Filmmaker Eric Allen Bell learned firsthand of U.S. media bias toward Islam. Bell, taking a break from his work in Hollywood, had moved to Murfreesboro, TN. He found himself in the middle of a controversy that continues today.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was planning to build a 53,000 square foot mosque on some farmland on the outer edge of town. Bell, not a fan of religion as he describes himself, felt the controversy was one of fanatical Evangelicals bullying peaceful Muslims who simply wanted to build a place of worship. When he learned of an anti-mosque parade planned for the community, he decided to make a documentary to illustrate what he believed to be typical Christian intolerance. This documentary was to be titled “Not Welcome.”
The dominant liberal, mainstream media picked up on his project and soon he wrote several pieces for Michael Moore and others. He returned to California to show a short version of his documentary attempting to gain additional support to finish the project. He found someone who promised they would back him to finish the movie. The documentary on the Murfreesboro mosque would be used to focus on what he considered America’s “religious lunatic fringe” ignoring any serious investigation into the Muslims.
Around this time he returned to Tennessee and while in a taxi driven by an Egyptian cab driver, his views began to change. It began when he asked the driver, a Coptic Christian, how he felt about the fall of Mubarak. The cab driver replied he was concerned because he feared for his family back home. He said if the Muslims took control, it would become very dangerous for his family. After this conversation, Bell took a fresh look at Islam. He began to read reports from authors like Robert Spencer and Frank Gaffney, and he did his own independent research, which verified this newly discovered information for him. Indeed, this fear is especially well founded when considering how the most ancient of Christian populations is being driven from their homes in many nations in the Middle East including Iraq and Egypt. This is a good example of an Islamist government taking over from a Sunni, secular government and then systematically persecuting Christians.
Bell’s change of perspective did not endear him to his former supporters as he soon discovered as he began to share his findings with them. They told Bell his judgment was unsound and unclear and suggested he step away from the project. He was even told to make the documentary the way it was originally planned painting a strong negative perspective on Christians or to return the money. To his credit, he decided to stick to the truth.
In January of 2012, he wrote three articles for Daily Kos. The first was called, “Loonwatch.com and Radical Islam” asserting Loonwatch was “fundamentally a radical Islamic front for terrorism, spreading distorted information about the reality of rapidly spreading Islamic fundamentalism – through lies of omission.” The next day Loonwatch.com called Eric Bell the “Loon at Large.” All three articles were ultimately met with cries of Islamophobia and “hate speech.” The attacks were not on the truth of the information he presented, rather they were personal attacks no his character. His final article called, “Are You in Favor of Human Rights?” led to him being banned from Daily Kos.
Unfortunately, Eric Bell’s experiences are not unique, as we have seen recently with the personal attacks against Rep. Michele Bachmann.
PRAYER FOR MEDIA:
The term “Islamic banking” refers to a system of banking or banking activity that is consistent with Islamic law (Shariah) principles and guided by Islamic economics. The Financial Times recently published an article regarding Islamic banking. The article portrays shariah compliant finance in our banking systems as ethical, however by western standards one would question those ethics.
Shariah Finance Watch has compiled a list of financial institutions active in the United States that have a tie to shariah compliant finance along with entities that do not offer financial products but play key roles in enabling shariah compliant finance in our nation. This list includes AIG, Bank of America, Barclays, Bloomberg, Century 21, J.P. Morgan Chase, CitiBank, The Coca-Cola Company, Dow Jones, GE Capital, Harvard Law School, HSBC, International Institute of Islamic Thought, NASDAQ, and Standard & Poor’s.
Shariah compliant financial products are, as the name indicates, governed by Islamic shariah law. A product is determined to be compliant based on the approval of one or more Islamic scholars who serve on an advisory board for any institution offering shariah compliant products. The financial transactions cannot involve “impure” activities that include alcohol, pork, tobacco, gambling, pornography and western defense, and they cannot charge interest. Most importantly 2.5% of the assets of a shariah compliant instrument has to be donated as “zakat”. The Islamic scholars, serving on the advisory boards, determine how to distribute this money.
Zakat is giving a portion (2.5%) of one’s wealth to charity and is one of the five pillars of Islam. The money can be distributed between eight categories: the poor, those short of money, zakat workers, those who hearts are to reconciled, slaves purchasing their freedom, those in debt, those fighting for Allah and travelers needing money. The phrase, those fighting for Allah, means, “people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster” (Reliance of the Traveller h8.17 p. 272). Those fighting for Allah are given money even if they are wealthy which is to be spent on weapons, clothing and other expenses including supporting the fighter’s family.
Although zakat is found in the Qur’an, Islamic finance cannot be found in the Qur’an or the hadith. Islamic leaders in fact invented it in the 1940s and 1950s. Abul A’al al-Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb – both who desired to insulate the Islamic world from western civilization wrote about Islamic economics, but at the time Islamic financial products did not exist.
The idea of Islamic financial products did not take root until the Arab Oil Embargo in the 1970s when countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates developed large banking institutions. The nation of Iran began to dominate the industry after the 1979 Islamic revolution and today 6 of the 10 top shariah compliant financial institutions are actually Iranian state banks.
There are only around two-dozen shariah scholars who serve on the advisory boards of shariah compliant financial institutions around the world. These scholars sometimes serve on the boards of competing institutions, which would be considered a conflict of interest in the western world.
Mufti Taqi Usmani was the chief of the Dow Jones shariah advisory board and the chief of HSBC’s shariah advisory board. After it was uncovered that Usmani believed Muslims in the West had a duty to rise up in jihad against their Western neighbors and had served as an officer of the madrassa in Pakistan that gave birth to the Taliban, he was replaced by his son.
Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has been on the advisory boards of many financial institutions. This includes a bank called Al Taqwa based out of the Bahamas. The bank had an association with a real estate investment firm called BMI based in New Jersey. Both were shut down by the US Treasury Department for sending funds to finance terrorism.
PRAY FOR BUSINESS:
Members of Congress are required by Article VI of the U.S. Constitution to be bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. The oath reads in part, “I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
Five members of Congress, defending the Constitution against an enemy that is operating both foreign and domestically, have been attacked personally by other members of Congress for simply calling for an investigation by government agencies regarding the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in our government. The hesitation of members within our government to investigate these valid concerns raises the question of how seriously those leveling personal attacks take their oath of office.
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt in 1928 as a result of the dismantling of the last Islamic caliphate by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924. Al-Banna was angered the caliphate had been dissolved and said, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.” The creed of the Muslim Brotherhood is, “God is our objective, the Qur’an is our law; the Prophet is our leader, Jihad is our way and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” In case you think the Muslim Brotherhood has toned down its message, one week ago, Muhammad Badi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, “called on all Muslims to wage jihad with their money and their selves to free al-Quds [Jerusalem].”
The Muslim Brotherhood today is active in more than 100 countries around the world – overtly in some countries and covertly in others. The United States has a large and active Muslim Brotherhood presence. During the 2007, Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development trial, the largest terrorism funding trial in our nation’s history, evidence was introduced about the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in the United States.
One document called The Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America detailed the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy for our nation. The document said the Brotherhood is engaged in “a civilization Jihadist process” planning on “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” In addition this document listed 29 “organizations of our friends.” These friends include many prominent Islamic groups currently operating in our nation including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). These groups were named “unindicted co-conspirators” in the Holy Land Foundation trial. The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) actually opened its first office through a $5,000 donation from the Holy Land Foundation.
An excellent 10-part video series about the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in America is available from the Center for Security Policy. The Center reveals, “The Muslim Brotherhood’s civilization jihad is being pursued through stealthy means involving penetration and subversion of this country’s civil society and governing institutions. A central feature of this stealthy, pre-violent jihad is what the military calls ‘information dominance’ – it helps the Muslim Brotherhood keep us ignorant of the true nature of the threat they pose and the progress they are making in bring shariah to America.”
In light of what our own government has uncovered regarding the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in our nation, the call by Reps. Bachmann, Gohmert, Franks, Rooney and Westmoreland is completely warranted and necessary for the security of our nation. Contact your Congressmen and urge them to support these Representatives and their call for investigations.
PRAYER FOR GOVERNMENT:
President Thomas Jefferson considered the founding of the University of Virginia as one of his greatest achievements. Referring to the university in a letter dated, December 27, 1820, he stated, “This institution will be based on the illimitable (limitless) freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
Today’s universities are increasingly distancing themselves from the vision of Thomas Jefferson. This is especially true when you examine certain groups such as the Muslim Student Association (MSA) that are present on many campuses. Jefferson’s desire for the human mind to be free allows students to follow truth, but when this western mindset of freedom to pursue truth meets Islam there is a clash of mindsets. The religion of Islam presents itself as absolute truth and unlike Christianity does not allow its followers to question its teachings. Both the Qur’an and the hadith warn Muslims not to question Islamic teachings. The Qur’an says “A people asked such [questions] before you; then they became thereby disbelievers” (sura 5:102). In the classic manual of Islamic Sacred Law, “The Reliance of the Traveller” it says that to deny any verse of the Qur’an, or anything which by scholarly consensus belongs to it, is apostasy from Islam, which is punishable by death.
Perhaps even more tragic is the refusal of western universities to insist their students employ reason to combat error when it comes to Islamic issues. Rather than insisting students examine issues and form opinions by considering differing viewpoints and engaging in respectful dialogue, universities far too often attempt to be politically correct and tolerant in their treatment of the Islamic religion and Muslim views on political and social issues. How can our institutions of higher learning follow truth when they are unwilling to allow reason to even be voiced much less considered?
A recent example occurred when speaker and author, David Horowitz was invited to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to discuss the increasingly dangerous position of Israel in the Middle East. The Daily Tarheel, the campus newspaper, reported nearly all the students in attendance for the lecture walked out about 20 minutes into Mr. Horowitz’s speech. However, another report says the majority of the students stayed for the entire lecture.
The Carolina Review, UNC’s conservative journal reported, a spokesperson for the Muslim Student Association (MSA) that participated in the walkout said, “…Mr. Horowitz hurts the ‘culture of tolerance’ that UNC has worked to build over the years, because UNC has made such great progress in making ‘a point of respecting diversity and minority voices on this campus.’”
The campus newspaper printed three articles, an editorial cartoon and one letter to the editor regarding the event that were all critical of Mr. Horowitz’s views. In addition to one-sided reporting of the incident, The Daily Tarheel refused to print a letter to the editor from David Horowitz addressing the walkout, which included the following observation:
The closed-minded students – mainly but not exclusively members of MSA – who came not to listen to what I had to say but with the intention of walking out on cue exemplified an attitude that is all too common on campuses today. The intent of these “protests” is to defame a speaker whose views they oppose but cannot answer intellectually.
Rather than respecting Mr. Horowitz’s opinion and engage in the question and answer session that followed his speech, this group of students left. This is not the first time a group of Muslim students have left such a gathering. In February of 2010, eleven students that were part of the Muslim Student Union at the University of California Irvine disrupted and walked out of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech. Because their actions were disruptive and stopped the Ambassador from being able to continue to speak, 11 students were arrested and the Muslim Student Union was suspended for an academic quarter. The school obtained e-mails that showed the group, “planned, orchestrated and coordinated” the protest.
Far too often those who disagree with the Islamic viewpoint on issues are the victims of insults and personal attacks in an effort to silence them. There can be no dialogue, education nor reason in such environments, only delusion.
PRAYER FOR EDUCATION:
• Pray those that are the victims of these attacks will continue to be invited to campuses across the country and will continue to speak truth.
• Pray that Muslims attending universities will begin to examine the teachings and political stands of their religion.
• Pray that God’s TRUTH will resound across college campuses throughout our land.
• Pray that Thomas Jefferson’s words will become reality – that our universities and colleges will not be afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead.
A young cartoonist named Molly Norris learned first hand the influence that Islam demands upon the sphere of Arts & Entertainment in our nation. In response to censorship of the show “South Park” by Comedy Central, Norris drew a cartoon declaring an event called “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” Although nothing in the Qur’an bans depictions of Muhammad, there are passages in the hadith (statements or actions of Muhammad) that bans the depiction of any living creature, including images of Muhammad or any other prophet in case the images become idols.
The creators of South Park had been threatened by members of an organization called Revolution Muslim because the group considered the depiction of Muhammad wearing a teddy bear costume in an episode insulting to Islam. A threat was posted on the group’s website saying that violent retaliation would likely happen to the show’s creators. In addition the website published the addresses of the show’s production office in Los Angeles and Comedy Central’s New York office. Comedy Central obscured all images and bleeped all references to Muhammad and removed a speech about intimidation and fear from the next episode.
Molly Norris drew a cartoon on April 20, 2010 declaring May 20,2010 as “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” in protest of Comedy Central’s censoring of South Park. She reasoned that if everyone drew Mohammed, Islamic terrorists would be unable to murder them all and thus their threats would become unrealistic. Part of the text on her cartoon read, “Do your part to both water down the pool of targets and, oh yeah, defend a little something our country is famous for…the first amendment.”
The idea quickly became popular on Facebook and was supported by many bloggers drawing attention to Molly Norris. In a radio interview, she explained her reasoning behind the cartoon, “…as a cartoonist I just felt so much passion about what had happened, I wanted to counter Comedy Central’s message about feeling afraid.”
The cartoon and the idea took on a life of its own and by April 29, Norris suggested that “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” be called off. She said the campaign had grown much bigger than she ever imagined and her cartoon was being used in ways she could not control. “I said that I wanted to counter fear and then I got afraid.”
Unfortunately for the cartoonist, al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Awlaki called for Molly Norris’ execution even though she tried to end the campaign. The FBI notified Norris that they considered it a “very serious threat.” Norris changed her name and went into hiding.
We read of art displays that are offensive to Christians, yet however repulsive Christians may find the art they do not attempt to force their beliefs on the artist through death threats. Molly Norris is only one of many within the Arts & Entertainment industry that discovered firsthand what happens when western freedoms are met with the archaic system of shariah law. Unlike law within the Christian and Jewish faiths, Islamic law applies itself to non-believers and believers alike.
Fear is a weapon oftentimes used by Islamists to intimidate Muslims and non-Muslims. Christians believe “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”
PRAYER FOR ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:
Earlier this year, media networks began to report about “the war on women” as part of their coverage of the presidential primaries. Some described the war in economic terms as they reported on equal pay legislation. Others tend to have a definition of the war on women like the ACLU’s who defined the “War on Women” as the “legislative and rhetorical attacks on women and women’s rights taking place across the nation.” The ACLU’s examples of these attacks on women include waiting periods before abortion and ending Planned Parenthood funding.
The real war on women in the U.S. however is being waged by Shariah proponent groups who are attempting to hide behind the concept of the freedom of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. One such group known as the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) has launched a $3 million campaign to “help the public understand Shariah and counter the rise of Islamophobia in America.”
On the ICNA website Naeem Baig, Executive Director of the ICNA Council for Social Justice states, “[Because of the freedoms granted under the First Amendment] Jewish family law is acceptable in civil courts today…Muslims are as American as any other faith group, and are deserving of these rights as well.”
Shariah law however differs greatly from Judeo-Christian law. Under shariah law women are considered inferior to men. The Qur’an says, “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other…”(Q 4:34) Inheritance laws within Islam further reflect this attitude with a woman inheriting half of what a man inherits (Q 4:11). Her testimony in a court of law is also only worth half of the testimony of a man’s (Q 2:282). Under shariah a husband is allowed to beat (Q4:34) and rape (Q2:223) his wife.
Arguments are made that these types of laws would not apply to women living in the United States, however a report issued by the Center for Security Policy examined 50 Appellate Court decisions from 23 states where shariah law had been considered in the case. Out of these 50 cases, the majority affected women and children with shariah being considered in marriage law and child custody cases. You may download a copy of the comprehensive report here.
Although often blamed on cultural traditions rather than shariah law by Islamic apologists, women around the world and in recent years in the United States have been the victims of forced marriages, honor killings and female genital mutilation. The Tahirih Justice Center conducted a survey on forced marriage in immigrant communities in 2011. Based upon the survey, there were as many as 3,000 cases of forced marriage in the past two years in the U.S. although the survey did not reveal how many of the marriages were Islamic.
A study of worldwide trends in honor killings revealed 91% of honor killings in North America were due to unacceptable “westernization”. Examples in our nation include Noor Almaleki. An article in Marie Clare describes the vision Noor had for herself, “Having lived in the U.S. for 16 years, she held dreams of becoming a teacher, or marrying a man she loved, and most importantly of making her own choices.” Her Iraqi father felt his daughter was dishonoring his family by desiring to choose her own mate and dress in a western fashion. So in October of 2009 as Noor and a friend walked across a parking lot her father driving close to 30 miles an hour hit Noor and her friend. The impact knocked Noor onto a median so her father swerved his SUV onto the median and ran over his daughter fracturing her face and spine. He was eventually apprehended in England. From jail her father defended himself, “I’m not a criminal. I didn’t kill someone randomly…For an Iraqi, honor is the most valuable thing.”
Eighteen year old Amina Said and her seventeen year old sister, Sarah were shot in 2008 by their father also for being typical teenage girls. Amina and Sarah had a cell phones and dated American boys. Their father, an Egyptian Muslim wanted his daughters to be Muslims and to marry husbands that he would choose. He had threatened the girls and finally on New Years Day of 2008, he shot them. A 911 call by Sarah as she was dying identified her father as her killer. Yaser Abdel Said is still at large. Even if the girls’ father is apprehended under shariah law a Muslim father is not subject to retaliation for killing his own children according to The Reliance of the Traveller, a manual of Islamic Sacred Law (approved by al-Azhar University and the International Institute of Islamic Thought).
Although our series deals with Islam in the United States, a quick look at the rights of women in any Muslim majority country clearly shows how shariah laws subjugate women discriminating against them through laws that give men control in marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. For more information and personal stories of women affected in our nation by shariah law, visit End the Shariah War on Women.
PRAYER FOR THE FAMILY:
Recently an article appeared in a magazine on a denominational church’s website entitled, “A Moravian and Muslim Answer to an Imam’s Request”. It is the story of two church members who, after living in the United States for many years, returned to the place of their birth, a village in Sierra Leone. They, with the help of their church, have built a mission house, a school and a church in the village.
The population of the village is reported to be 90 percent Muslim, but the mission group maintains a good relationship with these Muslims. A church member visiting the village paid a visit to the Imam at the mosque in the village. After her visit, she asked if there was anything she could do to return his hospitality. His reply was the mosque was in need of prayer rugs so after returning to the United States the need was shared with other congregations.
Through an interfaith clergy group a pastor with the help of an imam in his city was able to purchase the prayer rugs and send them to the mosque in the village. The magazine applauded this effort and described the pastor and the imam as overjoyed that their friendship made them part of an interfaith effort stretching from the United States to Sierra Leone.
Unfortunately, as this well-intentioned effort by these Christians demonstrates, they obviously do not understand the teachings of Islam or the implications of their gift.
Prayer rugs are used for the ritual prayer, or salat, that Muslims perform five times daily at: dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset, and evening. Most prayer rugs have a mihrab (niche), an arch-shaped design at one end of the carpet. Muslim worshipers must point the mihrab toward Mecca when praying. When performing salat at the mosque, worshipers line up in parallel rows behind the prayer leader (imam) who directs them in actions and words. As part of the salat, Muslims recite Al-Fatiha, the first sura (or chapter) found in the Qur’an.
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the universe.
He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
He is the Master of the Day of Judgment.
It is you we worship, it is you we ask for help.
Guide us in the straight path.
The path of those you have blessed, as opposed
to those who incur wrath and have gone astray.
One English version translates the end of the sura like this, “The way of those on whom you have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians). Islamic scholars verify the understanding by Muslims that Jews are those who earned Allah’s anger and Christians are those who went astray.
Each time Muslims in the village in Sierra Leone use the prayer rugs given to them by Christians they are declaring the very Christians who gave the gift have been led astray. Muslims believe the Bible was corrupted and the teachings of the Qur’an supersede the Bible. The gift of the prayer rugs affirms Islamic worship as a valid path to God, yet Muslims do not believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God; to them it is considered blasphemy. In fact they do not believe God has a Son.
Unwittingly, these Christians have in fact presented a gift in the form of prayer rugs to those who are lost that does nothing to bring Muslims closer to the Truth.
RELIGION PRAYER POINTS: