Franklin Graham and the Art of Misinformation

Enough of misinformation and discrimination. Muslims and Christians must actively work together to achieve what both peoples want -- peace.
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The anti-Muslim base in America is no stranger to promoting misinformation about Islam, Muslims and even President Obama. During Franklin Graham's Feb. 21 "Morning Joe" appearance, nothing changed.

Graham reiterated the oft-repeated claim that Muslims are persecuting Christians because "Under shariah law, a Muslim can take a Christian's property without restriction and subject Christian women against their will." Mind you, no evidence or references are offered to support such a claim, but for those who prefer clear evidence to the contrary, here it is: The Quran is the first and only religious scripture that commands its adherents -- Muslims -- to protect churches, synagogues and temples from attack and to do so in preference to protecting mosques (22:40-41). Accordingly, in a letter to St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, Prophet Muhammad gave his written oath that Muslims must protect Christian churches and properties until the end of time. He added that should anyone take anything belonging to a Christian, he would break his covenant with God and Prophet Muhammad. Under sharia (Islamic law), taking another's property -- regardless of the other person's faith -- is theft, a violation of the other's rights and honor, and severely punishable.

Likewise, any belief that sharia "allows" Muslim men to subject women against their will -- Christian or not -- is baseless. The Quran explicitly declares, "O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will..." (4:20). The Quran protects all women, regardless of faith. Those Muslims who persecute Christians and harm women are to be categorically condemned. Those so-called Muslims perform these atrocious acts in spite of Islam, not because of it.

Graham also alleged that the "Muslim world considers Obama a son of Islam because his father, grandfather and great grandfathers were Muslim -- that's sharia -- that's just the way it is." Ignoring for the moment how one would know what the Muslim world is thinking, such an assertion is, again, patently false. Islam -- like Christianity -- rejects the notion of inherited faith, requiring Muslims to actively affirm their faith by reciting the Shahadah if they claim to be Muslim. The Shahadah, which declares, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger," serves a role for Muslims similar to that of baptism for Christians. Whatever the Muslim world thinks, sharia is clear: a person is a Muslim if he or she claims to be, and not a Muslim if he does not claim to be. President Obama has been forced -- most unfortunately -- more than any President in American history to perpetually reaffirm his Christian faith and belief in Jesus as his Savior. For some, however, this is just not enough. Perhaps in misrepresenting President Obama's faith, critics glossed over Matthew 7:1, "Judge not lest ye be judged."

Frankly speaking, such critics should stop speaking on anything related to Islam, others' faith, or foreign policy if they are not willing to support their assertions with facts and objective reasoning. Such discrimination against Muslims and those not "Christian enough" is frighteningly similar to evangelist Muslim clerics who express intense bigotry to Christians and those not "Muslim enough." Instead, as American Muslims, we invite people of all faiths -- and certainly evangelical Christians -- to open and candid dialogues based on pluralism and conflict resolution. In fact, when Christians from Najran traveled to Mecca to see about Prophet Muhammad's claim, this is exactly what history records. The Christian travelers became Prophet Muhammad's honored guests, even offering their worship services -- unhindered -- in his personal mosque at his invitation.

Enough of misinformation and discrimination. Muslims and Christians must actively work together to achieve what both peoples want -- peace. As the Quran says, "Surely, those who have believed, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians -- whoso believes in God and the Last Day and does good deeds, on them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve." As Muslims who believe in the messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, we believe peace means developing a bond between man and the Creator, and letting the judgment be His and His alone.

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