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Two kinds of Islam
(Re: “Obama’s challenge to the Muslim world,” Perspectives, June 11.) Reading “Obama’s Challenge to the Muslim World,” by Imam Feisal Abdul Ruaf, I am forced to respond. When one asks the question, “Can the West coexist with Islam?” the answers will undoubtedly raise controversy and animosity.
From the perspective of someone who has spent years immersing myself in the subject, I have come to look at the issue as follows: I divide the Islamic world into two groups, the first being those who would pose a threat and the second being those who would not. Taking the good Imam’s words at face value, I would count him as a member of the latter and would gladly invite him into my home for what would certainly be a lively discussion. However, he is not my concern. It is the first group that we need to fully understand if we are to enter knowledgably into conversation. Let’s take some of the Imam’s writings and dissect them.
Early on, the Imam says that Muslims feel that “Islam is the solution” to East/West tensions, as it were. This is true! Islam has taken that exact approach throughout its 1,400 years of existence, insisting that religious minorities “submit,” paying the Jizya, or Islamic tax on infidels, and living under the rules of the subservient class of Dhimmi. Life is to be made intolerable for them, and they are to be “humiliated” and pressured continuously to convert “willingly.”
Modern feminists would rejoice in agreeing with the Imam that Mohammad was the first feminist! Quran 4:034 states, “Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.”
By their actions you will know their true beliefs. The Quran and the Hadith (the way of Mohammad) are replete with verses that encourage followers to wage war on non-believers and subjugate them. Platitudes are meaningless. What counts are the actions of those who take the texts seriously, and the easiest way to do that is to look back through history at the behavior of Mohammad’s followers, specifically the early Caliphs, Ottoman Turks, Barbary pirates, the relations between Muslims and other tribes within the Middle East, the Islamization of North Africa, the Taliban conquest of Afghanistan and now Pakistan, and the legal structure and treatment of non-Muslims within the modern Islamic nation-states. In each you will find no calls for peace, only war and death for those who refuse to capitulate — coupled with the imposition of Sharia, or Islamic law.
Deflections can and will be made that will try to morally equate Christian and Jewish history with that of Islam, but the argument falls short when you enter the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, during which the West abandoned state-sponsored religious proselytizing.
There will also be those who dismiss this letter as racist or Islamophobic — the all-purpose conversation stoppers — but is it really too much to ask for Islam to respect the religious beliefs of others without trying to kill or subjugate them?
Kevin Kelley/via Internet
Legalize pot to fight crime
(Re: “A fine to fit the crime,” cover story, June 4.) Imagine if the United States was once again the “land of the free” instead of the most incarcerated nation in the history of human civilization. Imagine if we had no “drug-related crime.” Imagine if our overall crime rate was a small fraction of our current one. Can you imagine that we once had such a situation here in the United States?
Prior to the passing of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, the term “drug-related crime” didn’t exist. Drug lords, drug cartels and even drug dealers as we know them today also didn’t exist.
Back then, all types of recreational drugs were legally sold to anybody with no questions asked for pennies per dose in grocery stores and pharmacies. Did we have a lot more drug addicts then compared to now? No, we had about the same percentage of our population addicted to drugs, according to U. S. federal judge John L. Kane of Colorado.
For the sake of our children, can we re-legalize our now-illegal drugs and sell them at licensed business establishments? This would put the drug dealers and drug lords out of business overnight.
Kirk Muse/Mesa, Ariz.
Many Americans are happy with their private insurance plans. It is when we link employment with insurance that we make a mistake.
Health-insurance benefits should not be linked to employers or to our employment status. Everybody should buy insurance, and insurance companies should be obliged to insure us without pre-existing conditions. Those two go hand in hand.
Individual insurance should be guaranteed regardless of health history, and all Americans should have to participate in such a plan.
Let the FDA control pot
I think it’s great that Congress has finally given the FDA authority to regulate tobacco. Cigarette companies will find it harder to market their products to kids. Now they must disclose all research about the products they sell, as well as the scores of chemicals they add to speed up the drying and curing processes, extend shelf life and make the cigarettes burn evenly and never go out. All claims made about cigarettes must be scientifically proven. However, the FDA won’t be able to go so far as to outlaw tobacco products outright. I think this is a huge step in the right direction.
Imagine if Congress gave the FDA authority to regulate marijuana in the same ways. Drug policy reform organizations have been suggesting this for years, with very compelling reasons.
Congress tried to control the marketing of marijuana to kids years ago by increasing penalties for people caught with drugs within 1,000 feet of a school. But there was no significant change in marijuana consumption among any of the age groups after such laws were passed.
What if the FDA required the disclosure of all contents in a bag of pot to be clearly labeled? Every bag of pot sold would be required to display an easy-to-read label that said, “Ingredients: Marijuana.” Even the DEA has given up on the worn-out claim that pot growers lace their weed with chemicals like the tobacco companies do.
Which brings me to the next point. What if all claims about marijuana had to be scientifically proven? The FDA could prohibit the DEA from spreading false information about pot, like the so-called gateway theory that asserts that smoking pot makes people crave heroin, cocaine or even meth.
If pot were regulated, rather than sold by the same black-market drug dealers who sell hard drugs, then most pot smokers would not even know where to get those substances.
And lastly, if Congress were to give the FDA authority to regulate pot, would the bill also include a clause that prohibits the FDA from outlawing marijuana all together?
Put Cheney in prison
After eight years of secret meetings and behind-the-scenes manipulations to invade Iraq, Dick Cheney has decided to come out to the media and claim that, “Obama has made America less safe.” This claim has one conspicuous flaw in that the worst terrorist attack in America’s history occurred under his and George Bush’s watch.
After being warned repeatedly that an attack from bin Laden was imminent, on 9/11 Bush and Cheney were caught flat footed while our own airplanes were attacking us, yet Cheney claims that Obama’s administration makes us unsafe.
The truth is that Dick Cheney is an evil monster. His lies and shady exploits have resulted in the horrific deaths of more than 100,000 innocent people in Iraq. Another study (Lancet) puts civilian deaths at 1.3 million.
The cavalier attitude that Cheney shows toward the carnage he caused by saying, “I think we saved lives by invading Iraq,” reveals that the man has a pathological disconnection from humanity. He coldly pursues his goals to satisfy his financial greed and lust for power. Now Mr. Cheney is using the media to distort the facts as groundwork for his possible defense.
Dick Cheney is a ruthless criminal. Rather than continuing to pollute the truth, revise history and impede the repair of our damaged nation, he should be behind bars and tried as an international terrorist.
Where the blame lies
My sister and I were chatting the other day about issues large and small, and the conversation inevitably drifted to the economy and the sense that we are in this hiatus awaiting some kind of return to financial normalcy. Whereupon my sister said, “This is normalcy!”
In other words, this is the way things used to be when people didn’t spend money they didn’t have at hand (mortgages having been the exception).
But the advent of the credit card somehow convinced us that the money needn’t be actually available... just anticipating that it would somehow materialize in some hypothetical scenario became sufficient. So here we are, nervously awaiting the credit card defaults in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.
And while it is admirable that Obama is looking to close all the loopholes that snare the consumer by addressing the questionable practices rampant in the financial world, most of us can find our own major culprit by looking in the mirror. If we as individuals spend money we don’t have, we tend to go belly-up financially. Let us fervently hope that we as a nation don’t succumb to the same fate.
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