Arkansas State University student Abdullah Raslan penned a column for the school newspaper reflecting on the 9/11 attacks by strongly condemning violence and calling for interfaith reconciliation and understanding. “Living in the Bible Belt for the past three years and befriending many devoted Christians here on campus, I’ve learned that Islam and Christianity have a lot in common,” he wrote. “Both religions preach values and morals, stressing that violence is never the answer.”
But the anti-Muslim group ACT! for America has no interest in any form of interfaith dialogue, and instead sent to their members across the country Raslan’s article along with their line-by-line rebuttals written in all caps. Led by Brigitte Gabriel, ACT! For America is one of the most conspiratorial and virulent anti-Muslim groups in America. The membership email calls Raslan’s article illustrative of “information warfare” and suggests he wrote it using “the practice of taqiyya.”
Is the Muslim college student from Saudi Arabia, who wrote the column below, naïve, uninformed, or deliberately feeding us disinformation (the practice of “taqiyya”)?
We can’t know for sure. But regardless, this column, which appeared in the ASU newspaper, illustrates again how disinformation is being peddled to mislead Americans. Uninformed Americans are vulnerable to this “information warfare.”
Muslim student reflects on tragedy
By Abdullah Raslan
Yesterday marked the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. The attacks were associated with al-Qaeda, an Islamic organization founded by Osama bin Laden.
Being a Muslim, I frequently get asked about my thoughts toward the incident. For everyone that is wondering, here is my answer:
The word “Islam” comes from the word “peace” in Arabic. [THIS IS FALSE, AND SHE MUST KNOW IT. THE ARABIC FOR ISLAM MEANS “SUBMISSION.” THE ARABIC FOR “PEACE” IS A DIFFERENT WORD.]
Muslims are brought up on morals and beliefs to do good to others and not spread harm, no matter what your religious background is.
All Muslims are raised to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad. [MUHAMMAD ENGAGED IN OR AUTHORIZED NEARLY 90 DIFFERENT RAIDS, ATTACKS, ASSASSINATIONS AND OTHER ACTS OF VIOLENCE. DOES SHE NOT KNOW THIS? IF SHE DOES, IS SHE CHOOSING TO MISLEAD HER READERS WHEN SHE SAYS MUSLIMS ARE TO DO GOOD TO OTHERS WHILE FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MUHAMMAD? AFTER ALL, IT WOULD BE HARD TO CHARACTARIZE MUHAMMAD’S MILITARY CAMPAIGNS AND ACTIONS AS DOING “GOOD TO OTHERS.”]
In fact, Muslims believe that if they don’t strive to be like the prophet they might as well not call themselves Muslims.
During the prophet’s time, whenever Muslims would invade a city in the name of spreading Islam, there were strict orders to not hurt any civilians. [THIS IS FALSE. FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN MUHAMMAD DEFEATED THE QUARAYZA JEWISH TRIBE IN MEDINA, HE ORDERED THE TRIBE’S 800 MEN BEHEADED AND HE SOLD THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN INTO SLAVERY.]
The elderly, women and children were asked to leave and were not harmed. [THIS IS FALSE. SEE NOTE ABOVE.] It is a sin to harm any innocents.
The attacks of 9/11 had a death toll of 2,977 people. Those were 2,977 innocent men and women that were working – not at war with any Muslims. Of those, 31 were known to be Muslims, and died during the attacks.
Do I think this work would make the Prophet Muhammad proud?
The prophet and the holy Quran teach us to lead by example and not use violence to force people to hear us.
Islam is a religion that teaches tolerance and acceptance of everyone around us. [WHILE THERE ARE PEACEFUL AND TOLERANT MUSLIMS, THE CLAIM THAT ISLAM TEACHES “TOLERANCE AND ACCEPTANCE OF EVERYONE AROUND US” IS FALSE. SHE COMES FROM SAUDI ARABIA, THE COUNTRY THAT IS THE HOME OF ISLAM’S TWO HOLIEST SITES, MECCA AND MEDINA. SAUDI ARABIA IS THE PINNACLE OF INTOLERANCE. IN SAUDI ARABIA, NON-MUSLIMS CANNOT ENTER MECCA. CHRISTIANS CANNOT OPENLY CARRY BIBLES. JEWS CANNOT OPENLY WEAR A STAR OF DAVID. SURELY SHE MUST KNOW THIS.
THE QUR’AN HAS NUMEROUS PASSAGES THAT CALL FOR WARFARE AGAINST AND THE SLAYING OF NON-MUSLIMS. PASSAGES, SUCH AS SURAH 9:5, THAT ARE UNDERSTOOD BY ISLAMIC SCHOLARS TO HAVE ABROGATED (ANNULLED) EARLIER, PEACEFUL VERSES IN THE QUR’AN.
ISLAMIC CONQUESTS DURING ITS 14 CENTURY HISTORY WIPED OUT ENTIRE NON-MUSLIM SOCIETIES, LEFT HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS DEAD AND TENS OF MILLIONS ENSLAVED. TODAY IN IRAQ, 500,000 CHRISTIANS HAVE HAD TO FLEE THE COUNTRY SINCE WE DEPOSED SADDAM HUSSEIN, DUE TO PERSECUTION BY MUSLIMS.
WE COULD CITE MANY, MANY MORE EXAMPLES, BUT YOU GET THE POINT.]
We believe that Allah is beautiful, and loves beautiful things.
The prophet said that all men, including women, are equal in Islam. [THIS IS FALSE. ACCORDING TO SHARIA, A MUSLIM WOMAN’S TESTIMONY IN COURT IS WORTH ONLY HALF THAT OF A MAN’S. A HUSBAND CAN DIVORCE HIS WIFE SIMPLY BY SAYING “I DIVORCE YOU” THREE TIMES. THE WIFE HAS NO SUCH RIGHT. A MAN CAN BEAT HIS WIFE FOR DISOBEIDENCE, SURAH 4.34.]
Arabs have no superiority over non-Arabs, nor do non-Arabs have superiority over Arabs.
In the article “Racism and Islam” by Hisham Zoubeir, he was quoted saying “The people of other faiths have always enjoyed religious toleration under Islam; when the Jews were being persecuted in the rest of Europe, they found freedom and sanctity in Muslim Spain.” [IT IS TRUE THAT JEWS AT TIMES AND IN SOME PLACES ENJOYED MORE FREEDOM UNDER MUSLIM RULE THAN CHRISTIAN. HOWEVER, THE CLAIM THAT “PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED RELIGIOUS TOLERATION UNDER ISLAM” IS FALSE. AN ESTIMATED 2000 HINDU TEMPLES WERE DESTROYED IN ISLAMIC JIHADS OVER THE CENTURIES AND TENS OF MILLIONS OF HINDUS WERE KILLED. CHRISTIAN CHURCHES THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE EAST WERE DESTROYED BY MUSLIM CONQUERORS AND MOSQUES WERE ERECTED IN THEIR PLACE.]
The attacks have given Islam a bad name.
The association of Islam with terrorism and hate is a stereotype that needs to be put to rest.
Just because al-Qaeda believes that the attacks were justified doesn’t mean all Muslims follow.
Living in the Bible Belt for the past three years and befriending many devoted Christians here on campus, I’ve learned that Islam and Christianity have a lot in common.
Both religions preach values and morals, stressing that violence is never the answer.
My deepest sympathies go to all the families of the men and women that died in the attacks.
I hope we can continue to find the positive in times like these instead of dwelling in sorrow.