General Question

wolfram's avatar

What do you think of the recent news reports that there is no way to be a Muslim and an American patriot?

Asked by wolfram (194points) September 26th, 2010

On a recent radio news report an outspoken, former Muslim woman stated that under Islam law it is impossible to be both a Muslim and an American Patriot. Though our Constitution allows for freedom of religion and choice, the Islamic faith does not. She goes on to say that there is no such thing as a “moderate Muslim”—you either are a Muslim or you are not. If you are there is no room for any other ideologies or religions.

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36 Answers

GeorgeGee's avatar

How is that different from George W. Bush’s speech in which he said “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists?” He set up the condition that (supporting) bombing civilian babies in Baghdad was the only thing a proper American could do.

TexasDude's avatar

I think this soldier and his grieving wife would beg to differ.

laureth's avatar

I think it’s her opinion, and she has every right to it. I also think she’s wrong. Who can tell me that Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan isn’t both a Muslim and an American patriot? ...

…err, I was going to rant here, but @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard beat me to it as I was writing. :)

lillycoyote's avatar

That is not a “news report,” that is a single individual expressing a personal opinion on the radio, as @laureth points out.

roundsquare's avatar

I’m no expert in the Koran, but as far as I know, it wouldn’t restrict the religion of people you associate with. In that sense, I don’t see how it would restrict you from loving a country that allows people to believe in other faiths. Most faiths don’t allow you to “believe something else.”

Of course, there might be passages which say something like “you must hate all groups led by someone of another faith.” I don’t think there are, but if someone knows of one, please tell us.

Also, she is misinterpreting what people mean when they say “moderate Muslim.” They simply mean “someone who doesn’t believe in terrorism and is also Muslim.” Its meant as an opposite to “Muslim extremist.” It doesn’t mean “sort of Muslim but sort of not.”

poisonedantidote's avatar

I am no expert on the muslim faith, but from what i know there would be no problem being both an american patriot and a muslim. the only conflict i can think of, is the dilema between america being at war with a couple muslim countries. but this dilema can be resolved just by saying to your self that its just political. thus excusing you from having to take the side against america.

i suspect this woman has only got so much attention because she is an ex muslim who is saying things that are useful to those with more bigoted agendas.

Ron_C's avatar

I guess that if you go strictly by the bible, a Christian or Jew can’t be a patriot either. Of course since atheist aren’t electable, they cannot be patriots or politicians.

Of course if we go back to reality, we have citizens of all persuasions. It has always been country first, then religion. The only question that were asked in the American Revolution were, are you willing to fight for your country, do you have a gun, and do you know where we can get more guns?

There is not now or has there ever been a religious defination of a patriot. There is, however a long list of behaviors that are seen in traitors to our country. One is the requirement for a religious test for people willing to defend their homes.

HungryGuy's avatar

I think it’s all a matter of opinion. If Christians followed the Bible as literally as Muslims do the Koran, Christians would have to be as intolerant as Muslims are purported to be (and some are). There are moderate tolerant Christians, and I asume there are moderate tolerant Muslims.

flutherother's avatar

Under American law you can be both and let us be proud of it.

mrmijunte's avatar

It seems the lady is a poser hired by either Fox News or Rush Limbaugh. Only from those channels somebody would get that idea.

JLeslie's avatar

Even if the religious text makes it impossible, I have never read the qur’an, I still, think that statement is bull shit. Who follows the bible, old testament or qur’an word for word, religious zealots? Those extremist drive me crazy in any religion, and even they can be American. There are many many Muslims who are Americans, who fight for our country, who appreciate and support American ideals, who immigrated here specifically because they sought American freedom, it is a stupid statement.

Linda_Owl's avatar

For some misguided individuals, this might be an ‘either, or’ set of circumstances – but it is certainly not true for most people.

BoBo1946's avatar

that is bull….there are many good Muslims people in America. That propaganda was started by the radical right “nut-teabaggers!” I’m a moderate and proud of it.

wolfram's avatar

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been called a modern day “Joan of Arc” but “better than the original”. She is a former Muslim, author, screenplay writer and outspoken advocate of women’s rights at the risk of her life. Theo Van Gogh was assassinated filming her movie, Submission. She states that you can be a Muslim in America but you cannot be a Muslim America as this is an oxymoron that cannot co-exist according to the Islamic faith. Muhammed and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and accept only one god – theirs and have no tolerance for any other religions or government ideologies. This is not the case with our Constitution. Except for Turkey, most Muslim governments are dictatorial or autocratic and there is no difference between religion and the state government.

plethora's avatar

@wolfram Thanks for clearing the air on that. I was going to do so, but you are much more articulate on this point than I. My opinion is that Ari is far more knowledgeable about Islam than anyone on this thread, including me. If she says it is not possible, I would tend to go with her opinion rather than fairy wishes. Other knowledgeable sources I have read tend to support her view, but whether they did or not, how can one simply discount her views when she is one knows Islam and has come out of it at the risk of her life.

lillycoyote's avatar

I would also like to than @wolfram for providing a little more information on who it was that made the statement he refers to in his question. I will have to look into her a little bit; who she is, her history, her credentials, etc. However, I would still argues that she is expressing a personal opinion and is not necessarily able to speak for all Muslims, is not necessarily an expert on what the Koran does or doesn’t say or proscribe and is not necessarily have complete knowledge of how each and everyone one of the over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world practices his or her faith or how any of them feel about the faith vs. the state. And she also failed to mention that while Iraq was a dictatorship under Saddam Hussein, it was a secular state and only after we invaded was Islam codified as the state religion in their constitution. Not a theocracy, but a step closer. And @plethora While she may know more about Islam than any of us do she is still only one person out of over 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world, who live in dozens and dozens of countries, of all sorts. Are we simply to accept what she says and that’s that? Because must know better than we do? She is also apparently a Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Hmm? What might her biases and mindset be?

ETpro's avatar

@wolfram Indonesia is the largest secular nation that has a large Muslim population. Turkey is certainly another example.

I have great respect for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s obvious courage. I am sure she is very sincere. Still, I know of too many clear exceptions to her statement to believe it for a minute. And even if I didn’t have contradictory evidence, I would not believe someone who attempts to define exactly how 1.2 billion people all think on a given topic.

I think the far right in the USA has settled on Muslims as the latest greatest candidate for their demonization. Such politics work best when you have some universally hated class to make the scapegoat for all evil. And anyone who was a former Muslim willing to turn critic will find open arms on right-wing “news” outlets..

Wikipedia defines far-right politics as follows: “Far right politics usually involve supremacism — a belief that superiority and inferiority is an innate reality between individuals and groups — and a complete rejection of the concept of social equality as a norm.[2] Far right politics often support segregation; the separation of groups deemed to be superior from groups deemed to be inferior.[3] Far right politics also commonly include authoritarianism, nativism, racism and xenophobia.[4]

I’ve been reading the Qur’an for myself rather than take a bunch of different “exoerts’” word for what it says. So far, my opinion is it is very strong in its condemnation of all who don’t subscribe to its being the one true word. But then, so is the old testament of the Bible. I can, however, see how the Qur’an can be turned to a rationale for conversion by conflict. If Islam chooses that path, it will be crushed. Non Muslims outnumber Muslims by nearly 6 to 1 and have 30,000 nuclear warheads to the 90 or so the Islamic world has.

Therefore, there is no need for us to gin up a war with Islam in the irrational fear that they must immediately be stopped lest we fall under Sharia law in the USA. If they really want a war, let them start it.

plethora's avatar

@lillycoyote She states that you can be a Muslim in America but you cannot be a Muslim American as this is an oxymoron that cannot co-exist according to the Islamic faith.

The key phrase here is according to the Islamic faith.

Ari is not speaking about any individual Muslim, but about what the Islamic faith demands of its adherents. On that point, she is right, to the best of my knowledge. I do not know of another religion on earth that requires that of its adherents. I have no way of knowing how many of the world’s billion+ Muslims do subscribe fanatically to Islamic law. It may be only a minority….as in less than half a billion. That’s a good many fanatics, if so.

The attitude on most of this thread seems to be that every single Muslim is our ally unless proven otherwise. That kind of thinking is the very reason that a madman, in the name of allah, could conceal himself as a medical professional and a US Army officer until he could kill multiple other loyal military men and women….even though there were many other military officers who knew he was a fanatic. But it was not PC (to the extent of destroying one’s career) to mention it to anyone because we don’t want to “overreact” to our loyal Muslim brothers, who are also our civilian and military comrades in arms.

Muslims in America do have two problematical issues and neither one of them are the fault of Americans. The first is that Islamic law is clear about requiring their unquestioning obedience even if it requires violence against others, ranging from their own children to the “Great Satan”. Whether an individual Muslim chooses to obey is not the issue. Islam demands it.

The second is that many obey, committing “honor killings” against one’s family right on American soil and terrorist acts like 9/11 (only one of many against us over the last 20 years).

So they have to contend with their religion, which makes outrageous demands on them, as well as some of their fellow travelers who actually obey those outrageous demands. That’s a bad rap and it generates distrust for good loyal Muslims in America. I feel sorry for their having to deal with the doubt that their religion casts on them in the West. But it’s their religion and their people who create the doubt and distrust.

One of whom is the dumbass Imam in NYC. Pro or con on the mosque project, how could one dream up a political stunt as stupid as this. It has brought nothing but more doubt and distrust for Muslims in America. Furthermore, it has put a spotlight on mosque projects throughout America and many currently in the planning stages will be stopped dead, four in my city, that the public (me included) didnt even know about. Well, the NYC Imam brought them to everyone’s attention.

Muslims in America don’t need this kind violence (in the case of the Ft Hood murders) or stupidity (in the case of the NYC mosque) from their own people.

Last, but not least, Muslims throughout the world are on video cheering as the towers came down on 9/11. Not good publicity for honest Muslims in America.

plethora's avatar

@ETpro That Wikipedia quotation, although you did give the link, was a bit selective.

Last two paragraphs of the definition:

The ideologies usually associated with the far right include fascism, Nazism and other ultra-nationalist, religiously extreme or reactionary ideologies.[5][6][7][8][9]

The term radical right refers to sections of the far right that promote views which are very conservative in traditional left-right terms, but which aim to break with prevailing institutions and practices.[10] The radical right does not have a clear straightforward structure, but rather consists of overlapping subcultures with diverse styles of rhetoric, dress and symbolism whose cohesion comes from the use of alternative system of communications.[11]

Fascism, Nazism, ultra-nationalist, religiously extreme (read snake handlers, etc) reactionary ideologies. None of these appear anywhere in the mainstream right, including “tea party”. If you think they do, then please give me a point of reference in terms of a group or personality who is as far out on the left. In my opinion, Bill Ayers would be one, but I may be wrong.
(Bill Ayers In 1969…co-founded the Weather Underground, a self-described communist revolutionary group) See Wikipedia via google.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora I don’t know how you keep yourself so well insulated from what is going on in the far right. I get it, and that’s certainly not my favorite stomping grounds. I’ll give you a few examples. I could fill page after page with them.

How’s this? Stop The Hate In November The Hate they want to stop,. by the way is The NAACP, NBPP, MoveOn.Org, SEIU and others hosting a hate gathering at the Lincoln Memorial called “ONE NATION”.

And ther is this When Blacks Attack Obama

I hate Barack Hussein Obama because he makes me uncomfortable with his words and what he says.

How about this video? Week of Hate: Barack (Hussien) Obama—The Terrorist

And the Birther Crowd bring us, Enough’s enough: Obama has conceded ineligibility

If you want more, check Redstate, DailyEventsOnline”: and such. Listen to Michael Savage or Rush Limbaugh

plethora's avatar

@ETpro Wow!!! You must stay Immersed in this stuff. I don’t, but now that you’ve pointed me in the right direction, I will. I totally agree with the first two.

plethora's avatar

@ETpro Waiting in the Detroit airport Ive had a little time to reflect on the word “hate mongering”. Would the opposite be “love mongering”? I doubt it. just wouldn’t sound right, would it? it’s because it’s a hateful sounding word. And one that we only hear from the left. it’s a neat “tag word”. Any opinion that is disagreeable to a liberal is a “hate mongering” opinion, which then means that it can automatically be assumed discredited because it could only be motivated by “hate”.

I think Keith Olberman has opinions that are pretty far to the left and I think he is smart and pretty slick with the language and I disagree with his take on just about everything. But I don’t think he is motivated by hate. And I don’t think tag words should be applied to him to attempt to discredit him.

Take a look at the lead article in the current Forbes magazine, Obama on the cover. See if you see anything in the article “why he thinks the way he does” that you’d like to tag “hate mongering”. I’ll be interested.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora Great question about Love Mongering. I think many would hear that and immediately think its something tawdry.

Talk about hearing tag words from the left, take a look around on those lins I gave you. The right is puking in our ears all day long. THey own AM radio almost lock stock and barrel now, Fox News, the right wing blogosphere. It is rightly labeled the Vast Right Wing Noise Machine. And the noise it puts out is replete with vile insults for all who refuse to march in lockstep with right-wing ideology.

plethora's avatar

@ETpro Ok…...point taken. I took a look at the rest of them. None of which Ive seen before. I apparently do not watch or listen to left or right media.

I did think the Forbes article was good and would be interested in your assessment (not agreement) should you decide to read it. By Dinesh D’Sousa, but the interesting point is that he is an Indian raised in a third world (then) country about the same time as Obama.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora Got a link to the Forbes article, or do I need to search?

ETpro's avatar

@plethora The radical right has been working hard to demonize Muslims and to create very real fear that they are about to take over America and the world. They have stated firmly that US Muslims are about to institute Sharia Law in America despite the fact that Muslims make up 0.26% of the US population. They claim that our President is not a US Citizen but was born in Africa and is secretly Muslim despite the fact he has a valid Hawaii birth certificate attended a Christian church for over 20 years. They claim, despite the fact that we are killing Muslims in two declared wars and in undeclared actions in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other Muslim states, that Obama issued orders that no Muslim is ever to be killed by the America’s military.

Just in case you think that nobody takes these rather absurd claims seriously, take a look at Locked and Loaded: The Secret World of Extreme Militias

Nullo's avatar

I think that there are some kinds of Muslims who cannot help but not be patriotic. Most of them, I suspect, live elsewhere.

I would also like to take this opportunity to point out, once again, that Nazism is a form of socialism, a Leftist ideology.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo Nazism invented the Big Lie as a tool of propaganda. One Big Lie the American right keeps floating out is that Nazis were socialists. Don’t let yourself fall for it. I know you have too much personal integrity to keep repeating propaganda once you learn that it is propaganda. The Nazis were a far right movement.

The truth is that in its early days, Fascism in Italy did involve some socialists as well as some ultra nationalists. But by the time Mussolini came to power and allied with Hitler, the only vestige of socialism was the idea of corporatism. Hitler and Mussolini wanted to lure the top industrialists into their governments in order to harness their expertise in making the machines of war. They offered them such very non-socialist inducements as union busting, extreme anti communism and eventually slave labor to boost their profits.

“German police officials targeted thousands of political opponents (including Communists, Socialists, and trade unionists) and religious dissidents (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses). Many of these individuals died as a result of incarceration and maltreatment.” From here.

Yes, the term Nazi Party came from German for National Socialism. That does not make Hitler a friend of the poor. It means only that he was a liar and a propagandist.extraordinaire Do you honestly believe that North Korea is a Democracy and a Republic? They have those words in their name. What someone calls themselves is of far less import than what they show themselves to be. Here’s what far right means. It fits Hitler and the Nazis to a tee.

Nially_Bob's avatar

I would deem it a false dichotomy. You could interpret any text or speech in the known world to mean anything you desire and so long as you’re charming or passionate enough in your delivery of this interpretation to others it can invoke misleading beliefs.
If a person wishes to maintain a religious belief while feeling a sense of national pride and/or association with a society or culture then so be it.

ETpro's avatar

@Nially_Bob Riiiiight. Nazism is perfectly harmless. It is no different than being in the Boy Scouts. That’s pure Normative moral relativism!.

Nially_Bob's avatar

I apologise as I feel I have lead you to misconstrue my statement. I was not advocating any particular moral standpoint but simply stating that I feel in this situation someone’s attempting to interpret something in such a way that it strains peoples loyalties when this is unnecessary. In these circumstances it would be more beneficial to simply let people be.
While on the subject however I have long been intrigued by moral relativism, it’s a fascinating avenue of thought, though evidently a non-pragmatic one.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro You will forgive me my skepticism, I hope.

ETpro's avatar

@Nially_Bob Perhaps I’m not quite clear on what two things you are saying are a false dichotomy.

@Nullo I have no problem whatsoever with anyone holding a healthy level of skepticism. Just don’t use a false claim of skepticism to embrace one ideology purely on faith while rejecting all others, regardless of what evidnece supports them, as insufficiently proven.

The_Idler's avatar

“I would also like to take this opportunity to point out, once again, that Nazism is a form of socialism, a Leftist ideology.”—Nullo

Yeah, if you trust Hitler’s word.

Ron_C's avatar

I would submit that you can’t be a right wing conservative and be a patriotic American. In fact any person that completely identifies with a particular religious belief is inherently not patriotic. When you hold your religion of your belief system above the constitution and the rule of law you are not patriotic. A perfect example is Clarence Thomas, who may soon be a deposed supreme court justice. He considers his critics to be attacking the country when they criticise him.

Persons that act against the best interests of the country are often devout Christians like George Bush. He claims to be a loyal American while he is responsible for over 5000 dead American soldiers and hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq and Afghanistan. No Muslim has caused as much damage to this country as the previous “American: administration.

Now we have a crazy congressman from New York on the Intelligence committee. It is frightening the mischief that ultra-conservatives are now able to cause.

Of course we could also look at the Wall Street bankers to see other anti-American activities. I don’t believe any Muslim is as dangerous as the people now controlling our congress or banking system.

kritiper's avatar

Totally bogus. Like saying an Atheist can’t act like a Christian.

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