questions non-Muslims would like answered
By Dennis Prager
Dennis Prager's nationally syndicated radio show is heard daily in Los
Angeles on KRLA-AM (870). He may be contacted through his website:
November 13, 2005
THE RIOTING IN France by primarily Muslim youths and the hotel bombings
in Jordan are the latest events to prompt sincere questions that
law-abiding Muslims need to answer for Islam's sake, as well as for the
sake of worried non-Muslims.
Here are five of them:
(1) Why are you so quiet?
Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists
blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian
nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against
these atrocities. Last week's protests in Jordan against the bombings,
while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream
Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that
Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name
of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in
the name of Allah.
There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that
essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims
in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims
living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill
supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a
Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee
camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to
protest their country's moral failing. Why has there been no comparable
public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn
Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?
(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?
If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in Israel, why do
no Christian Palestinians engage in terror? They are just as
nationalistic and just as occupied as Muslim Palestinians.
(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?
According to Freedom House, a Washington-based group that promotes
democracy, of the world's 47 Muslim countries, only Mali is free. Sixty
percent are not free, and 38% are partly free. Muslim-majority states
account for a majority of the world's "not free" states. And of the 10
"worst of the worst," seven are Islamic states. Why is this?
(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in
the name of Islam?
Young girls in Indonesia were recently beheaded by Muslim murderers.
Last year, Muslims — in the name of Islam — murdered hundreds of
schoolchildren in Russia. While reciting Muslim prayers, Islamic
terrorists take foreigners working to make Iraq free and slaughter them.
Muslim daughters are murdered by their own families in the thousands in
"honor killings." And the Muslim government in Iran has publicly called
for the extermination of Israel.
(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other
No church or synagogue is allowed in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban destroyed
some of the greatest sculptures of the ancient world because they were
Buddhist. Sudan's Islamic regime has murdered great numbers of
Instead of confronting these problems, too many of you deny them.
Muslims call my radio show to tell me that even speaking of Muslim or
Islamic terrorists is wrong. After all, they argue, Timothy McVeigh is
never labeled a "Christian terrorist." As if McVeigh committed his
terror as a churchgoing Christian and in the name of Christ, and as if
there were Christian-based terror groups around the world.
As a member of the media for nearly 25 years, I have a long record of
reaching out to Muslims. Muslim leaders have invited me to speak at
major mosques. In addition, I have studied Arabic and Islam, have
visited most Arab and many other Muslim countries and conducted
interfaith dialogues with Muslims in the United Arab Emirates as well as
in the U.S. Politically, I have supported creation of a Palestinian
state and supported (mistakenly, I now believe) the Oslo accords.
Hundreds of millions of non-Muslims want honest answers to these
questions, even if the only answer you offer is, "Yes, we have real
problems in Islam." Such an acknowledgment is infinitely better — for
you and for the world — than dismissing us as anti-Muslim.
We await your response.
MUSLIM RESPONSE TO DENNIS PRAGER'S 'FIVE QUESTIONS'
By Hussam Ayloush
WORD COUNT: 846
[Hussam Ayloush is executive director for the Southern California office
of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA). He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil
liberties and advocacy group.]
In a recent commentary, radio talk show host Dennis Prager posed five
questions that "that law-abiding Muslims need to answer for Islam's
sake, as well as for the sake of worried non-Muslims."
SEE: "Five Questions Non-Muslims Would Like Answered"
Prager said his questions were prompted in part by recent rioting in
France "by primarily Muslim youths," despite the fact that neutral
experts say the violence had little to do with Islam and it was Muslim
leaders who ultimately helped quell the violence.
Faulty premise aside, here are answers to Prager's questions:
Q: Why are you so quiet (about terrorism carried out in the name of
A: One might argue that Muslims could do more to get their anti-terror
message out. But to say Muslims have been quiet about their unequivocal
condemnation of terrorism is a gross misrepresentation of the facts and
reeks of Islamophobia.
It was after all a coalition of American Muslim groups that issued what
was perhaps the first condemnation of the 9/11 attacks. The Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also published a full-page
advertisement condemning the attacks.
Muslims have consistently condemned suicide bombings in the Middle East,
attacks on the London transportation system, the bombing of hotels in
Jordan, and many similar outrages.
Muslims scholars recently issued a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling,
condemning terrorism and religious extremism. (See: www.cair.com )
Muslim groups in Texas and Arizona held anti-terror rallies. In Jordan
huge demonstrations were held against the recent terror attacks. Muslims
in Lebanon demonstrated against the terrorist assassination of former
Prime Minister Rafik Harriri.
Outrage can be expressed in many ways. Public demonstrations are merely
one of many different methods available to oppose terrorism.
Q: Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?
A: Robert Pape in his book, "Dying to Win - The Strategic Logic of
Suicide Terrorism," shows that between 1982 and 1986, 71 percent of the
Lebanese suicide attackers were Christians and 21 percent
Communists/Socialists. Pape states, "Of the 384 attackers for whom we
have data, 166 or 43 percent were religious, while 218 or 57 percent
were secular. Suicide terrorism is not overwhelmingly a religious
phenomenon." It is a response to occupation.
Inquiring minds might also consider the suicide bombings carried out by
non-Muslim groups such as the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the religious
orientation of the abortion clinic bomber or the depredations of Serbian
forces during the Bosnian conflict.
Q: Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?
A: Muslim majority countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh,
and Turkey among many others having held free elections and being
governed by popularly elected governments will dispute the charge that
they are not "free."
Moreover, only in the past 50 years, have more than half of the
Muslim-majority nations been freed from their European colonizers.
Despite winning this freedom, most continued to be client states of
their former colonizers who through the imposition of dictatorial
regimes maintained control, some even to this day.
Opposition to such lack of freedom is generally Islamically-oriented.
Lack of freedom in Muslim nations is in spite of Islam, not because of
Q: Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the
name of Islam?
A: All major faiths have people who commit, or have committed atrocities
in the name of their religion. But no faith should be held responsible
for the crimes of a few individuals. It seems Prager believes that any
act by Muslims should be blamed on Islam. Just as we do not blame the
Crusades or the Israeli atrocities on the faiths of Christianity and
Judaism, we ask others to offer the same respect for our faith.
Again quoting Pape, "The world's leading practitioners of suicide
terrorism are the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka - a secular, Marxist-Lennist
group drawn from Hindu families."
Q: Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other
A: While there are areas of the Muslim world in which religious freedom
is not granted to all citizens, it is unfair to claim that this
phenomenon as a problem unique to Islam. Blaming persecution of
minorities on Islam is akin to blaming slavery and segregation on
Christianity. Choosing the Taliban as an example of religious
intolerance in Islam is disingenuous, because the Taliban's religious
perspective has been rejected by mainstream Muslim scholars and Muslims
Every religious group has a responsibility to challenge hate by their
fringe groups. It is unproductive to single out Muslims while remaining
silent about the extremists of other faiths who vilify the faith of
Islam without similar repudiation from Prager and others.
Dealing with the impact of war, poverty, racism, and injustice is our
collective duty. To achieve solutions to these real problems we need
voices that accentuate our common humanity, not use opportunistic smears
of an entire faith to further their parochial agenda.
I would offer a challenge to Mr. Prager. Are you willing to enter into a
real dialogue, not an exercise in one-upmanship, with mainstream
Muslims? If so, CAIR stands ready to facilitate that dialogue, just as I
did when I appeared recently on his program.
We await your response.