US President Donald Trump repeatedly rebukes the media for "dishonest" coverage and "fake news."
Despite its fury over the accusations, however, the press continues to prove him right -- albeit inadvertently.
Take a recent New York Times piece as an example. In their article, titled "Trump Pushes Dark View of Islam to Center of U.S. Policy-Making" (Feb. 1), authors Scott Shane, Matthew Rosenberg, and Eric Lipton cite a questionable source -- Prof. Asma Afsaruddin of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University -- to prove their point that the president is promoting a "master narrative that pits the Muslim world against the West." This, they claim, appeals to Trump supporters, "who know nothing of Muslims or Islam beyond news reports of terrorist attacks."
Although Americans may be more familiar with Islamist attacks in Europe, North America, North Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent than with the perpetrators or the religion, it is the Quran's content, the Prophet Muhammad's sayings and conduct and current fatwas that, regardless of Trump's rhetoric, have driven a wedge between the Muslim world and the West.
Indeed, contrary to what The New York Times piece asserts, it is not the president who is spreading the idea that "Islam is an inherently hostile ideology," that "Muslims are enemies of Christians and Jews" and that "Muslims have always had a comprehensive, actionable, and jihadist plan to take over" -- but rather the Quran itself.
The following Quranic verses, still in wide use today, serve to illustrate:
- "O you who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya' (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliya' of each other. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya', then surely he is one of them." (5: 51)
- "And the Jews say: 'Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah... Allah's Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth!" (9:30).
- "Among those who are Jews, there are some who displace words from (their) right places... Allah has cursed them for their disbelief..." (4:47).
- The Jews say: "Allah's Hand is tied up (i.e. He does not give and spend of His Bounty)." Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered...Every time they kindled the fire of war, Allah extinguished it; and they (ever) strive to make mischief on earth." (5: 64).
In other words:
- Islam does not recognize Judaism or Christianity as religions.
- Muslims are enemies of, and must fight, Jews and Christians.
- Muslims will never be satisfied until all people submit to the beliefs of Islam and the laws of Sharia.
Muslim apologists always cite the Quranic verse below to highlight a different side of Islam:
"Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes." (60: 8).
Here is the problem, however. According to a strict interpretation of the verse, anyone or anything perceived as "fighting against you" is fair game for violence. Thus, even the slightest criticism or satirical portrayal of Islam, the Quran, Muhammad or Muslims – whether in books, movies, newspaper articles, cartoons or speeches -- can be construed not only as legitimate targets for attack, but as religiously mandated ones.
Indeed, the Quran orders Muslims to fight against "those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah (taxes) with willing submission..." (9:29); not to take the Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims as friends; and deal justly and kindly only with those who have not fought them, driven them out of their lands or made a mockery of Islam [emphasis added].
Shane, Rosenberg and Lipton attempt to paint those who hold Trump's view of radical Muslims with the kind of ignorance that they themselves possess and display. Unfortunately, their position appeals to many non-Muslims uneducated in the ways of Islam. Worse, it facilitates jihadist machinations.
No wonder Trump has been calling out the media for false reporting.
A. Z. Mohamed is a Muslim born and raised in the Middle East.