On Islam, Diversity, Tolerance, and Human Rights

This week a FBI training manual chapter on terrorism made the news. The story broke via Wired, but was carried by a variety of outlets. The chapter in question reportedly contained anti-Islamic rhetoric. Muslim activists cried foul this week and as a result the material in question was removed. As you sift through the various news outlets and their specific spin on the story, several common themes appear.

Islamic supporters call for tolerance, diversity, and human rights. This is perhaps hypocrisy at its best – claiming one thing and doing another. I’ve done significant research both in bias and non-bias contexts regarding Islam – including dialogues with educated Muslims. These facts remain:

Islam is not a religion of tolerance. If you are a non-Muslim, you are an infidel. Globally, non-Muslims are treated poorly in Muslim cultures. This is documented fact and supported by Islamic teaching and practice. There is no tolerance for teachings of other kinds – specifically Christian or Jewish.

Islam is not a religion that promotes diversity. Diversity is an American core value. In Islam there is no room for diversity. Check out what’s happening in Europe, North Africa, and in the Middle East regions. Muslim groups in Islamic controlled regions particularly and specifically target Christians in hate crimes. There is no freedom of religion in the Islamic dominated culture.

Islam is not a religion that values human rights. There is no doctrine of human rights in Islam. The doctrine of human rights is a western concept – neither taught nor adhered to in Islam. There is no sanctity of human life in Islam.

Here’s my challenge, if you want to influence my perception regarding the reality of Islam, here are a couple of suggestions that would go a long way with me.

Openly and privately promote and practice tolerance of other faiths in Muslim controlled and influenced cultures. I’m going to define tolerance not as accepting differing beliefs as equal and valid as yours, but respecting and protecting the free exercise of one’s faith. Allow and support the practice of the Christian faith where its practice is currently hindered and prohibited. Cry foul and speak out loudly again intolerance practiced by Islamist across the globe. Bring to justice those who would seek to physically harm and intimidate practitioners of non-Islamic faiths.

Openly and privately promote and practice diversity. Instead of trying to convince people of non-existent similarities between Islam and Christianity, point out the differences. While we use similar words the definitions are very different. Muslim outreach efforts deceitfully and knowingly utilize inequitable terminology thus misinforming hearers. I can spend a whole day discussing terms such as God and Messiah. Don’t be afraid of our differences. Islam is a faith built on works and Christianity is a faith built on grace. Ideologically we are very different.

Openly and privately promote and practice human rights globally. Decry its violation is Islamic controlled or influenced cultures. Affirm the rights of women and children. Protect the less fortunate, the disbelievers, and the persecuted. Practice justice for all and seek to secure the rights of every human being.

Interestingly, Islamists are curiously quiet on these issues when they’re called into question. If a Muslim perceives the current culture as intolerant toward Islam, the rhetoric begins to fly. Christians are called hatemongers, intolerant, and even compared to the KKK. Yet, when a Muslim is intolerant of a Christian in a Muslim context, there is silence. Why is that? Islam calls for tolerance in the western context, yet is unwilling to practice it in other contexts. Why is that? Muslims and the educated students of Islam know why. That I will reserve for another post.

I say to the Muslim, “Prove me wrong!” I realize to do so would require you to deny teaching found in your sacred text. Demonstrate for me tolerance, diversity, and human rights. Take the risk! Change!

7 thoughts on “On Islam, Diversity, Tolerance, and Human Rights

  1. Anonymous

    Love this Brad, because we need to learn more about these people.We need to not let them intimidate us. And learn to stop them in their tracks if we can. This I can’t help, but I am so concerned for the Islamic women. So many of them are abused. But all I can do is pray for them for now.
    Dianne H.

  2. premed

    Hello Brad, long time no hear!

    Sadly, your comments are not surprising.

    I attended amazing Muslim and Christian gathering at a church last night–deep in the heart of Texas–with almost 2500 Muslims and Christians in attendance, seeking to build bridge. So there’s my rebuttal, my answer to your “challenge”…

    Anonymous– if you could like to know/meet Muslim women in your area, please let me know and I will do my best to coordinate for you. Thank you.

  3. Brad Hoffmann

    Hey, true… long time no hear! Hope you and things are well in North Texas.

    I’m curious. Where was this meeting held last night? Who were the key organizers? Purpose for the meeting?

    On the reverse challenge, you can’t do that. It’s not relevant in context. The stated concerns with Islam aren’t relevant to Christianity. While I applaud discussion, you can’t just talk, gotta show some action. I’m frustrated with proponents of Islam who want to convince with words but aren’t willing to demonstrate with action. Thus – the challenge. You yourself stated previously that you don’t understand why Islamic leaders don’t publicly denounce violent actions by Muslims.

    So what kind of bridge are you trying to build?


  4. Darlene P.

    Very well stated, Brad. I feel our own laws are being used against us…against our freedoms. Muslims will continue unless we are willing to speak out and stand-up for our Christian heritage upon which our country was built. The following verse makes what’s happening in the United Nations a big joke!

    “So do not be weak and do not call for peace when you have the upper hand. And Allah is with you, and he will not leave you [for] your work.” (The Generous Qur’an 45:35)

  5. premed

    Here’s the video of the event refered to: http://vimeo.com/29291822.

    And I noticed you said that I said that I don’t know why Muslims leaders do not publicly denounce violence. I actually said that they do, it’s just I too wonder why we all don’t hear it reported in the media. That’s a question for the media to answer though, not us. Thanks.

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