The LATimes‘ H.G. Reza, reports todayÃ‚Â a story that demonstratesÃ‚Â the true nature and beliefs and commitment of the Muslim community to oppose violence, and terrorism. Officials at the Islamic Center of Irvine reported to authorities the actions of a recent Ã¢â‚¬Å“convertÃ¢â‚¬Â, Craig Monteilh, who talked about jihad and dropped oblique references to violence.
The LATimes reports:
Earlier this year, Monteilh began shifting religious discussions to jihad, or holy war, talking about “operations” against U.S. military targets, and suggested that he had access to weapons, said Ashruf Zied. No weapons were seen, Zied said in an interview.
“I said, ‘Dude, stop right there, What are you talking about?’ ” said Zied, a software engineer who said that he was born in Ohio and that his father worked for NATO. “I was trying to steer the guy in the right direction. He was talking about something that’s taboo.”
Zied, who testified at the court hearing, said that he was frightened by Monteilh’s rhetoric, and that it was the last discussion between the two.
Former Islamic Center president Asim Khan testified that several worshipers felt threatened by Monteilh and that he talked about getting involved “in a 9/11-type operation.”
Some stopped attending mosque because of him, Khan said.
“We’re members of the American community, and it’s our duty as Americans to make law enforcement aware of these activities,” he testified.
On Friday, an Orange County judge issued a restraining order barring Monteilh from going near the mosque and its employees. Members of the mosque testified Friday in court that the FBI opened an investigation earlier this month.
An FBI spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny that an investigation was underway.
Read the entire LATimes Story here.
There have been numerous posts and comments over at RedCounty/OCBlog that have promoted the rhetorical theory that Islam is a religion of terrorism and hate; that Muslims are taught to wage jihad against Ã¢â‚¬Å“non-believers.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â Even Assemblyman Chuck DeVore has entered the discussion with this comment here on TheLiberalOC.com.
Have you lived in an Arab country? I have. Have you studied Arabic? I have. Have you studied Islamic political thought? I have. Have you traveled to Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, and Israel?
Today on the plane ride back from Sacramento, I read a monologue on fatwaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and their use by Islamic extremists to justify killing. One interesting point, Islamists often call Jews and Christians monkeys or dogs Ã¢â‚¬â€œ this is a precursor to killing them as the Koran teaches that the rules for killing non-humans are more lenient than the rules for killing humans. Some of the MSU UCI speakers have called Jews monkeys and dogs. Interesting bit of hate speech, isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it.
I have a suggestion Claudio, read up on Islamists then engage me on the topic. I would enjoy it and the readers of these pages might learn something in the process.
All the best,
State Assemblyman, 70th District
My response to Chuck was a simple acceptance of his challenge
Are you wanting us to read up on Islamists or Islamic extremists? Or are you suggesting that they are the same?
And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m ready for the dialogue when you are.
We haven’t heard from Chuck on this topic since.
But since Chuck suggested that we do some research, I did.
The entire Qur’an, taken as a complete text, gives a message of hope, faith, and peace to a faith community of one billion people. The overwhelming message is that peace is to be found through faith in God, and justice among fellow human beings. (Source)Ã‚Â
At the time the Qur’an was revealed (7th century A.D.), there was no United Nations or Amnesty International to keep the peace or expose injustice. Inter-tribal violence and vengeance was commonplace. As a matter of survival, one must have been willing to defend against aggression from all sides. Nevertheless, the Qur’an repeatedly urges forgiveness and restraint, and warns believers not to “transgress” or become “oppressors.” Some examples:
If anyone slays a person
– unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land –
it would be as if he slew all people.
And if anyone saves a life,
it would be as if he saved the life of all people.
Invite all to the way of your Lord
with wisdom and beautiful preaching.
And argue with them
in ways that are best and most gracious…
And if you punish,
let your punishment be proportional
to the wrong that has been done to you.
But if you show patience, that is indeed the best course.
Be patient, for your patience is from God.
And do not grieve over them,
or distress yourself because of their plots.
For God is with those who restrain themselves,
and those who do good.
But what about those passages of the Qur’an that seem to promote wanton violence? For a full discussion of such verses, please visit the FAQ page: Are there verses of the Qur’an that condone “killing the infidel?”
The Qur’an commands Muslims to stick up for themselves in a defensive battle — i.e. if an enemy army attacks, then Muslims are to fight against that army until they stop their aggression. All of the verses that speak about fighting/war in the Qur’an are in this context.
There are some specific verses that are very often “snipped” out of context, either by those trying to malign the faith, or by misguided Muslims themselves who wish to justify their aggressive tactics.
For example, one verse (in its snipped version) reads: “slay them wherever you catch them” (Qur’an 2:191). But who is this referring to? Who are “they” that this verse discusses? The preceding and following verses give the correct context:
“Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors.
And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. But if they cease, God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevails justice and faith in God; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression” (2:190-193).
It is clear from the context that these verses are discussing a defensive war, when a Muslim community is attacked without reason, oppressed and prevented from practicing their faith. In these circumstances, permission is given to fight back — but even then Muslims are instructed not to transgress limits, and to cease fighting as soon as the attacker gives up. Even in these circumstances, Muslim are only to fight directly against those who are attacking them, not innocent bystanders or non-combatants.
So Chuck, since you represent the district where the Islamic Center of Irvine is located, and since you appear to hold such anti-Islamic beliefs that clearly are not represented by the main-stream followers of Islam, would you care to comment?Ã‚Â
Or as usual will you “cut and run” from the debate when itÃ‚Â is shown that you are wrong? As always, the invitation to discuss is open to all.
Assalamu Alaikum (Peace Be Upon You) Ã‚Â