Question: Have you read the January 1996 Reader’s Digest? I am referring to the article, “Islam’s Real Agenda.” Does it tell the truth...that fanatics are perverting the Koran’s message?
Response: The author, Sai’d Al-Ashmawy, former chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Court, admits the violence and terrorism being perpetrated by Muslims worldwide. Yet he insists, “But this Islam of intolerance and violence is not...the Islam that inspires more than a billion people [1.3 billion and growing!] around the world to pray, to fast, to give to the poor, to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. My Islam is a religion of tolerance and brotherhood.”
To support this assertion, Sai’d gives a selective quote from the Koran about “Jews and Christians...hav[ing] nothing to fear....” He then tries to explain away Surah 5:51 as a one-time command in a special situation, “Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends!” In fact, that command holds true today. Moreover, he fails to quote such passages as Surah 9:5, “slay the idolaters [non-Muslims] wherever ye find them.” Nor does he quote Muhammad from the Hadith: “The last hour will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them.”
Sai’d rationalizes the Koran’s call for jihad (holy war) against all non-Muslims as relating to “a specific episode when the Prophet prepared to attack his enemies from the city of Mecca. It was never intended as a prescription for permanent warfare against the rest of the world.” The truth is somewhat different! Muhammad had made a peace treaty with Mecca and on a pretext broke it, conquered the city and slaughtered its leaders. (Arafat says he is following the prophet’ s example in his current “peace accord” with Israel—i.e., he will eventually break it and slaughter the Israelis.) Jihad was not only for that one “episode”! To spread and enforce his new faith, Muhammad led at least 27 invasions of neighboring towns himself and his followers led another 50 during his lifetime.
Islam grew and spread rapidly (almost taking over Europe in the early 700s), not because people were persuaded by truth and loving example to convert to a religion of peace, love and brotherhood as Sai’d would have us believe, but because at the point of a sword they were given the choice of submission to Allah and Muhammad—or death. And wherever Islam is in power today it operates, in obedience to the Koran and Muhammad, on the same principle of violence and suppression of all non- Muslims. It is the death penalty today in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan for a Muslim to convert to another religion. And even in countries where that penalty is not the official law, it is enforced wherever Islam is strong enough to do so.
Sai’d says, “Extremists call all non-Muslim citizens ‘infidels’ and insist that they have no right to participate in political activities.” Extremists? No. This practice was established by Muhammad himself and it has been the rule in Islam ever since. For example, today one must be a Muslim to be a citizen of Saudi Arabia, where Mecca is located. Suppose one had to be a Methodist (or Catholic, Mormon, etc.) to be a citizen of the United States, and any who converted from that official religion must be killed. Would not the Western world erupt in outrage?! Yet such is the situation in Saudi Arabia (the country our young men shed their blood to protect) and no objection is raised by our government, the UN or elsewhere. There is something very, very wrong!
Sai’d adds, “Unfortunately, many governments in the Islamic world are weak, corrupt and authoritarian...the West should always support democratic forces in the Muslim world.” What democratic forces? Of the 22 Arab nations in the world today, not one is a democracy. Furthermore, the greater the influence of Islam, the greater the suppression of all human rights.
I appreciate Sai’d’s call for tolerance and mutual respect and his desire to see democratic Islamic regimes established. That would be wonderful, but they would have to disobey the Koran in the process and change Islam completely, which is not likely. In fact, for having proposed these ideas, this brave but naive man now has to hide from Muslim fundamentalists who have called for his death.
In the same issue of Reader’s Digest is another article titled “A Holy War Heads Our Way.” It is filled with frightening facts about and examples of Islamic terrorism around the world. It documents the takeover of entire governments by Islamic fundamentalists (Islam rejects separation of church and state), the reign of terror that follows (in the Sudan, for example, Christians are literally being crucified and tens of thousands have been displaced, starved and eliminated), and the pressures being exerted toward that goal in every country (Nigeria, et al.) where Islam gains enough followers.
There is only one problem with the article: like Sai’d’s, it portrays Islamic terrorists as “fanatics” (similar misinformation is widespread in the media), when, in fact, they are simply fundamentalists following to the letter the fundamentals of Islam which Muhammad himself practiced and which the Koran teaches. Islam itself is the problem.