Help us raise $30,000 to purchase 1000 copies of the Muhammad Asad Translation and Commentary of The Quran. This is an alternative translation of the Quran that will be provided to Western mosques, libraries, Muslim chaplaincies, and student associations. This work resolves many of the errors and oversights of other English translations, one example being women's rights.
This quote culled from a vacuous Wall Street Journal writeup [HT: The Jawa Report] of the so-called Summit of Secular Islam--a gathering (covered at length on Eteraz and compared elsewhere by me to Monty Python) of Muslim-bashing ideologues and talking heads, the sublime incompetence of which is only exceeded by its pristine irrelevance--perfectly captures the ignorance, shallowness and in some cases bald mendacity of the "insider" critiques of Islam being peddled by the ex-Muslim dissidents increasingly championed by the far right as reformers.
Radicalism, at least of a kind, is certainly what this summit provides via Wafa Sultan. Dr. Sultan, a Syrian-born psychiatrist now living in the U.S., came to widespread public attention last year after she debated a Sunni cleric on al-Jazeera. "Only Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches," she observed. The televised clip, translated by Memri, has been downloaded on YouTube more than a million times.
Anti-gay hatred appears to be the motive in an arson attempt on a UCC church near Staunton, Va. St. John's Reformed UCC in Middlebrook, Va., was vandalized sometime early Saturday morning (July 9) with anti-gay graffiti. Fire was set and caused damage to a portion of the church, but did not spread throughout the entire building, according to the Rev. John Deckenback, the UCC's Central Atlantic Conference Minister.
Are we to assume this attack--clearly motivated by religious animosities--was carried out by agents provacateurs dispatched from the wilds of Waziristan by OBL?
And what about the the Klansmen who destroyed the African-American Macedonia Baptist and Mount Zion AME churches in South Carolina in 1995 ("Forgotten Fires - The Story")
Proclaiming that black churches taught their congregations how to manipulate the welfare system and procure government subsidies, the Klan set up shop in 1994 in a field near Macedonia Baptist Church. Its members were forced to listen to the Klan's message of hate as it blared through the church windows. One of the young white men listening outside, a friend and neighbor of Macedonia parishioners, helped burn the church. On June 20th and 21st, 1995, Timothy Welch and another young man, Christopher Cox, burned Macedonia Baptist and Mt. Zion AME Church. They and two older accomplices, Arthur Haley and Hubert Rowell, were found guilty of the church burnings and sentenced to 15 21 years in prison (later reduced to 12 years for Cox and Welch for testifying in the civil suit against the Klan). Both churches have since been rebuilt.
Hindu extremists burned down a church in India on Saturday (December 23), arrested carol-singers on Christmas Eve and disrupted yuletide services in several states. One Christian suffered a fractured hand, and another lost his hearing. Extremists burned down a thatched church in Boriguma area, Koraput district of Orissa state on Saturday night (December 23), preventing church members from celebrating Christmas there. The congregation had already decorated the building for Christmas festivities, but everything was destroyed in the fire.
These are just a few examples from a seemingly endless list of such incidents. The reality of which Dr. Sultan is blissfully (or is it "studiously") unaware is that church burnings are distressingly common, and in the USA often seem to be racially motivated. Some observers consider it a national crisis. Which is why the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms declared it their "top priority" last February, assigning 50 investigators to the problem.
Such facts are rather elementary historical context for a discussion of Muslim attacks on churches and are within easy reach to anybody able to type the word "Google". A reasonably well informed observer of religious affairs around the globe knows these sorts of things happen all the time, yet this hoax of an expert on Islam's problems--inexplicably lauded by Time Magazine-- is either so poorly uninformed or so utterly biased against Islam as to declare this widespread problem unique to Muslims.
And this is hardly unusual for her (or her colleagues at the Summit). To the contrary, such lazy, misleading soundbytes are her stock and trade, and the cause of her sudden ascent into the firmament of Beltway pundits.
According to media reports, Sultan is a psychiatrist, but when it comes to Muslim politics and history this "doctor" is evidentally a major quack. It would appear that Hannibal Lector has taken over the asylum. Is there anything more creepy (or un-untrustworthy) than a shrill, self-hating shrink?