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Reader comment on item: Stop the NYC Madrassa
in response to reader comment: And what is wrong with that...

Submitted by Archimedes2 (Canada), Aug 22, 2007 at 03:49

Are we not all empowered to do exactly that... shake off the culture and the rule of the filthy non-believers... those who are accursed above all others in the Torah, the Gospels and the Quran? -- Avenger

In a word, No. Leaving aside the rest of the grotesquely spun perspective on western society in your long comment, Avenger, and the obvious tit-for-tat rebuttal that, even if all of your characterizations of the west were granted as accurate, there is nothing in Dar al-Islam that provides an improvement on them, and plenty that is far worse than anything you have mentioned, even in the form you have tried to give it ... there is nothing in the Torah or Gospels comparable to the vitriol and incitement of hatred toward unbelievers that you find in the Qur'an.

The tale of Jesus turning the tables in the court of the temple, to which you allude, is emphatically not, as you appear to believe, an indication of Jesus' intent to overturn the societal system of the day. It was one of several instances in which Jesus made it clear that he was outraged at the corruption of the holy by the secular (and at the behavior of religious leaders as if they held the reins of societal power).

In Christ's gospel is found no calls to overturn the secular society, but for the religious system to be distinct from it and governed by a completely different set of rules ("Render unto Caesar..." and so forth). It is exactly the opposite of the theocratic state Mohammed brought in, in which the state and religion were one and the same. Pilate questioned Jesus, who was brought to him by a group of Jewish leaders on trumped-up charges of leading a rebellion, as to whether he was a king (and therefore a challenger to the throne of Caesar, which would be high treason). Jesus calmly responded that he was indeed a king -- but, he added, Pilate should understand that his kingdom is not of this world; else his followers would have used violence on his behalf (as did the followers of Mohammed) to rescue him and, by extension, to try to bring in this kingdom.

Pilate's response showed that he understood that this implied no challenge to the throne of Caesar; that Jesus was not seeking to overthrow the secular societal system of his day. The gospel of Christ contains the foundation for the present doctrine of separation of church and state. True believers will support and uphold this value of western society, recognizing it to be the fruit of a righteous and wise tree. So, by the way, do many secular muslims, with whom I am privileged to be friends, who having come to the West have realised what tremendous value there is in this doctrine, and which some are even working to import to their own homelands in the hope of rescuing their cultures from the cycles of religious violence, supremacism and oppression endemic to Islamic nations.

While you will find much in the way of violence in the Torah, you will find nothing about the unbeliever. That is because "unbeliever" is not even a category in the Torah. Don't believe me? Pull out your Torah, dig through it, do a text search, and find me the passages that mention unbelievers. I'll give you a hint: there aren't any. Oh, but there are descriptions of people whom we, looking back, would agree, must have been unbelievers in that they did not believe in the God of Abraham. Well, some of these happened to be enemies of Israel or evil nations, and war was prescribed agaiinst them. Others were not, and no such thing in their case.

But there are no blanket endorsements against a large class of people grouped under the category of "unbelievers". The concept does not appear anywhere in the document! Nevertheless you will find people who are non-Jews mentioned often as "sojourners in the land", "visitors", "aliens", "foreigners in your midst". This is your closest parallel to "unbelievers, if you like, in the Torah.

What is prescribed for them? Um, well, not what is prescribed for "unbelievers" in the Qur'an, that is for sure. In fact, all these groups are to be given hospitable treatment, as guests. Very much the opposite of "dhimmitude" as outlined in the Qur'an, hadith and the four main schools of Islamic jurisprudence. So, NO, avenger, readers of the Torah and Gospels do not generally understand these texts to "empower them" to "shake off" the "oppression" of unblief alongside readers of the Qur'an, as if the three faiths were identical triplet samurai warriors of some holy jihad. Frankly, we barely grasp what the Hell (I mean in the literal sense) adherents of the Qur'an mean when they speak of such things. But what we do grasp of these sentiments sickens, saddens or angers us, especially when someone tries to load us all onto the same camel.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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