Muslim professor reaches out to VC community on Islamic-American relations, history

By George MillerHussaiAmir

Dr. Amir Hussain, a Pakistan-born Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, reached out to the Ventura County community. His presentation on 4-16-16 at the Unitarian Fellowship in Newbury Park was “Islam and the building of America.”  His handout is included here: “Islam and Muslims in America” (read text and notes below or download: Islam and Muslims in America).

Americans are always asking why “moderate Muslims” don’t speak out. Well, actually they do, but not that often and not that well-publicized, so we’ll do our part to not only get his word out, but also include commentary for session attendees and people who analyzed his prepared notes.

Article Outline:

…. Introduction

  1. Dr. Amin Hussain presentation & notes
  2. Attendee #1 comments
  3. Attendee #2 comments
  4. Some expert opinions

Introduction

Relations between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds have often been tense during much of the 1400 years since Muhammad brought the faith to life. The aggressive expansionist policies mandated by the Koran have resulted in frequent strife, although Islam is said by some, including President George W. Bush to be a “religion of peace.” In fact. it is a way of life.  Islam moved outward from the MidEast to the East to Asia, South to Africa and West to the Near East, then Southern Europe. The pushback that was the Crusades was to take back lost lands and ultimately the Holy Land, but was viewed as an unjustified invasion by Muslims who had already been living there for centuries by then.

American colonists, then early U.S. Citizens, had to deal with Muslim piracy, enslavement and demands for tribute, leading President Thomas Jefferson to say: “Millions for Defense, but not a cent for tribute. Multiple attacks, wars, commission of privateers and even a  land invasion were launched. The opening line of the US Marine Corps hymn : “From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli” refers to early Corps missions to accomplish that.

Dr. Hussain points out that Muslims have been involved in the building of America since its colonization, although there is some dispute about the level of Islamic influence. He also made references to the discrimination he says Muslims have endured here, comparing it to that of the blacks and Jews. He feels that there are inaccurate, destructive stereotypes attributed to Muslims, undeserved by the vast majority.

 

HussainAmirUnitarian

Dr. Amir Hussain presenting at the T.O. Unitarian Church on 4-16-16. Photo: “Nick” Quidwai

 

1.  Dr.Amin Hussain presentation, notes & references

There is no  recording of the presentation, so we will have to make do with Dr. Hassain’s handout, accounts of attendees and comments from others.

Click for larger downloadable PDF Version: Islam and Muslims in America

Scroll down to see his session handout at end of article, or just click above.

 

2. Attendee #1 – Iqbal “Nick” Quidwai, Muslim, longtime naturalized American Citizen, businessman, living in Conejo Valley

“Nick” is well-known as a longtime Conejo Valley resident and “political junkie,” came to the U.S. in 1971 to go to school, has run for office multiple times. He is a frequent presence at Thousand Oaks City Council meetings. Originally from Pakistan, he established strong roots in the USA many years  ago. He says he is not a religious fanatic, but tries to live according to religious precepts.

Interestingly, he gave a speech on the same topic, same venue, about a quarter of a century ago.  Watch the video of his 1991 pre-911, pre ISIS speech:

 

Surprisingly, he was a bit critical of the recent Hassain presentation. First of all Quidwai said, “he (Hassain) was preaching to the choir,” meaning that most of the audience was already sympathetic to his message. He also scoffed at the claim that Islam had a big role in building America and that jazz and rap had Muslim roots. “The slavemasters gave them slave names, treated them like animals, stamped out black culture and religion, tore apart families.” So, he said, “Islamic influence in early America was inconsequential.” But he said that was not so in the Middle East and Europe, where the Muslims had literature, mathematics and scholarship. He regretfully agreed that this is less so now. He seemed to attribute that to “extremists.” But he agreed with much of the presentation.

He pointed out the stark differences between the Medinian and Meccan portions of the Koran. The Median Koran was written later and tends to be harder line than what Mohammed came up with earlier in Mecca. Islamic doctrine dictates that the later portions take precedence over earlier ones.

In response to my questions, Quidwai conceded that there are a few Koran passages that do in fact call for treatment of non-Muslims that an overwhelming majority of Americans find objectionable, but that the positive aspects of the Koran far outweigh them.

Mr. Quidwai wrote these clarifications to us:

“Osama, Zarkawi, etc. quote from the Mecci passages which for example say not to trust Christians, Jews which was talking about those who were in Mecca & wanted to kill the Prophet; the Medini as well as his tradition in Medina talk about the SPECIAL Place for people of the book (Bible, Torah) and that he was the contintuum to Jesus, Moses and 100k prophets and we were to respect those who would not accept him.

FORGOT impt to mention:
IJTIHAD: (Spell wrong cannot find on Google) arabic word 
This is using reasoning to come to conclusion; this is what lead to the rise of Islamic civilization which placed great emphasis on learning Vs the literalists like Wahabis (Al Quaida, ISIS) who like simpletons look at light for what we see not willing to find the rainbow (VIBYOR)
FIRST Lines slaves:
WRONG to say “we have the Judeo-Christian heritage as deliberately exclude Islam, as well as because we did not have enough Muslims here because Islam on a broad level shares all the values as the other 2. So it should be Judeo-Christian-Islamic heritage, especially when you take Europe into account.  Don’t be scared of the “Shariah” law nonsense and also differentiate between what the religion is and how Muslims practice it which is full of cultural nuances like the Hijab, mistreatment of women  etc.”

He also correctly stated that the vast majority of Muslims aren’t going around waging Jihad. There are even varying translations and interpretations of these controversial passages. It is obvious that there are very, very few Muslims putting these extreme Jihad interpretations into practice, especially in the United States.  He bemoans some “literal interpretations” of the Koran, which he says has also happened with the Bible.

Quidwai says that there has always been East-West conflict, that Islam is a challenge to Christianity. “Our belief is the Jesus PBH (peace be upon him) will return in the waning days but as a FOLLOWER of Mohammed, the final messenger. The Gospel of Barnabus told of the coming of Mohammed, but is rejected by the Church.”

He added these comments after reading the above:

Meccan surahs (revelations) are meant for the Muslims, less than 100 at the time who were under siege and practiced faith under duress; Medina when Islamic State was established and the commandants were, are for all time; Subject to interpretation but given in a living language and preserved 100% by memorization even to this day not just just for word but letter for letter.

 

3. Attendee #2 comments- local businesswoman

Susan, a local real estate agent, went to the session a skeptic and left the same way. But she does think that it is essential that dialogue continues. That is why she came. But when listening to Dr. Hassain, she thought that he was speaking some untruths and painting things much prettier than they really are. Getting more and more angry as his presentation went on, she could hardly wait to speak up in the Q & A period which followed. She said there were about 60-70 people present, that she guessed about half were congregants, from watching their interactions and that hardly anyone looked Muslim.

She said that people there were attempting to make him feel comfortable, tried to understand his claims of oppressions of Muslims, and encouraged conversation. She thought he was rather vain and recounted him bragging about being consulted on the Morgan Freeman “Theory of God” program and more. She felt that he seemed to be trying to justify himself and Muslims in general.

Nick Quidwai told me that a woman was screaming at Dr. Hassain at his presentation. Susan’s version: she told me that she recounted a story of her driving to Dearborn MI, with a friend, while on vacation near there, to see if this well known Muslim-heavy city was really as described. As she drove down Michigan Avenue, looking at its liquor stores and strip joints, she was thinking “this doesn’t seem very Muslim at all.” Then they turned onto a side street, looking at interesting, old buildings, then parked to take some pictures. She said some “Muslim looking men,” came over, threatening them, trying to take their cameras, telling them they couldn’t take pictures and didn’t belong there. Feeling very threatened, they fled back to the car and quickly left the area. She told me that Dr. Hussein pointed at her and screamed over and over at her: “you are  a liar, you are a liar!” But she insisted that was what occurred that day. Afterward, she told me that, in retrospect, she could have handled it better and did not intend to disrupt the session like that and really does want to see an expanded dialogue.

She told me that a couple of others came up to her afterward and thanked her for speaking out. One man, she said, thanked her and said he was with him until that outburst after she spoke out.

She described the event as a “total Alinsky tactic,’ referring to Saul Alinsky, the radical activist. She felt that he was trying to justify himself and justify Muslim actions. She said “how can we be unafraid, with all the terror in the cities?” She told me that Hassain had said that only a small number of Americans were murdered by Muslims and far more Muslims had been murdered by Americans. She was upset that he was smiling at what seemed to her like inappropriate times and asked him why he was smiling.

She was not happy that Hussain praised Obama’s speech in Egypt, which attracted wide criticism in the US.

 

4. Some other informed opinions

From Alvin Schmidt, PhD, University of Nebraska, retired in 1999 as professor of sociology at Illinois College

Some Responses to Statements Appeasing Islam and Muslims

Recently, I received several pages (Ed. note: refers to Dr. Hassain’s notes) containing statements made by high ranking individuals, including President Obama, that defend and appease Islam and Muslims, contrary to well-established, historical facts. These statements have three things in common. One, they reveal a great deal of ignorance on the part of the individuals who have made these statements defending Muslims and Islam, in spite of what the Koran teaches. Two, these individuals seem to know little or no history (or don’t want to know) regarding 1,400 years of violence and bloodshed that Muslims have committed, beginning with Muhammad, the founder of Islam, and also consistent with the teachings of the Koran. Three, in most instances the defenders and appeasers of Islam echo the mantra of political correctness. The latter is Islam’s best friend.

One defender complained that “intelligent people [apparently Americans and other Westerners] believe all Muslims are violent or that all Muslim women are oppressed . . .”  He, of course, provides no evidence for saying “all Muslims are violent.”  Who has ever said that “all Muslims are violent”? No one that I know. But that an unusually large number of Muslims are violent is supported by numerous reliable reports that show 10 to 15 percent of today’s Muslims are radical Muslims. This means that out of a Muslim world population of 1.6 billion (Gallup Poll, 2007) there are about 225 million terrorist-minded Muslims. That is hardly a small minority.  So while one cannot accurately say “all Muslims are terrorists,” one can say, “most terrorists are Muslims.”

In one newspaper piece, former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, criticized Americans who say President Obama is a Muslim. Powell writes that Obama “is a Christian. He’s always been a Christian.” How does Powell know?  Apparently from some statements Obama has publicly made that quoted him saying he is a Christian. But does that prove that he is a Christian? No, if I were to say “I am a nuclear physicist” that does not prove that I am one.  To prove my assertion, I would need to provide some concrete evidence, something I would not be able to do, because I am not a nuclear physicist.

What evidence has Obama given that he is a Christian, other than his having said so? Our Lord, Jesus Christ, however, said it takes more than merely saying one is a Christian. Rather, He said, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15). Has Obama shown any Christian fruits when he–more than once–falsely stated things about Christianity and Christian values? Or when he defended Islam by criticizing Christianity? One time he said, “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer.” No faithful Christian could in good conscience utter such a statement. But Obama did. It was also he who had his staff remove all Christian symbols before he spoke at Georgetown University (a Catholic school) in 2012. A similar request was honored when he spoke at Notre Dame in 2009. And unfortunately both Catholic universities agreed to these Christ-denying requests. But the word Allah and copies of the Koran were openly visible for people to acquire when he spoke at Georgetown. If he were a Christian, why would he not want Christian symbols to be visible? Here one is reminded of what Jesus once said. “I say unto you, whoever confesses me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9).

Defenders and appeasers of Islam love to cite violent acts that occurred in the Old Testament, for instance, in the book of Joshua. Thus, these defenders are saying that Muslim violence is no worse what one finds in the Old Testament. This is a common “red herring” tactic, cleverly used to intimidate and silence any criticism of Islam’s current and numerous murderous acts.  And unfortunately, all too many uninformed Christians fall for this specious comparison. These gullible Christians fail to tell the Muslim defenders that the violent acts in the Old Testament happened 3,000 years ago. They are all in the past tense.  But today’s Islamic violent acts, advocated in the Koran’s numerous violent passages, are all in the present tense. The following are only a couple of such numerous passages in the Koran.

“Fighting is enjoined for you, and it is an object of dislike to you, and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know” (K. 2:216).

“To anyone who fights in Allah’s way, whether killed or victorious, we shall give him a great reward” (K. 4:74).

“I will instill terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, and strike off from them every fingertip (K. 8:12).

“If you do not fight, Allah will punish you severely, and put others in your place” (K. 9:39).

Another Muslim appeaser, in a recent newspaper article, wrote that among Americans, “Sharia conjures horrors of hands cut off, adulterers stoned, and women oppressed. By contrast, who today remembers that the much-loved English common law called for execution as punishment for hundreds of crimes, including theft of any object worth five shilling or more?”

Here too, past-antiquated British laws are cited to give present-day Sharia laws the aura of being acceptable. By employing this tactic, appeasers ignore that these past laws have all been repealed, whereas Islam’s inhumane laws have not been repealed, but still are an integral part of today’s Islamic religion. The appeasers conveniently fail to note that cutting off the hand of a Muslim thief, for example, is still the law in today’s Koran.  It declares, “As to the thief, male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime, and Allah is exalted in power” (K. 5:38).  And let’s not forget, a female guilty of adultery is still stoned to death, as happened recently in Pakistan.

In still another newspaper article, readers are encouraged to follow the example of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, who was “merciful to everyone, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”  This is a shockingly false portrayal of Muhammad, for he was far from being merciful. Kaab ibn Al-Ashraf, a poet, who wrote some poems that angered Muhammad. So Muhammad had him stabbed to death by his body-guard assassin, Maslama. The hadith by Sahih Al-Bukhari cites Muhammad saying, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” Ibn Ishaq (d. 773 A.D.), author of The Life of Muhammad (first published in 750) quotes Muhammad saying, “Kill any Jew that falls into you power.” These are only some examples of Muhammad’s unmerciful disposition.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note when Christians engaged in violent acts at various times in history, they could not cite any New Testament support for their evil actions. They acted outside of the New Testament.  They were nominal or highly flawed Christians. Whereas when Muslims engage in violent behavior today, they are not nominal or flawed Muslims, for they have the Koran on their side with its numerous violent passages (as indicated above) commanding them to kill the infidels.

Submitted by Alvin J. Schmidt, Ph.D. (April 22, 2016)

 

From Michael Greer, President of American Freedom Alliance, retired Hollywood casting agent

My comments on the notes provided by Amir Hussain, a Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University for his speech on Islam and Muslims in America at the Unitarian Church in Thousand Oaks, CA.

I take exception to the first quote by Carl Ernist, “it still amazes me that intelligent people can believe that all Muslims are violent or that all Muslim women are oppressed, when they would never dream of uttering slurs stereotyping much smaller groups such as Jews or Blacks.”  To begin, I don’t know anyone who believes all Muslims are violent. That is beyond a wild exaggeration. There are people who are afraid to trust Muslims because there have been many examples of Muslims living among us for years before either taking their children and returning to their countries (1991 movie based on true story, “Not Without My Daughter”) or murdering innocent people in the name of Allah (Boston, San Bernardino, Fort Hood, Paris, London, etc.).  And, no, we wouldn’t make such claims toward Jews or Blacks because I’m not aware of Blacks or Jews being suicide bombers and we all know Jewish women who lead their men around by the nose and Black women who’ll kick your ass.  I doubt any of us could name anyone who has gone into hiding because Christian issued a fatwa on their lives either.

I don’t know how Mr. Ernist, who I assume is an intelligent man, could suggest Muslim women aren’t oppressed. When he can show us none are oppressed, I’ll listen.  I also wonder why Mr. Hussain used this quote when he also included, as an example of the justness of Shariah law, that before a conviction of adultery the accused has to confess four times or have four male witnesses of good character testify that they witnesses the act directly.  Really?  How many acts of adultery are witnessed?  So, if a woman wants to get a divorce due to her husband’s adultery, good luck getting her husband to confess FOUR times or find FOUR witnesses.  And the same is true of rape.  She needs four witnesses who observed the rape. Good luck with that.

Mr. Hussain included a quote from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, when he reprimanded people for believing President Obama is a Muslim.  He said Obama has always been a Christian.  I would ask former Sec. Powell what evidence he has of that.  His Indonesia school records list his religion as Muslim.  I judge people by their actions not their words.  Obama may say he is a Christian but he doesn’t act like one.  Obama has praised and protected Islam, while condemning and restricting Christian religious freedom.  Obama says the most beautiful sound is the Muslim call to prayer.  Oh, I don’t know, I can be moved to tears by Ava Maria or Amazing Grace.  I think church bells are beautiful. But that’s me.

Powell went on to describe a young Muslim-American soldier who died in Iraq fighting to defend America. None of us would deny there are young Muslims serving with honor in our military but there are also Major Nidal Hasan’s waiting to take out as many American’s as possible in the name of Allah.  And our fear of being called bigots continues to prevent us from reporting suspicious behavior.

Also included in the notes was a speech by President Obama extolling the virtues of Islam.  He told us how Muslims have enriched our country since it’s founding, without naming any particular Muslims who are responsible for that enrichment.  And if he could name some, their accomplishments came from living in a free country, not from being Muslim.  Such accomplishments have not come from their home countries.

Obama mentioned the first Muslim elected to Congress taking his oath of office on the Holy Qur’an, like the one Thomas Jefferson kept in his library.  He didn’t mention, however, why Jefferson had a Qur’an in his library.  He read it to understand the motivation of the vicious pirates he was dealing with in the Barbary sea.

Obama went on to talk about our freedom of religion.  Something he brings up to shame us into accepting Islam, while he imposes policies that shut down Christian religious freedom.  Muslim prayers are now allowed in our schools while Christian/Jewish prayers are not.

What needs to be constantly pointed out is that Islam is not the same as other religions.  Islam is not just a religion.  It is a political ideology and a Rule of Law (Shariah) based on a religion.  Unless or until the political ideology and Shariah law is stripped from Islam, it can’t be considered in the same category as other religions.

Mr. Hussain also included a list of popular “fiction” about Islam. One of the “fictions” he listed was that Islam is more violent than other religions.  That is not a fiction.  It is more violent.  I don’t know another religion that requires non-believers to convert to it or die.  Yes, we can bring up the crusades a thousand years ago (to take back the land Islam had invaded) but you’d be hard pressed to name any Christians suicide bombing weddings or gunning down concert-goers or co-workers at a Christmas party.  As long as Christians are being beheaded and crucified in Muslim countries, as long as gays are thrown off roofs, as long as women are stoned to death for rape, as long as there are honor killings, you can’t say Islam is not a violent religion/Rule of Law/political ideology.

Another of his listed “fictions” was that “all Muslim women are oppressed”.  “All” is the modifier.  No, I don’t think “all” Muslim women are oppressed.  I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but certainly most are.  As long as women are walking around in berqas it’s impossible to deny they are oppressed.  As long as Muslim countries don’t allow women to be educated or drive or go out alone they can’t claim women aren’t oppressed.  We know, not “all”, but most.

Yes, we all know Muslims have lived in this country since it’s founding, not many, but some.  They didn’t discover this country, they didn’t write the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights.  They didn’t invent the car or the plane or the light bulb.  People from countries around the world have lived here for centuries, and they are welcome as long as they assimilate.  For the most part, Muslims don’t.

Yes, we know not all Muslims are violent but I’m waiting for someone to explain how you tell which ones aren’t.  Ask the people who worked with the San Bernardino shooter.

Yes, we know some Muslims have denounced terrorism.  Sorry, but too little too late.  Not loud enough and not serious enough.  What they should be talking about is reformation.

Muslim apologists ask us to believe them not our lying eyes.  We have seen what is happening in Europe. When the number of Muslims is large enough they start demanding compliance with Shariah, halah foods, their religious customs, etc.  Recently, a woman working at Disneyland where the employees have to dress in costume, sued to be allowed to wear a hijab.  And the Citadel is being pressured to allow a female cadet to wear a hijab.  They create “no go zones” where non-Muslims enter at their own risk.  They roam streets and demand women cover up and stores stop selling alcohol.  We’ve seen women abused by the refugees but instead of punishing the refugees, the women are told to not provoke them.

Sorry, I don’t want to live in the 4th century and I’m not buying the “peaceful religion” meme.

 

Bob Goodwin, Divinity student and longtime student of Muslim/Western World conflict

First, there appear to be two memes in this presentation that are very common in Islamic P. R. presentations: the religion of peace fallacy and “not all Muslims are…” All their apologist arguments can traced to these two memes.

.
It should be very clear to anyone paying attention that, though not all Muslims are active in violent jihad, the foundations of Islam encourage it. Let’s not forget that money flows from the “non-violent” to the violent in support of jihad. Those who cannot give cash will often give other forms of support. The examples in history and the news are abundant.

.
On the second page of the presentation is a long quote from Obama. He starts by stating that Islam has always been part of American history. This is an example of Taqiyya. True in some respects, but he leaves out very important information; the reason Islam is part of our history. That is, the Muslims were attacking our shipping in the Atlantic as well as the Mediterranean. This is why we required recognition from Morocco and Treaty of Tripoli.

.
He goes on to give examples of average Muslim citizen’s activities in our country. This is an example of the “not all Muslims are bad” meme leading us to the “Islam is a religion of peace” conclusion. I’ll just say; exceptions due not make the rule.
The fact that Thomas Jefferson kept a Koran in his library should not lead us to the conclusion that he, therefore, was comfortable with Islam. On the contrary; he was following the dictum- know thy enemy.

.
The second paragraph of Obama’s quote reveals he is an Islamic apologist and defender. The first sentence makes it clear he believes Islam is a valid and true religion.

.
His third paragraph is almost entirely true. The only fault I find in it is his misrepresentation of “E pluribus unum”. The many it actually refers to is the whole of the 13 colonies, not the peoples of the world.

 

Here is Dr. Hassain’s session handout, referenced in the beginning of this article …..

Islam and Muslims in America 001
Islam and Muslims in America 002

Islam and Muslims in America 003

Islam and Muslims in America 004

Islam and Muslims in America 005

 

 

 

 

Islam and Muslims in America 006

Islam and Muslims in America 007

 

 

Islam and Muslims in America 008


George Miller is Publisher of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard

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Susan

Thank you! This article is an invitation for other Muslim leaders and educators for the dialog to continue.

William "Bill" Hicks

The koran teaches to deceive the infidel until you can over-power him (my interpretation). If that be so, how do you ever accept any muslim at his word that he is a “moderate”?