Saturday, August 28, 2010

Should they be allowed to build a mosque at Ground Zero?

Dear Rev. Know it all,
Do you think that they should be able to build a mosque at ground zero?
Sherry A. Law
Dear Sherry,

Whom do you mean when you say they? If you mean members of the Muslim religion, of course they should be allowed to build anywhere the law allows. If you mean adherents of the Islamic State called the Caliphate, by all means no. That would be like building a Nazi recruitment center at the gates of Auschwitz.  We somehow think that the whole world fits into our legal categories and it just doesn’t. Jesus told us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

For Christians, the state is separate from the Church. The state is bound by natural law, but not by revealed law. For instance, “Thou shalt not kill” is natural law. “You should go to Mass every Sunday” is revealed law. Until God in his mercy reveals the fulness of truth to the bozos we regularly elect, we can’t expect them to obey revealed law. However, it is part of the work of the Church to remind the governing class of the moral obligations common to all mankind, such as “thou shalt not kill,” “thou shalt not steal,” “ thou shalt not lie” “thou shalt not commit adultery.” These things flow from the nature of God, and so are part of the nature of man, fallen though it is.  Back to the original question.

We live in a nation of laws that are based on the common law of England which, in turn, was formed by more than a thousand years of Christian faith. For us, the Church and state are separate, or at least should be. Such martyrs as Thomas Becket and Thomas More died for that principle, the principle of religious freedom.

Muslims see the Church/State question quite differently. The Qur’an implies in Surah Al-Nur, Verse 55 that a Caliph, should rule the Muslim world. Such a government is called the Caliphate.  The word “caliph” is the English form of the Arabic word “khalifa.” The first four, or “Four Rightly Guided” Caliphs were close companions of Mohammad: Abu Bakr (632-634—whose daughter, Aisha, was one of Mohammad's wives), 'Umar (634-644), 'Uthman (644-656), and 'Ali (656-661), Mohammad's first cousin who had grown up in the Prophet's house and married his favorite daughter Fatima. After the first four caliphs, the Caliphate was claimed by rival dynasties such as the Umayyads, the Abbasids, and finally the Ottoman sultans of Turkey. After the destruction of the Ummayad Caliphate in Damascus in 750 AD, the last of the Ummayads, Abd-ar-Rahman, fled to Cordoba, Spain. His descendants established the Caliphate of Cordoba. The mosque to be built at Ground Zero in New York was originally to be named “the Cordoba Mosque.”  This makes me wonder if the new mosque is to be a place of prayer or a political statement about a new western Caliphate.

So, the answer is really quite simple. If a Muslim cleric will swear an oath that he does not want to reestablish a caliphate, a Muslim government in the U.S., there should be no problem building a house of prayer anywhere. After all, every naturalized citizen swears an oath that uses the following words “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Article III section three of the US constitution clearly defines treason. “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” So it would seem to me that to aid the Caliphate in its attempt at the violent overthrow of the U.S. is treason. Either the mosque is religion or treason.  It can’t be both. So just take a sworn deposition from the imams and the board of any mosque, not just the ground Zero mosque. Easy. Case closed? Not quite.

There is another Islamic concept called “Taqiyah” which “refers to the practice of precautionary dissimulation whereby believers may conceal their faith when under threat, persecution or compulsion.” Taqiyah. Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford University Press. 2003. In Surah 3 of the Qur’an in verses 28 and 29 we read “Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from God: except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves from them... Whether ye hide what is in your hearts or reveal it, God knows it all: He knows what is in the heavens, and what is on earth. And God has power over all things.”

Regarding these verses, and Surah 16.v106, ....(The only ones to be excused are those who are forced to profess disbelief, while their hearts are full of faith.) Ibn Kathir, (1301–1373) an Islamic scholar and renowned commentator on the Qur’an writes, “Whoever at any time, or place, fears the infidels' evil may protect himself through outward show." As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad's companion, al-Hassan, who said, “Taqiyah is acceptable until the Day of Judgement” Qur’an 16:106 says “Any one who, after accepting faith in God, utters Unbelief,- except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith - but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from God, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.” Thus if someone holds a gun to your head and orders you to declare that you disbelieve in God, you may deny your belief. What is in the heart is what counts. Similarly, Muslims may never ally themselves with the non Muslims, instead of Muslims unless they are forced to do so to avoid persecution.

Muslims are also forbidden to have Jewish or Christian friends “O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them.” (Qur’an 5:51) If you have a Muslim friend, he is either not a very good friend or not a very good Muslim.

A good Muslim is ordered to “Fight those who believe not in Allah or the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah (compulsory tax for non-Muslims) with willing submission and are subdued. (Qur’an 9:29) That’s for Jews and Christians. For Hindus, Buddhists and all the rest, “Kill these Idolaters wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush. But if they repent and establish the prayer, and give Zakah, (an alms payment required of Muslims) then leave them alone. Indeed, Allah is Ever Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 9:5)
So there you have it. A Muslim is ordered to fight and kill those who don’t accept Islam, or in the case of Jews and Christians, at least Islamic government. I am sure that there are some Muslims who would deny that these rather explicit verses from the Qur’an mean literally to kill. But how can we know if they mean what they say or are merely practicing taqiyah in order to advance the Islamic cause.

I remember a friend from my college days, a young women who was seeing a Pakistani student. His family was very upset by the relationship, so he asked her to convert to Islam. She refused. He then asked her if she would just pretend to convert in order to fool his family. She was astonished. He didn’t see the problem. Taqiyah. I seriously wonder if any oath made by a Muslim can possibly stand up in court of law.

Christian society is built on the sacredness of oaths. Our civilization was born in the feudal system, a whole world based on interconnected covenant oaths. Jesus said “He who denies Me, I will deny before my Father in Heaven.” Countless Christians have died rather than deny Christ and still die regularly in Muslim countries because they will not deny Christ nor swear falsely. Can two societies based on such absolutely opposite concepts of truth ever be reconciled to each other?

You tell me.

Rev. Know-it-all      

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