Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said that President Donald Trump's 90-day ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries is "a religiously based ban," and "if they can ban Muslims, why can't they ban Mormons." This has become the position of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media, which has influenced not only the American public but has convinced the majority of the world that America is "bad." How can we blame the world, and even a good segment of American citizens, for hating America when such disingenuous and misleading claims are aired to the world from US officials and broadcast by American television channels?
The majority of the world does not understand that much of the American media is in a propaganda war against the Trump Administration simply because he names Islamic jihad and would prefer to see a strong and prosperous America as a world leader, rather than to see a dictatorship -- secular or theocratic -- as a world leader. He ran as a Republican; meanwhile, Democrats and the mainstream media refuse to engage in respectful and legitimate debate on the most vital threat to Western civilization in the twenty-first century: Islam. Truth has become irrelevant; people seem to prefer a political game of tug-of-war to sway public opinion against the Trump Administration, and, presumably, to elect Democrats forever. That is how the system is set up.
Political discussions on television have become extremely frustrating; they have turned into shouting matches and name-calling at the least informative levels. Television hosts often become instigators and participants in the shouting matches. The thinking is apparently that the louder they get, the more attractive the program will be. Meanwhile everyone is talking at once; the viewer cannot hear anyone, so the program could not be more boring.
Under the US Constitution, freedom of religion is protected. and Islam has been welcomed inside the West on that basis as one of the three Abrahamic religions. According to Western values and the Western understanding of the word, "religion" is supposed to be a personal relationship with God, where free will is of utmost importance; the believer has authority only over himself or herself when it comes to religious laws or punishing sins (such as leaving the religion or committing adultery) -- quite different from criminal laws intended to protect society. Western values also allow followers of a religion the freedom to proselytize, but never by resorting to government enforcement.
Bottom line, the Western definition of religion is in harmony with the Biblical values of the human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that all human beings are created equal under the law. It is considered a basic Western value to view God, family and country as a top priority.
Now let us compare these values to Islamic values:
Muslim citizens have the right to punish other citizens with humiliating, severe, cruel and unusual punishments such as death, flogging and amputation, for sinning against Allah, the Quran or Islam. Those "crimes" include leaving Islam, being a homosexual, or committing adultery. And if the Islamic government does not enforce such punishments, any Muslim on the street has the right to apply the punishment against another Muslim and not be prosecuted. That is why apostates, such as myself, cannot visit any Muslim county; the fear is not only from Islamic governments but from anyone on the street.
Being a Muslim is not a personal relationship with God, as it is under the Bible, but is enforced by the state at birth. When a child is born in Egypt to a Muslim father, the birth certificate is stamped "Muslim" and all government-issued documents as well. A child must learn Islamic studies in school and practice Islam throughout his life. In Egypt, the twin sons of a Christian divorced mother were forced to take Islamic studies and become Muslim just because their originally-Christian father converted to Islam. Today, in Egypt, I am still considered Muslim and such a status could never change if I ever lived there again.
Islamic law and leaders rely on government enforcement -- under penalty of death -- to keep Muslims within Islam and to convert the minority Christian population into Islam. Islamic sharia law, obliges Islamic states to enforce religious law, and if the Muslim head of state refuses to follow religious law, sharia permits the public to use force to remove the head of state from office.
Islam claims to be an Abrahamic religion, but in fact Islam came to the world 600 years after Christ, not to affirm the Bible but to discredit it; not to co-exist with "the people of the book," Jews and Christians, but to replace them -- after accusing them of intentionally falsifying the Bible. Islam was created as a rebellion against the Bible and its values, and relies on government enforcement to do so.
The tenets above are just a few of the differences in values between Islam, the Bible and the Western concept of religion. What the West does not understand is that Islam admits that government control is central to Islam, and Muslims must demand to live under an Islamic government sooner or later. That might explain the reason for the eternal violence in nearly all Muslim countries, between government being in the hands of a religious theocracy or of the military. Islam, as it is practiced today, has violated all Western definitions of religion and values.
Political and legal (sharia) Islam is much more than a religion. Is the First Amendment a suicide pact?
(Image source: Brent Payne/Flickr)
Nonie Darwish, born and raised in Egypt, is the author of "Wholly Different; Why I chose Biblical Values over Islamic Values."