Recently Joseph Farrah wrote an article “Islamic double-standards” (World Net Daily, January 22, ’04). In this he again showed his bigotry against Muslims. He is ‘amazed’ by Muslim protest over the French Hijab ban. He terms such protests as ‘audacious’ and ‘Islamic double-standards.’ In his opinion, Muslims should not ‘speak of religious freedom;’ how dare Muslims ‘protest’ about hijab ban in France when there is not a single church or a synagogue in Saudi Arabia? In his bluster against Muslims in general, and Saudi Arabia in particular, he fails to grasp the fact that church and synagogue require the presence of Christian and Jewish citizens in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia does not have non-Muslim citizens, just as the Vatican, the citadel of Catholicism, does not have non-Christian citizens. It is possible that when the Vatican shows the way by allowing a masjid in its territory, the Saudis would reciprocate.
The temporary foreign workers working within Saudi Arabia do not pay any state tax either to the Saudi state. I wonder when was the last time Farrah visited any of the Arab states! How could he be oblivious of the fact that with the lone exception of Saudi Arabia, most of the states in the Arabian Peninsula, despite the absence of local Hindus and Christians, have temples and churches to cater to religious needs of foreign workers?
Farrah claims that prayer by Christians and Jews is not permitted in the ‘privacy of their own homes.’ The fact is: non-Muslim foreign workers in Saudi Arabia have been performing their religious duties in the privacy of their homes and offices, including auditoriums and camps for many years. For instance, in places like Dhahran, they have been celebrating mass for years. [Just an inquiry with American service men working inside Saudi Arabia would show the fallacy of Farrah’s allegation.]
Farrah’s sweeping remarks against Muslim nation-states prove either his lamentable prejudice (something exemplified by other Christian fundamentalists like him) or crass ignorance. Saudi government is not alone in its banning of missionary activities within its territory, Yeltsin/Putin’s Russia, for instance, does not allow activities of Christian denominations that are foreign to its homegrown groups.
On the other hand, in spite of the absence of indigenous Christians, Muslim governments do not bar foreign missionaries from opening churches. [Many missionaries, however, have misused the Muslim casualness as covers for their seditious and nefarious activities against their host nations. It is well known that many Mormons use their missionary activities overseas as covers for the CIA.] That is why there is hardly a Muslim country outside Saudi Arabia that does not have a Christian church. Just a visit to any of the Muslim nation states or a reading of late American missionary Stephen Zweimer’s many works would have proven the mendacity in Farrah’s statement.
Now let us look at the record of some western states that are seemingly professing ‘secular humanism.’ The Greek capital city of Athens does not have a single masjid, in spite of the fact that there are more than a hundred thousand Muslims (which includes many Greek Muslims) living there. Can Farrah explain, why the Muslims there are denied such basic rights?
As to the presence of masajid in France, Britain, USA, Germany, Canada and some other western nations, the explanation is simple: all these states have millions of tax-paying resident Muslims (something that Farrah cannot claim for his co-religionists in Saudi Arabia). While most Muslim countries allow the ringing of church bells, which can be heard outside, there is an official ban on calling of the adhan outside the Muslim prayer room in all western countries, including the USA.
Farrah claims that non-Muslims are fiercely persecuted for their faith in some Muslim countries. Religious freedom is a basic human right, something that is enshrined in the Qur’an nearly 14 centuries ago. It is because of this understanding that the non-Muslim population thrived under Islamic rule, something that was less probable, if not impossible, in medieval Europe for non-Christian population. Yet, in recent days, Muslim governments have sometimes failed in securing lives and properties of non-Muslims. The horrendous crimes of Bush-Blair or Modi-Advani or Milosevic-Karadzic or Putin or Sharon in killing thousands of innocent Muslims should not have been and cannot be taken as a cue to harming non-Muslims living amongst them. Most Muslims are very upset with the criminal activities of some miscreant elements living amongst them. Fortunately, these criminals are a very small minority. They are always caught and punished severely, often with capital punishment.
But when was the last time that we heard about any serious offender of hate-crimes against Muslims/Arabs punished in the USA? I don’t recall our ATF and FBI ever apprehending the criminals who blew up the million-dollar Yuba City masjid in California. The murderer(s) of Arab-American – Alex Odeh is (are) still not apprehended. Nor am I aware of any government compensation for the damage or destruction done to masajid in the western cities. (In contrast, at least, Pakistani government has paid handsome compensation to the Christian victims and has also swiftly arrested the criminals.) How about those government officials in the USA who spread hatred against Muslims and demonize Islam?
There are more than 400,000 illegal immigrants living in the USA. Why only visitors from Muslim nation-states were asked to register with the BICE (formerly INS), U.S.A.? In UK, 529 people were arrested under Terrorism Acts in Britain since 9/11, of which only 91 have been charged under it. Of those, less than 5 have been convicted. 17 foreign nationals (living in the UK) have been held without charge under emergency powers granted in 2001. (See the article An Account of Police Terror in UK by this author.)
According to Amnesty International, nearly 1,200 Muslims were arrested in the USA following the 2001 attacks but never charged with anything to do with terrorism. The vast majority were mistreated and denied their rights. About 6,000 foreign students were forced to register with the government because of their ethnicity. (See also the article “Abuse of Human Rights in America,” Media Monitors Network, Nov. 11, 2003, by this author.)
What about the detention of these hundreds of Muslims without charge brought against them? (I am excluding here the hundreds of foreign POWs, mostly Afghan/Taliban, now conveniently dubbed as enemy combatants, in the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who have been denied the rights granted by the Geneva Convention.) As to those tried in recent days, the courts in Alexandria, VA, Lackwanna, NY and Portland, Ore., have issued sentences ranging from 3 to 18 years against Muslim defendants, who were not charged for plotting terrorist activities, but with supporting jihad by training for battle. In these three places a total 16 defendants entered guilty pleas, while 7 are challenging the government’s charges. David Cole, a constitutional law expert at Georgetown University criticized the government’s preemptive legal strategy as ‘dubious.’ “No longer are you held liable for your own wrongdoing but for your connection to a group, without the need to show any nexus between your activities and any illegal –” much less terrorist –” activities of that group,” Cole said. Here in the USA, we sometimes find a killer sentenced to less than 4 years, but look at the enormity of the sentence against these young Muslims –” ranging up to 18 years for no crime committed yet, but on the assumption of ‘could have committed.' Why doesn’t then Ashcroft lock up all the Christian Fundamentalists for their ‘training’ in the churches to become future warriors for the coming Armageddon – willing to fight as Messiah’s lieutenants to slaughter all those billions who reject the Christ? What an abuse of judicial system! Where is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty? Obviously, that did not apply to these Muslims.
Why are most Muslim charity organizations clamped down? Why are Muslims living in the USA afraid to write cheques for charity? Just the NPR news below (dated Feb. 16, ’04), is enough to illustrate the witch-hunt, the religious and ethno-racial profiling, that is so unnervingly rampant in Bush-Ashcroft’s America today. I was able to get the details from the Daily Texan (Feb. 17, 2004), which states:
“The organizer of an Islamic law conference at UT Law School is questioning whether ethnic discrimination brought a Special Agent for Army Intelligence to campus Monday. Special Agent Jason Treesh confronted students at the law school, demanding a list of people who attended a conference about women and Islamic law. The conference, Islam and the Law: The Question of Sexism, included speakers from around the nation and focused on the rights of women under Islamic law. Treesh would not comment about why he was at the law school, but his supervisor, Commander Demetria Marria, said Treesh was following procedure. Army Intelligence was investigating allegations of two Army personnel who attended the conference, Marria said. "They felt uncomfortable with foreign students or foreign members at the conference," Marria said. "Nothing is ever obvious. It’s just that one question that doesn’t sit right, so they report it, and we figure it out." Law student Liz Stephenson said she was intimidated when Treesh began questioning her and others in the office of the Texas Journal of Women and the Law."
The specter of suspicion against anything that has to do with Muslims or Islam is simply unbelievable. Even college and university campuses are not free from intrusion of U.S. intelligence agents to spy on Muslims! There are even campus-watch websites to report about activities of professors who are deemed sympathetic to Muslims or Arabs. Are we living in Stalin’s America or in Abe Lincoln’s America? Why should every Muslim be treated as a potential Mohammed Ata? Are not these signs of religious persecution? Are not Muslims being profiled for their religion?
For the attack on America by 19 hijackers, all foreigners on visitor visa to the USA, on the fateful day of 9/11, millions of Muslims living as minorities are now routinely harassed. Worse still, as alluded earlier, there seems to be government endorsement for such harassment against Muslims. In a clear reminiscent of the Dreyfus case, a number of Muslims, working for the US defense services, have recently been accused on various charges, including spying. James Yee, a Muslim chaplain in the Army, spent 76 days in a prison cell while authorities tried to build a capital espionage case against him. Commenting on the charges against Yee, John Fugh, a retired judge advocate general, said: "If he were a white American, say a chaplain of some other denomination, I don’t think this would have happened." The latest Muslim American in uniform to have been charged for spying for al-Qaida is National Guardsman Ryan Anderson (TV news, Feb. 12, 2004). Many Muslims are apprehensive of a witch-hunt in these cases. Are these preludes to justify further persecution of Muslim Americans here, and wanton killings of Muslims, including invasion of their lands elsewhere?
And then there are so much negative stereotypes against Muslims that are now consistently fed through all the media outlets from newspapers and Internet to Radios, TVs and movies that these are enough to drive any Muslim into insomnia.
How about those Christian pastors, the religious merchants, who sell hatred against Islam? For a trifling $25, one can purchase three audiotapes from Pastor John Hagee of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, tapes of sermons that focus on "Allah and America." With an extra $20 one can buy the video version that shows the pastor raise the Qur’an high above his head as he cites chapter and verse, condemning the words of Allah. His audience includes 17,000 congregation members. What is the motif behind his sermon? Is it to bring to peace and reconciliation with Muslims? No. He sees his evangelical Christian Zionist church engaged in a spiritual war for survival against the demonic faith – Islam! "We are not a sister faith!" he yells over and over again as his congregants raise their arms and eyes up. What must they do to these wild hordes that "want to kill as many Americans as possible," that are developing "long range missiles," that have "suit case atomic bombs"? They must fight; "Victory must be our only objective!" "No relationship of any kind exists or can exist between Islam and Christianity," he roars. This counterfeit religion serves as Satan’s means to present "a false path to Paradise" when Jesus is the "only way to heaven"; he alone is the one true God; "Christ is the only savior on the planet!" "Islam," he screams, "says Christ did not die on the cross and he is not divine." Oddly though, he does not censure Judaism for similar beliefs. Why? Because his Book of Revelation demands the existence of the Israeli state if the rapture is to follow. It requires that he support the Israeli state as God’s means of fulfilling His prophecy. Ironically, Hagee does not tell public, especially to the Jewish community, that the consequences resulting from the fulfillment of Revelation’s prophecies would save only 144,000 Jews leaving the remaining millions for slaughter. Is it difficult to see where people like Gen. Boykin get their indoctrination from to hate Muslims? Imagine the dire impact of these powerful TV evangelists on the rest of America. But we won’t see Barbara Walters of ABC TV talking about these preachers. Nor will Joe Farrah inform our readers.
How about bugging of phone lines of Muslims and monitoring of their masajid? Why are Muslims in this country (USA) hesitant to discuss politics over the phone, if there were no fear of religious persecution? The FBI has been monitoring activities inside masajid for more than four decades. For more than twenty years, agencies working for the U.S. national security have been taping conversations between people that contained words like ‘Allah’, ‘Jihad,’ etc.
Where was religious tolerance in the last decade when we witnessed massacre of nearly half a million unarmed Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya in the hands of Serbian and Russian Orthodox Christian fanatics? What could be more grotesque than the fact that State authorities commissioned these genocidal activities? Not a single mosque in Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya was spared from wanton destruction. Tens of thousands of Muslim females were raped.
The decade-long Anglo-American embargo over Iraq was responsible for putting to death another half a million Iraqi infants. In their hunt for Saddam- and OBL-loyalists, Anglo-American forces have slain tens of thousands of civilian Muslims in last three years alone in Afghanistan and Iraq. This number is several times the 2976 victims of 9/11 in America.
Soon after 9/11 countless masajid and Islamic centers in America and other western nations were also vandalized by intolerant non-Muslims. Is Farrah aware of how many masajid have been damaged by Anglo-American firepower in Iraq and Afghanistan? Property is always replaceable but not human lives. What was the crime of all these Muslims? Why should they take the brunt of American attack? Western nations value the lives of their citizens, which is great. What about the Muslim victims of Bush-Blair crime? Libyan leader Gadhafi has recently paid ten million dollars per victim of the Lockerbie plane crash. While Bush and Blair portray themselves as repositories of Christian goodness and morality, the vanguards of ‘civilized’ West, how about making at least equal reparations by their respective governments to each victim of their murderous campaign in Afghanistan and Iraq? No, we won’t see these poster boys of ‘Christian West’ to walk the talk. The crimes committed by western nations against Muslim nation states have simply no parallel, something that a Christian fundamentalist like Farrah would prefer to hush up.
Is it difficult to grasp the rage of some vengeful Muslims in Pakistan (some of whom could well be the relatives of those killed in Afghanistan) who lost their temper over such monumental crimes against their brethren and neighbors in trying to take revenge by attacking Christian churches? No, I don’t condone such criminal activities against anyone. But I am aware of human weaknesses, their failings in sometimes subduing their lower instincts of anger and vengeance.
The French official ban on hijab is criminally motivated. It has once again shown that France, like many European countries, has not still evolved into a genuine civilization that respects fundamental human rights of ‘others,’ that are willing to embrace pluralism or multi-culturalism. France can hide behind its ‘secularism’ but she can’t obliterate its naked and ugly intolerance against Muslims.
A scrupulous scrutiny may show that while Muslim nation-states are not perfect, there is less hypocrisy there, and there is, in general, more religious freedom for minorities compared to what Muslims are granted in the West. But I am aware of the fact that no amount of eye-opening evidence would do any good to a schizophrenic person whose sole trade is to sell a toxic cocktail of hatred and lie.
In the western world, ‘anti-Semitism’ is a crime but, alas, ‘anti-Islam/Muslim’ is a virtue. So, these preachers, pen pushers, publishers, prostitutes, pimps and pleaders for bigotry against Muslims and Islam are condoned and honored. Funny that those who often cry out foul with the spread of anti-Semitism are usually the worst offenders against Islam.
. See this author’s “Farrah’s Lies and Distortion of Facts About Palestine.”
. Saudi government does not allow even Tabligh Jamat to do their daw’ah activities.
. He was an American who co-founded a Christian missionary group “American Mission” to propagate Christianity among the Muslims in the late 18th and early 19th century. His travels took him to almost all the Muslim lands. He is an author of many books, which are used as guides by fellow missionaries before they embark upon their missionary activity amongst Muslims.
. The estimate was heard over NPR, February 17, 2004. Soon after 9/11, all non-resident/citizen Muslims were asked to register with the INS/BICE to verify their status in the USA. Fearing prolonged detention and ensuing abuse, many illegal immigrant Muslims chose to leave the country. Most of those reporting with illegal status were detained and later deported. Still there are a few hundred Arab Muslims detained in various detention camps, some with no charges yet brought against them. In the beginning, in order to hide its religious/ethnic profiling, BICE said that the registration would cover all foreign nationals. Now that all the Muslim non-residents have been accounted for, the registration process, rather conveniently or by design, has been halted for other non-Muslim nations.
. The Philadelphia Inquirer: Engineer gets 10.5 years in terrorism case, Dec. 18, 2003.
. Compare the verdict with a recently concluded case. Catholic Bishop Thomas O’Brien, the former head of Arizona’s largest Roman Catholic diocese, was recently convicted of felony for leaving the scene of an accident in which the car he was driving struck and killed a man as he crossed a street. The bishop faces anything from hours of volunteer service up to 45 months in prison. Two weeks before the accident, O’Brien negotiated an agreement in which he admitted that he had failed to report cases of sexual molestation by priests in his diocese and promised broad changes in diocesan hiring and assignment practices. In return, prosecutors agreed not to prosecute him on charges of failing to report sexual crimes by priests under his management. (Bishop Convicted in Fatal Hit-and-Run: Washington Post, Feb. 18, 2004; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48397-2004Feb17.html)
(Excerpted from Cook’s article.)
. Prof. Marc Harold, “A Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States’ Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Accounting,” http://www.cursor.org/stories/civilian_deaths.htm; “Civilian deaths in ‘noble’ Iraq mission pass 10,000,” Feb. 7, 2004, http://www.iraqbodycount.net/editorial_feb0704.htm#earlier;