Ground Zero Mosque and Iranian Donations

I am not saying NOT to contribute to the mosque. I am simply asked if it would bother anyone if it Iran is making a large contribution since Iran seems to be more of an enemy than an ally. Jim has already indicated that it would be quite odd if Iranians contributed to such a Sufi organization. But the spokesperson for the project declined to comment on the source of the donations which I find disturbing. I think that the source of donations should be a matter of public record.

I don’t think that it matters how many blocks this cultural center is from ground zero since I don’t personally see ground zero as “sacred ground.” I saw the twin towers struck on 9/11 and watched them collapse. It was a tragic event but then the violent death of even a single person is a tragic event. Obviously there are many who DO consider Ground Zero a “sacred ground” and the construction of a mosque near-by bothers or offends them. I have spent some time in various mosques long before 9/11. A non-Muslim is always viewed with suspicion. IF you speaks a few words of Arabic and reveal some knowledge of the Qur’an and Islam then they do become more friendly but it is always with the expectation that you will consider CONVERTING to Islam.

Anyone is free to paint a picture of Islam as very tolerant and interfaith with love for the brotherhood of man but I cannot see that as an accurate portrayal. Whenever the Qur’an or Hadith encourage cordiality it is between fellow believers and never between Muslims and non-believers.

If you examine the flag of the U.A.E. you will see a sword and beneath the sword are the words of the Shahada

lā ’ilāha ’illa-llāh muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh
“There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Saudi_Arabia

which brings to mind Bukhari’s famous words about Paradise being under the shade of swords:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abi Aufa: Allah’s Apostle said,
“Know that Paradise lies under the shade of swords.”
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 73

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/023-violence.htm

(Yes I know these links are anti-Muslim in sentiment but then Muslims do not seem anxious to portray their religion in a negative light.)

Excerpts: The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

Qur’an (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

Here is Pickthall’s translation of Surah 5 al-Ma’idah: The Food

Verse 48 – And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ.

But verse 51 clearly states:

O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.

The speed and ease of Muslim military conquests is stunning:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_conquests

By contrast, the spread of Buddhism involved much less military conquest.

In the year before Pakistan gained its independence it had 14% Hindu population while India had 7% Muslim population. On the eve of Pakistan’s independence the greatest human migration in recorded history (10 million) took place with much bloodshed and violence. Today, the Hindu population in Pakistan is almost zero while the Muslim population in India has doubled to 14%. When Pakistan and India compete in cricket teams the Muslims from India cheer when PAKISTAN scores which illustrates that Muslims born and raised in India feel allegiance to Pakistan.

I have met many Coptic Christians from Egypt and they personally tell me how life is made hell for them. I have spoken with Christian refugees from Pakistan who tell horror stories. I concede that every Muslim society is different. Tunisia has a zero-tolerance policy towards honor killings. India actually has instances of Hindus performing honor killings.
Morocco was the first to sign a treaty of friendship with America which is still in effect to this day. I know a Hindu woman in Kuala Lumpur who was abandoned by her husband who converted to Islam and took a Muslim wife. Under the law the marriage of a Hindu is considered null and void. The husband simply called up one day and said he was not coming back. No divorce was necessary. In Malaysia when someone converts to Islam their status changes to “Bhumi Putra” (a native son of the land) and they receive material benefits.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumiputera_(Malaysia)

1000 years ago the Zoroastrians fled from what is now Iran and sought refuge in India (now known as Parsis). One Parsi website says “We bow to mother India who gave us refuge from our oppression.”

Long before 9/11 I explored Islam to see whether I could find any way to embrace it and quite frankly the seedy side of Mohammad’s personality and biography was and remains a major impediment for me. I feel the same way about Martin Luther of the Reformation.

++++

Someone just made the excellent point that Iranian donations may possibly come from progressive Muslims in Iran who sincerely hope for reform and moderation. Fareed Zakaria (who is Muslim) points out that there is a young and vibrant population in Iran who seek reform.

For the past 3 years I have been a member of a progressive Islam site founded by Laury Silvers (comedian Phil Silvers daughter.) They know I am not Muslim and the tolerate my presence. I post only pro-Muslim or neutral posts. They are so progressive that they support women in leadership roles in the mosque and they are pro-gay rights.
One contributer there, Zeeshan Hasan, was educated at Harvard and returned to Bangladesh for career and family. Zeeshan has tried to construct new ways of understanding the Qur’an; most notable is his interpretation of the Cain/Abel story as it is related in the Qur’an stating that Abel KNEW of Cain’s intentions but decided to face death with martyric non-violence. I did try to write to Zeeshan some words of praise but one does not find any friendship offered to the non-Muslim.
There is one Pakistani message board which serves the diaspora and has posts by both extreme progressive left wing and hard-line right wing Muslims. I think it is http://www.chowk.com . It is instructive to read the variety of posts there. One sees people educated in the USA who chose to return to Pakistan and help to improve conditions which is an admirable choice.

Many traditional Muslims simply see such progressive groups as not authentic Muslims. The first Sufi martyr, Hallaj, was executed by orthodox Sunnis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansur_Al-Hallaj

I have seen Turkish Muslims scowl at the mention of Sufis and say that they are not real Muslims.

Idres Shah is an inspiring source on Sufi teachings and mysticism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idries_Shah

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