Never in the history of the world has information been so widespread and at the same time one assume that the dissemination of information would be free of bias and be the product of honest scholastic research. In this age of information bigoted, half-truths and historically inaccurate arguments should not be passed off as academia and should have no place in the realm of educating our children who will inherit a smaller and potentially more dangerous world if this mis-education persists then we have only ourselves to blame for bringing about the self-fulfilling prophecy of a violent and indestructible “Clash of Civilizations” that extremist in all facets seem to desire.
The group which this short treatise will focus on and highlight will be the group “ACT FOR AMERICAN EDUCATION. This group has published a 228 page tract full of such bigoted, poor academic research and out right fear-mongering guised as academia which that power elite which seek to continue the Euro-Centric hegemonies which have been the religious and scientific basis for subjugation and disenfranchisement of the world’s non-European and Non-Christian peoples. This is not of course to say the entirety of Christendom is on trial or guilty of this, rather it is an extremely well-financed fringe element who has a stake in maintaining the “status quo.” Education or in this case, mis-education is one way in which such groups seek to control not only the discourse but incite hatred for other groups of people in this case Muslims. The famed Black American scholar, Carter G. Woodson in his ground breaking work entitled “The Mis-Education of the Negro” said: “When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder.”
In this case the bigoted and asinine arguments put forth by ACT is not seeking to outwardly make Blacks obsequies to White domination but it does seek to poison the minds of the youth of America so that the next generation will continue the perpetual ‘Clash of Civilizations” which plays itself out on the international stage vis-a-vie the the saber rattling of the Neocons in foreign policy and domestically can be seen in the senseless and brutal murder of the Iraqi Muslim lady Shaima Alwadi in her California home recently. Next to her body was a letter that said:” Go back to your country, you terrorist.”
ACT has recently sent a tome like tract decrying the American public school systems for not giving an “accurate” depiction of Islam and for committing the egregious error of “an inaccurate comparison between Islam, Christianity and Judaism.” Among the issues which ACT takes umbrage with is the assertion that “The Quran granted women spiritual and social equity with men.” ACT followed this statement with: “The Quran does not grant “social equality” to women, Muslim or non-Muslim. In fact, Muslim women cannot divorce except in limited circumstance—men can divorce at any time for any reason—and the testimony of one man equals that of two women in legal proceedings.
What ACT either chose to leave out or are just ignorant of is that the Quran does in fact give women an equal status in society. The Quran says; “For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise,- for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35). In another verse the Quran states in regards to women’s equity: “Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower ye have given them...on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity” (Quran 4:19)
The Quran managed to do something which the Right-Wing pro-life lobby has failed to do and that is to stop the legal killing of children. What is interesting about this is that the Quranic verses which prohibit abortion were actually revealed in the context of protecting female babies from female infanticide. The Quran states: “When news is brought to one of them, of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief! in shame does he hide himself from his people, because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain it on (sufferance and) contempt, or bury it in the dust? Ah! what an evil (choice) they decide on? (16:57-58) and in another verse it states: “When the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned, for what crime she was killed (81:8-9). In regards to marriage and divorce rights, ACT has shown its ignorance of Islamic law by confusing a divorce which men have the right to with the “Khula”or annulment which the women has the right to once she goes through the proper legal channels. The parameters are different for each party because of many factors such as alimony, and the dowry which men must give to women before marriage. This is a legal issue which is must much nuanced then ACT portrays but in the end neither the man nor women has an clear cut advantage in regards to spousal separation. Amongst the other points mentioned was the Quranic stipulation that women’s testimony in court is equal to half a man’s. This again is a legal question which the Quranic experts have debated whether it was contextual or circumstantial due to the domestic nature of 7th Century Arabian women. Among the issues raised by Muslim jurist themselves is the fact that the secon Caliph and close friend of the Prophet Muhammad appointed a woman to be the head of the market police in Madina and therefore had much equal or it could be argued more legal veracity then the men under her supervision. She was the authority so how could her testimony not be worth a man’s? Again ACT shows its ignorance or incompetence in their own “rebuttal.”
Amongst the litanies of supposed inaccuracies about Islam which ACT decries is: “In Medina, Muhammad…fashioned an agreement that joined his own people with the Arabs and Jews...These groups accepted Muhammad as a political leader.” ACT response to this fact was: “In fact, the Jews did not accept Muhammad as a leader and he, considering this refusal to be a threat, expelled two of the Jewish tribes and destroyed the third, beheading the men and selling the women and children into slavery.”
This is not a complicated issue of legal jargon and ambiguous terms. This is nothing else then a flat out lie and inaccurate portrayal of well-documented historical events. It is well-documented that Muhammad’ arrival in Madina in 622 C.E. was predicated upon him being the chieftan of Madina to which the Arabian tribes of Aws, Khazraj and the Jewish tribes Bani Nadir, Quraza and Bani Qanuq had agreed. Within 6 months of arriving the ‘Madina Covenant” which guaranteed rights of worship etc for the inhabitants of Madina regardless of their religious affiliation. The expulsion of Bani Qanuqa happened some two years later after a series of back and forth revenge killings. As a matter of fact the Bani Nadir were not expelled and never entered into the dispute because they saw it as an internecine feud between tribes. The Bani Nadir were expelled some two years after that in response to them forming an alliance with the Quraish tribe who were trying to annihilate the Muslim community which had fled Mecca for the lives and found asylum in Madina. What the Bani Nadir did was tantamount to treason as Muhammad was the head of state; they actually entered into a conspiracy to assassinate him. All of this was done after their agreement to live with the Muslim and non-Muslim community in peace in Madina. Again ACT shows it’s manipulation of the facts in regards to well-known historical events.
ACT also has issues with this statement which is found in some textbooks: “In the early eighth century, Islam became popular in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent.” ACT responds to this fact with: “In fact, Islam spread through jihad as Muslim armies forcibly conquered those territories, not as an apparent “cultural phenomenon.” No doubt Muslim armies did invade the subcontinent but that was hundreds of years after the first indigenous peoples of India, the Mappilas began to convert to Islam as early as the 7th century. The subsequent Ummayad conquest in led by the young 17 year old general Muhammad bin Qasim(695-715) resulted in no forced conversions. The cause for the invasion was political as the Ummayad ships were being molested by the Raj’s. Buddhist and Hindus in Sindh(the focus of the military incusrsion) were giving “Dhimmi status and their temples etc were not razed. The growth of Islam in the subcontinent was a combination developed over many centuries and was primarily due to inter-marriage and the fact that Islam offered means of upward mobility which the rigid caste system of Hinduism did not offer. That is not to say that religious feuds and mishaps didn’t happen on both sides but to claim that jihad is synonymous with mass forced conversions etc is another outright lie on the part of ACT. I would like to ask ACT which Islamic army invaded Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population per country?
Act also doesn’t like the fact that: “Large amount of space devoted to the European-operated Atlantic slave trade but regular OMISSIONS of any mention of the Islamic slave trade.” This is the most telling statement of the inherent racism imbedded in ACT’s war on Islam. They have equated the European-dominated Atlantic Slave trade with an attack on Christianity itself! Is this because many Churches were complacent and encouraged the enslavement of Africans and specially Muslims as can be seen the Papal Bulls of Nicolas V? In the ideology of ACT and its cohorts we see the recurring of Rudyard Kiplings “White Man’s Burden” which is to go out and “civilize” the Non-White, Non-Christian world. And they have sought to do so “By any means necessary” , to quote one, Malcolm X.
The bombs have not yet stop dropping in this nefarious plot, and now they have continued in this mission with this assault on the intelligence on the American people. Only when bigots like these are called out for what and who they truly are will this country and world be in a better position to tackle the problems which we all face, regardless of sect, color or creed.