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John Hamed, Jr. and the Misrepresentation of Islam
by Hugh Fitzgerald
John Hamed, Jr. is the public relations officer of the Islamic Society of New Castle, Ohio, who wrote a letter, purporting to correct misperceptions about Islam, to the New Castle News:
We write this to take exception to the letter published Oct. 4 in the New Castle News, titled “America not the place for Muslims.”
The writer obviously considered himself an expert on the text of Islam’s Holy Book, the Koran (sic). He quotes verses from Al-Qu’ran without any historical or contextual knowledge, and concludes that Muslims do not belong in America.
The Bible contains many verses of extreme violence, but does this disparage [sic] the whole of Christianity? Of course not. The writer can neither translate nor explain properly the verses he quoted. These verses were allowances from God for the early Muslims to defend themselves against the relentless onslaught of horrors served upon them by their enemies and idol worshippers. Without those allowances, Muslims would have perished.
How does John Hamed, Jr. know that the writer to whom he objects “can [not] translate…properly the verses he quoted”? Does Hamed know the Arabic of the Qur’an? And does he not realize that the verses quoted by that writer were not translated by him, but taken from one of the accepted translations of the Qur’an into English?
More disturbing is Hamed’s failure to distinguish between prescription and description. The Bible contains descriptions of violence limited in time and place, but does not prescribe open-ended violence by Christians. The Qur’an, however, prescribes extreme violence, commanding Believers to engage in Jihad warfare against all Unbelievers; these commands are in force until the entire world succumbs to Islam. These commands were not, as Mr. Hamed wants us to believe, temporary “allowances from God for the early Muslims”; nor do 1.5 billion Muslims, who are taught that the Qur’anic verses are valid everywhere and for all time, agree, as John Hamed, Jr. insists, that they are limited in time and place.
Nor was there, as John Hamed, Jr. claims, any “relentless onslaught of horrors served upon [the early Muslims]”; the “relentless onslaught” was entirely by, not against, Muslims. Islam was a fighting faith that was imposed, in a ferocious fashion, through warfare, first in Arabia, and within sixty years of the death of Muhammad ,that “relentless onslaught” by Muslims brought vast territories, including Iraq (the first victim of Muslim Arab jihad), and the Sassanian Empire of Persia, in the east, and Egypt, and then most of North Africa, in the west, under Islamic control.
“The writer fails to mention any of the 156 verses of mercy in the Qu’ran (2:182, 7:51, 12:92, 23:118) or the 65 verses of peace (2:182, 4:90, 6:127, 8:61, 49:9) or the 93 verses of love (2:195, 3:31, 4:36, 19:96).
“Mercy” and “peace” and “love” in the Qur’an are directed at fellow Muslims, or describe Allah; they are not directed at Unbelievers. “Allah is forgiving and merciful” ends 2:182, which is what the writer would have us believe is a “verse of [universal] mercy,” though Allah is “forgiving and merciful” only to Believers. When Allah is described as the “Most Merciful” — toward Believers — as in 19:96, this is treated by John Hamed, Jr. as a “verse of love,” but again, it is directed only to Believers. While 49:9 is about making “peace,” that “peace” is only between Believers. “Mercy,” “peace,” and “love” do not apply to Unbelievers except insofar as those Unbelievers are inclined either to convert (revert) to Islam, or to fully accept the status of dhimmi under Muslim masters. Mr. Hamed has simply gone to an online concordance to the Qur’an, found where the words “mercy,” “peace,” and “love” and their variants appear, listed those verses, and paid no attention to whom those sentiments are supposed to be directed. If he had done so, he would have understood how unrelenting Islam remains in inculcating hatred of those Unbelievers who refuse either to convert to Islam, or to submit, as dhimmis, to subjugation by Muslims.
Briefly, Islam teaches the worship of One God and it accepts the prophecies of Moses and Jesus and others mentioned in the scriptures. There are 7 million American Muslims, half of whom are U.S.-born. We are educated, middle-class citizens who work in every profession. America is our home, and we’re not going anywhere.
This statement misleads in several ways. Muslims, Christians, and Jews are all monotheists, but the Allah of Islam is a much more violent and uncompromising figure than the God of the Christians or the Jehovah of the Jews. Hamed wishes readers to believe in that soothing untruth that “we all worship the same God.” We don’t. The Muslim Allah is long on war, short on peace, long on hatred, short on love; the Christian God is the exact opposite. The Qur’an, with its emphasis on warfare, conquest, subjugation of Infidel enemies, with its rules for dividing up loot, including both property and sex slaves, is a very different text from the Christian Bible. As far as Islam accepting Moses and Jesus as prophets, that is true, but they are understood in ways quite different from what Christians believe. The “prophecy” of Moses that Islam accepts is that of Deuteronomy 18:18, where Muslims believe he is foretelling the appearance of “the Prophet Muhammad,” while Christians take his “prophecy” as referring to the appearance of Christ. And in Islam, Jesus is only a “prophet” and not the Son of God, as Christians believe. Muhammad, while the “Perfect Man,” is still just a man, a mere mortal. Thus do Muslims avoid the sin of “shirk” (polytheism, idolatry), ascribing a “partner” to God, of which Christians, who take Jesus to be the Son of God, are guilty.
Notice, too, the writer’s unsubstantiated claim that “there are 7 million Muslims in America.” According to the Pew Research Foundation, there are 3.35 Muslims in the United States as of August 2017, or less than half the number so casually claimed by John Hamed, Jr. He offers no source for his figure, for there is none. The attempt to exaggerate the number, and hence the perceived power, of Muslims, is a staple of Muslim propaganda. Hamed is hoping that his readers will not bother to check; he may well, alas, be right.
The bizarre claim Hamed makes, based solely on Fell’s wild remarks about Muslims being “the descendants of the Muslim visitors of North America [who] are members of the present Iroquois, Algonquin, Anasazi, Hohokam and Olmec native people,” has to be understood as one more attempt to backdate a Muslim presence in America, as if that were itself a guarantee of “belonging” in America, by being more connected to the indigenous Indians than are the descendants of the comparatively late arrivals from Europe.
What of John Hamed, Jr.’s claim that “we [Muslims] are educated, middle-class citizens who work in every profession.” That is no guarantee of good behavior. Muslim terrorists are on the whole better educated, and better off economically than the average Muslim, as noted in this report by Giulio Meotti. Osama bin Laden came from a family of billionaires. Ayman al-Zawahiri, a doctor, came from one of the most prominent and prosperous families in Egypt. We have all read of the doctors, lawyers, professors, students at good universities, who went off to join the Islamic state. Telling us that Muslims are economically “middle-class” is no reason for us to feel relieved. The “middle-class” Dr. Nidal Hasan, who had had his medical education paid for entirely by the Army, and was earning $90,000 a year, remained unswayed in his murderous hatred of Infidels. “Mike” Hawash, who was convicted in 2003 of trying to help his fellow Muslims in the Taliban, had been earning $360,000 as an Intel engineer. Aafia Siddiqui had attended MIT, had a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis, and a brilliant career before her when she decided to trade it all for life as “Lady Al-Qaida.” There are many more such examples.
Perhaps sensing that he has not won us over with his claims about the Qur’an’s contents — all that mercy, love, and peace — nor disabused us of our fears about Muslims by insisting that they are “well-educated and middle-class,” nor impressed us with the claims that they arrived in America 800 years before Columbus, he ends the first part of his letter with the unpleasantly defiant “we are not going anywhere.”
That defiant note that Mr. Hamed adds, that “we [Muslims] are not going anywhere” sounds disturbingly like a challenge: “just you try to get rid of us, no matter what we believe, or how we act.” It does not sound like the sentiment of someone trying to decrease “divisiveness.” He might have written “we are glad to be here, and we love what this country offers us.” Instead he offered, tellingly, a veiled threat: “we are not going anywhere.”
First published in Jihad Watch.