Age of Jahiliyah

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NBC NEWS: 20000 Americans Convert to Islam Each Year

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20 thoughts on “NBC NEWS: 20000 Americans Convert to Islam Each Year

  1. it says: “this video is no longer available”
    😦

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  2. I took note that you didn’t refute their argument about the cell not being able to arise from an evolutionary process. But we’ve been having this discussion for a long time now, and it should end here. You’ve provided a lot of links and articles, and I’ve read some of your posts, but it hasn’t convinced me or provided enough information for me to believe in Darwin’s Evolution. There is no more benefit in this conversation because we finally understand that we’ve both made up our minds.

    I appreciate your taking the time and effort to provide me with that information because you strongly believe in what you believe, and I know that when you believe in something you’d like to share it with others, so I appreciate that gesture.

    Best to you and peace.

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  3. It’s interesting that you took note of the scientists and their backgrounds but not their arguments.
    Heh. That’s funny. You and I both know we’re not going to get into scientific rebuttals of creationism on this comment thread. First of all, I don’t feel like regurgitating all the good rebuttals provided by evolutionists to the Discovery Institute’s misinformation. If you have a specific issue in mind, I’d be glad to provide you with rebuttals written by scientists. In the past, I’ve written rebuttals to Dean Kenyon’s stuff (I’m amazed at how poor some of it is). If you want to read more, there’s plenty of places to do so (including my blog – which continually adds more pro-evolution evidence). TalkOrigins.org and PandasThumb.org are also good starting places.

    I also wrote an article about some of the links you provided. Take a look at how Harun Yahya distorts the facts.
    http://tinyfrog.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/harun-yahya-iraqi-information-minister-of-creationism/

    In the end, it has very little to do with science and looking at evidence objectively
    That’s exactly the point I was making about the creationists in the video.

    Like I said – any time you want science-based rebuttals of creationist arguments, I can provide you with plenty of literature, and my offer always stands.

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  4. Hi tinyfrog,

    It’s interesting that you took note of the scientists and their backgrounds but not their arguments. As one scientist stated in the video and I’m paraphrasing: A scientist must be willing to face the evidence and accept it, even if it goes against previous beliefs. It appears that you will believe in Evolution no matter what evidence is presented or questions raised concerning it, and that is because you have made a choice. I may not agree with your choice because I’ve chosen something differently, but I respect it because you have the freedom to believe as you choose.

    In the end, it has very little to do with science and looking at evidence objectively, but it has everything to do with what the heart is telling us to believe and not to believe.

    Peace.

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  5. It’s sort of like saying, “every time I let-go of an object it falls to the ground. Therefore, I believe a helium-filled balloon will fall to the ground when I let go of it.”

    I don’t follow you, and don’t think this example relates to my example of how everything around us points to a creator.

    Your argument was that: “When we look around us, we acknowledge that the houses and apartments we live in were created by engineers, that the clothes we wear were created by clothes designers, that the computers we use to blog and even have this conversation were created by people. Everything has a creator behind it. To say that these things did not have a creator, would be considered unreasonable.”

    I’m saying that it is reasonable to say houses, clothes, and computers have designers. But biological life gets to play by some other rules. That’s what my analogy is all about. You’re arguing that w, x, and y (houses, clothes, and computers) behave certain ways, and therefore z (life) follows that same pattern. But, I say that’s a false comparison because z (life) can evolve, but w, x, and y (houses, clothes, and computers) can’t. What you are doing is sort of like saying: “rocks fall, sticks fall, and pencils fall when I let go of them, and therefore, helium-filled balloons fall when I let go of them, too.” It’s just plain false to think you can infer a creator in biological life just because houses, clothes, and computers need a creator.

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  6. By the way, the video, “Intelligent Design – Unlocking the Mysteries of Life” is just more propaganda. They make it seem like the scientists came together and gained a new viewpoint – a new anti-evolution viewpoint. Actually, these people were carefully selected because they had strong theistic views and already disagreed with evolution. The names are familiar to anyone in the US creation/evolution debate. They say all this happened in 1993, but I have documentary evidence that some of these people were creating pro-creation materials in the 1980s. It’s deceptive to say that they were somehow objective, and came to this conclusion logically during this 1993 meeting. It’s well known (and they say so themselves) that they were motivated to destroy evolutionary theory because of their *theological* beliefs. For example, Jonathan Wells (who associates with this group, but isn’t shown in the video) says: “Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.” Notice that he said this before learning anything about evolutionary theory, and that he admits a religious basis for trying to “[destroy] Darwinism”. Other people in the video are in similar situations. Evolutionary theory doesn’t fit with their religious views – and that means they must destroy it. Part of that process means pretending to be objectively and logically questioning evolutionary theory. If they were alive 500 years ago, they’d be attacking Galileo and Newton, too – because they took God out of the explanations for planetary motion.

    The video is pretty deceitful the way they present the situation. But, then, I’m not at all surprised.

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  7. Hi Bill,

    It looks like tinyfrog did do the math already. And who said anything about converting all of America to Islam? 15 thousand years is a long time away, so don’t worry. Thanks for visiting our blog 🙂

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  8. Do the math.

    If 20 thousand Americans convert per year, and there are 300 million Americans, it will take 15 thousand years to convert us all.

    That is of course ignoring the 2.5 million Americans born every year.

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  9. Hi tinyfrog,

    It’s sort of like saying, “every time I let-go of an object it falls to the ground. Therefore, I believe a helium-filled balloon will fall to the ground when I let go of it.”

    I don’t follow you, and don’t think this example relates to my example of how everything around us points to a creator. The entire universe doesn’t follow the law of gravity since in space there is no gravity.

    I believe that humans and animals evolve, but not in the way Darwin says that they do.

    And even if I wanted to believe in Darwins theory of Evolution, it still doesn’t subtract God from the equation. I disagree that life can ratchet up to more complex forms on its own. Something has to cause that to happen.

    There is a good movie you or others might be interested in watching. It talks about how the cell could not have come about by the Evolutionary process. And the movie is not from Harun Yahya.

    Intelligent Design – Unlocking the Mysteries of Life

    Here are some articles you might read:

    Poll Results in France Show 92% of People Do Not Believe in Evolution

    The Atlas of Creation of Fossil Exhibitions Cause Panic in Turkey and France

    The Impact Broad of the Atlas of Creation

    And some works by Harun Yahya you might be interested in reading:

    The Collapse of the Theory of Evolution in 20 Questions

    A Definitive Reply to Evolutionist Propaganda

    The Collapse of the Theory of Evolution in 50 Themes

    The Evolution Deceit

    Atlas of Creation

    Darwinism Refuted

    New Research Demolishes Evolution

    The Disasters Darwinism Brought to Humanity

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  10. Many Evolutions right here on wordpress are slandering Harun Yahya with all kinds of lies, because they don’t like his arguments for Creationism. Instead of attacking his ideas they attack him.

    I haven’t heard evolutionists saying anything about Harun Yahya other than his harassment against Turkish evolutionists and that his ideas are not supported by the evidence. I did lookup the information related to the WordPress ban. Most of it was in Turkish, but there was one page that was in English. It contained all kinds of stuff about drugs, mental institutions, etc. Those allegations might very well be falsely “slandering” him, although apparently those webpages were created by a rival Muslim (Edip Yuksel, born in Turkey) who is not an evolutionist. According to the letter Harun Yahya sent to wordpress: “Since Edip Yuksel and his crime organization could easily start new blogs in your site, they had even launched a campaign in opening defamation blogs regarding my client and had explicitly expressed this organized endeavor in his defamation blogs”. I suspect that the “slandering Harun Yahya with all kinds of lies” is not coming from evolutionists at all, but from his rival, Edip Yuksel.

    Recently Harun Yahya has come out with a book called the Atlas of Creation, which many are hailing as the best argument against Evolution. I’m waiting to see if Richard Dawkins or other scientists are going to be able to argue intellectually against this book or are they just going to abuse Harun Yahya.
    My guess is that these are the “best argument against Evolution” within the Muslim world (rather than simply “best argument against Evolution”), which is why you are hearing so much about them. I haven’t seen much in the way of rebuttal, of his “Atlas of Creation”, but here are a few I managed to find via google:
    http://scienceblogs.com/scientificactivist/2007/07/more_impressions_of_the_atlas.php
    http://www.helium.com/tm/502098/mysterious-called-atlas-creation

    I have seen Harun Yahya’s videos online, and they didn’t have much content. It’s mostly reworked stuff from American creationists, or simple statements like “this organism hasn’t changed in X million years”. I remember one video comparing the fossil versions of these organisms to the modern versions and thinking that the comparison was very superficial, and that the fossil image wasn’t good enough for a good comparison anyway. Having taken a number of biology courses, I know that my biology and anatomy professors could always notice details that I didn’t, and I suspect Harun Yahya is doing the same thing – telling people the animals are the same, even though a biologist seeing the video could start listing the differences. Also, genetic analysis reveals that the so-called “living fossils” have undergone significant amounts of evolution – they aren’t living fossils at all – their physical structure is similar, but their genetics have undergone significant amounts of change.

    Also, I updated my creation-evolution page with some more information over the past few days. (I don’t think you saw the updates yet.) I included a little information on the evidence for human descent from apes (based on fossils and genetic evidence). If I’m not mistaken, Harun Yahya thinks all animals were individually created, and there is no common descent. That position would be hard to maintain in the face of the fossil and genetic evidence.

    Even Darwin, the founder of Evolution was uncertain about his theory.
    There’s been a lot of misinformation coming from the creationist side about this. He actually wasn’t uncertain about his theory. There are, however, lots of quote-mines of Darwin (taking his words out of context), and some false information about Darwin refuting his own theory later in life. For example, creationists often quote this line from Darwin:
    “To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.”

    But, never show the next part of his statement:
    “…Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case…” (And then Darwin goes on to talk about how the eye might’ve evolved.) We call that “quote-mining” and it is a dishonest tactic that creationists use to make it look like evolutionists don’t believe evolution happened. What Darwin was doing in this passage was setting up argument – he acknowledges the potential criticism, but then shows that it is wrong. When creationists quote-mine him, they show the part where he acknowledges the criticism, but then avoid showing his rebuttal to that criticism. Lot’s of evolutionists have been dishonestly quote-mined by creationists.

    The ultimate reason why I can’t believe in Evolution is because it claims that chance and selection created everything… Everything has a creator behind it.
    When you get down on a genetic level, you can understand how life can slowly “ratchet up” to a more complex form of life. Biological life has properties that permits it to slowly improve without an external designer – which makes it very different than a house, a poem, or other constructions. Comparisons to those things are bound to fail. It’s sort of like saying, “every time I let-go of an object it falls to the ground. Therefore, I believe a helium-filled balloon will fall to the ground when I let go of it.” Yes, it makes intuitive sense to say that based on previous experience, but for deeper reasons, it’s wrong. Further, not only is it possible for evolution to work, but based on the fossil record and genetics, there is evidence that life on earth actually used these evolutionary mechanisms.

    I should also say that a number of Christian evolutionists believe that evolution was the mechanism God used to create life. Ken Miller (author of “Finding Darwin’s God”) and Richard Colling (author of “Random Designer: Created from Chaos to Connect with Creator”) are advocates of both evolution and Christianity. Evolution and theism are not incompatible, though it requires a different view of theistic actions than most people were raised to believe.

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  11. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) did participate in battles, because his community was given permission by God to defend themselves and fight back against the Meccans who had been oppressing them for over a decade. The Meccans started the hostilities and not the Muslims. Islam gives Muslims the right to defend themselves if they are being harmed. But there are strict restrictions and boundaries when fighting in war, and God says if the opposite side inclines towards peace, Muslims are supposed to incline towards peace also. War and violence is not liked by God. But if a people are being oppressed and there is injustice in the land, fighting to relieve the injustice or oppression is permitted.

    I’d have to disagree with you on the foreign policy. The extremist elements coming from Muslims are mostly due to western foreign policy. And this problem started a long time ago, when Europe began carving up the Middle East into what it is now. I’m not going to go into all the history, because it would take too long, but there has been a lot of injustice from Western powers in the Muslim lands. Our own government and the CIA, helped overthrow many democratically elected leaders in the Middle East, for example in Iran, because it didn’t serve American interests. The puppet leader they installed helped to torture and kill many people. And that is just one example in history.

    I don’t believe this gives Muslims a right to kill and hurt innocent people though because they have been oppressed. Muslims are supposed to stand on a higher ground, but unfortunately some Muslims are not doing that anymore. They see themselves as victims and they are reacting.

    I can fully agree with on the utopia aspect. Muslims don’t believe in utopia, and Islam does not teach it, although we do believe in an afterlife. There is always going to be injustice, violence, hurt and pain in this world. Muslims don’t believe this world is perfect, but we think it could be much better than it is.

    No, I wouldn’t mar all atheists because of Stalin. And that was just my point: don’t blame all Muslims or Islam or the Quran because of some bad Muslims.

    I didn’t know that about atheists and theists on the torture issue. That’s quite surprising. But I can’t believe that these are people who are truly following the faith they profess to believe in.

    If a person comes up to me and tells me that person is a Christian, I’m going to look at their actions and not their words. I think it is always helpful to look at a person’s actions and not their words. If I know anything about the faith that person follows, I’m going to carefully watch to see if that person is practicing or contradicting their faith. People are not perfect and I’m aware of that, and we make mistakes. But if that person goes as far as to kill someone or in this case condones torture, then I’m really going to consider that person’s claim. That person can claim to be a Christian, but I’m not going to believe they practice Christianity. If I met a Buddhist, I may not be able to tell whether that person is practicing or not, because I don’t know that much about Buddhism. I think it is so important to look at a person’s actions and not their words. Many people leave religion because of the adherents to a particular faith. But I think that is the fault of the adherents and not the religion, especially if the religion is saying just the opposite, why should we blame religion? Religion is the source of goodness, but human beings can go either way because we have free will.

    I wonder if you are aware that Harun Yahya has met the same resistance and abuse as the Evolutionists in Turkey. Many Evolutions right here on wordpress are slandering Harun Yahya with all kinds of lies, because they don’t like his arguments for Creationism. Instead of attacking his ideas they attack him.

    They attack the messenger but not the message. Harun Yahya has been cleared of all these false charges, but there is a cruel campaign against him still after all these years. These bloggers on WordPress who are spewing all this hate against him, don’t seem very smart people. Instead of dedicating an entire blog to defaming one person, why don’t they put out a blog attacking the idea. Harun Yahya attacks Evolution but he does not attack specific scientists. His been imprisoned many times, abused and drugged while in prison, and smeared publicly with all kinds of untruths – and all that because he believes in Creationism. That’s not fair in my opinion either.

    Recently Harun Yahya has come out with a book called the Atlas of Creation, which many are hailing as the best argument against Evolution. I’m waiting to see if Richard Dawkins or other scientists are going to be able to argue intellectually against this book or are they just going to abuse Harun Yahya.

    As for Evolution being taught in schools, I think it is taught in the majority of schools, and where it is not being taught is the exception, although you are probably right that it is not being taught as much anymore. My mom believed in God but was forced to learn Evolution in school. When I started college, and took some introductory science courses in anatomy and physics, my professors with the exception of one were obvious Evolutionists and although I was not learning about evolution, they taught the material based on their belief in Evolution. When they were teaching the material, they always pointed out that God was not behind any of it.

    Muslims actually believe in science, and some of the earliest scientists were Muslims. In my religious circles we do talk about science but the conversation also includes God. Some scientists these days are obviously out of control and bringing more harm than good to the world, and I don’t admire many scientists today, but I like the fact that they search and investigate. In the Quran, God says to look around at the world, and to investigate. There are verses in the Quran that are very scientific including information about the human embryo, facts that science just discovered in the twentieth century. I know of some scientists who converted to Islam because of the information they found in the Quran, that no one could have known about 1400 years ago.

    The difference between a Muslim and an Evolutionist is that Muslims believe the creation around us points to God. And so Muslims believe that science points to God. I read your post on “how old is the earth?” An interesting post with a lot of information, some of which I can’t understand. In the Quran, God does not tell us how old the earth is. I’m sure it is more than 6,000 years old, but I don’t know. Science is definitely not my strong point, but when I look around me: the sky, the trees, the sun, the moon, the animals, and even at myself – I believe something created all this.

    Hamlet, one of my favorite plays was written by a man named Shakespeare. The painting Mona Lisa was painted by a man named Leonardo da Vinci. The poem “The Road Not Taken” was written by Robert Frost, and not by chance and the thin air.

    The ultimate reason why I can’t believe in Evolution is because it claims that chance and selection created everything. Even Darwin, the founder of Evolution was uncertain about his theory. I do believe that things in nature evolve and change over time, but it doesn’t mean that God is not behind it.

    I once asked a nice older guy whom I often talked with who was an agnostic about the creation of a tree. He said he enjoyed the tree for its shade, and did not worry about who created it. But something did create that tree, and I just can’t ignore that there was a creator behind it. Einstein once said: “science without religion is lame.”

    When we look around us, we acknowledge that the houses and apartments we live in were created by engineers, that the clothes we wear were created by clothes designers, that the computers we use to blog and even have this conversation were created by people. Everything has a creator behind it. To say that these things did not have a creator, would be considered unreasonable.

    If I leave home, and I put my book in one place on the desk, and I come home later to find that book in my kitchen sink, I’m going to think there was a cause behind it. The book didn’t just move by itself.

    To say that the entire earth and human beings just came about my chance – an earth that is so complex that even scientists don’t have a good grip on understanding it yet, including the amazing properties of water, which scientists are still studying – to say that this is all by chance, contradicts everything else we claim to be true. It doesn’t make sense to me. A car does not create itself. My iPod did not create itself, but Steve Jobs and his team of experts created it.

    This earth consists of conditions that if they were slightly different, or off balance, the existence of everything on earth would cease to exist.

    The earth and human beings are too complex to attribute to chance or no cause.

    And I know some people who can’t believe in God because they can’t see God. Well, we believe in a lot of things we can’t see, including some things in science. We read history books, and we believe those figures in history existed though they are no longer alive and we don’t see these people before us.

    Each human being makes their own choice, and each of us plays out a different story. I’ve made a choice to believe in God because it makes sense to me, just like you’ve made the choice not to believe in God because it makes sense to you. As it says in the Quran: “you unto your religion and me unto mine.”

    Peace.

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  12. Just because someone claims to be from a certain religious group – if that person contradicts the religion that person follows, and even goes as far as to kill innocent people, which is totally prohibited in all religions, then that person is not of that religion. bush claims to be a Christian, but he is not acting like one. “Blessed are the Peacemakers” said Jesus.

    Yes, although I’m not quite sure how you explain the conquests of Muslim armies – even while Mohammed was alive – with the “blessed are the peacemakers”. Mohammed participated in numerous battles and raids, if I’m not mistaken.

    What is often overlooked is that these extremist elements among Muslims were allowed to rise because of American foreign policy. There is a lot of injustice in the world, and that includes injustice towards Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and some people are going to react.

    I’m not a fan of American foreign policy, but I think many of the internal problems of Islam are not due to American foreign policy.

    It doesn’t make sense to be fearful of all Muslims because of a few that are bad. Look at the crimes that are going on in America. A rape occurs every minute against a woman. Should I be fearful of all men when I go outside?
    It depends on the actual quantity of crime going on. The numbers I gave earlier are pretty scary: 6% insist that the 7/7 bombings were, on the contrary, fully justified; 32% of British Muslims agree with the statement that “Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end”. If you knew that 6% of men thought rape was fully justifiable, I’m sure you’d be a lot more afraid to go outside.

    And then should I fear atheists – if they are growing in this country – because of some bad apples in the atheists group like Stalin? Stalin killed millions of people.
    The problem with Stalin and Hitler, I believe was that they were attempting to reach some utopia. I’m skeptical of utopias, and attempts to create them because they always end up finding this or that group of people within society who are supposedly enemies to achieving that ideal. For Hitler, it was the Jews, gypsies, communists, homosexuals, mentally retarded, and even some religious people. For Stalin, it was the upper class, the capitalists, even some Christians and evolutionists. (Yes, evolutionists. Stalin supported Lysenkoism because it seemed a better fit with communist ideals. Many evolutionists were attacked, sent to prison, or killed for standing up for science and against the Lysenkoist sham. Speaking of which, Hitler opposed evolutionary theory as well – banning “Origin of the Species”, and also explicitly attacking the theory of evolution.) Anyway, that’s my opinion of Stalin, and I don’t think it’s fair mar atheists with the crimes of a man making a bad attempt at establishing a communist utopia. I should also say, in defense of atheists, that according to a recent survey, atheists in America were less likely to support torture during interrogations than theists in America. (Which should give you pause in thinking that religion is the source of human goodness.)

    but regarding Harun Yahya: he is not evil.
    Technically, what I said was “What Harun Yahya did to evolutionists in Turkey was evil.” and “What Harun Yahya did was evil.”, not “he is not evil”. Are you denying that the BAV was justly convicted of defamation by a Turkish court?

    Evolution has been forced on children for too long (a theory that is still waiting for the missing link). People were forced to learn Evolution in school, without even being given a choice. Creationism is just another side of the story that should be allowed to be heard and taught just like Evolution. In America, most people don’t believe in Evolution but Creationism, and I’m sure most people in America have a good understanding of Evolution.
    I should say that I was raised as a creationist. My parents are die-hard creationists. I was raised in a Christian school which taught creationism. My dad even taught a class in church about creationism. I am not a creationist. I have learned a great deal about evolution, and I am an evolutionist. The evidence is much better, in my opinion.

    Also, a lot of Americans never hear about evolution in school. The schools can’t teach creationism (at least not legally), but most schools and teachers simply avoid talking about evolution to avoid conflict with parents. As a result, a lot of Americans graduate high-school without even hearing the word “evolution”. I’ve even heard stories of public school principles telling science teachers that they cannot teach evolution. There are plenty of examples of this kind of stuff happening.

    I think a lot of people are creationists simply because they don’t have a lot of time for the issue, and their church and peers tell them what to believe. There’s plenty of creationist organizations bringing in millions of dollars telling people what they want to hear. Creationism is easy, convenient, supports their religious views, matches what their parents raised them to believe, and it’s what their pastor or youth pastor tells them is the truth. Evolution is complicated and raises theological questions. I’ve been writing more about evolution lately, and while I have no illusions that you will believe in evolution (like I said, I have die-hard creationist parents, and I know many people have extremely little interest in changing their ideas), you’re free to check it out. At the very least, perhaps it will give you pause whenever you think that evolution is just some fairy tale made up by anti-theists. I will be putting more and more information out there in the future because, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Oh, and there’s plenty of evidence for “the missing link”, though you certainly will never hear about it in your religious circles – it raises too many problematic questions.
    http://tinyfrog.wordpress.com/creationismevolution/

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  13. Hello again tinyfrog,

    I’m pasting the above article by Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad on apostasy:

    “2. HOW DOES ISLAM DEFINE APOSTASY? IS IT PERMISSIBLE FOR A MUSLIM TO CONVERT TO ANOTHER FAITH? HOW CAN LAWS AGAINST APOSTASY AND BLASPHEMY BE RECONCILED WITH THE KORANIC INJUNCTION OF “NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION”?

    Traditional human communities believe that truth leads to salvation, and error to damnation. It is probable that very many religious people in a variety of denominations still believe this. Historically, religiously-faithful princes have therefore seen it as necessary to use the coercive power of the state to forbid apostasy. One of the most powerful and persistent manifestations of this understanding in history was the Inquisition, which was definitively abolished in 1834. Protestant countries also respected this drastic principle; in fact, the first converts to Islam in Britain were impaled on stakes. In a Hindu context, ‘apostasy’ was often classified as violation of caste rules and boundaries, and similarly drastic consequences could follow. After the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1253, Buddhists who converted to Islam were routinely put to death.

    The four canonical schools of Sunni Islamic law, and also most pre-modern Shi’a jurists, recommend similarly drastic penalties, although the judge is enjoined to ‘look for ambiguities’ in order to avert the death penalty wherever possible.

    The Ottoman Caliphate, the supreme representative of Sunni Islam, formally abolished this penalty in the aftermath of the so-called Tanzimat reforms launched in 1839. The Shaykh al-Islam, the supreme head of the religious courts and colleges, ratified this major shift in traditional legal doctrine. It was pointed out that there is no verse in the Qur’an that lays down a punishment for apostasy (although chapter 5 verse 54 and chapter 2 verse 217 predict a punishment in the next world). It was also pointed out that the ambiguities in the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) suggest that apostasy is only an offense when combined with the crime of treason. These ambiguities led some medieval Muslims, long before the advent of modernisation, to reject the majority view. Prominent among them one may name al-Nakha’i (d.713), al-Thawri (d.772), al-Sarakhsi (d. 1090), al-Baji (d. 1081), and al-Sha’rani (d.1565). The debate triggered by the Ottoman reform was continued when al-Azhar University in Cairo, the supreme religious authority in the Arab world, delivered a formal fatwa (religious edict) in 1958, which confirmed the abolition of the classical law in this area.

    Among radical Salafis and Wahhabis who do not accept the verdicts of the Ottoman or the Azhar scholars, it is generally believed that the majority medieval view should still be enforced.

    The best discussion of the controversy is the book by Mohammed Hashim Kamali, “Freedom of Expression in Islam” (Cambridge, 1997).”

    Thank you for taking the time to write such a lengthy response. You bring up some very good points and articles. I misunderstood you in some places, and perhaps my reply was a bit defensive because I often see people bashing Islam and Muslims irrationally and with hatred.

    I still can’t agree with a lot of what you said though. There is nothing wrong with Islam, and nothing wrong with the Quran, but there are problems with Muslims. In fact, in Islam God expects the greatest qualities from human beings, but the human race is falling short.

    Hitler although he mentioned God in his speeches, was not a religious person in my opinion. For me he was not a Christian, although he might have considered himself one.

    Just because someone claims to be from a certain religious group – if that person contradicts the religion that person follows, and even goes as far as to kill innocent people, which is totally prohibited in all religions, then that person is not of that religion. bush claims to be a Christian, but he is not acting like one. “Blessed are the Peacemakers” said Jesus.

    And this brings me back to my original point. There is nothing in the Quran which allows for killing apostates, except when there is also treason involved but even that is not clear. The law for killing apostates was created later on, and then abolished. Some extremist elements might adhere to it still, but it is no longer seen as valid in Islam.

    Most Muslims are aware of the internal problems within, and there are Islamic scholars out there who are working on correcting the misunderstanding of the religion among Muslims, but with over a billion Muslims in the world, I’m sure you can understand that it is impossible to control everyone as you pointed out.

    We have to face reality: there is always going to be violence in the world. We have to work to stop it as much as possible, and that includes not only Muslims but non-Muslims, who are now killing thousands and thousands of Iraqis for a war that was based on lies.

    What is often overlooked is that these extremist elements among Muslims were allowed to rise because of American foreign policy. There is a lot of injustice in the world, and that includes injustice towards Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and some people are going to react.

    As you pointed out, most Muslims are peaceful and law biding (and I appreciate that you can see that, since many will say just the opposite). It doesn’t make sense to be fearful of all Muslims because of a few that are bad. Look at the crimes that are going on in America. A rape occurs every minute against a woman. Should I be fearful of all men when I go outside? Yes, sometimes I am fearful, but I can’t let that control my life and say that all men should be deported from the country because of my self preservation. It just doesn’t make sense to me. And then should I fear atheists – if they are growing in this country – because of some bad apples in the atheists group like Stalin? Stalin killed millions of people.

    Americans should not be worried about Muslims in this country. We are a very small minority, although we might be growing. We are contributing positively to this country in many ways, and we have a lot to offer America. From the media, you may never know that Muslims are doing anything positive, but we are.

    Americans have been put under a program of fear since 9/11. People fear Muslims so much, that they are blinded to some very big problems occurring in America right now, including a big potential crash to our economy because of the housing market. Our liberties are slowly disappearing under our eyes because of terrorists. bush can torture innocent people because people fear Muslims so much. Fear is changing this country into something I can no longer recognize anymore. My great-great grandparents lived in a country called America, but I don’t know if I’m living in that same country. I think Ron Paul can save this country, and also help build better relations with Muslims, but we will probably just get another president we never voted for.

    Not to go off topic, but regarding Harun Yahya: he is not evil. Evolution has been forced on children for too long (a theory that is still waiting for the missing link). People were forced to learn Evolution in school, without even being given a choice. Creationism is just another side of the story that should be allowed to be heard and taught just like Evolution. In America, most people don’t believe in Evolution but Creationism, and I’m sure most people in America have a good understanding of Evolution.

    We obviously will not agree on these topics, and I really don’t have much to say after this, since we are not going to understand each other, but I hope you meet a nice Muslim in your life, and maybe you will change your mind about us.

    Peace.

    Like

  14. Hello mshahin,

    Regarding apostasy in Islam, I’ve read Islamic websites that have attempted to argue that death is a proper punishment for apostates. (Their argument was that countries use the death penalty against traitors, and it is similarly justifiable to use the death penalty against ‘traitors’ to Islam.) I’ve never heard any other religion attempting to argue that apostates should be killed – but I’ve seen that argument in Islam, and seen it encoded into law. The fact that muslims use these arguments, and that they are encoded into national law makes me suspicious of your “just a few bad apples” argument.

    “[I]n the last ten years Saudi Arabia has executed people for the crimes of apostasy, heresy, and blasphemy. The death penalty for apostates is also in the legal code in Iran, Sudan, Mauritania, and the Comoros Islands.”
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/059fpgrn.asp

    “Pakistan’s government sends draft bill tabled by six-party Islamic alliance to standing committee for review. Under the bill’s terms, apostates would be sentenced to death or life in prison.”
    http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=9218&size=A

    “To kill or not to kill those who leave Islam for another faith? A survey carried out in Yemen revealed that even imams do not all share the same views on the matter, even if the majority is for the death penalty.”
    http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=5859&geo=54&size=A

    I think it’s clear from the links that this is *not* a minority or fringe view in muslim society. It might not be “true Islam” (whatever that is), but who decides what “true Islam” is? You? For me, Islam is quite simply the combined actions and beliefs of Muslims and the society that they create. If you want Islam to be respected, you need widespread reform across the entire Islamic community. I know you don’t have the power to do that. No one does.

    If I want to follow your logic, then all atheists are murderers and terrorists. All Christians are murderers and terrorists. All Muslims are murderers and terrorists. You are free to have this view of the world, but for me that’s a little narrow.
    Well, I’m not sure what you mean by “my logic”. I haven’t ever said or claimed that all atheists, Christians, and Muslims are murderers and terrorists. You are claiming that I have a “logic” that isn’t at all what I believe. I happen to believe most Muslims are good people. I think most people (religious or non-religious) are good people. I don’t think religion is the source of goodness – although religion (in its attempts to engrain itself into humanity) claims to be the source of all good in the world. I think humanity has gone through cultural evolution that makes it better over time. Take slavery as an example. Why do people not accept slavery today, but they did several hundred years ago? We use the same “holy books” today as we did several hundred years ago. Christianity certainly never preaches against slavery. So, why is slavery widely reviled today? Cultural evolution. Humanity is getting better at treating others fairly, having empathy for our fellow human beings – and it’s not because of religious teachings.

    Islam (and religion) is not the source of humanity’s goodness. If you believe that, you’ve been sucked into the lie that allows religion to perpetuate itself on one mind after another.

    There are over a billion Muslims in the world, and if they all followed Bin Laden, the world will be in trouble.
    I certainly don’t argue that most Muslims agree with Bin Laden. I think most people around the world just want to make a living, find someone to marry, be a good person, have kids, and raise them as best they can. However, a disproportionate number of muslims have sympathies with Bin Laden. Sometimes this takes the form of creating their own set of facts (e.g. that Jews, not Muslims were behind 9/11). Sometimes this takes the form of supporting their “in-group”: they support Muslims against the non-Muslims regardless of the situation. (Why are Muslim nations so slow to speak up against Sudan’s attacks in Darfur, and do so only weakly? Oh right – the attacks are being perpetrated by an Islamic government against Black non-Muslims.) Even if the majority of Muslims are good, law-abiding people, a minority who are prepared to support or carry out violence have a disproportionate amount of power (because vigilante violence gives them power). Take this survey of British Muslims, after the 7/7 bombings in London:

    56% say that, whether or not they sympathise with the bombers, they can at least understand why some people might want to behave in this way
    24% have some sympathy with the feelings and motives of those who carried them
    6% insist that the bombings were, on the contrary, fully justified.

    Asked whether they agreed with “Tony Blair’s description of the ideas and ideology of the London bombers as “perverted and poisonous””:
    58% agree with him
    26% are reluctant to be so dismissive

    32% of British Muslims agree with the statement that “Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end”

    73% say they would inform the police if they believed that someone they knew or knew of might be planning a terrorist attack.
    (Does that mean 27% would not inform police?)
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/23/npoll23.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/07/23/ixnewstop.html

    Those numbers show a clear fact: most Muslims are decent, law abiding people. However, at the same time, the Muslim population has a nasty and strong undercurrent that makes them unreliable. If I told you that 25% of a group of people hated you, and there were thousands of them in your neighborhood, would you say, “Well, most of them are good people, so it’s okay.” Or would you say, “Most of them are good people, but this is very clearly a dangerous situation for me.” Obviously, it’s the latter. That’s the problem. There’s a nasty vein of extremism in the Muslim community. While it might be the “minority”, it’s still dangerous to everyone. Similarly, Russia has had an increase in the number violent acts committed by skinheads. It’s been advised that black people not travel to Moscow because the threat of violence is too high. That doesn’t mean the majority of Russians in Moscow are skinheads. They are a minority – a tiny minority. But, they are a dangerous minority and it is difficult to keep control of them. The majority can’t keep the minority in check. In the US, 2% of Americans are in prison, on probation, or on parole. We (Americans) try to keep the upper hand on the criminals, but criminal acts still occur. Yet, Muslim populations have much larger proportions than 2% who support extremist views (whether that means terrorism, killing apostates, punishing people for “unislamic” behavior, or simply trying to bully everyone into believing what they do). The Islamic would certainly can’t keep a lid on all of them because they are too numerous. That’s a big problem, and it’s a reason nations should desire fewer Muslims as citizens. That’s harsh for the majority of good Muslims (who have done absolutely nothing wrong), but it makes complete sense from the non-Muslim standpoint of self-preservation.

    And most of that is due to the work of Harun Yahya who has put out intellectual arguments against evolution. Only 10% of the population now believes in evolution in Turkey.
    What Harun Yahya did to evolutionists in Turkey was evil. They harassed and bullied evolutionists into silence. Evolutionist professors won a lawsuit against the BAV for harassment, but, now that the BAV has demonstrated it’s willingness to harass and bully professors into silence, no one wants to stand up for evolution any more. The creationists won control of Turkey through a combination of money, propaganda, harassment of pro-evolution professors, and a population ignorant of evolution and predisposed to believe in theistic arguments. You can read the whole sordid story by following the links attached to these quotes:

    “In 1985 the [Turkish] minister of education mandated that creationism be included in science textbooks. By the late 1990s, the BAV was attacking scientists who opposed a creationist curriculum via slander and death threats. The cumulative damage to science has been significant. Ümit Sayin, a neurologist at Istanbul University and outspoken critic of Turkish creationism, estimates that the number of university-educated Turks who understand evolution has dropped to 20 percent from 40 percent over the past 15 years.”
    http://seedmagazine.com/news/2006/11/not_in_kansas_anymore.php

    “Professors there say they were harassed and threatened, and some of them were slandered in fliers that labeled them “Maoists” for teaching evolution. In 1999, six of the professors won a civil court case against BAV for defamation and were awarded $4,000 each.”

    “There is no fight against the creationists now. They have won the war,” Sayin tells the Pitch from his home in Istanbul. “In 1998, I was able to motivate six members of the Turkish Academy of Sciences to speak out against the creationist movement. Today, it’s impossible to motivate anyone. They’re afraid they’ll be attacked by the radical Islamists and the BAV.”

    “Evolution is presented [by BAV] as a conspiracy of the Jewish and American imperialists to promote new world order and fascist motives … and the majority of the people believe it.”
    http://www.pitch.com/2005-05-05/news/your-official-program-to-the-scopes-ii-kansas-monkey-trial/

    What Harun Yahya did was evil. This is exactly the kind of stuff that makes me fearful of Muslim-dominated society. The majority might be good people, but there always seems to be a significant minority that are going to attack and bully people into getting their way.

    My own personal view is that the peaceful majority of Muslims end up acting as an inadvertent public relations front for Islam. Then, like a trojan horse, when a Muslim community gets established, the minority (hidden among the majority) seek to dominate non-Muslims around them. They bully non-Muslims into silence, thereby providing a crucial step in the expansion of Islam. Meanwhile, the world cannot act against Islam as a whole because the majority are peaceful. The peaceful majority and the nasty minority support each other, even though that support is unwitting. It is undeniable that more Muslims in the world means both more peaceful Muslims and more violent, controlling Muslims. Like it or not, the more people who convert to Islam, the more trouble everyone will have with the autocratic, controlling Muslims. Part of the problem goes directly back to the Koran, and that makes the nasty, autocratic Islamic ideas an irrevocable part of Islam.

    There are many Christian communities living in the Muslim world – for example Lebanon, Jordan and Syria – and they have no problems and live in peace.
    Yes, I am aware that there are Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Bahai, etc living among Muslims. My argument was not that Muslims go out of their way to persecute them. My argument was that non-Muslim religions have restrictions on them that Islam does not. It is illegal, for example, to preach Christianity to Muslims in Saudi Arabia. It is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity. It is *not* illegal in the reverse direction: preaching Islam to Christians, converting from Christianity to Islam. They have setup laws to ensure that the non-Muslim populations in their countries will always be small and shrinking.
    “Saudi Arabia’s religious police have imprisoned a Catholic foreign worker for “preaching Christianity” and allegedly selling drugs… [and] would face the death penalty for both accusations”
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38951

    Notice that it says “death penalty for both accusations”. It is part of the LAW in Saudi Arabia that preaching Christianity is punishable with the death penalty.

    Stalin and Hitler were not religious people.
    Hitler was religious. At best, you can argue that his views were a twisted version of Christianity. He referenced God often in his speeches:
    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” – Adolf Hitler

    He shared a lot of views in common with (the anti-semitic, protestant) Martin Luther, and even praised him in Mein Kampf:
    “To them belong, not only the truly great statesmen, but all other great reformers as well. Beside Frederick the Great stands Martin Luther as well as Richard Wagner.”
    -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

    Like

  15. Hi tinyfrog,

    I’d be very wary of getting my information from Wikipedia. As a professor of mine once stated, “No Wikipedia!” We were not allowed to use this as a source in our research. Anybody can edit and put information on that site. There was recently a lawsuit against them for incorrect information.

    As I stated in a previous response to Sanity Inspector, I’m not denying that Muslims are going against the teachings of Islam, but I’m trying to clarify that it is not Islam. There are bad apples in all religious groups including in nonreligious groups like atheists and agnostics. Most of the wars of the twentieth century were not fought about religion but ideologies. World War I, World War II, the Cold War – these were not fought about religion. Communism was totally against religion. Stalin and Hitler were not religious people. Stalin, in fact left Christianity and became an atheist. Look at how many people died in these wars – millions of people.

    If I want to follow your logic, then all atheists are murderers and terrorists. All Christians are murderers and terrorists. All Muslims are murderers and terrorists. You are free to have this view of the world, but for me that’s a little narrow.

    People seem to have an inability to understand that it is human beings and not religion that causes violence. It’s the human race that needs to fix itself up and not religion.

    I’ve met far more extreme atheists, than moderate atheists in my life. Even in college where you expect people to be more educated, atheists have told me that they actually advocate wiping out all religions. I don’t consider that tolerant. But at the same time, I know this is not the view of most atheists. You want Muslims to show that they are tolerant, but you don’t want to listen to the Islamic scholars who are moderate. I pointed out an article to Sanity Inspector by Abdal Hakim Murad, which you might be interested in reading.

    I can’t understand why some people want to listen to the extremists instead of the ordinary Muslim, who abides by the law, are supporting their families, and wants to live in peace. Muslims who are killing others who leave Islam, are not practicing Islam. It doesn’t make sense in Islam. In the Quran, God tells people that he examines their hearts. If you don’t believe in Islam in your heart, then God won’t accept it. So why are Muslims going to force people to stay in Islam, if it is not accepted by God. That’s it! It’s not Islam! Suicide bombing is not Islam. Abusing women is not Islam. I’m a Muslim telling you this is not Islam. Why is that everyone wants to listen to Bin Laden and the other extremists? And you don’t even have to listen to me. There is Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir, Habib Ali Jiffri, Habib Omar, Abdal Hakim Murad, Yusuf Estes, Siraj Wahaj, Ya’coubi, and many other Muslim scholars who will say the same exact thing as I’m saying. These are very educated people, some who have spent almost a decade studying Islam. Why don’t you listen to them for a change, instead of fringe Muslims who are not even accepted into the mainstream?

    But if you’d rather listen to the minority of Muslims who are extreme and faulty in their views, then you are free to do so. There are over a billion Muslims in the world, and if they all followed Bin Laden, the world will be in trouble. Most Muslims will tell you that killing another Muslim for leaving Islam, is prohibited.

    As for Christians being persecuted in Muslim lands – I will not deny that there are some cases, but it is not common. There are many Christian communities living in the Muslim world – for example Lebanon, Jordan and Syria – and they have no problems and live in peace. Those Muslims who are persecuting others because of their religious beliefs are going against the teachings of Islam. In Islam we are told to respect people from all faiths and religions because we believe that they came from God.

    I don’t know the figures on atheists and agnostics in America. (If you have some statistics please provide it, because I’ve read otherwise.) In Turkey, atheism is dying, after having a very strong foothold in the country. And most of that is due to the work of Harun Yahya who has put out intellectual arguments against evolution. Only 10% of the population now believes in evolution in Turkey.

    As for the statistics on 20,000 Muslims a year, I don’t know if that is accurate either. It could be even less people converting to Islam. It’s very hard to tell. When people convert to Islam, it’s not like we write it down and keep track. I’ve had very public jobs before, and I’ve met people who you’d never think are Muslim (because they are not practicing outwardly and they’ve kept their names the same) but they tell me they are Muslim. As long as you profess, “That there is no God, but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger” then you are a Muslim. I know many converts to Islam who don’t even visit the masjid, so it is hard to tell how many are converting a year. It could even be more than 20,000.

    I noted that you calculated the time it would take for America to convert to Islam. I’m a Muslim, and even I didn’t go through that trouble. I wouldn’t worry if I were you. And if atheism is growing in this country, then more people will convert to atheism than Islam, and you shouldn’t worry about America becoming Muslim. My blog is concerned with getting the correct message of Islam out there. If people want to convert to Islam, they should be free to do so, and if they don’t want to they are free to do so.

    Here are some articles and videos that might be of interest to you or others:

    The Churches Were Burning

    Between Ignorance and Extremism

    Thoughts on Science Delusion

    Peace.

    Like

  16. Let’s face it – when Muslims don’t kill or imprison Muslims for converting from Islam, they aren’t following Islamic teachings. All five major schools of Islamic thought support the death penalty for male apostates, and death or prison for female apostasy. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostasy_in_Islam) Pakistan has tried to pass laws to outlaw apostasy, and Afghanistan has tried to execute or imprison others for converting to Christianity. Saudi Arabia has strongly biased laws against religions other than Islam. (Illegal to preach any religion other than Islam, illegal to show religious symbols if they are not Islamic.) I say – show us that Islam is tolerant by removing these draconian laws against non-Islamic religions. *Then* we will believe you. It’s a horrible situation, and Muslims seem to turn a blind eye to the oppression of non-Islamic people living in Muslim-dominated areas.

    Further, 20,000 Americans is nothing. There are 300 million Americans. This means that, at this rate, it will take 15,000 years to convert the entire US. Atheism and Agnosticism is growing much faster than that in the US (and hopefully the Islamic world as well). If Muslims countries didn’t have such strong restrictions against de-conversion and anyone who speaks out against Islam (including death threats against people like Salman Rushie), there would be far more de-conversions from Islam, and there would be far more people willing to admit that they no longer believe in Islam. I know a number of people here in the US who grew up in Iran, but don’t believe in Islam. I’m sure plenty of other Middle Eastern people would admit their disbelief in Islam if it wasn’t for the threats and power that Muslim fanatics wield in these countries.

    Like

  17. Thank you for the positive comment PV! You understand what Muslims are going through. There is a lot of negativity out there about our faith, which a lot of the fault lies with Muslims. Many Muslims are not upholding their faith. But we want people to differentiate between Islam and Muslims – hence the main reason this blog was started.

    You google Muslims or Islam and you get a lot of negativity, anti-Muslim and Islam sites are growing, or even check out YouTube which has many hate videos against Muslims. Sometimes it is overwhelming but in our faith we try to remain positive.

    And yes, most Americans probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a Muslim or a Hindu. There is just so much ignorance out there. But thanks for your understanding.

    Peace and blessings to you.

    Like

  18. Interesting post! After scouring through the blog a little bit & reading the intent of this blog, it is good to know that there are some people at least trying to spread the positivity of their faith in the face of so much adversity (terrorism or criticism). It just amazes me when some people start acting like they know about the whole religion & start bad mouthing it, when all they know about it is what they learn in the news. They probably can’t even tell the difference between a Muslim & a Hindu.

    Like

  19. Actually, Muslims who leave Islam, are free to do so. If I decided that I wanted to leave Islam, I could do so at any time without fear of death or retribution. In the Quran it states that “there is no compulsion in religion.”

    There are people who convert to Islam, and do leave Islam later and nothing ever happens to them. But that is not to deny that there are extremist and radical groups out there (terrorists and suicide bombers) who believe apostasy should be punished by death, but they are the exception and not the majority; their belief can’t be based on the Quran.

    If you are interested in reading further, there is a good article by Abdal Hakim Murad (who was previously a Unitarian but converted to Islam) and he talks about the issue. He also refers to a book in the article about the issue:

    Jihad, Apostasy and Rights of Muslim Women

    Like

  20. Just wait ’til they change their minds, and then they see the other face of the One True Faith…
    “You can check out any time you like,
    But you can never leave!”

    Like

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