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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Love is a challenge

I have to-day received an email from a friend. It is absolute drivel. I publish it below with my comments interpolated.

Have you ever thought -- Is Australian Moslem really an oxymoron? Can a devout Moslem be an Australian and a loyal citizen?
I forwarded that question to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 >years. The following is his forwarded reply:
"Theologically, no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon god of Arabia.
Mmmmm..... Don't know about the moon god bit but how do we interpret Islamic acceptance of Abraham, Moses, Jesus? How do we tally this up against a God (whom Christians and Jews worship) who is known as God of the Mountains (El Shaddai) and Lord of Armies (that's what Lord of Hosts means - not to mention various warlike characteristics that can be drawn from the Old Testament).
Religiously, no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except Islam (Quran, 2:256)
Jesus said: "I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) So where are modern Christians in all this as they inhabit a pluralist society? How does this statement of Jesus' inform our discourse with Jews, Buddhists inter alia....and yes Muslims?
Scripturally, no Because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam and the Quran (Koran).
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, back in 1960, became the first Catholic elected to the US Presidency. Questions were asked during the campaign, (these same questions, I might add, had prevented previous Catholic hopefuls from running for the highest American office) concerning his allegiance to the Pope in Rome. Such questions by Christians have been used to discriminate against fellow Christians who own the name of Christ. Why should we believe, as we read this, that this statement is on any firmer ground than the Christian discriminators were.
Geographically, no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.
And the sun doesn't set on the British empire; and every night at 7pm at the RSL a light shines and a little prayer is said; and some Christians stand to pray, some sit, some kneel; some join their hands, some raise their hands. and some fold their arms. I am reminded of a saying of an old Pentecostal lady who was a friend of mine in younger days: It's not the position. It's the disposition that counts. And, tell me again, what this has to do with citizenship?
Socially, no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.
Well - one thing is for sure. We now know that the person who wrote this drivel has never travelled (even if he did work in S/Arabia for 20 years, it is clear he did not move beyond his European enclave) in Africa or Asia. There is a long history of Jews, Christians, and Moslems living peaceably in their communities. To give an indication of this, I have attached a document by the distinguished writer and historian William Dalrymple. Here is a link to William Dalrymple's home page. Here is the entry for William Dalrymple in Wikipedia.
Politically, no. Because he must submit to the mullah (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America, the great Satan.
As a Christian, I am required to submit to spiritual leadership.
Now can we know which mullah, which Moslem community, which Muslim denomination. Just like us peaceful, wise, and non-warlike Christians, there are many denominations/theological schools/communities within the Islamic tradition. Their teachings (unlike we unified Christians) are not universally the same.
Domestically, no. Because he is instructed to marry four women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34).
Oh, you mean that, like the Patriachs of the Old Testament, they may have more than one wife not like men in Christian societies who have one wife, one mistress, and some one night stands. And you mean women are beaten there like in Christian societies - many of whom are killed along with their children. Oh, you forgot to mention, that unlike women in Christian societies until the late 20th century, women entering marriage under Islamic law have economic rights. In fact, the Islamic community in Australia would like to have the Family Court of Australia recognise this in family law. Not mentioning those facts was a bit of a slip up.
Intellectually, no. Because he cannot accept the Australian Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.
Well, I almost doubled up with laughter at this one. Because one thing that the writers of the Australian Constitution were very careful to do was to keep any hint, smell or taint of religion out of the document. In fact, it is clear that our informants have never read the Australian Constitution otherwise they would know that the major concerns of the document have to do with commerce and the balance of power between six colonies (for here think individual nations in all but name) in bringing them into one nation. In case any one hasn't noticed, the colonies still get really stroppy and their relationships and their relationship with the Commonwealth of Australia have to be sorted out by the High Court of Australia. I have never heard anybody suggest that the High Court is a biblical body or that its decisions are based on the Bible or that they interpret the Constitution with the Bible in one hand and the Constitution in the other. In fact, I can think of a few decisions which were completely unbiblical.
Philosophically, no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co - exist.
Mmmm...Clearly all that lack of teaching of history that Australian schools are accused of is catching up. Christians have never been good on freedom of religion and expression until recent times. I am 62, was brought up in a pre-Vatican II Irish-Catholic-Australian tradition, and had a very Irish name which gave my religion away immediately. This does not raise an eyebrow these days. In fact, there's a certain cachet to such a heritage. But when I was growing up, religious bigotry was alive and well between Protestant and Catholics. Look at the history of the Queensland Police Force where there are historic divisions between Catholic and Masons. This was why Ray Whitrod had to leave the Qld Police Force. He was neither Catholic nor Mason : he was a Baptist. I could go on with the way Peter Hollingworth was vilified by the secular press when he accepted the appointment of Governor-General (keep this separate from what came later). And I am of the view that if the Chamberlains had been Anglican instead of Seventh Day Adventist their story would have been very different. As for democracy: well, democracy for whom? Could go on ad infinitum ad nauseam about this. Just suffice to say that The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills says it - even though it was written about the US of fifty years ago. It is a sociological classic about who controls what and how much and it informs the Australian milieu as well.
Every Moslem government is either dictatorial or autocratic.
Yeah. I know some of them are not attractive - to say the least. And yes I would like to see democratic institutions and universal suffrage. But have a look around democracies and tell me if there is a complete absence of dictators and autocrats and dictatorial and autocratic actions. This will be a shoo-in for Queenslanders to answer.
Spiritually, no. Because when we declare "one nation under God," the Christian's God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in the Quran's 99 excellent names."
Now it becomes clear (as if it couldn't be figured out before this point). The answer is not from an Australian but from a citizen of the United States of America. You see only citizens of the USA refer to "one nation under God". SO-O-O please go back to the beginning and put this in your mind. As for the Christian's God being loving and kind - well there are a few other descriptions in the Bible. A reading of God - a biography by Jack Miles would shed a little light on this. Read about Jack Miles here and here.
Therefore after much study and deliberation.... Perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MOSLEMS in this country. They obviously cannot be both "good" Moslems and good Australians. Call it what you's still The truth.
If you find yourself intellectually in agreement with the above statements, perhaps you will share this with your friends. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future.The religious war is bigger and more complex than most Australians currently know or understand.

This drivel smells very much of stuff that comes from the Australia First Party and its associates. . You will note their involvement in the Cronulla riots and, more recently, drumming up racism against refugees in Tamworth. Moslems are like Christians. Each has their share of those who we would rather not own as citizens. In fact, most Moslems do not share the above views. Not all Moslems have plural marriage and nor do they all scourge their wives. One could go on. I would draw people's attention to a book that has been on must read lists for a while now A Short History of Islam by Karen Armstrong. You can read about Armstrong here and here.
We serve a risen Lord. His way is straight and narrow and we are to follow in His footsteps. He has given us two commandments. How does the above tally up with these. Where is the love? Where is the mercy? Where is "yourself"?
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets