Christian Hate Group Targets Peaceful Muslim-Americans

Lowes should be ashamed of itself for bowing to hate speech. Well, there is always Home Depot.

Detroit’s Channel 7 has a video report from Dearborn, Michigan:

The grounds on which the Florida Family Association, a far right wing hate group, ordered Lowe’s to drop its advertising on TLC’s “All-American Muslim,” were reminiscent of the rantings of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.

Here is a trailer of the show on the TLC cable network:

An FFA representative came on CNN and asserted that the show neglected to emphasize the Muslim duty to wage jihad or holy war.

This would be like complaining that a reality show about Roman Catholics neglected to spend enough time on the papal bull of Pope Eugene III, “Quantum praedecessores,” which called for the second Crusade.

And, since FFA is fundamentalist believers in the Bible, maybe secular people should be afraid of them. After all, The Book of Joshua 1:18 says of people who don’t accept Yahweh, “Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.” Academic studies of the two scriptures have found that the Bible is more violent than the Qur’an.

Seriously, it is not as if most Muslims wake up in the morning thinking about holy war. In fact, I suspect that FFA is engaging in mirroring, and projecting onto ordinary Muslims its own violent impulses toward gays and religious minorities.

Christian fundamentalists and Muslim-haters misread the verses of the Qur’an that command Muslims to defend themselves from the pagan Kafirs or infidels of Mecca. The pagan Meccan elite declared war on the early Muslims and tried to wipe them and their religion out. The Muslims were simply defending themselves, hence the order in the Qur’an to fight back.

But “infidels” in, say, the Chapter of the Spoils (Surat al-Anfal), refers strictly to the pagan would-be murderers.

Christians are never called simply “kafir” or “infidel” in the Quran, but rather the Muslim holy book says that they are “closest in love” to the Muslims.

Fundamentalist Christians who hate Muslims read the command to fight back against attacking Meccan pagans as a command to murder all non-Muslims. That is not what the text says, and is contrary to Islamic law. Christians are recognized as belonging to a true religion (“In the Gospel there is guidance and light”). They are granted security of life and property. Only a fringe of radical extremists such as al-Qaeda would agree with the scripture interpretation of the Florida Family Association.

And, again, the niceties of Islamic law are not even on the minds of most young Americans of Muslim extraction. And those for whom it does matter are most often highly ethical persons.

31 Responses

  1. Just a little addition prof. Cole. As a Muslim we ARE required to “practice jihad”. The confusion comes from the definition of jihad. When I try to read qur’an in Arabic, that’s jihad. When I travel from my home to seek religious knowledge, that’s jihad. When I want to do something sinful but resist because of my love for Allah and his prophet(s), that is jihad. So when some non Muslim asks me if I agree with jihad I have to think about how to answer them, and articles like this which seem to be from the Muslim perspective but ignore the greatest jihad, don’t make my task any easier.

    • Jihad has different interpretations and meanings, Yusuf. Yours, above, is one of them. The Qur’an also uses the term in the sense of “holy War” against infidels. I can understand how your task in explaining your relationship to Jihad is not made “any easler,” because the Qur’an does not make it easy to do so, given its own multiple interpretations of the term.

      • That is so, like, DEEP. And so totally into an interesting worldview. I wonder if Prof. Cole will offer any thoughts on the, like, larger, more “popular” meaning of “jihad.” Which is a little onomatopoetic word that sounds an awful lot like what Slim Pickens, as Major “King” Kong, was hollering after he kicked the ol’ H-bomb loose from the shackles and touched off the Doomsday Machine that your worldview has actually kind of created. What was it again? “Yeee-Haww!”

        Too bad we all can’t find wisdom in the words of Stephen Maturin, the Irish-Catalan bastard Renaissance Man created by Patrick O’Brian: “But you know as well as I, patriotism is a word; and one that generally comes to mean either my country, right or wrong, which is infamous, or my country is always right, which is imbecile.”

        One just has to love the grim realismication of all the “patriots.”

        • To those with limited intellectual capacity (and with too much time on their hands), everything appears to be “deep.”

      • Jihad is a multifaceted word pretty much like “to fight”: one fights against racism, one fights against hunger, one fights against enemy, a mafia boss fights against law enforcement. But the unjustified examples of fighting doesn’t make us believe that fighting is evil. On the other hand, we keep telling young generations to fight for what they want in life!

        Muslims are supposed to fight the “greater jihad”, which is the struggle to ones self as defined by the messenger.

        I disagree with “The Qur’an also uses the term in the sense of “holy War” against infidels”.

        Qur’an orders believers to fight physically against those who threaten their existence. This is defined as the “lesser jihad” by the messenger. The whole idea of jihad is pretty well explained in the Qur’an but for reasons most of us are aware of, this hasn’t been very well presented to western societies. It is usually described out of context by cherry-picking the verses ordering fighting against non-believers but leaving out following verses that suggest patience if they surrender as they may come to believe later.

      • Bill, you have it backwards – defending Muslim territory against non-Muslim attackers is one activity covered by the more general term Jihad.

        Yusuf was pointing out that the armed self-defence actually mandated in the Qur’an is only one of many activities (areas in which to strive for moral living) covered by the term Jihad and also madated in the Qu’ran.

        It’s a false dichotomy to imply that if someone follows one activity mandated in the Qu’ran, they can’t follow any of the other activities covered by the general descriptor ‘Jihad’ – a sincere Muslim strives to better themself in each action specified under the category of ‘Jihad’, not just one.

        When Christians are encouraged to do “good works” it doesn’t mean that they have to choose one activity covered by that term and ignore all the others.

        My Quaker uncle took the commandment not to kill literally, but it didn’t prevent him from being in a battlefield ambulance crew in WWII (unarmed of course).

        He did ignore many of the more socially unacceptable injunctions in the Old Testament though, which is also one of the holiest books in Islam, and the basis of much of the violent aspects of fanatical applications of Sharia Law.

        I’m not an expert, so apologies if I’ve been unduly unscholarly, and learned feedback on improving my understanding of the matters will be gratefully accepted.

        • I do not have it backwards, Nick. It is you who appears not to understand the multiple meansings of Jihad. Jihad means more than just defending Muslim territory against infidels. It also means advancing Islam through physical (armed) struggle. Why do you think Islam divides the world into the “Dar al Islam” (House of Islam) and the “Dar al Harb” (House of War)?

        • It is not Islam which divides the into Dar-al Islam and Dar-al Harb. It is the Islamic scholars who divided the world for the purpose of making the shariah laws clear muslims should abide. I think this division is understandable when one thinks of the political reality of those times. Nobody wasn’t really interested in living on a foreign land. However now millions of immigrant muslims live in USA and they don’t see themselves Dar-al harb.

          Bill, I think you are confusing what qur’an teaches and how scholars interpreted islam.

      • Bill, it is not the qur’an that makes it difficult! It is articles like this that ignore the major meaning of the word and focus on the “popular” meaning. Without having to deal with the MSM propaganda about jihad (which Prof. Cole unintentionally enhances by omission), I could easily explain to the uninitiated that jihad simply means struggle and that struggle can be anything from the struggle to not sin to the struggle to defeat oppression. But my point was that because of the false impression that “holy war” and jihad is a simple and direct translation, I need to go into a long preamble before answering q’s about it. Articles from scholars who know the true meaning of jihad but neglect to explain it don’t help. By the way, Muslims cannot fight people who are not actively oppressing others and call it jihad, or rather, they can call it what they like but it’s not jihad.

        • Bill, I have read the English translation of the qur’an from al Fatiha (first chapter) to an nas (last chapter) haven’t seen those terms. I have also read many hadeeth. Still haven’t come across these terms. Could you please cite your source so I may check this out. Apparently you know a lot, so it won’t surprise you that my attitude is that if you can show me that your deen is better than mine, I will follow yours. Convince away.

        • Bill,

          Please cite your sources, as I have not come across the concepts you put forward.

          From my reading, Jihad is best translated as “struggle”.

          From (Jesuit) Santa Clara University:

          link to scu.edu

          Jihad in the Qur’an

          Jihad and its derivatives meaning struggle in the path of God appear 36 times in the Qur’an. Each of those 36 times, jihad is used in the context of struggling to submit to God (the greater jihad) (Johnson 61). There is another word, built from the same root as jihad that appears in the Qur’an when reference is made to physical confrontation or fighting. This term, qital, more directly means “fighting” or “killing” (Kelsay 47). Some of the most prominently cited examples of qital are verses 2:190, 9:13, and 4:91-93 of the Qur’an.

          Qur’an: 2:190–“Fight [qatilu] in the way of God against those who fight you, but do not attack them first. God does not love the aggressors. Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is worse than carnage…Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion reigns supreme. But if they desist, fight none except the evil-doers.”

          fight none except the evil-doers.”
          Qur’an 9:13–“Will ye not fight a folk who broke their solemn pledges, and proposed to drive out the Messenger and did attack you first?”

          Qur’an 4:91-93–“If they withdraw not from you, and offer you not peace, and refrain not their hand, take them, and slay them wherever you come to them; against them We have given you a clear authority.”

          It is important to note that in each of these examples, qital is referenced in a defensive manner. There are citations used to justify offensive fighting such as:

          Qur’an 8:39-40–Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme. If they desist, God is cognizant of all their actions; but if they give no heed, know then that God will protect you.

          Qur’an 9:29–Fight those who do not believe in God or the last day, and do not hold forbidden that which was forbidden by God and His Apostle, or acknowledge the religion of truth (even if they are) of the people of the book, until they pay jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
          Johnson makes another important note regarding these passages: “the point here is reducing the unbelievers to submission to Islamic order–the conception which in Western thought is rendered as the right to correct wrongdoing” (Johnson 62).

          These instructions were given in the context of defending a religious community against attempts to wipe them out through self-defence and defence against imminent attacks (fighting them there, so we don’t have to fight them here).

          That those words were later used as holy authority for regime change in no way means that that was the meaning of the words as Muhammed intended them to be interpreted.

          You may find that some people either ignorantly or intentionally mis-translate similar Arabic words to distort the meaning of the Koran, and you may have inadvertently got some of your misinformation from such sources.

          As mentioned above, Papal Bulls are Roman Catholic scripture, but it would be wrong to claim that Papal Bulls are the *only* Catholic Scripture, and to then try to define the entirety of Roman Catholic doctrine by them alone. You couldn’t possibly come up with an accurate depiction.

          If fanatical Muslims misinterpret holy words to incite unprovoked violence, it is the inciters who are evil, not the scripture.

          If fanatical non-Muslims misinterpret those same holy words to incite religious bigotry, it is the inciters who are evil, not the scripture.

          If you read the SCU description of Jihad preceding the section I quoted, you will see that the struggle/Jihad is to its sub-categories as a biological genus is to its species.

          I urge you to read the whole article, as you will end up knowing considerably more about the meaning of Jihad than you appear to at present.

          You cannot pick one sub-category and claim that there are no others. That is a hasty generalisation fallacy:

          link to tektonics.org

          So firstly, there is no injunction to make war on anyone who does not attack you first or is not clearly intending to do so – in fact there is a specific injunction against that, and secondly the the injunction of the lesser Jihad is just one species of widely different ways of striving to live in the way of Allah.

        • Yusuf, what is it about Jihad (struggle) and the Islamic divide betweeen the Dar al Islam and the Dar al Harb that you fail to understand? Do you simply ignore history?

  2. There seems to be no depth to which the fringe right wing will stoop in promoting lies and distortions about any group of people who don’t subscribe to its bizarre interpretation of the Bible, the Torah or the Quran.

    There is an on-line petition which will send messages to Lowes and other businesses that capitulated The FFA contends that 65 of 67 companies it has targeted have pulled their ads, including Bank of America, Campbell Soup Co., Dell, Estee Lauder, General Motors, Goodyear, Green Mountain Coffee, McDonalds, Sears and Walmart. The petition is at link to signon.org and people who object to what FFA is doing are encouraged to sign.

  3. Ok, there are a lot of scary texts you could have used in the Bible, but Joshua 1:18 isn’t one of them. I’d explain why but it’s pretty obvious if you actually look it up.

  4. Nothing sells a show like controversy.
    here is the petition:

    Repudiate Calls to Stop Advertising on
    TLC’s “All-American Muslim”
    link to signon.org

  5. Yeah, pretty obvious that the Isrealites are being sent on a mission to invade an already inhabited land. I’d say it’s pretty damned scary in context of what they did later (Joshhua 6:21).

  6. I think you’re right in that it’s mirroring, or projection of their inmost vile wishes onto another group which they feel safe enough slandering. I think any of these ‘associations’, called cults in my vernacular and probably according to the dictionary, and individuals involved in Muslim-bashing are also innately jealous of the violence against enemies that they imagine Muslims are given carte blanche to carry out. This is the barely repressed brainstem level from which such slander and actual blood libel emanate. I’d love to see some photoshop or creative editing of FOF and other right-wing religious and political leaders with pointy tongues darting in and out of their mouths while slandering good people. It would be a religious revelation!

  7. Ooops. Too bad for Lowes. I prefer Lowes over the other monster-box building-related-stuff stores for selection and shopping experience. I’m also starting a remodeling project – so as little of my money will be going to them as possible. (Also, for anyone considering Menards as an alternative, you may want to look into their relationship with and support for Gov. Walker in Wisconsin and Koch related political activities. It’s kind of funny watching a retail chain help to take money out of the pockets of their customers. 1%ers don’t shop at Menards…)

    I’ve seen a couple of episodes of All American Muslim. Like a lot of “reality” shows of this ilk, it ends up not being terribly interesting. Guess what? Both Muslim-Americans and people of small stature (“little people”) are, well, uh, people. This isn’t “Real Multiple Housewives of Deaborn” so no one is getting into a cat-fight and ripping anyone’s hijab off. The fact that there is a range of attitudes and religiosity among the people in the show won’t come as much of a shock to Catholic-Americans or Jewish-Americans.

    I guess that’s the beef from the bigot groups. gosh, Muslim-Americans poop occasionally and put their pants on one leg at a time… amazing.

  8. Joshua 1:18 says of people who don’t accept Yahweh, “Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.”
    WRONG ! The pledge is made to Joshua, not God. Here ’tis:
    “Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”
    It is important to realize the context, the preceding verses (16 & 17) And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.
    Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you, as he was with Moses!

  9. Yikes, I have never shopped at Lowe’s Hardware. A couple of years ago, they took over a SF Bay Area hardware chain called Yardbirds. I used to drive down to the Yardbirds store in Danville to buy some plants, but since then my gardens have turned into small urban forests, very shady, so I have little need of buying more plants.

    Cheers

    and Carry On…

  10. First Lowe’s was attacked for sponsoring this show, now they are attacked for backing away from it. Good reasons for business to avoid anything connected with race, religion, or politics. (FWIW I watch very little TV and have never seen the show).

    • Note that Home Depot apparently declined to sponsor this show from the very start, and is not getting any of the flak. We can’t know if Home Depot acted out of fear or bigotry, whereas Lowe’s retracting its ads after being intimidated and “informed” by hate groups tells us that it is afraid, and it tells stupid people that there must be something to the “Moslem threat” after all. So as usual in our system, the more hardcore and consistent right-winger gets a pass, and the waffling liberal gets creamed.

      What should alarm us is the possibility that Lowe’s flip-flopped for no other reason than the risk that its refusal would have led the FFA and its infinitude of allies could whip up a smear campaign against Lowe’s about things completely unrelated to the show, just to make an example of it. Just like a protection racket that blows up your car to remind you of whom you really need protection from.

      If we have reached the point where right-wing extremists can ruin anyone who disobey their commands about anything, what does it matter what the truth is or what ordinary Americans believe? We will all say what we have to say in order to hold onto our jobs.

  11. Prof. Cole, thank you for highlighting the other side to this issue. As a street minister for 4 years with area Lutheran churches (10 years before 911), I met a man who had become a devout Muslim. He was my first close encounter with Islam. He turned out to be the gentlest man I have ever known.

    Before jihad was associated with terrorism, he used the term as I would use the term “struggle.” Both of us understood deeply the challenge of holiness in our own weak lives. Neither of us thought in terms of “holy war” or “holy crusades.”

    I wish these “Christians” who live by the law and use it to condemn everyone else but themselves, could meet this fine man I call a friend. I can only hope that my life could honor my God as his life honors his God. For those zealots in the Christian community, I’d like to remind them that in their midst are followers with names like Timothy McVeigh. We have had our own Osama bin Laden, haven’t we?

    True Islam is not the enemy of America. It is not a violent, murderous religion as so many Americans would have us believe. For what it’s worth, I am a very faithful follower of Jesus.

  12. Question: Why are comments turned off for two recent posts?

    It would be great for posts whose comments are turned off to contain a note explaining why.

    • Those posts are done by a syndication plug-in, and to tell you the truth I have no idea how to control it yet.

  13. Isn’t the issue here really about American law allowing hate groups to flourish rather than a business making a decision in its own self interest?

    • Actually this has been a norm for long periods of our history. In effect the southern US and even parts of the Midwest were ruled by an armed terrorist militia, the Ku Klux Klan, for up to 90 years. The fact that we still rarely call the KKK an armed terrorist militia tells you that some powerful forces are trying to keep that route open, and “American”, for the future.

  14. I have only studied a bit of Gulf Arabic (as spoken in the Arabian Gulf) and I thought that ‘jihad’ meant sort of “to make an effort” for or against something. I suppose I have, in a way, been making ‘jihad’ to learn to understand spoken Arabic. Peace.

  15. Bill the Smart will tell you the Muslims are only committed to killing everyone who does not convert…

    For those who enjoy notions of religiosuperiority, how many of you have your little bottles of Spikenard Oil and little plastic ampules of 2 ccs of Holy Water from any of a number of TV preachers who also actually preach “holy war” on made-up enemies, while fleecing the True Believers of endless little Seed Gifts to assure the suckers of inevitable Prosperity.

    “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” link to bible.cc (The cool part about sites like that link is how many different versions there are of what “the Bible says…”)

    Ah, the Gentle People of G_d — link to bible.cc

  16. The only thing heartening about the whole sordid mess is that Arab/Muslim American’s are finally responding and fighting back.

    As all immigrants who have come to the US have learned, no one can duck into the corners and hide, hoping to practice a creed or preserving ethnic or cultural norms while profiting and enjoying life in America. America doesn’t work that way.

    Sooner or later some event, circumstance or tragedy causes the majority to afflict the newly arrived minority. In this case 9/11 was the catalyst. The solution is TOTAL engagement in the society, media, politics, public affairs and governance of the American experience.

    That’s how Americans win their liberties and ultimately keep them.

  17. Neither of my parents ever discussed religion with me or my sisters. I was born without any spiritual convictions and despite immersing myself in a variety of spiritual environments, none of it ever drew me in to the extent that I could “feel” it, so I have remained a trouble-free person of no spiritual conviction.

    On the other hand, I am endlessly fascinated with religions – their origins, belief systems and histories, but not so much in the religious perspectives of people I actually meet, more in how what people believe and have believed have and do shape societies and historical events.

    It’s very comforting for me to have no emotional or psychological investment in the moral rectitude of any one belief system in comparison to another.

    Some close relatives have “faith”, and as they live by the principles of their faith, they are kind and pleasant people, so I have no scorn for sincere believers, only for bigots and hypocrites who use their alleged faith to harm or disadvantage others.

    I do have an emotional and psychological investment in correcting misinformation about belief systems when I think I see it.

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