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Islamophobia, war and deceit

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In this piece, Tim Dieppe comments on a couple of news items relating to Islam in the last week. Prominent author, Salman Rushdie who was threatened with death because his writings offended Muslims, has said that today he would be accused of Islamophobia.

Also this week, former hostage, Terry Waite has warned that we have now entered a third world war. Tim argues that deception about the nature of Islam is rife and can only be combatted by truth spoken in love.

Prominent author Salman Rushdie was the subject of a fatwa in 1989, after his novel "The Satanic Verses" was considered blasphemous by many Muslims. Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran ordered Muslims to kill Rushdie, forcing him to go into hiding with armed guards for two decades. He now doubts that he would today have the support of the government and the police that he had then. In an interview this week he said: "Today, I would be accused of Islamophobia and racism. People would say I had attacked a cultural minority." Is it Islamophobic to criticise the Qur’an or its origins, or to write a novel about them?

Rushdie rightly criticises Western governments for avoiding referring to terrorists as Muslims or Islamic, instead using terms like ‘radicalism’ or ‘extremism’ to studiously avoid any reference to Islam. Radical Methodists are not known for committing terrorist attacks. Perhaps the true Islamophobes are those who are afraid to criticise Islam or to expose the teachings of Islam and how Muhammad’s example inspires terrorists today.

Terry Waite, who spent 1,763 days as a hostage in Beirut, most of it in solitary confinement, warned this week that we have now entered a new third world war. It is global - a violent attack can occur anywhere in the world at any time. He also drew attention to mass migration which is also a global problem. When refugee numbers become too large, he argued: "No country, however well-intentioned it may be, will be able to manage the situation without being in grave danger of community conflict." Should Terry Waite’s comments be seen as Islamophobic?

It is now standard for anyone who criticises Islam to be labelled Islamophobic, which only serves to shut down debate. Politicians, media, and some Christians would much rather see expressions of love, compassion and unity than an explanation of the Qur’anic basis for violence. Of course, love and compassion are necessary and Christian. But not love without truth.

Attacks on churches and Christians, prevalent in the Islamic world for some time, are starting to increase in Europe. Australian theologian Dr. Mark Durie comments:

"In this struggle it is wrong to privilege either love or truth, for we will need both. Truth without love can cause endless heartache. This is true. But love without truth can cause a naive blindness which meekly tolerates abuse and leads to suicidal submission.

This is likely to be a very long war. ... Yes, we will all need a lot of compassion. But without truth to strengthen it, love alone will not save us."

Terry Waite and Mark Durie are correct in describing this as a war, but it is an entirely different and non-conventional war between competing ideologies. Muhammad is reported to have said "War is deceit." (Bukhari 4.52.269). Deception about the nature of Islam is rife.

The Qur'an says:

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah ... the people of the Book [Jews and Christians] until they pay the Jizya [subjugation tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." (Q 9:29)

Sadly, this text, along with many others like it, is regarded as normative by many Muslims today. Failure to acknowledge this is misleading. Deceit can only be overcome with truth. We need to boldly speak the truth in love without fear of Islamophobia. 

Related Links: 
'Satanic Verses' author Salman Rushdie: 'Today, I would be accused of Islamophobia, racism' (Washington Times) 
Former hostage Terry Waite: 'We are in a Third World War' (Christian Today)
Church Attacks: Love Alone Will Not Save Us (Gatestone Institute)