It's A Question Of Respect
Reader comment on item: Finding Allah in Unlikely Places
Submitted by yakoub ibn ari (United States), Mar 7, 2006 at 23:56Respect, my Muslim cousins, is something that must be earned. It cannot be demanded. In fact, demanding respect is almost guaranteed to lose you respect. It's really rather pathetic.
I can't speak for the Christians, Athiests and others who post here, but the Muslims trying to defend Islam here have acted like petulant children and certainly haven't convinced this Jew that Islam teaches Muslims how to act like menschen.
The human mind has a great capacity to make sense out of nonsense. It doesn't always succeed. Sometimes that really is a football game on the snowy television set, most of the time, however, it's just visual noise. Like the great philosopher Harold Nillson once said, "people see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear." Nike paints Air on the back of a shoe and you want to be offended so you see Allah. Burger King sells an ice cream and you believe the swirl [sideways yet] says Allah. What next? The Dairy Queen cone? That squiggly deposit our greyhound Annie left in the back yard?
You recoil in horror!!! How dare I associate the Diety's name with the waste of a cur?
Why not? My ancestors joked about dying in the desert with Moses.
I come from a people who respected the name of God long before an illiterate strung together his own delusions of grandeur with some biblical stories he heard from Christians and Jews in the Yathrib. We Jews indeed know how to respect the name of God. Many of my fellow Jews even spell out God in English as G-d out of respect, thought it is not actually required by Jewish law. Observant Jews, though, never write out any of God's Hebrew names, unless they are writing a religious document. We don't even use any of those names outside of formal prayer or blessings. Most commonly, observant Jews refer to God as "HaShem", Hebrew for "the name", or HaKodesh Baruch Hu, "the Holy One, Blessed is He". So don't get all superior on us and claim how only Muslims know how to respect God.
I've debated and argued theology with Christian missionaries for years. I've also had the privilege of spending time with some first rate Jewish scholars and educators. I've heard plenty of religious apologetics over the years but Muslim arguments are almost charming in their childish demand to accept simplistic claims. Nothing makes a poorer argument for a person's religious beliefs than an expression of smug superiority. The fact that so many of the Muslims who have posted here expect us to accept an explicit claim of Islamic superiority would be quaint, if so many of their coreligionists weren't so busy rioting and killing assorted infidels. I've never witnesses so much religious chest thumping in my life, and I've spend decades debating religion with an assortment of believers and disbelievers.
Frankly, Islam seems to be lacking in the area of humility.
Christians accept their imperfection. Judaism teaches us to humbly walk in HaShem's ways. Muslims seem to be real keen on telling us how great Islam and Muslims are.
BTW, what about all the suras in the Quran that clearly show that Palestine belongs to the Jews?
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