muslim world will remain deaf to our arguments that peaceful change is possible, and that revolt and ensuring lawlessness almost always cause the great harm to the people. 
Anissa Mariam Bouzianne who is an Arab-American writer and filmmaker is also a voice of moderation who chose to speak out in the strongest terms against Islamic fundamentalism after witnessing the World Trade Center destruction from the window of her office:
“The terrorists who committed this heinous act, if indeed they were Muslim, as it appears they might have been, are no more “my people” than Timothy McViegh was “the people” of Christians.
Before the haunting dust from this demonic act settles on Manhattan, as a liberal Arab and Muslim, I must speak out with the clearest and loudest of voices and no longer let fanatics and extremist define me and my community. For we do exist — we are even in the majority — Muslims and Arabs who condemn the killing of another human being, who believe that God, that Allah, is compassionate, and good, and forgiving. Who know that the Koran forbids suicide, who see life as a gift that must not be squandered.” 
As a Christian, I call upon my other Christian and Jewish brethren to have an interfaith dialogue with our Muslim colleagues to counteract the religious intolerance of the Christian Fundamentalist Right. Even though we may be Christian, Jew, or Muslim, we are all children of Abraham, and we must realize that no amount of peace will come to our country and the world unless we offer a peaceful alternative. They don’t speak for the majority of Americans who look upon favorably the religion of Islam. When the demonic crazed zealots acted out in their violence against Muslim and Arab Americans, we as a nation spoke out. We went to Mosque open houses and stood side by side with our Muslim brethren in Midnight vigils. Instead of a Clash of Cultures that is now being pursued by the religious right, there should be a dialogue of civilization. Presidential Candidate and economist Lyndon LaRouche echoed these very sentiments while speaking at the Italian Institute for Asia:
You must approach it from a missionary standpoint, from an apostolic standpoint, not a doctrinal standpoint. Rather than saying, what are the differences between us, you have to say, what is the agreement among us? It means, there has to be, as Khatami has proposed, the President of Iran, there has to be a discussion of the agreement on an idea, a certain idea of man. And there must be a discussion, with agreement to the idea of man, but a continuing discussion of what it means. You can never unify people except around a common principle. 
The war on Terrorism cannot be fought with guns and tanks alone. It must be fought with ideas, love, empathy, compassion, tolerance, and understanding. These are principles that the religious right has refused to acknowledge. They have forgotten their humanity, like the radical Islamists, their agenda is the only view that they consider is right and they will kill, maim, discredit, or publicly humiliate those who disagree with them.
The lasting legacy that we can leave to our fallen brethren from various races, creeds, cultures, and religions, is to be united as one great nation with a common bond for freedom, justice, and brotherhood. A recent poem written by Neria Harish Hebbar, MD sums up our duty as members of the human race and children of god to speak out against religious fanaticism, bigotry, racism, or intolerance wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head. As the poem points out, to be completely apathic to the violent fanaticism around us makes us the next willing target.
Lest Bigotry Consume Us All
Within the secure confines of my four walls,
I watched with detached resentment,
The senseless destruction and pain,
Inflicted by monstrous fanatics, on their brethren.
In the frenzy of religious strife,
Killing and maiming seems justifiable.
To the irrational, even murderous wrath,
Is rational; in their minds, condoned by God.
I remained callously disinterested,
As far as the evil took a detour,
Away from my safe haven,
And, the neighborhood of my kith and kin.
Then the fire and the stench spread,
The sewage, suddenly over flowed.
The distant carnage was close at hand,
At my doorstep, un-invited.
My clothes were bloodied, stature bruised,
My spirits shattered, distraught and dismayed.
The apparent safe isolation, within my four walls,
Had failed to protect my creed.
Like an ostrich, I had my head in the sand,
Pretending not to notice, ignoring the melee.
Like deadly plague, without showing favoritism,
The odious hatred killed – innocent, guilty, and all.
I soon learned to respect all beliefs, to accept,
To admire them, and to tolerate without contempt.
To be concerned, to defuse prejudice, defy racism,
Lest hatred and bigotry devour, and consume us all.
Neria Harish Hebbar, MD
June 2, 2002
In this context, radical religious fundamentalists from Timmy McVeigh to Osama Bin Laden will never win. May God Bless America and the whole world. And we should remember that as the sons and daughters of Abraham, that only through God (Allah) will we find total and everlasting peace.
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