On another blog, I just came upon this speech given by Newt Gingrich. He discusses America’s major security threats, namely “radical Islamists”. He says clearly that we are not at war with terrorism–which is news to me. He claims that we are endangered by an Islamic threat.
I obviously do understand that America has been attacked by terrorists who claim to adhere to Islam. (The version of Islam I know, the version that some of my best friends practice, is not the bastardization of religion that the terrorists believe in.) But Newt seems to be implying that we are at war with Islam as a religion. He says that we need to uproot the mosques that teach violence and hatred. Yes, I’m sure there are mosques that teach hate, as there are churches and synagogues that do so, but the vast majority of these places of worship do not. Newt does not make that distinction; he generalizes, making it appear that all mosques teach violence.
He also demonizes sharia law, which is something that he, and much of the West, greatly misunderstand. The term has come to be seen as synonymous with oppression of women and denial of religious freedom, so when Newt uses it in that context, if further embeds that misunderstood view in the minds of Americans.
In order to avoid a Shirley Sherrod issue, I have posted two videos. The first is the shorter, clipped version that just shows Newt’s comments relating to Islam. Here is the full video to make clear that the first clips are not taken out of context and painting a picture of Newt’s remarks that he did not intend. Sadly, Newt did intend what he said…
Lastly, like the blogger I got this video from, I find it ironic that he says we must stop the Islamization of the U.S. and Europe and then criticizes the “secular” Democrats. So both Islam (religion) and secularism (no religion) are bad…? What is acceptable then? Though he wouldn’t admit it, it is clear his answer would only include Christianity.
On a happier note, I came across a post today about how it is our religious duty as Christians to support our Muslims friends and fight the kind of prejudice that people like Newt are spewing. Here is a quote from Amanda’s post that echoes my own feelings, I say loving my Muslim neighbors as myself is the highest articulation of my Faith and its most convincing moment. Check out her awesome blog here. Sometimes I get discouraged by people who perpetrate Islamophobia, but it is posts like these that give me hope that change is possible. (Sorry for all the “hope-y, change-y stuff.”) 🙂