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Further Discussion: the Temecula Mosque and Islam

August 17th, 2010

As was quoted in various news articles, our primary concern is that the land adjacent to our property is wholly inadequate and unsuited for the proposed 25,000 square foot Islamic worship center.  As Baptists, we have always been defenders of America’s concept of freedom of religion. History records that Baptist people led the way in that regard, but it is an issue of context as well. It is our stand for religious freedom that causes us concern when we see the growing influence of the more radical elements in Islam, and the principles embedded in Sharia law which seek to give prominence to the expression of Islam and seek to replace the American Constitution and our Bill or Rights.

This argument is true also for the situation concerning Ground Zero.  While we maintain that we as Americans are free to worship as we please, the insistence of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to build the mosque on Ground Zero is completely out of context and spreads an aggressive and “in your face” message.  On top of the message that is sent, certain contradictions in his quotes raise concerns.  Taken from this article, Imam Rauf’s statements in English contradict his statements in Arabic.

What he said in May was “Our purpose is to interweave America’s Muslim population into the mainstream society.”  However, in March he was quoted as saying, “I do not believe in religious dialogue.”

When asked his views on Sharia law the day after his “interweaving faith” statement, he stated: “Islam can be established through a kingdom or a democracy. The important issue is to establish the general fundamentals of Sharia that are required to govern.”

His apparent support for Sharia law over our American system is disconcerting.  Context is certainly a factor when determining the location of certain mosques across this country, but a major concern is also with the religion of Islam itself.  We as Christians certainly believe that we have the truth!  We want to spread the fact that God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world because He loved the world.  He died and rose from the dead, and we all should repent of our sin and put our entire trust in His finished work.  Where would the purpose and future of a set of beliefs lie if it were not propagated?

Our purpose as Christians is to propagate the message of the gospel: “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…” (I Cor. 15:3-4)  When Islam contradicts this simple yet exclusive message, why would people be upset over our supposed “intolerant view” when we teach what we believe?  I personally have much more respect for those who hold to a position that they believe is true rather than for those who believe one way yet accept all other teachings.  It seems logical to me that we would be opposed to Islam based on its fundamental teachings and on documented stories of the terror that radical Islam promotes.

Certain radical expressions come to mind.  Jackie Sheets chronicles the following in an article that was posted on August 5, 2010 in the North County Times:

Imam Zaid Shakir, former Muslim chaplain at Yale, stated the Koran “pushes us in the exact opposite direction to the forces at work in the American political spectrum.”

Omar Ahmad, co-founder and past president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), stated: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR spokesperson, said: “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the U.S. to be Islamic sometime in the future…”

And Imam Feisal Rauf has refused to sign a pledge to “repudiate the threat from authoritative sharia to the religious freedom and safety of former Muslims”, a pledge issued by ex-Muslims. Islam functions under a church/state form of government that is incompatible with our Constitution.

As an American who honors and seeks to defend our Constitution, am I supposed to ignore these statements by American Islamic leaders?

Christianity is vanishing in the “Holy Land” and no churches or synagogues are allowed in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia continues to finance Islamic organizations, mosques and Wahhabi Islamic day schools throughout the U.S. with petrodollars.

Former Congressman, Newt Gingrich warns that radical Islam and the spread of Sharia law takes place not only by acts of terror but also through “non-violent methods—a cultural, political, and legal jihad that seeks the same totalitarian goal even while claiming to repudiate violence.”  In this article, he goes on to say the following:

In some ways, it speaks of the goodness of America that we have had such difficulty coming to grips with the challenge of radical Islamists. It is our very commitment to religious liberty that makes us uncomfortable with defining our enemies in a way that appears linked with religious belief.

However, America’s commitment to religious liberty has given radical Islamists a potent rhetorical weapon in their pursuit of sharia supremacy. In a deliberately dishonest campaign exploiting our belief in religious liberty, radical Islamists are actively engaged in a public relations campaign to try and browbeat and guilt Americans (and other Western countries) to accept the imposition of sharia in certain communities, no matter how deeply sharia law is in conflict with the protections afforded by the civil law and the democratic values undergirding our constitutional system.

Last month, police in Dearborn, Mich., which has a large Muslim population, arrested Christian missionaries for proselytizing at an Arab festival.  They were doing so in a legal, peaceful manner that is completely permissible by law, but, of course, forbidden by sharia’s rules on proselytizing. Police may say they were trying to prevent an incident, but why should the 1st amendment right to freedom of speech and the exercise of religious freedom be sacrificed in deference to sharia’s intolerance against the preaching of religions other than Islam?*

Shockingly, sharia honor killings—in which Muslim women are murdered by their husbands, brothers or other male family members for dishonoring their family—are also on the rise in America but do not receive national attention because they are considered “domestic disturbances.” (A recent article in Marie Claire Magazine highlights recent cases and the efforts to bring national attention to this horrifying trend.)

Cases like this will become all the more common as radical Islamists grow more and more aggressive in the United States.

He says this about Imam Rauf:

There are many reasons to doubt the stated intentions of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Ground Zero mosque. After 9/11 he did not hesitate to condemn the United States as an “accessory” to the attacks but more recently refused to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization. This is unsurprising considering he has well-established ties to U.S. branches of the Muslim Brotherhood. He has also refused to reveal the sources of funding for the mosque project, which is projected to cost $100 million.

More importantly, he is an apologist for sharia supremacy. In a recent op-ed, Rauf actually compared sharia law with the Declaration of Independence. This isn’t mere dishonesty; it is an Orwellian attempt to cause moral confusion about the nature of radical Islamism.

An Associated Press article by Deb Riechmann and Amir Shah  spoke of the terrible slaughter of ten relief workers on August 5.  These ten people from America, Afghanistan, Germany and Great Britain were killed simply because they were understood to be Christians, according to the sole survivor.  While they did not proselytize, they were sent out by a Christian organization as a medical care team for remote villages.  This is only one recent example of what is promoted by the Quran and acted on by those Muslims who are radically fundamental.

In our recent debates, some supporters of the proposal of a mosque next to our church building have suggested that Islam respects all “faiths” and seeks peace for all.  That does not appear to be what the Quran and Hadith teach.  Are we misreading these passages?

Hadith 8 “I have been ordered to fight against people until they testify that there is no god but Allah.” The marginal explanatory note included below that verse says, “The waging of war is enjoined against certain categories of persons such as those who attack a Muslim country, and those who prevent the preaching and spread of Islam by peaceful means, and apostates.” (Apostates are those who leave Islam)

Hadith 29 says that the highest act a Muslim can do to ensure entrance to Paradise is an act of Jihad (holy war to Spread Islam).

Surah 2:190-192 commands Muslims to fight in the cause of Allah.

Surah 2:216 “Fighting is prescribed upon you.”

Surah 3:13 “Say to those who reject faith, ‘Soon ye will be vanquished and gathered together to Hell.’”

Surah 3:83 “Do they seek for other than the Religion of Allah?  While all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His will (accepted Islam), and to Him shall they be brought back.

Surah 3:85 “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost.”

Surah 5:74 “Let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter.”

Surah 5:76 “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Islam fight in the cause of Evil.”

Surah 5:95 “Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons then to those that sit at home.”

The above are but a sampling of the many passages in the Quran that would seem to us to make it difficult to describe Islam as a religion of peace.  Bible believing Christians know that our source of power is not the sword, or politics, but our Saviour, and His word.  The most powerful means we Christians have to answer the claims of Islam is to preach and to live in our lives the truth of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

No, in spite of our fundamental differences with the local Islamic group here, we have no intention of interfering with their worship services, or participating in marches or demonstrations.  The Imam and I parted our last meeting shaking hands and smiling.  We plan to talk together again.  I pray that I can some day introduce him to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

—Pastor Rench

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