The First Congregational Church of Stamford (part of the Obama/Wright Church, the UCC)
Walton Place, Stamford
http://origin.newstimes.com/local/articleGallery/An-interfaith-Iftar-in-Stamford-continues-support-644685.php#photo-4Women pray as an interfaith community gathers at the First Congregational Church on Walton Place for Iftar, an evening meal when Muslims break the Ramadan fast, Thursday, September 2, 2010. The interfaith group joined the Muslims in fasting for the day and then gathered at sunset to break the fast by first eating a date and then praying before their meal. Photo: Keelin Daly / Stamford Advocate
Amidst the 'debate' over the building of a Ground Zero Mosque in NYC, I have to point out that the Muslim population in the USA has a 'PUBLICITY PROBLEM' of GARGANTUAN PROPORTIONS.
Heaven knows Catholics, Christians, Jews, Mormons, Hindus, Scientologists, Christian Scientists, The Salvation Army, Buddhists, pagans, Wiccans and others have had their own PESKY PUBLICITY PROBLEMS. They did what they needed to do: they addressed things openly and in good faith, generally allowing the 'better angels' of American citizens to prove just how much we value the concept of 'freedom of religion'.
But Islam as it is practiced in the United States today has a real problem. They really DO need a good 'PUBLIC RELATIONS PERSON' to help clean up their image, tune-up their 'SENSITIVITY meter' and--while they're at it--start addressing some of the apparent 'STICKING POINTS' based on the Quran, upon which the very lives of the mosque builders are based.
This is logical, isn't it?
Hasn't the Catholic church 'dealt with' it's pedophilia problems?
Haven't the progressive-lib Dem Protestants dealt with their obsessive lobbying for all things LGBT in the face of more traditional hetero-oriented marriage-minded people?
Haven't the Jews in America had to address the 'perception that they run certain industries' and what to do with Palestine?
Why, yes, they have. Even the Hare Krishnas had to deal with airport and bells and flowers issues in years past...AND THEY DID IT!
This brings us back to Muslims in America and their p.r. problem. There is scant 'reaching out' BY THEM and unusually scant OPEN DEBATE by non-Muslims. Why this is so is central to the current Muslim p.r. problem itself, that is: Islam is a religion that INTIMIDATES it's detractors.
It seems like Islam is the only religion in the modern world--and even in America--where people who ordinarily have opinions on everything simply CLAM UP.
Maybe they have that 'cartoonist' in mind. Maybe they are afraid of terrorists.
When Bibles, American flags and effigies of American officials are burned here and overseas, it's 'OKAY'. But why is it that when it comes to Muslim affairs, everyone either CLAMS UP or gives Muslims a hardy thumbs-up?
I'm not saying that I condone the burning of the Quran any more than I would advocate the burning of ANY sacred texts, as it is just 'disrespectful'. Also, the 'PRAGMATIC CHRISTIAN AMERICAN' in me allows me the SELF-CONTROL to not go 'ballistic' each and every time something 'I like' is disrespected. I consider the source, pray on it and give it to God.
But in tune with the neo-pro-Muslim movement in America today by well-intentioned and somewhat misguided Americans, all of a sudden a Quran-burning-scenario reaches the level of a national security breach. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/09/08/national/main6846316.shtml
YES those idiots overseas will be inflamed and we should know better than to feed their flames of hate with our own flames. So Reverend Terry Jones, if you are reading this, PLEASE 86 your scheduled 9/11 Quran Burning! In a world of hurt and pain, you will only be adding to it and to the detriment of our people overseas, to boot.
http://www.leatherneck.com/dougkidd/index.htmlA religion of intimidation is anathema to all things American. Whether it's Quran/American Flag/Effigy burning or jamming a NYC Ground Zero Mosque down our throats, there is no excuse for 'bullying in the name of religion'.
As for American Muslims (I'm assuming all the players here are not illegal aliens or anything, of course) if you REALLY want to FOSTER UNDERSTANDING, you should REACH OUT to your non-Muslim brothers and sisters in a non-threatening way.
Muslims in America should APPEAL to Americans if they wish to assimilate here, not the other way around. They need to soundly CONDEMN radical, anti-American Muslims in a way that is unequivocal. They need to be sensitive to our hurts and needs pertaining to Sept 11 and acknowledge our loss and they need to console us.
I'm not the dullest bulb in the pack, but to this day I have seen very little of the above coming from the Muslim community here. What I HAVE seen and heard is a list of what WE, as non-Muslim Americans MUST DO in order to accommodate THEM.
One needn't be a theologian to realize that something is very wrong here.
At the very least, Muslims in America need to answer questions about their activities in a truthful, verifiable way, just as other religions have. You'd think this would be a priority of Imam's everywhere and especially with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, but it isn't.
Most of all, remember that 'Freedom of Religion' means ALL religions in America, and not just Islam. And don't forget that American's have every right in the world to be atheists and agnostics, as well. Live and let live and all that, our 'dear American Muslim friends'.
Perhaps the NYC Ground Zero Cordoba could even take the lead from the Obama Presidential Campaign and launch a 'SMEARS' site to debunk all the MISINFORMATION they say is out there. I'd sure like to see a 'non-Muslim-friendly' place like that to ILLUMINATE those of us who may be MISINTERPRETING or MISSING something.
I'd like to see a site where MISCONCEPTIONS of these mosque builders are addressed, one of which is the Islamic practice of TAQIYA or TAQIYYA, which throws a 'monkey-wrench' into discussions even with the best of intentions.
Plainly put, the Quran allows for lying under certain situations, it is said. I'm sorry, but I just do not know any other way to 'define' what I have learned about TAQIYYA.
Coming from a faith perspective which so reviles any and all things related to 'lying' (indeed, Satan, himself, is called a 'liar and the father of all lies', "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44 (NIV)
In a quest for clarity, I present you with two opposing 'views' of Taqiyya: Wikipedia's version and then an Muslim 'apologist's' version. If you really want the full-flavor of this debate, you might even want to just 'google' snopes+taqiyya. Here's a LINK: http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=snopes%2Btaqiyya&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=snopes%2Btaqiyya&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=a863cfd0acf68c3
YOU can decide for yourself just WHAT TO BELIEVE or NOT BELIEVE as far as the testimony and deportment of those who espouse what Islam is or is not or may be.
YOU can decide whether the Imam who is building the NYC Ground Zero Mosque is being fully truthful.
YOU can decide whether certain so-called 'Pro-Muslim Interfaith Outreach' efforts are the real deal, or if one or all parties are abusing the spiritual 'generosity' of America citizens for their own personal gains.
I treasure the fact that God has set such very high standards for His CHRISTIAN SAINTS. Indeed, the BEST and BRAVEST have been martyred for refusing to BEAR FALSE WITNESS. It doesn't make for an easy life, necessarily, such 'TRUTHFULNESS'...but it sure does provide one with a good night's sleep in this shaky world today.
I pray that the Muslims who are at the center of so much discord, strife and argument in the United States of America today are like-minded. I've already written that they've dropped off the radar in Southwestern CT after September 11, 2001.
How telling that nine years later they are now suddenly REAPPEARING and causing CONTROVERSY all over the place. For a religion supposedly so very interested in 'PEACE', I find it very curious that all they have wrought so far is discord.
We're not about to get a handle on things any time soon, except to realize that 'majority American public opinion' doesn't mean anything to those determined to build the Ground Zero Mosque.
Scripture tells us--those of us who are Christian and Jewish, anyway--that 'even the elect will be deceived' in this time in history, "24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time." Mt 24:24-25 (NIV)
I am not suggesting that NYC's Mayor Blumberg is one of the Jewish 'elect', except in the sense that he has been a pretty sharp Mayor for the city.
But perhaps the Scripture verse above is yet applicable to him as far as his 'to-date' strident, adamant and unrelenting advocacy of the NYC Ground Zero Mosque and all things pertaining to it. I like to be able to 'make allowances' for people I like and 'trust' whenever they fly in the face of what the bulk of the populace is so solidly AGAINST (in this case that darnfangled Ground Zero Mosque, again). Clearly we will have to be patient as events play out. Until such time as we 'non-Muslim Americans' can finally discern the real truth, here are two 'takes' on a very, VERY serious subject. That subject is the Quran's apparent permission to be less than truthful in dealing with the non-Muslim world, especially:
FIRST: WIKIPEDIA (everyone believes them, don't they?)
Taqiya is the Islamic practice of precautionary dissimulation whereby believers may conceal their Muslim faith when under threat, persecution or compulsion. The term taqiyya (تقیه) (pronounced as tagiyeh by speakers of Iranian Persian; alternate spelling taqiya) is derived from the Arabic triliteral root waw-qaf-ya, denoting "piety, devotion, uprightness, and godliness",.
Origin of the Practice
The practice of concealing one’s faith in dangerous circumstances originates in the Qur’an itself, which deems blameless those who disguise their beliefs in such cases . The practice of taqiyya in difficult circumstances is considered legitimate by Muslims of various persuasions. Sunni and Shi’i commentators alike observe that Q 16:106 in particular refers to the case of ‘Ammar b. Yasir, who was forced to renounce his beliefs under physical duress and torture.
Ayatollah Sistani describes the concept of taqiyya as follows:
1) Taqiyya is done for reasons of safety. For example, a person may fear that he might be killed or harmed if he does not observe taqiyya. In this case, taqiyya is obligatory.
2) Reconciliatory taqiyya. The purpose of this type of taqiyya is to reconcile with the other side or to soften their hearts. This kind of taqiyya is permissible but not obligatory.
3) Sometimes, taqiyya may cause a more important obligation to be lost or missed; if so it is forbidden. For example, when I know that silence would cause oppression and infidelity to spread and will make people go astray, in such a situation it is not permissible to be silent and to dissimulate.
4) Sometimes, taqiyya may lead to the death of an innocent person; if so, it is not permissible. It is therefore haram (forbidden) to kill a human being to save your own life.[citation needed
READ THE REST HERE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqiyya
And then we have an Islamic view: By Sheila Musaji
The Taqiyya Libel Against Muslims - updated 5/30/2010 Taqiyya actually refers to a controversial minority doctrine or dispensation that allows for an individual to conceal their faith when under threat, persecution or compulsion. Even those who believe that taqiyyah is possible under such circumstances place severe limits on the possibility and see it as an option that represents “the lesser of two evils”. The possibility of using taqiyya even in a situation where you are endangered is not accepted by all scholars or schools of law.
READ THE REST HERE: http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_taqiyya_libel_against_muslims/0014285
You must draw your OWN conclusions about all this, dear readers.
Fr. Fleger & Minister Farrakhan--talk about a 'P.R. Problem'As for myself, a 22+ year member of the United Church of Christ--the Obama/Wright church--I always DID have my doubts about 'just how former as a Muslim' Reverend Jeremiah Wright really is. And Reverend Wright's apparent AFFINITY for the NATION OF ISLAM http://www.noi.org/ , Minister Louis Farrakhan and Col. Kaddafi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muammar_al-Gaddafi fuels my doubting.
I'm no Islamic scholar, but I always did believe from what I have learned that 'once a Muslim, always a Muslim'. It is my understanding that anyone who attempts to divest themselves of their Muslim heritage is considered to be 'apostate'.
Reverend Jeremiah Wright, UCC: Is He or Isn't He?How did Rev. Jeremiah Wright get away with it???
I also wonder about President Obama. I wonder who or what gave this fellow--clearly born of and raised by a couple of Muslim 'dad's'--how he got away with throwing off HIS Islamic mantle.
Well, maybe I just don't get things because I am but a lowly woman. No one like me is worth listening to anyway--a 'truth' I suspect any NYC Ground Zero Mosque Imam or Stamford Sharia lawyer would surely agree with.
I gave it my best and now you can decide.
In the Truth of Christ,
Reverend Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"