how the world sees america

American Finds Islam in Jail; Moves to Saudi Arabia

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London - “Bin Laden Wins the Nobel Peace Prize!” bellows Mohammad Dawud. In Hyde Park’s famous “speakers’ corner,” sub-tabloid headlines write themselves. Individuals stand atop stools and shout for hours, competing with one another for crowds of listeners.

In the cacophony, Mohammad's voice caught my ear: an American's! That accent sticks out anywhere. I approached Mohammad gingerly as he preached to a crowd of a dozen about the incompatibility of Sharia law and democracy, waiting for him to finish and dying to hear his story. It was worth hanging around for.

Mohammad was born in London in 1958 to a British Jamaican mother and American father, but left when he was 2 years old for the Bronx, New York, where he spent most of his young life. He went to college at Howard University in DC where he studied Public Administration, but he didn’t graduate. Funds fell through.

After that he “made some wrong decisions, was arrested for attempted armed robbery and burglary, and spent the next seven years in jail. In a federal penitentiary in North Carolina, Mohammad found Islam.

Among Vietnam and Korean War vets, many of whom were "unruly" and unstable, the Muslim men stood out. They were “quite well educated” with “amazing character” and good conduct. Mohammad wanted to become a Muslim like them; their example inspired him, he says. After leaving jail and spending three years on parole, Muhammad left for Saudi Arabia where he attended university on a full scholarship.

Mohammad "felt at home" under Saudi Arabia's Islamic law even though “growing up in secular society, I was at first shocked culturally.”

Mohammad came out of university speaking Arabic, moved to Damascus, Syria to attend Adab College and then to Morocco for further study. He says he can’t tell me who funded him because he must “protect the people who sponsored me.” He explains: a lot of those people “aren’t friends with my government, America, and America is not friends with them.” Soberly, he assures me: “Because of September 11th, I have less support for my studies. There is a phobia…” of supporting Muslim imams-in-training. His personal goal is to return to the West as an imam to preach.

His broader goal is to see Islamic Sharia law spread around the world. He's happy with "pockets of Sharia" within the U.S. but “If we can take America, then why not?” I ask him whether democracy could potentially accomplish the same ends as Sharia law but through a different means.

His response, as you see in the video, is that correct behavior cannot come without correct beliefs -- either because the temptation to break rules is so great, or because without belief, the humanistic "package would not be complete.” But then why Islam, I asked? To this he said Islam was not necessarily the sole solution. Conservative Christians were “natural allies” in America -- pushing for an end to abortion, a ban on gay marriage, and an emphasis on family values. Unfortunately, they might also tend to support a more aggressive U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

A young man named Munir Ahmad at the Active Change Foundation spent hours with me last week arguing over the inevitable tension between secular democracy (underpinned by Christian ideals, he said) and a humanist, Islamic way of life. He accused America of having inadequate belief structures to withstand mounting global pressures. Islam, he says, provides a “total way of life” and “one true path.” “This threatens Bush and much of America,” Munir said. He continued, it's our "connection and purpose" that frightens America. They "attack us" for "our faith." I thought: what a strange echo of how American politicians often describe the conflict with terrorists: “They hate us for our values, our freedom.”

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Comments (23)

Steve from Ohio:

Too many people don't have a clue what Islam teaches.
All too often your average American thinks that Islam is basically Christianity with Mohammed substituted for Jesus Christ.
After that they think every thing is about the same, i.e. believe in Jesus and go to heaven or believe in Mohammed and go to heaven.
But everything is radically different.

The primary thrust of Christianity is to know God and to know him personally. As we know Him we are then compelled from love for Him to do good works that are associated with Christianity. But every one that has studied Christianity for ten minutes knows that the good works will not save you.

Islam stresses you can not know God(Allah) personally. God is far too vast and unknowable. Mohammed teaches that since you can't know him, the best you can do is to obey him.
Thus the Muslim is trying to earn his salvation through his good works. Islam teaches that on Judgment day your good deeds and your bad deeds are going to be weighed and if your bad deeds out weigh you good you are sent to Hell. You won't know until you get to judgment if you will make it to heaven.
Mohammed himself taught that he was not sure if he would obtain entry into Paradise.
Imposing Shari law would be considered a good deed, thus this is why this man wants to impose it on others.

Sadly some schools of Islam teach that dying in jihad is your one guaranteed entry into Paradise and this is why there are so many Muslims willing to die as terrorists and suicide bombers.

Trying to earn your way into heaven is like trying bride Bill Gates with a nickel!
God lets you into Heaven as a free gift for your faith in Jesus Christ. You could never earn or buy anything from Him.

SAIMA :

Dear Sir / Madam

I am 46 years old, Canadian citizen and native of Pakistan (muslim). I was an immigration consultant in Canada and also member of Canadian Bar Association as part of my business , I had an office in New York.
During 2001 immediately after the Sept 11, event the US govt arrested me on Oct 25, 2001 on anonymous call, as a material witness for the 9/11 world trade centre terrorist attack. A detail investigation by the FBI and USA Naval intelligence dept was conducted and I was cleared, but even then govt put me in front of Grand jury , and I was cleared and the case was dismissed by the Grand jury of the US Federal Court .
Approximately after 2 weeks , before I was released from custody the US Govt imposed a new charges of Fraud and money laundering , under the advice of my attorney , I pleaded guilty and I was sentenced to prison for five years (which was four years more, what I pleaded). In which I had already spent 3 years in Detention jail, during the case , I had about 14 months left to finishing my sentence ,(instead of appealing, I preferred to applied for Treaty Transfer to Canada, because if the case is in the appeal, defendant is not eligible for transfer back to his home country).
While at prison, I learned from the case manager Miss Hause, that my citizen was incorrect in the FBOP’s (Federal Bureau of Prison) computer system as Pakistani instead of Canadian.
Its important to note , that all of my Canadian identifications (passport , citizenship card , S.I.N , Health card , Driving license etc) were under FBI’s possession, with a great deal of concern, I wrote a letter to the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo, N.Y to notify such mistake and requested them to fix this problem. This is especially important for Treaty Transfer back to Canada.
The Canadian Consulate official sent a letter to the jail to correct my citizenship status, however FBOP ignored the request and the citizenship status in the FBOP computer still reflect Pakistani instead of Canadian (Note:- I would be required to obtain visa to visit Pakistan) .In contrast , the deportation letter received from US Immigration dept, Contained the correct citizenship status of Canada.
At the hindsight, I believe that the FBOP intentionally left the citizenship as Pakistani, so that they could retained me at their facility, while the govt is planning to file new charges against me 3rd time.
Approximately six weeks before my released date on Jan 30 ,2006 I was notified by the FBOP that I was being transferred from Allenwood , PA to MDC (Metropolitan Detention Centre) in Brooklyn N.Y, it was explained to me, that the purpose of this transfer was in preparation for deportation back to Canada, (after few days, I signed the immigration deportation papers, with my consular Miss Chen).
But immediately after my arriving to MDC Brooklyn, I discovered during a phone call with my family in Montreal, that RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) official had contacted my sister and brother-in-law regarding the whereabouts of my wife and my current situation, there was no explanation given by the RCMP official to the purpose of the call and he left his phone number and asked my wife to call him back immediately, my wife called the RCMP official and left messages in his voice mail. Then the official contacted my brother-in-law again and had asked him to tell my wife not to call again, because there is nothing good nor anything bad.
Meanwhile the AUSA ( Astt United States Attorney) office Investigator and FBI brought me to their office to be interrogated without an attorney present, even AUSA told in the court to the judge on March 16, 2006 that he arranged attorney for me before my arrival from Allenwood PA to MDC Brooklyn, N.Y, on Transcript; page 11, Transcript line No: 14 to 23.
AUSA:-
He (Khalid Awan) was writ in the cause of a grand jury investigation. He clearly had criminal exposure. So to protect his interest I made an application to the duty magistrate for counsel to be appointed.
THE COURT:-
Initially he was brought here by a Court to testify before the grand jury?
AUSA:-
That is correct, Your Honour.
THE COURT:-
When he arrived here, you made arrangements for an attorney to be pointed to request him?
AUSA:-
Yes, Your Honour.
This interrogation started with the AUSA office Investigator stating that my family will be arrested in Canada if I refused to answer their questions.
At this point I am certain that my family is in great danger for reasons that I am not aware of. I was scared that my family would be harassed by these people along with the Canadian RCMP official, I strongly believe that the RCMP is doing this intentionally in collaboration with FBI official to further harass me to admit charges, that I never committed.
Without knowledge of the reasons why the Canadian RCMP agency was involved. I was surprised that RCMP official directly approached my family instead of me without proper explanation, and its also shocked for me, that how RCMP got the phone number of my family (because before my arrest, I don’t have any single record in any police dept, of any country).
I was intimated and pushed to the edge during this interrogation, I was determined to provide anything these USA officials wanted to make them happy even is the questions made no sense, because I want them to stop the harassment to my family.
On March 15, 2006 I completed the term of my imprisonment and was to be released from American Custody and deported back to Canada. Before that I was arrested again 3rd time, and charged with providing “material support to a foreign terrorist” and money laundering (to a organization and person, which are not designated by the USA govt and belongs to Sikh religion) , and with whom, I don’t have any single common interest, because we both are from different countries and different religions.
These charges emerged while I was still in prison and without the capability of providing any type of support. It was even difficult for me to get enough financial assistance to pay legal fees. I could not have provided any material support while I was in prison for five years and I could not launder any money because I did not have any.
AUSA filed three counts of indictment against me.
Conspiracy to provide material support.
Provide a material support to the foreign terrorist.
Money laundering to support terrorism.
(Please note, that in my previous case govt charged me for money laundering and fraud from Jan 1999 to 2002 and “its mentioned in the plea-agreement by the AUSA that no further money laundering charges will be brought against defendant from Jan 1999 to April 2002” even then govt indict me for money laundering from 1998 to Nov 2001 (Which is double Jeopardy and violation of 5th Amendment of U.S Constitution.)
In Oct 2006, during pre-trial hearing on the motion’s filed by my attorney the first two counts of my indictment were dismissed by the judge, stating that there is a lack of facts and figures.
After two weeks AUSA re-indicted me again. I believe this is a desperate act of the AUSA to cover up a huge embarrassment . Further this hastily drawn indictment was full of factual errors and creative legal theories.
Since I was first arrested by the American govt, I believe that I have been singled out, isolated `and discriminated against primarily because of my race and religion, in addition to the fact that I don’t know any information that the American govt is trying to pressure out of me.
I do not understand the American laws and this is what led to my pleading guilty in the first case. I have difficulty understanding the new charges also.
I have been charged under, section 2339(a) of Title 18 of the United States code, which makes it illegal to provide material support to a foreign terrorist.
Please understand, I am not a terrorist, I do not know any terrorist and I have had no connections with or to any known or unknown terrorist. I have been incarcerated for last 5 years and I had no money to provide or launder.
The law enforcement have in America is pressuring me to provide information to them that I really do not have or know. I am a Canadian Citizen and nearly all of my family is in Canada, including my wife and kids. I don’t know any information to tell them to help their investigation.
Because of this , I am being treated unfairly and my rights under the American constitution are being violated. I am being held here in further detention against my will for crimes which I could have never committed, because I was in prison.
I believe, that I am a victim of the discrimination that was outlined in the July 3, 2006 issue of Time magazine (Page 29, column 3). In this article section 2339(a) & (b) are discussed and criticized “as most suspects are charged under these two sections. However, the justice dept here in America admits that of the more than 218 guilty pleas that it has obtained, most are for minor investigation issues that are uncovered deeding the course of their terrorism investigation. This suggest, according to the article that the Attorney General’s office have is not concerned about the rights or fairness or the manner in which it achieves convictions for the people they arrest. Furthermore, criticizes have noted that one of the patterns to emerge from these domestic prosecutions is that suspect seen too incompetent to carry out the deeds they are accused of. The Deputy Attorney General acknowledges that the Dept of Justice’s goal is “ preventions through prosecution’s” and this is done with no regard for an individual’s rights.
I agree that these guilty of terrorism should be prosecuted . But as the above mentioned article suggest , innocent people should not be targeted because of their race or religion.
I am not a terrorist and I should not be targeted and treated unfairly and unjustly.
I need your assistance desperately in my case, as I believe that I am being treated unjustly here. I would like to send you my attorney’s contact information and provide you with legal documents related to my case, so that you may become more familiar with my situation.
Please also note, that I appeared in the court , for no guilty of my 2nd superseding indictment on Aug 02, 2006 and on Aug 03, 2006 FBOP officials placed me in the SHU (Segregation Housing Unit) out of these months, I placed in the SHU isolation from Jan 03, 2007 to March 6, 2007 for unknown “Pending Investigation” in these 215 days of my segregation and isolation, I don’t have a single phone call access to my family, no legal calls to my attorney and Canadian Council, my legal mail opened in my absence, no medical treatment for my injured shoulder (even I went for hunger strike for 3 and half day) I harassed by the various jail officials and lot of other problems too which already been submitted in the attention of the FBOP higher authorities, but no action taken on them, after writing the court, instead of receiving the response or any action on my complaints, jail officials removed /moved me from MDC federal facility to Nassau County Jail .
My suffering has gone on for far too long, and I need your help to bring my suffering to an end. I want to return home to my family, because my imprisonment was injustice and will remain a great injustice forever.
May God bless you and be with you in your efforts to champion the cause of human rights, and the suffering of innocent prisoners and restore hope, faith and love to peoples all over the world.

Sincerely,
KHALID AWAN
FBOP NO. 50959-054

http://www.bloglines.com/search?q=khalid+awan&ql=en&s=f&pop=l&news=m

Steve Gregg:

Mohammad's dream of converting America to Islam and converting our democracy to sharia law is nuts. It's also pretty arrogant, standard for Muslims, for him to think non-Muslim Americans should be third class citizens under Sharia law with no rights that Muslims are bound to respect.

Sharia law is medieval junk, one of the worst ways to organize society, as proven by the long list of failed and dysfunctional Muslim countries. While Islamic evangelism is on the march at the moment, it is not thriving because Islam is inherently appealing (it is distinctly not) but rather because Saudi petrodollars are propelling it. There's just not a chance in hell that Americans are going to give up our freedoms to submit to Muslim slavery in a sharia state.

Lastly, Mohammed's idea that Osama Bin Laden deserves a Nobel Peace Prize marks him as a hateful idiot of the highest order.

Anti-Christ:

I find it interesting that so many commenters find it necessary to equate some sort of equivalency between this guy and Christian "extremists". Never any names or quotes of who is the equivalent. We are all supposed to just know about those Jesusfreaks.

In the 20th century the single largest killer was Communism with a death toll of about 70 million. They happened to be Atheists. Perhaps it is something baout people and not religion itself.

There are about 20 million evangelicals in the US - there are bound to be some wackadoos among that size a population. I think you will find that the majority of them and the Christian population in general reject the extremists in their midst. You never heard Bishops and Cardinals praising abortion clinic bombers. The last one of which was in 1996 and I remember a Cardinal saying if you have to kill somone over this please kill him.

I am also quite confused as to who or where the political alliance between the Christian right and Islamic folk could be. As far as I can tell the closest political allies of the Sharia types have been radical lefties.

That being said, the guy in the video is onto somehting. I hated the prohabition of the 1960's. Love, peace, and speakeasys. I remember Al Capone and the rest of the Chicago Eight taking it to the streats. Heh.

TaskerFive:

Sharia Islam and ultra conservative Christianity do have their similarities, but are mutually exclusive due to their general xenophobia. That's a good thing.

These "Christian" groups' influence are on the decline in the US along with the influence of the GOP in general. People are getting tired of the shrillness of their arguments. Anybody who believes any form of religious law could ever take root in America, has probably never been here.

Inmates finding Islam in prison is an old story, we have had the 5% Nation of Islam forever, long before people began paying attention to the word "Islam". People find all forms of religion in prison, as a way to escape, if only spiritually, the realities of physical confinement and inject meaning into their wasted lives.

Jesus:

WWJD? Dan asks. I wouldn't do anything to broker peace in the Middle East, just like I told the leaders of Israel to pay the Romans their taxes. I didn't come here for political/military disputes. I'm only interested in souls. People should not look to me to solve their divisions, I only give them an example to live by and advice that they can apply to their lives and hope they take it to heart.

CSA:

One benefit of linking the Islamists with the Christian Right is that it will open the eyes of many on the left who are incapable of condemning any of the daily excesses of Islam in their tunnel-vision, anti-Bush hysteria. News flash: when Bush leaves office, the Sharia suicide crowd will still be out there. And surely what they have an abundance of is nihilistic, post-adolescent, potential 'martyrs' hopelessly incapable of competing in a 21st century world.

Any notion of instituting sharia in America will demonstrate what 100 million plus gun owners are all about. A debate may go forward in established media outlets about the relative merits of the Islamist world view versus the Christian world view. No such debate will go on in the rest of the country.

Dan:

The tragedy, as already astutely noted, is that doctrinal Christianity and Islam are fundamentally peaceful. WWJD? JC would probably be brokering peace between Fatah and Hamas right now, then between Palestine and Israel, then in the wider middle-east, perhaps even stopping off in Africa to stop its various minor continuing genocides. If you think he'd be riding in on the back of armoured divisions you simply do not understand the guy.

What would Mohammed do? Well, let's be honest, he was no averse to military action nor was he a tactical fool. He'd recognise that the Muslim world lacks the military capability to take on the West in a conventional war, and he probably wouldn't say "well it's actually okay for the Israelis to have their plot of Earth, and the West to go on disrespecting Allah's words: I can deal with that" - so he might well conclude a campaign of terror was the only solution. That is unless he decided the lives and happiness of his followers, their lives and happiness on this earth that is, were more important that than protecting the reputation of Allah and Allah's book. If he began from that premise: that protecting the reputation of Islam amongst those who don't follow it, is not worth the immense human cost of a campaign of terror, he would join JC on his quest for peace. Alas, the Koran makes quite clear that life on Earth is but a shadow, and wholly irrelevant in comparison with every individual's life in the afterlife and utterly irrelevant in comparison with the mere reputation of Allah, with even his name. That said, I'm neither an Islamic scholar nor an empath so I would happily be contradicted.

A belief system will not create peace just because one of its many creeds purports to promote peace. A deeper, overarching creed is needed. In order for peace to be guaranteed, a system must prioritise human life above all other ends, for if anything is granted priority over human life it must, as a matter of elementary logic, be acceptable, even mandated is some circumstances to sacrifice an unlimited quantity of life in order to protect that thing. Whether it be God, your Profit, or your own afterlife, if there is something more valuable than human life, human life will be sacrificed whenever it has to be. Indeed, if the belief system makes that thing sufficiently important, makes that thing the most important of all objectives - the very purpose of being alive - then followers of that system will, on occasion, sacrifice themselves and destroy everything around them with glee in seeking it. It's not enough to say: "be peaceful amongst yourselves, and most of the time with others". It's exactly like saying "don't murder your neighbour, unless you really really want to."

ottie:

That's all we need: collaboration between fundamentalist Muslims and hardshell conservative Christians. Fortunately, the ideas they share seem to divide them. For example, they all dream of spreading their own brands of zealotry throughout the world by force of arms -- an historically tried and true Muslim attribute, one the Christian "dominionists" wish to emulate by capturing the American state and putting U.S. theocratic firepower in God's service worldwide against unbelievers, Muslims included. If Armageddon results, so much the better. Remember belligerent General Boykin, the Pentagon's pious Middle East intelligence chief, who stated his belief that we are fighting "Satan" in Arab lands and "My God is bigger than your god"? Note how deeply backward strains of Christian fanaticism have penetrated the Pentagon's military leadership? For more on Christian "dominionism", see Chris Hedges' book, "American Fascism". Fascism, said Huey Long, will come to America in the form of a Cross draped with the Flag. Hedges argues we must oppose the "dominionists" as stoutly as we resist the radical Muslim fringe. Both imperil the Republic and civil order in comparable ways. Both lead us back toward a darker age.

Rob:

The very idea or implementation of sharia law in America is unacceptable and unnecessary, violating the First Amendment which specifically spell out there shall be no law establishing or prohibiting a religion. Sharia law is also incompatible with the diversity and multicultural, multi-religious levels in the American society. Frankly, it would certainly invite conflict from other religious and atheist/secular groups who may feel threatened by the encroachment of Islamic sharia laws by Muslims who believe it is to be above all of man's laws, including the U.S. Constitution or the Bible.

The obsession and zealotry of Islamic and Christian radicals, as well as the radicals from different faiths are the biggest dangers to mankind. People like Mohammad Dawud or John Hagee are typical, preying on the easily impressible people looking for desperate solutions and expected to carry out "martyrdom" actions for misguided rewards. God is not pleased by blood or violence made in His name.

Liberal-minded people or Christian conservatives do not really understand that the real intent of sharia law is to lay down the absolute control and domination of Islam over the entire planet. That's the real danger to freedom and humanity.

Madrone:

He wants to institue Sharia law in America, and wonders why peope have "phobias" against Islam, an less support for Imams in training coming to America?

I don't own a gun, last time I've gotten into a real fight with someone was gradeschool, but if Sharia law was ever instituted in America, I'd be one of the first to take up arms against it.

G K:

All religeon stinks of evil unto fellow man

G K:

All religeon stinks of evil unto fellow man

Forgiven:

I think this post illustrates the failings of man not the failings of God. The people described be they Christian or Muslim are the products of when the zealousness of man meets the secularism of he world. The zealot is the enemy of all true believers because they no longer seek truth, because they believe they have all truth and that everyone else is wrong. They forget that all forms of God seeking the primary message is love for your brother and tolerance. You can't teach someone and kill them, the two are sort of paradoxical. He who claims to kill for God, doesn't really know God...

From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth; from the laziness that is content with half-truths; from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth – oh God of Truth deliver us!— Unknown

The Disputed Truth
http://thedisputedtruth.blogspot.com/

Gabriel Fry:

Yeah, I would be pretty surprised by revolution in the United States. Entropy, maybe, but not revolution. I think there's a libertarian underpinning to the American ethos (read: innate orneriness) that would preclude an overly proscriptive social order, be it Evangelical, Wahhabi, or Seventh Day Adventist. Many people probably don't think of it in those terms, but walk into any trailer-park and announce that the feds are coming, and you'll get more shotguns cocked than teakettles filled.

Dan:

Superb analysis Gabriel: I concur entirely. Needless to say Mohammed's objective is risible - nuclear Armageddon would come long before America fell to externally imposed Sharia law, and no matter how big the prison population, and how high the incidence of conversion become, that particular change will never emerge from within. But again, his analysis is laughable and I have already spilled too much digital ink on it.

Perhaps more interesting is the connection he seeks to make with Conservative Christians. Whilst the American Christian right and Mohammed share the common objective of limiting individual autonomy in order to promulgate their conceptions of 'right living', he is unlikely to prove their welcome bedfellow. And for the rest of us - the decreasingly silent majority - it seems to me, or as our President would so eloquently and persuasively put it "I strongly believe" that we can dismiss the entire corpus of their beliefs as equally narrow, anachronistic and ultimately absurd. Neither Jews, nor homosexuals, nor moderate drinkers nor atheists are evil people. If you cannot begin a discussion from those premises, your opinions simply do not matter.

[Amar: please delete the previous two, accidentally posted posts]

Dan:

Superb analysis Gabriel: I concur entirely. Needless to say Mohammed's objective is risible - nuclear Armageddon would come long before America fell to externally imposed Sharia law, and no matter how big the prison population, and how high the incidence of conversion become, that particular change will never come from within. But again, his analysis is laughable and I have already spilled too much digital ink on it.

Perhaps more interesting is the connection he draws with Conservative Christians. Whilst the American Christian right and Mohammed share the common objective of limiting individual autonomy in order to promulgate their conceptions of 'right living', he is unlikely to prove a welcome bedfellow. And for the rest of us - the decreasingly silent majority - it seems to be, or as our President would so eloquently and persuasively put it "I strongly believe" that we can dismiss the entire corpus of their beliefs and equally narrow, anachronistic and ultimately absurd. Neither Jews, nor homosexuals, nor moderate drinkers nor atheists are evil people. If you cannot begin a discussion from those premises, your opinions simply do not matter.

Dan:

Superb analysis Gabriel: I concur entirely. Needless to say Mohammed's objective is risible - nuclear Armageddon would come long before America fell to externally imposed Sharia law, and no matter how big the prison population, and how high the incidence of conversion become, that particular change will never come from within. But again, his analysis is laughable and I have already spilled too much digital ink on it.

Perhaps more interesting is the connection he draws with Conservative Christians. Whilst the American Christian right and Mohammed share the common objective of limiting individual autonomy in order to promulgate their conceptions of 'right living', he is unlikely to prove a welcome bedfellow. And for the rest of us - the decreasingly silent majority - it seems to be, or as our President would so eloquently and persuasively put it "I strongly believe" that we can dismiss the entire corpus of their beliefs and equally narrow, anachronistic and ultimately absurd. Neither Jews, nor homosexuals, nor moderate drinkers nor atheists are evil people. If you cannot begin a discussion from those premises, your opinions simply do not matter.

Gabriel Fry:

I don't see Islam as being any more violent than other organized monotheists. If you get a group of people trained to take direction and accept ideas and opinions without proof or intellectual scrutiny, and that group comes in contact with other groups who think differently, there will be conflict. Since the central unifiers of those groups are taken on faith, and thus not subject to discussion and debate, negotiation breaks down. Disputes become intractable, resentments fester, and the kind of introspection that would lead to a doubting of one's own moral authority is discouraged by the leadership. Ultimatums are proffered, met with disdain, and violence ensues.

If only someone way back in the Judeo/Christian/Islamic tradition had urged his followers to look to the motes in their own eyes, turn the other cheek, and forbid compulsion in religion, imagine how much violence could have been averted. Oh wait.

Anonymous:

Amar, I can see the converging point between Islam and Consevative Christianity in certain beliefs. But Islam is inherently violent and non-negotiable.

Sam:

Anyone know the conversion rates to Islam in American jails? I hear there's a major trend in this.

Amar:

Kellifa,

I think what's interesting is he is very set on collaborating with conservative Christians to create a religiously-minded America. Whether or not you agree with the vision, some of these interconnections are worth exploring I think.

Kellifa:

A punk who spends time in the joint converts to Islam, the religion of victimhood and violence.
Stay overseas Mohammod #2,234,102. You can't take America and christianity, but Europe will probably lie down for you.

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